Category: VMware vSphere

Upgrading VMware vSphere Data Protection (Advanced) from 5.5 to 5.5.6

Today I wanted to upgrade my lab to the latest release of VMware vSphere and after checking the support matrix decided to start with VMware vSphere Data Protection Advanced to then make sure I have a good backup of VMware vCenter using the latest product release. Normally I would just cowboy the upgrade and worry about repercussions later (as sometimes working through hiccups can be fun in the lab), but this time I wanted to work through the upgrade somewhat following documentation. That being said I browsed the VDP Administration Guide and was a lazy admin and did not read it in depth (it shouldn’t be too hard as it is a virtual appliance, right?). I  received the following error (don’t forget to snapshot your appliance):

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 3.24.20 PM

I searched around the Interwebs to see if others were having this issue and reporting about how to resolve it and could not find any help, so I went back to the VDP Administration Guide and followed the directions. This did not solve the issue (I had missed the part about setting disks 2-# to Dependent mode).

I did find this posting and will now walk away from the keyboard and see if just being a little patient will help the upgrade process. Time to find something to do for some time.

Well an hour has passed….I came back to try the upgrade and amazingly it started. I think this should be in the documentation, “please walk away from the keyboard and find something to do for an hour or so as this is messed up and clears itself up on it’s own.” I hope this helps others through a frustrating upgrade of VDPA. I will come back and post if there are further issues, but for now happy updating.


Well the upgrade supposedly went without issue. I say this because of the following screenshot:

Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 5.47.14 PM

I know that it only says 90%, but after it said 100% it still stated to “Remove the snapshot created prior to upgrade” which I understand what to do, but would think to wait until after power up and verification that all actually went well. What happens if I remove the snapshot, power up, and then there were problems. Seems to me the only reason the snapshot is of any importance is when there is an issue during the actual upgrade. Removing it before powering on and verifying that all is well kind of has me nervous. I will follow the directions and see what happens now.

What happens now is that I should not be waiting for the pot of water to boil as this snapshot removal is taking a really long time (obviously if you know me I have this running on a Synology DS1813+ on 7.2k disk so I should expect it to take some time). Time to actually boil water and make some dinner.

Twenty five minutes later the snapshot has been removed and I have been fed. Disks 2-# have  been set to “Independent – Persistent” following the directions. I have powered the appliance on and so far so good. Time to take another backup of vCenter and then begin the upgrade of vCenter and my two ESXi hosts.

Update 3/17/2014

VMware vSphere has been successfully upgraded to version 5.5 U1 following the VDPA upgrade. The lab is happy.

VMware Snapshot Issues

Today I noticed that a VM in my VMware vSphere 5.5 (Windows Software Update Services) in my lab was completely out of space. I had not paid much attention and the disk was completely out of space and apparently caused issues with VMware Data Protection Advanced completing a backup a few days ago. The failed state left the VM with a snapshot that was not removed so I could not add additional disk space to the VM. I immediately went to snapshot manager to remove the snapshot and could not find the snapshot. I then decided to try to get a backup of the VM while powered off, but received errors when trying to perform the backup around the format on the VM not being able to be found. I then searched ways to remove a snapshot through the command line and found the following KB. Following the KB allowed me to create a new snapshot and then delete all snapshots for the VM. This removed the snapshot that could not be found and further allowed me to add additional space to the virtual machine. My issue is now resolved and I can work within my lab again 🙂

Shuttle SH67H3 Firmware Update

I was recently reviewing my home lab setup and wanted to see if there was new firmware for my Shuttle SH67H3 machines to demonstrate updating physical hardware within vSphere to a virtualization noob. In doing so I found that there have been a few releases since I last updated in May of 2012. While the past few updates do not have resolutions to anything effecting me, I still wanted to update to see how my hosts would work after the latest release was applied. Much to my delight the machines are still operating without issue on vSphere 5.1 and the firmware update process went without a hiccup (BIOS settings need reviewed and possibly changed as the system defaults are set). I upgraded from the 202 release to the 204 release. See below for the link to the firmware download site.


Shuttle SH67H3 version 2 motherboard upgrade

Many of the VMware administrators across the globe have researched machines to use at home for laboratory purposes. If you follow me and know that I love my Shuttle SH67H3 machines you may want to know the following information to upgrade your existing machine to the Version 2 motherboard. Below is information I found online to get this done through Shuttle.

If anyone is interested in getting the new Version 2 motherboard that supports the Ivy Bridge processors here is what Shuttle is doing:

Fee: upgrade fee will be $40.00 (shipping not included, customer has to handle sending in and ship out cost)


  1. Customer has to call our tech support for a case# at 1-626-820-9000. Then customer has to apply for a RMA# on our website using the case# that they get from our tech support.  Link to RMA page.
  2. Our RMA department will issue a RMA# for customer to return V1 MB (MB must be returned in good condition, no physical damage will be accepted).
  3. After received customer’s return board, we’ll charge $40 + shipping then ship out V2 board to customer.

This info is for Shuttle in the United States.

Not a bad price for an Ivy Bridge motherboard, even with shipping costs both ways.
Only bad thing is you’ll be without your machine for a week or so.

To give credit where credit is due please let me link to my source of this information: CinLor Tech

Citrix VDI-In-a-Box 5.2

The Citrites of the world may have read all about this already so the share is really for those that do not follow Citrix’ every move. I thought VDI-In-A-Box was a fun POC and see great value for SMB customers that may want a “quick and dirty” POC of VDI. I like the notes from the blog about an easier export to keep from a future forklift upgrade (scary to some as it is a lot of work and hard on end users). I know there are VDI masters that can speak better to the scale of this product, but the ability to have a easier migration path seems like a great feature. The addition of the latest hypervisor support also shows how much more viable this product really can be. I look forward to another POC with this version. Who will that customer be?


VMware vSphere Administration using Fusion on iMac

I had a frustrating time a while back trying to do VMware vSphere admin work on an iMac. I run a Windows 7 VM using VMware Fusion. The issue I ran into was building nested VMware ESXi hosts and pressing F11. Pressing F11 natively turns up the volume, and does so also while in the Windows 7 VM. I thought to press the FN key with F11 to find out now my windows all disappear taking me to the desktop (probably some OS X term that I should know since people call me a fanboy, but not coming to mind now). I solved the issue initially by booting my MacBook Air to a BootCamp’d version of Windows 7 and doing the install there as it was quick and dirty. Today after pressing many key combinations I finally figured out the magic. After work I decided to start working on the build of a lab for Indy VMUG Demo Days 2012. I would really like to put together a lab to show off the vSphere Replication piece of VMware Site Recovery Manager 5. I think the technology to migrate to a new datacenter with unlike hardware on the other end is valuable. Well building this lab requires a few nested ESXi hosts and will require a few presses of F11. The magic key combination is COMMAND + FN + F11.

*update* it was brought to my attention to use the menu and follow Virtual Machine > Send Key > F11. For some reason or other my memories are of it not working. I will have to try it again this evening. Other articles out there say to use FN + F11, which I believe works on the Bluetooth keyboard, however with my iMac I use the full keyboard and it does not work and requires COMMAND + FN + F11

*update 2* I have verified that using the Virtual Machine > Send Key >  F11 does in fact work. I prefer the keystrokes, but to each his own.