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Category Archives: How-to

How to remove linked clones or stale virtual desktops from the View Composer database

Today we have two new videos which demonstrate How to remove linked clones or stale virtual desktops from the View Composer database.

The two videos are actually two parts of one solution. Part 1 focuses on the procedures for the more recent versions of the VMware View and Horizon View products whereas Part 2 contains the necessary procedures for older versions of the products.

More information concerning the solution contained within the videos is documented in VMware Knowledge Base article Manually deleting linked clones or stale virtual desktop entries from the View Composer database in VMware View Manager and Horizon View (2015112).

 

How to restart the Management agents on a VMware vSphere ESXi or ESX host

In this video we demonstrate how to restart the management agents running on a VMware vSphere ESXi or ESX host.

For troubleshooting purposes, it may be necessary to restart the management agents on your ESXi or ESX host. This video tutorial goes through the steps that you will need to take in order to restart the management agents (mgmt-vmware and vmware-vpxa) directly on the vSphere ESXi or ESX host server.

For additional information, see VMware Knowledge Base article
Restarting the Management agents on an ESXi or ESX host (1003490).

Installing, upgrading, and uninstalling VMware vCenter Support Assistant 5.5

Today the KBTV team have a new video for you which discusses and demonstrates installing, upgrading, and uninstalling vCenter Support Assistant 5.5 in a vCenter Server environment and is based on VMware Knowledge Base article Installing, upgrading, and uninstalling VMware vCenter Support Assistant 5.5 (2070787).

This tutorial covers the following topics:

  • Installing vCenter Support Assistant
  • Configuring the virtual appliance
  • Removing vCenter Support Assistant
  • Updating vCenter Support Assistant

Additional information and resources that may be of some interest to you:

Resolving OpenSSL Heartbleed for VMware vCenter Server 5.5

This video discusses and demonstrates the resolution procedure for vCenter Server 5.5 in response to the OpenSSL Heartbleed vulnerability.

CAUTION: Before attempting the solution provided in this video, familiarize yourself first with the content in VMware Knowledge Base article Resolving OpenSSL Heartbleed for VMware vCenter Server 5.5 (2076692).

While watching this video, follow along with the Resolution section as outlined in the related VMware Knowledge Base article.

Using vSphere ESXi Image Builder to create an installable ISO that is not vulnerable to Heartbleed

Here is a follow-up post from Andrew Lytle, member of the VMware Mission Critical Support Team. Andrew is a Senior Support Engineer who is specializes in vCenter and ESXi related support.

VMware recently released updates to all products affected by the vulnerability dubbed “Heartbleed” (CVE-2014-0160): http://www.vmware.com/security/advisories/VMSA-2014-0004.html

As per KB article: Resolving OpenSSL Heartbleed for ESXi 5.5 – CVE-2014-0160 (2076665), the delivery method for this code change in the VMware ESXi product is through an updated ESXi vSphere Installation Bundle (VIB). VIBs are the building blocks of an ESXi image. A VIB is akin to a tarball or ZIP archive in that it’s a collection of files packaged into a single archive.

Typically a new ESXi ISO file will be made available only during major revisions of the product (Update 1, Update 2, etc). If you need an ESXi 5.5 ISO which is already protected from Heartbleed, you can make your own ISO easily using vSphere PowerCLI.

The PowerCLI ImageBuilder cmdlets are designed to make custom ESXi ISOs which have asynchronous driver releases pre-installed, but it can also be used in a situation like this to make an ISO which lines up with a Patch Release instead of a full ESXi Update Release.

In this post we will cover both the ESXi 5.5 GA branch, as well as the ESXi 5.5 Update 1 branch. Choose the set of steps which will provide the ISO branch you need for your environment.

Creating an ISO based on ESXi 5.5 GA (Pre-Update 1)

These steps are for downloading the requirements for creating an ISO which is based on the ESXi 5.5 “GA” release, which was originally released 2013-09-22.

Step 1: Download the Required Files

When creating a custom ESXi image through Image Builder, we need to start by downloading the required files:

Install PowerCLI through the Windows MSI package, and copy the zip files to a handy location. For the purposes of this example, I will copy these files to C:\Patches\

Step 2: Import the Software Depot

  • Add-EsxSoftwareDepot C:\Patches\ESXi550-201404020.zip
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Step 3: Confirm the patched version (optional)

If you wish to confirm the esx-base VIB (which includes the Heartbleed vulnerability code change) is added correctly, you can confirm the VIB has Version of 5.5.0-0.15.1746974 and the Creation Date of 4/15/2014.

  • Get-EsxSoftwarePackages –Name esx-base
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Step 4: Export the Image Profile to an ISO

  • Export-EsxImageProfile –ImageProfile ESXi-5.5.0-20140401020s-standard –ExportToISO –FilePath C:\Patches\ESXi5.5-heartbleed.iso
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Creating an ISO based on ESXi 5.5 Update 1

These steps are for creating an ISO which is based on the ESXi 5.5 “Update 1” release, which was originally released 2014-03-11.

Step 1: Download the Required Files

When creating a custom ESXi image through Image Builder, we need to start by downloading the required files:

Copy the zip files to a handy location. For the purposes of this example, I will copy it to C:\Patches\

Step 2: Import the Software Depot

  • Add-EsxSoftwareDepot C:\Patches\ESXi550-201404001.zip
    2-1

Step 3: Confirm the patched version (optional)

If you wish to confirm the esx-base VIB (which includes the Heartbleed vulnerability code change) is added correctly, you can confirm the VIB has the Version of 5.5.0-1.16.1746018 and Creation Date of 4/15/2014.

  • Get-EsxSoftwarePackages –Name esx-base
    2-2

Step 4: Export the Image Profile to an ISO

  • Export-EsxImageProfile –ImageProfile ESXi-5.5.0-20140404001-standard –ExportToISO –FilePath C:\Patches\ESXi5.5-update1-heartbleed.iso
    2-3

Installing the ESXi ISO

The ISO file which was created in this steps can be used in exactly the same manner as the normal VMware ESXi 5.5 ISO. It can be mounted in a remote management console, or burned to a CD/DVD for installation.

Patching ESXi 5.5 for Heartbleed without installing Update 1

On April 19th, VMware released a series of patches for ESX 5.5 and ESX 5.5 Update 1 to re-mediate the CVE dubbed “Heartbleed” (CVE-2014-0076 and CVE-2014-0160).

VMware also recently announced that there was an issue in the newest version of ESXi 5.5 (Update 1 and later), which can cause difficulties communicating with NFS storage. This NFS issue is still being investigated, and customers are encouraged to subscribe to KB article: Intermittent NFS APDs on ESXi 5.5 U1 (2076392) for updates.

Due to the confluence of these two unrelated issues, you might find yourself trying to patch ESXi to protect yourself from the Heartbleed vulnerability, while at the same time trying to avoid installing ESXi 5.5 Update 1.

Here is the information from the VMware Knowledge Base on the topic:

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The note at the bottom is the key. Stated simply, if you are…

  • Using NFS storage
  • Concerned about patching to Update 1 due to change control
  • Not already running ESXi 5.5 Update 1 (build-1623387)

… then you should patch your install for the Heartbleed issue and at the same time stay at ESX 5.5 by applying Patch Release ESXi550-201404020, and not ESXi550-201404001.

An Explanation of Patch Release Codes

To better understand the Patching process in a VMware environment, it is valuable to understand the codes which are used in VMware Patch Releases.

When VMware releases a patch, or a series of patches, they are bundled together in what is known as a Patch Release. A Patch Release will have a coded name which is formed using the following structure. I have added braces to demonstrate the different sections better in each example.

[PRODUCT]-[YEAR][MONTH][THREE DIGIT RELEASE NUMBER]

For example, the patch release for ESXi 5.5 that was released in January 2013 would be coded like this (without the explanatory braces):

[ESXi550]-[2013]-[01][001]

As part of a Patch Release, there will be at least one Patch. Each Patch is given a Patch (or Bulletin) ID. Patch IDs are similarly structured to Patch Release codes, but also have a two letter suffix. For Security Bulletins, the prefix will be SG. For Bug Fix Bulletins, the prefix will be BG.

For example, the two Patch IDs which were released to patch Heartbleed are:

[ESXi550]-[2014][04][401]-[SG]
[ESXi550]-[2014][04][420]-[SG]

Note that the only difference in the Patch IDs here is in the three digit release number (401 vs 420).

Patching with VMware Update Manager

There are a number of methods for patching ESXi hosts, and the most commonly used is VMware Update Manager (VUM). VUM will present a pair of Dynamic Baselines which will be automatically updated when patches are available. The danger in this case is that VUM may show you both the Pre-Update 1 patch, as well as the Post-Update 1 patch. If you are not careful as to which patches you apply, you might accidentally end up patching your host to Post-Update 1.

Here are the patches which were released on April 19th, as seen in VUM. The Update 1 patch is highlighted in red, while the Pre-Update 1 patch is marked in green.

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Note: VMware also released two other ESXi 5.5 patches on April 19th, as part of Patch Release but these are not related to the Heartbleed vulnerability in any fashion. (ESXi550-201404402-BG, and ESXi550-201404403-BG).

Creating a Fixed Baseline

Patching a host using ESXi550-201404420-SG (Pre-Update 1), while avoiding ESXi550-201404401-SG (Post-Update 1) requires the use of a Fixed Baseline in Update Manager.

  1. Start in the Update Manager Admin view.
  2. Select the Baselines and Groups tab.
  3. Click Create… in the Baselines column.
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  4. Give the new Baseline a descriptive Name (and optionally a Description).
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  5. Click Next.
  6. For Baseline type, select Fixed.
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  7. Use the Search feature to find the only Patch we want to apply. You will need to select the Patch ID option from the dropdown menu to ensure the search scans for the appropriate column.
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  8. Enter the Patch ID into the search field: ESXi550-201404420-SG and click Enter to search.
  9. Select the Patch which shows up in the filtered list, and click the Down Arrow to move it into the selected Baselines.
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  10. Click Next and confirm that the Patch ESXi550-201404420-SG is the only one selected.
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  11. Click Finish.

The Baseline is now created and available for use.

Remediating a Host using the Fixed Baseline

Once the Fixed Baseline has been created, we can use it to Scan and Remediate an ESXi host.

  1. Select the host you wish to patch, and place it into Maintenance Mode.
  2. Click the Update Manager tab.
  3. Make sure that there are no Dynamic Baselines attached to the host you wish to patch. Detach any baselines which are currently attached:
    Critical Host Patches (Predefined)
    Non-Critical Host Patches (Predefined)
    Any other Custom Baselines which you have created
  4. Click the Attach link.
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  5. Select the newly created Baseline and click Attach.
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  6. Click the Scan link and make sure Patches and Extensions is selected. Click Scan again.
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  7. When you are ready to patch the host, select Remediate.
  8. Complete the Remediation wizard.

Once the host is patched, it will reboot automatically.

Patching an ESXi host manually via the command line

Another option to patch an ESXi host is to use the esxcli command line tool. The patch files required are the same. For more information on how to proceed with this route, refer to the vSphere 5.5 Documentation under the heading Update a Host with Individual VIBs.

References

Author: Andrew Lytle
As a member of the VMware Mission Critical Support Team, Andrew Lytle is a Senior Support Engineer who is specializes in vCenter and ESXi related support.

Determining Network/Storage firmware and driver version in vSphere ESX/ESXi

From time to time as a vSphere ESX/ESXi administrator you may need to quickly find out what firmware levels and driver versions are present on your ESX (or ESXi) host in regards to your Network and Storage interface cards. Our video today shows you how!

This new tutorial demonstrates how to determine the driver and firmware versions for Host Bus Adapters (HBA) and physical network interface cards on VMware vSphere ESXi/ESX 4.x and 5.x.

For additional information and instructions see VMware Knowledge Base article Determining Network/Storage firmware and driver version in ESXi/ESX 4.x and ESXi 5.x (1027206).

Using VMware KVM Mode with VMware Workstation 10.x

Today we have a new VMware Workstation video. In this tutorial we discuss and demonstrate how to use VMware KVM Mode with VMware Workstation 10.x.

VMware Workstation 10.x allows users to run Workstation in VMware KVM mode. This mode allows you to switch between active virtual machines using hotkeys. Virtual machines can be run in full-screen without launching the Workstation UI and manage their power state via CLI (command line interface). VMware KVM mode can be used as an alternative to run virtual machines only in full screen, allowing switching between them using a configurable hot key.

Note: VMware KVM mode is only available for Windows version of Workstation 10.x. As well, VMware Tools must be installed on the guest operating system.

For additional information, check out VMware Knowledge Base article Using VMware KVM Mode with VMware Workstation 10 (2057914).

Virtual SAN Interoperability – Planned migration with vSphere Replication and SRM

We have a new video today which will be of interest to those of you wondering how VMware’s new Virtual SAN offering operates with other VMware solutions that you may have in your environment, specifically with vSphere Replication and Site Recovery Manager.

We look at how you can perform a planned migration of a set of virtual machines from a traditional storage infrastructure onto your virtual SAN cluster.

For more information and a full write up of the operations performed within this demonstration, head on over to the VMware Blog post VMware Virtual SAN Interoperability: vSphere Replication and vCenter Site Recovery Manager written by Rawlinson Rivera, a Senior Technical Marketing Architect in the Cloud Infrastructure Technical Marketing Group at VMware.