VMware Health Check Analyzer stuck

Alright this post is dedicated to my colleagues at VMware as well VMware partners who got access to the VMware Health Check Analyzer and use it to help them collect data to include in their vSphere health check report. I have noticed when running the VMware Health Check analyzer with the default options against a larger environment it get stuck at the inventory data collection stage or some time even at the inventory discovery stage. Increasing the number of CPU and memory of the VHA or the machine where the virtualized heath check analyzer application run does not seems to resolve this issue.

After researching internally for sometime, I have found out that adding extra memory to the appliance itself does not automatically allow the vSphere Health Check Analyzer collector to use it. You will actually have to increase the collector process memory setting using the VMware Health Check Analyzer web interface. I have tested this with VHA 3.3.2, though it should work with most other versions out there.

The below procedure explain how you can increase the collector process memory setting for your vSphere health check analyzer tools.

  1.   In the Health Analyzer UI click the Admin menu and choose “Config Settings”.
  2. Read More

Why VMware Load Based Teaming (LBT)

VMware load based Teaming (LBT) is one of the great feature that was introduced a while back with vSphere 4.1, though it seems many admins have over looked it. As part of my job in consulting, I get to see many customers environments through out the year. It is really common to see customers who never get their hands or heads around LBT. What surprise me the most that many of these are in a desperate need for a similar feature. Many of them already have the Enterprise Plus license which include LBT in it, & its just a matter of enabling to start benefiting of it. For these reasons, I have decided to share why the Load Based Teaming feature offered within our Distributed switches is a great feature and can be of a great use to many of you out there.

The easiest way to see how beneficial LBT can be is to look at the problem it solve. Imagine you are using a virtual switch with the default setting of “Route based on the originating Virtual Port ID” or “Route based on MAC addresses” for the teaming load balancing policy. The way  “Route based on the originating Virtual Port ID” & “Route based on MAC addresses” distribute VMs network load across your uplinks by distributing the number of VMs evenly across all the vNICs involved in the team.… Read More

Free Transition to ESXi essential training

As many organization today are in the process for moving from VMware ESX to to ESXi, it has been important to VMware to educate its partners & customers of the process and difference.  For that VMware is offering a free web training “Free Transition to ESXi essential training” to everyone who want to learn more about ESXi. The training can be found at:  Free Transition to ESXi essential training Link . I hope you wall enjoy this free training. Free as in free Beer :).

Ah below are the description of the training as officially was posted on the VMware site:

Title: Transition to ESXi Essentials

Summary

- Format: Self-Paced

- Length: 4 Hours

Overview: This self-paced training course covers the requirements and effects of transitioning your VMware vSphere™ environment to VMware® ESXi. It provides the knowledge necessary to make fundamental design decisions and successfully add ESXi to a deployed vSphere environment. This course is based on ESXi 4.1.

Special Note: For those who prefer to learn this content in a classroom environment, whether virtual or face-to-face, there are several two-day classes scheduled worldwide.  For a fee, you will receive the added value of hands-on lab exercises as well as interaction with fellow students and an instructor.… Read More

VMware ESX is End of Life, in the future only VMware ESXi will exist

Going through VMworld 2010 video, I was not too surprised of getting the news that VMware ESX will be discontinued & only VMware ESXi will exist forward. Actually it seemed a news that had been circulating for a while, but finally its official now. Watch the below VMworld video from VMworld TV which clearly state that:

Ok, so what does this mean to me. I thought I will share my opinion of this decision.

Although VMware customers will have to pay some efforts to upgrade to ESXi, the upgrade process more than likely will be streamed line & not much more efforts than doing the normal upgrade between ESX releases. Though the gained benefits will be much worth it.

VMware ESXi has a much smaller foot print than ESX, which ensure it has a higher reliability and security level. Further, as ESXi get rid of the service console (a big chuck of the ESX code) it reduce the amount of patching required for ESX tremendously. In regards of the service console command line access, RCLI & Support Tech mode shall do the trick of replacing it. VMware has made a great development on both that I believe they can replace the service console command line in the future.… Read More

When VMware ESX & When VMware ESXi

I have seen tons of articles talking about the differences between VMware ESX & VMware ESXi, but I have not seen many that discuss when to use them. I have noticed that many of my customers get even more confused when reading comparisons between the two, as not all of them have deep understanding of the Virtualization Technology. That means they got to know the differences, but still wondering which one is best fit for their environments. Below is few rules that can put you on the right path.

- Do you need a free but reliable Virtualization platform as you don’t have a budget? or maybe you wanna use it for non critical applications? maybe you don’t want to pay for fancy features or an official support. In this case VMware ESXi is for you. As ESXi offer a free version, where a license can be applied to it at a later stage when you need to go fancier or require official support.

- Is security & reducing the required patching time is one of your main concerns? then you should consider using VMware ESXi as it does not have a service console which requires most of the patching time.… Read More

VMWare ESXi editing the Hostfile

If you are as paranoid with redundancy as my team & I are, then entering the hostnames & IPs of all the server in a cluster into the VMware host file is a must. As your VMware HA is dependant on your servers being able to resolve the names of itself & other ESX server in the cluster, the DNS get to play a major role in HA. What if DNS fail? As many customers are using Microsoft DNS as their primary means of DNS, there is a chance it will fail a day or another. Would you like a way to ensure that your HA will work even if your DNS fail? then Adding these records to the host files of each of the ESXi server in the cluster will do the trick. What if you did not even have a DNS & still want to implement HA & other feature that depend on name resolution, then again adding the records to the host file is the solution.

The steps below show what to do after you login to the console of your VMware Server. If you are using ESX, then logging in to the service console is straight forward.… Read More

VMware ESXi – Console Access (Unsupported)

Did the title bring your attention? Have you heard that one of the main reasons for VMware ESXi was to get rid of the service console? Are you sure there is no console in VMware ESXi? The true is there is still a very tiny console in VMware ESXi, though it has way smaller foot print than the one found in the ESX version. In addition, the usage of the VMware ESXi Console Access is not supported unless if instructed by VMware to do so. Please use this tip wisely & don’t try to do wild changes using your VMware ESXi console as that is not supported. Yeah, again I would repeat its not supported :).

Hmm you still insist that you want to know how to do so, although its not supported. I can admit it, it can get to be handy if you know what you are doing. Below is the steps of how to access the ESXi Console:

To access the VMware ESXi console (Not Supported) do the following.

1. Open the console of your ESXi host, you should see a screen like the below:

VMWare ESXi default screen

2. Use the key-combo Alt+F1, and you’ll get a virutal terminal (vtty1) with some log messages in it like below:

VMWare ESXi console after alt+f1

3- After you hit Alt+F1 & end up with the screen above, you will notice that what ever you type does not get on the screen & does not get interrupted.  You will have to type ‘unsupported’ and then hit enter before anything get interrupted or viewed on the screen.… Read More

ESXi cmd addnode failed for secondary node: /opt/vmware/aam/bin/ft_startup failed to complete within three minutes

In the past few weeks, I had been hit by many calls of many of my colleagues & customers being hit by the following error when trying to configure VMware ESXi HA:

“cmd addnode failed for secondary node: /opt/vmware/aam/bin/ft_startup failed to complete within three minutes”

After investigating the error for sometime & searching on the internet I found many misleading trial and error solutions for this error around Google results. The resolution which seems to work for everyone of my colleagues & customers is below.

1- Disable HA for the affected cluster

2- Delete the User Worlds Swap file called uwswap from all the nodes in the problematic cluster.

3- Enable HA for the affected cluster again.

Note: If its possible to move the uwswap file to the local harddisk do it by all mean, as its much better than putting it on the shared storage & will save you a lot of headache.

Recommendation: Add all the host short names & fully qualified names to the host files of all the ESXi servers in that cluster. If you have a doubt on how to do so let me know & I will make a post on how to do this :).  <== Well as many requests had hit my mailbox the following link is another article I posted on here to show just that:

VMWare ESXi editing the Hostfile

I thought I will document this as I am sure many of you will hit it one day or another.… Read More

Changing the VLAN ID of a ESX Service Console using Command Line

A good amount of ESX admins ask on dialy basis how to change the VMware ESX Service Console Vlan using command line. As I decided to save time by writing the steps for these kind of questions to send it to others when asked. I will document these commands in here:

First of all check which vSwitch the Service Console is on (and the name of the Service Console) with esxcfg-vswitch -l (Note: The default service Console switch is vSwitch0 & default name is “Service Console”.)

To set a vlan id on the service console use:

esxcfg-vswitch vSwitch0 -v X -p “Service Console” (Replace X with the desired VLAN number)

To remove the vlan id completely, you will need to set it to 0 using the following command:

esxcfg-vswitch vSwitch0 -v 0 -p “Service Console”

Please note both commands above had assumed the name of your service console & switch are “Service Console” & vSwitch0 as they more probably are as these are the default values. If you have changed them, please replace these with your values.

I hope this tip will help many of you out there. If I had gave you the link to fix your problem as a friend or a customer, then I hope it save you the cost of an engineer trip to your place :).… Read More

VMWARE ESXi – Host in HA Cluster must have userworld swap enabled

I had always been using the VMware ESX version in my implementation. As I noticed that VMware seems to be pushing toward the move to ESXi, I had decided to try the latest version for a full scale installation. Though when I was trying to configure HA for my VMware ESXi Cluster, I had been hit with the below error:

HA agent has an error : Host in HA Cluster must have userworld swap enabled

VMware ESXi HA Error

Luckily the VMware support was quite helpfull as the usual and gave me the simple solution for the problem in less than a minute, I was back up and running with HA configured. So I decided to share the solution with you. Read below the steps for the solution:

Well, it end up that ESX Server 3i systems with swap not enabled cannot be added to HA clusters, so you have to enable the Swap in order for HA to work. Below is how you enable the Swap in ESXi.
To enable swap on your ESXi 3 host system:

  1. On the VirtualCenter Server, select the ESXi 3 Server host.
  2. Click the Configuration tab.
  3. Click Advanced Settings.
  4. Choose ScratchConfig.
  5. Configure ScratchConfig.ConfiguredScratchLocation to a valid directory with sufficient space (1GB) to hold the userworld swap file.

  6. Read More

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