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Resilient vSphere 6.0 PSC deployment without Load Balancer

With vSphere 6.0 VMware has separated their vCenter Server into two components - vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller. They also created a list of topologies they recommend  for deployments. The deployment they recommend for high availability includes an External Load Balancer where vCenter Servers are pointed to. An alternate solution is to have multiple Platform Services Controllers and vCenters pointed directly to them. There is no need to have one PSC for each vCenter. Each PSC can manage up to 4 vCenters, so with 2 PSC you can manage 8 vCenters, with 3 you can manage 10 vCenters, which is the configuration maximum at the moment.


Platform Services Controller with or without Loadbalancer?

The solution with a Load Balancer sounds nice, and I'm sure it's operable, but it has some drawbacks:

  • It requires a third-party Load Balancer (Compatible Load Balancers are NSX-v, Citrix NetScaler and F5 Network Big-IP)
  • Configuration is complex
  • Troubleshooting is even complexer
  • Does not scale (1 PSC can handle 4 vCenters, with a Load Balancer (which is used for redundancy) 2 PSC are required to handle 4 vCenters)

Read More »Resilient vSphere 6.0 PSC deployment without Load Balancer

Getting Started with the Free Log Insight for vCenter

li-logoVMware gives away a 25-OSI pack of vRealize Log Insight 3.3 for all users with a supported vCenter Server license. VMware vRealize Log Insight is a log management software with intuitive dashboards, sophisticated analytics and broad third-party extensibility. It provides deep operational visibility and faster troubleshooting.

Log Insight is not a new product. I've already written about it during the beta phase and the final product was introduced back in 2013. With the release of vSphere 6.0 Update 2, VMware has included a 25-OSI package to all vCenter installations allowing all customers to use the product in small environments for free.

In this post I am goging to explain how to obtain the 25-OSI pack and deploy Log Insight for vCenter.

Read More »Getting Started with the Free Log Insight for vCenter

Can the Host Client replace the Fat Client? Full ESXi configuration Walkthrough

vmware-host-client-splashThe new HTML5 based VMware Host Client for managing ESXi host is finally available with the latest release vSphere 6.0 Update 2. I'm not sure if the most memorable name is "ESXi Embedded Host Client", "EHC", "esx-ui" or "VMware Host Client". However, the new client is a great alternative to the C# VMware vSphere Client aka. "Fat Client", or any other existing ESXi configuration solutions.

In this post I am going through the full configuration of an ESXi Host to see if the VMware Host Client can replace the C# Client for configuring and managing Standalone ESXi Hosts.

Read More »Can the Host Client replace the Fat Client? Full ESXi configuration Walkthrough

What's inside VMware vSphere 6.0 Update 2

VMware has just released vSphere 6.0 Update 2. Together with the Updates, the following product updates were released today:

If you want to get notified about new products, subscribe to my vTracker RSS Feed.

Read More »What's inside VMware vSphere 6.0 Update 2

Virtual Volumes Vendor Status - December 2015

vvol-december-2015VMware vSphere 6.0 with the new Virtual Volumes (VVol) storage architecture is in the market since 9 month now. Many vendors have adopted the technology and the list of supported storage arrays has grown massively in the last couple of month. This post takes a look on the current status and which vendors are supported today:

  • Atlantis
  • DataCore
  • Dell
  • EMC
  • Fujitsu
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Hitachi
  • Huawei
  • IBM
  • NEC
  • NetApp
  • NexGen
  • SANBlaze

Read More »Virtual Volumes Vendor Status - December 2015

ESXi 6.0 November 2015 CBT Fix Patch (Build 3247720)

VMware has published a patch for ESXi 6.0 that resolves the (new) CBT Bug documented in KB2136854.

Product: VMware ESXi 6.0
Release date: November 25, 2015
Patch: ESXi600-201511001
Build: 3247720
Links: KB2137545 | Download

This patch updates the esx-base VIB to resolve an issue that occurs when you run virtual machine backups which utilize Changed Block Tracking (CBT) in ESXi 6.0, the CBT API call QueryDiskChangedAreas() might return incorrect changed sectors that results in inconsistent incremental virtual machine backups. The issue occurs as the CBT fails to track changed blocks on the VMs having I/O during snapshot consolidation.

Read More »ESXi 6.0 November 2015 CBT Fix Patch (Build 3247720)

What's Inside an ESXi vm-support Bundle?

When you open a Support Request (SR) at VMware, the Global Support Services usually requests you to collect diagnostic information. You can create this log bundle with a special command line tool (vm-support), with the vSphere (Web-)Client or with the API. No matter how you create the bundle the result is always the same: a .tgz file containing your ESXi Host name and the creation date with a size of about 30 - 300MB.

This post explains what's inside this log bundle, but instead of simply extracting the file and looking at the result, I am going to take a look on how the file is created and what's part of the process.

Why is it important to know? Because it does not only contain data that allows VMware GSS to identify your issue, but also to help yourself to enhance your troubleshooting skills. The script gathers the output of many useful commands and there is nearly no black magic involved. You do not need special tools or internal VMware knowledge to make use of this log bundle.


Read More »What's Inside an ESXi vm-support Bundle?

USB 3.0 devices detected as USB 2 in ESXi 6.0 and 5.5

In my latest post USB Devices as VMFS Datastore in vSphere ESXi 6.0 I had a problem with USB 3.0 devices that are detected as USB 2 in ESXi. I know that USB 3.0, also known as eXtensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI), is supported in ESXi 6.0 and ESXi 5.5 Build 2143827 or later. Unfortunately all of my devices are detected as USB 2.1, despite the USB 3 hub was visible. This problem applies to both, USB devices in path-through mode, and USB devices mounted from the command line with usbarbitrator disabled. The solution was quite simple and not related to an ESXi, but to a UEFI configuration.

Read More »USB 3.0 devices detected as USB 2 in ESXi 6.0 and 5.5

ESXi Network Troubleshooting with tcpdump-uw and pktcap-uw

This post explains how you can troubleshoot network problems by capturing network traces of ESXi host by using the tcpdump-uw and pktcap-uw utility. The pktcap-uw tool is an enhanced packet capture and analysis tool that can be used in place of the legacy tcpdump-uw tool. The pktcap-uw tool is included by default in ESXi 5.5 and later. This post explains the main differences of both tools and how to use them.

tcpdump-uw vs. pktcap-uw - It's not the same!


Capabilities of tcpdump-uw and pktcap-uw

The tcpdump-uw utility captures traffic from VMkernel adapters. The pktcap-uw utility, introduced in ESXi 5.5 can capture traffic that flows through physical network adapters, VMkernel adapters, and virtual machines adapters.

But it's more complex...

Read More »ESXi Network Troubleshooting with tcpdump-uw and pktcap-uw

VCSA6 Bash and SSH Key Authentication

The Linux Version of the vCenter Server is not new anymore but with vSphere 6.0 the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) has overtaken the Windows Version in many aspects. The completely rewritten linked mode removes the need for a Windows-based vCenter and the scalability of both appliances are identical.

VCSA6 is delivered as appliance based on openSUSE. Nevertheless its a Linux, VMware want's you to use the GUI. Unless you are in a testing environment I would highly recommend to limit shell usage to the following usage scenarios:

  • During Service Requests under advice of VMware GSS
  • For advanced troubleshooting
  • When required for complex deployments (eg. PSC 6.0 High Availability)

Read More »VCSA6 Bash and SSH Key Authentication