Concept Explained: Running Multiple vSphere Replication Appliances

Playing with vSphere Replication in my lab recently (following my joyous experiences with my HP MSA P2000 detailed here), I came across a small gotcha that might catch out some of those who (like me) learn stuff by playing with them, whilst reading about the deployment technical aspects alongside. vSphere Replication in vSphere 5.5 has been enhanced over the v5.0/1 release, to enable multiple replication appliances to be deployed and managed by the same vCenter instance. vSphere 5.5 allows upto 10 replication appliances per vCenter, selectable on configuring a VM for replication or available for auto-selection. The gotcha comes when registering subsequent appliances to a vCenter after initial replication connection has been … [Read more...]

Improving vSphere Web Client Performance

With the release of the (now maturing) VMware vSphere 5.5 release, more and more operations (but not all - yet) are being migrated to the vSphere Web Client. Functionality of the vSphere 5.1 features are all fully available in the vSphere 5.5 .Net Windows client (the traditional client) along with Site Recovery Manager and Update Manager administration functions, but any and new vSphere 5.5 features are now only available via the web client. Lots is made of the performance of the web client, and having used it on my home lab and now in Production environments, I can see why some users report on there being some perceived performance lag in the web client compared to the Windows client (population of menus, general navigation etc). … [Read more...]

vCenter’s Number – Is It Up?

(This is all based on information that's in the public domain at the time of writing and is all my own opinion. I may very well be wrong!) ESXi first saw the light of day as version 3.5 in 2007 / 2008. Rumours were rife after ESXi 4.0 was released in 2009 that the clock was now ticking on ESX "Classic". With the release of 4.1 in 2010 VMware finally confirmed the rumours and, from 5.0 onwards it's been ESXi only. You know this already of course if you've been working with vSphere for any length of time. The reason that I'm bringing it up though is because I think it's a clue as to what's going to happen to vCenter in the future. The vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) first appeared as a technology preview called "vCenter 2.5 on … [Read more...]

Force Removal of Licensed vCenter Products

Once in a while, you need to remove or update licensing in vCenter to account for products that have been registered or interact with vCenter Server. Unfortunately in some cases you need to force unregister products for vCenter Server - say if a product was registered and then deleted without being unregistered, or if an evaluation period has expired but the Evaluation version is still present in vCenter. The solution is simple if not at first immediately obvious. Follow this process to force unregister a prodult from vCenter: Login to vSphere Client. Home > Licensing. Switch to View by: 'Asset'. Right-click the asset or evaluation you want to remove. Select the bottom option: 'Remove Asset'. Accept the warning … [Read more...]

Manual vCNS / vShield Edge HA Little Gem!

Recently, I have been doing lots with vCNS and manual creation / manipulation of vShield Edge devices (posts coming soon). One thing that drive me crazy is a tiny little thing that prompted me to write this quick Little Gem - 'Edge HA' sat on my to do list, and gloated at me..... When creating a manual vShield Edge device in vCNS, there is the usual opportunity to create an pair of appliances for running the pair in High Availability mode. Trouble is, the options for deployment are limited and not very clear. (This might be clear / obvious to some, but weren't to me!) When creating an HA pair, in the vShield Manager console editing the Edge device in question under Settings - the HA Configuration gives few options. Essentially, … [Read more...]

New Book – VMware vSphere Design (2nd Edition)

Forbes Guthrie and Scott Lowe have been busy. I very much enjoyed the first edition of the VMware vSphere Design book and now the second edition is up on Amazon for download in Kindle format or pre-order for print copies. In this edition, there's also a chapter on vCloud design by Kendrick Coleman. Besides being a good read in and of itself, the first book was good to help with VCAP4-DCD preparation. I imagine that this edition will be equally useful for VCAP5-DCD preparation. I look forward to reading it. Well, I will when my copy shows up (family rule: I'm not allowed to buy anything for myself in the month of my birthday). … [Read more...]

HA Failover Errors in vSphere

In a production system running vSphere 5.1, I've noticed that on occasion an error appears at cluster level about 'HA initiating virtual machine failover'. Checking the host and vCenter logs shows no host reboots or isolation. In this case, there fortunately is a simple fix that seems to rid the cluster of the erroneous error message. Disable HA on the cluster (Right-click cluster > Edit Settings > Uncheck HA checkbox). The hosts will automatically disable HA as part of the cluster settings with no effect to the running VMs on the host. Re-enable HA on the cluster (reverse the settings above). The HA cluster will have an election and elect a new HA master and configure the remainder of the hosts as slaves. Voila! The … [Read more...]

Quick Tip: Adding Active Directory to vSphere 5 SSO

If, like me, you are installing, burning, re-installing your lab set-up at the moment with the latest and greatest VMware releases, you'll no doubt be going into battle with installing vSphere 5.1 and Single Sign-On. There are several little idiosyncrasies with SSO that are well documented across the interweb, but one I came across hasn't been posted much about. It concerns adding Active Directory. If you install vSphere SSO as a local user, the domain you are connected to doesn't automatically get interrogated and added to the SSO configuration, and needs to be added subsequently as an authentication domain. You can do this through the vSphere Web Client. The quick tip I have for this is: When adding the authentication credentials … [Read more...]

“Failed to login to NFC server” errors in vSphere

I came across a strange little issue with vSphere the other morning whilst moving VMDK files around the network. The infrastructure I'm working with is all vSphere 5.1, with ESXi hosts and VMFS-5 datastores (VMFS v5.58). The error occured when uploading a VMDK file from the local vCenter desktop to a LUN via the vSphere client datastore browser - resulting in the error below. Log files gave few clues, so a little searching arounnd VMware Support and Google resulting in the following possible solutions: - DNS issues with the client hosting vSphere client. - Issues with the ESXi host providing connectivity to the datastore (and specifically the VMware configuration file). - An issue with the VPXA agent (for ESX 3 … [Read more...]

Configuring QNAP for VMware iSCSI

As part of the vSpecialistLabv2 set-up, I recently purchased a QNAP 459 Pro II NAS, with the purpose if connecting it via iSCSI to the physical and virtual hosts in the rest of the lab. The main part of the configuration of this device is to configure the QNAP storage for iSCSI for use with ESXi. Pre-requisites: Do the basic set-up of the QNAP device, using the configuration wizard. (See the QNAP manual). Assign the network information to the device, and ascertain successful basic network connectivity. (See the QNAP manual). Update the firmware to the latest version. (Easiest way is to use the auto-update feature in the admin GUI). (This how-to was done using firmware 3.7.3 Build 20120801). Process: 1) Connect-to and … [Read more...]