Friday, August 29, 2014

vSphere Native Drivers - 2/2

Hi there, with vmworld2014 coming to an end, it’s time to go back at vSphere Native Drivers, we already covered the basics on our previous post, so it’s now time to check some operational information about it.

Since a device can have a Native and a Linux Driver, which one will be loaded ?
By default, if ESXi identify a Native Driver for a device it will be loaded instead of Linux driver.

Next inevitable question is: What Native drivers are available on ESXi ?
There are map files pointing to supported devices.

/etc/vmware/ (for Native drivers)
/etc/vmware/ (for Linux driver)

just list the content of the files for the supported device.

While some of them are easy to identify by it’s name others are not.

just as an example: is for Qlogic devices. is for Emulex devices.

Good, but what specific device model is supported ?
Now you need to check the specific map file.

Lets take an example: cat

Wow, this is hard to read, right ?

Let me help you out with it

Regtype is the type of driver and as you could imagine can be native or linux
Id is where you will identify the vendor and the device model, being the first 4 digits the vendor and the last 4 digits de device model.
In the example10772432, 1077 is the vendor and 2432 is the device model.

Ok, but what vendor 1077 is ?
You can look at the /etc/vmware/pci.ids for the details

Grep –I 1077 /etc/vmware/pci.ids

Or what I prefer to use is access the PCI ID Repository web site:

 To list the devices using native drivers, run the following command:

esxcli storage core adapter list 
That’s all nice to know about, but, What if for some crazy idea I want the old behavior, I mean loading the Linux drivers instead of Native Drivers ?


CAUTION: It’s not recommended. Should only be used during troubleshooting and when asked by VMware’s support personnel, use it at your own risk.

You can change it’s behavior during boot process, press shift + O and you will be presented with the boot options menu, add “preferVmklinux=TRUE” to the end of the command

If your system is already UP you can change it running the following command, remember to reboot the box after running it.

esxcli system settings kernel set -s=preferVmklinux -v=TRUE

This change is persisted to the /etc/vmware/esx.conf file and the ESXi host will continue to load the vmklinux driver preferentially until this action is reversed.

Ok, I understand it’s not recommended but could be situations where a specific device does not work well with Native driver and I want just only one specific device to use a Linux driver, how do I manage that ?

I’m glad you ask it.
You can change the behavior on a device basis, running the following command, don’t forget to reboot the box after running it.

esxcli system module set --enabled=false --module=
esxcli system module set --enabled=true --module=

is the name of the driver that you want to disable, lpfc for Emulex, qlnativefc for Qlogic

The first command will disable the Native driver and the second one will enable the Linux driver.

I hope these information’s help you to better manage your environment.
See you .....

Monday, August 25, 2014

VMworld 2014 Live

WOW,  vmworld2014 is right at the corner, that's excited !!!

 If you could not make your way to San Francisco, dont worry, you still be able to listen to all the announcements made during the event.

Just go to VMware Now and regiter your self.

Here’s the agenda.
See you (on-line)!!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

vSphere Native Drivers - 1/2

It has been a while since I wanted to post something about Native Drivers, today I got the time to compile some good information about the topic, so hang on to your hat….

Starting with vSphere 5.5, VMware had implemented a new architectural model to handle devices.

Pre vSphere 5.5 the devices are handle by Linux Drivers managed by a layer module, vmklinux, which identifies the device and choose the right driver for them.

With vSphere 5.5, a new layer sits on front of devices and during the boot process identifies the device and decides if it should be managed through the legacy mode (Linux Drivers) or Native Drivers.
The big difference here is, once the driver is loaded, you can realize on the picture bellow, that Native Drivers talks directly with the kernel and the device, while with Linux drivers must go through that extra layer, vmklinux. Well more layers, more latency, less performance ; )

Historically VMware has been using drivers derived from Linux, I believe it’s our heritage from the time we used a Linux system, it was easier to use all that drivers that were already there, enabling us to support a large number of devices.

Nowadays the needs are much more challenging, we need more control of the devices, we need to interact with them, need new features like hot-plug and device power management, unfortunately, vmklinux does not allow us to perform all of that……..that’s when Native Drivers came to play, they were design to work specific with ESXi and provide all those desired features.

I think it's enough for today, on the next post I will cover how to work with those devices, stay tuned 

Continue learning at:  vSphere Native Drivers - 2/2

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

VMware IT Business Management Promotion

The Chargeback EOA announcement had an impact on your business ?!?!
What about the investment you did on licenses ?!?!

For that matter, VMware created a ITBM promotion, which is giving 80% discount on it’s license price list, to help you migrate to it’s new billing product, IT Business Management (ITBM).

That’s it, 80% indeed.

You need to fulfill some criteria to be eligible, first is to have your Support and Subscription (SnS) active and have a license for one of these products, Chargeback, vCloud suite Advanced/Enterprise or vCOPs Suite Advanced/Enterprise.

Contact your VMware’s representative and don’t miss this amazing opportunity.
Promotion is valid from August 1, 2014 to October 31, 2014

More details check the Promotion’s FAQ.

VMware also keeps a page about all other Promotions, take a look, it might be that help you need to start a new project over there.

Friday, August 1, 2014

vSphere 5.5 Guest OS support matrix

I've been working on a project to upgrade a vSphere 5.0 environment to vSphere 5.5.
One of my client’s concerns was about what Guest OS versions has been dropped by VMware on this new release.

It’s a valid concern, new releases of VMware vSphere bring new Guest OS to the support list while some others have been dropped.

I know you can all go to VMware Compatibility Guide site and check yourself, but mixing and matching those results can take a while.
Since I already did this task I don’t see a reason why not to share it and maybe save some of your time.

Here’s the list of new Guest OS added to vSphere 5.5 supported list

Also, here’s the list of Guest OS that were dropped from vSphere 5.0 to vSphere 5.5

If you want to check it yourself, here’s how.

- From the drop-down menu select Guest OS
- On Product Release Version  select the release o ESXi you want to check
- Click on Update and View Results

You can filter the results further, just selectin the values on OS Family Name or OS Vendor.

REMINDER: The matrix above is a comparison between ESXi 5.0 U3 and ESXi 5.5 U1 only.

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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