Thursday, September 26, 2013

VMware’s 5.5 release during September 2013

VMware had a great cycle of releases this weekend, the majority of them were driven by VMWorld 2013 announcements.
All the products bellow have ben uplifted to support the new 5.5 platform as well as including some fixes and new features.

But remember, bellow are the highlights from MY point of view, I really encourage all of you to read the release notes for full details.

VMware vSphere 5.5 Release Notes 
vSphere is our virtualization platform, I'm sure you already know that, as so it includes most of the improvements, new features and fixes, but it also drivers the uplift of a lot of other products.

For full details about the news on the platform, check What's New vSphere 5.5 Platform.

Now let's see my highlights about it: 

VMware ESXi™ 5.5 | 22 Sept 2013 | Build 1331820
VMware vCenter Server™ 5.5 | 22 Sept 2013 | Build 1312298
It brings a new Virtual Machine Hardware Version 10, or the way they like to be called now  Compatibility level VMware ESXi 5.5 and later, which also allows larger VMs (64 vCPUs, 1TB memory and 62TB VMDKs). VDI deployments can benefit from expanded support for hardware accelerated 3D graphics.  Microsoft Clustering Service (MSCS), running RDMs, are now supported through the use of FCoE cards and datastore path policy was also update to support Round Robin.

vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 | 22 Sept 2013 | Build 1312297
Despite the fact some of the limitations of the 5.1 version still there, it now supports real production workloads, up to 100 hosts and 3000 VMs with embedded database and 1000 hosts and 10000 VMs with Oracle Database.

VMware vSphere App HA 1.0 | 22 Sept 2013 | Build 1316229 
App HA enables you to define high availability for applications that are running on the virtual machines of your environment.
It’s kind of our vCenter HA, but it monitors the health of the application inside the VM and can take actions based on it’s state.

vSphere BigData Extensions 1.0 | 22 Sept 2013 | Build 1315424 
Big Data Extensions enables the rapid deployment of a Hadoop cluster on a VMware vSphere virtual platform. Allowing faster adoption of Big Data solutions. 

vSphere Flash Read Cache
It’s a nice feature that allows you to speed up applications response time, leveraging host’s local disks as a cache for read operations, alleviating your storage for another operations. Of course the applications that benefits the most of this feature are the ones with the majority of IO operations been read operations. Remebering, it’s just the initial release of this feature, I wont be surprise if in a near future it becomes a write cache as well.

vSphere Distributed switches (vDS) has now a new network troubleshooting tool, one that allows you to capture frames at the VMkernel interface, uplinks and virtual port levels.

Nothing really new here, just support for ESXi 5.5.

Our high availability product for vCenter has also been updated. This version drops the support to be installed on Windows 2003 systems, being only supported on Windows 2008 and 2012 systems.

This release brings the support of CentOs for vCloud Director servers, a free distribution that will make happy several clients, which had no option than Red Hat.
Also the Catalog brought several improvements, now it’s possible to choose what catalog will be shared with each organization. Any file to the catalog and catalog versioning are news to this version as well.

Aligned with our cloud product, our product that allows software defined network has also been updated to 5.5.
One of the change is about licensing, VMware made this product only available through vCloud Suite, that means it’s not possible to purchase it as Stand Alone anymore.
I think the relevant technical updated on this version was the launch of new sizes of vCNS Edge, they can now be Compact, Large, Quad-Large and X-Large.

A bunch of fixes and support for vCenter 5.5.

Just a few fixes and support for 5.5 platform. 

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.5 | 22 Sept 2013 | Build 1315893
This new version brings the support for Storage vMotion and Storage DRS for vSphere replication and Array base replication (within the same consistency group), something the clients have been asking for a long time.

Besides the storage vMotion and storage DRS support, this new release brings the multiple points in time recovery…that means, after recovering a VM, you can choose from several snapshots which recovery point your can revert to.

Besides the support for 5.5 platform, VMware also made some fixes and improvements on the operations side.

With a new integration with vCOPs, new apps can be added automatically  to the dashboard. Also vFabric Hyperic Agent management functionality helps on delivering the agents on guests automatically.

Improvements have been made based on scalability and high availability, also new workflows and schemas provides a more simple and efficient development experience, a new debugging and failure diagnostics tool has been included.

WOW it’s a lot of reading : (

Friday, September 20, 2013

Cannot send support logs to VMware

******                             Updated information - Sept 25, 2013                   ******
******                               Send logs functionality is restored.                     ****** *************************************************************************

Greetings dear friends,

By now you should have seen that the functionality of sending logs to VMware is no longer working.  Kind of, keep reading….

If you are a VMware Support Assistance type of guy and, like me, love the option to open support cases and send the logs through it, you will realize that sending logs is not working anymore.
With a quick internet search you might find KB2059759, with all the details about it, not worth to copy and past it here.

Fortunately, you can still open your support cases through it normally.

Or if you are more an old fashioned type of guy, and that’s OK, you will realize that when opening your support cases through MyVMware, there’ll be an alert about this issue.

 The thing is, there has been a last minute change in the support request file upload process that disrupts the feature of uploading files to VMware through HTTP connections, exactly how MyVMware and Support Assistances were made to send the logs to.

VMware is working diligent to have it fixed as soon as possible, meanwhile you have to use the old way, upload files manually through FTP, probably the old fashioned guys will love that ; )

Here’s a video about how to do that, but if you want more details check KB1008525

When a fix is available I will let you know, keep tuned.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

VMware vCloud O.S. Customization

From time to time I stumble with a client questioning about how to make VMware vCloud Director to join a computer at a specific OU other than default Computers OU.
Some of them are using fancy scripts into the guest or using the Guest OS Customization tab to accomplish this task.

Well, these days are behind us, VMware vCloud is now capable of joining computers at the right OU without those inventive scripts.
I have to admit I read the vCloud’s release notes of all versions and I did not find when this feature was introduced.

So, how do I join a computer to a specific OU with vCloud ?

You have a few options to set it up, at the Organization, vApp or VM level.

- On the Organization’s properties, select Administration and then Guest Personalization.
Add the DN (Distinguished Name) of the desired OU on the Account Organization Unit field and you are good to go.
After that, every machine created from this Organization would join the Organization’s default OU you just set up.

- On the vApp’s properties, select Guest OS Customization, select the option to overwrite the organization’s domain and add the DN for the OU you want.
 Now when the vApp/VM get customized it will overwrite the default Organization’s OU.

  ********************************      Addendum      ********************************

Here are a few more common issues when you are facing issues when customizing your guest with Sysprep within vCloud.

First make sure every cell has the Sysprep files.
 While new O.S does not require it, the old ones still need them. Check KB 1026313 for details.

Another one is related to network connectivity, as vCloud make use of IP Ranges to attribute IPs to VMs, you might have the wrong impression that’s all it needs. But it’s not.
Sysprep requires DHCP available before it kicks in, so depending on your network design you will need a different approach.

For Direct Connection networks you need a DHCP listening on the network segment.

For Routed Connection network you need to enable DHCP on the vCNS Edge.

Since the IP will be required just for a small period, a good practice would be to reduce the DHCP Lease Time on those scopes.

Not sure if it’s something else ?  Take a look at the Sysprep log file.

I hope this post helps you fix all the O.S. customization issues you might be having with vCloud.

Who am I

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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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