VMware Product Updates – April 2013

VMware has released updates to several products over the past couple weeks.  Many of the updates take the version 5.1 products announced at VMworld 2012 to Update 1 (i.e. the first major service pack).  The updates, spanning vSphere (ESXi and vCenter), vCloud Director, vCenter Operations, vCenter Orchestrator, vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM), vSphere Data Protection, and the vSphere Storage Appliance, include bug fixes, security fixes, and functionality changes.  Here’s what you need to know about the updates, including a few upgrade bugs that you need to know about before you pull the … [Read more...]

VMware View 5.1.x Now Compatible with vSphere 5.1!

I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago about the incompatibility of VMware View 5.1 and vSphere 5.1, but mentioned a forthcoming patch based on an update to VMware knowledge base article 2035268 (http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2035268) that I saw through a RSS subscription to the article.  Good news as of last night - that patch is now available for download, making vSphere 5.1 compatible with View 5.1.  I am a bit surprised that the patch, ESXi510-201210401-BG, applies to ESXi 5.1 instead of View 5.1.  I would expect that the older View 5.1 (released in May 2012) would need to be patched to work … [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...]

Home Lab ESXi Install Problem on HP xw8600 with LSI1068

I recently finished a big basement remodel project (gutted it and started from scratch!), leaving me with a new, bigger office space.   The Townsend Family Director of Standards and Practices (a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed, a.k.a. my wife) thinks she's got a nice new space to do some work in, but I've got better plans! My VMware Home Lab reborn!  I started the rebuild tonight with a pair of HP xw8600 workstations.  They are a nice system for a home lab - dual-socket CPU (Intel Xeon 5400 quad-core series), up to 128GB RAM, 14 channels of on-board LSI 1068 SATA/SAS RAID Controller, PCIe x16, … [Read more...]

Installing PowerPath/VE using VMware Update Manager

I am finishing up an installation of an EMC Clariion CX4 SAN. One of the final steps of the installation is to configure PowerPath/VE on the ESXi hosts. PowerPath/VE is EMC's multipathing extension module for VMware (and Hyper-V), designed to replace the Native Multipathing Plugin (NMP) for increased I/O performance and failover management.  To simplify and automate the installation of PowerPath/VE, I decided to use VMware Update Manager (VUM) to push the extension to the ESXi 4.x hosts in the environment. The process of setting up an additional VUM patch repository to host PowerPath/VE … [Read more...]

The Skinny on ESXTOP

A reader named Mark contacted me today and asked if there was a way to reduce the size of the batch output from an ESXTOP run.  And he asks for good reason: Depending on the number of VM's on your host, the delay between ESXTOP samplings and the number of samples you collect, using the All Stats option (-a) can yield a massive file in a short period of time.  If written to a partition on your ESX Service Console you run the risk of filling the partition, and forget about actually being able to analyze the data in PERFMON or Excel.  For example, on an ESX host running ~15 VM's I produced 100MB … [Read more...]

VMware Networking Demysified

VMware vExpert and fellow Northern Virginian, Ken Cline, has posted an excellent article on his Ken's Virtual Reality blog that aims to demystify VMware networking.  The article, the first in a new series by Ken, provides an overview of networking in an ESX/ESXi environment and breaks down the intricacies of the vSwitch and VLANs.  The article comes complete with some nifty diagrams to help make sense of the topic. The timing of this article is great for me as it helps to frame my thoughts as I delve into the design of my latest VMware project on an IBM BladeCenter with IP SAN … [Read more...]