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We’re back with our February VMware Skyline update. We didn’t release any major enhancements to Skyline this month, however we did add additional proactive findings, as well as updated our documentation to reflect recent changes. Let’s get started by reviewing the proactive findings released in February.

For those who are wondering what Skyline is, Skyline is a proactive support technology, that identifies potential risk within customer environments and provides steps to remediate the potential issue, hopefully before it occurs. Additionally, each recommendation contains a list of affected objects, providing you with all the information you need to proactively resolve potential issues within your environment.

Skyline Proactive Findings Summary

New vSphere Proactive Findings

vSphere-HostDisconnects-KB#2144799

The first proactive finding we will highlight identifies ESXi hosts that could disconnect from vCenter Server. This proactive finding only applies to ESXi hosts running version 5.5 or 6.0 (version 5.1 as well, however, we do not provide proactive findings for vSphere versions prior to 5.5). VMware resolved this issue in Patch 08 for ESXi 5.5 and Patch 03 for ESXi 6.0.

Or, if you’re running ESXi 6.0, there is a work around available. Follow the steps within KB Article 2144799 to implement the work around. Note though that the work around may only reduce the occurrences of this issue, not prevent it entirely.

This proactive finding is available to both Production Support and Premier Services customers.

vSphere-WTSVMCrashes-KB#2149642

The next proactive finding we will highlight causes a virtual machine to restart if multiple users log in to a Windows Terminal Server VM. This proactive finding only applies to virtual machines running Windows 2012, with VMware Tools 10.1.0, on an ESXi 6.5 host. When many users are logged in, too many RPCI vsocket channels are opened, and the result is the virtual machine either requires a restart or crashes. This issue is resolved in ESXi 6.5 Update 1.

There is a work around for this potential issue as well. To work around this issue, shut down the virtual machine. Set the following in the vmx config file:

Power on the virtual machine. Or, delete the following registry key:

Doing this will cause the virtual machine console to lose the ability to copy/paste to/from the host machine, but since we’re solving for a Windows Terminal Server issue, where users log in using RDP, users are unaffected

This proactive finding is available to both Production Support and Premier Services customers. These are just 2 of the 14 proactive findings that we enabled within Skyline in Feburary. All 14 proactive findings that were enabled in February are for vSphere, and all are available to both Production Support and Premier Services customers.

A complete list of vSphere proactive findings added to Skyline in the past 30 days is as follows:

  • vSphere-HTML5ClientRemoveVM-KB#65207
  • vSphere-PSODFS3ZeroExtents-KB#50114133
  • vSphere-CIMSLPAgentFailure-KB#2149728
  • vSphere-PowerPerfbiasSetting-KB#2150405
  • vSphere-ErrorSavingBootbank-KB#2057826
  • vSphere-UnexpectedDataFiles-KB#2144098
  • vSphere-HostDisconnects-KB#2144799
  • vSphere-SCSIoperationasfail-KB#2146529
  • vSphere-WTSVMCrashes-KB#2149642
  • vSphere-AddActiveDirectory-KB#2120522
  • vSphere-CannotStorageVMotion-KB#2130819
  • vSphere-PSODMCEReapMCABanks-KB#2140848
  • vSphere-SnmpRealMemoryReport-KB#2144598
  • vSphere-VFATvolumeisfull-KB#2148087

Updated Guidance

Skyline Log Assist

We announced Skyline Log Assist at VMworld Europe. Skyline Log Assist provides customers a streamlined process for uploading log bundles to VMware for the purposes of troubleshooting a Support Request. In order for Log Assist to function correctly, additional privileges are required. We have documented the additional privileges needed within KB Article 59661. However, we failed to mention that the Skyline Collector needs to be able to connect to each ESXi host.

The Skyline Collector captures the information needed to provide proactive support from vCenter Server. However, in order to provide reactive support services, such as uploading log bundles from ESXi hosts, the Skyline Collector does need to connect to each ESXi host. We have updated our documentation to reflect this additional network connectivity requirement.

Skyline Collector Configuration Recommendations/Maximums

With the release of version 2.0 of the Skyline Collector, we removed the recommendation maximum of 10 VMware management servers (vCenter Server, NSX Manager) per Skyline Collector or 5000 virtual machines per Collector. However, we made changes to the Skyline Collector in version 2.0 that removed these recommendation maximums.

However, for geographically disperse environments, we still recommend installing a Skyline Collector as close to the VMware management servers in those environments as possible. For example, if you have a vSphere environment in London, and a vSphere environment in New York, we still recommend installing a Skyline Collector in each location, one in London and another in New York.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming multi-part blog series that will help you architect VMware Cloud Services organizations for Skyline.