Finding Deprecated VMFS Volumes

Following an upgrade to vSphere 6, hosts popped up an error message reporting that some old VMFS volumes were found on the host. Whilst these still worked, it would be prudent to tidy them up and replace them with modern datastores. The message is:

“Deprecated VMFS volume(s) found on the host. Please consider upgrading volume(s) to the latest version”

image

Whilst this highlights that there is an issue, the GUI message doesn’t indicate which volumes (or how many) are affected. The following quick bit of PowerCLI produces a table of the datastores with a VMFS version of less than 5.

Get-Datastore |
 Where-Object { $_.ExtensionData.Info.VMFS.MajorVersion -lt 5} |
 Select-Object Name, FreeSpaceGB, CapacityGB, @{n='VMFS Version';e={$_.ExtensionData.Info.VMFS.MajorVersion}}

Example Output:

Name           FreeSpaceGB CapacityGB VMFS Version
----           ----------- ---------- ------------
VOL-VM01            574.77    2047.75            3
VOL-VM02           1924.05    2047.75            3

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VMworld Europe

Travel Changes for #VMworld Europe 2016

For those that have previously been to VMworld (or other conferences) at the Fira Grand Via Barcelona venue there’s a few changes to transport this year. If you’ve walked round the conference centre from the “Europa Fira” metro station to the North entrance used by VMworld (and formerly TechEd Europe) in the past couple of years you’ll have spotted the closed entrance to the metro station ten minutes closer to the front door. Well good news- it’s now open!

The new metro station is served by an all new line that links the airport terminals to the conference venue- as shown in this tuneful video from TMB Barcelona.

So, what does this all mean for VMworld attendees?

Firstly, there are still Airport Bus Shuttles running on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday (see http://www.vmworld.com/en/europe/hotel-travel.html for times). But if you arrive/leave outside these times and want to travel between the airport and the conference venue, you can use this new “L9 Sud” metro line and an Airport ticket.

Secondly, the “Metro shuttles” that have run in previous years from the “Europa Fira” metro station round to the North entrance are not running this year- attendees are advised to use the L9 Sud metro line from “Europa Fira” to “Fira” instead (or you could take the 10 minute walk). Remember- this won’t cost extra on your metro ticket from the city centre because it will still count as the same journey

Finally, if you have a metro map of Barcelona from a previous trip, it’s worth downloading a new one.

Gran Via South Entrance

The South Entrance at Fira Gran Via by the Europa Fira metro station. VMworld is at the other end.

Walking round Fira

On a nice day it’s a pleasant walk from the South entrance to the North one.

North Entrance

The North Entrance to Fira Gran Via in Barcelona

Setting EVC Level on a Cluster with a VCSA and no shared storage

Problem

A second host has been added to a one-node vSphere cluster which has no shared storage and EVC cannot be enabled. Details as follows:

  • A vSphere environment consists of an existing cluster containing a single host running ESXi 6. On this host is (amongst other things) the vCenter Server Appliance VM.
  • A second ESXi6 host is added and joined it to the vCenter. This host has older hardware with an older EVC level (rather than the usual situation where the newer box has newer hardware).
  • EVC cannot be enabled on the cluster because the old host does not have the capabilities of the new host. The old host has VMs running which may be using the enhanced capabilities of the higher EVC level, one of these is the vCSA.

    “The host cannot be admitted to the cluster’s current Enhanced vMotion Compatibility mode. Powered-on or suspended virtual machines on the host may be using CPU features hidden by that mode.”

    Therefore the EVC level on the existing cluster cannot be lowered by powering off all the VMs because it cannot be changed without using vCenter.

  • The vCSA cannot be vMotioned to the old host because this requires EVC to be enabled.

    “The virtual machine requires hardware features that are unsupported or disabled on the target host”

  • There is no Shared Storage. VMs are stored on local datastores. The Knowledgebase article “How to enable EVC in vCenter Server (1013111)” has a solution but this doesn’t (as far as I can tell) work without shared storage. Without storage visible from both hosts the VM cannot be disabled in one host and brought back up in a second which is in a new cluster.

Possible Solutions

The problem boils down to needing to cold migrate a VM between ESXi hosts without using shared storage or vCenter. The following solutions came to mind.

  1. Create some shared storage (possibly using an NFS share on a laptop temporarily) and follow the procedure shown in KB1013111
  2. Power down the vCSA, use the host web client to move the files from the datastore to a laptop, then back up to the less-able host. Power it on and set EVC on the cluster.
  3. Dump the vCSA and setup a replacement instance on the less-able host. Reconfigure everything. The “Start Again” option.
  4. Use SCP to do a host-host local datastore transfer of the powered down and unregistered vCSA Virtual Machine files

My Chosen Solution

This is what I tried and tested and it worked in my environment, along with step-by-step instructions if anyone else finds themselves in this predicament (usual disclaimer applies).

Option 4:  Use SCP to do a host-host local datastore transfer of the powered down and unregistered vCSA Virtual Machine files.

Rough steps – “First Host” is the existing box with newer hardware, “Second Host” is the box with older hardware being added:

  1. Using vCSA setup a new cluster containing just the second host (the one with older hardware) and turn on EVC appropriately.
  2. Enable Secure Shell access on both hosts
  3. Shutdown all VMs including the vCSA on the first host
  4. Remove vCSA from inventory (Unregister) using web client on first host
  5. SSH into second host
  6. Enable SCP through the firewall with
    esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r sshClient
    -thanks http://jim-zimmerman.com/?p=723 for that snippet
  7. Use SCP to copy VM files from local datastore on first host to local datastore on second host.
    For example- in SSH session on second host, something like this:
    mkdir /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/LABVC1
    scp ‘root@192.168.0.100:/vmfs/volumes/Datastore2/LABVC1/*.*’ /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/LABVC1/
  8. Connect to web client on second host and register the copy of the VMX file to inventory
  9. Turn on the vCSA VM. When prompted say “I moved it”
  10. Wait for vCSA to spin up then move the first host into the cluster with the second host.
  11. Tidy up: -Remember to go back and delete the old copy of the VCSA from the datastore on the first host and disable SSH on both hosts if it’s not required. The vCSA can be Storage-vMotioned to rethin disks if they inflated during the SCP operation.

VMworld US 2016 Day 1 Keynote

Yesterday saw the 2016 VMworld US formally kick off with the Keynote address. There are 23,000 attendees at the Las Vegas event, and I was amongst the many armchair supporters watching the live online broadcast.

imageThe keynote opened with drumming, poetry, and a lightshow, but it wasn’t long before Pat Gelsinger took the stage for his 5th VMworld as CEO of VMware. His presentation involved plenty of studying the past to predicting the future- “be_Tomorrow” is the tagline for the event.

Comparisons were made between the industrial revolution and todays’ digital revolution, and in more recent history we saw quotes from Eric Schmidt- the birth of the cloud- in 2006, and Ragu Raghuram on the SDDC in 2011. Some stats on the growth of the cloud vs traditional IT since 2006 were shown, workloads on a private/public cloud growing from 2% to 27% of the total in the last 10 years.

VMware’s predictions of “tomorrow” are interesting (and possibly a little too precise). Gelsinger told us to the minute when his team of experts have predicted that 50% of all workloads will be in the cloud.

Next came the real meat of the Keynote- the introduction of VMware’s latest cross cloud architecture- “Any Cloud, Any Device” using the upcoming products “Cloud Foundation” and “Cross Cloud Services”. Last year’s event had the tagline “Ready for Any”, perhaps this is finally being realised?

We heard examples from partner IBM and customer Marriot, before Guido Appenzeller took to the stage to dive deeper into the products.

The new Cloud products will allow IT to move workloads between an on-premises vCenter-based SDDC, AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. This opens up this possibility of bursting into various public cloud offerings when your workload demands it, but also taking that AWS-developed application and siting it appropriately across one or more locations- providing that security and resilience which IT is tasked with providing to the business.

image

The key here is security- and it’s doubtless no coincidence that the first guest speaker in this segment was from the banking industry- it’s not just the ability to vMotion between different providers “mega-clouds” but also to implement the rest of the SDDC architecture. We saw a demo using NSX to overlay network virtualisation, microsegmentation, and encryption to an AWS application.

One thing that struck me was the way vCloud Air was hardly mentioned. VMware has clearly shifted direction here and is not trying to compete with the AWS/Google Cloud/Azure marketplace but looking more to work with it. This also helps from an IT point of view- we don’t have to turn round to developers and say “Don’t use AWS, learn how to use vCloud Air instead”

imageThe Keynote was rounded off with Pat Gelsinger talking with Michael Dell. The Dell/EMC takeover deal was announced back at VMworld Europe 2015 in October, and currently looks like it’s almost ready to actually happen! As expected, Michael was quick to reassure everyone that it was business as usual for VMware and this Dell ownership wasn’t going to mean the end of the line for those partners who might be Dell competitors. He highlighted how the open partner ecosystem of VMware is critical to it’s continued success and mentioned the new Cloud Foundations and how “only an ecosystem of this size and power could pull this off.”

Both Dell and VMware seem keen to make private clouds easy to deploy, but are also looking to heavily push the public cloud alongside it. The next few years could be interesting, let’s have a look a cloud adoption at about four in the afternoon on June 29th 2021 and see what happened.

Full video of the session can be found on the VMworld website or below.

vExpert 2016

I’ve worn my thesaurus out looking for synonyms of “astounded”, “honoured”, and “proud” for this post, but let’s just say I’m “very happy” find myself amongst the latest 123 individuals to have been awarded the VMware vExpert title following the announcement at the end of last week. Thank you to the VMware community team for this recognition.

What is it?

vExpert

If you’re new to the VMware community, vExpert is VMware’s global evangelism and advocacy program and the award is given for “significant contributions to the community and a willingness to share .. expertise with others” rather than being a traditional technical certification like the VCA/ VCP/ VCAP/ VCDX etc. Announcements are made twice annually and the award is valid for one year.

What next?

From me, expect more of the same- but hopefully bigger. One of the advantages of the vExpert program is it plugs recipients into non-production software licensing deals, betas, and new sources of information- both from VMware themselves but also through the surrounding partner ecosystem. I’m hoping to make best use of all of those resources to continue to learn and thus improve this blog, my tweets, and hopefully produce some more videos and in-person talks in the community.

VMworld Europe

Sessions to look out for at #VMWorld Europe 2016

imageWith 60 days to go to the Barcelona event, the Content Catalog for VMworld Europe 2016 is filling up and the Schedule Builder will be coming online later this month. Here’s a look at some of the sessions already listed that I’m hoping to get onto my timetable. There’s lots to choose from, and this is by no means a complete or final list for my schedule- just five highlights I’ve spotted in the list so far.

1- The Power Hour: Deep Dive, DevOps, and New Features of PowerCLI [INF8092] with Luc Dekens and Alan Renouf

I saw Alan and Luc in action last year where they were “Automating Everything with PowerCLI Deep Dive” (YouTube link) and it was a thoroughly useful session. This is most definitely in my to-do list for 2016.

2- VMware NSX-Deep Dive [NET9152] with Jacob Rapp

There’s a number of sessions on NSX that I’m interested in, but from experience I’m planning on attending the heavier sessions and catching up on the more intro/overview sessions online. This makes my schedule workable, and personally I believe I learn the most this way. This one is currently scheduled for the Tuesday morning straight after the Keynote, so it’s a case of diving in at the deep end!

3- How to Manage Health, Performance, and Capacity of Your Virtualized Data Center Using vSphere with Operations Management [INF8275] with Kyle Ruddy and Himanshu Singh

vSphere with Operations Management is the core of the virtualised infrastructure, and I try hard not to overlook that in favour of the exciting things happening in the surrounding ecosystem. This talk promises demonstrations “of the latest features and capabilities via various scenarios and use cases”, which sounds promising.

4- What’s New with vSphere [INF8375]

Referred to in the Content Catalog as “A VMworld staple”, this session covers everything that’s new to vSphere in 2016 along with future directions the platform is heading in.  It was filled last year, so one to book in early this year to get a seat. There’s a series of “What’s New” breakout sessions on throughout the week covering vCenter Server, vSphere, Storage, Horizon, vRealize and more.

5- Troubleshooting vSphere 6 Made Easy: Expert Talk [INF9205] with Ragavendra Kumar and Abhilash Kunhappan

Currently scheduled for last thing on the last day (must make sure I can catch the plane home afterwards!)  this session promises insights into the “black art” of vSphere troubleshooting. It will cover the tools and log files available and examples of how to use them.

Not yet signed up for Barcelona in October? You can register here.

Goodbye VMTurbo, Hello turbonomic!

Big news today from workload monitoring and management vendor VMTurbo – The name has gone and the brand is now called “turbonomic”.

turbonomic logo

The name change emphasises several facets of the company’s product- not least that it’s not limited to Virtual Machines, or VMware. At a community briefing by Eric Wright last week the compatibilities with Microsoft Hyper-V, XenServer, RHEL, plus container and cloud platforms were highlighted just for starters.

What’s in a name? Continue reading

#VMworld Europe 2016

VMworld is coming back to Europe this autumn, with thousands of delegates attending hundreds of sessions to keep up-to-date in virtualisation technologies. The annual conference has been running since 2004, and since 2008 there’s been a European event alongside the US one. My first VMworld was last year and this year I’m privileged to have been offered an official Bloggers pass to the 2016 event in Barcelona. Many thanks to Corey Romero and the VMware community team for this opportunity. Continue reading