Call “HostDatastoreSystem.CreateVmfsDatastore” for object “ha-datastoresystem” on ESXi “” failed.

While working with my home vSphere 5.1 lab the other day, I was trying to create a VMFS5 datastores on my local SATA disk. Each time I tried to do that I was just welcomed with the following error:

Call “HostDatastoreSystem.CreateVmfsDatastore” for object “ha-datastoresystem” on ESXi “” failed.

Please note stand for my host IP. To visualize the error below is a screen shot of the error as it has appeared in my home lab

Call "HostDatastoreSystem.CreateVmfsDatastore" for object "ha-datastoresystem" on ESXi "" failed.

After fuzzing around trying to figure out what happened, I have remembered this particular disk was used by one of my old lab ESXi hosts. As I do all kind of crazy things in my labs, I thought I should try to wipe the disk clean then try to format it with VMFS5 afterward. That has actually solved the problem. This error seems to happen if you have a file system on that LUN/disk that ESXi does not understand, cannot overwrite or if You don’t have a full write access to the disk/LUN(ex: SRM replication target)

Below is how I went about doing it if you are not familiar with the procedure:

Note: In previous versions of ESXi fdisk was your friend in such a situation, though if you try it in vSphere 5.x… Read More

vSphere 5.1 VMware Tools NTP Settings

In earlier versions of VMware vSphere, many of us used to configure VMware tools settings by double clicking VMware tools inside the guest OS. This was most often used to configure NTP in the Virtual Machine VMware tools. Just to remind you of what that looked like:

VMware Tools Properties

Alright if you try to do the same in vSphere 5.1, you will be surprised that you will not have any options to choose when double clicking on VMware tools inside the guest OS. What you will get will look like the below screen shot:

vSphere 5.1 VMware tools settings no NTP check box

Maybe what I have mentioned so far is already what you know and its why you got here. Now let’s cover how you can configure your VMware Tools to sync the VM time with your host. The way this is done in vSphere 5.1 is a bit different. You actually don’t need to login to the VM to change VMware tools setting & in most use cases the VMware Tools NTP Sync setting, but now you can do it from the VMware setting page. The VMware tools settings now can be accessed  in Virtual Machine –> Edit Settings –> Options –> VMware Tools. The below screenshot show just how to set it up.… Read More

Microsoft Exchange 2010 is definetly supported on VMware vSphere

I know most of my readers are already aware that Microsoft Exchange & Microsoft SQL have been supported on VMware vSphere for quite long time. In fact, there is so many companies are using it at unbelievably large production scale. Though today while going back from my customer site by train, I was talking to two of their engineers. One of them worked within their Virtual Infrastructure team & the other one within their Microsoft Infrastructure team. What sparked the idea of this post is when the Virtual Infrastructure engineer asked his colleagues what he think of virtualizing their Exchange 2010 setup. The shocking answer was “Our Exchange 2010 environment is too large to be virtualized as we have about 10,000 users. Further, if we virtualize we have have to use Hyper-V to be supported by Microsoft although I know it will run better on VMware vSphere.”

Let me address the status of Microsoft support for running MS Exchange 2010 on VMware vSphere, as it seems there is a lot of misleading believe that Microsoft Exchange 2010 is only supported on Hyper-v. Unfortunately, this seems to be fueled even further by few Microsoft Sales Reps that does not play fair and welling to do anything to win a deal even by misrepresenting facts.… Read More

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 5) – vSphere Web Client Step by Step

Alright now that you got your vCenter 5.1 up and running & ready to start managing it. I know vSphere Client will be the first thing to come to your mind in here, but its worth mentioning that all the new features in vSphere 5.1 is only included in the vSphere Web Client not the traditional Installable vSphere Client. Alright that should get you enough reason to install and try to get used to the new vSphere Web Client. Though the new vSphere Web Client has been improved dramatically from the one included in vSphere 5.0 that it feels it is a fully different client. It is much faster, smoother and with tons more functionality that can replace almost every functionality in the traditional vSphere Client.

While this post show you how to install the vSphere Web Client in a step by step fashion, if you have not yet setup vCenter 5.1 then you might want to look at previous posts in this series which document vCenter 5.1 installation including preparing the DBs.

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 1) – Preparing the Databases

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 2) – Single Sign On Installation

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 3) – vCenter 5.1 Inventory Service Installation

vCenter 5.1Read More

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 4) – vCenter Service Step by Step

As covered in my previous three posts, vCenter Service is the third component to be installed. As a reminder the order of installing vCenter 5.1 components is as follow:

Single Sign On ==> vCenter inventory Service ==> vCenter Service.

In this post, I will demonstrate in a step by step fashion how to install the vCenter Service though if you have not followed earlier parts in this series you will need to check them out before you install the vCenter Service. The earlier posts in this series can be found at:

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 1) – Preparing the Databases

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 2) – Single Sign On Installation

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 3) – vCenter 5.1 Inventory Service Installation

Alright so now that you have completed the installation of SSO and Inventory Service, you are ready to start the installation of vCenter 5.1 Service & below is a step by step instruction on how to do just that.

To install vCenter Server

1. Launch the installer using an account with administrator privileges.

2. Select vCenter Server from the VMware Product Installers menu and click Install.

vCenter 5.1 Server Installation Wizard

3. Select the setup language and click OK.

Select vCenter 5.1 Setup Language

4. Wait while the installation process begins.

Wait for VMware vCenter Server 5.1 installation process to begin

5.… Read More

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 3) – vCenter 5.1 Inventory Service Installation

In my previous two posts, I have demonstrated how to prepare the databases required for the different vCenter 5.1 components(SSO, vCenter Service, & Update Manager)  as well how to install vCenter Single Sign On. If you have not went through these earlier two posts, then you will need to follow them before proceeding with this one. These two posts can be found at:

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 1) – Preparing the Databases

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 2) – Single Sign On Installation

As I have mentioned in my earlier post, the next vCenter 5.1 component to install would be vCenter Inventory Service. In this post, I will demonstrate how to install the vCenter Inventory Service in a step by step fashion. It is important to note that in vCenter 5.1 you have the option to install the vCenter Inventory Service with other vCenter components or on a different server/vm. As I mentioned in my first post in the series, the main reason why sometime you want to install it on a separate VM/Server is if scalability is a concern in your organization and you are approaching the vCenter Scalability limits of 1,000 hosts and 10,000 VMs. In most organizations, where these limits are not even close then installing the vCenter Inventory Server on the same VM/Server running the vCenter Service is a no brainer.… Read More

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 2) – Single Sign On Installation

During the installation of vCenter 5.1, you will need to install 3 components in the following order: Single Sign On => Inventory Service => vCenter Service. In a new installation I would normally install the Web Service after installing the vCenter Service, though during an upgrade I would install the web service right after the Single Sign On service to be able to use it just in case I wanted to check on my Single Sign On configuration or want to troubleshoot. As this guide assuming a new installation we will leave the Web Client Service to the end. In this post, I will demonstrate the installation of the Single Sign On Service.

Preparing Databases for vCenter Components

Three vCenter components require a database. Single Sign On, vCenter Service, & Update Manager each of those components require its own database, where the creation of those databases have been documented at the first post in this series found at: vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 1) – Preparing the Databases.

Alright now you have your databases ready let’s start the process of installing vCenter Components. The first component to install as mentioned earlier is the Single Sign On Service, which is documented in a step by step fashion below.… Read More

vCenter 5.1 Installation(Part 1) – Preparing the Databases

After the introduction of vSphere 5.1, there seemed to be a lot of fuzz about the installation of the new vCenter components. I believe most of the hype was caused about how the initial vSphere 5.1 release behaved differently against expired certificates from how vSphere version prior to 5.1 behaved. In earlier releases, vCenter has only checked the expiry date of the certificate used during the initial install and fall to a backup mechanism if the certificate fail though the service would went up and the user would use vCenter as nothing has happened. To increase the security of vCenter and prevent man in the middle attacks, this behavior was changed in vCenter 5.1. vCenter 5.1 is always checking the validity of its certificates every time the service is being started & it would report an error if it does not find a valid certificate. As many customers had an expired vCenter certificates and did not know about it before upgrading to vSphere 5.1 they were caught off guard by this small behavior change where VMware has quickly released a quick workaround for it and a new patch were released to improve how vCenter response to this behavior.

The installation of vCenter 5.1… Read More

VMware vSphere Free Compliance Checkers

While data security has always been one of the top CEOs concerns for the past decade or so, more compliance regulation has been hitting organizations doors every year. After organizations have mastered how to secure their physical environment by using physical segregation, Virtualization came around and changed the security game. Now organizations has to ensure that their Virtual Infrastructures are meeting compliance regulations such as PCI, HIPAA, SOX, and FISMA. Trying to manually keep up with such regulations that get updated regularly can be an endless hassle, & that why VMware has released vCenter Configuration Manager few years back.

vCenter Configuration Manager can help organizations not only audit their virtual infrastructure against compliance regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), Payment Card Industry (PCI), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Federal information Security Act (FISMA), but as well it help you audit your environment against vSphere best practices including vSphere Security best practices. vCenter Configuration Manager can even help you re-mediate your environment to ensure it is meeting such regulation where many of those remediation can be carried out automatically others will include the recommendations on how to fix it. vCenter Configuration Manager is not limited to the vSphere Infrastructure, but it can check physical machines, Windows/Linux/Unix OS, & even applications for such compliance.… Read More

VMware vSphere 5.1 new vCenter architecture & Single Sign on

With the introduction of vSphere 5.1, VMware has introduced a new vCenter architecture & SSO ( Single Sign On). This is seems to be the first thing being noticed by customers when deploying vSphere 5.1 as its not exactly what they used to. Prior to vSphere 5.1 all vCenter services were installed at once on a single server without giving you the option of spreading them across multiple servers or not installing certain services. To allow vCenter to scale even further, in vSphere 5.1 you got the option to install four separate services that constitute the vCeter Server 5.1 platform. These are:

• vCenter Single Sign On (SSO)
• vCenter Inventory Service
• vCenter Server
• vSphere Web Client

It is important to understand that you can install all those services on the same machine/VM without any problem, & that what is actually being done if you choose the simple install when installing vCenter. If your environment setup is made of a single vCenter then this simple setup would be more than adequate for your environment, and you have no reason to split these components up.  On the other hand, if you have multiple vCenters in your environment and its larger more complex environment then you are better off installing those components on different machines by using their separate installation links for a better scalability.… Read More

Top 5 vSphere Best Practices missed by the Enterprise

As part of my job as a consultant at VMware, I get to deliver Health Check & Architecture Reviews engagement on regular basis. I have found quite few best practices that is generally missed by most & thought to document the top 5 in here for everyone to benefit. Maybe on the next round more enterprises will pass these best practices check. The list below is not ordered in any manner, its just how they happen to kick into my mind and all of them quite important best practice to follow unless you have a strong reason not to.

1- Change port group security default settings ForgedTransmits and MACAddressChanges to Reject unless the application requires the defaults. As well ensure promiscuous mode kept its default setting of reject unless your application require it. The reason why you want to ensure all these are set to reject is to increase your environment security as the last thing you want to allow in your environment is some one forge transmitting packages on your network or a compromised VM claiming to be some one else & crashing another VM and receiving packets meant to be sent to it.  Even worse if you have promiscuous mode set to accept then a VM can sniff all the data flowing on that particular port group.… Read More

How to Export your VM Inventory list from vCenter

Time will come when you need a quick inventory of the VMs in your vCenter with their IPs, Computer name, power on status & all these simple things. You might just need that sheet b/c you need to keep an inventory of what you have or just the for the simple cause that the management had asked you for such one. In both cases you need to figure out the quickest and easiest way to do it. Yeah this can be achieved using power shell script or any other scripting language that vSphere support, but let’s keep that to when we require a more extensive inventory that is can not be generated using the GUI of vCenter. One question I repeatedly hear “why is the Export list in vCenter file menu is shadowed and can not be chosen?” Here I will show you the steps to get a simple inventory of your VMs using VMware vCenter GUI & following it will show you how to get the Export list in vCenter file menu in business.

Steps to Export your VM Inventory list from VMware vCenter

1- Open the vSphere Client and connect to your vCenter

2- From the top menu go to View ==> Inventory ==> VMs & Templates

3- From the inventory list on the left side choose the VMs you want to include in your inventory export or choose a top level folder that includes the VMs you want to export

4- Choose the Virtual Machines tab from the the tabs on the top of the right side.… Read More

Virtual Machines vDS Network Interfaces configuration in VMX file is lost upon removing it from inventory

Note: This is no longer an issue in vSphere 5.1.

Today while doing a manual DR failback test at one of the customers sites where they use Virtual Distributed Switches, I have noticed when removing/adding a Virtual Machine to inventory it lose the configuration for its network interface of which port group its connected to and the like. As the customer was running vSphere 4.1u1, I went ahead and tested the same in my lab running vSphere 5.0  which end up  having the exact same behavior. Its important to note that this behavior only affect Virtual Machines that is connected to a Distributed Switch port group, & it does not affect port group configuration for Standard Switches. This behavior although look odd seems to be nothing but as intended by engineering as it makes the assumption that you are restoring the VM to a different Infrastructure where these Distributed Switches might not exist.

Agree or not agree is not the purpose of this post, but to confirm this behavior as well to be in front warning that you should keep that configuration handy before hand in case you need for any reason to remove your VMs from inventory. In my case was carrying out a manual disaster recovery fallback without involving vCenter Site Recovery Manager.… Read More

VMware VMotion Improvement in VMware vSphere 5

As most bloggers when vSphere 5 arrived decided to cover the improvement on VMware HA, as it was totally revamped. I have decided to cover up the improvement on VMware VMotion in vSphere 5. VMware VMotion had as much improvement in vSphere 5 as VMware HA had, but seems to be forgotten by most bloggers. Below I will summarize some of the nice improvements VMware VMotion has gained with the release of vSphere 5.

– In vSphere 4 simultaneous VMotions were supported with up to 4 VMs if you have 1Gbps NICs & 8 VMs if you were using 10Gbps NICs. In vSphere 5 this has been extended to support multiple NICs for VMotion which increase the number of simultaneous VMotions allowed. At now a max of 4 10Gbps NICs or 16 1Gbps NICs can be used for VMotion in vSphere 5. Doing the math will show you that you can evacuate any ESXi 5 host really fast with that amount of simultaneous VMotions. Further, if you are not going to carry out as many simultaneous VMotions as allowed between your hosts, vSphere 5 can load balance the load across the free adapters to speed up the process.

– As memory must be copied during any live migration including VMware VMotion, busier VMs with high memory activity used to take longer in earlier version of vSphere.… Read More

vSphere 5 is now available for download

With all the enhancements and new features were announced with vSphere 5, many of you waiting patiently for vSphere 5 to be available for download. The good news that the long waited vSphere 5 has been announced available for download yesterday. You can download the vSphere 5 installers at:

vSphere 5 has a tons of enhancements & new features, below just a summary of the major new features:

  • Convergence. vSphere 5.0 is the first vSphere release built exclusively on the vSphere ESXi 5.0 hypervisor architecture as the host platform.
  • VMware vSphere Auto Deploy. VMware vSphere Auto Deploy simplifies the task of managing ESXi installation and upgrade for hundreds of machines. It makes stateless ESXi possible.
  • New Virtual machine capabilities. 32-way virtual SMP, 1TB virtual machine RAM, Software support for 3D graphics, and more. Did anyone say I need a larger VM? Dare you to say that now!!!
  • Expanded support for VMware Tools versions. VMware Tools from vSphere 4.x is supported in virtual machines running on vSphere 5.0 hosts.
  • Storage DRS. This feature delivers the DRS benefits of resource aggregation, automated initial placement, and bottleneck avoidance to storage. For those of you used to DRS and how it load balance VMs across hosts, Storage DRS do the same but for storage.
Read More