Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Office Arguments - Maximum VMDK size is NOT 2TB-512bytes

...if you want to use snapshots

Pop Quiz
Q: What's the maximum size VMDK you should create in vSphere 5.1 or earlier?

A: Most people that have studied for VCP will know the maximum VMDK size is 2TB minus 512 bytes. If you create a disk in the GUI, it allows you to choose 2TB, but it's smart enough to minus 512 bytes.

So technically that's the maximum VMDK size, but you should NOT create it that big.

Why?

If you plan to take snapshots, there's additional overhead you need to take into account. For a 2TB VMDK, there's up to 16GB of overhead for the snapshot. So in reality, the VMDK needs to be 2032GB to allow for that overhead.

If you have created a 2TB VMDK and attempt to take snapshots, you may get the error:  
File is larger than maximum file size supported (1012384)
or:
File <unspecified filename> is larger than the maximum size supported by the datastore '<unspecified datastore>.

As mentioned in KB 1012384, depending on the block size of the VMFS volume:

Maximum VMDK sizeMaximum OverheadMaximum size less overhead
256GB - 512B~ 2GB254GB
512GB - 512B~ 4GB508GB
1TB - 512B~ 8GB1016GB
2TB - 512B~ 16GB2032GB


If you plan to take snapshots, the maximum VMDK size is 2032GB. Or better still, embrace Decimal, and round it off to 2000GB.

The younger generation will know a TB as 1000GB (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terabyte). Older folks will still be used to a TB being 1024GB, now known as a Tebibyte TiB (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tebibyte). Hey VMware, please update all your doco from TB to TiB ;-)

Monday, 22 December 2014

Maximum Disks Per SCSI Controller is NOT 15

 Pop Quiz

Q: What's the maximum number of disks per SCSI Controller?

A: It depends.. On your VCP exam, you would have said 15. Correct.

Although if you want to clone or snapshot and quiesce a VM, the maximum is 7 disks per SCSI controller.

Each SCSI Controller can control 15 disks and the quiesced snapshots in Windows 2008 require one available slot per existing disk.

If you have more than 7 disks, the clone / quiesce part will fail, and you'll have the following errors in vCenter and the VM's vmware.log:

An error occurred while quiescing the virtual machine. See the virtual machine's event log for details.

2014-12-22T00:19:16.188Z| vmx| ToolsBackup: not enough empty nodes (needed 8, found 7)
2014-12-22T00:19:16.188Z| vmx| ToolsBackup: changing quiesce state: IDLE -> DONE
2014-12-22T00:19:16.188Z| vmx| SnapshotVMXTakeSnapshotComplete done with snapshot 'clone-temp-1419207556192169': 0
2014-12-22T00:19:16.188Z| vmx| SnapshotVMXTakeSnapshotComplete: Snapshot 0 failed: Failed to quiesce the virtual machine. (40)


It's explained in http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2015181.

Just one more way snapshots can bring you pain.

It's listed as only affecting Windows 2008, but I'm not sure why other versions are exempt. At this time there's no mention of this affecting vSphere 5.5.

Updated 23/12/2014:  This affects Windows 2008 and above (ie: Win 2012), and is still an issue in vSphere 5.5. KB article will be updated.

For the lazy, see here:

Creating a quiesced snapshot of a Windows 2008 virtual machine fails with the error: Snapshot 0 failed: Failed to quiesce the virtual machine.

Creating a quiesced snapshot of a Windows 2008 virtual machine fails with the error: Snapshot 0 failed: Failed to quiesce the virtual machine. (2015181)


Symptoms

  • Cannot create a quiesced snapshot of a Windows 2008 virtual machine.
  • Creating a quiesced snapshot of a Windows 2008 virtual machine fails.
  • In the vmware.log file of the affected virtual machine, you see entries like this:

    XXXX-03-08T04:10:09.790Z| vmx| SnapshotVMXTakeSnapshotComplete done with snapshot 'test4': 0
    XXXX-03-08T04:10:09.790Z| vmx| SnapshotVMXTakeSnapshotComplete: Snapshot 0 failed: Failed to quiesce the virtual machine. (40).
    XXXX-07-01T15:30:43.244Z| vmx| ToolsBackup: not enough empty nodes (needed 9, found 6)


    where the values provided in the errors can vary.

Cause

Each SCSI Controller can control 15 disks and the quiesced snapshots in Windows 2008 require one available slot per existing disk.
This issue occurs if the virtual machine has more than seven disks attached to a single controller.

Resolution

To resolve this issue:
  1. Create a new thin virtual disk. This allows you to add a new SCSI Controller.
  2. Ensure the new thin virtual disk is attached to SCSI1:0 node.
  3. Retry creating the quiesced snapshot. You are now able to create the snapshot successfully.
Alternatively, for virtual machines with more than 7 disks on a single SCSI controller, instead of creating a new thin disk and adding this to a new SCSI controller (SCSI1:0):
  1. Shut down the virtual machine.
  2. Spread out the existing disks between multiple SCSI controllers.

    To do this:

    1. Right-click the virtual machine and click Edit Settings.
    2. Change the Virtual Device Node to your new desired SCSI controller.
  3. Power on the virtual machine.

    Note
    : Use this method if there is limited storage space or limited authority to create new disks.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

SRM - IP Customisation error


During an SRM (5.0) failover, a VM failed during the IP customisation failed at step 11. It was strange as we hadn't seen this error in quite a while.

11. Power On Priority 3 VMs     Error - Cannot complete customization, possibly due to a scripting runtime error or invalid script parameters (Error code: -1). IP settings may have been partially applied.

Looking through the SRM logs, they pointed to an error in C:\Windows\TEMP\vmware-imc\guestcust.log at the VM guest.

On the guest OS, looking at C:\Windows\TEMP\vmware-imc\guestcust.log:

Guestcust.log :
=================
 2014-12-04T13:12:07  INFO] GuestCustUtil invoked.
 2014-12-04T13:12:07  INFO] Params: setupNic -m 00:50:56:aa:aa:aa -s 10.10.10.145 -su 255.255.255.0
 2014-12-04T13:12:07 DEBUG] Rpci: Sending request='deployPkg.update.state 4 101 C:\Windows\TEMP\vmware-imc\guestcust.log@No error message found for error code -2147217406 (0x80041002)'

 2014-12-04T13:12:07 DEBUG] Rpci: Sent request='deployPkg.update.state 4 101 C:\Windows\TEMP\vmware-imc\guestcust.log@No error message found for error code -2147217406 (0x80041002)', reply='Unknown command', len=15, status=0

 2014-12-04T13:12:07 ERROR] Unable to set customization status in vmx.

 2014-12-04T13:12:07 ERROR] error number 80041002, No error message found for error code -2147217406 (0x80041002)
 2014-12-04T13:12:07  INFO] GuestCustUtil exiting.


Checking with VMware Support, they said this occurs when the WMI repository is corrupted. You have to rebuild the WMI repository.

For rebuilding the WMI repository, check out:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/askperf/archive/2009/04/13/wmi-rebuilding-the-wmi-repository.aspx

The solution looks pretty full on.

As always, be careful and contact VMware support for any issues like this. 


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Web Client Sucks - Use VM Remote Console (VMRC)

Lets face it, there's lots of things the web client sucks at. Using a console window in the browser is one of them.

This bar at the top of the console window just takes up space. How about a useful hint, tell me how to get rid of this to make more use of the screen.

Thankfully, on October 21st, 2014, VMware released the VM Remote Console (VMRC). You can use this to open a console of the VM from the web client. You can find links to it from within vCenter while viewing a VM. Check you've got the latest version of vCenter to get these links.



Since this seems to be the newest piece of software from VMware, it's interesting the choice of colour scheme it's using. Nothing like the green/blue/black they've used in the past. I'm wondering if this is the start of a new colour scheme, or just a one off.

During the install, it gives you the options to check for updates on system startup.

After the install, it will  prompt you to restart your system.

Using the VMRC, you can view the console, and it brings back most of the functionality from the C# vSphere client (remember the good old days?), like power off/on, attach CDROM, and the usual 'Edit Settings' window to even add/remove hardware. You can easily change the network portgroup from the menu, without going into the 'Edit Setting' window. The best thing for me, is you can open a console window, then power it up to see either choose the boot device, or get into BIOS.

Using VMRC - an easier way to manage hardware settings

This is a great addition to the web client. Install the latest version of vCenter and check it out.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Learning Powershell - Beginner Steps

I had a lot of trouble getting into PowerCLI. I knew some of the basic commands, but I never used it to do anything productive. The biggest site I managed had 150 VM's, and I could do most tasks quickly through the vSphere client.

Since then I've changed jobs, and now there's thousands of VM's to manage!

Coming into such a large environment, I've had to learn Powershell and PowerCLI out of necessity.

The thing that gave me the biggest kickstart, was watching Pluralsights's Play by Play: Discovering PowerShell with Mark Minasi.

This is like watching over the shoulder of a student learning how to use Powershell from an instructor as they discover how to use commands, and extend what they've learnt to other commands.

The discovery process is fantastic. It seems very organic, the way they use a command, and then see what else they can do using that same process.

Mark Minasi is excitedly animated, and enjoyable to watch. He's the type instructor you'd hope to get in person.

If learning Powershell has been on your todo list for a while, I highly recommend you watch Play by Play: Discovering PowerShell with Mark Minasi.

Pluralsight has given vExperts & MVP's free access to 1000's of courses. If you're not lucky enough to win access, I still think it's a worthwhile investment for $30 a month.





Sunday, 28 September 2014

Two weeks after XtremIO Gotcha

It's been 2 weeks since I blogged about the XtremIO Gotcha, and the story has since been covered by many people and news services (See previous post for links).

Chad Sakac quickly responded on his blog, and if you read through the comments, he says they'll take care of customers:
"I'll say one thing more: we planned a ton of free services (and swing hardware!) to help customers and partners that need it - at NO COST TO THEM. The customer gets a better, faster solution - for free. This is "customer first", from top to bottom." - Chad Sakac
For any customer where the firmware upgrade could have been an issue, the offer of support from EMC really takes away most of the concerns, to it being not much worse than any other firmware upgrade.

EMC acknowledged a problem, and they're going to fix it. I think that's reasonable.

For most existing customers, that's probably the end of the story.
Other storage vendors have been taking the opportunity to jump in, questioning everything from the architecture to the marketing of XtremIO. You'll see on all the blogs covering this story, there doesn't appear to be a lot from customers.

While EMC have admitted to the disruptive update, their marketing collateral still advertises "non-disruptive software and firmware upgrades to ensure 7×24 continuous operations" on their website. At this point in time, the statement is false, as admitted by EMC.

The updated 3.0 firmware is due to be released in a few days, and from that point onwards, all updates will be non-disruptive, so the product will then match the marketing statement.

Until then, and for the past 2 weeks it's false advertising, and not everyone reads Chad Sakac's blog to be aware of that.

The ACCC have laws in place to protect consumers from false or misleading advertising, that state "Businesses are not allowed to make statements that are incorrect or likely to create a false impression" -ACCC  http://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/misleading-claims-advertising/false-or-misleading-claims.

It's a good reminder that when making a substantial investment, do your research. Be diligent and ask vendors the tough questions. Even ask their competitors about them, as they'll usually have a competitive response. Take those comments back to the vendor, to find out which ones are true, half truths, or lies. It'll also give you an insight to how respectable the competitors are.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

XtremIO Gotcha

17th Sept update:  I've been contacted directly by EMC, and they say they'll work through this with us. Sounds promising. There's been a lot of coverage on the topic. I've provided additional links at the end of the post.The funniest comment I've read so far is "More like Xtrem uh-oh".
16th Sept update: here's an official response from Chad Sakac http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2014/09/on-disruptive-upgrades.html

While at VMworld last month, I was networking with attendees when I mentioned my current employer purchased an XtremIO half X-Brick for a VDI project.

One of the guys told me an issue with the array I didn't believe, so I went to verify it from other sources. The 'rumour', was that to upgrade from the current 2.4.x firmware, to version 3.0, the data would be lost, and there'd need to be a complete backup/restore. My first thoughts were "that's crazy". 

On returning from VMworld, I passed the news onto my employer, for them to follow up with the integrator and EMC. 

The news came back that in fact it was true. I was stunned.

OMG!! (funny image removed as requested by EMC)

To clarify, firmware 3.0 has NOT been released, but is scheduled for release at the end of September, beginning of October. The upgrade process will require all data to be moved off the array, as all data will be wiped during the upgrade process. The new firmware includes performance benefits and inline compression. 

As a customer with limited funds, this is the only array for a VDI project, where the business runs 24/7, so to have to wipe the array has massive impacts. 

The integrator has offered a loan device for when firmware 3.0 is available to do the upgrade, but if the project has gone live, it will need to be equivalent in performance with the XtremIO X-Brick. Now that we know, we can plan accordingly. This is the intent of the post. 

My opinion, that in 2014, if we need any disruption to update/expand a production storage array, we're doing it wrong. 

I'm not sure if they will continue development of the 2.x branch, but you'd hope they would support it for the next 3 years or so if you don't have another array to migrate data to so you can perform an upgrade. I'd hate for the next support call to say "Please upgrade to the latest firmware" before they even begin to troubleshoot an issue.

As firmware 3.0 has NOT been released, perhaps the upgrade process will change from what I've been told when it GA's. I'd like to hope so. We'll have to wait until the firmware has officially been released to know for sure. 

I still find it hard to believe, so I'd be Xtremly happy to have EMC correct me. If you have XtremIO units, chase it up with your official channels to confirm the upgrade process.

This also highlights the benefits of networking with other users in your field. Here you'll find out real user experiences.  Although always confirm them with the vendor. The devil is in the details.

Updated:
For more info, the topic has been reported and debated in the comments on the following websites:
The Register - XtremIO firmware upgrade will wipe data
IT News - Extreme upgrade pain for XtremIO customers
Chad Sakac - On disruptive upgrades
Silicon Angle - EMC will wipe user data with XtremIO firmware 3.0 upgrade
Michael Webster - Data destructive storage firmware upgrade in 2014 surely not
Vaughn Stewart - Have a few days to spare we need to upgrade the XtremIO
SolidFire - The Advantages of a Shared Nothing Architecture for Truly Non-Disruptive Upgrades
Chris M Evans - EMC XtremIO Destructive Upgrade Demonstrates Architecture Matters
Silicon Angle - Gartner: Flash array startups ranked ahead of EMC, HP and IBM
Nigel Poulten - XtremIO Craps on EMC Badge

Plenty of other vendors have reached out, stepping on EMC so they can be the successor. If we're interested, we'll contact you.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Before you go to VMworld

You've got flights & accommodation, VMworld ticket, and sessions picked. There's a few more of the boring, but important tasks that you should take care of before you leave for VMworld. Spoken like a true dad.

Travel Insurance - hopefully you won't need it, but it's something you should get in case you lose items or need medical assistance. Make sure you understand what's covered. 

Register with smarttraveller.gov.au - for those in Australia. It provides travel advisories and assists to find you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or family emergency . Check for similar schemes in your country.

Apply for ESTA - if you're not from USA, you may be required to obtain ESTA if using a Visa Waiver Program. Make sure you use the official site. It's valid for 2 years. Have a copy on you while travelling to USA.

Notify your bank - banks are pretty good with detecting fraud, but they might be over zealous and block your credit/debit card if they suddenly detect transactions in San Francisco.

Emergency numbers - make a list of important numbers, like:
  • Health insurance policy and local phone number, 
  • Bank hotline for lost/stolen credit cards
  • Hotel phone number & address
Keep these in an email/electronic doc AND a copy in your wallet.

Mobile phone plan - will your phone work overseas? Is it locked to a particular network? Check local mobile providers for plans such as T-Mobile's $2 a day plan. Trust me, you will want NEED data.

Set your out of office response - don't get caught up in what's going on back in the office, there's enough going on at VMworld. Plus it's invigorating writing that you'll be away and not contactable!

Pack light - you're away for a week, it's not a fashion show. Wear the same tshirt twice. Pick up tshirts from vendors. Leave room for swag, or bring an extra bag for the trip home.

Tools - Bring a tablet, not a laptop. If you need a USA power adapter, bring a powerboard for it so you can charge multiple things at once. The extra metre of cord on the powerboard helps in some hotel rooms.

Get social - get on twitter, search for #VMworld, follow people and see what events the crowds are going to. Meet up and say hi.

Get organised - any event/session that you may want to go to, put it in your calendar. It's a reminder to check the standby line if you haven't registered for a session, and a reminder for the parties that are coming up.

Read more about it - Christopher Kusek (@cxi) always does a great write-up on what to do before and at VMworld.

Hope to see you at #vBeers or the VMworld Community Kick Off on Saturday night.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

More Aussie vExperts / VCDX's

Back in April, I did a post when VMware announced 754 vExperts for 2014. This week, 123 were named vExperts from the Q2 nominations.

That adds another 2 Aussie vExperts to the list; Tim Williams (@ymmit85) and Matthew Healy (@matt232h). By my count, we now have 24 vExperts in Australia.
Melbourne: 17
Brisbane: 4
Perth: 2
Sydney:1 (Nick Marshall moved to USA VMware HQ)

2014 APAC vExperts
NameLastTwitterRegion
AlastairCooke@DemitasseNZNew Zealand
AndreCarpenter@andrecarpenterMelbourne
AndrewBrydon@sidbrydonMelbourne
AndrewDauncey@daunce_Melbourne
AndrewBrydon@sidbrydonMelbourne
AnthonyBurke@pandom_Melbourne
AnthonySpiteri@anthonyspiteriPerth
ArronStebbing@ArronStebbingMelbourne
BenjaminTroch@virtualb_meSingapore
ChrisJones@cpjones44Melbourne
CraigWaters@cswaters1Melbourne
DanFrith@penguinpunkBrisbane
DavidManconi@dmanconiNew Zealand
DavidBarclay@davidbarclay99Brisbane
FaisalRahman@frtamal
FrankFan@frankfan7Melbourne
GrantOrchard@grantorchardMelbourne
GregMulholland@g_mulhollandMelbourne
IwanRahabok@e1_angSingapore
JoshOdgers@josh_odgersMelbourne
JustinWarren@jpwarrenMelbourne
KeiranShelden@Keiran_SheldenBrisbane
MandeepakSidhu @MannySidhu2Melbourne
MichaelWebster@vcdxnz001New Zealand
NathanWheat@wheatcloudMelbourne
RobWaite@rob_waite_ozMelbourne
RyanMcBride@RyanMcBride81Sydney
ShaneWhite@ausvmguyMelbourne
TasTareqBrisbane
TimWilliams@ymmit85Perth

vExpert 2014 Q3 nominations are open until September 2014. Nominate yourself, or someone that's done a lot for the community. This is the last chance for 2014.

VCDX

Also this week, the latest round of successful VCDX's were announced, and that includes two from Melbourne. Congratulations VCDX-DV #135 Harsha Hosur (@harsha_hosur) and VCDX-DV #139 Andrew Brydon.(@sidbrydon).

Melbourne is definitely the virtualisation capital of Australia with 17 vExperts, and 6 VCDX's. (10 VCDX's in total across Australia). Although all throughout Australia there's a great virtualisation community, which you'll see at vForum plus a collaborative project coming soon....



Wednesday, 4 June 2014

vSphere Client Storage Views tab not showing any infomation

The storage views tab in the vSphere client disappeared, and vCenter System Services displayed some of the following errors:
unable to retrieve health data from https://localhost:443/vsm/health.xmlunable to retrieve health data from https://localhost:443/eam/eamService-web/health.xmlunable to retrieve health data from https://localhost:443/SMS/health.xml
VMware KB article 2016177 (vCenter Server Health status reports the error: Error retrieving health from url (2016177)) had the fix. This issue & kb is only for vCenter 5.0.x.

As soon as OfficeScan had finished uninstalling, the assortment of errors in System Services went away and the Storage Views tab worked. (No need to restart services/reboot)

This was a test to see if the kb article would fix it, so I wasn't about to leave vCenter with no AV. I re-installed OfficeScan, and the errors didn't re-appear.

So the fix was to uninstall/re-install OfficeScan.

TrendMicro support suggested to disable the OfficeScan client services one at time to identify which one is causing the conflict.

TrendMicro support:
Kindly configure the Privileges and Other Settings for the VCenter server in the OfficeScan web console page under Networked Computer>Client Management. Then under Other tab, please uncheck Protect client services.
Then stop the services for the OfficeScan client in the Vcenter server. Then start one service at a time to isolate this.
• OfficeScan NT Listener (TmListen.exe)
• OfficeScan NT RealTime Scan (NTRtScan.exe) • OfficeScan NT Proxy Service (TmProxy.exe) • OfficeScan NT Firewall (TmPfw.exe); if the firewall was enabled during installation • Trend Micro Unauthorized Change Prevention Service (TMBMSRV.exe)

Although they got back to me pretty quickly, I'd already uninstalled/re-installed OfficeScan, and now i'm unable to replicate the problem, but something to try if it happens again.


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Is Host Isolation Response set right for you?

Coming in to manage a virtual environment that's already up and running, you guess it's set up correctly for the most part. As time goes on, you may pick up a few things here and there to improve it. But what got me recently was the business's interpretation of VMware's HA.

Know your environment, understand the options

During a switch failure causing network isolation of a host, the business wanted to know why their VM's weren't restarted on the remaining hosts. Although it was working as expected according to VMware's Host Isolation Response setting, but the business didn't see it the same way.

The build of the cluster was outsourced several years ago, and the host isolation response setting was documented as being set to "Leave powered on", but there was no further explanation for the business as to what that meant.

Read the documentation

Explained fully in the VMware vSphere documentation and also VMware KB 1030320 says:
Leave powered on – When a network isolation occurs on the host, the state of the virtual machines remain unchanged and the virtual machines on the isolated host continue to run even if the host can no longer communicate with other hosts in the cluster. This setting also reduces the chances of a false positive. A false positive in this case is an isolated heartbeat network, but a non-isolated virtual machine network and a non-isolated iSCSI/NFS network. Should the host become unresponsive or fail and can no longer access/run the virtual machines, the virtual machines will be registered and powered on by another running host in the cluster. By default, the isolated host leaves its virtual machines powered on. 
Power off – When a network isolation occurs, all virtual machines are powered off. It is a hard stop. A power off response is initiated on the fourteenth second and a restart is initiated on the fifteenth second.
Shut down – When a network isolation occurs, all virtual machines running on that host are shut down via VMware Tools. If this is not successful within 5 minutes, a power off response type is executed.

Duncan Epping has an easy to read matrix on the VMware vSphere Blog.

In this environment of FC storage and a single top of rack switch for management and VM traffic, it would probably have been better to choose "Shut down". A week later the CR was approved and 10 seconds later, it's set to "Shut down".

The network team now get found out when trying to sneak in a 5-10 second network outage for maintenance.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Running Dell DSET remotely on ESXi

For those using Dell hardware, when you log the job with Dell Support, they'll ask you to run a DSET report. This collects various information of the server including service tag, all hardware devices, firmware versions etc.

There's 3 ways to get DSET info.
1) Install DSET locally
2) Run DSET LiveCD
3) Run DSET remotely and create a report on a local server.

Each option has their pros and cons.

The DSET download is available at www.dell.com/dset.

Install DSET locally

This is pretty straight forward. You can do a normal install and keep the software installed, or choose to create a one time local DSET report. Useful if you don't want to keep unnecessary software on your servers. Doesn't require an outage/reboot.

Running DSET LiveCD

Get the latest version at http://linux.dell.com/files/openmanage-contributions/ (omsa-71-live). This will boot into a CentOS LiveCD to the graphical user interface with the Dell utils you need on there. You don't need to know the root password, but it's "dell".

Here you can run the DSET util and save it to a USB disk, vFlash, or network share / scp remotely. The DSET output is saved to /tmp/data/.

This requires an outage as it needs to boot from DVD.

Running DSET remotely

This is my new favourite method. This option only works if the target server has Dell OpenManage agent installed. (If you are using Dell hardware, please install OMSA as part of your build process. It makes things so much easier down the track.)

Install Dell DSET on your workstation, or management server,  from www.dell.com/dset.


 Select Install DSET.


Choose the component you need.

Finish the installation.

This will open a cmd prompt.

For more info, run dellsysteminfo.exe /h, or just run:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Dell\AdvDiags\DSET\bin> dellsysteminfo.exe -s servername -u root -d hw,st,sw,lg -r c:\temp\servername-dset.zip
Dell System E-Support Tool, Version 3.5.0
@2004-2013 Dell Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Please enter "root" password:

* Gathering Chassis information...
* Gathering Software information...
* Gathering Logs...
* Gathering System Summary information...
* Preparing and Compressing Report...
* Saving DSET CIM report to path: c:\temp with report file name: servername-dset.zip

Troubleshooting

Failed to gather Software/Logs data. Check the IP Address and credentials: - Ensure ssh is enabled.

Failed to gather Software/Logs data. Either user is not part of sudoers list or NOPASSWD is not configured - try using the root account.

Some detailed information is missing from the report: reset OpenManage services.

DSET Output

Once the DSET report has been saved, you can send it to Dell Support for investigation. If you're curious about what's contained in report, unzip using the super secret password "dell", and run the dsetreport.hta file.



Saturday, 24 May 2014

Installing Dell OpenManage on ESXi

Dell OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) provides detailed information about the hardware. Handy to find out details of the physical drives, memory sticks and if there's any failed components.

If you log a support call with Dell, chances are they will ask for more details, and possibly a DSET report, and having OMSA already installed, makes life easier.

Dell also leaverage the features of OMSA with other management packages such as OpenManage Essentials and the vSphere plugin.

Make it part of any new installation, not just for ESXi, but any OS. Here I will focus on installing it with ESXi.

Dell have a 15 page white paper "Deploying Dell OpenManage Server Administrator on VMware ESXi Using Dell Online Depot and VMware Update Manager" dated July 2013.

Installing OMSA Using VMware Update Manager

This is the easiest method if you have VUM available. 

From within Update Manager, add http://vmwaredepot.dell.com/index.xml as a download source. This will check for new versions of OMSA, and update them when required, just like the regular ESXi updates.

You can also download a single OpenManage .vib file and import that to VUM.

Final thoughts

This is one piece of software you think you can do without, but trust me, it'll make you life easier when you need hardware information. If you have Dell servers, make sure OMSA is installed.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Melbourne VMUG May 2014 Wrap up




Last week we had the quarterly VMUG meeting at the Telstra Conference Centre.

We paid homage to the creator of the VMware community, John Troyer, as he's moved on from VMware after 9 years. John was responsible for the vExpert program, in which 16 were from Melbourne this year.

If you want to participate in the VMUG community and perhaps become a vExpert, contact us about doing a community presentation. If you're nervous or unsure, look into the @Feed4ward program. We're here to help you succeed.

Community

The Salvation Army did a community presentation on the difficulties they face with "Operations on a Limited Budget", and how they get around those constraints. It was a fascinating presentation, almost a rags to riches storey as they started with VMware server running on laptops, and then moved to servers running vSphere.

Storage Panel Session. The year of the Desktop Storage


Not a police line-up.
With the fierce competition amongst the storage vendors, we were lucky enough to get four storage vendors that worked together, presenting the 'new world architecture', with flash, and server side storage. I was a bit worried as to whether the four vendors would actually work together, or take shots at each other with snide remarks ending up in a punch on. I sensed some nerves in the storage vendors too. There was an increased presence of other vendors in the audience, keen to see the outcome, and probably to defend their own company if they were named during the presentation.

Each vendor did a brief 10 minute intro showing their offering for the uninitiated, and then they lined up to answer questions from the audience. There were some great questions, one even getting a vendor to admit a particular use case wouldn't suit their platform, and suggested the vendor to his right would be able to handle that use case. It was a great honest panel session. No Marketing. Just the facts.

Is it a risk running your enterprise workloads on something from a startup? Perhaps. But the trade off can be a cheaper solution that suits your requirements and the vendor will work harder to prove their technology was the right choice as they can't afford to disappoint customers.

Thanks to Nutanix, Pure Storage, VMware and Tintri for working together on the panel session.

Prizes

There was a raffle for heaps of prizes such as movie tickets, Apple TV, bluetooth speakers, VMware Press books and more. If you don't have business cards, make some yourself, or bring a bunch of post-it notes.

vBeers

All that talking was thirsty work, and we headed to Trunk Bar & Restaurant across the road from the Telstra conference centre.With the alcohol flowing, there were no punch ons with the storage vendors, just love.

Presentations now available online

The slides from the night are available on the Melbourne VMUG workspace: http://www.vmug.com/p/do/sd/sid=2470&type=0

The sessions were recorded, thanks to Justin Warren (http://www.eigenmagic.com).

Keep an eye out for the next vBeers event on the 26th June. Check the vmug.com/melbourne website for the latest info.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Congrats Aussie vExperts



Congratulations to all the vExperts from Australia, New Zealand & Singapore. It's an honour to be included with such great local talent.

Back in 2010, Greg Mulholland was the only vExpert that I actually knew in Australia. Now we have 23 in Australia, and 5 in New Zealand & Singapore.

It's great to see Melbourne VMUG members dominate the list of vExperts in our region. This is probably why the Melbourne VMUG has such a great turnout and so many community sessions.

You can find the complete list in the official announcement. As the announcement says, the vExpert award is not a technical certification or a measure of VMware expertise, it's awarded to people who were particularly engaged with their community and who had developed a substantial personal platform of influence in those communities.

2014 APAC vExperts
NameLastTwitterRegion
AlastairCooke@DemitasseNZNew Zealand
AndreCarpenter@andrecarpenterMelbourne
AndrewBrydon@sidbrydonMelbourne
AndrewDauncey@daunce_Melbourne
AnthonyBurke@pandom_Melbourne
AnthonySpiteri@anthonyspiteriPerth
ArronStebbing@ArronStebbingMelbourne
BenjaminTroch@virtualb_meSingapore
ChrisJones@cpjones44Melbourne
CraigWaters@cswaters1Melbourne
DanFrith@penguinpunkBrisbane
DavidManconi@dmanconiNew Zealand
DavidBarclay@davidbarclay99Brisbane
FrankFan@frankfan7Melbourne
GrantOrchard@grantorchardMelbourne
GregMulholland@g_mulhollandMelbourne
IwanRahabok@e1_angSingapore
JoshOdgers@josh_odgersMelbourne
JustinWarren@jpwarrenMelbourne
KeiranShelden@Keiran_SheldenBrisbane
MandeepakSidhu@MannySidhu2Melbourne
MichaelWebster@vcdxnz001New Zealand
NathanWheat@wheatcloudMelbourne
NickMarshall@nickmarshall9Sydney
RobWaite@rob_waite_ozMelbourne
RyanMcBride@RyanMcBride81Sydney
ShaneWhite@ausvmguyMelbourne
TasTareqBrisbane

[Please let me know of any corrections]

I'm looking forward to catching up with more of the vExperts at VMworld, vForum, and vBeers.

For anyone that wants to become part of the community, don't just put your toe in water, jump in - the water's fine. Go to your next local VMUG to find out more.