Failed to connect to VMware Lookup Service on VMware vCenter Virtual Appliance

I've been rebuilding my home VMware lab environment recently.  I decided to jump right into vSphere 5.1 with the vCenter Server Virtual Appliance instead of the traditional Windows SQL combo.  Deploying a vApp is much faster and cheaper from a licensing perspective than a full-blown Windows and SQL setup.  After I imported the vCenter Virtual Appliance .OVA,  I logged into the administrative web interface of the appliance (https://vcenterIP:5480) and started to make a few configuration changes.  First up were assigning a hostname, setting the correct time zone, and setting a static IP … [Read more...]

VMware Tools Upgrade Execution Aborted

I was doing a vSphere 5.0 to 5.1 upgrade in my home lab tonight and ran into a small issue with upgrading VMware Tools on a Linux VM.   During the install I received an error message 'Unable to create symlink "/etc/cups/ppd/VMware_Virtual_Printer.ppd" pointing to file "/usr/lib/vmware-tools/configurator/thinprint.ppd".  Execution Aborted.' It seemed that CUPS was already present on the server I was upgrading - CUPS is an open source software for modular printing in Unix-like systems.  VMware tools leverages CUPS for ThinPrint / Virtual Printers in Linux systems.  Because the /etc/cups … [Read more...]

ESXi 5 Won’t Boot From USB

I've been upgrading my home VMware lab to vSphere 5.1 today and ran into an issue that I thought I would share.  I had previously written about my home lab environment - I run HP xw8600 workstations, and because I'm using SATA disks behind a SAS controller they are being seen as 'remote' disks to the ESXi installer.  This means that I need another type of disk that will be seen as a 'local' disk so ESXi can create a scratch partition.  A USB thumb drive was the answer, but not without issues. When I installed ESXi 5.0 on the thumb drive, the install completed without problem, but after the … [Read more...]

Lag When Dragging a Window Between Monitors in VMware View

I've had several customers ask me for help with the VMware View environment recently, as their users were complaining about performance issues when dragging a window between monitors in a multi-monitor VMware View setup.   Performance was otherwise acceptable on the View desktops.  I recommended several troubleshooting and remediation steps to get windows to stop slowing down when dragging between monitors or "catching" on the border between the two screens, including: Review the "Multimonitor PCoIP sessions are not displayed as expected KB article" (1030566) from VMware. Monitor PCoIP … [Read more...]

Using a CD/DVD drive in VMware View

I've had several people ask me about using CD/DVD drives on VMware View virtual desktops.  Specifically, Can I use a CD or DVD drive with VMware View Desktops? Why doesn't the CD or DVD drive on my re-purposed PC with the VMware View Client pass through to the View desktop? How can I make a CD or DVD drive work on my View Desktop? Are there specific CD/DVD drives that are supported on VMware View? How can I present a CD image (.ISO) to all View Desktops? CD/DVD Devices in a View Environment - What works, what doesn't? First, the bad news.  When using PC over IP (PCoIP) as the … [Read more...]

VMware vSphere Resource Pools – Resource Allocation Revisited

I have found VMware vSphere Resource Pools to be an often misunderstood element, and incorrectly implemented by even seasoned VMware administrators.  I recently found an example of an incorrect implementation of Resource Pools being used to organize VM's in vCenter's Hosts and Clusters view, without considering the potential performance impact of this configuration.  I thought that I might try to explain the resource pool piece a bit better, particularly around Shares. First, a few technical points to remember: Resource Pools can only be used when VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler … [Read more...]

Using KMS for VMware View Windows Activation

When deploying or recomposing a pool of Windows 7 (or Windows Vista) virtual desktops on VMware View, you may receive an error message stating: “composer agent initialization error (16): Failed to activate software license (waited 0 seconds).”  This error occurs when you use a Multiple Activation Key (MAK) to activate the parent VM.  View Composer QuickPrep, by default, uses Microsoft Key Management Services (KMS).  VMware KB Article 1026556 provides workarounds for activating MAK clients, or bypassing activation by QuickPrep so you can use a trial key.  The workarounds are appropriate for … [Read more...]

vSphere 5 Networking Bug Affects Software iSCSI

Update 1: This issue was fixed as of 3/15/2012 in ESXi 5.0 Update 1 per the original knowledge base article: VMware KB 2008144. To download ESXi 5.0/vCenter Server 5.0 Update 1, see the VMware Download Center.  Update 2 (Nov 7 2012): While VMware says the issue was fixed in vSphere 5.0 Update 1, I have not found this to be the case.  I've had several environments where the bug was still present, and in some cases this nasty bug still appeared when implementing the Failback = NO setting on the vSwitch.  Additionally, setting Failback = No may cause some other problems - see my update here … [Read more...]

vSphere 5 Books & Training Resources

I've been asked several times recently to recommend training resources for VMware, so I thought I might write my responses up in a blog post to help out folks in the community who are looking for the best resources to gain VMware knowledge, prepare for their VCP and other certifications, and continue on their journey to becoming a virtualization rockstar. I've picked up a bunch of certifications over the past 10 years.  For me, certification is not the means to an end, but the end of some long, intensive studying and lab work, then doing some deep dive studying and doing.  By the time I get … [Read more...]

vCenter Crashes After Applying ESXi Patch ESXi410-201010401-SG

My last post described a problem I experienced with VMware HA after upgrading to vSphere 4.1.  Here is my experience with a similar issue after applying the ESXi410-201010401-SG patch to one of my test/dev ESXi clusters.  The patch, released on November 15th and weighing in at a hefty 212MB, fixes a number of issues from Likewise authentication on ESXi hosts to allowing configurable NOOP timout and interval values for faster failover of certain iSCSI arrays (like the DS3300 or MD3000i). The environment where this problem occured has a single vCenter server managing both a production cluster … [Read more...]