Category Archives: VMware - Page 2

PowerCLI Core

When Microsoft and Jeffrey Snover released PowerShell on Linux a few months back we knew PowerCLI running on Linux wasn’t too far away. ¬†Well, an awesome demo from Alan Renouf running PowerCLI in a Docker container was probably a giveaway ūüôā

Well since then we’ve been patiently waiting,¬†and¬†hearing rumors of a Fling, for the release. ¬†Earlier this week VMware finally released that Fling. ¬†And that haven’t disappointed. ¬†VMware have provided a number of different methods to run PowerCLI Core --OS X, Linux, and Docker. ¬†Skimming through the Instructions PDF on the Flings site by far the easiest method has to be the Docker image from Docker Hub (assuming you already have docker installed).

I decided to try out this docker image and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. ¬†Boy, I miss the old days of Linux where I had to compile and install everything, then troubleshoot, and repeat. ¬†Using an Ubuntu 14.04 build it’s as simple as running two commands.

First pull down the docker image from Docker Hub.

docker pull vmware/powerclicore

Then run the container!

docker run --rm -it --entrypoint=’/usr/bin/powershell’ vmware/powerclicore

And that’s really it, kind of. ¬†There is one more command you’ll have to run to actually connect to a vCenter or ESXi host. ¬†Without it you’ll receive an Invalid Certificate error which will prevent you from connecting.

Set-PowerCLIConfiguration -InvalidCertificateAction Ignore -Confirm:$false

After that you should be able to connect as normal to a vCenter.


As the doco states not all the modules are available yet.  Currently just the Core and VDS cmdlets.  A quick check shows we have 315 available to us.  Which, to be honest, is a huge amount.

PS /powershell> (get-command -Module powercli*).count

I haven’t done too much with it yet. ¬†Though I have already noticed a few odd issues and errors. ¬†It’s hard to say if it’s PowerCLI Core related or PowerShell. ¬†One notable issue is when pipping a PowerCLI cmdlet multiple times on the command line it would intermittently fail.

The important thing to note here is this is a Fling, which as I’ve mentioned before, is unsupported and comes with no guarantees. ¬†Not only that but it’s build upon an Alpha build of PowerShell 6. ¬†Put it together and sure you’ll probably get unexpected results sometimes.

Never the less this is another get testament to VMware’s commitment to PowerCLI and PowerShell. ¬†I’m excited to see PowerShell and PowerCLI continue to further develop and mature on Linux and open the door to a whole new slew of developers.


PowerCLI Core Fling
VMware PowerCLI Blog Announcement

VCP 6, My Last VCP


Ok, so I say this every time but this time I mean it… well, at least I think I do. ¬†This is my last VCP exam. ¬†I took the VCP 5.5 Delta a few years back now. ¬†Before that were¬†a few VCP 5s. ¬†There might have even been a VCP 4 thrown in there somewhere. ¬†I’ve taken this exam more times than I want to think about.

Last week I took the VCP6-DCV Delta. ¬†I could have held off a few more months before my VCP 5 expired but i had some spare capacity to study so I committed to retake the exam. ¬†Work was kind enough to give me two dedicated study days to prepare. ¬†I used them as well as I could have. ¬†I had also hoped to get in some solid study in the weeks leading up to the exam but unforeseen personal issues got in the way which wrote that off. ¬†So I really wasn’t feeling confident going into this exam. ¬†To my surprise, though, I actually passed with a decent mark.

The VCP is a real solid exam for its type, it always has been. ¬†Personally I think one of the harder ones out there too. ¬†Of course exams like the VCAP are on a different level but as for the standard multiple choice exam it’s right up there. ¬†VCP exams really require that you have solid experience with the technology, especially the VCP-DCV focusing on vCenter, along with vSphere Replication, a little vCloud Air thrown in, vSAN features, and the new PSC. ¬†it has really become quite broad.

The Delta I took was comprised of 65 questions over 75 minutes, 20 questions less then the full VCP exam thankfully. ¬†As a guide I usually work out how many questions 70% is and treat that as what’s required to pass. ¬†It’s usually treated me well as a format for passing. ¬†So when I scribbled down 15 questions I was uncertain with at the end of the exam I felt it could have gone either way. ¬†I was quite worried. ¬†So seeing that I passed in the high 400’s out of a possible 500 was quite pleasing.

I think the community has finally gotten over and accepted this 2 year expiration with VMware certifications. ¬†I’ve never really had an issue with it. ¬†I’ve known this is where the industry has been heading with certifications for a while now. ¬†It doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating though. ¬†Which is why I’m hoping I won’t have to do another one again. ¬†Now it’s not to say that I won’t do another VMware cert. ¬†I just have to be a little smarter and play the game a little better by upgrading to the new VCIX cert.

In any case, it’s done, it’s out the way. ¬†I get to use the new little logo. ¬†And, well, that’s about it ūüėõ

Being a vExpert is a great motivation booster!

Returning from a month long Euro Trip a few weeks back I had been struggling to get back into work mode. ¬†So it was a huge motivation boost to receive an email earlier this week welcoming me to the VMware vExpert¬†Program as a 2015 vExpert. ¬†I’m thrilled to have been recognised along with a lot of other amazing people.

My history with VMware products goes back to the Virtual Infrastructure and ESX Server 3 days. ¬†I still remember my scepticism when my manager said we’re going to migrate to this virtualisation¬†stuff. ¬†Over the last few years VMware and Virtualisation have become a crucial¬†part of my role¬†in the Cloud & Managed Services department of Optus Business in Australia.

I’m really looking forward to engaging ever more with the virtualisation community throughout the remainder of the year and into next.

The 2015 second half intake of vExperts can be found here.

and the full list here.


Enable SSH on vCenter Server Appliance 6 (VCSA)

If you’re running the Appliance version of vCenter 6 at some stage you may want console¬†access via SSH. ¬†When you install VCSA 6 for the first time you have the option during installation to enable SSH. ¬†Depending on your security stance you may have left SSH off and now you want it on.

There are a few different methods for enabling SSH on VCSA.  The below two methods both use the web client.

Method 1.
Directly enabling SSH in the Web Client.

This method is probably the easiest and quickest way.  The settings just happen to be in a non-intuitive location.

On the Home screen of the Web Client select Administration -> System Configuration


Select Nodes and right click on your vCenter server.


Select Edit Settings


Select the Checkbox Enable SSH login


Click OK.

You should now be able to SSH to the vCenter name or IP.


Method 2.
Enabling SSH via the Remote Console.

Navigate to your vCenter Appliance VM.  Click on Launch Remote Console.


Press ALT + F1 to get a login TTY session and login as root


Run the below commands to enable SSH. ¬†ssh.get shows the current status. ¬†ssh.set allows you to change the state of SSH. ¬†Use ‘false’ instead of true to disable SSH.

Command> ssh.get
Enabled: False
Command> ssh.set --enabled true
Command> ssh.get
Enabled: True

The above methods takes effect immediately, no need to reboot. ¬†When disabling SSH, current sessions stay active and don’t end. ¬†So if someone has an¬†open SSH session they won’t be kicked out until they logoff or their session times out.


VMware vCenter 6 Documentation
Edit Access Settings to the vCenter Server Appliance


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.


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.

Modifying vCenter Server Appliance 6 (VCSA) NTP settings

For some unknown reason that I’m yet to learn. ¬†The VAMI in vCenter Server Appliance 6 has been removed. ¬†VAMI is the management interface that you usually connect to on port 5480 for¬†most VMware appliances. ¬†Prior to vCenter 6 you could connect to your VCSA appliance on port 5480. ¬†In the VAMI you could check that status of the appliance services, change its network settings, perform updates, and change NTP settings.


It’s this last ¬†setting that quickly alerted me to this change shortly after deploying my first VCSA 6. ¬†During the initial deployment of my¬†vCenter Appliance I would specify my NTP servers when prompted. ¬†During my first two attempts the deployment would error out and fail because my NTP time sources specified were timing out. ¬†So on the third attempt I decided to skip the NTP servers and configure them post install.

Here in lies the new way of modifying NTP settings on a vCenter 6 Appliance.

Firstly we need to log into the appliance via SSH or via the console using the root account.


We will be presented with a VMware¬†shell with instructions on how to enable BASH. ¬†For this task and many other vCenter tasks the current shell is good enough. ¬†From here we can run our NTP commands. ¬†If we type ntp followed by the ‘TAB’ key we get a list of ntp commands we can run.


Typing ntp.get lists the current status of NTP and what NTP servers are configured.  In this case the status is Down and no servers have been configured.

Command> ntp.get
Status: Down

As we have no NTP servers listed we can use the ntp.server.set command.  This will override any current servers that may also be listed.

Command> ntp.server.set --servers
Command> ntp.get
Status: Down

We now have one NTP time source set.  If we wish to make modifications to the list of servers without overriding them we can use the ntp.server.add command.

Command> ntp.server.add --servers
Command> ntp.get
Status: Down

With our NTP time sources set we now enable and start NTP using the command timesync

Command> timesync.set --mode NTP
Command> timesync.get
Mode: NTP

Command> ntp.get
Status: Up

And that’s really all that is required. ¬†Relatively straight¬†forward to perform. ¬†From my point of view it’s certainly not as convenient as using the VAMI web portal from previous versions. ¬†As mentioned above. ¬†I don’t know why it was removed. ¬†Perhaps time constraints meant that it will be introduced in a future update. ¬†Or perhaps it’s just hidden on a different port I’m not aware of. ¬†In any case it would be nice to officially know.

Note; ‘--servers’ above is a double dash.


Add or Replace NTP Servers in the vCenter Server Appliance Configuration

VCP5-DCV Delta done and dusted

Over the weekend logic and common sense failed me and I decided to sit my VCP5-DCV Delta Exam.  Since VMware introduced a recertification policy back in March 2014 I’ve been buying my time to renew.  My deadline was approaching and with the limited time offer to sit a Delta exam recertification I jumped on it.

To date I‚Äôve seen nothing out there on user experiences taking the Delta exam, though, it‚Äôs only been three weeks since the VCP5-DCV Delta exam has been available.¬† So unfortunately taking this exam would be unchartered waters. ¬†I‚Äôve been psyching myself up all week so that wasn‚Äôt going to phase me ūüôā

I had my plan ready for first thing Saturday morning.  I would fire up the vSphere environment on my new NUC test lab.  Download all the PDFs in the VCP5-DCV Delta Blueprint.  Then cram like I’ve never crammed before over 48 hours and take the exam Sunday night.

Step 1 was Requesting Authorization on the VMware MyLearn site.  I had already performed this earlier on in the week and was authorized the same day, my authorization was valid for 10 years, I guess just in case I became a little busy.  Step 2 was booking for the VCP550D exam on the Pearsons website first thing Saturday morning.  There’s nothing like preparing for an exam than knowing you’ve already paid to take it.  The exam cost was $130 AUD ($120 USD).

Next I downloaded and studied the Blueprint.¬† 65 questions over 75 minutes, that‚Äôs 1 minute 15 seconds per a question.¬† Vmware are notorious for pushing time limits in exams ūüôĀ ¬†The MyLearn site states that only new material between vSphere 5.0/5.1 and vSphere 5.5¬†would be on the exam yet the blueprint contained everything that would be in a full VCP exam.¬† This made study a little difficult.¬† I wasn‚Äôt going to study everything obviously.¬† So I took advantage of the¬†FREE 1-hr online course¬†-VMware vSphere: What‚Äôs New Fundamentals of V5.5 to help prepare for the exam.¬† I used that has the basis of what I needed to study.¬† The online course was a good starting point of where to start the deep dives into the PDFs.¬† What I found was absent in the video, but clearly mentioned on the blueprint, was vCOPs and vSAN.¬† Something to keep in mind.

Next came the mind numbingly hard part of reading the PDFs.  I focused heavily on some of the new guides, In particular, the Replication guide, Data Protection, and Storage.  By Sunday afternoon (after a day and half of reading) I had covered most of the material in the PDFs.  The only exception being the three vCOPS PDFs totalling 400 pages which I refused to read!

Next came taking a few practice exams off the VMware MyLearn site.  I knew the questions would be broader than the Delta exam so I just focused on the new 5.5 material.

As the end of Sunday approached it was time to take the exam.  Now If it’s not clear by this point, this is an online exam.  For the people that don’t know what that means.  It is an open book exam!  Now I don’t want hate messages.  It’s an open book exam!

So this is where my three monitors got put to good use.  Monitor 1, the exam window.  Monitor 2, Google.  Monitor 3, the Advanced Search function of Adobe Reader set to search all PDFs in the Blueprint folder.

Now if you‚Äôve read this far, plain and simply, I‚Äôm not going to give you the answers.¬† I feel, though, based on my experience I can comfortably recommend what you need to be studying.¬† So know your vSAN, know your vFlash, know your VDP, and know Replication.¬† It felt like the lower end of 50% -- 75% was this new material and the rest was standard VCP knowledge material that we should all know. ¬†Looking at the exam at a high level it’s set in the format of a traditional¬†VCP exam. ¬†So if you can remember back to your last one expect the same types of questions worded the same way.

Where I felt I was weak on and would also recommend.¬† Know your vSphere Editions and high level vCOPs ūüėȬ† If you‚Äôve done your VCA-DCV certification you‚Äôll been fine with that knowledge for vCOPs.¬† Just focus on your knowledge of what Badges are and what they are comprised of.

So now long story short I am recertified for another 728 days.

As an open disclaimer I’ve been using vSphere 5.5 since day one of release. ¬†I’ve been closely following all the new technologies that have been accompanying vSphere 5.5. ¬†Keep that in mind before you say this was a paper certification.


Recertification Policy

VCP5-DCV Delta recertification exam

Pearsons VMware exam registration site

Configuring and Testing NTP on ESXi

I hate NTP.  I hate time sync issues.  I hate time skew issues on ESXi.

So now that I’ve got that out I feel a whole lot better. ¬†I can now talk about how to configure and importantly validate your NTP settings on an ESXi host.

Setting and syncing time on an ESXi host is done within Time Configuration on the Settings tab of an ESXi host.


The time can either be set manually or it can be set via NTP. ¬†Setting the time manually is self explanatory. ¬†Basically change your time and click OK. ¬†It’s not something I’m going to go into any further. ¬†Ideally, though, you want to be setting your time with NTP. ¬†Using NTP is relatively easy too, the hardest part will be making sure you have the correct ports open on all parts of the network. ¬†NTP generally uses UDP port 123 btw.


So firstly you want to select Use Network Time Protocol. ¬†You next want to head over to and find your closest NTP time sources. ¬†Understanding how the underlying technology of how NTP works is actually quite interesting but beyond what this post is about. ¬†Wikipedia is a good start on¬†NTP. ¬†Each region around the world has a number of NTP pools and within those regions many countries have pools of their own. ¬†For me my closest¬†pool is Australia within the Oceania region. ¬†Australia has 4 pools. ¬†Within these pools are actually a number of servers. ¬†I can use one of these pools or I can use them all. ¬†I’ll be using them all for redundancy. ¬†Once I enter these pool addresses and separate them with commas I click the Start button and click OK.


The Time¬†Configuration should now look something similar to below. ¬†The time change in not instant and can take… well… time.


But how do you test that these settings are correct, considering that the time sync process is not instant.  Further more, NTP uses UDP port 123 which is connectionless.  Well, we can query the output our NTP sources gives us, which can be done from the CLI of the ESXi host.

Log into the console of the ESXi host using whatever method you prefer.  The simplest is usually just starting and connecting to SSH.

We use the NTPQ command and type the following.

ntpq -p localhost

The output should be sometime similar to below.  VMware have a good KB article which explains what it all means if your really want to know.


If we see something similar we know we’re good and the time should start to change shortly. ¬†If we get all zeros we probably have network and DNS working but NTP is block at the firewall somewhere.


My VCA experience

When a friend sent me a link to the offical VMware Certified Associate (VCA) site shortly after release I have to admit I wasn’t too impressed. ¬†I think my official response back to him was ‘meh’. ¬† You had this exam track that you could take online, at home. ¬†What challenge is that?!? ¬†It looked like a cert targeted at the virtualization sales consultant. ¬†But then came October and I strangely changed my opinion. ¬†VMware had a few offers on table, when combined, allowed you to sit the exam for free. ¬†How could you refuse!

I heard about the offers mid October and was already in the middle of unrelated study with some tight deadlines.  Never the less on the following quiet Friday after work I sat down and read through the blueprint of the VCA -- Data Center Virtualization exam.  It all looked very straight-forward.  Watch a 2.5 hour training course and a handful of short PDF {marketing} documents.  I think I got about 20 minutes into the fundamentals training video and skipped to the end.  The plan prior was to study and take the exam on Sunday.  Being free, though, I thought what the hell and just sat the exam right there and then.  75 minutes and 50 questions to answer.  It took me 35-40 minutes to complete the exam.  I scored somewhere around 430.  There was some satisfaction but I was really searching for it.  The questions held no real technical depth.  It was really more around knowing the concepts and basic vSphere terminology.

So confident I was, a few days later (Sunday), I sat the VCA Cloud exam. ¬†Out of the three Certification tracks VMware have, Cloud is no doubt my weakest one. ¬†Never the less I applied my same logic from the VCA-DCV --It’s a free exam and I can always take it again. ¬†A few questions into the exam and I new I was in trouble. ¬†Against better judgement I opened up a browser window and started searching for answers. ¬†Great, I was starting to find the answers now. ¬†But time was against me. ¬†I couldn’t find the answers fast enough. ¬†I finished the exam with 5 minutes left and wasn’t feeling confident. ¬†I failed with a 298. ¬†What are the odds that I failed by 2 points. ¬†Pretty good if you search the net. ¬†People always fail by 1, 2, or 3 points.

Feeling embarrassed I went to bed to rethink my VCA-Cloud tactics. ¬†The following Friday night I pulled up the Cloud blueprint. ¬†Took the 3 hour course video and read through the PDF documents referenced in the blueprint. ¬†Saturday morning, I woke up, opened up a browser full of tabs on VMware Cloud material and sat the exam. ¬†This time the answers came much easier to me. ¬†With no need to reference any online material, bar one question, I completed the exam in 40 minutes with a score of 485. ¬†With a little more satisfaction and much needed vindication I tried to find some pride in the score. ¬†Not bad for one nights study. ¬†Though we’ll ignore the fact that more than half the questions were the same as my first attempt.

Time was against me in the month of October and I wasn’t able to sit the third VCA-WM end user (Desktop) exam. ¬†The multiple discount codes to sit the VCA exams for free have now ended. ¬†One VMware offer still exists till the end of the year to sit the exams for half price. ¬†Normally $120 US ¬†you can sit it for $60. ¬†I have to admit my interest to pay (only) $60 to sit a VCA isn’t really there. ¬†My only motivation is really to just get that Hat-Trick.

In a recent VMware Communities Roundtable podcast with John Arrasjid (@vcdx001), they spoke about the VCA track. ¬†It was an interesting podcast that helped answer a lot of questions I had around the VCA track. ¬†They spoke about the objective of the VCA track. ¬†Its intended target audience. ¬†Why it was chosen to be an ‘Open Book’ exam. ¬†Oddly it didn’t even occur to me that it was expect you would search for the answers online during the exam.

While my criticism of the VCA track has somewhat diminished I still have my doubts on it’s validity in the community. ¬†I was a little worried about being so negative in the post. ¬†But the truth is these are just my opinions and I just needed to get it out there.


Installing NetApp NFS Plug-in for VMware VAAI

For some time now NetApp have supported VAAI for NFS on vSphere. ¬†If you’re using NFS on your NetApp with vSphere you might want to investigate installing the NFS Plug-in for VMware VAAI.

The plug-in helps vSphere communicate with NetApp basically allowing it to offload certain tasks from vSphere to NetApp.  By passing certain tasks off to the NetApp, tasks can be processed faster and communicated back to vSphere when complete.  An example is provisioning a VMDK file or performing a vMotion task.  Rather than vSphere attempting to perform these tasks over the wire they can be performed directly on the NetApp by the array itself.

There are three different ways to get the NFS Plug-in installed onto an ESXi host. ¬†I’ve detailed the three different options below. ¬†Before you start you’ll obviously need the NFS Plug-in which can be downloaded from the NetApp support site. ¬†You’ll need a login ID and a valid support contract to do this.

Option 1. ESXCLI

This is my preferred option when only needed for a few hosts.  It can be done on the actual ESXi host (e.g. ssh) or via the vMA.

Step 1. Copy the NFS plug-in zip file to a location that the ESXi host has access to. ¬†Below I copied the file to a folder called ‘vib’ on a test datastore.


Step 2. On the ESXCLI run the following command.

esxcli --server HOST_IP_ADDRESS software vib install -d /PATH_TO_VIB/


Step 3. Reboot the host

Step 4. Check that the NFS plugin was installed with the following command.  Scroll till you find NetAppNasPlugin under Name.


Option 2. VMware Update Manager

Step 1. Install the Plug-in into the Patch Repository.  Click Import Patches and Browse to the location of the Plug-in zip file.


Click Next and ignore any certificate warning you may get to Import the patch.


Click Finish to finish the Import.

You should now see the NetAppNasPlugin in the Patch Repository list.


Step 2. Create a new baseline for the NFS Plug-in.

Click on Baseline and Groups. Right click to create a New Baseline.  Fill in the Name and Description and select Host Patch.


Click next and select Fixed.


Scroll through the list of patches and locate the NetAppNassPlugin.  Add the patch using the down arrow and click next.


Click Finish to install the patch.


Step 3. Attach the newly created Baseline to your hosts.  Where you choose to do this is up to you.  I choose to do it at the Cluster level.


Step 4. Once attached Scan and Remediate your host.


Option 3. NetApp Virtual Storage Console

This option is obviously dependant on you having already installed the Virtual Storage Console on a server and having the vSphere Plugin enabled.

If correctly installed the NetApp VSC can be found under Solutions and Applications called NetApp.

Navigate to Monitoring and Host Configuration and click on Tools.  Under NFS plug-in for VMware VAAI it will say Unable to location plug-in.


Step 1. Extract the NFS zip file and locate the vib inside it.  The vib will be denoted with a version number at the end.  Make a copy of the file and call it NetAppNasPlugin.vib

This specific filename is required for the VSC to detect the vib correctly.


Step 2.

On the server where the Virtual Storage Console was installed.  Copy the renamed file to C:Program FilesNetAppVirtual Storage Consoleetcvscweb


Step 3. Exit vCenter and log back in.  Open the VSC back up.  If the vib was renamed correctly and copied to the correct location.  The VIB should now be detected under Tools of Monitoring and Host Configuration.


Step 4. Click on Install on Host to install the VIB plug-in.  Any incompatible hosts will show up greyed out with a null besides there name.

In the below screenshot I have three incompatible hosts.


So there you have it.  Three different ways to install the NetApp NFS Plug-in onto an ESXi host and three different pain in the ass ways.

Good Luck.