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Archive for January, 2013

vMetrics for WordPress blogs updated to version 1.1

January 20th, 2013 No comments

I spent a little bit of time updating my vMetrics plugin for WordPress blogs. To give you a brief run-down, vMetrics allows you to display information from your VMware vCenter Cluster or ESX hosts / lab on your WordPress blog. It works with vSphere 4, 5 and 5.1.

 

 

In version 1.1 I have made the following changes:

Change log for version 1.1:

  • Added new metrics section for hardware information (Model and Vendor of first host in cluster – this is editable in the PowerCLI script)
  • Added configurable widget title section for Hardware
  • Updated PowerCLI updater script to have a DO WHILE loop (allowing you to run the script once on a management machine and it will keep updating your blog vMetrics every 30 minutes. (The script is called once every half hour). Thanks @dawoo for the idea 🙂
  • Added PowerCLI section to send the vendor and model type of the first ESX host it finds back to vMetrics so that you can display this information in the widget too
  • Cleaned up PHP in main plugin code

You can take a look at the main plugin page here or use the links below to download the latest version right away. Installation and configuration steps can be found on the main plugin page.

Latest version downloads (get the plugin and updater script):

Download vMetrics Plugin for Wordpress 1.1 (936)
Download vMetrics PowerCLI Updater script 1.1 (924)

HP N54L Microserver now listed on HP website

January 8th, 2013 6 comments

I am a big fan of HP’s Microserver range. They make for excellent home lab hardware, and I currently have 2 x N40L models running a small vSphere 5.1 cluster for testing, blogging and study purposes.

 

It looks like HP have now officially listed their new Microserver range on their website – the N54L. The most notable change seems to be a much beefier CPU. The original N36Ls had a 1.3GHz AMD processor, with a slight improvement to 1.5GHz on the N40Ls. The CPU has always been the weak point for me, but has been enough for me to get by on. So the N54L models are now apparently packing 2.2GHz AMD Athlon NEO processors. This is a fairly big clock speed improvement over the N40L range and should make for some good improvements for those using these as bare metal hypervisor use.

The two models being listed at the moment are:

  • HP ProLiant G7 N54L 1P 2GB-U Non-hot Plug SATA 250GB 150W PS MicroServer
  • HP ProLiant G7 N54L 1P 4GB-U 150W PS MicroServer

Adding vCenter Server to Active Directory domain and disconnecting ESXi hosts issue

January 6th, 2013 3 comments

The other day I came across this issue, it was quite late at night so it took me a little longer than I would have liked to realise what the issue actually was.

I had a vCenter 5.0 server which had not been joined to the local Active Directory domain. My goal was to get this added to the rest of the AD domain. After adding the vCenter server to the domain, rebooting, and checking that all the VMware services had started up correctly afterwards, I connected the vSphere client and saw that all the ESXi hosts were in a disconnected state.

At this point I tried right-clicking a host and manually connecting it – this worked, but only 60 seconds or so, and then it disconnected again. Whilst it was connected it was manageable, and of course all the VMs on each host were still fine. I tried restarting management agents on a host and retrying the procedure, but this didn’t help either. My next step was to reboot an ESXi host that didn’t have anything critical running. Still nothing at this point.

So I decided to consult the VMware vpxd log files on the vCenter server. Consult this VMware KB article to see where to find these logs.

Before opening the latest vpxd.log file, I tried the reconnect on a host again using the vSphere client, and watched for the disconnect. At the exact time I noticed the host appear disconnected again, I noted down the time on the system clock, then opened the vpxd logs to navigate to this time and take a look. Here is what I found:

2013-01-04T00:00:22.121Z [02504 warning 'Default'] [VpxdInvtHostSyncHostLRO] Connection not alive for host host-28
2013-01-04T00:00:22.121Z [02504 warning 'Default'] [VpxdInvtHost::FixNotRespondingHost] Returning false since host is already fixed!
2013-01-04T00:00:22.121Z [02504 warning 'Default'] [VpxdInvtHostSyncHostLRO] Failed to fix not responding host host-28
2013-01-04T00:00:22.121Z [02504 warning 'Default'] [VpxdInvtHostSyncHostLRO] Connection not alive for host host-28
2013-01-04T00:00:22.121Z [02504 error 'Default'] [VpxdInvtHostSyncHostLRO] FixNotRespondingHost failed for host host-28, marking host as notResponding
2013-01-04T00:00:22.126Z [02504 warning 'Default'] [VpxdMoHost] host connection state changed to [NO_RESPONSE] for host-28

This clearly shows the issue and points to it being a connectivity issue of some sort. Looking up these specific errors led me over to this VMware KB article, and it was at this point that it suddenly dawned on me – with the late night I had carelessly overlooked the Windows Firewall. Of course, Windows Firewall has settings for Windows Domains too, and of course this server had just joined the domain, so existing Firewall policies in place for vCenter that were previously on “public” settings, were now not enabled for “Domain”.

Timing the issue also revealed that it was 60 seconds before hosts disconnected again. So the issue here was that port 902 used for the host heartbeat between vCenter and the ESXi hosts was being blocked on the vCenter firewall. Unblocking this by simply enabling the rule for “Domain” fixed the issue and as soon as that was applied, all hosts reconnected by themselves. Of course I also took the time to ensure other vCenter firewall exceptions were correctly configured.

 

 

To fix, I just enabled the Domain profile that the firewall rule applies to.

 

Lastly, when examining VMware log files and settings, you may come across references to VMs, Hosts, or other VMware “objects” named as “host-28” or “vm-07” for example. These are VMware’s way of keeping reference of objects by what is called a MoRef, or “Managed object reference”. You may know host-28 as esxi03.yourdomain.local for example, so I thought I would include a handy tip for working out the Managed Object Reference name of an ESXi host to help with those vpxd.log diagnostics. Let’s say you find an interesting error mentioning moref “host-28”. You don’t know which host this is, so you can use PowerCLI to work out the morefs of hosts in a cluster and then match up the reference to the actual host name. Use this bit of script to achieve this:

 

Get-VMHost | Sort Name | Select Name,@{Name="MoRef";Expression={$_.ExtensionData.MoRef}}

Working out the MoRef of hosts using PowerCLI

 

 

How to Manage the “Big Data” Revolution

January 4th, 2013 No comments

Big data is quickly becoming a problem for enterprising companies as it presents difficulties in how to best analyze, monetize and capitalize large amounts of information within a business and across the globe. There are large amounts of sources that information and data comes from, leading to companies which are looking for partners that can help with their entire big data spectrum in assessing how the company is doing and all of the information surrounding it, as well as preserving that information for later dates and campaigns.  Over the next decade, these needs will become greater for enterprising level organizations and it is important that they explore the options and solutions to the big data revolution in order to keep on top of their game.

 

The Sources of Data

There are a few solutions to managing the big data revolution, but first it is important to understand where all of this information is coming from. Of course, information across the globe comes from many sources and can be seen in several formats, but the most common places data is found are on social media, in phone and web applications, on customer profiles and in documents. Other places of vital information are found in financial transactions as well as emails, videos, and favorite subscribers. These main sources of data are continually being improved upon and gathering more information by the second. This can seem daunting to enterprising businesses but there are a few easy solutions to understanding the massive amounts of data coming from several different sources at all times.

 

The Solutions

There are three solutions that intertwine together to create one large solution to the big data revolution.  The first is to turn you data center into a virtualized one or to find a data center that can host your company virtually. The second solution is to look into storage options that can hold all of the information being gathered and cope with it. Thirdly, detailed and complete infrastructure management (DCIM) is key to have in place. It is the combination of all three of these solutions that an enterprising business can manage the big data revolution.

Author Bio

Chad Calimpong has been recognized locally and nationally for his photography and video documentaries. He enjoys cooking, baking, and has a passion for technology and computers. He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife and two cats.

 

[Disclaimer] I’d like to clarify to readers of this blog, that I’m not affiliated with Dell, and have not been sponsored or paid to publish this article. Information and images in the above blog post have been provided to me from Dell, hence it being a guest blog post. I encourage anyone interested in solutions to the “big data” revolution to also explore other hardware vendor solutions and compare the availabile offerings in detail.