Thursday, August 2, 2012

ESXi Hardware Health Monitoring


I don’t have to tell you how critical is to monitor the hardware health of your ESXi hosts, right ?!
To avoid any disruption of services and be able to, proactive, remediate any situation before it get’s ugly, will depend on the visibility level  of the host’s  components.

I remember the old days, when to monitor the hardware health of your host you would just install an agent on the host.
Yes, these days are gone, with ESXi there’s no more console, so no more agents running on top of it.

But, VMware did not let’s down, they had provided a new way of monitoring our hosts. It’s based on CIM (CommonInformation Model), that way you can monitor your host directly from vCenter or vSphere Client through the Hardware Status tab.

If you are using the vSphere installer provided by vendors like, IBM, HP, Dell, you should be good to go. Those images (ISO) already comes with the CIM providers from its respective vendors.
Now, if you are using the VMware images (ISO), they contain just the basic providers and in some cases it cannot identify all the hardware and components that might be installed on your host,  also not providing the correct reporting of failures and status that you need.

On the picture bellow, despite the fact I can see several components, there’s no data about my internal disks and controllers (storage item)



In this case, I know that the HP Proliant has a SmartArray controller.
I would like to have the visibility of it and their disks.
After installing the HP ESXi offiline Bundle I could finally accomplish that.



Do you see the difference now ?!? 
So, it’s simple as this, you can just install the CIM Providers related to your hardware model and version and those components will appear on the Hardware Status tab.

There’s a few ways to install the CIM Providers.

DCUI / Remote Shell
It’s the recommended method if you need to update just one or two hosts.

- copy the vib to a location where the host has access
- log into the host
- put it on maintenance mode
- run: esxcli software vib install -d path_to_bundle.zip
- Reboot the host
- exit maintenance mode

Now if you have more hosts to update and do not have UpdateManager, you can use PowerCLI to automatize that.

- run: esxcli -s SERVERNAME -u root -p password software vib install –d path_to_bundle.zip

obs: you can use a file as a source for hostnames

Update Manager
That’s my preferred method.
It’s the perfect tool for the job when you have several hosts to update, also if it will be a reoccurring task.

- Once you download the CIM provider from the vendor website, you must add it to the Update Manager database, it will be considered as a patch.
- Next step is to create a baseline that contains this new patch.
- attach the baseline to your datacenter or cluster.

Now, just scan and remediate your hosts, the same way you do for your regular ESXi patching activities.

One thing I realized during my tests is, if you have installed the vanilla ESXi version (provided by VMware), it might not identify that your host need this patch, not allowing you to install it. If that occurs use one of the other methods above.

But, if you installed with a vendors version, and the CIM Provider will download is newer, then it identifies as a patch needed and let you update through Update Manager,

wow, great way of updating your CIM Providers !!!
Good patching.


3 comments:

mark said...

This sounds like an interesting way to monitor your health

Rachel Burr said...

Congratulations! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this exciting information.telemedicina

tris said...

Thanks..

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I’m an IT specialist with over 15 years of experience, working from IT infrastructure to management products, troubleshooting and project management skills from medium to large environments. Nowadays I'm working for VMware as a Consulting Architect, helping customers to embrace the Cloud Era and make them successfully on their journey. Despite the fact I'm a VMware employee these postings reflect my own opinion and do not represents VMware's position, strategies or opinions. Reach me at @dumeirell

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