Author Archives: Chris

VMworld 2018 US: VIN2992BU- vSphere Client Roadmap

This session at VMworld US 2018 covered the past, present, and some of the future of the VMware vSphere Client. I caught up with the session via the online recording.

vSphere has moved from having a Windows-only desktop client (known as the “C#” or “fat” client), through a flash-based client to the new modern HTML5 client. The fat client is no longer supported by the current vSphere platforms and the Flash client will be deprecated with the “next numbered release” of vSphere- i.e. that version will be the last one to ship with the Flash client and from then on the HTML5 client will be the interface.

vSphere Client Evolution 2016-2018- Slide from VMworld 2018 US: VIN2992BU

vSphere Client Evolution 2016-2018

The HTML5 client has been around since appearing as a “fling” back in March 2016, becoming part of the supported release in November of that year with vSphere 6.5, and has picked up additional features with each subsequent release. With the new vSphere 6.7 Update 1 release this is now fully functional.

New features in 6.5U1 to round off this functionality include the integration of VMware Update Manager (VUM) and Platform Services Controller (PSC) management. There’s improvements around the creation workflow for alarm definitions, and for the implementation of vCenter High Availability (VCHA).

Also new is improvements to the search, including filtering. The presenters discussed  how the traditional tree-view used in the client could make it difficult to locate one of 35,000 VMs and a more targeted search was a better approach. There wasn’t a huge amount of talk prospective future developments in the clients in this talk but one of the items mentioned was the interest in integrating natural language searching in a future release.

The HTML5 client fling is still available, and can be used by vCenters running versions 6.0 or 6.5, but not 6.7. At the date the slides were made there had been 70,000 deployments of this fling and it had featured 70 update releases in the 2 years it has been available.

There was some information given about the feedback options in use- notably the use of the CEIP program to collect usage analytics from admins who have signed up to the scheme. This anonymised data is being used by VMware to drive future developments and prioritise features.

Around 30 minutes into the presentation the sound drifts off for about 5 minutes as there is a discussion with members of the audience. As a tip- always try and give the audience microphones or at least repeat their question for the recordings.

If you’re watching the recording then stick around as the final section covered the modern plugin framework which allows 3rd party developers (your backup, storage vendors etc.) to produce JavaScript-based plugins for the HTML5 client. VMware is offering a certification for these plugins to ensure compliance and the new plugin architecture allows vendors to deploy new versions outside of vSphere’s own release lifecycle.

If you want to watch the recording of this session to get more information it’s available on the VMworld site: https://videos.vmworld.com/searchsite/2018?search=VIN2992BU

The NSX Portfolio

There’s an ever growing variety of NSX flavours as VMware expands the range of their Network Virtualisation and security platforms. A recent podcast highlighted these to me, and I thought it worth summarising here in a quick post.

NSX DataCenter– This is the product that people have usually previously referred to as NSX (the NSX moniker now applying to the whole suite of products). This has two varieties: NSX-V which is the traditional Network Virtualisation for vSphere and NSX-T which is the Network Virtualisation product for multi-hypervisor and multi-cloud platforms. The current NSX-T version 2.2 itself has two options- the datacentre release for multi-hypervisor support (Ubuntu and Red Hat KVM platforms) or an offering with additional cloud support NSX-Cloud (currently for the Microsoft Azure platform).

NSX SD-Wan By VeloCloud is from the recent Velocloud aquisition by VMware providing, as the name suggests, software-defined Wide-Area-Network capabilities.

NSX Hybrid Connect was formerly known as HCX (Hybrid Cloud Extension) and was announced at VMWorld Europe 2017. This is the VMware platform for consolidating datacentres and moving workloads around- aiming for an “any platform to any platform” style of seamless vMotion.

For more info, check out the VMware Community Podcast episode #438 with Tim Davis (from about 9 minutes).

Email Alerts not sending in vCenter 6.5

Symptoms

  • vCenter (in my case VCSA 6.5 ) is not sending alert emails even though the mail server appears to be configured properly (in the vSphere Web Client this is on the vCenter node under Configure, Settings, General).
  • Network connectivity between vCenter and port 25 on the SMTP server is fine and has been tested.
  • The logs on the SMTP server show no evidence of emails beings sent.
  • When connecting via SSH to the vCenter Server Appliance the sendmail logs are showing errors such as:
    cat /var/log/messages | grep sendmail

    2018-07-14T04:24:46.569978+00:00 my-vc sendmail[21502]: ……: [email protected], [email protected] (0/0),
      delay=00:00:00, xdelay=00:00:00, mailer=relay, pri=30528, relay=[127.0.0.1] [127.0.0.1], dsn=4.0.0,
      stat=Deferred: Connection refused by [127.0.0.1]
  • Cause

    The “Connection refused by [127.0.0.1]” in the logs is the giveaway here- the settings in the client have not been applied to the sendmail service and vCenter is trying to connect to the localhost as the SMTP server.

    Solution

    Go to the client and reconfigure the mail server to point at something else (it doesn’t have to be a real hostname). Then change it back to the correct settings. Normal alerts will be resumed automatically straight away.  You can test if it works by temporarily adding an additional trigger with a very low threshold to an existing alert with notification action.

    vCenter Mail Settings in vSphere Web Client

    vCenter Mail Settings in vSphere Web Client


    Thanks to vExpert Laurens van Duijin for sending me down the right path with this issue.

Find VMs being replicated to a datastore with Get-VmdkFolders

I’m using vSphere Replication to replicate a number of VMs to a datastore which is being decommissioned. I can’t reconfigure replication by code (I’ve mentioned that there’s no public API or PowerCLI around the vSphere Replication functionality in vSphere 6.5 before- most recently on Twitter)  and I can’t multi-select VMs in the vSphere Web Client and reconfigure en-mass through the GUI.

There’s also no way of telling which VMs are being replicated to this datastore without going into the reconfigure dialogues for each one individually. That’s a lot of clicking before even starting to update the configuration.

I’ve put together a PowerCLI function takes a little of this pain away by establishing which folders on a given datastore contain VMDK files. I’ve already migrated any Virtual Machines off so any remaining VMDKs on the volume should be associated with a replication process. Additionally in this case the default folder name was used when setting up the replication so all the folder names correspond to a VM.

The function is called “Get-VmdkFolders” (as there’s potentially other uses for it) and is available on GitHub here. With this I now have a list of VMs that need manually reconfiguring.

PS C:\> Get-VmdkFolders "MyReplicationDatastore"
MyVM1
MyVM2
MyVM3
MyVM5
MyVM7

 

VMworld 2018 Early-Bird Registration Available

Registration for VMworld 2018 opened this week (8th May) with Early-Bird discounts available until 15th June for the US event, or 27th July for the European event. This gives prospective attendees a $300 / €200 discount on the regular price which runs up until the day before the respective events. This year VMworld US will again be in Las Vegas at the end of August, with the European leg staying in Barcelona but moving to early November.

I’ve seen no official word on why the EMEA event has moved down the calendar, but this does put it in a different financial quarter to the US event both for VMware and their partners. This should allow for more flexibility with both product releases and marketing budget through the year, especially when combined with the recent partner “Empower” event and Dell Technologies World both sat in the spring.

Full details of the event, along with the registration details are available at vmworld.com. The site features a link at the top of the page to choose between the Las Vegas and Barcelona events.