Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vsphere Storage Appliance vs VMware VSAN

The Vsphere Storage Appliance

Introduced in 5.0, the VSA allows you to create a small cluster (2 or 3 nodes) using local storage and turning that local storage into shared storage. The VSA is managed via the VSA Manager (in the Vsphere Client) and controlled by VSAs (1 x host). These VSAs are linux based appliance which are created automatically when the VSA cluster is created.

The above example shows a built 3 node cluster. Notice that this cluster has 3 datastores (2 if built with a two node cluster).


Introduced in 5.5u1, the VSAN needs a minimum of 3 esxi hosts and a maximum of 32. It has functionality built into the kernel. The VSAN uses local and SSD disks (for caching and intelligent data placement) and allows for further scalability.

The above image displays how to select devices to be used by the vsan. Each host needs to have at least one internal disk and one ssd disk.

vSAN Limitations:

Despite the fact that vSANs are compatible with HA, DRS, snapshots, SRM and VDP, currently vSANs are not compatible with Storage DRS, DPM, FTand Storage I/O Control.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How to Configure Flash Read Cache on one Host

What it is:

Flash Read Cache is a new feature found in 5.5 to centralize the management and configuration of flash based devices such as pci-e flash cards or SAS/Sata SSDs. These local devices can now be used to enhance the performance of esxi hosts by storing the host swap file and read caching for virtual machines i/o requests.


1. Launch the web client and log in as the administrator. You can't use the Vsphere Client for this.

2. Select one of your esxi servers and go to the the Manage tab.

3. Select Settings and click on Cache Configuration

4. Click on Add Capacity and Select the SSD drive to use. Then click on Ok

5. Once selected, the system creates a VFFS file system.

6. To configure a virtual machine to use the Flash Read Cache, right click on a virtual machine and select Edit Settings. Select Hard Drive 1 and expand. Enable Flash Read Cache and specify the Cache Reservation and the Block Size.

Note:  The Web Client in 5.5 allows for vmotion of vms with flash read cache. As you vmotion a virtual machine, there are two new choices that allow you to select "Always Migrate the Cache Contents" and "Do Not Migrate the Cache Contents".

Flash Read Cache esxcli Commands:

esxcli storage vflash

. module get
. module list

. cache get
. cache list

. cache stats get
. cache stats reset

. device list

ex:  # esxcli storage vflash device list

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Features in Vsphere 5.5

Changes to the Esxi Server

1. Logical Cpus 320 vs 160
2. Numa Nodes  16 vs 8
3. Virtual Cpus 4096 vs 2048
4. Ram 4TB vs 2TB
5. 512 vms x host

Note: Minimum amount of RAM to install 4 gbs vs 2 gbs

Changes to Virtual Machines

1. Virtual Hardware 10 (9 in 5.1, 8 in 5.0). 64 vcpus and 1TB of ram still
2. 30 devices x controller (vs 15)
3. 4 Controllers x vm
4. 120 devices x vm
5. New Sata Controller (AHCI)
6. Enhanced vGPU (support for AMD, not just Nvidia)
7 Support for 3.2 Linux Kernel (vmware tools a must)

Note: Some of these features require the use of the web client

Changes to Vcenter

1. Improved SSO (version 2), simpler install, no more database
2. Faster Web Client, html 5 support (console works with macosx)
3. Better propagation for Active Directory (multiple forests)
4. Application HA, support for MSSQL 2008 R2, apache, tomcat
5. 62 tb vmdk in both vmfs and nfs
6. 62 tb virtual mode rdm
7. 64 tb physical mode rdm
8. 5 node MS cluster support (quorum disk now iscsi/fcoe and fiber0)
9. Can be installed in 2008 and 2012 (2003 no longer supported)
10. DB2 as a database no longer supported
11. 100 hosts and 3000 vms with embedded vpostgres database (appliance)
12. 1000 hosts and 10000 vms with oracle database (appliance)

Changes to Replication Appliance

The 5.5 replication appliance allows up to 24 historical snapshots. One can retain one replica per day for 24 days or 24 replicas (one per hor) for 24 hours. Recovery always draws the most recent copy but the snapshot manager allows you to revert to an older recovery point.

Changes to Web Client

The vSphere Web Client reflect customer feedbacks, such as the "10 most recent objects). Other
improvements include the new drag and drop support and the ability to filter search results for larger

Vsphere Flash Card Read

Used to speed up vms; vms page to flash cache (for ssds)


Create virtual datastore across spinning disks and ssds
3 hosts minimum
i/o goes first to ssds, then moved to disks
automatic mode and manual mode (similar to drs)
Compatible with vdp, ha, drs, vmotion and vcops
New command: esxcli vsan


esxcli vsan cluster get
esxcli vsan network list
excli vsan storage list

Monday, November 25, 2013

How to Manipulate ssh via the command line

Manipulating the SSH service via the c.l.i.

1. Verify that the firewall is enabled

# esxcli network firewall get

2. Verify if ssh is disabled (default) or enabled.

# esxcli network firewall ruleset list --ruleset-id sshServer

3. Enable ssh if needed

# esxcli network firewall ruleset set --ruleset-id sshServer --enabled true

4. Verify who can ssh into your esxi server

# esxcli network firewall ruleset allowedip list --ruleset-id sshServer

5. Change it so only one ip can be used.

# esxcli network firewall ruleset set --ruleset-id sshServer --allowed-all false
# esxcli network firewall ruleset alloweid add --ruleset-id sshServer --ip-address

6 Verify the changes

# esxcli network firewall ruleset allowedip list --ruleset-id sshServer

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

partedUtil and vmkfstools in 5.1

The following examples show how to use partedUtil and vmkfstools to perform vmfs related operations in 5x.  I started with two disks (each 8gbs) and followed the lab shown in the Install Configure Manage class that Vmware offers. The goal was never to use the vsphere client nor the web client.

Step 1: One disk did not have a file system, the other did. Hence, I needed to delete the partition in one of those drives to start from scratch.

cd /dev/disks ; ls
partedUtil delete ./naa.6000eb3a2b3b330e00000000000000cb 1

Step 2: To verify if a disk had a partition table or not, I used the following command.

# partedUtil getptbl naa.6000eb3a2b3b330e00000000000000cf
1044 255 63 16777216

Step 3: In that class, they take a 8 gb disk and they first create a 4gb partition. Then I created a vmfs filesystem. I named it after the person that helped me out do it.

 # partedUtil setptbl ./naa.6000eb3a2b3b330e00000000000000cf gpt "1 2048 83
88608 AA31E02A400F11DB9590000C2911D1B8 0"

 # vmkfstools -C vmfs5 -S davidvmfs -b 1M ./naa.6000eb3a2b3b330e00000000

Step 4: In that class, the goal is to resize that filesystem to use 100% of that disk. Hence, the partition has to be grown and so is the file system.

 partedUtil resize ./naa.6000eb3a2b3b330e00000000000000cf 1 2048 16777128

# vmkfstools -G naa.6000eb3a2b3b330e00000000000000cf:1 naa.6000eb3a2b3b330

Step 5: Lastly, the idea is to add a second disk to the first disk to grow the file system to
be around 16gbs of space. Make sure you add the new drive to the one with data.

# partedUtil setptbl naa.6000eb3a2b3b330e00000000000000d1 gpt "1 2048
16771128 AA31E02A400F11DB9590000C2911D1B8 0"
0 0 0 0
1 2048 16771128 AA31E02A400F11DB9590000C2911D1B8 0

# vmkfstools -Z /dev/disks/naa.6000eb3a2b3b330e00000000000000d1:1 /dev/disks/na

VMware ESX Question:
All data on /dev/disks/naa.6000eb3a2b3b330e00000000000000d1:1 will be lost. Continue and format?

0) _Yes
1) _No

Select a number from 0-1: 0

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Installing a simple VMware View Setup

Installing VMware View can be simple or complex depending on the choices made and the components installed. It is one thing to install a vcenter server, a connection server and installing the agent and client; it is another thing to use persona manager, composer and linked clones. In this demo, I decided to install a simple setup since I had not played with View since the previous version.

Step 1: Install the VMware View Client on a windows machine.

01. Download the view client for windows (linux also available). Download the x86 or x64 client depending on the machine you want to use. I used 2k3 64 bit so I installed the x64 client.
02. Double click on the Installer.
03. Click on Next.
04. Accept the license agreement.
05. Click on Next.
06. Accept your machine name (auto populated).
07. Click on Next.
08. Click on next when asked about adding icon to desktop.
09. Click on Install.
10. Click on Finish
11. Reboot the windows machine.
12. Double click on the VMware View Client to launch it; then close it.

Here are some photos:

Step 2: Install the VMware Agent on a Windows Machine (xp, vista or 7)

01. Log into the xp machine as the domain administrator
02. Insert the cd with the agent software
03. Double Click on the Installer. (There are two, 32 and 64 bit)
04. Click on Next.
05. Click on Install.
06. Verify that the firewall is disabled after the install.
07. Reboot that virtual machine.

Here are some photos:

So far so good, now it's time to prepare the connection server...

Step 3: install and configure the Connection Server

01. Install 2008 R2 64 bit
02. Install VMware Tools
03. Change the ip to a static ip, the name and join an AD domain
04. Insert the VMWare View cd and double click on the installer
05. Click on Next to start the installation

06. Agree to the License Agreement
07. Agree to the default location for the install and click on next.
08. Select to Install a View Standard Server.
09. Select the view recovery password (vmware1!)
10. Select to configure the firewall automatically.
11.  Select the authorized users (admin group by default).
12. Deselect the choice to participate automatically in the user experience
13. Click on Install.
14. Click on Finish.
15. Connect to the view connection server via https://view_server_name/admin

16. Log in as administrator
17. Click on Product Licensing under View Configuration
18. Add the View License (no 60 days eval here).
19. Click on Servers
20. Specify who is the vcenter server and add it.
21. Select Pools
22. Click on Add
23. Select Manual Pool.
24. Select Dedicated Pool
25. Select to Manage Vcenter VMs
26. Select your vcenter server
27. Name the pool Pool1
28. Add the xp1 vm
29. Click on Add, Next, Next and Finish.
30. Select the Pool called Pool1
31. Click on Entitlements
32. Click on Add
33. Input the names of entitled users.
34. Click on Ok.
35. Launch the View Client and Connect.

Notes: Before you test the setup, make sure the firewall is disabled on the Connection Server and that everybody can ping all the components involved.

Friday, September 6, 2013

How to Configure the Vsphere Storage Appliance

Introduced in 5.0, the VSA (Vsphere Storage Appliance) allows you to create a two or three node cluster without shared storage. I decided to use the latest version 5.1.3 since it had several advantages over the original version. For example, the vcenter server can manage multiple VSA clusters or be a virtual machine inside of the cluster itself. I decided to create a simple two node cluster with a separate vcenter server running 2003 64 bit. My Vcenter server had two cpus, 6 gbs of ram.

Here are the steps and issues I encountered.

01. Install esxi 5.1 in two servers. My servers had 8 gbs of ram (minimum 6gb), 4 nics and two disk drives. I did not have hardware raid (needed for support) but I had two 40 gb disks per esxi server. I had to remove my original drive since the install of the VSA kept complaining about different disk sizes and having less than 30 GBs of space.

02. Install a brand new vcenter server. Mine was running 2k3, sp2. It is imperative that you upgrade
internet explorer. 2k3 comes with i.e. 6.0. This does not work well with the VSA Manager tab. It took me a while to find the bug about IE 6.

03. Download the latest version of the Vsphere Storage Appliance from . Burn it into a dvd.

04. Create a Datacenter (mine was called Training) and add the two esxi hosts. make sure the esxi servers have a static ip address.

05. Start the installation of the VSA. Simply run the vmware-vsamanager.exe executable on the vcenter server. I found the executable in the  D:\Installers folder.

06. Select the Language of your choice and accept the License Agreement.

07. Accept the ip address of the vcenter server (automatically  populated) and the communication ports that will be used.

08. Provide the password for the user vmwarevcsadmin. I used Vmware1! This is the VSA service account.

09. Use the demo license (60 days).

10. Click on Install and eventually Finish.

Warnings/Issues I encountered/Did not expect

The only issue I encountered during the installation was a complain that the Windows Firewall was not running. Strange since it was disabled after the install of the vcenter server as it should had been. I started the firewall, rerun the installer and then disabled the firewall again. At the end, i checked the VMware VSA cluster service and it was running. I launched the vsphere client, connected to the vcenter server and verified that the VSA plugin was enabled. I was prepared to enable it manually to see the VSA Manager tab in the vsphere client but did not have to.

11. Launch the Vsphere Client and connect to the Vcenter Server. Log in as the administrator

12. Select the Datacenter and look for the new tab called the VSA Manager.

13. Select New Installation

14. Select your Datacenter

15. Select the two hosts. Here is where you may issues with the hardware being used. It is easy to see that the installer recognized that I had unsupported hardware but after a couple of changes, it let me
select them. This issues can be related to lack of raid, no redundancy at the network level (how you build the switches), lack of EVC compatibility (easily fixed, info at bottom of doc) and so forth.

16. Select the IP address of the VSA Cluster and the IP address of the VSA Cluster Service

17. Specify the storage capacity to use. Here is a photo of the entire set of questions.

18. Select format disks on first access.

19. Click on Install and walk away for a while. Once you finish, the cluster will be ready to be used.

20. Click on Finish.

Final Notes:

1. Although the Installation and configuration steps are simple, there are many gotchas. There are requirements regarding the storage, virtual switches and port groups and so forth. Read the entire VSA Installation PDF to avoid some of the issues I encountered.

For example, I pasted the network and EVC related information from the install pdf.

Network Configuration:

When networking configuration on ESXi hosts has been changed, or if you need to manually configure the NICs selected for different portgroups, the following consideration apply:

Each ESXi host must contain at least one vSwitch.
Configure five port groups on each host, named exactly as follows: VSA-Front End Network, VM
Network, Management Network, VSA-Back End Network, VSA-VMotion.
For each port group, configure NIC teaming so that it has at least one active and one standby NIC.
If the NIC is active for the Management and VM Network port groups, it should not be active for
VSA-Front End port group. Use the standby NIC instead.
If the NIC is active for port group VSA-Back End, it should not be active for the VSA-VMotion port group. You can use the standby NIC.

EVC Support:

If your configuration does not allow to enable the EVC mode on the HA cluster, disable the EVC
mode by setting the evc.config property to false in the VSAManager/WEB-
INF/classes/ file.

2. If you want to test the VSA in a nested environment (not supported but works), check out

What follows is a capture of one Vcenter server managing multiple vsas.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How to Configure Vcenter Server Heartbeat 6.5

Vcenter Server Heartbeat 6.5

The goal here was to configure Vcenter Server Heartbeat 6.5 using two virtual machines. They could be physical servers or a combination of physical and virtual. In this case, the two machines were virtual and were running 2k3 with sp2. The ip of the vcenter will be (the ip that runs only on the active vcenter server) and each vm will have two virtual network cards. The ips to use will be and .160 for the primary (administration) channel and and 60 for the vcenter secondary channnel. The secondary channel does not need dns or netbios over tcp/ip. The secondary vcenter will be a clone of the primary to start.The secondary vm will not be running initially. It is imperative that you create a network share called heartbeat under C: in the primary vcenter.These vcenter servers can't be domain controllers or dns servers. These machines need to belong to a domain prior to starting the configuration.

Warning: Read the entire pdf on how to configure the two nodes; in particular how to configure the virtual nics of both servers. The only issues I encountered were related to the configuration of the primary nic, since it has two ips (The management ip and the floating ip). TCP/IP Filtering was my nemesis.

How to Configure the Primary

01. Download the vcenter server heartbeat software and copy it to the desktop of the primary.
02. Double click on the installer icon.
03. Click on ok.
04. Click on Setup.
05. Select Install Vcenter Server Heartbeat.
06. Select Primary Server.
07. Agree to the license.
08. Do not add a license, use the evaluation grace period (60 days).
09. Select Lan Deployment (both machines in same network).
10. Specify that the secondary vcenter is a virtual machine.
11. Select primary vmware channel.
12. Add the ip for the primary server's ip.
13. Select ip for the secondary server's ip.
14. Click on nNext.
15. Select Primary Principal.
16. Click on add, put for the ip of the primary.
17. Click OK.
18. Click next.
19. Select for the ip of the secondary and click Ok.
20. You will get a warning about secondary not visible since it's powered off. Click no to proceed.
21. Rename the primary server to new-vcenter1 (not fully qualified).
22. Rename the secondary server to new-vcenter2 (not fully qualified).
23. Accept the default vcenter heartbeat port (52267).
24. Add administrator as user and add the administrator's password.
25. Specify the network share created on primary ahead of time \\localhost\heartbeat.
26. Click on next, finish and reboot primary server.
27. Change directories to C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer\utils.
28. Run rsautil manage-secrets -a recover -m Vmware1! (the sso password I used) to refresh it.
29. Restart the SSO Service.
30. Restart the Vcenter Server Service.

Primary is now in place.

How to Configure the Secondary

01. With the web or vsphere client, disconnect all its nics from the network.
02. Power up the secondary.
03. Using Windows, set up the address with no gateway nor dns records.
04. Disable netbios over tcp/ip for that interface.
05. Set up the primary adapter with the address of, add the gateway and dns records.
06. Click on advance and add the adddress
07. Reconnect the nics with the web or vsphere client.
08. Install the Vcenter Server Heartbeat software.
09. Click on Setup.
10. Select install Vcenter Server Heartbeat and click on next.
11. Select Secondary and click on next.
12. Add the address of the network share folder \\\heartbeat.
13. Click on Next.
14. Select the Secondary Vmware Channel and click on next.
15. Select secondary principal and click on next.
16. Add VMWARE\administrator and provide the password for renaming purposes.
17. Reboot the node.

How to Configure Heartbeat

01. Go to the primary and click on the Manager Server icon.
02. Click on the "+" button.
03. Select "localhost".
04. Click on Applications, select Plugins.
05. Select VirtualCenterNFPlugin.dll and edit.
06. Enter the information administrator/vmware1!.
07. Got to Tasks under Application.
08. Click on User Accounts.
09. Click on Add.
10. Enter administrator and vmware1!.
11. Click on OK.
12. Edit the NFSetSPN.exe to run as vmware\administrator.
13. Do this for both the primary and secondary.

This capture shows both vcenter servers healthy and communicating.

How to Validate and Test

01. Go to C:\Program Files\VMware\Vcenter Server Heartbeat\R2\bin.
02. Run Nfavt.exe to emulate a failure.
03. Verify the automatic switchover.
04. Log into the vcenter server for testing purposes.

This is the script that will make the primary fail...

The auto-switch can be seen in the console. Once the switch completes, the second Vcenter Server
is active and running with the ip of

Here is a view from the former passive server. The secondary is now active and not replicating to the primary until such server has it's services restarted.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Resxtop not working in vSphere 5.1?

If you notice that resxtop fails when executed from the vma in vsphere 5.1, perform the following steps.

Task 1 – Create a new certificate for your ESXi hosts

1. Download the from and save it to your Desktop.

2. Use tools like winscp to transfer the script to your vMA virtual machine and save it to the home directory of vi-admin:

   1. From the Desktop system, install and launch winscp

   2. Enter the vMA host name and user and password (ex: vma, vi-admin, vmware1!).

   3. Click Login

   4. In the left panel, browse to your local desktop.

   5. Drag and drop the script from the left panel to the right panel. Choose “Copy” when prompted.

3. Log in to your vMA using putty. Create a file, listServers, which contains your ESXi host names:

1. At the command line type in the following:
cat > listServers <<EOF

4. Generate new certificates for your ESXi hosts:

   1. Make the script executable
   chmod 555

   2. Execute the script
   ./ listServers

5. Now copy the two new certificates to your ESXi hosts:
scp ssl-certs/esxi01/rui* root@esxi01.vclass.local:/etc/vmware/ssl
scp ssl-certs/esxi02/rui* root@esxi02.vclass.local:/etc/vmware/ssl

6. Restart the rhttpproxy service on both ESXi hosts:
ssh root@esxi01.vclass.local “/etc/init.d/rhttpproxy restart”
ssh root@esxi02.vclass.local “/etc/init.d/rhttpproxy restart”

7. After restarting the service, your hosts will disconnect from vCenter. Login to the vSphere
client and right click on the hosts and select “Connect”. The connect will fail with a digital
certificate verification error but you will get prompted to enter the root password. Go ahead and
accept the new certificate. Accept the defaults on all other screens and reconnect your hosts.

1. If your host has not automatically disconnected, disconnect it now.
2. Right click on your host and select Connect. Click Yes when prompted to reconnect.
3. Click Close when you get the error about the SSL certificate verification failure.
4. When prompted, enter the root user and password for your ESXi host.
5. Accept the new certificate.
6. Accept all the defaults on the remaining steps and click Finish.

8. Update the vMA environment to use the new keys.

   1. First make a backup of the .bashrc file:
   cp .bashrc .bashrc.bak

   2. Next, append two lines to the .bashrc file:
   cat >> .bashrc << EOF
   export HTTPS_CA_DIR=/home/vi-admin/ssl-certs
   export HTTPS_CA_FILE=/home/vi-admin/ssl-certs/cacert.pem

   3. Now reload the current shell environment
   . .bashrc

9. Test your setup
vifptarget -s esxi01

Monday, August 5, 2013

How to install Vshield Manager 5.1.2

Configuring Vshield Manager 5.1.2

Step 1: Download the Vshield Manager ova from

Step 2: Burn it into a dvd (optional).

Step 3: Launch the vsphere client and connect to the vcenter server or esxi server.

Step 4: Click on file and deploy from ovf/ova. This linux-based appliance defaults to 2 vcpus and 8 gbs of ram. This appliance has 3gbs of ram reserved. The virtual disk uses 60gbs of space.

Step 4: Boot up the appliance. This appliance defaults to dhcp and has one virtual nic connected to the port group called VM Network.

Step 5: Open the virtual console of the appliance and log in as admin with the password "default".

Step 6: Configure its networking settings by entering enabled mode. Simply type "enable" and provide the appliance's default password (default).

Step 7: Run the "setup" command to modify its networking settings. After running this command, you need to provide an ip address, netmask, gateway ip and dns domain info. Once you enter the information, answer "yes" to save the settings.

Step 8: Type "exit" to log out of enabled mode. Feel free to log in with the same name and password in order to run the ping command and test connectivity.

Step 9: Launch your browser and connect to the ip address of the vshield appliance. Log in as admin/default.

Step 10: Click on "Edit" next to the vcenter server to specify who is the vcenter server. You also have the choice to edit the ntp settings, syslog collector settings and SSO lookup service. In the upper right corner, click on Change Password and modify the default password.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How to Configure Site Recovery Manager 5.1

In order to configure srm, two sites need to be configured. The first one is the protected site and the second is the recovery site. At a minimum, each site should have a vcenter server and at least one esxi server. Each site should have at least one virtual machine for testing purposes. Once the two sites are built, the installation of srm 5.1 can proceed.

Step 1. In both sites, use the vsphere client create a virtual switch with a port group to be used by vSphere Replication. A standard switch or distributed switch can be used.

Step 2. In both sites, double click on the srm 5.1 installer and during the srm install wizard, accept the license, select the destination folder and specify the name of the vcenter server for that site. Use a FQDN.  Use the default selection for the certificate type selection and add a name and organization unit. In the SRM Extention field, add the name for the local site and add an email address. When faced with the questions regarding the database configuration, add the database client, the data source name, username and password.. Click on install.

 Step 3. In both sites, use the vsphere client to enable the srm client plugin. Click on Plugins, Manage Plugins and click on Download and Install the Client Plugin. Click on Home and verify that the client plugin is enabled.

Step 4. Once the software is installed, it's time to pair up the two sites. Go to one of the sites only. Using the vsphere client, click on Home and then click on the Site Recovery Icon. Click on the Summary tab, Click on Configure Connection in the Commands panel. Add the FQDN of the vcenter server on the other site. authenticate yourself (ex: administrator//password) and complete the connection. Once this is done, verify that both sites are connected.

Step 5. On both sites, click on home and click on the icon vcenter server settings. Click on Runtime Settings and input the ip address of the respective vcenter server. This will set the vcenter Server Managed IP Field.

Step 6. On both sites, it's time to deploy the replication appliance. Click on Home and then select the SRM icon. Click on the Summary Tab and then click on Deploy VR Appliance. Point to the OVF file of the appliance, give the appliance a name and select the host and datastore to use. Connect it to the switch/port group created earlier. Specify the ip, gateway, dns records and click on finish. A few minutes later, the appliance is created and boots automatically. The appliance is based on SUSE linux and it has 2 virtual cpus and 4 gbs of ram.

Step 7. Next, configure the appliance. Click on the Summary tab and click on Configure the VR appliance.
Log in as root and select the VR tab and the click on Configuration. Specify the ip address of the VRM host, add the name of the VRM site and specify the FQDN of the vcenter server. Select Generate a self-signed certificate and Save and Restart the Service.

Step 8. Configure a VR appliance connection by selecting Configure the VR Connection. By the time you are done, the Summary tab will show that the sites and appliance are connected.

Step 9. Now it's time to map the pools, folders and networks between sites. In your protected site, click on
home and click on the SRM icon. Select your site and click on Resource Mappings. Map your pools to the pools on the recovery site. Click on the Folder Mappings tab and do the same. Do the same with the Network Mappings tab.  Below is a capture of the network mapping.

Step 10. Click on Placeholder Datastore. Select a vmfs datastore to be used to store small placeholder files.

Step 11. Configure Replication for one virtual machine. Click on Home and select Hosts and Clusters. Find
your virtual machine and right click on it. Select vSphere Replication. Select an RPO (Recovery Point) of 15 minutes, select a remote datastore, enable replication for the disk and select the target disk type (thick or thin). Assign the VR Server (Feel free to go with Auto-Assign).

Friday, April 12, 2013

How to configure Vsphere Replication 5.1

Steps Involved:

1. Download the replication appliance from

2. Burn it into a dvd (optional).

3. With the vSphere Client, install via ovf. The appliance will default to 2 cpus and 4 gbs of ram. It will have two virtual disks, a 2gb disk and a 10gb disk. It is based on Suse Linux 11.

4. The wizard will ask for network related settings and a password. I used vmware1! for the root account. It did not have the same requirements as the vmware data protection appliance.

5. Boot up the appliance.

6. Connect to the appliance through your browser. Use https and point to port 5480.

7. Log in as root with the password selected by you in step 4.

8. Four tabs will appear (VR, Network, Update and System). Nothing to change on the first tab. The Network tab allows you to change the network related settings of the appliance. The third tab allows you to view the version of the appliance and update it. The system tab allows you to reboot or shutdown the appliance.

9. Connect to the vcenter server using your browser. Use https and port 9443. Log in to the web client. You will notice the client plugin for replication configured automatically.

10. Click on the Replication tab in the web client. Take a look at your settings.

11. Click on the vcenter server, click on VMs and Templates, expand your vcenter server and datacenter and find the virtual machine to be replicated.

12. Right click on the virtual machine (xp1 in my case) and select All vSphere Replication Actions.

13. Select Configure Replication.

14. In the wizard, select your vcenter as the Target Site.

15. Select a different datastore as the Target Location.

16. Lower the RPO time to 15 minutes to speed up this test. Four hours is the default.

17. As soon as you finish the previous step, verify that a new folder exist on the second datastore. This folder contains the shadow vm, which is two files (the .vmdk and -flat.vmdk).

18. Wait a few minutes, log into the virtual machine and make some changes for testing. Create folders, remove folders, add software; your choice.

19. Wait some time and notice how new files appear in the folder of the shadow vm.

Recovery Steps:

1. Connect to the vcenter server via the web client.

2. Click on Vsphere Replication.

3. Click on Sites.

4. Select your site.

5. Click on Incoming Replications.

6. Right click on the virtual machine to be recovered.

7. Select Recover.

8. Recover the virtual machine in a different folder.

Note: This task was done without shutting down the virtual machine to begin with. The new vm was recovered in a folder called Recovered VMs. The virtual machine boots up without network connectivity to prevent network conflicts.
How to configure VDP (Data Protection 5.1)

Today, I decided to finally configure the new Data Protection appliance that was introduced in vSphere 5.1. This appliance replaces the older Data Recovery appliance that has been available for several versions. This new appliance has been touted as more robust and reliable than the previous one and leverages EMC's technology (Avamar).

What follows are the steps involved:

1. Download the appliance from

2. Burn it into a dvd (optional).

3. Install the VDP appliance via ovf/ova. On the vSphere Client, click on File and select Deploy from OVF.

4. During the configuration wizard, provide the network related information of the appliance. It will ask for the ip and netmask of the appliance, the dns server and gateway.

5. Boot up the appliance. The appliance defaults to 4 virtual cpus and 4gb of ram. I decided to lower the number of cpus to 2 since I was only going to use it a few times. I did notice through esxtop that the appliance was often using 100% of the cpus allocated. Do not lower the cpu and memory settings in a real environment !

Note: I tried that again with VDP Advanced 5.5 and the number of vcpus can't be lowered any more. If you do, the installation will fail.

6. Add the dns records for the appliance to your dns server prior to the original boot. This is critical since the initial configuration will not succeed if the hostname is not resolvable. I spent over an hour troubleshooting this since I added the records while the vm was up. Somehow the appliance would not be able to resolve its name until eventually I rebooted the appliance.

7. Launch your browser and connect to https://ip_of_appliance:8543/vdp-configure

8. Log in as root//changeme.

9. Verify the ip, gateway, mask, name and dns records.

10. Specify the timezone for the appliance.

11. Specify who is the vcenter server and sso server. Provide user names and passwords that will be used by the appliance to register and authenticate itself. The password of the appliance can be changed, it needs 9 characters with no special characters. I used Vmware123.

12. Reboot the appliance. The appliance will take about 30 minutes to reboot. If the console is opened, it will show a series of 5 and 10 minute steps needed for the initial setup and configuration.

13. Use your browser and connect to https://ip_of_appliance:8543/vdp-configure to verify that the services have started. Through this url, the password of the appliance can be changed, as well as changing the information of the vcenter and sso servers if something changes in the environment.  Four tabs will appear (Status, Configuration, Rollback and Upgrade).

13. Log into the web client by specifying https://ip_of_vcenter:9443/vsphere-client to create your backup jobs. The vsphere client can't be used for this.

14. The client plugin will show up automatically. Five tabs will appear (Getting Started, Backup. Restore, Reports, Configuration).

15. The Configuration Tab allows you to specify if emails are to be sent and to specify the Backup Window. The Backup tab will allow you to specify which vm to back up. The Restore tab allows you to select which vm to restore. The Reports tab shows how many jobs have succeeded and which jobs have failed (if any).

Testing the Restoration of the vm.

1. With the web client, click on the restore tab of vdp.

2. Select the vm that was protected to begin with.

3. Click on the restore icon. Click on Next.

4. Deselect Restore to the Original Location.

5. Give the vm a new name (xp1_new) and select a datastore for the recovery.

6. Click on Finish and wait until the restore is done.

7. A new virtual machine called xp1_new is created.

8. Power on the xp1_new virtual machine and verify that it worked.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

How to Configure the Esxi Dump Collector

This post walks you through the installation process of the dump collector. In this case, the dump collector is installed on the vcenter server. A core dump is the state of working memory in the event of a host failure. This feature is simply a must in the event of using auto deploy since your esxi servers will not be using a local disk. 

Step 1. Insert the vSphere 5 cd.

Step 2. Select the Dump Collector option and click on install.

Step 3. Select the language (english).

Step 4. Specify the location. In this case, select the vcenter server option.

Step 5. Enter the ip address of the vcenter server (or hostname) and provide the username and password of the administrator of the vcenter server for authentication.

Step 6. Click on install. The installation takes a couple of minutes.

Step 7. Launch the vsphere client and click on home. You will find a new icon on the home page.

Step 8. Putty into the esxi server.

Step 9. Type esxcli system coredump network get to see if this featured is enabled or not. This feature is disabled by default.

Step 10. Type esxcli system coredump network set --interface-name vmk1 --server-ipv4 ip_of_vcenter --server-port 6500 to specify who the dump collector is.

Step 11. Type esxcli system coredump network set --enable true to enable this feature.

Step 12. Type esxcli system coredump network get to verify the entered settings.