Category Archives: VMware

vSAN- Controller Driver is (not) VMware Certified

In the process of upgrading a vSAN ReadyNode cluster from ESXi 6.5 to 6.7 a warning appeared in the vSAN Health check. The first host in the cluster had gone through the upgrade and was now showing the warning “Controller driver is VMware certified” (Note 1 in the image below, click on it for a larger view). The Dell HBA330 card was using an older version of the driver (2 in the image below) than recommended (3).

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All workloads were still online, but running VMware Update Manager (VUM) did not clear this warning. Looking in the VUM patch listing showed the driver for ESXi 6.5 (4) but not the version recommended for 6.7.

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Solution

It was necessary to manually load these replacement drivers in. A quick google showed they could be sourced from VMware’s download site. Extract the ZIP file from the download and then use the “Upload from File” option in VUM (5) to upload the ZIP file which was inside (in this case “VMW-ESX-6.7.0-lsi_msgpt3-17.00.01.00-offline_bundle-9702440.zip“). The new driver should then appear in the list (6) and will automatically be added to the “Non-Critical Host Patches” baseline (7). Final remediation is now just a case of applying that updating baseline to the host.

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In this particular instance the hosts were Dell PowerEdge R630 vSAN ReadyNodes with the HBA330 SAS HBA Controller option but the principles outlined in this post should apply to other configurations with the same symptoms.

vSphere 6.0- time to upgrade

vCenter-logoIf you’re running VMware vCenter and ESXi 6.0 it’s time to start planning to upgrade as General Support ends on 12 March 2020- one year from now and five years from it’s release. Thankfully the upgrade from 6.0 to 6.5 or 6.7 is usually quite straightforward, and VMware have put a lot of work into streamlining this process.

Looking at the Product Lifecycle Matrix other notable products in the VMware stable worth keeping an eye on include NSX for vSphere (NSXv) 6.2, Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 6.0 and 6.1, and vSAN 6.0-6.2.

Powered Off VM cannot be Powered On

Symptoms

A powered off VM on ESXi 6.5 will not power on and returns the error “Failed to power on virtual machine…. The attempted operation cannot be performed in the current state (Powered off)”.

(i.e. the VM cannot be powered on BECAUSE it is not powered on!)

2019-02-19 (12)

Prior to being powered down the VM properties had just been modified. In this particular case it was immediately following a manual Ubuntu install and the install DVD (from a datastore ISO) was disconnected and the CD Drive switch to” “Host Device”. These operations were performed from the ESXi Web interface.

Repeated attempts to start the VM all fail the same way.

Solution

Unregister the VM, then locate the vmx file in the datastore and re-register it. The VM should now power on.

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UK VMUG 2018 Preview

IMG_20181106_121248612_editIn two weeks I’ll be heading up to the annual UK VMware User Group meeting. This year a later VMworld Europe has pushed this conference’s date into Christmas season from it’s usual home in November and, speaking of homes, it’s relocated from the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham to the National Space Centre in Leicester. “The Sky’s the Limit”? – not here.

The Keynotes are going to be held in the museum planetarium and I’ve heard rumours that Joe Baguely, VMware CTO, is pretty excited about the possibilities this could bring to his opening address. At the other end the day VMware’s HCI Chief Technologist Duncan Epping is giving the closing keynote so you can expect even more great tech coverage here.

It doesn’t end there though, with over 40 sessions to choose from on the day plus over 30 ecosystem vendors represented the UK VMUG is often referred to as a mini-VMworld. It’s large enough to have a range of technical depth whilst still covering a breadth of topics. Sessions cover the entire VMware stack, from vSAN to VVols, HCI to VDI, vRealize to NSX, VMs to Containers, and on-premises deployments right through to the public cloud. I always return from this event feeling I have learnt something relevant to my daily role, and something new for the future.

VMUG-UserconAny good conference starts the night before and this one is no different with it’s vCurry (held in the venue itself) which is usually accompanied by a fiendish vQuiz. Googling on your phone under the table will only get you so far in this one. The vCommunity (who are partly responsible for sticking a v in front of any noun they can) will be out in force there, and right through the event on Thursday.

On the subject of community, in the afternoon I’m talking alongside vExpert Pro Gareth Edwards as we discuss VMware’s global advocacy program; what it involves, the benefits of achieving the award, and how to go about applying to join the current crop of 161 UK vExperts for the 2019 programme.

Checkout the full agenda for more details of this and the other talks.

imageIf you’re reading this before 13th December 2018- Register at the link below, and I’ll see you in Leicester:

https://www.vmug.com/Attend/VMUG-UserCon/2018/UK-VMUG-UserCon-2018

VMworld 2018 Banner

vSAN Scalable File Services

One of the new developments that caught my eye at VMworld this year was the introduction of file services to the VMware vSAN software-defined storage platform. vSAN already offers VMDK storage to vSphere and the ability to host iSCSI volumes, but this feature will allow NFS and SMB file-shares to be hosted directly on the cluster without the need for a separate Windows Server or NFS provider.

What

Yanbing Lee and Duncan Epping discuss vSAN at VMworld Europe 2018

Yanbing Lee and Duncan Epping discuss vSAN at VMworld Europe 2018

vSAN Scalable File Services is a layer that sits on top of vSAN to provide SMB, NFS (and others in future) file shares. It’s comprised of a vSAN Distributed File System (vDFS) which provides the underlying scalable filesystem by aggregating vSAN objects, a Storage Services Platform which provides resilient file server end points, and a control plane for deployment and management.

File shares are created using the vCenter GUI or via API calls from an automation platform, and the demos at VMworld included all the functionality you’d expect with permissions, quotas and so on.

An interesting point is that all the file shares are integrated into the existing vSAN Storage Policy Based Management, and on a per-share basis. Therefore FTT, encryption,  thin provisioning, and so on can all be defined at a pretty granular level. So if only one of your file-shares has an encryption requirement that’s just a case of setting the policy in a drop down list, or likewise if a particular file-share must be configured to be site-failure resilient across a stretched cluster.

Why

Why would you want to do this? Well, a couple of use cases immediately sprang to mind. Firstly, the small office/ remote office/ branch office scenario. A company wants to host both virtual machines and file services in a compact environment- currently the choice would be to have a NAS plus compute hosts, or possibly go hyper-converged but run a VM within this serving the file data from a VMDK. vSAN file services simplifies this by providing that NFS/SMB provision from within the hypervisor- and this also means that all the benefits of resilience, deduplication, compression, and encryption can be provided to the file services.

The second case was for a SAN replacement- a traditional SAN is basically an expandable cluster of x86 servers loaded with disks running some file+disk management software. vSAN is the same thing, but can also run VM workloads. It would be an interesting price/feature comparison exercise to compare the two methodologies.

When

This offering is currently in Public Beta – details at the bottom of this article. NFS 4.1 with AD Authentication is expected at release, with SMB, OpenLDAP, vSAN Data Protection and other functionality to follow. Obviously this is all subject to change as VMware are still at the Beta stage, and a release date has not yet been confirmed.

Further Information

  • HCI3041BE – VMworld Europe 2018 session: Introducing Scalable File Storage on vSAN with Native File Services (Video and Slides)
  • HCI3728KE – VMworld Europe 2018 session:  Innovating Beyond HCI: How VMware is Driving the Next Data Center Revolution (Video)
  • www.vmware.com/go/vsan-beta – Sign up for the Beta. Phase 2 includes the ability to test vSAN File Services in your own lab environment.

VMworld Europe 2018