Build your Lab with Ravello Cloud – Experience the true benefit as a vExpert

 

You can experience the true benefit as a vExpert from Ravello Cloud to build your own home lab with few easy steps. I was really worrying about my home lab and it was getting old with these new VMware releases. Buying new hardware is not an easy task in a country like Sri Lanka. You have to spend hell amount of money to refresh or build your Home Lab with new and compatible hardware for your home lab. Ravallo helped me to bring up my new home lab and I’d like to Thank You for the vExpert subscription.

So, I thought to write this article about building an own home lab with Ravello Cloud.
Login to the Ravello account from here. Check more information about pricing and evaluations

Login with your Username and password

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VMware Power CLI 6.5.2 Released

Three months ago VMware released VMware PowerCLI 6.5.1 with new features and you don’t need to use the old PowerCLI application to use this release. With WMware PowerCLI 6.5.1 release you can install the modules to your PowerShell though the Windows PowerShell Gallery. You can read my previous post from here.

With this release there are few improvements introduced.
  • Addition of the ‘InventoryLocation’ parameter to the following cmdlets: Move-VM, Import-VApp, New-VApp
  • Ability to mount a Content Library sourced ISO with the New-CDDrive cmdlet
  • Updated Support Around Experimental Features

If you have already installed the VMware PowerCLI 6.5.1 you can simply update the modules to the 6.5.2 following the below steps.

Type “Update-Module VMware.PowerCLI“, type “y” and hit enter to update the modules


It will start the module upgrade

Once it completed the upgrade check the added module using “Get-Module VMware.* -ListAvailable

That’s it!

More about VMware PowerCLI 6.5.2 :

VMware 6.5 Update 1 Released with New Features

VMware released 6.5 update 1 last 27th and it comes with lots of improvements. There are improvements to the vCenter OS platform supports, vCenter Configuration maximums, vSphere H5 web client, vSphere Update Manager, enhanced database support etc.

I was reading the VMware 6.5 update 1 release notes and these new features can be found in the documentation.

  • You can run the vCenter Server Appliance GUI and CLI installers on Microsoft Windows 2012 x64 bit, Microsoft Windows 2012 R2 x64 bit, Microsoft Windows 2016 x64 bit, and macOS Sierra.
  • TcServer is now replaced with Tomcat 8.5.8.
  • vCenter Server 6.5 Update 1 supports Guest OS customization for Ubuntu 17.04 OS.
  • VMware vSphere Storage APIs – Data Protection (VADP) now also support Windows Server 2016 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux RHEL 7.3 as operating systems to perform proxy backup. This is in addition to the backup proxy operating systems already supported with VADP and VDDK 6.5.
  • If you prefer to use Update Manager for the upgrade of ESXi and vSAN stack, you can now enable vSAN software upgrades through integration with vSphere Update Manager. This provides a unified and common workflow.
  • External database support: vCenter Server now supports Microsoft SQL Server 2016, Microsoft SQL Server 2016 SP1, and Microsoft SQL Server 2014 SP2.
  • The HTML5-based vSphere Client now supports most content library and OVF deployment operations, as well as operations on roles and permissions, basic customization of the Guest OS, and additions to virtual machine, host, datastore, and network management.
  • The HTML5-based vSphere Client now supports French, Swiss-French, and Swiss-German keyboards. For known issues related to the keyboard mapping
  • Linked vCenter Server instances now support up to 15 vCenter Server instances, 5,000 ESXi hosts, 50,000 powered on virtual machines, and 70,000 registered virtual machines. For more information, see the vSphere Configuration Maximums.
  • During the command-line installation, upgrade and migration processes of vCenter Server Appliance, a structured status file is provided along with installer logs.
  • Updates to JRE package. The Oracle (Sun) JRE package is updated to version 1.8.0_131.

Read VMware vCenter Server 6.5 Update 1 Release Notes

VMware H5 Web client now supports to configure the advanced networking options for the vSphere distributed switches. vSphere Web Client Change log can be found here

Also, It supports to the VSAN 6.6.1

Improved vCenter Configuration maximums for a single vSphere domain:

  • Maximum linked vCenters support for a single vSphere domain increased to 15 from 10
  • Maximum ESXi hosts support for a single vSphere domain increased to 5000 from 4000
  • Powered on Virtual Machines for a single vSphere domain increased to 50 000 from 30 000
  • Registered Maximum Virtual Machines for a single vSphere domain increased to 70 000 from 50 000

Also, a patch was released to update the JRE version to  1.8.0_131. See the KB article for more information.

Related links:

Upgrade vCenter Server 5.5 to vCenter 6.5 – vCenter for Windows

After releasing the vSphere 6.5 I was planning to migrate the old VMware vSphere 5.5 environment to vSphere 6.5 environment. There are lots of reading and searching involved and you can find all the information form VMware Documentation site. There are few things to check before the upgrade existing environment and recommend to read the Moving from a Deprecated to a Supported vCenter Server Deployment Topology Before Upgrade or Migration. Also verify your existing hardware support to the upgrade in the VMware Compatibility Guide.

Verify the Hardware requirements according the environment that you are going to manage. Refer the VMware Documentation

I can show you my current setup and the new setup in the below diagram

Upgrading the Single Sign-on server

First, I’m going to migrate my external Single Sign on server to a external Platform Service controller.
As the best practice take a backup of your Single Sign On server before we start the upgrade process, you have to accept this as an option during the upgrade.

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How to change the vCenter Database to a different Database server

As I mentioned in a previous post I was doing a vCenter upgrade and I had to migrate the DB server in to a different SQL Express Database server. So, I want to share the steps that I followed to do the DB migration and pointing the vCenter to the new DB server.
I have taken a full DB backup and restored to a different SQL instance (built in the new server), once I completed that I created a new ODBC connection to the new server.
Tested the DB connection and it was successful.

After that changed the “vcdb.properties” file to point the new DB server to the vCenter server which is in the “C:ProgramDataVMwareVMware VirtualCenter”

Added the new DB server name to the “vcdb.properties” file

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Recovering a Performence impacted Virtual Machine due to a large number of delta disks – My Experience

After a while I thought of writing this post as I was able to fix an issue with one of the most critical VMs in one of our main datacenters. First of all I will give you the background of the issue and let’s see how we managed to fix the issue.

As a disaster recovery option we are taking VM level backups of the VMs and we were facing lots of issues with this backup solution.  I would not say this is a product related issue and can be an architectural issue of the backup solution design. At the time of writing this article we are trying find the root cause of all these backup issues.
We are taking Virtual Machine level backups every day and there were lots of delta disks with VMs and we were experiencing performance issues from the Operating System layer. Also, we were getting consolidation warnings for these VMs. The subjected Virtual Machine was one of the  most Critical File server and we got a “Consolidation needed” warning message.
Unfortunately, someone tried to consolidate the VM and it didn’t end well. One of the old backup processes was holding the VM and we had to restart the entire ESXi host to bring the VM up and running.

Once we check the Virtual Machine disks files there were more than 80 delta disks for each and every Hard Disks attached to the VMs. One more thing there were four 1 TB disks attached to the VM and 1TB Dynamic Disk was created in the OS.

Our higher management and business owners wanted take a full file level backup before proceeding with any steps with this VM as the files inside this server were really important to the business. Ok, so we started to get the file level backups and it was failing due to the non-responsiveness of the VM in the middle of the backup job. Read More

What’s New in VMware vSphere 6.5

World leading Virtualization platform VMware latest release comes with lots of new features. Most of them were waiting for these changes for years and that dream came true with this release. As I mentioned in many posts I’m really impressed with this release and I’m spending more time on testing these new features. So, I decided to write a series of blog posts to share my experience in VMware 6.5 release with others. 
I’m going to discuss these features as a series of bog posts in my website, please note that I’m in the middle of writing these articles and published only few posts in my site. I will be posting all these features in the future as I’m running with a very busy schedule in my work and the personal life.
These are the features that I’m going to discuss and yet more to come:  
As I mentioned earlier at the moment everything is not covered in this post and yet more to come.

    What’s New in vSphere 6.5 – Proactive HA

    As we all aware there are lot’s of new features in VMware 6.5 release. I’m so impressed with this and always I’m spending my time with my vSphere 6.5 Lab. While I was playing around I thought to introduce these new features as a series of posts from my blog. 
    Hope you know about VMware high availability features and VMware added a native vCenter high availability feature with this release, you can read my previous posts about this native high availability from here. In this post I’m going write about Proactive HA feature which is introduced with VMware 6.5 release. First of all I would like to mention that this is actually not a feature of HA and it is the next level of DRS which is proactively using the HA feature. I know you may confused with that but don’t worry. As I mentioned earlier this feature is a next level of DRS which is designed to provide maximum high availability to your Virtual Machines from any unexpected hardware failures. If you are a Virtualization admin you may experienced with certain failures and encountered with these down times. But did you check back when this hardware failure actually occurred or when was the first symptom of this failure notified. Sometimes you may felt that you could have actually avoid this if you take the actions before. Sometimes it may be a human error, you did not noticed the alert you received from your monitoring device. But with this feature vCenter is going to take care of these situations and it will do the necessary precautions before something go in to a worse situation. 
    This feature detects the possible hardware failures from the OEM hardware sensors and migrate possible Virtual Machine out of the host to the other hosts just to avoid any unexpected situation. As an example, let’s say there are two power supplies attached to a host and one is getting failing, but host is still able to run the VMs without any issues. But what happens if the other one is getting failed. If you noticed this at the first stage you may take the correct precautions and replace the power supply. I’ve seen in many cases due to a human error such as ignoring the alerts or not taking care of the notification correctly it ended up with big situations. 
    Enough talks for now and let’s dig in to the deep and see what is this new feature….

    Host “Quarantine” Mode introduced

    Quarantine mode evacuates the VMs running in the host if it satisfies the below states in a hardware failure (in a complete hardware failure still we have our HA feature and it will take care of the affected VMs) : 
    • No Impact to the performances of the VMs 
    • No DRS Afinity/anti-Affinity rules are violated 

    Then the VMs will evacuate from the host and DRS will not place new VMs in this host until we fix the situation. This host now in the “Quarantine” mode

    Ok, You know that if in a situation of failure we can put the host in to the Maintenance mode. So, next question is what is the difference between “Quarantine” mode and the “Maintenance” mode?

    In the Quarantine mode host will utilize the resources of the affected host if there are not enough resources in the cluster due to the demand of the the resources. In the Maintenance mode host is completely out from the cluster.

    For now Cisco, Dell and HP vendors are supporting to this and all the other vendors will have the plugins in place to work with this as this is a really cool feature.

    vCenter 6.5 Proactive HA Cluster Configuration

    Login to your vCenter 6.5, select the cluster go to configuration tab, select the “vSphere Availability”, select “Edit” button to turn on the Feature

    Note: you need to turn on the DRS feature first before you enable the Proactive HA feature, otherwise it will not allow you to turn on the feature. 
    To turn on the DRS select the vSphere DRS and click-on “Edit” 
    Once you get the DRS Cluster settings window click the check box to enable the feature, there are new features in DRS as well but it is not the time to discuss them. 
    Let’s go back to the Proactive HA window, now I have the option to enable the feature and click on the check box to enable it.
    You can view the small summary of the feature by click on the gray exclamation mark
    Once you enabled the Proactive HA feature go the “Proactive HA failures and Responses” option in the same window 
    You can select the “Automation” Level or the “Remediation” level from the drop down menu or by expanding the table as below


    Remediation Options are self explanatory and there are three main remediation modes. 

    • Quarantine mode for all failures – due any kind of failure (severe or degradation) will put host in to the Quarantine mode 
    • Quarantine mode for moderate and Maintenance mode for severe failures – degradation will put host in to the Quarantine mode and Severe failures put in to the Maintenance mode
    • Maintenance mode for all failures –
      due any kind of failure (severe or degradation) will put host in to the Maintenance mode

    In the below section you can avoid and block any failures for a cluster or a certain host, these features might be different from the vendors, click on the check box to enable the block conditions and click on “edit” to select the condition 


    You can select the failures on your left hand side and the host or the entire cluster on your right hand side


    That’s for the Proactive HA and let’s see what are the other features in vSphere 6.5

    VMware PowerCLI 6.5.1 – New Release Installation

    Some of may already know that VMware has released the PowerShell 6.5.1 and there are lot’s of changes and improvements in the Modules, cmdlets and installation process. You may installed the PowerCLI as a separate component in your local management computer and used the PowerCLI cmd console to execute the commands. With this release you don’t need to worry about the separate installation for this as it comes as a PowerShell module in the PowerShell Gallery. 
    Here are the steps of online installation of the PowerCLI from the PowerShell Gallery. 
    I was trying to install this on one of our management server which was setup with Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. It was a fresh installation and “Find-Module” command was not recognized as a PowerShell command. So I downloaded the “Windows Management Framework 5.0” from the Microsoft website and installed the update for the Windows 2008 manually. 
    After that, I opened a PowerShell with “Run as Administrator” and followed the below steps. 
    Typed the “Find-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI” PowerShell command and it installed the NuGet Provider to download the PowerCLI modules and typed “Y” to continue the NuGet installation
    Typed “Install-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI” to install the required modules, it gave me a warning saying this is an “Untrusted Repository” typed “Y” to accept the warning.
    It started the installation after that
    Once it completed the installation typed “Get-Module VMware* -ListAvailable” command to view the available modules
    I tried to connect to the vCenter and it was successfully connected
    These steps are only for the online installation, if you have a Management computer which doesn’t have an internet connectivity you need to save them as a offline copy and need to copy to the modules folder in the Management computer. 
    For that followed the below steps :

    Used “Save-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI -Path C:<destination_folder> to save the modules as offline copies.

    It was exported the libraries to the given folder

    Checked and confirmed the libraries by typing “Get-ChildItem -Path <destination_path_of_the_libraries”>

    Checked the folder path manually and folders were there

    Copied these folders to the location which you can see after executing the “$ENV.PSModulePath” command

    Create a Desktop Shortcut for the PowerCLI console

    Most of VMware users want to keep the PowerCLI launch shortcut in their desktops. It was the practice for the later versions of the PowerCLI. Here you have to create a Shortcut manually in your desktop.

    In the start menu search the PowerCLI and Create a generic x64 shortcut in your desktop

    Name it as “PowerCLI 6.5.1”

    Right-Clicked on the Shortcut and selected the properties of the PowerCli shortcut, added the below attributes

    Target: C:WindowsSystem32WindowsPowerShellv1.0powershell.exe -noe -c “Import-Module VMware.PowerCLI”
    Start In: C:
    Shortcut Key: None
    Run: Normal Window
    Comment: VMware PowerCLI 6.5.1

    So now you will be able to open the PowerCli 6.5.1 straight away from the PowerShell.

    This is the Official video from VMware  :

    vCenter 6.5 – High Availablity Basic configuration

    VMware has introduced the vCenter High Availability feature from 6.5 on wards to minimize the significant down time of the vCenter during the Host hardware failure and the patching or any related maintenance.

    Basically, it has two configuration options:

    • Basic 
    • Advanced

    Here we are discussing only the “Basic” configuration of the High Availability feature

    There are few special requirements to enable this feature in the vCenter

    • This feature only comes with the vCenter 6.5 
    • vCenter deployment size should be at least small therefore 4 vCPUs and 16 GB of RAM required
    • A minimum of 3 Hosts required 
    • Hosts should be at least ESXi 5.5
    •  Management network should be configured with a static IP and FQDN should be reachable 
    • SSH should be enabled on the appliance 
    • Separate Portgroup for the HA network is required 
    • HA network must be a different subnet from the management subnet 
    • Net work latency between the hosts must be less than 10ms 
    • This feature is available with embedded and separate PSC deployment 

    You can read performance and best practices from this article

    Login to your VCSA 6.5 vCenter and go to the “Configuration” and select the “vCenter HA”. Click on “Configure…”

    Select the configuration option as “Basic” and click “Next” to continue

    Configure HA adapter IP addresses and select the dedicated port group for the HA Network by clicking the “Browse” button. Once you select it click “Next” to continue

    Provide the Passive and Witness node IPs for the deployment

    Click on “Advanced” button to Override the Management network upon the failure and specify the Separate DNS servers

    At the next step you can see the placement of the Nodes and there can be compatibility Warnings check the warnings

    Most of the Warnings are due to the Datastores, all these Nodes are sitting in the same datastore by default and you can change them by clicking the “Edit” option. In my case I don’t have that much of storage and that was trowing the Warnings.

    I have changed the Datastores but it was throwing the warnings due to the free disk space of the datastore

    At the next step you can see the summary of the configuration and click “Finish” to complete the Deployment.

    You can see the deployment tasks in the tasks window

    Also, you can see the deploying state in the “vCenter HA” Configuration section

    Once it successfully deployed you can see the status of the nodes

    In the Monitoring tab you can see the same status.

    That’s the “Basic HA Configuration” and I will show you the Advanced configuration in a different post.  

    Related links…