Home > Blogs > VMware Support Insider > Monthly Archives: September 2010

Monthly Archives: September 2010

Fusion Snapshots, suspend state, and virtual disk files

image Another in our Resolution Paths series from Stephen Gardner, here are two Resolution Paths specific to users of VMware Fusion who have Snapshots and suspend state and virtual disk files

Had Robert Burns lived today, he might have said that even the best-made files sometimes go awry. (He would have, if he were a Macintosh user, surely.) We have two new Resolution paths that explain just what to do when those files do go awry.

The first Respath talks about when Fusion reports a file is missing. The best approach is making sure the files are really missing and not just moved or otherwise inaccessible, checking file permissions, and then making sure Fusion really does need those files.  This Respath hopes that the files aren’t really missing, because of course we can’t help with that. However, we can always help with backup strategies…

Here’s the Resolution Path: Troubleshooting missing .vmsn or .vmdk files in Fusion

The second Respath talks about when Fusion doesn’t want to work with a file. As before, we talk about file permissions and make sure Fusion needs those files and doesn’t have other corrupt files, but we also talk about virtual disk repair, physical disk space, the Mac OS file system, and even physical RAM.

Here’s the Resolution Path: Troubleshooting a failed suspend, start up, or snapshot in Fusion with the error: Operation on file failed

Managing ESXi made easy using PowerCLI

Today we have a post about the vSphere PowerCLI from Arun Pandey, who is a Tech Support Engineer in our Bangalore, India office. Arun is currently focusing on Knowledgebase content creation. This post provides you with an overview of the PowerCLI and how you can benefit from it by automating tasks.

I have started writing this blog with introduction to ESXi because there is no Console Operating System (COS) provided in ESXi, and Administrators who are used to the COS might find transitioning to ESXi difficult.

In December 2007, the first version of ESXi was released, with no service console, reducing the size of ESXi to under 32MB. The ESXi server is able to boot off an embedded USB key so you can completely forget about issues with local storage (faulty disk, raid controller & updating firmware). With the Service Console gone ESXi improves both reliability and security.

I am impressed with all these advantages but the biggest question is about managing your ESXi host. With the service console gone, how would I perform the administrative tasks for vSphere components?

After researching for about a week, I found that vSphere PowerCLI could be used to perform all the administrative tasks. Now I can not only perform regular tasks but I can also automate them. With PowerCLI to automate tasks, you don’t have to be a Developer/Programmer anymore, you don’t have to spend time writing the if..else, do…while loops, assign variables, to get work done because PowerCLI is distributed as a Windows PowerShell snapin, and includes more than 200 PowerShell Cmdlets (commands). It becomes much simpler to use these cmdlets (the Get-<Command> to gather information, and Set-<Command>) to configure vSphere components.

vSphere PowerCLI

Installing PowerCLI is as easy as pie, download the binary and install it and you are all set to use the PowerCLI.

There are few prerequisites to getting all the peices working(Installing .Net Framework and Power Shell 1.0/2.0), for more information see our vSphere PowerCLI Installation Guide.

A good place to start is the following article to get an overview: Managing storage using PowerCLI (1028368). That will soon have you:

  • Collecting information about the virtual machine
  • Configuring the virtual machine (Get-VM and Move-VM can do mass vMotion & Storage VMotions)
  • Working with virtual machine snapshots (Get-VM & New-Snapshot can take snapshots for all the Virtual Machines in the Cluster/Datacenter)
  • Updating VMware Tools (Get-VM & Update-Tools can upgrade the Virtual Machine tools on all the Virtual Machines in the Cluster/Datacenter/Resource Pool)

Earlier, when I had to patch all my Windows Virtual Machines in my inventory, I had to manually take snapshots for them, a daunting task (i.e. taking snapshots on 100+ VM’s individually) but now, all I have to do is run:

Get-Cluster "vCloud" | Get-VM | New-Snapshot -Name Automate

from vSphereCLI and enjoy my coffee. Snapshots are created for all the Virtual Machines automatically. After installing the Windows patch I was installing I used the same trick to delete snapshots:

Get-VM | Get-Snapshot | Remove-Snapshot

to delete them.

vSphere PowerCLI in action

For folks wondering how they can check logs and troubleshoot ESXi servers without a console check Collecting diagnostic information using the VMware vSphere PowerCLI (1027932).

Amazing!! It reminds me about the Industrial Revolution when machines replaced manual labor. Today, GUIs are supplemented with CLIs, and with the amount of time that I saved, I’m planning to continue to explore our CLI.

Now I no longer fear how I can manage my ESXi servers without a service console, and I strongly recommend learning the vSphere PowerCLI to you.

VMware ESX 4.x storage multipathing failover sequence

VMware ESX 4.x storage multipathing failover sequence We get a lot of requests for how to understand the many log files that VMware ESX provides, and we’re busy working on providing that to you. Today we’d like to highlight a new Knowledgebase article: Understanding the storage path failover sequence in VMware ESX 4.x (1027963) that does just that.

Nathan Small, a staff Engineer here at VMware wrote this article initially to help storage and non-storage Tech Support Engineers understand how our storage stack works with real world examples. You can bet that if this information is useful for TSEs working the phones, then it’s useful to you as well.

This article details what you might see during a VMware ESX 4.x storage multipathing failover sequence, as it is logged in /var/log/vmkernel.

Storage guys, check it out!

VMware Social Support URL card

If you attended this year’s VMworld event in San Francisco you received an entrance badge similar to mine, shown here. If you flip it over you’ll notice that tucked inside is a laminated card with some valuable URLs printed on it. On one side, all the links you need to know to reach tech support, and on the other side, links to the social network channels into VMware Support (YouTube, Blogs, Twitter, etc.)

Do you still have your card?

I just came across this podcast produced by Marc Farley (@3parfarley) of  StorageRap.com with co host Rick Vanover (@rickvanover) of RickVanover.com and it gave me a giggle that they made a special shout-out about the URL card at the 49:00 minute mark.

Thanks guys!

 

If you didn’t attend VMworld, or you no longer have your URL card, here is the artwork for you.

Check out our blogs and come join the conversation on Twitter!

Dealing with VCenter 4.1 Database Tables Growth

Today we have a post about potential database issues from Matt Scott, who is a tech support engineer in our Broomfield, Colorado office, currently focusing on content creation. This post deals with SQL database operations and so it is recommended you be familiar with database concepts and have adequate backups before proceeding.

In larger VirtualCenter installations you might notice the VPX_EVENT_ARG and VPX_EVENT tables can become very large. For example, in one test environment I created with two hosts I saw over 10,000 rows in the VPX_EVENT Table alone.

In SQL 2008 it is not always easy to find the information for certain tables. If you open the tables in your VirtualCenter  database and Right Click > Select Top 100 Rows it returns exactly 1000 rows. A more accurate way to see the advanced properties is go down to the bottom of that list and select properties for the table. In the Storage Page you will see the exact number of rows.

click to view full size image

Back to the question at hand: why do these tables get so large?

In many cases it is simply because of the volume hosts and Virtual machines in an environment. But in some cases we see a custom script or third party management software installed on the service console aka VCenter. Some examples of these are:

  • Dell Open Manager.
  • Microsoft System Center – Operations Manager (Listed as OPSMGR is Services.msc).
  • IBM Director.
  • HP Insight Manager.
  • Esxpress backup software being installed in the COS.

When excessive database growth in these tables occurs we recommend the following course of action:

  1. Backup your VCenter Database. VMware recommends a good backup strategy for your production database.
  2. Run the following command in SQL Server Management Studio to find out exactly what is going on in your database.

SQL Server Management Studio > Login > SQL or Windows Authentication based on your setup > New Query > Change the database to your VCenter Database (We see in many cases including myself from time to time it defaults to the (master) database.

use vcdb (Or the name of your VCenter Databases)
CREATE TABLE #TemptableforspaceUsed
(name SYSNAME,
rows bigINT,

reserved VARCHAR(20),

data VARCHAR(20),

index_size VARCHAR(20),

unused VARCHAR(20))

GO

INSERT #TemptableforspaceUsed

EXEC sp_MSforeachtable ‘sp_spaceused "?"’

select *

from #TemptableforspaceUsed

drop table #TemptableforspaceUsed


This query will return Tables, Rows, reserved, data, index_size, unused. This query itself is quite useful for looking at all 222 Tables/Rows (as of VC 4.1.x)

Another handy query is:

use vcdb ——> (Or the name of your VCenter Databases)
go
exec sp_tables ‘%’, ‘%’, ‘vcdb’, "’table’"
go


This lists all of the Tables in the Database utilized by VCenter.

You can now clean the event tables.

use vcdb (Or the name of your VCenter Databases)
truncate table vpx_event_arg;
delete from vpx_event;


Note: As always its good practice to run these during a Maintenance window or when VirtualCenter Services can be brought down.

And of course it is Production Data so a good backup is recommended as stated earlier.

There are foreign keys inside VPX_EVENT, so you cannot truncate the data inside with the standard command:

"truncate table dbo.vpx_event" – It will throw an error similar to the following:
Msg 4712, Level 16, State 1, Line 1

Cannot truncate table ‘dbo.VPX_EVENT’ because it is being referenced by a FOREIGN KEY constraint.

In many cases I have seen large ‘dbo.VPX_EVENT’ and ‘dbo.VPX_EVENT_ARG’ tables cause the VCenter service to fail and/or not start. That is why this cleanup procedure is useful in addition to turning off the third party services.

One final note. The previous DELETE command will dynamically save a copy of the change real-time, so you may notice an increase in transaction log growth relative to the amount of data you have at the current time until the cleanup finishes.

How to open a Support Request online

Here are three videos that explain what you need to know about VMware Technical Support. The first video demonstrates filing a support request online with VMware and provides a brief description of the support offerings provided by VMware and what you can expect from a Technical Support representative.

How to file a support request online with VMware

Our second support video has Angela Jaques talking all about Global Support Services at VMware, where Angela is a Director. Angela talks about all of the various pieces that make up our support organization, and provides some details on how we rank case severities. She then outlines some really cool new things support is doing, like Twitter and Alerts.

VMware Global Support Services

 

Lastly, a video containing information about our Technical Support locations and model, as well as how to request an escalation and what to expect during a support escalation. We hope you never have to escalate a case with us, but if you do, it’s good to know how the whole process works.

How does the VMware Technical Support escalation process work?

 

For more information about VMware’s support offerings, see www.vmware.com/support/services

List of published View 4.5 articles

We have a number of brand new KB articles to present to you relating to the just released VMware View 4.5

While each KB published gets tweeted on our VMwareKB Twitter account, you might be interested in the whole list as to not miss any. Go ahead and retweet this to your followers!

1026991

Troubleshooting USB Redirection Problems

1026999

Troubleshooting QuickPrep Customization Problems

1027095

Best practices for upgrading to VMware View 4.5

1027090

Pre-Assignment of User Desktops in a Dedicated Pool in VMware View 4.5

1027008

Monitoring events in View Manager 4.5

1027217

Network connectivity requirements for VMware View Manager 4.5

1026179

Multimedia Redirection is not supported for Windows 7 in VMware View 4.5

1026438

Adding the virtual machine deployed from a template to the VMware View desktop pool displays the warning: Virtual Machines In Use

1027226

Creating a VMware View desktop pool fails with an unknown error

1027221

Connecting to or checking out the virtual desktop fails with the error: "This desktop currently has no desktop sources available" or "This desktop cannot be checked out"

1027224

How to use the vCenter virtual machine as a View unmanaged desktop

1026498

Network configuration in VMware View virtual desktops

1027316

Troubleshooting desktop pool creation problems

1027309

Creating a desktop pool fails with the error: Customization failed for Machine

1027310

Creating a desktop pool fails with permission issues

1027311

Provisioning a desktop pool fails with the error: Provisioning error occurred on Pool Desktop_ID because of a configuration problem

1027312

Provisioning a desktop pool fails with the error: The status of vCenter at address VC_Address is unknown

1027313

Provisioning the desktop pool fails with the error: Provisioning error occurred on Pool Desktop_ID because of a resource problem

1027314

Provisioning a desktop pool fails with the error: Provisioning error occurred on Pool Desktop_ID because of a timeout while customizing

1027315

The virtual machines in VMware View 4.5 are stuck in the Provisioning or Customizing state

1027449

New features in VMware View 4.5

1025861

Configuring Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway for use with VMware View Portal

1027460

FAQ: VMware View 4.5 new features and licensing

Top Ten KBTV Videos

The team here at VMware have only been producing videos to augment the official Knowledge Base since August, ’09 but the acceptance and feedback from customers has been impressive. We find the model of ‘show me’ really works well for how-to content, or for teaching newcomers who are not sure where everything is in the product, not to mention those customers for which English is not their first language.

Today we thought we’d post a list of the top ten viewed videos for the past quarter. Anything look interesting to you?

Got any suggestions for our next video? Check our Ask Support Anything link.

vCloud Director KB articles

During the VMworld conference in San Francisco last week we went live with 60 KB articles and 12 videos to coincide with the vCloud Director announcement. Some of you have already shown your appreciation for content so soon after general availability. 

As customers and TSEs become more familiar with vCloud Director, we will be creating and publishing even more content. In the meantime, this first batch is designed to help you get started with the product.

This launch was a truly a coordinated effort that was made possible by the hard work of many individuals. Thanks go to Arunkumar Pandey and Anand Prakash, who worked diligently to create the bulk of the articles, and to Ganesh Shetty, who made sure that licensing information for vCloud Director and Per Virtual Machine licensing was available.

We’ve never gone GA before with this many videos, and thanks for that go to Graham Daly, who coordinated the effort, and to Feidhlim O’Leary, who assisted him.

1026090

Licensing VMware Cloud Director

1025768

Configuring Oracle databases for VMware Cloud Director (video)

1026084

VMware Cloud Director 1.0 installation requirements (video)

1026312

Collecting diagnostic information for VMware Cloud Director (video)

1026313

Creating Microsoft Sysprep packages on VMware vCloud Director cell (video)

1026299

Creating External (Provider) Networks (video)

1026300

Creating network pools in VMware vCloud Director (video)

1026168

vShield Manager Installation for VMware vCloud Director (video)

1026316

Creating an Organization in VMware vCloud Director (video)

1026324

Catalogs in VMware vCloud Director (video)

1026339

VMware vCloud Director components (video)

1026866

Attaching a vCenter Server to VMware vCloud Director (video)

1026381

Installing VMware vCloud Director software on the first server (video)

1026382

Installing VMware vCloud Director software on additional servers

1026296

Creating a Provider Virtual Data Center in VMware vCloud Director

1026320

Creating an Organization Virtual Data Center in VMware vCloud Director

1026314

Lifecycle of a Provider Virtual Data Center and Organization Virtual Data Center

1026297

Checking logging for successful creation of a Provider Virtual Data Center

1026286

VMware vCloud Director Architecture and  Terms

1026288

VMware vCloud Director and VMware vCenter Lab Manager Comparison

1026310

Stopping, starting, or restarting the VMware vCloud Director service

1026317

Troubleshooting guest operating system customization issues using VMware vCloud Director

1026322

Viewing the virtual machine console in VMware Cloud Director running 32-bit Mozilla Firefox on 64-bit Unix

1022259

Creating additional cells in VMware vCloud Director fails with errors

1025709

Accessing a VMware vCloud Director cell fails with the error: A remote error was encountered

1026088

VMware vCloud Director 1.0 network requirements

1026298

VMware vCloud Director networking

1026384

Configuring network and database connections for VMware vCloud Director

1026264

Verifying that an ESX/ESXi host is configured for network isolation

1026309

Generating SSL certificates for VMware vCloud Director

1026290

Allocation Models for Organizations using vCloud Director

1026291

VMware vCloud Director OSGi Container

1026292

VMware vCloud Director Cell Architecture

1026293

VMware vCloud Director Remote Console Proxy

1026294

VMware vCloud Director multi-cell features

1026295

Database support in VMware vCloud Director

1026735

Supported browsers for VMware vCloud Director

1026328

Virtual switch support for VMware vCloud Director

1026322

Viewing the virtual machine console in VMware vCloud Director using 32-bit Mozilla Firefox running on 64-bit Unix

1026326

Joining a Windows guest domain using VMware vCloud Director

1026337

Configuring the VMware vCloud Director cell maintenance message

1026327

Deploying a vApp from a vApp template

1026379

Customizing a Solaris vApp Template

1026377

Customizing a Windows NT vApp Template

1025716

Unable to remove vCenter Server or an ESX host from vCloud Director

1026815

Configuring logging for VMware vCloud Director cells

1026351

Hourly usage data in VMware vCloud Director

1026548

Per Virtual Machine Licensing

1026479

Assigning a vShield for VMware vCloud Director license key in vCenter Server

1026454

vCloud Data Collector in VMware vCenter Chargeback 1.5

1026412

Key features of VMware vCenter Chargeback 1.5

1026395

VMware vCenter Chargeback 1.5 components and services

1026068

Purging samples before upgrading to VMware vCenter Chargeback 1.5

1026347

Minimum system requirements for installing VMware vCenter Chargeback 1.5

1026746

Disabling Security Center anti-virus notifications for vShield Endp
oint

1022135

Backing up the vShield Manager database

1026257

Command Line Interface for vShield Manager 4.1 and vShield Edge 1.0

1026259

Installing vShield Edge fails with the error: Edge is powered-off

1026255

Overview of vShield Manager 4.1 logs

Ask Support Anything video series

If you could request anything you could imagine from VMware Support, what would it be?

We want to expand our video collection on KBTV to include more than just Knowledge Base articles. We have very some knowledgeable staff keen on answering your questions in a video format – we just need your questions!!

  • Is there part of our technology you’d like a better understanding of?
  • What are the essential pieces that helped you put it all together, that someone else could benefit from?
  • Do you have a certain scenario you want help with?

Just one rule – no questions about future products or timelines. We’re not allowed to answer those. Other than that, most everything goes!

Leave your suggestion in the comment space below, or tweet me @vmwarekb