Posts Tagged ‘VMware’

Troubleshooting VMware issues with MindMaps

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment

The guys on VMTN have released a few new mindmaps to help with various bits of troubleshooting.
Initially, I thought, great, another flowchart . . but I run a few scenarios through my lab, thinking that instead of troubleshooting myself, I would simply follow the mind map and I was surprised at how well they cover the kind of problems we see both regularly on our various environments and also how well they cover issues that I regularly see on the VMware communities site.

Oddly, I had never spotted these before – but it seems there are a bunch available at

Below are the 4 that I figure are going to be most pertinent in current environments – a very hany tool indeed.

Mindmap – vSphere Troubleshooting Network Issues
Mindmap – vSphere Troubleshooting Management Issues
Mindmap – VMware Troubleshooting View Management Issues
Mindmap – VMware Update Manager Issues

What I really like about these is not simply that they produce a ‘flow chart’ for troubleshooting, but the fact that once you get to the lowest level on the mind map, there is a little infinity sign that you can click on – which takes you to a knowledge base article for each solution. this means that just about anyone, no matter what their level, can use these

Categories: VMWare Tags:

Installing VMware SDK with Visual Studio 2010 / Visual Studio 2010 Express – workaround

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

This is just a quick workaround to get the installation done – nothing else (really a reminder to myself)

I have a project to provision VMs from a customised front-end,
I have created a C# tool – that integrates with SCCM as well as our various asset management tools and some scripting environments, to allow for a ‘1 button deployment’

Of course . . to be a true one button deployment, I’d like to be able to actually create a VM when using the same ‘Big Red Button’

Anyway, my development environment happens to be Visual Studio 2010 – so yes simple . . let’s get going, surely we just follow the setup guide provided at : – page 19

Well, that would work, except that the SDK kit has not yet gotten the relevant batch files for a Visual Studio 2010 installation.

The solution to get the installation working was to get a copy of the amended cmd from the VMWare communities:
and copy it to your .\sdk\samples\DotNet directory

Next, go to : Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft Visual Studio 2010\Visual Studio Tools and select Visual Studio Command Prompt (2010)

Now, make sure that you have the environmental variable VCINSTALLDIR set to point to your Visual Studio installation path (type ‘set’ to see your environmental variables)
I had to set it like this:

SET VSINSTALLDIR="c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0"

Finally, I had to run the installer.]
In my case, the SDK was at d:\VMWare\SDK\samples, so I ran:

D:\VMWare\SDK\samples\DotNet>genvimstubs2.cmd d:\VMWare\SDK\wsdl\vim25 Vim25Api stage Vim25Objects.cs . Vim25Service2005

Installation looks like this:

D:\VMWare\SDK\samples\DotNet>genvimstubs2.cmd d:\VMWare\SDK\wsdl\vim25 Vim25Api
stage Vim25Objects.cs . Vim25Service2005
Checking and Creating stage
The system cannot find the file specified.
Microsoft (R) Web Services Description Language Utility
[Microsoft (R) .NET Framework, Version
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Writing file ‘stage\Vim25Objects.cs’.
Microsoft (R) Visual C# 2008 Compiler version 3.5.30729.4926
for Microsoft (R) .NET Framework version 3.5
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Microsoft (R) Xml Serialization support utility
[Microsoft (R) .NET Framework, Version
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Serialization Assembly Name: Vim25Service2005.XmlSerializers, Version=, C
ulture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null.
Generated serialization assembly for assembly D:\VMWare\SDK\samples\DotNet\vim25
service2005.dll –> ‘.\Vim25Service2005.XmlSerializers.dll’.
Optimizing generated stubs…
Microsoft (R) Visual C# 2008 Compiler version 3.5.30729.4926
for Microsoft (R) .NET Framework version 3.5
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Stub generation Done.
ECHO is off.

From here you can continue using the instructions in the getting started guide above.

Categories: Scripting, VMWare Tags: ,

Finding VMs with disks on multiple different datastores – Script of the Day

March 23, 2011 Leave a comment

I was looking at a VM on one of our hosts and noticed the rather odd configuration showed that the VM had 2 disks provisioned (not unusual), and that the 2 disks had been presented on different storage (very unusual for non clustered VMs in our environment)

I figured, the easiest way to identify all of the VMs that are using VMDKs on multiple different datastores was PowerCli.

The result – just a one liner.

PS:7 >get-vm | ?{$_.DatastoreIdList.count -gt 1}

Name                 PowerState Num CPUs Memory (MB)
----                 ---------- -------- -----------
labserver001     PoweredOn  1        8192
labserver 17a         PoweredOn  2        1280
labserver21        PoweredOn  1        8192
labserver17b         PoweredOn  2        1152

‘Upgrading’ from ESX to ESXi – a multipart series – Intro

March 2, 2011 Leave a comment

‘Upgrading’ from VMWare ESX 4.0 to ESXi 4.1(u1) – with as few button clicks as possible.

Anyone reading the official docs from VMware at : is likely to be annoyed and frustrated at the lack of actual information as to how to manage the ‘upgrade’ (migration) from ESX to ESXi.

There is no direct way to upgrade directly as the 2 products are effectively 2 different operating systems that behave in exactly the same way. (well not really, but they are installed totally differently and are managed slightly differently)

Anyway, we have about 80 ESX hosts to migrate to ESXi, so I decided to find the easiest method to do so.

A scour of the web found several great resources. – and some valuable information. It seems that nobody has yet delivered a full ‘upgrade’ solution, but several people have provided automated deployments of the core installation and several other people have created configuration scripts for the newly installed ESX. So I have decided to add an additional ‘information gathering’ step, then ‘borrow’ some of the work done elsewhere and put together an ‘upgrade’ solution.

Scratching my head, I have been working on a simpler way to manage the deployment / upgrade.

The way I see it, the ‘upgrade’ needs 3 parts:

1) Capture configuration from the existing ESX host that we will be replacing (we may need to interpret and reformat it for our new ESXi Host

2) Deploy new ESXi instance on the hardware

3) Deploy captured config to our new ESXi host.

Whilst I realise that this probably will not be enough to make it a full ‘upgrade’ the idea is to get as much done as quickly as possible.

Coming up will be several posts, documenting comparisons of 5 methods of deployment, as well as some PowerCli code and a look into Host Profiles for easing this process.

On the off chance that one of the vendors that do ‘migration’ tools feel like offering me a free license to trial their tool and write up a process doc, I may even be inclined to review that for people with $$$ – but it is important that it is noted that I promise no allegiance to any tools, as would like this review to be fair and open to all. The end product of the series should provide a decision as to my preferred FREE method for doing the migration.

At the end of the series, I’ll create a comparison table comparing the various products, as a springboard for anyone who’ll soon be in the same situation as me.

For environments where there are only 2 or 3 ESX hosts, I’d consider building a solution like this going overboard, so I will make the assumption that readers of the series are people who have large numbers of hosts to upgrade and therefore will be wanting to work on ESX / ESXi rather than VMware workstation. As such, I will endeavour to get all tools working on ESXi and will highlight tweaks required (several of the tools I have tested so far were created on VMware workstation and therefore do not import directly to ESX hosts)

Products that I will be including in my review for the deployment include:

1. UDA (Ultimate Deployment Appliance) –

2. EDA (ESX Deployment appliance) – (0.90 in VMware appliance Marketplace, but 0.94 available at: )

3. VMware’s own ‘Auto Deploy’ –

4. SD / USB duplication

5. Manual installation (I will include this as a benchmark – remember ESXi requires very few clicks as is to get running, so manual may still be the way to go)

I will go through the options for the deployment of ESXi, before doing the capture and deploy steps above (I need a deployment workframe to work on, so it makes sense in this case)

All tests for now will be run in my isolated lab, with the convenient luxury of the deployment servers being located on the same subnets etc as the Hosts I’ll be deploying to, but once I have selected a solution and start the migration of 80 ESX hosts to ESXi, I will of course post details of any further tweaks required for deployment.


Categories: Virtualisation, VMWare Tags:

Script of the Day – Scripted start of Virtual Center when hosted as a VM

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment

There are many threads on the VM communities, debating whether it is better to run a VC on a physical host, or a VMWare host.

My answer is always that running it as a VM is better, but the arguement always comes back that if I have catastrophic faiilure and don’t know where my VC last lived . . I will be in trouble.

Of course, plan a is to simply set the restart policy on the VM to start with the host, but people tell me they have had mixed results with this approach.

The alternative is a quick PowerCli script that quickly connects to each ESX host in the cluster, checks if it owns the VM, then starts the VM.


$vCenters = "ESXHost1", "ESXhost2", "ESXHost3"
$VCServer = "VCServer"
$userName = "username"
$passwd = Read-Host ("Password for " + $userName) -AsSecureString:$true
$cred = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -ArgumentList $userName,$passwd


One catch to be aware of though is that if you are using AD for DNS and all AD servers are VMs, you will be unable to resolve the ESX host names for the script to work, so you’ll need to specify IP addresses to the ESX hosts.

You do not however need to specify the DNS server IP for the VM, as the script look s as VM Names and

You could extend the above script then to start a series of VMs with a set wait time between VMs (e.g. start the DC for DNS etc, then start the SQL server, then start the VC, wait 60 seconds between each start)

<pre>Disconnect-VIServer * -Confirm:$false
$vCenters = "", "", ""
$vms = "DNSServer", "SQLServer", "VCServerName"
$userName = "root"
$passwd = Read-Host ("Password for " + $userName) -AsSecureString:$true
$cred = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -ArgumentList $userName,$passwd
# time to wait before starting next VM
$waittime = 60

Foreach ($vm in $vms){
 ForEach ($vCenter in $vCenters) {
 connect-VIServer -Server $vCenter -Credential $cred
 If (get-vm $VCServer -ea 0)
 Start-VM $vm
 Write-Host "VM $VM Starting on $vCenter" -ForegroundColor Green
 Write-Host "Sleeping for $waittime to allow $vm to start up"
 sleep $waittime
 disconnect-VIserver -confirm:$false

And if you are feeling really flash, you could get each VM start, then monitor that VM for a particular services on thon that VM to run, before starting the next VM (if you have relevant access rights etc)

Prime example here is where I need a VM running my AD/DNS to start, before I can start the SQL server. Then, I want te SQL server to start and the service running, before I can start the Virtual Center.

# remove any VI connections that you may create in your PS Profile
Disconnect-VIServer * -Confirm:$false
# List of ESX hosts (by IP here as we are assuming DNS lives on a VM)
$ESXHosts = "", "", ""
# 2 dimensional array, each row reflecting the VM to start and the service that I need to monitor
$vms = ("ADDNSServerName", "DNS"), ("SQLServerName","MSSQLSERVER"),("VCServerName","vpxd")
$userName = "root"
$passwd = Read-Host ("Password for " + $userName) -AsSecureString:$true
$cred = New-Object System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -ArgumentList $userName,$passwd

# Connect to all ESX hosts in array $ESXHosts
ForEach ($ESXHost in $ESXHosts) {connect-VIServer -Server $ESXHost -Credential $cred}
Foreach ($vm in $vms){
 Write-Host "Searching for $vm[0]" -ForegroundColor Blue
 ForEach ($ESXHost in $ESXHosts) {
 If (get-vm -Name $vm[0] -server $ESXHost -ea 0)
 Start-VM -VM $vm[0] -Server $ESXHost
 Write-Host "VM $VM Starting on $ESXHost" -ForegroundColor Green
 $i = 0
 $running = "no"
 do {$running = Get-Service -ComputerName $vm[0] -Name $vm[1] -ea 0 | % {$_.status}; sleep 1; $i++; Write-Host "Waiting for $vm[1] service to start on $vm[0]- $i seconds elapsed" -ForegroundColor Yellow}
 while ($running -ne "Running")
 Write-Host "$vm[1] service started on $vm[0]" -ForegroundColor Green
Write-Host "VC should now be up and running" -ForegroundColor Red

Specifying your own MAC address on a VM

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

So let’s say we have a VM and it has a VMWare assigned Mac Address – but we want to specify a different MAC for the VM (either a previously assigned automatic VM one, or a 3rd Party one)

You have a few options.

1) VMware provide this: – but I have had mixed results and sometimes needed to use MAC addresses that are not VM specific

2) 3rd party tools for changing the MAC in the OS (Windows in this case)

3) Edit the Mac Address on the NIC itself in TCPIP properties for the NIC (though often software can get around this .

4) Have a hack around the VMX files:


But we need to assign our own Mac Address. How do we do it?

Well there are a few posted articles, showing us how to assign VMware approved Macs (00:50:56:XX:XX:XX), but let’s say my software is licensed to a MAC 00:50:56:22:22:44 . and I have converted the host using a P2V . . what now?

Using the edit settings option for a VM only allows Macs within the alloted range. Annoyingly, even the the MAC address is stored in the .vmx file . . changing it here does not always reflect a change, as the minute you make a change to the NIC (e.g. change port group) it will validate the Mac Address and again kick up errors and get all emotional.

Even worse, the database for the VC saves the old MAC, so it may even revert to the VMware assigned MAC that was provisioned when you created the NIC – or will do so each time you make a subsequent change to the vNic.

Well first of all, let’s have a look at the .vmx file (stored at /vmfs/volumes/<datatsore>/<VMname>/<VMname.vmx> (by default at least)

You can access this by using a tool like WinSCP to connect to the ESX host directly.

If we look in this .vmx file, we see the following Ethernet related entries:

ethernet1.present = “true”
ethernet1.virtualDev = “vmxnet3”
ethernet1.networkName = “BACKUP_32_10.0.224.0”
ethernet1.addressType = “vpx”
ethernet1.generatedAddress = “00:50:56:b2:63:25”
ethernet1.pciSlotNumber = “160”
ethernet1.features = “1”
ethernet1.startConnected = “TRUE”

OK, we want to flush the history in the VC and create a new adapter with our own select MAC.

First of all, let’s remove the NIC from the VM (Right click the VM – Edit Settings)

If we now re-open the .vmx file we get the following ethernet entries:

ethernet1.present = “false”

Great, the remaining entries have been flushed.

Now, we’d like to edit the .vmx file and commit changes, so we need to unregister the VM – we can use the VC for this (right-click Vm and select ‘remove from Inventory’

Now let’s re-add the old details to the .vmx file, but

Sspecify these for a new adapter number

Amend the Mac Address

Amend the PCI Slot Number (incremented it by 10 this time – hit and miss though)

ethernet2.present = “true”
ethernet2.virtualDev = “vmxnet3”
ethernet2.networkName = “BACKUP_32_10.0.224.0”
ethernet2.addressType = “STATIC”
ethernet2.address = “00:00:00:12:34:56”
ethernet2.pciSlotNumber = “180”
ethernet2.features = “1”
ethernet2.startConnected = “TRUE”

Note, if the MAC is a non VMware one, you’ll need to specify :

ethernet2.addressType = “STATIC”
ethernet2.address = “00:00:00:12:34:56”

If it is a VMware on that you are recycling:
ethernet1.addressType = “vpx”
ethernet1.generatedAddress = “00:50:56:b2:63:25”

Now simply right click the .vmx file from the Datastore Browser and Viola!

Of course, I under no circumstance endorse or support this, but I have to mention that I have been forced to use this for applications where applications were licensed to Mac addresses and I had migrated to VMware.

Categories: VMWare Tags:

Script of the day – Powercli one liner to get ESX host versions

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

So I was looking at an ESX estate that is managed by someone else and was hoping to do a few ‘Get-EsxCli’ queries.
Of course Get-EsxCli only works properly from 4u2, so I needed to find a host that was patched up to date.

The easy way? PowerCli of course.

get-view -ViewType HostSystem -Property Name,Config.Product | select Name,{$_.Config.Product.FullName}

Of course, Craig likes it to be a little prettier, so suggested a quick tidy up:

get-view -ViewType HostSystem -Property Name,Config.Product | select Name,@{N=&quot;Build&quot;;E={$_.Config.Product.FullName}} | sort build,name

Sizing your ESX LUNs

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I regularly get asked how LUNs should be sized for VMware..

Firstly, this is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string’ type questions.

It of course depends on the number of VMDKs you’ll be running, the storage available, the type of storage, the i/o of the storage, type of VMs etc etc etc,

Things to consider for example are, do you have storage that does de-duplication and is cost of storage a major factor (and so on)
Of course . . pretty much always, a cost savings equals a performance hit.

Anyway, as a very loose rule of thumb, I (in most cases) find that I size LUNs somewhere between 400GB and 750GB and seldom (if ever) have more than 30 vmdks per LUN.

Pretty much always, I redirect the request to the following resources:

first of all, the configuration Maximums:,289483,sid179_gci1350469,00.html

and of course the composite created by Andrethegiant on the VMware communities

Categories: VMWare Tags:

Purging old data from the database used by vCentre Server 4.x (2.5 also included)

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment

We had a failed VC today – seems our client managed to fill the SQL database and fill the storage.
It is a physical host, so expanding the disk is not so easy.

Time to clear the VC database up . .

Luckily, VMware have posted the how-to for this one (as they did before for 2.5)

The details are pretty thorough . . just watch out to make sure you stop your VC service before running this (and if you can, back up your database as you’ll be purging data from the database)

Linky here:

Note: Do not run the scripts attached to this article against a VirtualCenter 2.x database. For information about purging data in VirtualCenter 2.x, see

Categories: VMWare Tags: ,

VMUG London Lowdown

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment


I attended the VMUG in London yesterday. Unfortunately I missed the Enterprise round table, to sit on Alan Renouf’s PowerCLi session.
the session was pretty handy in terms of getting me to revert to the PowerCli again, but an hour is just not enough time to get your teeth fully stuck in – his focus was reporting (which I guess makes sense, as he’d hardly want us, deleting, configuring and moving things round in his lab – which he generously shared)
Either way, the hands on labs were a good opportunity to network with other local professionals.

Alaric did a great job of entertaining us as MC – (ask him about his juvenile moment and variable names next time you see him)

Warren Oliver from Veeam really lives and breathes his product. I had a chat with him at break time and have had him in my office a few times. he really is an asset to the company – I like what Veeam do, I like their product and like their attitude. You’ll have seen several references to their tools in my previous bloggings . .and you will see more as we currently rolling Veeam vPower out at a big client site (see you in 2 weeks Warren)

either way, the presentation was humorous, but professional and entertaining – the product looks amazing (I guess we know it is . . considering all the awards they have received at VMworld etc?)

As sponsors, they did a great job too – including donating an iPad as a prize (the usual business card draw . . I need to get myself some business cards . .)

Scott’s chat on certification was very handy – saved me doing a bunch of web trawling. (I will be going for a VCDX later this year . . though not because I want the certification, but rather because I like the appeal of building a design for something then having to defend it – thus testing my own knowledge) – I will post as I get on – I have an idea for my design though – and I need to find out whether I will be allowed to publish details of this once I have completed my VCDX (it is info that I want the community to be able to use . . so a certain aspect of the VCDX design I’d like to have publicly shared)
Either way – thanks Scott.

I enjoyed Gabrie’s Budget DR talk. Oddly, it is something I have done myself before, using PowerCli and some Netapps replication. His approach is almost identical to the one I used (though my design was active/active and used a VC hosted on a VM on the non-production site) -= I’ll explain later, as I will blog my scripts in a thread call ‘DR on a shoestring’ – it will no doubt be similar to what Gabe presents, but at least give those of you who would like to try it an alternative approach (speaking of which . . I’ll need some ‘test pilots’ with alternative storage technologies to test drive my revised scripts once complete)

Steve’s cloud discussion (11th hour step in for an automation session that I was looking forward to) caught me off guard – I have been a little slow to get hooked on the cloud side of things, so it was a good eye opener – looking forward to ‘clouds’ at the next VMUG.

To finish, Chris Dearden (in a nice subtle, slightly off pink shirt) presented a humorous account of Transatlantic Data centre migration and how to (or not to) actually get it done.
Seems like they had a big project on their hands and did a reasonable job of getting it completed, considering the rather tight constraints that they had – good effort! – The last slot of the day is always the hardest (the iPad had already been given away and the morning caffeine worn off, but at the end of his presentation it seemed everyone was still awake . . an achievement in itself)

I missed the drink up afterwards (had no choice – one day family visit from the states!) – either way, once I have done DR on a shoestring . .who knows, I may present at a VMUG?

Thanks to everyone who helped organise and played apart . . looking forward to the 12th of May when we convene again.



Categories: VMWare Tags: , , ,