vmware

VMworld 2017: See you in the HCI Zone!

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Will you be going to VMworld 2017? If so stop by the HCI (Hyper Converged Infrastructure) Zone and learn more about the VMware Award Winning Honeywell solution I’ve been working on these past few years. I’ll be at the booth all week talking about how the Honeywell solution has revolutionized the industrial controls market by using the Dell FX2 + vSAN solution. Additionally, there be other Partners, giveaways, Podcasts, and lots of other activities. So, if you are into the HCI Ecosystem or are just interested in learning more, then the HCI Zone is the place to visit!

The HCI Zone will be located at booth #1739 on the Solutions Exchange Floor which is on the right side of the VMware booth. Look for the banner HCI Zone – Powered by vSAN

The HCI Zone hours are as follows:

  • 05:00PM – 7:30PM Sunday, August 27
  • 11:00AM – 06:00PM Monday, August 28
  • 11:00AM – 06:00PM Tuesday, August 29
  • 10:00AM – 05:00PM Wednesday, August 30

Looking forward to seeing you there!

More information around the HCI Zone can be found here — https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2017/08/10/hci-zone-discover-possibilities/

Make vmexplorer.com great again!  

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wantIt’s that time of year to vote for your favorite virtualization blog on vSphere-Land.com For those that don’t know.  vSphere-Land is a great resource for VMware virtualization information.  Mainly this site is known for various lists around VMware products and information.  Every year they host a voting session to help promote the VMware blogging community.  Soon after the voting concludes vSphere-Land post the TOP vBLOGs for 2017.  This list helps to support the hard work bloggers do to support VMware community.

Also, new this year voters must pick 12 blogs from the list then rank them.   They also will have a choice to choose in various categories (Top Female blog, best podcast, etc) This task can be a bit overwhelming and if you are struggling to find twelve blogs I would suggest looking at some of the blogs and seeing which ones align better to your goals.  Example — If you’re into scripting I might suggest William Lam’s Blog, or for vSAN maybe Cormac Hogan.

Why Vote for vmexploer.com?  I’ve run this blog since 2010 and have helped countless amounts of IT folks along the way.  If you’ve found any of my blogs useful over these past years then I would appreciate a vote and with 12 to choose from please include vmexplorer in your list.  Vote for vmexplorer as #1 would even be better.  The list of blogs to choose from can be a bit daunting, best way to find mine is to do a page search for my last name or blog name vmexplorer.com

To Vote, simply start by going to this link — http://topvblog2017.questionpro.com/

Voting will close on 06/30

Again, thank you for your support and I’m looking forward to more years of blogging!

Home Lab: A List of uncommon or niche products

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Part of the joy of building out a home lab or virtualization workstation is finding those one-off items that enable you to build something great, cheap, and unique. Below is a list of some those niche items and distributors I’ve found along the way. I’ll continue to update this post as we go along and I encourage you to post up some of your findings too!

Sybausa.com

This place is full of all types of unique adapters and gadgets to make your home lab or workstation PC better. What I like about their product line focus is the support of cards with a PCIe x1 slot. Various server based add-on cards (example 2/4 port NIC cards) typically require a PCIe x4 or x8 port. However, most home labs typically have plenty of x1 slots and very little to no support for x4 and x8. Syba seems to make a “plethora” of add-on cards that support x1. Their only downside poor documentation/support.

Some products I like from them —

  • 2 Port Gbe PCIe x1 card (SY-PEX24028): I own and use several of these, they seem to work quite well. Dislikes – No Jumbo frames and it uses a Realtek 8111e chips set which means you must add these drivers to support ESXi
  • Another cool item they make is a M.2 to 4-port SATA III Adapter. This little RAID controller allows you to plug directly into an M.2 port and allows 4 SATA devices. I think this would be handy for smaller systems (ie. NUC builds), but performance might be a concern.

StarTech.com

StarTech is really becoming a great company with a very diverse and well supported/documented product line. I think they are really starting to give Blackbox a run for their money. I really like their cable and adapter card lines.

I’ve been using their Startech Null Modem DB9 to USB to run the CLI on my Netgear manage Switch since 2012 and have yet to have an issue with it.

William Lam has blogged many times around the use of NUC style home labs with StarTech Single and Dual USB 3.0 network adapters.

Winyao

Winyao is a “boutique” distributor specializing in NICs, Fibre adapters, and Transceivers. One item I find of value is their PCIe x1 Dual NIC with Intel or Broadcom chipset. Personally, I don’t know much about this company or own any of their products, but at $40-$60 per brand new adapter, I wished I had found them before buying the Syba adapters.

Fractal Design

If you are looking for your next server, workstation, media, or top of the line PC case then take a peek at Fractal Design. Founded in 2007 and based out of Sweden they have really started to dominate the custom case design market. Their innovative designs blend elegance with flexibility, which I might add is a hard combination to find. I like their Arc Midi and Arc Mini R2 line of cases for home lab build outs. However, when or if my trusty Antec Sonata from 2003 lets me down, then Fractal will be next on my list. Here is a great blog post from Erik Bussink around his use of Fractal Design for his 2014 Home Lab.

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

vSAN – Working with the vSAN HCL Database

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The vSAN HCL DB is a local file enabling vCenter Server to validate your vSAN hardware deployment.   This local DB file contains information around the supported products on the VMware compatibility guides. Part of the vSAN Health checks is validating the age of the vSAN HCL DB file.  The initial release of the health feature ships with a copy of the vSAN HCL DB, which was current when released. This copy of the database will become outdated over time. The file can be updated via an internet connection or through manual download (See KB’s below). However, if the HCL DB file is not updated and is 90 days past you will see a warning and at 180 days past you’ll receive an error. These alerts in no way will affect your vSAN cluster as they are merely non-impactful alarms.

You can find this check by clicking on your vSAN Cluster > Monitor > Virtual SAN > Health and then expand Hardware compatibility (See the PIC below). Under Hardware compatibility, you will see various checks that validate your installation.   The ‘vSAN HCL DB up to date’ is the check that will alarm when needed.

You might be thinking –

“I validated my vSAN deployment against the HCL & VCL’s when it was initially built, so why do I need to recheck it over and over?” There are a few good reasons why this validation is important. First off – New firmware and drivers are validated on a routine basis, keeping on top of these will help to ensure your vSAN cluster is able to work optimally and is less problematic. Second – Just because a component was listed on the VGC, doesn’t necessarily mean it will stay on the VGC. Allowing vSAN to self-check itself not only will save you time but will identify any potential issues.

“My vSAN cluster doesn’t have an internet connection and I am pretty good about keeping up to date on the VGC. Do I really need these checks, and if not how can I disable them” Frist off I would not recommend disablement but there may be a need for this. It could be very true that your company does a good job of manually checking the VCG but automating these check would only help your efforts and would be more efficient. However, there are some deployments where automated checks may not be desirable. For those cases follow this guidance to disable: Cluster > Manage > Virtual SAN > General > Internet Connectivity > Disable Auto HCL update

For more information around the vSAN HCL DB, including how to disable and update, please see the following KB’s

In this PIC I’m showing where you can locate the vSAN HCL DB Check status.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 5.14.57 PM

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

DCUI from ssh for vSphere 6 — so awesome!

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This is one of those great command line items to put in your toolkit that will impress your co-workers. I think this command is one of the least known commands but could have a huge impact on an admins ability to manage their environment. The vSphere command is simply ‘dcui’ and it is a very simple way to access the DCUI without having to go into your remote IPMI tools (ilo, iDRAC, KVM over IP, etc). The only down side compared to IPMI tools is it doesn’t work when you reboot your system as you’ll lose your ssh session.

How to use it:

  • After your server is fully booted, start an ssh session to your target server and logon
  • From the command prompt type in dcui and press enter

  • From there you can use the dcui remotely.
  • Press CTRL + C to exit

Tips:

  • Have your ssh screen size where you want it prior to going into the dcui. If you resize after connecting it will exit out of the DCUI
  • The DCUI command worked great in putty but it did not work with the MAC Terminal program. Not sure why, but if you got this working on a MAC then post up!

Reference: https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2039638

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

Using VMware Fusion for your VM Remote Console

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These last few months I’ve been working to totally rebuild my Home Lab and I ran into a neat feature of Fusion.  This blog article is a quick tip on using Fusion for your VM Remote console.

Issue – When you want to start a remote console to your VM’s typically you download and install VMRC (VMware Remote Console) service. Sometimes getting it to run can be a bit of a burden (Normally an OS issue).

Observation – While on my MAC I was setting up a VM via the Web Host Client and I need to mount an ISO. When I right clicked on the VM I choose ‘Launch Remote Console’ vs. the normal ‘Download VMRC’

After clicking I was prompted to choose Fusion

And there it was… a simple way to work with VM’s via Fusion!  From there I mounted my ISO and started the rebuild of my home lab.

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

Honeywell Next Generation Platform with Dell FX2 + VMware VSAN

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I wished over these past years I could blog in technical detail about all the great things I’ve experienced working for VMware. A big part of my job as a VMware TAM is being a trusted advisor and helping VMWare customers build products they can resell to their customers. These past years I’ve worked directly with my customer to help them build a better offering and very soon it will be released. Below is a tweet from Michal Dell around the Honeywell Next Generation Platform and an in-depth video by Paul Hodge. The entire team (Honeywell, Dell, and VMWare) have been working tirelessly to make this product great. It’s been a long haul with so many late nights and deadlines BUT like so many others on this team I’m honored to say I put my personal stamp on this product. Soon it will be deployed globally and it’s a great day for Honeywell, Dell, and VMware. You all should be proud!

Passed VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Delta Exam 2V0-621D

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I passed my VCP 6 – DCV Delta Exam today! Here are some of my notes around it.

  • The test was 65 Questions and you have 75 Minutes to complete it, I had about 30 Mins left.
  • I did get several configuration maximum questions. The questions were more around applying the known maximums vs. just memorizing the data points.
  • I did get some Virtual SAN , vROPS, and LOTS of questions around Lockdown mode
  • Know your licensing Models and what features belong to what.
  • Lots of questions around iSCSI, FCoE, APD, Path loss, PSP Modes
  • Know all about SSO, Authentication types, and don’t forget those newer features like Content Library
  • Make sure you review vSphere Replication and those always fun resource pools
  • Know your command line tools – esxcli and the like
  • In general, questions seem to be straight to the point vs. lengthy paragraphs
  • I followed the blueprint, read my documents, and made sure I read every ‘Note’ section
  • For more information about this test click here

What new in vSphere 6.5

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Hey folks — This great video came my way today.  Watch Kevin Steil, (Southeast VMware Technical Account Manager (TAM) Team Lead) talk about HOL-1710-SDC-3 – vSphere with Operations Management: Product Deep Dive which introduces the cool, new features coming in vSphere 6.5.

ESXi Host NIC failure and the Web client vSwitch orange line doesn’t move? — The results are Shocking!

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Okay, the title was a bit dramatic, but it got your attention. Now keeping with my quest to deliver no-nonsense blog articles here is what the orange line means…

Question 1 – What is the function of the orange line when selecting a vmnic, port group, or vSwitch while viewing them in the Web client network settings?

The orange line is showing you the teaming order for the pNICs or vmnics based on their vSwitch or port group teaming policy. In this screenshot, the policy is Active / Active for both vmnic0 and 1.

The orange line will not move to the other pNIC’s unless they are marked as “active” in the teaming policy. “Active in the teaming policy” vs. “which pNIC is passing traffic” are two different things. The orange line is not a representation of the latter, “pNIC passing traffic”.

 

Question 2 – How can I tell which pNIC is currently passing traffic?

The Web or Thick client vSwitch display (aka the orange line) doesn’t display the pNIC which is currently passing network traffic. You need to use ESXTOP to determine the active pNIC.

Simply go into ESXTOP, Press N, find your vSwitch and it will lead you to the pNIC currently being used to pass traffic.

 

Question 3 – I had a pNIC failure why isn’t the Web client moving the orange line to the standby NIC?

Again… the orange line ONLY points to the Active pNIC in the teaming policy. In this screenshot below, the teaming policy is setup for vmnic3 as Active and vmnic2 as stand by.

Even though vmnic3 is down, traffic should be flowing through vmnic2. Use ESXTOP to determine this (See Question 2)

 

 

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.