Distributed Virtual Switch 5.1 Health Check for VLAN configuration issues

With the announcement of vSphere 5.1, one of the new features announced was the network health check feature now available for Distributed Virtual Switches (version 5.1 of the switch). This area has already been covered in detail by two bloggers I know of, namely Chris Wahl at Wahlnetwork, and Rickard Nobel.

However, this is one feature I was really looking forward to testing out myself, and had been preparing for by getting some physical Microserver Hosts up and running in my home lab with multiple NICs and VLAN support. The other day I had a chance to play around with the Network health check functionality with one of my hosts uplinked to a DVS I had created in vCenter.

This evening I was reminded of how useful this feature actually is. I had plugged one uplink from my Dell PowerConnect 5324 switch into the dual port NIC in the host and left the other NIC disconnected as I was short one cable. Tonight (a day later) I connected this up and was immediately notified of an issue on the uplink with the VLAN health status! I had of course, forgotten to setup the port trunking on the Dell switch (VLANs 8 and 10) after having set this up yesterday for just the one port that was connected.


Here is a breakdown of what I saw using the vSphere Web Client after selecting my DVS and then choosing the Health tab under “Monitor”. (vCenter also has alarms set up when you enable the feature that show to alert you of the issue).



A quick change on my switch to set the VLANs up on this particular uplink port meant I was soon up and running again.


As you can see the Health Check feature is really useful, providing vSphere admins with an easy way to check network port configurations on the networking hardware without having to login to another interface and check themselves, or rely on another team to do this for them. For more detail, or instructions on how to set this up, I recommend checking out the two blog posts I linked to above by Chris Wahl and Rickard Nobel.


How to pin an application on a network / mapped drive to your Windows 7 or 2008 R2 taskbar

So here is something that has been annoying me lately. On my work machine I use a couple of applications that are stored on mapped network drives. When you try and right-click the .exe to select “Pin to taskbar” there is no option to do this. Here is a work around that will allow you to get these network stored applications / exe files pinned to your taskbar in Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2.

1. Copy the .exe file of your application on the network drive to a temporary location on your local machine or server’s drive.

2. Make a shortcut to this .exe on your desktop.

3. Right-click on this shortcut and then select the “Pin to taskbar” option which will now be available.

4. Right-click the pinned icon on the taskbar and then right-click the shortcut in the list of options that appears – select Properties.

5. Edit the “Start in” and “Target” fields to point to the actual location of the original application on the network location.

6. You can now remove the temporary shortcut and .exe that you copied as these are not needed anymore.

You’ll now have your network location application pinned to your Windows 7 or 2008 R2 taskbar.

Accessing network equipment via console cable from your ESX / linux server

Ever wondered how you can access your Cisco router, switch, or other network device over console cable from your ESX host / other linux machine? Obviously you’ll need a COM port on the physical hardware to start… Here’s a guide I wrote for SysAdmin-Talk. Have a read if you are interested in finding out how to achieve this. They have some other great articles and how-to’s posted up there. I have already found some extremely useful Exchange how-tos and guides and am looking forward to writing more for SysAdmin Talk!

SysAdmin Talk – Don’t Tear your Hair Out over Access to Cisco Devices