Tag Archives: VI

My vSphere 5 Upgrade – Notes and Lessons

vSphere 5 box shot
vSphere 5 box shot
With the release of VMware vSphere 5, I decided to upgrade my lab from 4.1.  The process was pretty painless for the most part, but I thought I would right a few notes about the experience and a couple of things I did to help my scenario along.

I upgraded 3 vSphere 4 (ESXi) hosts and a virtual vCenter Server.

Upgrading ESX 3.5 to vSphere 4 Using Host Update

Tonight I decided to go on the magical journey of upgrading my ESX 3.5 environment to vSphere using the Host Update Utility.  I’m usually a firm believer in ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’ but this time I decided to take the plunge and see what happens.

A few months ago, I ran through the Host Update Utility and failed a hardware compatibility check.  I was running a few Intel Pro/100 NICs that ESX 3.5 was more than happy to work with but vSphere said, NO WAY.  After tracking down a few Broadcom 5701 NICs, installing them without a hiccup, I honestly still considered sticking with ESX 3.5, but after talking to a few friends who have had no trouble with their upgrades, I figured the most that I had to lose was a little time.  I ran through the wizard again, of the Host Update Utility, it complained about nothing this time and continued.

After a short while, maybe 10 minutes or so, I was up and running on vSphere 4.  No hiccups!  I immediately started booting up VMs.  I ran into my first problem. 🙂

Keep Reading…

Continue reading Upgrading ESX 3.5 to vSphere 4 Using Host Update

Get the vSphere Client Running on Windows 7

I found an article in the VMware forums that had these steps so I decided to document them a little better and blog about it so that I have it.  Until VMware releases the officially supported Windows 7 version of the VI Client, I guess this hack will have to do.

Make sure you have the VI / vSphere Client installed.  The typical installation works just fine.  You can also download the files attached at the end of this post, to make the process a little easier.

When I tried to run the client without following these steps, I got an error, as I’m sure many others have, upon trying to log in to the server.

001

Error reads: Error parsing the server “[server]” “clients.xml” file. Login will continue, contact your system administrator.

After a little research, I came across this solution…

Continue reading Get the vSphere Client Running on Windows 7

Turnkey Linux WordPress Appliance

Just a few days ago, after checking out what my friend Bobby Shea had done with his blog, decided to create a new blog.  More for the fun and personal stuff than this tech one.  http://stuff.d3planet.com http://d3planet.com/clement/.

Anyway, I always enjoy playing with new technology, especially if something is plug-and-play, so I decided to download the Turnkey Linux WordPress Appliance.  It really pretty cool.  I created a new VM in my lab, gave it 256MB of RAM, 10GB of HD storage space, mounted the ISO, and fired up the VM.

The installation was honestly one of the easiest ever.  I was challenged for new passwords a few times, and the installation complete with me looking at a console screen with a bunch of sites on the server, 1 for the blog, and others for management.  I added the necessary DNS entries, created a firewall rule in ISA Server and hit it.  Talk about a pretty seemless process, I was really impressed with the appliance and the fact that it behaved as documented.  As any tech professional can attest, that’s not always guaranteed.  Hell as any general user can attest. lol.

Anyway, I wanted to upgrade the environment to the latest version of WordPress, so I went to the wordpress site, downloaded the bits, and started following their 3-step guide to upgrading.  I just knew I would run into trouble there, but I did not.  At least not much trouble.  I don’t claim to know much about Linux, or WordPress for that matter, so I fiddled around with the admin panels until I was significantly aware of the fact that I was going to have to upgrade manually.  I fired up Veeam’s FastSCP, knowing that it can handle file transfers into linux environments, and started following the 3-steps to upgrade.  Delete this, copy that, replace that, backup this.  Next thing I know, upgrade complete, no beats skipped.

Then, deciding to push my luck, I decided to install some plugins, widgets, and themes.  Again, no issue.  Not sure what I was expecting, but I know I wasn’t expecting things to go so smoothly.

Next push, decided to download the WordPress iPhone app.  Again, no issue.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Microsoft and MOSS, but wow, a blog up and running and ready for posting from scratch within the span of a few hours, self-hosted? Hmm.

Guess I’ll end this by saying, WORDPRESS ROCKS!  It’s not nearly as deep as a MOSS environment, but that does keep it simple for just what you’d expect out of the product.

WordPress Appliance Turnkey Linux Software Appliances

Affordable Server for ESX / ESXi

Dell’s 1900 series servers are a great entry level virtualization server.  It’s the perfect hardware to get you started with ESX or ESXi, at an affordable price.  Affordable price being a relative term of course, but you can configure a 1900 series server, tower case, for less than $3000 in most cases, and depending on the deals that are going at the time, maybe even less.  $2300’ish in my case and a few of my co-workers.

With the configuration below, I’m currently running 10 VMs (virtual machines) including production and development environments with plenty of room to spare.  Processor and RAM utilization, along with storage, would probably yield another 10 VMs depending on what they were doing.  Now, with ESXi being free, VMware and Dell are putting in consumer hands, technologies that used to be reserved for enterprises only, and if you take into account some of the Virtual SAN appliances that are available for download from VMware (some free), you could have your own virtual enterprise infrastructure.

Want to learn a technology?  Want to play with new things?  Already have an MSDN subscription?  Why not create an environment in which you can play and not be dependent upon your employer’s equipment, network, and infrastructure?  If I remember correctly, my 1st major application development workstation cost a lot more than this.

Oh and if you do go this route, don’t forget to enable "Virtualization" in the system bios so that you can install 64-bit OS’s.

Oh, and another thing… some of Dell’s discounts don’t show up until you add the server to your cart.  I thought I had missed the deal, added the server to my cart, and had an immediate $750 discount.

I also imagine that this server would work well with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V, but I haven’t tried yet.

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VMware VI Toolkit for Windows – Tip: Regular Expressions

The importance of having a naming schema for your virtual machines in VMware VI (ESX / Virtual Center) has become much more important with the release of the VI Toolkit for Windows.

If you’re not sure what the VI Toolkit for Windows is, please see a post that I wrote earlier this month: VMware VI Toolkit For Windows.

The VI Toolkit can allow you to automate and script a lot of tasks that would require quite a bit of UI interaction with the VI client.  Something that you can do to facilitate this effort is by naming your virtual machines with a consistent pattern.  A typical naming convention might end with a tag about the server’s function and a number representing the server’s redundancy.

Continue reading VMware VI Toolkit for Windows – Tip: Regular Expressions

Getting Started with Virtualization and Server Consolidation

ConsolidatinQuick

Virtual what?

Many people over the last several years have used the word Virtualization and the phrase Server Consolidation as buzzwords.  Meaning they used the words to sound knowledgeable in specific areas or felt the oncoming rush of what is now upon us.  These are no longer buzzwords and catch-phrases.  It is an actual movement within the technical community that is gaining momentum on a daily basis.  Virtualization is the running of a physical server as a software server, while server consolidation is the converting of physical servers to software based servers.  If this seems to be a strange and foreign concept, that’s because it is.  People are used to installing operating systems on a physical machine and now you can install operating systems on non-physical (virtual) machines, so that any single physical machine can run multiple virtual machines.  The obvious gains are increased server utilization, ability to provision new servers without the need to purchase new hardware, lower power usage due to less hardware running, lower equipment and maintenance costs, and lower physical space needed as far as server footprints.

One of the biggest questions involved in getting started with virtualization for the first time, is what software to use and how to use it.  I’ll begin by saying that in this blog entry, I’ll only be discussing VMware products.  I’ve come to love and adore the VMware offerings, and it’s not just because I work for EMC.  I’ll mention some other products that you can research on your own if you should so choose, and actually I’d advise you to, so that you can arrive at your own decision as to product quality.  Onto the VMware products and how I’ve used them over the past several years.

VMware offers a multitude of virtualization products that are designed to meet a multitude of business needs.  Fortunately over the last few years, competition with Microsoft, and VMware’s efforts to increase the market’s interest in virtualization (completely my opinion and not backed by VMware or EMC) VMware has begun to offer a few top of the line products for free.  The products that I intend to cover in this article are:

VMware Workstation – low costs
VMware Server – free product
VMware ESXi – free product
VMware ESX / Virtual Center (also known as VI3) – costs

Continue reading Getting Started with Virtualization and Server Consolidation

Create an ISO From Any Folder On Your Windows Computer

Today I was building a VM in VMware VI3 (ESX), one that was completely isolated from my network and I realized that one of the pieces of software that I wanted to install was in a folder on a share.  Since this system was on an isolated virtual switch (vswitch), I realized that I had no way to get the folder of software to the guest system.

At that point I started considering my options, change the vswitch that the system was on and re-IP’ing, some other complicated file copy operation, burn the software to CD and place it in the server or my local CD-ROM for mounting… and a lot of silly other methods that either would have been to dirty to try or would fail outright.  Then I remembered that there is software out there that will allow you to create ISO’s from whatever folders on your computer.

I started browsing those software packages and was really not satisfied as I didn’t want to install any new software for this one-time thing on my system.  I remembered OSCDIMG.exe.

OSCDIMG.exe is a command-line utility that allows you to create an ISO from any folder on your file system, or any folder that the command line can gain access to.  No software to install, a few options that are configurable, like being able to use longer filenames, the source or source folder, and the target file (.iso).  What could be easier?  Check it out!

oscdimg

Apologies, but as this file is an executable (.exe extension) I will not host it on my blog.  I’m also not sure about the usage and redistribution rights.  Google’s your best friend here.  Search for OSCDIMG.EXE DOWNLOAD.  If you can’t find it there, I believe it’s one of the tools included in the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit.

VMware VI Toolkit For Windows

Ok, I’m a little excited… well a lot excited!

PowerShell, imho, is one of the best and most powerful tools that Microsoft has released in quite some time.  Now toward proving that statement, VMware has created a PowerShell snap-in for VI (Virtual Infrastructure).  If you’re not sure what PowerShell is, a little research would help you greatly, but suffice it to say that it is a scripting engine that will not only allow you to manage Microsoft infrastructure, but also can also script against the .NET framework.  That’s right, no Visual Studio needed for quick tasks.  Some scripting background will help you out with this, but it’s not difficult to pick up if you’ve never scripted before.  If you don’t know what VI is, you probably shouldn’t be reading this entry. ;)  But alas, I digress…

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VMware did it! ESXi is now free!

If you’ve been looking for a robust virtualization solution, ie. ESX, but haven’t had the budget, willpower, whatever else needed, to get on board.  VMware just made it a LOT easier.
 
You can now download ESXi for free!
 
Don’t miss it.  It really is a great product, and for geeks like me, that may have some extra hardware sitting around, or will shell out a few thousand for a server (coff… Dell… coff… 19xx… inexpensive), it’s a great way to play with the technology, or bump your infrastructure.  For businesses, you can look forward to lower costs (power, AC, etc) using this platform to begin a server consolidation initiative.
 
Worse case scenario… there is none, it’s free… play away! 😉
 
 
EDIT: You can download a VI3 reference card from http://www.vmreference.com/vi3-card/.  It’s an excellent cheatsheet on settings to use and frequent commands.