Tagged in: VMware

Installing ESXI 6.5

OK, So its been a while and now the holidays are over i’m back on it, so after discovering that there were significant changes between ESXI 6.0 and 6.5 I decided it was time to start over with 6.5.

so without further ado lets rebuild my virtual lab and get a hypervisor installed.  As a reminder, I’m building my lab within VMware Workstation Pro 12 so upon firing it up I hit the handy “Create new Virtual Machine button”, bringing up the “New Virtual Machine Wizard”

Defaults should work in the majority of cases so i figured lets go with that…

Hitting Next brings up the Guest OS selection page,  pointing it at the downloaded iso of VMVisor-installer 6.5

Give the machine a name, the disk location is set automatically, but you can change it here if you like.

You can change disk capacity here if you like, I left it at defaults in the knowledge that more than likely as my virtual environment grows i will need to provision more space, but i want to see how to do that.  Moving on…

Gives a summary of my selections and the opertunity to go back, or to edit the hardware configuration, being happy i clicked Finish

To be greeted by the installer boot loader, which automatically boots from the cd unless you intervene. But as that’s exactly what i wanted I let it go.

after a couple of minutes watching the installer screen.

I got a compatibility warning, but as im installing within a VMware VM I was pretty confident i need not worry about that, so hit enter to continue.

Accept the ELUA (F11)

Select the disk to install to.

Keyboard layout..

And set a root password.

Again you get an opertunity to sanity check your selections before hitting F11 to install.

A couple of minutes later its installed, and you get a useful reminder to remove the installer disk before rebooting.

And Hey Presto! a running hypervisor!

 

This process was beautifully simple for anyone with basic IT skills,  and remarkably fast, a real advantage when i think about enterprise level infrastructure, any new hardware can be installed with a hypervisor ready to e integrated into an existing setup within minutes and requires no special knowledge. Overall a very slick and smooth proces for which VMware should be congratulated.

So the first step in my virtual lab is done and i look forward to creating VM’s on my hypervisor.

Thanks for reading

Tchau for now

Phil

repost: VMware ESXi Release and Build Number History as of Dec 15 2017

Repost: VMware ESXi Release and Build Number History as of Dec 15 2017

The following listings are a comprehensive collection of the flagship hypervisor product by VMware. All bold versions are downloadable releases. All patches have been named by their release names. Please note that the ESXi hypervisor is available since version 3.5.

 

So I am still learning and when i went to download esxi i was unable to download version 6.5  and it would only allow me to download version 6, being a newbie and assuming there were no major differences beween version 6 and 6.5, I did so.

But now with hindsight i understand that was not the case and i am reposting this excellent article on VMwares build history to help you avoid falling in the same trap

VMware ESXi Release and Build Number History

So what’s the difference?

the main difference apears to be with vSphere, having moved from a client app system to a HTML5 interface,  now  seeing as its a complete interface change it would be better to learn that.  But have no fear all is not lost, i now have the perfect opertunity to look into upgrade paths and learn about that!

Anyway keep tuned for the next insallment

Tchau for now.

Phil

 

 

Installing a server on our hypervisor with vSphere 6.0

Installing a server on our hypervisor with vSphere

So, where are we?

We have a virtual server with exsi hypervisor running on as a base for a virtual lab,  now as a (out of touch) windows domain admin i think installing windows server to refresh myself is a good a place as any to start. Since the last time i administered a domain was when server 2008 R2 was new and starting to get adopted, i figure ill grab myself a evaluation copy of windows server 2016 and see whats new. So I’ve grabbed an ISO of that and im ready to get started.

So here i am, a vSphere front screen,  now Inventory, Administration and Recent Tasks, seam like reassuring fields to have connecting to a hypervisor, especially when you can see power events in t the tasks pane.  looks like i’m good to go.

Now as a noob, I must confess it isn’t entirely obvious where to go to start creating virtual machines, but hey,  i figure inventory is the most likely of the options presented to me.

so opening inventory i find:

 

After that brief moment of confusion, everything is much clearer now another MMC-like window with a nice explanation of what a virtual machine is and a nice “create new virtual machine link”

that’s more like it, now i’m happy again, so lets do that and create a Virtual machine  for windows server 2016.

Up comes another great Wizzard,  prompts you for each configuration option.  Now this is so quick and easy i am basically going to accept defaults at every stage where possible, after all a vanilla 2016 install must be one of the most common tasks performed and i want to see how it does.

Just calling it testvm for now

again default storage location.

I changed from the default, to server 2016 (64bit).

Default nework configuration looks good to me.

again I accept the defaults, reducing the disk to 10Gb assuming i can always grow it if necessary

Click finish, and in a blink of an eye, its done and all i have to show for it is a new item under inventory;- testvm

looks like it worked, lets see if we can get windows installing on it

nice to not the create virtual machine task is registered in recent tasks, lets click on testvm and see what we can do,

first thing i notice is we get a toolbar with play pause and stop buttons,  hitting the play button.

does very little. apart from putting a play icon over the virtual machine, and adding a power on virtual machine event in the task log.

ok makes sense, its for virtual servers, which are usually headless and remote, and from past playing with virtual machines at cambridge i know i need to connect to the console of the virtual machine. lucky for me in the new toolbar one of the icons has a hover over tooltip that says “launch the virtual machine console”, so i hit it:

and i’m greeted by a failed pxe boot screen,  again makes sense i haven’t given it an install media and the VM is network booting by default. very useful for remote installs..

so we need to give the virtual machine a install media, i have an iso and as i’m too lazy to burn it i will try and mount it, so closing down the console and shutting down the vm, lest see if we can mount the iso to install from.  Right clicking on the testvm i have an option to edit settings..

now under CD/DVD drive Device type we have client device with a message telling us to power on the device then click on the connect cd/dvd button in the toolbar.

sounds sensible, lets try that..

on the 3rd reboot i worked out to press F2 to enter the bios of the VM in order to give me enough time to mount the ISO to boot from it.

now im not going to talk you through installing windows, i’m sure you are capable of that,   and in my next post i will mention any hurdles i had.

off to install windows, hope you enjoyed it.

Tchau for now

Phil

Hypervisor installed, what now?

Hypervisor installed so what now?

Well a hypervisor has one purpose, host and allocate resources to virtual machines. so to do that we need some way to manage the hypervisor and the virtual hardware it will provide

How do we manage esxi?  well looking at the splash screen on the esxi server we have a friendly prompt:

“Download tools to manage this server from http://192.168.159.128”

That sounds like just the ticket,  noting it’s the ip address of our newly installed esxi server. so firing up our internet browser of choice and heading over to that url…

 

We find a nice VMware EXSI welcome page, and the first paragraph suggests downloading something called vSphere to manage the server,  i liked the sound of that so i downloaded it.

Running the installer gives us a standard compressed windows package installer: (note pretty sure its going to need administrator privileges to install so i granted them when asked

lets keep it simple and install it in English!

Accept the license Agreement..

Specify the install location

Install

well that was painless, lets see what has appeared in our start menu

VMware vSphere Client, that’s new lets take a look.

.

ok, the first thing the cvlient wats to do is connect to a server to manage, so i enter the IP of our new esxi server and the root credentials i set at install

Now as this is a home lab to play around with i don’t have a certificate authority, so vSphere will prompt to accept the self signed certificate the first time you connect.

Success!

vSphere has successfully been downloaded, installed, and connected to a remote hypervisor.  In what can only be described as a super slick, fast and intuitive process.

I find it very exciting that this process is all that is involved in deploying new hardware in a virtualised environment,  install the hypervisor on the bare metal and connect it up to the existing infrastructure. the rest can be done remotely.

 

Now, next up lets install a server on our hypervisor and get to know vSphere a little

Tchau for now

 

Phil

 

Repost : What is vNIC, VMKNIC, PortGroups, Uplink Ports, vPorts and VMXNET3 Adapter

Studying NSX, I found that a review of the differences between vmnics, vNIC’s, and the terminology where in order.

 

I thought this blog post did a good job of over viewing the terms.

 

What is vNIC, VMKNIC, PortGroups, Uplink Ports, vPorts and VMXNET3 Adapter

 

Virtual Networking is one of the Key components of Datacenter. If all your Critical VMs running on highly redundant & high speed SAN or Ethernet Network but if VMs can’t communicate with each other then everything is useless.
From Functioning perspective, Virtual Network in VMware is similar to Physical Networks. Like Physical networking, Virtual networking is also exercises TCP/IP stack so nothing is changed underneath.
But Virtual networking has introduced many new components or its complex terminology which is sufficient enough to confuse any new admin or anyone who is trying to familiar with VMware Networking.

In this post, I will try to make you guys familiar with VMware Networking components, Its terminology and significance of each Networking Component.”

 

What is vNIC, VMKNIC, PortGroups, Uplink Ports, vPorts and VMXNET3 Adapter

 

Source and all credit to http://www.govmlab.com

 

Let’s get started…. with VMware workstation pro (12)

Let’s get started….

So, I need to learn about VMware, what’s the best way to go about it I asked myself?  Jump on In and install VMware workstation pro (12) and have a play!

My desktop has 8 4ghz cores, 24 gigs of ram and a few terabytes of disk, I think I should be fine. So, of to vmware.com to download VMware workstation 12 after creating a free account.

I`m running windows so ill grab the appropriate version, I have a key for version 12 so that’s what I’m getting, the 400ish Mbyte download is quick and slick, as is the installer to follow, the usual ELUA fare and customise options, but if you’re considering VMware you have enough knowledge I don’t have to go through the installer process the only thing of note is you get a full featured 30-day evaluationSo, if you want to play and explore the possibilities you can.

Frankly installing VMware to this point has been simple slick professional installer as to be expected from VMware’s reputation and industry standing.

Now, for learning VMware I figure I need a virtual environment, so I`m going to set up a virtual server within VMware workstation on which I will install a hypervisor (esxi) and use that as a base for a home lab.

So, let’s see what we have and open workstation for the first time…

 

 

Not unlike a Microsoft management console (MMC) window, and immediately feeling at home, with the addition of some helpful shortcuts on the home screen.

Strikes me as VMware workstation is very easy to install, for anyone with basic computer skills, and that’s great its accessible for people to learn, and it’s  quick and easy for tec-heads like me to install, and i can only imagine that as a a plus in the enterprise world..

Next time installing the hypervisor..

Tchau for now..

Phil

 

 

It Begins…

Howdy!

Phew, now that’s out the way, I was expecting writers block, but hey, no!

 

Who is this fool you ask?
Well let me introduce myself, My name is Phil Marsden and I have been invited by @rogerlund to start blogging my experiences, well at least my experiences in the world of cloud computing and virtualization. To that end I think It’s only fair that you should be familiar with the guy currently occupying your eyeballs. I met Roger through a shared love of photography and it is true, photography has become somewhat of a passion of mine, but that is unimportant for now.

What is important is I love technology and what technology can do for us, I could use a photography analogy here, old school photographers, shot film and developed their own film in a dark room patiently waiting for the developing and fixing chemicals to fix the image. They then take this fragile negative and lovingly enlarge and process a print, a process in the most professional of labs, for “instant news” may take an hour or more. Today we shoot digital, and have a 15 + Mb data dump RAW from every shot and load it and develop in digital darkrooms in a matter of minutes, not only can we replicate old systems much faster, technology allows us to go much further than ever before. Part of my love for technology comes from my background, I’m nearly 40 and I grew up in a nice southern English market town where I was always a bit of a nerd at school, never enjoyed school very much but I did well at it, and finally at the ripe old age of 18 I shipped off to university. I studied chemistry at university, which again was fascinating, and I did well at it understanding and growing in the process, but nothing really grabbed me and shouted this is what you want to do!!
In the final year of my degree we had a module called computer aided-drug design and I was hooked, hooked by the concept of a computer being able to model a chemical process. calculating a chemicals properties and interactions with other properties we could virtually screen compounds in silico or design the perfect compound for a drug to act on a specific target. Now this process wasn’t perfect, in matter of hours, or days or weeks we could come up with something that through traditional methods would have taken years with dozens of chemists synthesizing and testing compounds. In short, we could get faster and better, thanks to computers.

I was so hooked, this took me on to do my PhD at Cambridge in molecular informatics, where my project was very cool, and I got to play with stereo 3D visualization long before 3d was even in the cinema. Even in the sea of intellectuality that was the theoretical and computational chemistry department at the university of Cambridge, I was still a nerd, when it came to computers, as I gamed, and I was a poor student, I’d build my own computers, I frequently overclocked them too far and broke components, so I was always fixing something, and that carried over into my professional life and I was frequently the person asked to help out when workstations did funny things so I’d help out after (finally writing up my Ph.D.) I had nothing planned and the head of the group asked me if I wanted to stay on as a computer officer (now we are getting somewhere) and very quickly I realised it was the challenge of learning things coupled with the use of technology that gets me going!

When I joined the group IT was basically firefighting, all users had root or admin on their workstations and frankly it was a nightmare, there were network policies that defined if personal machines were allowed on the network, so this department of 2500 registered machines and around 10k registered users had a team of 7 computer officers managing everything, OS installs, upgrades, application installs, machine meltdowns network infrastructure maintenance and socket patching. It was all firefighting, there was no man power for development and departmental infrastructure.
Now I came on as an assistant to the computer officer in the Unilever centre (hello Charlotte!) and Charlotte to my eternal gratitude, instead of using me as a personal slave assistant in a very hectic work environment (which for future reference contained a “training area” of 25 identical workstations for us to host events and workshops.) decided she wanted me to manage the training area. The training area was frequently reinstalled and having various packages installed for certain workshops. Indeed, one of my first tasks was to install office 2000 on each machine, amazingly we only had one cd and it involved going to each machine in turn, powering up, logging on inserting the disk and installing office – 25 times!

Now I’m not the brightest, but even to me it seamed there must be a better way. Charlotte sat me down and said she wanted me to go on a training course for Active Directory, as she had done one “a while ago” and was “fairly sure it had the answer”. And boy was she right!

The next couple of years of my life were spent implementing a AD infrastructure in out little sub department, and as our carrot to entice the user into letting us manage their machine was a little fileserver I knocked together out of recycled bits kicking around, IIRC it had a 6TB raid 6 array. On which I gave the user space mapped as a network drive. And an assurance that any data put there needed 3 disks to die simultaneously for their data to be lost.
Over time this grew, and when charlotte went to follow her passion of marine biology and her job became available I was successfully recruited, and the domain slowly grew research group by research group. The domain also only grew thanks to a cohesive strategy emerging within the department, which resulted in departmental resources, which we spent on servers. Partly because the domain had proved its worth both in terms of network security and machine maintenance and resiliency of user data and now justified departmental resources. When we first set up the domain we used old workstations, probably 1Ghz Celerons as Domain Controllers and made sure we had enough for replication to keep us safe.

Now with investment we moved onto virtualized servers where each virtual server would be hosted on a pair of real servers with network mirrored hard drives, with automatic failover etc, System uptimes from that point on were just great 99.9% upwards.
No whilst at the university I met a lovely Brazillian doctor and we fell in love and got married, and in time my eldest son was born. Well circumstances led us down a path which resulted in us moving to Brazil and my becoming a stay at home dad.
Fast forward 7 years I was talking to my family at lunch about this opportunity to be blogging this today, and my son ended up asking “what is cloud computing?”

That’s pretty much where I am, I was a sysadmin 7 years ago I’m familiar with the concept of virtualization, I’ve run virtual machines in the real world. I’m a bit out of touch at the moment, but I am now at a point in my children’s life that I have more time to develop and a brain that still wants to learn
I eagerly accept Rogers invitation to learn about the VMware platform and blog about my experience.

Thanks Roger!

 

Philip

Uila – A view into your data center.

I recently had the chance to get a product overview of Uila.

 

What product does Uila have?

 

“Uila’s Application-Centric Infrastructure Monitoring Monitoring helps align business and IT Operations goals in a single product by providing IT Operations with the application visibility and correlated network, compute and storage insights for Private, Public and Hybrid Cloud-based Data Centers (such as VMWare, Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Docker Container, etc.).  “

 

Ever need to see why your developer or application owner are indicating your virtual environment is causing performance issues to their application?? Of course, it’s not VMware, but it couple be something between the virtualization layer and the application layer causing performance issues.

 

 

 

 

Sounds Great. But what does that mean? How does it work?

 

 

 

 

How do I see into my environment ?

 

 

 

Uila Shows real time, and backwards in time so you can click and dig in.

 

 

Then you can dig into Application Analysis to see what is causing the problem.

 

 

Once you find the problem, in this case Oracle_11g-n1 looks suspect..  You can dig farther in.

 

 

 

Of course you can do a root cause view.

 

And find the problem.

 

 

 

 

For more information on Uila.

 

Videos

 

Tech Field Day Presentation by Uila – Company Overview
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgzx14PRpOs
http://vimeo.com/202704462

Tech Field Day Presentation by Uila – Application Visibility and Root Cause
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1PeWccQZ5g
http://vimeo.com/202698494

Tech Field Day Presentation by Uila – Infrastructure Monitoring
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjH2CPdFT0s
http://vimeo.com/202701527

Tech Field Day Presentation by Uila – End User Experience Monitoring
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-1ExHbRGgI
http://vimeo.com/202702132

Tech Field Day Presentation by Uila – Virtual Network Monitoring
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufqMYFVBlMA
http://vimeo.com/202702496

 

Data Sheet
http://uila.com/download/datasets/920/Uila_Datasheet_FullStack_Virtualization_Apr_2017.pdf

 

Check them out.

 

Thanks

 

Roger Lund

Big Switch – Big Cloud Fabric

A overview of Big Cloud Fabric

 

Big Switch labels Big Cloud Fabric, the ” Next-Gen Data Center Switching Fabric

From the above Link.

Big Cloud Fabric™ is the next-generation data center switching fabric delivering operational velocity, network automation and visibility for cloud-native applications and software-defined data centers, while staying within flat IT budgets.

Enterprise data centers are challenged today to support cloud-native applications, drive business velocity and work within flat budgets.

Network layer is often cited as the least agile part of data center infrastructure,especially when compared to compute infrastructure. The advent of virtualization changed the server landscape and delivered operational efficiencies across management workflows via automation. Emerging cloud-native applications are expected to demand even greater agility from the underlying infrastructure.

Most data centers are built using old network architecture, a box-by-box operational paradigm that inhibits the pace of IT operations to meet the demand of modern applications and software-defined data centers. Click here for more information on the challenges.

Software-defined data center is demanding network innovation. With virtualization going mainstream, networks are required to provide visibility into virtual machines, east-west traffic across VMs, and deliver network service connectivity easily. Networks are expected to not adversely impact software-defined data center agility by mandating manual box-by-box network configuration and upgrades. Emerging cloud-native applications require rapid application and services deployment. This demands network operations to be more automated instead of relying on manual CLI and limited GUI workflows. Lastly, infrastructure budgets trends have flat-lined in most organizations. This demands an innovative approach compared to the legacy network based on proprietary hardware that increases costs.

These network demands are met by software-defined networking (SDN) solutions. Leveraging a centralized controller, the SDN networks overcome the box-by-box operational paradigm to deliver business velocity. As applications become more distributed, SDN approaches are required for networks to become agile and automated via orchestrated workflows using RESTful APIs. By leveraging open industry-standard network hardware, SDN solutions provide vendor choice and drives down costs in a flat budget environment. This cycle of innovation has been witnessed before in the server infrastructure, driven by virtualization and containers. More recently, storage infrastructure is getting transformed as well with various software-enabled architectures.

 

Lets Dig in. Below is a overview of the Clos Fabric.

 

What are my use cases? What type of deployments support the fabric?

 

 

Who uses the product today?

 

 

How do I deploy this with my existing data center, do I need to worry about my legacy network working with Big Switch?

 

What has defined customer success?

API’s are key, how do you leverage them for automation?

 

 

How do you enable me to out scale my competitors?

 

How do you allow me to see inside my network?

 

How do you support multi tenancy?

 

 

 

 

Thanks

 

 

Roger Lund

 

Register Storage Providers for Virtual Volumes? Why VVOL’S?

One of the main reasons I wanted to upgrade my lab to vSphere 6.5 was to play with VVOL’s or Virtual Volumes.

Why VVOL’s? Good Question. Lets Look at what is new in Virtual Volumes.

 


 

See What’s New: vSphere Virtual Volumes

Source http://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/products/virtualvolumes/vmware-whats-new-vsphere-virtual-volumes.pdf

 

“By transitioning from the legacy storage model to Software-Defined Storage with Virtual Volumes, customers will gain the following benefits:

 

  • Automation of storage “class-of-service” at scale: Provision virtual machines quickly across data center using a common control plane (SPBM) for automation.
  • Self-Service capabilities: Empower application administrators with cloud automation tool integration (vRealize Automation, PowerCLI, OpenStack).
  •  Simple change management using policies: Eliminate change management overhead and use policies to drive infrastructure changes.
  • Finer control of storage class of service: Match VM storage requirements exactly as needed with class of service delivered per VM.
  • Effective monitoring/troubleshooting with per VM visibility: Gain visibility on individual VM performance and storage consumption.
  • Non-disruptive transition: Use existing protocols (Fiber channel, ISCSI, NFS) across heterogeneous storage devices.
  • Safeguard existing investment: Use existing resources more efficiently with an operational model that eliminates inefficient static and rigid storage constructs.

Sounds good, Since I have a Solidfire in my lab that supports it, and it’s enabled. Whats first?

 


 

The first step is to Register the Storage Provider.

 

“Your Virtual Volumes environment must include storage providers, also called VASA providers. Typically, third-party vendors develop storage providers through the VMware APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA). Storage providers facilitate communication between vSphere and the storage side. You must register the storage provider in vCenter Server to be able to work with Virtual Volumes.

After registration, the Virtual Volumes provider communicates with vCenter Server. The provider reports characteristics of underlying storage and data services, such as replication, that the storage system provides. The characteristics appear in the VM Storage Policies interface and can be used to create a VM storage policy compatible with the Virtual Volumes datastore. After you apply this storage policy to a virtual machine, the policy is pushed to Virtual Volumes storage. The policy enforces optimal placement of the virtual machine within Virtual Volumes storage and guarantees that storage can satisfy virtual machine requirements. If your storage provides extra services, such as caching or replication, the policy enables these services for the virtual machine.

Verify that an appropriate version of the Virtual Volumes storage provider is installed on the storage side. Obtain credentials of the storage provider.

1

Browse to vCenter Server in the vSphere Web Client navigator.

2

Click the Configure tab, and click Storage Providers.

3

Click the Register a new storage provider icon ().

4

Type connection information for the storage provider, including the name, URL, and credentials.

5

Specify the security method.

Action

Description

Direct vCenter Server to the storage provider certificate

Select the Use storage provider certificate option and specify the certificate’s location.

Use a thumbprint of the storage provider certificate

If you do not direct vCenter Server to the provider certificate, the certificate thumbprint is displayed. You can check the thumbprint and approve it. vCenter Server adds the certificate to the truststore and proceeds with the connection.

The storage provider adds the vCenter Server certificate to its truststore when vCenter Server first connects to the provider.

6

To complete the registration, click OK.

vCenter Server discovers and registers the Virtual Volumes storage provider.

Next up. Making a Datastore within it.

Roger L