Notes from VMware (aka, Mr. Michael White’s Newsletter)

I wish I could take credit for the following work, but everything below is brought to you by Michael White.  Michael is a co-worker of mine, an SE out of Canada who we often refer to as the “SRM King.”  He continually impresses me with his ability to crank out a weekly news letter loaded full of great content.  Well last night, he happened to mention I could republish his work on my blog.  Shoot, you don’t have ask me twice!

Keep in mind as you’re reading, everything is a direct cut and paste.  So anything written in the first person (e.g. “I have found …” or “I have decided”) would be referring to him, not me.  I certainly don’t want to take credit for all his hard work! :) 

If you have any questions or comments for Michael, feel free to leave a message for him.

 

Notes from VMware:

Cluster BP, FT and Issue, HA Issue, vDS Cheat Sheet, vDR Issue, YAPOTAV, vSphere Reference Card, View Design BP, SRM FAQ, and really a LOT more!

 

vSphere Cluster – ESX or ESXi or Mixed – suggestion / recommended best practice

We say that one day that ESX will not exist, and that ESX and ESXi are the same.  Or almost the same.  However, I have found in Host Profiles and FT there is very good reason to not mix ESX and ESXi in the same cluster.  As soon as VMworld is over, I am redoing my mixed cluster to all ESXi (instead of mixed).  First, we all know of the problem I reported some time ago that the 8/6/09 patches for vSphere would break FT in a mixed ESX / ESXi cluster.  There is no short term solution for that. The workaround is to have a cluster that is all ESX or all ESXi.  Second, host profiles have a problem dealing with service console / management network ports.  In theory you can manage that by using a reference server that is ESX and it will translate as necessary for ESXi.  It doesn’t do so well at that.  So using Host Profiles to do a push of a distributed virtual switch (only) ends up causing issues in ESXi consoles.  I ended up doing the ESXi hosts manually.  The real solution to the FT and HP type issues is to have a cluster all ESX or ESXi.  And I am voting for ESXi in my lab.  Make no mistake, if you don’t listen to this you will have some issues that are not pleasant.

 

Using ESXi and ESX and FT in same cluster?  And FT broke with the 8/6/09 patches?

The only solution to this at this time is to separate your ESXi and ESX servers into their own cluster, or upgrade one or the other to be the same as the other – meaning all ESXi or ESX and your problem should go away.  If you have not installed the 8/6/09 patches yet, and you are using FT, and you have ESXi and ESX in your cluster than either change your cluster to be all ESXi or ESX and than install the patches.  Not installing the patches until we fix this is NOT an option.  I have decided, and as mentioned somewhere else in here, to redo my cluster as all ESXi.  It won’t take much time.  Some background on this issue can be found at http://communities.vmware.com/message/1335428#1335428.

Update on odd issue with HA not working if the vSphere ESX console was using certain IP addresses

I hope everyone has already heard that the vSphere bug talked about in http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1013013 and something I mentioned, I think in my last newsletter now has a patch. This is the bug that when a very specific IP address scheme is in use on management ports / service console with no other IP schemes in use and a host crashed, the VM’s that should have been started by HA would in fact not be started at all.  I have not tested the fix, as I am wrestling with SRM and trying to get ready for VMworld.  To avoid this bug, only one of the addresses on your service console or management ports need to be using something outside of the ‘special’ scheme.

vDS Implementation Cheat Sheet

I worked with the distributed switches in the past in a lab sense, but recently. For my future SRM testing, I got it going for real in my lab.  And it was hard, confusing, and not intuitive at all.  So I wrote a cheat sheet so you would not have to suffer.  It is attached.  I have used it a few times and am happy with it so hopefully it will make things quicker and easier.  Let me know if you need improvements or changes in it.  http://virtualinsanity.com/wp-content/uploads/vDS-Implementation-Cheat-Sheet-b.pdf

Data Recovery Issue – which stops backups from happening

If you ever have an issue with writing to your destination when doing backups, you may see the restore point in red with a (Damaged) beside it.  This can cause your backup to not work again.   The events part of the Reports will show file access errors – 3902.  The solution to this is not in the documentation for vDR but it is here. Expand the display of restore points to be bigger than the default 5.  I used 25 when I had this issue.  Now click all of the restore points that show as damaged.  Then select the Mark for Deletion button in the top right of the screen.  Now change to the Configuration \ Destinations screen and select the destination that is associated with your backup, and use the Integrity Check option near the top right of the screen.  It will take a while.  Once it is complete with no errors – check the Events view of Reports – you need to restart the appliance.  Now your backups should work!

YAPOTAV – Yet another post on why to attend VMworld

Find this at http://blogs.vmware.com/vmtn/2009/08/yapowtav-yet-another-post-on-why-to-attend-vmworld.html.

New vSphere document reference card

Forbes Guthrie has done a wonderful job on a reference card for vSphere documentation stuff.  It pulls stuff out of the documentation and highlights it as a result.  Very handy and well done.  Find it at http://www.vreference.com/public/vsphere4-notes1.0.pdf

View Design Best Practices training

Would you like to learn more about designing a View infrastructure?  The more people you have that depend on it the more important training and experience becomes.  Get some ideas on design at http://mylearn.vmware.com/descriptions/EDU_DATASHEET_ViewDesignBestPractices_V3.pdf

SRM FAQ online now thanks to Duncan at Yellow-Bricks

This is from information I have shared with Duncan but it is great information and I appreciate him sharing with everyone.  Find it at http://www.yellow-bricks.com/srm-faq/.  Duncan’s web site is one of the few you should read frequently. He is a PSO guy in Europe and is very smart, and knows what to communicate – does it real well and I appreciate it.

 

vSphere and VM snapshots and block size

This is something else that Duncan has done.  There is a behavior difference between 3.5x and 4.0 that could catch someone.  Find out more from Duncan at http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2009/08/24/vsphere-vm-snapshots-and-block-size/.

VMware View Cheat Sheet

I have had some help to update my VMware View Cheat Sheet and it has gone very well.  Our next update of this will have a lot more but this is a good document to get you going with View.  www.virtualinsanity.com/wp-content/uploads/VMware-View-Cheat-Sheet-a.pdf

 

Important patch for Celerra when using NFS with VMware

You can find more information about this at Virtual Geek, but it is important to understand that you need to upgrade your Celerra DART OS before you enable NFS datastores with VMware.  Find out more at http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2009/08/important-patch-for-celerranfsvmware.html

Lab Manager 4 Upgrade issue

The installer during an upgrade of LM4 assumes all the default roles are present and unmodified.  If the customer removes or changes any the upgrade installer will fail.

FT – Architecture and Performance

Do you know how to determine how many FT enabled VM’s your vSphere server can support?  Do you know how to design your FT environment for the best performance?  In fact, do you know what the performance overhead for FT is?  All of this and more is answered in http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10058.

How can I determine the exact build number for my ESX 4.0.x hosts?

You can find out the way to determine the build numbers for components of ESX 4.0 hosts at http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1012514

VMware Data Recovery Evaluator’s guide

This is a very nice document for someone who needs some guidance for testing VDR.  It is a quite way to get started.  http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10055.  My preso on VDR at VMworld is a combination of install / config / best practices and it will be very useful.  Look for the session, or the preso after VMworld.  It will fit with this eval guide nicely and is known as BC2142.

 

AppSpeed and Maintenance Mode

Currently AppSpeed has no when to listen to the ESX host it is working on, so when the host tries to enter Maintenance mode it will not be able to since the AppSpeed sensor VM will not listen to it and it will not VMotion off the host.  This is a very high priority for us to fix. You will need to manually turn off this sensor before trying to do maintenance mode.
Need some help searching the VMware KB?  Find it at http://xtravirt.com/xd10112 – some interesting info.

NFS Storage Configuration Help

Do you need some help configuring NFS support for your ESX servers.  There is some help at
http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-7900.  This link has only a little info but it does include some troubleshooting info.

VUM and Cisco – conflict message

I got a conflict message from VUM when I tried to patch recently.  It was a conflict with the Cisco Nexus stuff which I do not have installed.  It turns out that I could just ignore it but it was a little bothersome.  We are going to change that message in the near future to be more informative.  That way if you know you don’t have Cisco (or whatever) installed you can just install with no issues.  The issue is we download all the meta data or patches for ESX without any granularity. So the Cisco patches come done too.  More info can be found at http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1013068.

Suggested VMware Employee Sessions at VMworld

This is a list that one of my co-workers put together. It might give you some ideas of what to look for. 

  • Michael White – BC2142 – Data Recovery intro and best practices
  • Tiffany To – DV1790 – View TCO-ROI expert
  • Mahesh Ramachandran – VM1724 – Capacity IQ Tech Preview
  • Chris Rimer – EA2342 – Oracle sessions (especially around questions of Support and Licensing)
  • Richard McDougall – TA3438 – vSphere Performance Guru
  • Jacob Jensen – TA2103 – Virtual Networking guru (especially around the Cisco v1000)
  • Andy Banta – TA3264 – iSCSI Best Practices (THE iSCSI Engineer/Expert at VMware!)
  • Kaushik Banerjee – TA2942 – Performance Best Practices (This guys is a genius in performance and on the Perf. core team!)
  • Paul Manning – VM3566 – Storage Best Practices (Many of you have been on calls with Paul for storage related topics!)
  • Brian CS, Charu Charubal, and Rob Randell – VM2847, TA2544, DV2626, – Security Team extraordinaire
  • Mostafa Khalil – TA2509 – Storage Best Practices (Mostafa is one of the first VCDX members!)
  • Amir Sharif – TA3195, V13226 – ESXi PM – ESXi sessions
  • Monica Sharma – VM2408 – ConfigControl Tech Preview
  • Bill Call – VM2657 – LifeCycle Manager Uber-Guru!
  • Dean Flaming and Travis Sales – DV2478 – ThinApp (These are some of the best sessions I have ever seen historically from these guys!)
  • Gaetan Castelein – EA3605, EA 3606 – Virtualizing Tier 1 applications –
  • Srinivas Krishnamurti – VM2280 – Managing VI from your mobile phone! 🙂
  • Duncan Epping – TA2259 – Expert VI Design (Duncan runs the #1 Virtualization blog “Yellow-Bricks”)
  • Dean Yao – BC3369 – FT Real World design
  • Howie Xu – TA3521 – vNetwork Troubleshooting (Howie invented the vSwitch! – and wrote one of our TCP/IP stacks)
  • Banjot Chanana – BC3425 – High Availability Futures
  • Nicholas Jacques – PA4694 – AppSpeed PM
  • Eric Horschmann – TA3880 – vSphere vs Hyper-V/XenServer
  • Warren Ponder – DV2697 – View /VDI PM
  • Mike DiPetrillo – TA3326 – Cloud (Mike is another uber-rock star and talks all things Cloud!)
  • Rahul Ravulur- -VM4380 – vCenter PM covering future of vCenter
  • Naeem Malik – VM3609 – Capacity Planner expert
  • Aaron Sweemer – DV3567 – How to convert old PCs to Thin Clients using a thin Linux OS and VMware View Open Client.

**** Reminders ******

6 comments
  1. Hi Theron,

    Are you with a VMware partner? If so let me know which one and I'll have
    him add you to his distro list. If not, I'll continue to repost his work
    here, but with the NDA and partner specific “stuff” removed.

    Thanks,
    Aaron

  2. Aaron, I work with Qsource Networks, a VMware partner in Atlanta and would love to be on the distro list. Thanks!

  3. Hello Aaron,

    Thanks for all the great stuff on this site. can you get me into this newsletter someway ? i work for Enne Solutions a vmware vspp partner in the Netherlands

    Greetins Erwin.

Comments are closed.