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HP Support Matrix – VMware / HP Downloads

September 30th, 2010

I’ve been building a few new HP DL 380 G7 servers as ESX 4.1 hosts and was having the usual nightmare finding anything on HP’s website. I was specifically looking for HP Insight Management Agent downloads and I’d been searching for ages when I came across a page called VMware from HP for Proliant. I’ve still no idea how I stumbled across it but I’m writing this down now so I never loose it.

The screenshot below which is from the bottom of the web page and lists all the HP Insight management agents for V4.x that I could possibly need.

HP_Support_Matrix_1
As you can see from the next screenshot the web page covers all versions of ESX. It also has an extensive list of servers covering the BL, DL, ML and SL Proliant ranges.  Click on the tick and it will take you straight to the appropriate page for that server so you can download everything you may need regardless of end operating system. So it acts as a support matrix and also acts as a collection of links to the correct product download page, can’t ask for much more than that.  Good work HP, not often I say that about your web site.

 

HP_Support_Matrix

ESX, ESXi, Servers, VMware , ,

VMware Update Manager not downloading ESX updates

May 23rd, 2009

I’m currently working on replacing all our ESX 3.0.2 and 3.0.1 hosts with 3.5 U4 hosts,  unfortunately the leap to vSphere is going to have to wait until next year.

One of my main reasons for doing this was to allow for the introduction of VMware Update Manager for ESX Host patching.  ESX Hosting patching can be a bit of a pain when using the service console and Esxupdate and because of this patching starts to become a nightmare and gets forgotten about.

So I had my first ESX 3.5 host added to virtual center and was poking around the VMware Update Manager tab and noticed that there were absolutely no host patches attached to the default host baselines.  I did a bit of digging around online and plenty of people had problems out there with the actual installation of VUM or their vci-integrity.xml file was missing some of it’s content.

Luckily my issue was resolved far more easily.  My virtual center server didn’t appear to be able to access the websites to get the patches due to the enhanced security pack.  All I had to do was add the following websites into the trusted sites on Internet Explorer on the Virtual Center server.

https://www.vmware.com
https://xml.shavlik.com

When the next scheduled patch download occured I recieved 150 patches for ESX 3.5.0 and was then able to create a custom baseline for all patches after 3.5.0 U4 and apply them.  Worked an absolute treat.

ESX, ESXi, VMware ,

Bluebear Kodiak 0.0.3 – Reviewed

May 18th, 2009

So I had the chance to play about with the latest version of Bluebear Kodiak the other day,  I just hadn’t had the chance to put some of my findings and thoughts down on the blog.

This release has been a long time in coming,  so much so that I’d almost forgotten what was in 0.0.2.  I often found myself looking at 0.0.3 and asking myself, “was that in it already or is that new?”

Most of the changes that have occured appear to be under the hood, one of these changes is the introduction of a Lua scripting engine.  I had never heard of Lua as a scripting language before this release,  however following a bit of reading it appears to be a very lightweight and fast scripting language that is highly customisable to requirements.  To be honest I have no idea what this will mean for Kodiak from an operational perspective,  it doesn’t appear to be any faster than the previous version but I was only testing this against a single ESX server.  The release notes hint that each server gets it’s own independent Lua script which may indicate that the benefits only appear when using Kodiak against multiple hosts.

I notice that support for Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V are still missing in this release,  with no real indication as yet of a timeline for support of these mainstream hypervisors.  I’m very interested to see if and how it would handle managing multiple hypervisors within the same application window,  I’m presuming that it’s what they’re working towards and it would be a masterstroke if they can pull it off.  Microsoft have obviously tried something similar by managing VMware hosts within System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) with mixed results,  lets hope the guys at BlueBear have more joy in their attempts of building a management tool to bridge all mainstream hypervisors.

So,  lets get down to the nice bits.  First off the map, a great interface and easy to use, move about and navigate.  This release sees the addition of a new map connection node and link display control which allows you to customise what’s shown on the map to good effect.  It can get very busy on screen sometimes and this feature allows you to control exactly what you do and don’t display in a very granular way.  I believe the scripts window is a new edition,  when a machine is selected you are presented with an array of scripts to use including defragment vm disks and migrate reboot to BIOS. From the release notes it appears that users will be able to create their own scripts however a user interface / script builder still needs to be added

 

I must admit I did have the occasional bit of trouble when navigating round the interface.  I seemed to be able to open the console window without issue by clicking on the appropriate button when a host was selected.  However I was having issues opening the configuration screen in that sometimes it just did not respond at all.  I also saw issues with VM status refresh as well,  I powered down a linux box by issuing a shutdown within the OS. However Kodiak still reported it as switched on within the map section,  a minor annoyance of course but a core feature has to be the accurate reporting of virtual machine status.

It looks like the guys at Bluebear have been working hard on changing some of the core fundamentals in the background,  as such there aren’t maybe as many differences on top as you might expect.  What I’m hoping is that the work done between 0.0.2 and 0.0.3 underpins their master plan and that we’ll start to see development pick up. We hope to see the additional hypervisor support, the continued fine tuning of the interface and of course delivery of features to meet the requirements people will undoubtedly have in their virtualisation management tool of choice.

I don’t have any invites left but Gerald Bunch over at Professionalvmware.com has quite a few left

ESX, ESXi, New Products ,

Microsoft Licensing on Virtual platforms

December 23rd, 2008

I read an interesting blog post on Mike De Petrillo’s blog entitled Microsoft Lies to their customers again.  The article details a discussion with a customer regarding licensing on virtual platforms such as ESX and Hyper-V. 

Customer: I would love to use VMware but the cost savings in Windows licenses from Microsoft with Hyper-V makes it a deal I can’t pass up.

Me: What do you mean by that? Licenses cost you the same for Windows no matter what virtualization solution you’re using.

Customer: That’s not what my Microsoft rep told me. They said I could get unlimited virtual machines with Datacenter Edition of Windows only if I used Hyper-V.

Me: Ah. I see. You know, they’re lying to you, right?

Customer: No. They never lie to me. Where’s the proof.

Now I’ve done a lot of work with company reps from all sorts of companies in the past.  The thing to remember is these guys are sales guys pure and simple,  they are interested in getting your business for their company, bottom line.  If you say “I need to consolidate my server pool and keep the cost down”,  the Microsoft Rep is obviously going to tell you that Microsoft Hyper-V is going to be the best and cheapest way to achieve this.  Fair enough that’s his opinion,  but as an IT Professional it is your job to see through the smoke and mirrors and substantiate any claims made.  I take everything I hear with a pinch of salt (even from VMware) and I will always try to validate any claim made, either through existing customer reference sites, product forums or blog sites. 

I’m still reeling from the fact that Mike is seeing this across a number of customers,  how hard can it be to do a little research.  I did a very quick google search on “licensing for virtualization“ and the top result was the press release relating to Microsoft’s change of licensing to incorporate virtualisation.  The second result was the Microsoft page that details licensing for specific products such as Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008.

Within that page is a link to the white paper I used to clarify the correct approach to be taken by my current employer.  The first paragraph answers the question this guy in New York should have been asking, don’t you think?

 The purpose of this white paper is to give an overview of Microsoft® licensing models for the server operating system and server applications under virtual environments. It can help you understand how to use Microsoft server products with virtualization technologies, such as Microsoft Hyper-V™ technology, Microsoft® Virtual Server 2005 R2, or third-party virtualization solutions provided by VMWare and Parallels.

ESX, ESXi, Microsoft, VMware , , , ,

VMware logs – locations and what’s in them

December 19th, 2008

I was looking into an issue following an upgrade to vCenter Server 2.5 last weekend.  So I set about searching through the file system for the log files on the server with very little luck to be honest.

I then found two excellent posts from Rick Blythe a.k.a the vmwarewolf,  the posts detail the locations of the logs and what each one means.  This is an excellent post and one that I’m going to keep handy for all those strange little issues where insight into the logs might give a clue to the problem.

Virtual Center Logs
http://www.vmwarewolf.com/which-virtual-center-log-file/

ESX Server Logs
http://www.vmwarewolf.com/which-esx-log-file/

ESX, ESXi, vCenter, VMware , ,

ESXi Warranty – don’t break the shell

November 26th, 2008

There is an interesting post on the VMTN blog today with regard to the ESXi warranty and not breaking it.

ESXi is not your father’s ESX. There is no Service Console, so trying to fit it into the exact same processes that you’re used to with ESX isn’t recommended. I know, I know, you have all those scripts you’re used to running in the console. VMware is building tools to manage and administer your ESXi from outside the box, and while they’re not quite feature complete, they’re well on their way. So don’t pop the hood; it’s welded shut for a reason.

Sometime back I wrote a post on regenerating SSL certificates in ESXi,  a post that a lot of people land on when searching on the subject within Google.  Now to achieve the regeneration of SSL certificates in ESXi you have to use the tech support mode.  however it would appear based on this latest posting that this will potentially invalidate your warranty and support agreements.

So if you want to regenerate your SSL certificates on ESXi then I suggest calling VMware tech support to ensure your not invalidating any agreements.  Eventually if they get enough help calls they may provide a means of doing this through the VI client.  Now they may already have this but I’m not aware of it so if anyone does know of another way of regenerating the certificates I’d love to hear it.

ESXi, VMware , , ,

Hyper-V vs ESXi installation video

October 10th, 2008

I came across the following video a few days ago when I was looking at some Hyper-V content. It’s a video by VMware and It shows a side by side install of the new Hyper-V role in Windows Server 2008 and ESX 3.5i.  Now the idea here is to show how long it takes to install both, it should be noted though that this video was done before the release of the bare metal Hyper-V server 2008. Having installed both I’d have to say that the ESX 3.5i install was still by far the easiest and quickest to complete.  Though Hyper-V Server 2008 (bare metal version) is a lot quicker than the windows representation in the video it is still fiddly and involved amending / shutting down the windows firewall from the command line Urrrghhh!!!

ESX3i Vs Hyper-V Installation – Battle of the Hypervisors

ESXi, Hyper-V, Microsoft, VMware , , ,

VMware Remote Console – Vi3, Vmware Server 2

October 8th, 2008

I read with interest a post by Eric Sloof a couple of weeks back on the VMware remote console that comes with VMware Server 2.0.  I had a particular need for something like this to allow developers to connect in to a new windows 2008 domain with SQL Server 2008 that was on an ESX 3.5i server and firmly ring fenced through an internal switch.  I wanted to get people on to the box without having to install the VI Client for everyone and this VMware remote console sounded perfect for the job.  

So how did I get this all working, well here are the steps I took
 

  • I first set about installing VMware Server 2.0 which can be downloaded here for free.
     
  • I installed it on to a windows XP physical PC (won’t install on a virtual pc / server)
     
  • Navigate to C:Program FilesVmwareVmware Servertomcatwebappsuiplugin
     
  • Locate and run the vmware-vmrx-win32-x86.exe within the folder.
     
  • The application will install to C:Program FilesCommon FilesVMware
     
  • You can now take the entire folder and deploy on different machines or alternatively just install the vmware-vmrx-win32-x86.exe wherever it’s needed.
     
  • You need to run it from the command line as follows,  note the case of the VM folder and VMX file as it is case sensitive, additional syntax can be found here 
     

        vmware-vmrc -h 192.168.3.101 -m “[Storage1] XP1/XP1.vmx”
 

  • So I’ve batched it and used the -u (user) and -p (password) switches and at some point I’ll try do something funky to allow a user to select the host and machine.

 

ESX, ESXi, VMware , , ,

ESX 3.5i – SSL certificate regeneration *Update*

October 1st, 2008

Just had an email from Bluebear pointing me in the direction of the following article,  wish I had found that earlier on today,  would have saved me loads of time.  Hopefully it’ll save someone some time

http://www.vm-help.com/esx/esx3i/change_name_and_cert.php

ESXi, General , ,

ESX 3.5i – Regenerate SSL certificates

October 1st, 2008

Heres an interesting one,  I’ve been looking at Bluebear Kodiak and was trying to get round an issue with SSL certificates when I found that my ESX 3.5i server had localhost.localdomain as it’s name on the certificate that’s presented when you connect to the host using internet explorer.  How did that happen ????

Well it turns out that if you don’t provide a hostname during the install (which you can’t do in ESX 3.5i) then the certificate is generated based on whatever is in the host file,  in this case localhost.localdomain.  Now in ESX 3.x the full fat version this was not an issue as the installer asks for the hostname during the install.

How do I fix it ?? Well first of all you need to get on to the console on your esx 3.5i box.  But there is no console I hear you cry,  well there isn’t really but there is a subset of linux based commands that can be used in what’s known as “Tech support mode”. Everyone should be aware that this is only meant to be used in conjunction with Vmware support and as such is unsupported,  see the kb article for details. 

To get to it hit Alt +F1 at the console and type unsupported (you won’t see the letters on screen) you’ll need to enter the root password to show that you’ve read the warnings about it being unsupported. See Richard Garsthagen article for more indepth details about how this all works,  it’s even got a handy video of how to do it. 

Now at this stage you ESX 3.5i box should have been assigned a valid hostname so that the new name and IP have been automatically added in to the hosts file on the server.  Once in tech support mode type create_certificates to regenerate the local certificates and then reboot the server for the new certificates to take effect.

To test this has worked you can connect to the host using Internet Explorer and attempt to install the certificate,  you should now see the correct hostname appear on that certificate.

This however did not solve my issue with the Bluebear Kodiak software but did teach me something knew.  Always look on the bright side I suppose.

ESXi, General , , ,