Monthly Archives: October 2010

How to Manage ESXi server Management services through vSphere client

 

We can manage ESXi server service through vSphere client. This option helps us to monitor and manage ESX services such as SSH, NTP etc.

This features easy the administration needs of ESX servers.

1. Login into ESXi sever using vSphere client.

2. Select the ESXi server which we need to manage.

3. Navigate to Configuration Tab and select Security.

4. Click Properties.

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5. View and verify the ESXi service status.

6. Click Option to change the ESXi service status.

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7. We can see three tabs to view and manage the ESXi sever services,

a)  Status

b)  Startup Policy

  • Start Automatically
  • Start and Stop with host
  • Start and Stop manually

c)  Service Commands

  • Start
  • Stop
  • Restart

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8. Click Ok, if you done any changes OR Click Cancel

                                                                                                         – Melbin Mathew

Enable VT Support in BIOS

 

We need to enable virtualization technology in the BIOS of the physical system. If we haven’t enabled the VT BIOS function the following error message will be obtained.

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To enable the VT option in the system BIOS,

1. Reboot the physical server.

2. Enter to BIOS mode (Mostly delete or F2 key is used to enter in BIOS, but it depend on the hardware vendor).

3. Enable VT option.

4. Save and Exit BIOS settings.

Disabling the VT technology in the BIOS will reduce the functionality of virtualization.

                                                                                                   – Melbin Mathew

How to Setup Number of Cores Per CPU in a VMware ESX Virtual Machine

 

I was checking the details of CPU assignments in VMware virtual machine. In my previous post I have mentioned the method to increase the CPU support in the operating system.

VMware virtual machines consider one CPU core as a processor. Virtual CPUs (vCPU) in VMware virtual machines appear to the operating system as single core CPUs. By increasing additional CPU count in virtual machine means that we are assigning more CPU cores to the virtual machines.

Let’s consider a scenario, suppose if we have physical machine that is having Windows Standard operating system with 4 CPU motherboard sockets and each CPU sockets is occupied with Quad core processors.

ie: 4 (CPUs) x 4 (cores) = 16 processors

Windows Standard Edition only supports 4 CPUs. When we convert this physical machine to a virtual machine, even if we have increased the vCPUs count to 16 from the vSphere option, Windows Standard Edition will only use the 4 vCPUs. Rest of the 12 vCPUs processors will not be used by the operating system.

For solving this we need to edit the .VMX file.

4 (CPUs) and 4 (cores)

This benefits the Windows Standard Edition to use 4 CPUs having 4 cores.

To implement this feature:

  1. Power off the virtual machine.
  2. Right-click on the virtual machine and click Edit Settings.
  3. Click Hardware and select CPUs.
  4. Choose the number of virtual processors.
  5. Click the Options tab.
  6. Click General, in the Advanced options section.
  7. Click Configuration Parameters.
  8. Include cpuid.coresPerSocket in the Name column.
  9. Enter a value (try 2, 4, or 8) in the Value column.
    Note: Ensure that cpuid.coresPerSocket is divisible by the number of vCPUs in the virtual machine. That is, when you divide cpuid.coresPerSocket by the number of vCPUs in the virtual machine, it must return an integer value. For example, if your virtual machine is created with 8 vCPUs, coresPerSocket can only be 1, 2, 4, or 8.
    The virtual machine now appears to the operating system as having multi-core CPUs with the number of cores per CPU given by the value that you provided in step 9.
  10. Click OK.
  11. Power on the virtual machine.

From the above scenario we have increased the vCPUs count to 16 and edited .VMX value cpuid.coresPerSocket = 4.

As per the calculation vCPUs/core = value should be an integer

ie; 16 vCPUs / 4 Core = 4 Quad core processors

The Windows Server Standard Edition now has 4 CPUs with 4 cores.

 

                                                                                                  -  Melbin Mathew

How to Increase CPU count for the VMware virtual machines

 

To increase the performance of higher end applications we need to increase the hardware platform of the Operating system. This enhances the capability of the system to perform more effectively. The Organization need more computing speed to improve the application performance.

There are cases where the maximum utilization makes the operating system in a freeze condition which will badly affect the performance of the application that is hosted inside the OS. Even there is high chance of instability.

If we understand the Operating system is going have a higher end application or the OS is a part of critical environment where we need to avoid crashing due to higher usage. We might consider upgrading the CPU count of the virtual machine.

To do that,

1. PowerOff the virtual machine.

2. Right click the virtual machine and choose Edit settings.

3. Go to Hardware Tab and select CPUs.

4. Increase the number of virtual processors.

5. Click Ok.

6. PowerOn the system.

 

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After Power On the system login into the Operating system and choose Device Manager (Run and Type “devmgmt.msc”). See the CPU tab and verify the new CPU’s are added correctly.

A system reboot is required to effect the changes we have made in the virtual machine settings.

                                                                                                   – Melbin Mathew

Windows Live Writer 2011 Blogging Application

 

I been using Windows Live Writer to Blog my posts in my WordPress site. After using this application I feel comfortable in post new writing in my WordPress blog.

The application is having enhanced features that help me to edit and publish posts. We can edit the older posts using export function in Windows Live Writer.

It is glad to know the Microsoft have released a new version called Windows Live Essential 2011. Existing users can upgrade their application. The application is available from the following Microsoft download Link. Download the application and run the installer.

 

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Note that, the system should be connected to internet for the entire installation.

The new version of Window Live Writer 2011 looks similar to Microsoft Office 2007 and the post preview is much better.

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To edit the older posts in our blog, Click Open and select the account profile,

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This option will list all the previous posts and we are able to edit the posts.

                                                                                                   – Melbin Mathew

How to Enable VMI (Paravirtualization) in VMware ESX Virtual Machines

 

VMI, or the Virtual Machine Interface, is a clearly defined extensible specification for OS communication with the hypervisor. In theory Paravirtualization (where the guest kernel knows that it’s running on a hypervisor, not “real” hardware) is faster than pure hardware virtualization.

In full virtualization, a guest operating system runs unmodified on a hypervisor. However, improved performance and efficiency is achieved by having the guest operating system communicate with the hypervisor. By allowing the guest operating system to indicate its intent to the hypervisor, each can cooperate to obtain better performance when running in a virtual machine. This type of communication is referred to as paravirtualization.

Enable VMI in virtual machine,

1. Power Off virtual machine.

2. Right-click the virtual machine and select Edit Settings.

3. Click the Options table.

4. Under Settings, select Paravirtualization.

5. Select the Support VMI Paravirtualization checkbox.

6. Click OK.

7. Power on the virtual machine.

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To enable the support the guest operating system need to support Paravirtualization technology.

                                                                                                   – Melbin Mathew

VMware File Extensions and its Descriptions

 

.VMDK  – These are the actual virtual hard disk files of the virtual machine. These files are having bigger file sizes than any other files located in virtual machine folder.

                  -  If we have chosen 2GB split of .VMDK files, the number of .VMDK files depends on the size of the virtual disk.

 

.NVRAM – This file is considered as the BIOS of the virtual machine.

.VMX – The file which resides in the virtual machine folder hold the configuration information of the virtual machine. Unlike all other files .VMX file can be opened by text editor. This helps us to edit the file to add more functionality that are not included in the GUI.

 

.VMXF  – This file is in XML format. This file holds additional information of the virtual machine when added to the team. If the virtual machine has been added and removed later the file resides inside virtual machine folder. We can view the file content using text file editor.

 

.VMTM – This file holds the information of virtual machines that are actively participating in the team. This is the configuration file containing team membership.

 

.VMEM – This is virtual machine paging file. The .VMEM file start growing after powering on the virtual machine. The file backs up the guest main memory of the host file system. The file  only resides in the virtual machine folder only when the virtual machine is in running state or the virtual machine is crashed.

 

                – If we have taken snapshot of the virtual machine in running condition (Powered On), this file will be saved as a part of the snapshot. These normally cause disk storage issues by consuming more storage space.

 

.VMSN

               <vmname>-Snapshot.vmsn -  This store the running state of the virtual machine snapshot. That we could consider the "delta" between the VMDK at the point of the snapshot and what has been processed up until the present time.

               <vmname>-Snapshot<###>.vmsn – This is the file which stores the state of a snapshot

 

.VMSD – The VMSD stores information and metadata about the snapshot itself.

 

.VMSS – This file appear when we suspend a virtual machine. The file store the suspended state of the virtual machine.

               – In older version of VMware products used .std for the suspended state files.

 

.HLOG – If we have vMotioned the Virtual Machine, this file is created. This file can be safely be deleted.

 

.LOG – This file hold all the logs of the VMware and the file helps to troubleshoot any issue.

                                                                                                  -  Melbin Mathew

How to Monitor and Manage VMware vSphere Client Login Sessions

 

We can monitor vSphere client logins through our admin privilege account. VMware is providing an option to forceful termination of the user login sessions.

In some condition if we need to do some maintenance in ESX servers or security concerned etc.. This property helps us to do that function. We can also initiate or warn the users about the action. There is a message panel through which we can send message to the vSphere logged in users.

This is similar to Windows Remote Desktop Connection management from Windows Task manager. We can view all the total active sessions and idle sessions.

Here we go,

1. Login into vSphere client (your login account must have administrator privilege).

2. Select Home page and Click on Sessions.

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3. From the session panel, we can see the total Active and Inactive logins.

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In the right side through “Message of the day” we can send messages to the logged in users.

4. To complete a forceful session logoff, Right click the user session and Select Terminate Session

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The user session is completely dropped.

Thus we have a complete control of user sessions.

                                                                                                   – Melbin Mathew

Integrate Active Directory Service with ESX VMware vCenter Server

 

In my previous post, I have mentioned the technique to integrate and enable Active Directory authentication service in ESXi servers.

After my post, I was thinking how to implement the same method in ESX servers. But the configuration steps were not same as that of ESXi server.

In ESXi server we are directly allowed to integrate ADS, but in ESX we need to install vCenter server to complete the Active Directory integration part.

1. Install vCenter server in a Windows server.

2. Join the Windows Server to the Active directory Domain.

Once, the vCenter Windows server is joined with the Active Directory domain. The user permissions for the ESX hosts that are added to the vCenter server can be managed with the help of Active Directory Service.

To do a permission,

1. Go to Permission tab.

2. Right Click and select “Add Permission”

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3. Click Add and Select the Active Directory User.

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Verify and add the user. **Use domainusername

4. Choose the permission,

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Select Propagate to Child Object, if you need this user to have the same permission to all the child objects.

Thus we have configured ESX server with ADS and vCenter server.

                                                                                                   – Melbin Mathew

Generate Complete Log Files using Generate vCenter Server Log Bundle

 

I was trying to explore all the features of VMware vCenter server. vCenter is having an option to generate all the logs into one zip file.

The zip file includes all the log records of the various vCenter functions and this will truly help us to troubleshoot vCenter issue in case of problems.

Here are the steps,

1. Log in into the vCenter server.

2. Go to Windows Start –> All Programs -> VMware -> “Generate a vCenter Server log bundle”

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By Clicking the Generate vCenter Server log bundle, it application start collects all the logs and zip into a folder.

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Move the zip file from vCenter server to the analysis desktop. Unzip the folder and examine each files.

 

Filename Purpose
vmlic.log License file test results
redist.log MDAC QFE rollup install results
vmmsde.log MSDE installation log
vmls.log License Server installation log
vmosql.log Database/transaction log initial disk allocation info
vminst.log Majority of installation logging –check date stamps
vmmsi.log VI Client installation log
VCDatabaseUpgrade.log If DB was upgraded from VC 1.x
vpxvpxd-0.log Small stub log created during brief startup; do not confuse with actual vpxd logs located elsewhere
   

Generate vCenter / ESX Logs using VMware vSphere client Access

The log generation can also done from vSphere client. Let see how we can do that,

1. Log in into vCenter server using vSphere.

2. Go to Administration -> vCenter server settings

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3. Navigate to Logging option, where we can set different level of logging for the server.

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Once the logging option is selected, click OK.

4. Go to Administration -> Export System Logs,

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5. We can download logs for vCenter and the selected ESX hosts

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Select the location where we need to save the file.

6. We can see the “Generate diagnostics bundle”

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7. The data will save to the specified location which we can mention earlier.

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The downloaded data have all the ESX CONF files and all the logs, see the directory structure.

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Logs and Its Location

ESX

ESXi

/var/log/vmware/hostd.log

ESX Service Log

YES

var/log/vmware/vpx/vpxa.log

vSphere Client Agent Logs

YES

/var/log/vmware/aam

VMware HA Logs

NIL

/var/logvmkernel

VMKernel Messages

NIL

/var/log/vmkwarning

VMKernel Warnings

NIL

/var/log/messages

Service Console Log

YES

 

                                                                                                   – Melbin Mathew