Tuesday, February 24, 2015

vSphere 6 NFSv4.1 Support

vSphere 6 and NFSv4.1

It's about time!!! The NFS protocol has been supported in vSphere since 3X but despite the fact that Sun Microsystems introduced NFSv4 in 2005 (with Solaris 10), vSphere has been stuck in version 3 until now. As you can see in the following capture, NFSv4.1 is now supported in vSphere 6.

Note: The nfs server running 4.1 was Ubuntu Linux in this case.

Why does this matter? 

Several reasons. Increased security for once using Kerberos Adding the esxi servers to Active Directory and specifying Kerberos credentials ahead of time are a must. Kerberos credentials are now supported as you can see in the following capture. Improved locking mechanisms and better error recovery

Other reasons?  

Multi-pathing is now supported by using session trunking using multiple remote ips. The result is improved performance because of parallel access and load balancing.


Nfsv4.1 is not compatible with Storage DRS, SIOC, SRM and vvols (virtual volumes) yet.

New Commands:

Try esxcli storage nfs41 without any arguments or esxcfg-nas -h


Display nfs v4.1 file systems

esxcli storage nfs41 list

Unmount a datastore called NFS1

esxcli storage nfs41 remove -v NFS1

Mount a shared directory (/NFS1) from a server ( and name the datastore NFS1

esxcli storage nfs41 add -H -a AUTH_SYS -s /NFS1 -v NFS1

Here are additional captures:

Vsphere 6 Content Libraries

What are Content Libraries?

Content Libraries are a new feature of Vsphere 6 that allow you to centrally manage vm templates, vapps and .iso images. They can be local to your environment or synchronized across multiple environments (including vcenters and vcloud director) as well. By default, the libraries are synchronized every day. The maximum number of libraries is 10 with 256 library items (total).

*** Updated with GA captures on 3/25 ***

Steps to create a Content Library:

1. Log into the vcenter server as the administrator using the Web Client.

2. Click on the Content Libraries Icon and create a new library.

3. Decide what kind of library you want to create. In this case, this is a local library. This library could also be publish so other environments can subscribe to it and download contents if needed.
Authentication could be used; the default user is "vcsp". Notice the second capture.

4. Select the datastore to hold the library.

5. Notice the library has been created.

6. Select your library and read the Getting Started page for it to get a better understanding of the capabilities of the library.

7. In Vsphere 6, you can right click on a VM and clone to template in a Library. The system creates the .ovf file and the .vmdks. (OVA not supported on this version).

8. Name the template to create and select the library that was just created.

9. As shown below, the content library is a new directory in one of your datastores. After the creation of the template, the content library contains an entry for that template with the .ovf file.

10. Lastly, you can right click on the library and import items.

Vsphere VMA 6.0

How to Deploy the VMware Management Assistant 6.0

1. Download the VMA from the Beta Site and deploy it via OVF. Make sure to add the dns records for it ahead of time. The deployment will fail without the DNS records.

2. After the deployment and initial reboot, open up the console via the web client. Somehow (beta?), I had to input the network related information a second time. You can also connect to it using port 5480.

3. The VMA is still based on SUSE linux and it is configured with 1 vcpu, 600mbs of RAM and a virtual disk that is 3gbs in size like the previous version. SSH into the VMA and log in as vi-admin.

4. Configure fast-pass as usual using the vifp and vifptarget commands.

5. Test the VMA using any of your favorite commands. The vicfg and esxcfg commands are still there and they work without any extra effort.

Note: The esxcli commands will not work natively until the thumbprint for the esxi host is added.

The command to do that is /usr/lib/vmware-vcli/apps/general/credstore_admin.pl add -s server_name -t thumbprint.

Other options for this command to remember:

credstore_admin.pl clear                        <- clears all entries
credstore_admin.pl list -s server_name  <- displays current thumbprint for a host

Note:  Yes, there is a remove option :)

Friday, February 6, 2015

vSphere 6 Enhanced Linked Mode

Enhanced Linked Mode

Since the vSphere Client no longer can connect to the vCenter Server, vSphere 6 introduces a new Linked Mode mechanism to be used with the Web Client. In order to use this new feature, simply connect the second vcenter server to the first one during the installation.

In this example, two vCenter Servers were configured. The first one was named composer6.vmware.com and the second one was composer1.vmware.com. The first installation (composer6) was a generic installation where the vCenter and the new PSC were configured in the same machine.

The second vCenter was composer6. I chose to install only the vCenter software, not installing a new PSC. During the installation, I specified the where was the PSC (composer6) and later on, I selected the SSO location (composer6). 

Here is a screen capture during the installation of composer1.

By the time both installations ended, I launch the web client and connected to one of the vCenter Servers. Here is a screen capture showing both vCenter Servers being controlled by the same Web Client session.

It is important to mention how critical the only PSC/SSO implementation is in this case. One way to protect it is to implemented in an HA cluster.

How to Deploy the Windows vCenter Server 6.0 (Beta 6)

Here is an easy demo on how to install the vCenter Server software in 2008R2 64 bit. This installation was performed with a virtual machine with 8gbs of RAM (now a must).

How to Deploy the Vcenter Appliance in 6.0 (Beta 6)

The Vcenter Appliance in 6.0 has gone through changes. The new installation and configuration steps have changed. No more deploying via OVF, no port 5480 for configuration. Here are the steps. Make sure to update your DNS records prior to start.

Step 1: Download and burn the software. Open up the folder and install the Client Integration Plugin. Afterwards, start the setup of the appliance by selecting the index.html option. This option has been renamed in the GA release. It is now called vcsa-setup.

Step 2: Click on Install. The GA release also has a choice to Upgrade.

Step 3: Agree to the EULA and proceed.

Step 4: Specify the information of the esxi host that will host the appliance.

Step 5: Add the root password for the appliance.

Step 6: Configure the appliance with the embedded PSC.

Step 7: Configure the SSO credentials.

Step 8: Notice the choices for the size of the appliance. The default will use 2 vcpus and 8 gbs.

Step 9: Select the datastore to store the appliance.

Step 10: Decide which database to use. The embedded database or Oracle.

Step 11: Specify the attributes of the vCenter appliance.

Step 12: Click on Finish to start the installation. It will take a while.

Step 13: Open up the console of the appliance and log into as you would in an esxi host (F2). You will see the equivalent of the DCUI for the appliance.  Test it by pointing your browser to the IP (no more port 9443). Ex: https://newvcva.vmware.com/vsphere-client.

Note: The last capture belongs to another appliance previously created.