From VMware

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 :)

vCenter Log Insight 1.5 Favorite New Features

In my previous post I noted my excitement about the upgrades in the future that will not require SSH access and running .rpm files as VMware is now doing updates much like vC Ops. While I think this is magnificent, it isn’t my favorite new feature within the new release. I would have to say that the direct integration to have ESXi logs sent directly to vCenter Log Insight 1.5 with configuration done through the appliance is my most welcome new feature. I am sure others will argue that some of the new features in the Dashboard for storage are their favorite new features, but the ability to configure ESXi hosts directly through the appliance is certainly my favorite new feature (if it existed before I am still excited as it is super simple now. Simply access the Administration of the appliance and then select vSphere below Integration. One then checks the box for ESXi hosts and most of the magic is done for you (you must click Save for the magic to happen and sorry for not stating that directly, but if you are reading this you probably figured something like that out already). If you want to see what hosts are configured you can select “View ESXi syslog configuration details…” to see what hosts are configured resolve any issues with configuration. Sorry for the lack of screenshots, but I thought of this posting after already going through the motions. If anyone has questions please feel free to reach out to me.

Upgrading VMware vCenter Log Insight to 1.5

The upgrade to VMware vCenter Log Insight 1.5 from a previous version (mine was 1.0.4-1169900) was fairly simple. First I had to grab the bits and was happy to see an rpm available for the upgrade. While the download was small (59MB) it made me think about how to install the rpm to the virtual appliance. I had never SSH’d into the machine so immediately I fired up Terminal on OSX and gave it ago. The admin username and password did not work immediately so I gave root a try with the same password and was again a failure. The cowboy in me was annoyed that I had to then look at documentation (somewhat kidding about being annoyed, but also wish these darn appliances just had an update section (think vCAC 6.0)). In the documentation I found Upgrade and within that I found the documentation for setting the root password to enable SSH. I would have to state that coming up with a root password was probably the most frustrating part of the installation as it needed to be more complex than my standard lab password (I like simple in the lab). Following the documentation for upgrading the appliance from the VMware Documentation Center was rather straightforward. Enjoy the updated appliance and hopefully we can find some new features in the future.

Update: after the upgrade I have done a little digging around and found that VMware has made it much like vC Ops in that in the future upgrades will be done by .pak files. This is a welcome addition to make the future much like vC Ops, but dang I wish there was an auto update feature like that of vCAC 6.0 Also to note, the Integration piece is broken into two parts for vSphere and vC Ops.

VMworld 2013

This year VMworld will be unlike past VMworlds that I have attended. This will be an extended stay with a pre-VMworld bootcamp on VMware vCloud Automation Center. I am very excited for this deep dive on the product as I see many businesses looking to implement this product, but they do not know where to start. While it might seem simple to many out there, it is a daunting task for organizations to implement a product so powerful that it could change their operations for good. I look forward to learning this product to help organizations move towards a more automated operating environment.

I will be attending the VMunderground party this year (being a vExpert pays off sometimes to get early access to tickets for this event). Last year was the first time I attended this party and I met a lot of great people. I cannot wait to hang out with the rest of this enthusiastic community this year.

Today’s ramblings might get updated in the future. I just had a few thoughts I wanted to get out.



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.


VMware Horizon Announcements

Some big announcements about VMware Horizon have come out and I want to highlight a small piece that I am excited about. The VMware Horizon Mirage 4 piece has me excited because VMware is now integrating application layering. This piece begins to put the offering closer to Unidesk and will eventually make the puzzle fit together better. Anyone doing VDI today knows to separate the layers into Persona, Apps, and OS, so integrating the application layering into Mirage gets even closer to the dream scenario. Obviously Mirage is not just about VDI and almost an entirely different beast to tackle, but integrating Mirage for physical and virtual desktops will be a dream come true for administration. Now admins can get closer to a single corporate image for workstations.

Workstations are the key to the excitement I have today from the announcement as now VMware is officially supporting VMware Fusion Pro with Mirage so the Apple lovers can now have their corporate Windows image deployed locally on their beloved hardware. This is a key piece to integrating Apple hardware into some businesses as VDI was a stop gap. There was a gap due to offline use that has now been filled by supporting Fusion Pro and Mirage.

These are exciting times for end user computing and I look forward to working with customers on the End User Computing journey.

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?


HP will be saved by storage

Today HP made an announcement in regards to their storage products that made many across IT yawn a little bit. It sounds like the EVA line has been consolidated into the 3PAR products. The new product is the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000. HP claims a “guaranteed” 50% savings in efficiency using hardware enabled thin technology and autonomic tiering without performance tradeoffs. HP claims “effortless” administration without the need for a storage expert while reducing management time by 90%. Autonomic management utilizing self configuring, self optimizing, and self provisioning techniques are the terms used in the “effortless” administration of the new product. HP claims to eliminate inflexibilities and boundaries that block the changing business needs with the new “bulletproof” storage system.

HP claims to have Tier 1 features now in economy size allowing businesses to double their VM capacity without doubling their storage capacity. The virtually limitless scale makes the new product future proof by providing the ability to upgrade pieces of technology within the product at any time. Where the announcement becomes interesting is the claim by HP that this eliminates the distinction between mid-range and Tier 1 class storage. The new product can be delivered for less than $40,000 at a Tier 1 level. Now HP has a single architecture that can deliver common Tier 1 data services from the redefined mid-range of $25,000 to the high end and newly named HP 3PAR StoreServ 10800. HP has essentially eliminated class distinction between mid-range and Tier 1 storage by delivering common services across the board.

I will watch the announcements and look for further information in the future to write about. While this announcement isn’t ground breaking, it is a great move by HP to allow customers to grow as their storage needs increase. I think the HP online import for EVA is one of the best pieces of the announcement allowing customers to “easily” migrate EVA data to their new 3PAR storage.