Sunday, September 16, 2012

Most important new features in vSphere 5.1

I was going over the "What's new in vSphere 5.1" sheet and wanted to point out the, from an operational standpoint, what is the most important changes.

  1. Improved vMotion which lets you vMotion even without having shared storage (vMotion+svMotion). This is described in this post. For customer transition projects, this can probably come in handy.
  2. vSphere web client: This is now the default interface for managing vSphere - it will probably take a little getting used to for the server admins.
  3. Zero-downtime upgrade for VMware tools: Not having to reboot the VMs after tools upgrade is a big step forward (as an IT service provider, it can be close to impossible getting a maintenance window for all your VMs)
  4. Larger VMs - up to 64 vCPUs (you will have to have sufficient underlying hardware though, so unfortunately it can't be simulated in the home lab :))
  5. Virtual hardware v9. Upgrading will require VM downtime. One can only hope that, in future releases,  vHW upgrades can be done in-place.

Improved vMotion in vSphere 5.1 - data moving vMotion

I heard about the new and improved data moving vMotion in the VMworld keynote and wanted to try it out in the home lab. The improvement consists of vSphere being able to perform a simultaneous vMotion+svMotion so you can change both datastore and host at the same time.

I was expecting this feature to be available from the vSphere client by right clicking the VM and choosing 'migrate'. However, this is not the case. The option is there but it is greyed out stating that the VM has to be powered off to perform this action, see screenshot below:

I found an article on yellow-bricks pointing towards the vSphere web client. And for a deep dive, see this post by Frank Denneman.

From the vSphere web client the option is available by right-clicking the VM and choosing 'Migrate', see below.

One apparent limitation is that you cannot migrate between Datacenters, only between cluster within a given Datacenter.

Other than that, the feature works as expected. I did a vMotion plus datastore move from local storage to shared storage. This is the second feature (here's the first one) I've found that is only available in the vSphere web client and not in the vSphere client which leads one to assume that VMware is actually serious about moving future administration away from the vSphere client.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Applying a default host profiles in vSphere 5.1 cluster fails

I was playing around with host profiles in my vSphere 5.1 home lab today. It was easy enough to create a baseline by selecting a given host in a cluster. But, without having changed anything, when I tried to check for compliance I received the following error:

"A general system error occurred: Failed to run Execute operation on IP address '192.168.1.x' is used for multiple virtual NICs"

I was pretty sure that I had only used that IP address for the service console, or the management interface, for one host.

To fix it, it is necessary to modify the profile as it is trying to apply the same IP address to the vmk0 (the management interface) of the other host(s) in the cluster.

Go to Network configuration -> Host virtual NIC -> dvSwitch ->IP address settings ->IPv4 address (assuming you are using a dvSwitch for vmk0) and change the option to:

'User specified IPv4 address to be used while applying the configuration', see screenshot below.

Then update the answer file for each host and rerun the compliance check.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Enabling 64-bit VMs on nested ESXi 5.1

In my home lab, I have a 2-node cluster with two virtual ESXi 5.1. When I tried to boot a 64-bit on these hosts I received the following error:

"Longmode is unsupported. It is required for 64-bit guest OS support. On Intel systems, longmode requires VT-x to be enabled in the BIOS. On nested virtual ESX hosts, longmode requires the "Virtualized Hardware Virtualization" flag to be enabled on the outer VM."

I seem to remember that in version 5.0 you had to configure a given parameter in the ESXi console. For ESXi 5.1 this has changed according to this VMware KB.

It states the following:

"Virtualized HV is fully  supported for virtual hardware version 9 VMs on hosts that support  Intel VT-x and EPT or AMD-V and RVI. To enable virtualized HV, use the web client and navigate to the processor settings screen. Check the  box next to  "Expose hardware-assisted virtualization to the guest operating system."  This setting is not available under the traditional C# client."

So, access the web client, locate the VM, right click -> Edit settings, and check the box as mentioned (for the parent VM, not the virtual ESXi...). It works like a charm, see screendump below:

vSphere web client - failed to connect to VMware lookup service

Yesterday, I installed the vCenter 5.1 vCenter Virtual Appliance in my home lab. It went fairly smooth, however, I couldn't connect to the vSphere web client. I received the following error:

Failed to connect to VMware Lookup Service - https://localhost:7444/lookupservice/sdk

I found a VMware KB indicating that there could be something wrong with the SSL certificate - because I had changed the FQDN of the appliance after initial setup.

That seemed a little overkill as the appliance should work or at least you should be able to reconfigure it.

The solution was to log into the administration web interface, https://vcenter-server-name:5480, and re-run the  configuration wizard with default settings. That fixed the problem and it didn't delete the cluster and folder settings that I had already configured for this given vCenter server. The vSphere web client can be reached at the following address: https://vcenter-server-name:9443/vsphere-client/#

Btw: the deafult login for the vCenter 5.1 virtual appliance is user: root and password: vmware

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Activating and using VMware PSO credits

For the second time, in my company, we've negotiated a rather large ELA agreement with VMware (ultimately via a reseller) which includes buying a bunch of new licenses and then renewing SnS for the existing ones. With this ELA, there are quite a lot of PSO (Professional Services Organisation) credits that come with the agreement. First time it took us a while to figure out what to use them for, and now the second time it still creates confusion in regards to activating and using them.

After entering into the ELA, we received an activation email to an email address that we had specified (we had just told it to the VMware sales guys). Once the credits were activated, we received a confirmation email that they were indeed activated.

From here on, it is possible to buy different products and services with the credits.

To use the PSO credits, log in to:

Use the email address that the license activation mail was sent to. If there's no account associated with this email address, then create one.

Once logged in, you can add multiple users so that they can log in with their own account and book training courses on their own: Home -> Services -> VMware Training -> myPaymentAccounts -> Edit (or go to My account -> myPaymentAccounts). Here you can also see how many points you have available and what you have used your points for.

From the mylearn site it's fairly easy to browse for course training and then paying with the credits. But the credits can also be used for other things such as paying for your VMworld ticket, for consulting services (PSO), and to pay for the VCP exam.

To pay for the VCP exam you need to retrieve a voucher first on the mylearn portal: Home -> Services -> VMware Training -> VMware Consulting and Training Credits -> Continue. Or go directly to this link. Going through this process will generate a voucher code which costs some credits. When you book the exam at Pearson VUE (requires a seperate account) you can use your voucher code to pay for the exam.