Tag Archives: vSphere

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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VMworld 2018 US: HCI1469BU- The Future of vSAN and Hyperconverged Infrastructure

This “HCI Futures” session at VMworld US was hosted by two VPs from the Storage and Availability Business Unit, plus a customer guest. It covered the new features recently added to the vSAN environment with the release of 6.7 Update 1, alongside discussion of the possible future direction of VMware in the Hyper-Converged Infrastructure space. I caught up with the session via the online recording.

HCI is a rapidly growing architecture, with both industry wide figures from IDC and VMware’s own figures seeing massive spending increases. In the week of this VMworld, the 4-year old vSAN product is now boasting 15,000 customers. We are told customers are embarking on journeys into the Hybrid Cloud and looking for operational consistency between their On-Premises and Public Cloud environments.

The customer story incorporated into this breakout session was provided by Honeywell. They were an early adopter of vSAN in 2014, starting with the low-risk option of  hosting their management cluster on the technology. Since then they have replaced much of their traditional SAN infrastructure and are now boasting 1.7 Petabytes of data on vSAN, with compression and de-duplication giving them savings of nearly 700TB of disk.

VMware is pushing along several paths to enhance the product- the most obvious is including new storage technologies as they become available. All-flash vSAN is now commonplace, with SSDs replacing traditional spinning disk in the capacity tiers. Looking to the future, the session talked of the usage of NVMe and Persistent Memory (PMEM) developments – storage latency becoming significantly less than network latency for the first time. This prompts a move away from the current 2-tier model to one which incorporates “Adaptive Tiering” to make best use of the different storage components available.

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In the Public Cloud- in particular the VMware on AWS offering- there have been customers who want to expand storage faster than compute. In the current model this hasn’t been possible due to the fixed-capacity building blocks that HCI is known for. This is being addressed by adding access to Amazon’s Elastic Block Storage (EBS) in 6.7U1 as a storage target for the environment. vSAN Encryption using the Amazon KMS is also included, along with the ability to utilise the Elastic DRS features when using AWS as a DRaaS provider for a vSphere environment.

vSAN is also moving away from it’s position as “just” the storage for Virtual Machines. Future developments include the introduction of file storage- and the ability to do some advanced data management- classifying, searching, and filtering the data.

With all this data being stored, VMware is looking to enhance the data protection functionality in the platform. Incorporation of native snapshots with replication to secondary storage (and cloud) for DR purposes increase the challenge to “traditional” storage vendors- and although it was played down in this talk also encroach further into the backup space which is populated by a large group of VMware partners.

Cloud Native applications are also being catered for with Kubernetes integration- using application-level hooks to leverage snapshots, replication, encryption, and backups all through the existing vCenter interface.

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=HCI1469BU. To sign up to the vSAN Beta which is covering some of the Data Protection, Cloud Native Storage, and File Services visit http://www.vmware.com/go/vsan-beta

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