Monthly Archives: May 2013

VM Overrides (and vCenter)

Now I’m not a big fan of virtualizing vCenter, not to say I don’t do it, but when you do you should use VM Overrides to make your life a little easier.  The benefit of VM overrides is that you can better control which host runs vCenter.

When you create a vSphere DRS cluster you can override the default automation behaviour of the cluster on a per VM basis.  You can find VM Overrides at the Cluster level under Configurations.

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Click Add which will bring up the VM Overrides window.

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Select the VMs to override settings.  In this case I want to override the DRS settings for vCenter.

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The next window will allow for the overrides.  For vCenter the Automation Level should be set to Disable.  The VM restart priority should also be set to High.

This will in effect disable the vCenter VM from participating in DRS and lock it to a particular host.  The host that you choose to run vCenter on should be noted down for disaster scenarios.  The High restart priority will also allow it to start up before the rest of the VM (default is medium).

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The Host Isolation response and VM Monitoring will be personal preference for each environment.  Usually the type of storage connectivity and network configuration will dictate what these settings will be.

Remote Console plugin is not properly installed.

It doesn’t matter how many times I have this issue I kept forgetting how to fix it first time round.  The issue relates to launching a console via the vCenter Web Client.

If you’re using IE10 or WIndows 8 you’ll most likely receive this error the first time you try to launch a console.

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The fix is very simple.  In Internet Explorer.  Navigate to Tool > Compatibility View Settings.  Add the site of your vCenter and reload the page.

The next time you connect to vCenter you’ll notice, and this is a technical explanation, a weird blue page thing that looks ripped in half in the URL bar.  This now means that you are view the site in IE Compatibility Mode.

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Try launching a console again for a VM and this time it should work fine.

Uploading an OVF / OVA to vCloud Director 1.5

In my previous post I wrote on Exporting an OVF / OVA file template from vCenter.  So now I thought I might cover the process of importing that OVF using the Upload feature in vCD 1.5.  If migrating VMs from a vCenter environment to a vCloud environment it is a fairly straightforward process.  For a relatively small amount of VMs you can use the Upload feature.

Click on the Catalogs tab and select your catalog from the left pane.  Under vApp Templates click on the Icon that looks like a disk drive with a green up arrow.  Alternatively click on the blue cog Icon and select Upload.

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The Upload OVF package window will appear.  Click the Browse button and located either an OVF or OVA file of a package.  GIve the new VM being imported a Name.  If you have multiple Virtual Datacenters, select one from the list.  Click Upload.

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The Transfers progress window will appear.

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At this point vCD will validated the package, which can take some time.  If an issue is found it will error out before starting the file upload process.

References

Exporting an OVF / OVA file from vCenter

Exporting an OVF / OVA template from vCenter

Wikipedia defines OVF as an Open…  no I won’t go there 🙂

For the sake of topic though,  I will briefly explain OVF vs OVA.  Open Virtualization Format (OVF) is an open standard.  It’s a way of packaging and distributing virtual appliances in a platform independent way.  An OVF package will consist of a number of files.  It will contain an OVF descriptor file in XML format, disk image file/s, and optionally certificate and auxiliary files.

OVA or OVA package on the other hand is simply a tar archive of an OVF package folder in a single file.

Creating an OVF in vCenter is really simple.  The VM does need to be off to create the OVF.

Using the Web Client right click the VM and select All vCenter Actions.  Select Export OVF Template.

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The Export OVF Template window will open.  The Name field will be pre-populated with the name of the VM.  Select a directory location.  Check the Overwrite existing files checkbox if you have an old export you want to overwrite.  Then select a Format (OVF or OVA).  If OVF is selected a directory will be create under the folder you selected.  If OVA is selected a single file will be created in the directory you selected.

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New in vCenter 5.1 is the Advanced option.  It’s highly unlikely you need to select anything here.  I’ve seen this referred to as a lossless OVF export.  Apart from preserving the UUID and MAC, the extra configuration checkbox will preserve the PCI slot numbers and boot order.

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Click OK and the OVF will be created.  Whether you select OVF or OVA the virtual disks will be compressed during the export conserving storage.

There is also a command line utility called OVF Tool.  The VMware Community link is below.  OVF Tool is a good way of creating automation scripts.  It contains a rich set of command line options to are not normally available via the vCenter client.

References

Wikipedia Open Virtualization Format

Open Virtualization Format Tool

EqualLogic Multipathing Extension Module – Installing

Last year I wrote a post on an issue attempting to install the DELL EqualLogic Multipathing Extension Module using VMware Update Manager.  I discussed an alternative method to VUM using the CLI to install the MEM.  The post has turned out to be fairly popular.  I’m guessing though that most people are more interested in how to install the EqualLogic MEM using VUM rather than my original workaround.  So I thought I would run through the steps using a version of MEM that now works.  The whole process of importing, attaching, and remediating came out a little longer than expected but I managed to capture all the steps in what I think is fairly easy to follow.

The version of MEM I am using is 1.1.2 (released Dec 2012).  You can obtain it from the EqualLogic support site (sign-in required).  The release notes state that the only change from version 1.1.1 is that it’s now compatible with Update Manager 5.1.  EqualLogic also state that if version 1.1.1 is installed 1.1.2 is not required.  At least this now explains why I had trouble with VUM and version 1.1.1

Using the vSphere Client under Solutions and Applications select Update Manager and click on the Patch Repository tab.

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Click on Import Patches.  Browse to the location of the patch.  Select the version you want.  In my case for ESX5

*Note: The ZIP file from the EqualLogic support site needs to be extracted prior to importing.  Once extracted there will be two zip versions.  An ESX4 and an ESX5 version.

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If the Upload is successful you’ll then be asked to confirm the Import.

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Once imported scroll to the bottom of the repository list and you should see the new Host Extension.

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With the extension imported into Update Manager we now create a new Baseline.  Click on the Baselines and Groups tab.

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Click on Create to create a  new baseline.  Assign a name to the baseline and a description.  For the Baseline Type select Host Extension and click Next.

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Scroll to the bottom of the list and select the recently imported MEM patch.  Click the down arrow to Add the Extension and click Next.

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Confirm that the correct extension was selected and click Finish to create the baseline.

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With the patch imported and a new Baseline created for the Extension we now have to Attach the baseline.  This can be done at the top of the vCenter level or right down to the Host level.  In this case I just want to do a single host.  So I’m going to select the host and then select the Update Manager tab.  I’m then going to click Attach.

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Select the newly created baseline and click Attach.

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The baseline will now appear with a Question Mark beside it until a new scan is performed.  Click Scan, make sure Patches and Extension are selected and click Scan again.

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Once the scan is complete the Extension will now show up with a red cross signifying that it’s missing and needs to be Remediated.

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Click the Remediate button to start the process.  Select Extension Baselines on the left and the recently created Baseline on the right.  Then click Next.

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Omitted is a number of steps from the Remediate Wizard.  The options revolve around how the host and cluster will behave in Maintenance Mode.  The options are fairly straight-forward and the default options usually suffice. The last screen will summarise the options selected.  Make note what options have been selected and that the correct Baseline is selected.  Click Finish to start the Remediation.

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The host will now enter Maintenance Mode using the options you selected above.  Once complete we can select a datastore and select pathing where we can see a new pathing option and it’s selected by default. We will also see that all paths to the LUN are Active.

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The whole importing and creating a baseline can seem a little tedious at first, but once done, all that’s needed is a scan and remediate on new hosts.

References

Link to original article EqualLogic MultiPathing Extension Module -- Alternative Install

Download the latest Extension module from EqualLogic Support Site