Monday, May 18, 2015

VMWare snapshot management

Before testing several configurations on my new brand FreeNAS server hosted on VMWare ESXi 6.0, I took a snapshot. Then run tests. The FreeNAS is composed by two virtual disks : one for the software is 20Gb, one for the data is 900Gb.
After a while, bouncing the FreeNAS guest ended in error, VMWare is complaining about disk space not enough…
No way to start it up again.

Quite surprising. Except if we know that snapshots keep increasing while the VM is running. In fact, the snapshot keep all the logs to redo the difference made. Since the data virtual disk is big, after quite some time the snapshots can fill up all your physical disk hosting the VM.
The straightaway solution is to drop the snapshots.

Subsequent solution : hosting snapshot in a much larger disk array (datastore) – by default it is hosted where the virtual disk is sitting.
For the sake, here we go :
Creating snapshots in a different location than default virtual machine directory for VMware ESXi and VMware ESX
To make it short, stop the VM, add the following lines in .vmx file of the VM, and restart :
workingDir = "new_path_location"
snapshot.redoNotWithParent = "true"

Lesson learned.

Nicolas.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

VMWare ESXi 6.0 upgrade (from 5.5u2)

First off, I put the all server in maintenance mode.

Then from the burned image .iso file downloaded from the VMWare site (VMware-VMvisor-Installer-6.0.0-2494585.x86_64.iso), boot from the CD on the server, choose upgrade and… everything goes smoothly ! Unfortunately, I still do not have a remote access card to make screenshot from BIOS boot. Anyway, this is really straightforward.

Second, I immediately applied the patch ESXi600-201504001.zip as followed, connected on the ESXi server (ssh) :
[root@hercules:/vmfs/volumes/5549e911-6babde10-89ba-001ec9deb63b/ESXi600-201504001] esxcli software vib update --depot=/vmfs/volumes/5549e911-6babde10-89ba-001ec9deb63b/ESXi600-201504001/ESXi600-201504001.zip
Installation Result
   Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
   Reboot Required: true
   VIBs Installed: VMware_bootbank_esx-base_6.0.0-0.5.2615704
   VIBs Removed: VMware_bootbank_esx-base_6.0.0-0.0.2494585
<…snipped…>
After rebooting the server, verify the patch bundle was installed, by issuing the following command:
[root@hercules:~] esxcli software vib list | more
Name                           Version                               Vendor  Acceptance Level  Install Date
-----------------------------  ------------------------------------  ------  ----------------  ------------
OpenManage                     7.4.0.2.ESXi550-0000                  Dell    PartnerSupported  2015-05-11
mtip32xx-native                3.8.5-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585            VMWARE  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ata-pata-amd                   0.3.10-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585           VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ata-pata-atiixp                0.4.6-4vmw.600.0.0.2494585            VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ata-pata-cmd64x                0.2.5-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585            VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ata-pata-hpt3x2n               0.3.4-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585            VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ata-pata-pdc2027x              1.0-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585              VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ata-pata-serverworks           0.4.3-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585            VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ata-pata-sil680                0.4.8-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585            VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ata-pata-via                   0.3.3-2vmw.600.0.0.2494585            VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
block-cciss                    3.6.14-10vmw.600.0.0.2494585          VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
cpu-microcode                  6.0.0-0.0.2494585                     VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ehci-ehci-hcd                  1.0-3vmw.600.0.0.2494585              VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
elxnet                         10.2.309.6v-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585      VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
emulex-esx-elxnetcli           10.2.309.6v-0.0.2494585               VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
esx-base                       6.0.0-0.5.2615704                     VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
esx-dvfilter-generic-fastpath  6.0.0-0.0.2494585                     VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
esx-tboot                      6.0.0-0.0.2494585                     VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
esx-xserver                    6.0.0-0.0.2494585                     VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ima-qla4xxx                    2.02.18-1vmw.600.0.0.2494585          VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ipmi-ipmi-devintf              39.1-4vmw.600.0.0.2494585             VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ipmi-ipmi-msghandler           39.1-4vmw.600.0.0.2494585             VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
ipmi-ipmi-si-drv               39.1-4vmw.600.0.0.2494585             VMware  VMwareCertified   2015-05-11
<…snipped…>
[root@hercules:~]

The esx-base has been updated with the proper package number 2615704.

Third, on client side, install the last version of ViClient.
image
It is not more than few minutes matter.
The login screen did not change from a bit compared to the previous one, still the warning with VMWare 5.5. I was even wondering if it upgraded at all.
image 
On the license warning, do not forget to apply the new one which has been assigned when you downloaded the product:
image 
“Assign a license to the ESXi” open a web browser to go on VMWare website and get a license number under your registration.
If you downloaded the free product ESXi within your VMWare account, click on OK.
Glad to see ESXi 6.0.
Then go to configuration tab and “Licensed Features” :
image 
Click on Edit, on the top right of the page :
image 
Then assign a key:
image
esxi6_001
Then, confirm it’s ok :
esxi6_002
Ok, now it is not limited in time anymore.

Finally put back the server out of maintenance mode, and reboot for the last time. All the VMs configured to restart automatically should restart. 

image 

Your last step will be to upgrade the VMWare tools onto all the VMs hosted on the ESXi server… I installed recently FreeNAS9.3, no need to manage the VMWare tools, it is guest managed.

image

Amazingly, we can create VM from Windows 3.1 up to 10 which is not even GA…
image
Just a little trick I use, since my OS is in French, ViClient is using French UI. I wanted English, so I run the exe as following :
"C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\Virtual Infrastructure Client\Launcher\VpxClient.exe" -locale en_US

Nicolas.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

FreeNAS 9.3

Just installed FreeNAS 9.3 on VMWare ESXi 5.5.
Software and data must have separate disks. So first create the VM with a disk defined for the FreeNAS software, second add a disk as you wish for the data (both disks can be on different datastore).
I choose to put boths in one datastore separated from all other VMs hosted on my server (two different RAID array), and on separated network card.

Anyway, this one just for me to remember few settings next time I’m setting up a FreeNAS from within VMWare ESXi.

1)
I encountered a bug which prevent the FreeNAS server to restart at all, as described here :
Timecounter "HPET" frequency

Here we go to solve it, extract from that discussion linked above :
"A virtual HPET was introduced with Virtual Hardware version 8 (which first appeared in ESX 5.0, Workstation 8.0 and Fusion 4.0). It runs in apparent time. Currently supported guest operating systems do not require a HPET, but some will use a HPET if one is present (including Windows Vista and later, and many versions of Linux). It can be disabled by setting hpet0.present=FALSE in the VM's configuration."

Step by Step
1) Turn off your FreeNAS virtual machine
2) Edit settings on the FreeNAS virtual machine
3) Click on Options Tab
4) Click on General under Advanced
5) Click the Configuration Parameters Button on the bottom right
6) Change hpet0.present from true to false.
6.5) Click OK, and then OK to save the settings.
7) Start the virtual machine, and it will pick the next fastest timer to hpet (and won't lockup on restart).

And it works.

2)
An other one, constantly having lines on the FreeNAS’ console a message as following : “matchname: host name/name mismatch”. It’s really becoming hundreds lines after a while.
It happens after configured CIFS and accessing the NAS from a Windows client machine.
Seems to be solve by unchecking the Hostnames lookups option from CIFS service (stop/start CIFS service after changing).


All what I can say so far, it seems a little bit complicated to configure and to use, at least more than a ready-to-go NAS like my (old) Qnap TS-409 PRO. In the meantime, perhaps more complete, and more professional (less multimedia oriented).

The list above may change in time.

Nicolas.

Friday, May 08, 2015

VMWare ESXi copy VM and datastore

Lately, one of my drive of my RAID5 array was gone to death. Time for an infrastructure change.

I was glad to buy 4 new drives of 2TB to add new datastore to my vMWare ESXi 5.5 server. My plan is to move all the VMs from the old datastore where the disk is broken (RAID5, previously 4*500GB) to the new datastore (defined as RAID5, 4*2TB).
Then redefined the old LUN as RAID5 on 3*500GB as a NAS server disk (I decided to run FreeNAS 9.3).

Just a note to remember (VMWare ESXi 5.5).
Whilst I was doing a cold copy of all VMs from entire local datastore to an other local datastore, I did a script for that.
But fist of all, remember the steps :
* shutdown the VM
* delete all (consolidate) the snapshot before hands
* I decided to unregister the previous VM via 
vim-cmd vmsvc/unregister <vmid>
you may first want to get vmid from the command : vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms
* do not use an OS copy command for vmdk file, those files would take the all provisioning space on disk instead of the actual value if it’s “thin”, could be quite surprising in the end.
My actual command I used :
vmkfstools -i "/vmfs/volumes/src/myVM/myVM.vmdk" -d thin "/vmfs/volumes/trg/myVM/myVM.vmdk"
* register the new VM
vim-cmd solo/registervm /vmfs/volumes/trg/myVM/myVM.vmx

As a side note, I was creating new datastores from a newly created LUN, I learnt that we actually cannot make more than one datastore per LUN… Need more datastore ? Create more LUNs. Yes, it requires to think about what you want to do when building the infrastructure from the beginning… 

Nicolas.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Windows 10 Tech Preview

I had some spare time last week-end and still enough Gb free on my VMWare server, so I decided to have a look into that new Windows…

W10_002

W10_003

W10_004

So far, all what I can say is that Microsoft was concerned about customers complaints regarding previous version 8. It’s kind of mix-up but looks much better. We can wonder why some applications are there (see XBox) that we cannot uninstall…

W10_005

Probably a matter of time and maturity.

Nicolas.

Monday, January 12, 2015

No words

For once, nothing to do with tech, but I cannot do otherwise. 3 painting describe the thoughts which may came up.

After three bloody days last week in France…
malevich_red

… today, time for mourning…
malevich_black

… and hope the better for tomorrow…
malevich_white

Thanks to the painter Malevitch (1879-1935).

For all the innocent victims of terrorist attacks.

Nicolas.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Peoplesoft HCM92 image #9

It has been released earlier this week, time to move to VMWare ESXi.
My workaround I described here is still working. To make it short, updating the ovf file as below:
1. ovf:capacity=(ovf:capacity*2)-64512 (I used diskMode=thin in the VM disks’ definition for the import)
2. <OperatingSystemSection ovf:id="101">
3. <Description>oracleLinux64Guest</Description>
       <vbox:OSType ovf:required="false">oracleLinux64Guest</vbox:OSType>
4. <vssd:VirtualSystemType>vmx-08</vssd:VirtualSystemType>

And the VM starts properly.

Enjoy,

Nicolas.