Working with the vCenter Server Simulator 5.5 – configuring custom ESXi hosts

Working with VCSIM (vCenter Server Simulator)

 

William Lam has done some excellent blog posts on using the simulator included with the VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance), to setup a simulated vSphere environment. Just the other day at VMworld Europe, he presented a session for vBrownBag entitled “NotSupported Tips/Tricks for vSphere 5.5“. In this session he introduced the new simulator, he dubs “VCSIM 2.0”, which is the latest iteration included with the VCSA 5.5 appliance.

I had previously had a brief look at the VCSIM included with 5.1, but after seeing its limited functionality, did not pursue its use for development testing. However, after learning about the features introduced in VCSIM “2.0”, I just had to take a further look…

To see how to setup and start VCSIM, have a read of Will’s blog post here. However, at a high level, this is what you need to do to start the simulator with defaults:

  • Deploy and fully configure the VCSA 5.5 appliance. Make sure DNS (forward and reverse) is working and the embedded database is properly configured, otherwise the vpxa service will have trouble intialising
  • Ensure you have no issues with the embedded DB being reset (i.e. don’t do this on a production VCSA!)
  • SSH in to the appliance
  • issue command: vmware-vcsim-start default

 

Customising the default VCSIM ESXi host model

 

Today, I needed to replicate a certain condition in our lab environment. Specifically, I needed the ESXi hosts to have 32 CPU cores. By default the ESXi hosts that are simulated have 8 cores. I did a bit of digging around in the /etc/vmware-vpx/vcsim/model folder and figured out which files were referenced when launching the simulator with the default option. By default, the host model in the ESX50 folder is used, so naturally, in order to configure custom ESXi hosts, we need to edit the files within this folder.

Initially, I found one file, “HostHardwareInfo.xml” and changed the CPU core count value to 32. This appeared to work – starting up the sim, and looking at the Web Client, I saw that the simulated hosts were now showing 32 CPU cores. I also changed the RAM up to 32GB (from the default of 16) just to test another option, and this was also showing up. However, upon loading up the MOB (Managed Object Browser), and navigating to the these hosts, I saw that the properties under the host summary->config->hardware were telling another story – they were still set to 8 cores and 16GB RAM. A little more digging revealed that another file, “HostListSummary.xml” also needed to be updated.

So in order to setup your custom ESXi host models for the default VCSIM profile, make sure you update both of these files.

The files to update your default ESXi model
The files to update your default ESXi model

 

Here is the small change I made to increase the Host core count to 32 cores.

<cpuInfo>
    <numCpuPackages>2</numCpuPackages>
    <numCpuCores>32</numCpuCores>
    <numCpuThreads>4</numCpuThreads>
    <hz>2999654793</hz>
 </cpuInfo>

And the data reflected in the MOB:

ESXi Host Hardware Summary

 

Changes as seen in the vSphere Web Client:

vSphere Web Client Host Hardware Summary

Make sure you backup these files before changing them, so that you can roll back if you need to. There are other ways of creating your own profiles for the simulator, but I could not find any documentation on how to create custom hosts. The only bits I could find were relating to creating your own datastores. You can also use the default profile template to create your own profile in it’s entirety, and this is a better long term solution, however to get things up and running quickly with the default profile, the above works nicely.

Note that all properties and methods pertaining to each managed object found in the API appear to be set up and created when using the VCSIM, so this makes a great development/testing/lab tool. Kudos to VMware for releasing this with the VCSA, and thanks to William Lam for pointing it out and blogging about it!

vMetrics for WordPress blogs updated to version 1.1

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 id=”22″]
[download id=”23″]

Cosmosis (iOS) – updated to version 1.3

So heres an update that is slightly off my usual subject matter! I have been spending a little bit of time updating my 2D Space shmup game I have developed for iOS (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad). I  finished submitting the update to Apple on 04/08/2011, and this morning I saw it has now been approved, so it is ready to be downloaded / updated from the App Store.

 

Bonus level 2 added in version 1.3

 

Here is a list of the most significant new features in version 1.3.

 

– Unlocked all levels by default
– New (Second) Bonus Level added
– New enemy ship type added
– New enemy ship attack patterns (more challenging/interesting)
– New scrolling level select screen
– Main menu redesigned and new ambient music added for menu and in game
– OpenFeint updated
– New News menu option added for the latest news and announcements
– Game difficulty tweaked to make it slightly more challenging
– Bosses are a bit to tougher to fight now
– Survival mode difficulty tweaked
– New loading & credits screen
– App rating dialog that appears after a few days now works

 

So there is some new content as well as better difficulty and more challenging enemies to fight. I also added an interesting new feature – the News screen. This integrates with OpenFeint and pulls down and news / announcements I make on my developer control panel for OpenFeint into this custom designed (Cosmosis themed) News screen. It also updates the App’s badge icon according to the number of new (unread) news announcements and displays a small badge icon on the news menu in game. The main reason I developed this extra bit, is that I would like to be able to notify users of any future new releases (apps) I may release.

 

If you have any feedback or comments about Cosmosis, feel free to leave them below, or grab a copy and leave me a review on iTunes!

Now reading: Cocos2d for iPhone 0.99 Beginner’s Guide

I was recently offered a copy of Pablo Ruiz’s “Cocos2d for iPhone 0.99 Beginner’s Guide” eBook to read through and provide comments / feedback on – needless to say I was quite excited to get stuck in, however I am still on holiday in South Africa so for now I am just downloading the eBook and will save it for when I am back in the UK.

I actually can’t wait to have a read through. cocos2d is by far the most fun I have had programming with, and I’m sure this book will be a valuable asset.

You can grab a copy over at PacketPub if you are interested in learning about programming with (imo) the best 2D gaming engine for iOS. At the moment it is going on special for around £25.00 which is not bad at all for a guide encompassing a lot of what cocos2d has to offer.

My first iOS game released on the App Store – Cosmosis

So I finally got my first game (and app) released on the App Store the other day. It is a 2D Space shooter called Cosmosis. Here is a feature / gameplay video and a link to the official App Store page. Check it out if you are into iOS games. It is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad!

The Official Game Page

Here are a couple of screenshots:

Cosmosis - Gameplay screenshot
Cosmosis - Gameplay screenshot 2

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cosmosis/id404662019?mt=8

Sneak peek: New game in development for iPhone / iPod Touch

So I thought I would do a post where I can post updates as I make progress on this new game I am developing. The platform is of course the iPhone / iPod touch. That is all versions from the first iPhones up to the new iPhone 4. I may even do an iPad version later. I have really been putting some effort into learning more about OpenGL and more specifically the cocos2d engine. By starting this game I have learnt tons about particle effects, sprites and game logic. I am even having to dust out the cobwebs in my brain when it comes to mathematics! The shooting and accelerometer movement algorithms in this game took some effort to get right! Note that all graphics and code are original and done myself (i.e. all game content is self-made!) My graphic design abilities have definitely helped with regard to the making of my ship, enemy, back drop and other game graphics. I’ll post further updates as I go along. The name is going to stay secret till its released though 🙂

This is a top-down, accelerometer controlled space shooter, with fluid 60fps animation and great effects. Anyway, here are a few screenshots of what I have so far. Note that any text you see is not final and just there for testing purposes for now. The enemy ship and player graphics are also going to be refined before I submit this.

Note the Battlestar reference in my last screenshot 😀 Anyway, if you have any ideas or questions, feel free to post them below.