vSphere Update Manager – secondary IP not available in patch store drop down

Hi,

Short story: If the vCenter Server Appliance has two interfaces, you need a DNS entry of the FQDN for both IP addresses, or you wont be able to chose the secondary IP for the Update Manager.

Longer story: If you are anything like me, you want everything separated. Networking for managing the infrastructure (ESXi hosts, switches, storage…) has nothing to do with networking for VMs like Active Directory and Fileservices. Even in a small private cloud like the one from this story.

So, while the vCenter resides on the internal network for AD connectivity, the ESXi hosts are in a separate VLAN. Therefore, the vCenter Server (Windows) has a secondary interface in the management VLAN. Now a new vCenter was installed using the VCSA. And if you want to configure the UpdateManager to use the secondary interface for staging patches to ESXi hosts, you will realize that you can’t chose that interface. Why is that?

Frankly, I don’t know, and I think this shouldn’t be the case. However, I stumbled across the fact that once you make the FQDN resolve both IPs in the separated networks, you are then able to chose the secondary IP, as well.

Happy updating!

Store Manager

 

ESXi Host loses config after reboot, no remediation/update possible. altbootbank damaged.

Short story: A freshly installed ESXi host lost its config after the first reboot. Curiously, it kept it after a factory reset. However, after a vCenter join no update was possible. Solution down below! 😉

Longer story: It has been quiet here. That is due to multiple factors, one of them being that our vSphere installation is running nice and smoothly.

But now we decided to re-install the hosts with a new image and join them to a new vCenter Server. Both, hosts and vCenter, have been upgraded again and again, and sometimes you just want to start over.

So, I installed the newest HP image, configured the hosts management interface, joined it to the vCenter and configured other things like vMotion network and so on. After a reboot, the host did not reconnect to the vCenter Server. The DCUI stated it had not IP whatsoever, and I couldn’t even give it a new one. No vmkernel NICs showed in the ESX CLI.

After a factory reset everything was there again, so like before I configured everything, joined the server to the vCenter and everything seemed jolly. However, I recognized it wasn’t the newest built, so I tried using update manager to remediate the host.

It wouldn’t even stage the patches, so I went to the console and looked at the /var/log/esxupdate.log file. I sure found the problem:

There was an error checking file system on altbootbank, please see log for detail.’)

Solution: With this error message and google right at hand the solution was easy to find: VMware KB 2033564. It seemed that somehow the bootbank / altbootbank was damaged, for whatever reason I cannot be certain. The important part is: It is fixable, and the host is now up and running with all the latest patches.

vpxd with 100% CPU, vCenter Server unresponsive…

It just so happened that our vCenter Server ran havoc. It is a vCenter 5.5, running on Windows Server 2008 R2, using the bundled MS SQL Express 2008 R2 database.

Symptoms:

  • The .Net AND web client reacted sluggish
  • No connection possible to the Update Manager
  • vpxd service had high CPU, sometimes 100% straight, making the whole server unresponsive.
  • vpxd service sometimes crashed, needing a manual restart.

After a restart, the above cycle would begin roughly after 30 minutes of operations.

When I analyzed the vpxd.log files, I saw many messages regarding the db like so:

Could not allocate space for object XYZ

So I checked the SQL DB and saw that it had only 2 KB of space available. After all, there is a 10GB limit on the 2008 R2 SQL Express.

Searching for a way to purge data, i stumbled across this KB: Purging old data from the database used by vCenter Server (1025914)

It describes similar issues, and helped me to free up about 6 GB of space for the database.

Immediately after starting the procedure mentioned in the link (it took about 40 – 50 minutes to finish) the vpxd service settled and became usable again, solving our problem.

What remains to be figured out is why the Events and Tasks tables had grown so rapidly over the last 90 days that it would jam a 10 GB DB. This environment has only 16 hosts and about 250 VMs.

 

udev and cloning a linux vm: Network not working…

Have you ever stumbled upon a cloned Linux system, in my case CentOS 6.5, where eth0 does not exist and eth1 isn’t started automatically?

When VMware clones a VM it gives its network card a new MAC address, ensuring that you don’t end up with several VMs with the same MAC. If your distro uses udev and it discoveres the new NIC, it gives it a different UUID, thus creating eth1 in the process, since it can’t match the MAC addresses and UUIDs of the NICs. This might break all sorts of scripts or configs.

Here is how to fix it:

  • First we need to remove the discovered and assigned UUIDs from udev:

rm -f /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules

  • Secondly we need to edit the networking script for eth0:

vi /etc/sysconfig/networking/devices/ifcfg-eth0

Here you should change the old MAC address to the new one the VM got after cloning.

  • Reboot.

Thats it. eth0 should work as it used to on the parent VM.

 

thanks to William: http://www.envision-systems.com.au/blog/2012/09/21/fix-eth0-network-interface-when-cloning-redhat-centos-or-scientific-virtual-machines-using-oracle-virtualbox-or-vmware/

vSphere 5.5 and ESXi 5.5

Hi all,

today I am not writing because of a certain problem or thing I stumbled upon. The “news” I want to share is somewhat “old” (26 August 2013), too: VMware announced vSphere 5.5 and ESXi 5.5!

Why am I posting this? Besides some cool new features in Hardware Version 10 or on the VDP side and Hypervisor side, a mayor change that will affect how we use vCenter in our Company is: Full Mac OS X Client integration (including the plugin for vCenter WebClient).

Now, if that isn’t great news? 😉

Here’s a short sheet about whats new: http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/files/2013/09/vSphere-5.5-Quick-Reference-0.5.pdf

And heres the long story: http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere/VMware-vSphere-Platform-Whats-New.pdf

All the best,

maybeageek

Execution error: E10056: Restore failed due to existing snapshot. Job Id: (Full Client Path:)

After a while of backing up VMs via vSphere Data Protection (VDP) the backup jobs for four VMs failed. The message said they needed consolidation.

After the consolidation everything started to work for 3 VMs, but not for the fourth. Now I was getting the following error:

Execution error: E10056: Restore failed due to existing snapshot. Job Id: <job-id> (Full Client Path:)

The GUI said nothing about needed consolidation, no snapshots where created, either, and if you look into the VMs config you see that the hdd points to a vmdk, not to a 00001.vmdk snapshot file. So, everything seemed to be in order, right?

After reading some articles I found a vmware KB entry: VDP Backup fails

The solution therein: Old 000001.vmdk-files lying around unused, nowhere referenced or anything. Simply deleting them will help (but an additional move to another location is recommended just to be on the save side).

So with this everything is up and running again! Thanks vmware!

vSphere Data Protection 5.1: Backup fails for Windows Server 2008 R2 VMs

So today I got to the bottom of another interesting case concerning backups with vSphere Data Protection.

After deploying the virtual appliance, registering it to the vSphere Server and creating backup jobs, something interesting happened: Linux VMs got backed up, whereas Server 2008 R2 VMs got errors.

To make a long story short: It has to do with the UUIDs of the virtual HardDisks and Windows VSS, and the fix is quite easy, as can be seen in this KB from VMware:

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2035736