VMware HCL Check with PowerCLI (Proof of Concept)

Announced in my VMware HCL in JSON Format post a few days ago, here is now a working version of my script. The script does not create a fancy report at the moment, it just writes some output and the result. It’s only intended to show that it actually works. Here is an example:

vmware-hcl-check-script

There are still some problems, but especially with HP, Dell or IBM Systems, it produces good results.

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ESXi 5.1 May 2016 SSLv3 Patch (Build 3872664)

VMware has published a patch for ESXi 5.1 and the corresponding vCenter Server version.

Product: VMware ESXi 5.1
Release date: May 24, 2016
Patch: ESXi510-201605001
Build: 3872664
Build (security only): 3872638
Links: KB2141429 | Download

VMware vCenter Server 5.1 Update 3d and modules [Release Notes] [Download]

The SSLv3 issue has been addressed in this releases. Support for SSLv3 protocol is enabled by default but is configurable. This removes the risk of an unmanageable ESXi hosts when you update ESXi to the latest version, without having the latest vCenter Server.

To disable SSLv3 in your vSphere environment, you need to update ESXi to ESXi 5.1 build 3872664 released on May 24, 2016 and update vCenter Server to vCenter Server 5.1 Update 3d first and then manually disable SSLv3 through configuration settings, for more information, see KB2139396.

The latest ESXi 5.1.0 Build number is now: 3872664
Updated: ESXi Release and Build Number History
Updated: ESXi Image Profiles

VMware HCL in JSON Format

When you want to upgrade ESXi hosts, or just want do create health reports, you might want to verify that the system is listed in VMwares HCL. The HCL is currently only provided as website which might be a problem for automated reports. To make HCL checks, I’ve transformed the HCL into the JSON format, which works great in scripts. Here is the result:

vmware-hcl-json

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VMware NSX 6 Component Communication Diagram

This post provides information on the required ports for VMware NSX for vSphere 6.

nsx-communication-diagram

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Determine TBW from SSDs with S.M.A.R.T Values in ESXi (smartctl)

smartctl-in-esxiSolid-State-Drives are getting more and more common in ESXi Hosts. They are used for caching (vFlash Read Cache, PernixData FVP), Virtual SAN or plain Datastores. A problem that comes with SSDs is their limited lifetime per cell. Depending on their technology, each cell can be overwritten from 1.000 times in consumer TLC SSDs up to 100.000 times in enterprise SLC based SSDs.

The value to keep an eye on is the guaranteed TBW (Total Bytes Written or Terabytes Written) which is typically provided by the vendor in their specifications. This value describes how many Terabytes can be written to the entire device, until the warranty expires. The current value can be readout with S.M.A.R.T. in the Total_LBAs_Written field.

Unfortunatelly, VMware makes it hard to readout RAW S.M.A.R.T values on ESXi hosts. For that reason I’ve ported a version of smartctl, which is part of  smartmontools to ESXi. I’ve made the package available as VIB. The download link is at the bottom of this post.

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Deploy VMware NSX in Homelabs with Limited Resources

downsizing-nsxWhen deploying VMware NSX in a homelab, its huge resource requirement might be an issue. In the default configuration a small setup with NSX Manager, 3 NSX Controllers and 2 Edge gateways requires 30 GB Memory. Consumer VMs to connect to logical switches requiring additional resources.

This post explains how you can deploy VMware NSX in your homelab with less than 8GB Memory by downsizing each component including:

  • NSX Manager
  • NSX Controllers
  • NSX Edge Gateways
  • Consumer VMs

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Send dvSwitch Port Statistics to Graphite

For network analysis I want to have Distributed Switch port statistics in my Graphite installation. I’ve created a script that pulls dvSwitch port statistics from a vCenter server, or directly from an ESXi host and sends them to a Carbon Relay. Ports connected to NSX Logical Switches, which are actually distributed Port Groups, are also included. This allows to create universal dashboards with Grafana for example.

dvswitch-port-statistics-graphite

This script is intended to run as cronjob every minute. Port Statistics are provided as counters which can be easily converted to per second values with Graphite functions.

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ESXi 6.0 May 2016 Patch (Build 3825889)

VMware has published a patch for ESXi 6.0

Product: VMware ESXi 6.0
Release date: May 12, 2016
Patch: ESXi600-201605001
Build: 3825889
Links: KB2136186 | Download

The update resolves 7 issues including two PSOD and a CBT problem with the following symptoms: Read more »

Send NSX Edge Gateway Statistics to Graphite

To monitor VMware NSX Edge Gateways I want to send interface statistics to my Graphite installation. NSX Manager comes with a REST API that allows to pull information in XML or JSON format. I’ve created a script that pulls Interface, Firewall and Load Balancer statistics from all ESGs and sends them to a Carbon Relay. This allows to create universal custom dashboards with Grafana for example.

nsx-edge-gateway-statistics-graphite

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Configure Basic Edge Load Balancing in VMware NSX

An Edge Services Gateway allows to connect services running on Logical Switches outside of NSX based networks. I’ve explained the base installation from zero to the first ESG here. This post explains how to connect Web servers running on logical networks VXLAN to the outside.

nsx-load-balancing

In this example I’m running 3 nginx web servers on small Linux appliances connected to a logical switch.

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