Monthly Archives: May 2015

No vmkcore disk partition is available

Sometimes I really do feel the computer gremlins are out to get me.  As long as I can remember I’ve had a flawlessly running Test Lab at work.  The day of my scheduled ESXi host upgrades I come across numerous hosts with the below error.

No vmkcore disk partition is available and no network coredump server has been configured.  Host core dumps cannot be saved.

no_vmkcore01

I tried to ignore the error but VMware Update Manager would have no bar of it and prevented me from performing an ESXi version upgrade.

The error is referring to the location ESXi will dump its core during a Purple Screen of Death (PSOD).  Usually you’ll see this warning with a statless configured ESXi host.  In this situation a host will be running in memory with no disk.  You will usually configure the vSphere Network Dump Collector service.  This wasn’t the case in my situation.

Logging into the Shell I ran the follow

~ # esxcli system coredump partition list

no configured dump partition found; skipping

Next I attempted to set the coredump

~ # esxcli system coredump partition set --enable true --smart

Unable to smart activate a dump partition.  Error was: Not a known device: naa.6000097000024659483748380304235.

Not really sure what was going on here.  I just hope no one was messing with LUN mappings.

So next I use the set -u to unconfigure any current core dump follow by set --enable true --smart which allows ESXi to automatically determine the best location to set.

~ # esxcli system coredump partition set -u

~ # esxcli system coredump partition set --enable true --smart

~ # esxcli system coredump partition get

Active: naa.600601600fc04857394578c4d945e311:7

Configured: naa.600601600fc04857394578c4d945e311:7

This resolved the error immediately without any reboots and allowed me to continue with ESXi host upgrades.

I don’t know the root cause to this issue but as I’m upgrading ESXi versions I think it’s okay to sometimes let things go.

Note;  --enable true --smart contains double dashes.

VCE Certified Converged Infrastructure Administration Engineer (VCE-CIAE)

Last week I took and passed my VCE-CIAE certification exam.  It wouldn’t surprise me if you said what certification.  VCE™ Certified Converged Infrastructure Administration Engineer (VCE-CIAE) is a relatively new certification released by VCE™ Company back in December.  It fits into the Manage Track of their Certified Professional Program.  The program itself only being about a year old.  According to VCE™ there are currently over 4000 certified professionals

A few months back I took VCE™’s (or as I like to think of them, VMware + Cisco + EMC) 5 day Administration and Management training course.  It was held in EMC’s Melbourne office.  It was a really well run course taught by an instructor from Malaysia.

After the course I was keen to pursue VCE™ certification.  There are currently two Tracks available, Manage and Deploy, with a soon to be released Design Track, all of which contain three levels of certification.  I found the most relevant to me was the Mange Track.

Step 1 in my study was obtaining the prerequisite Associate status, VCE-CIA.  Very similar in concept to VMware’s associate program.  It’s an online exam which can be taken any time at home.  Best of all, unlike VMware’s VCA, it’s free.  Registering and taking the exam links you over to EMC’s education portal.  The exam is presented after a free 4 hour foundation course (which can be skipped at any time).  There is no time limit with a passing score of 80%, though, I don’t recall how many questions.  I did find it interesting that you get a second attempt at a question if you failed to answer correctly.  I ended up passing with 96% which I think equated one question wrong.

With the Prerequisite out the way I could now study and take the second level Administration Engineer exam.  The study material PDF from VCE™ was pretty vague.  A few links to company websites, an EMC VNX PDF, a VMware vSphere PDF, and a Cisco UCS Manager Configuration Guide.  I used the practice exams from VCE™ to gauge my rough level of knowledge.  As expected I found my weak area was Cisco UCS.  While I have hands on knowledge with all three vendors in my day to day role most Cisco UCS work is done by a different team.  So I choose to use Pluralsight’s Implementing Cisco UCS Training to fill in the missing knowledge.  It was an excellent course presented and run by Jason Nash.  This course ended up providing 98% of the Cisco material I required to pass the exam.

The exam is booked through Pearsons and currently costs $200 USD.  I found the exam itself fairly true to the practice questions provided by VCE™.  The VCE™ exam guide stated 60 questions over 90 minutes.  I ended up getting 65 questions.  I can only assume five of those questions were evaluation questions for future inclusion into the exam.  Time was not an issue at all.  As I expect I felt the exam tested on knowledge a mile wide but only an inch deep.   Unless you ask 200+ questions it’s near impossible not to do so, especially when you have three products that have individual certs in their own right.

As with the rest of the industry, VCE™ certifications expire after two years and need to be renewed.  All this does is make it ever so harder to hold onto certs in multiple disciplines nowadays with something always expiring.  Rather than immediately looking to take the third and final Master Engineer cert in the Manage Track I’ll be holding off.  The intention being to renew and upgrade my certification status at the same time in the future.

References

VCE Manage Track Homepage

VCE™ Certified Professional Program

Pluralsight: Implementing Cisco UCS