vCenter Server 5 Update 1a released – plus patches for ESX that finally fix an autostart bug !!

One the major pains I have running my home lab is the Autostart bug in ESX 5.0 update 1, I power down my lab when not in use and power up when I need to do demos or try out new builds of software so its only certain scenarios that this effects, that said it is a pain to have to login to the environment and power up my core infrastructure VMs.
To download the patch and read more information for fixes with this issue see
http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2012/07/vsphere-hypervisor-auto-start-bug-fixed.html
vCenter Server 5 Update 1a Released
VMware have released a patch to vCenter Server 5.0 update 1 which now includes fixes for a HA bug and also a memory hog issue with vCenter Server Web Services along with some additional functionality as listed below.
Its also good to see an update for the vCenter Server Application (vCSA) which hasnt been updated since 5.0, I can now test out and check all is working with ApplicationHA and vCSA as it did with vCSA v5.0.
For more information and download visit http://bit.ly/P7UbvD
Release Notes :- http://bit.ly/OC440M
Whats new
vCenter Server Appliance 5.0 Update 1a is the first major update since vCenter Server Appliance 5.0 was released
VMware vCenter Server 5.0 Update 1a is a patch release and offers the following improvements:

  • vCenter Server 5.0 Update 1a introduces support for the following vCenter Databases
    • Oracle 11g Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition, Standard ONE Edition Release 2 [11.2.0.3] – 64 bit
    • Oracle 11g Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition, Standard ONE Edition  Release 2 [11.2.0.3] – 32 bit
  • vCenter Server Appliance Database Support: The DB2 express embedded database provided with the vCenter Server Appliance has been replaced with VMware vPostgres database. This decreases the appliance footprint and reduces the time to deploy vCenter Server further.
  • Resolved Issues: In addition, this release delivers a number of bug fixes that have been documented in the Resolved Issues section in the release notes.
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VMware release update – VMware Workstation v8.0.4

VMware releases a maintenance update for VMware Workstation, no new features added in this version release of v8.0.4 focus is placed on resolved and security issues.
Its a free update for all VMware Workstation 8 Users, download the update from http://bit.ly/LgvDjS
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Resolved Issues

The following issues are resolved in this release of VMware Workstation.

General Issues

  • Linux guests running the Linux kernel version 2.6.34 or later could not be pinged from the host via an IPv6 address.
  • On rare occasions, Linux guests would suddenly fail to Autofit or enter Unity.
  • Unity mode would exit if the title bar of an application contained certain non UTF-8 encoded extended ASCII characters.
  • On Windows hosts, the VMware Workstation user interface sometimes became unresponsive when minimized from full-screen mode if the suggestion balloon was being displayed.
  • On Windows hosts, the user interface sometimes became unresponsive if the application was rendered on an extended display that was abruptly disconnected.

Security Issues

  • VMware host Checkpoint file memory corruption Input data was not properly validated when loading Checkpoint files. This issue could have allowed an attacker with the ability to load a specially crafted Checkpoint file to execute arbitrary code on the host. The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures project (cve.mitre.org) has assigned the name CVE-2012-3288 to this issue.
  • VMware virtual machine remote device denial of service A device (such as CD-ROM or keyboard) that is available to a virtual machine while physically connected to a system that does not run the virtual machine is referred to as a remote device. Traffic coming from remote virtual devices was incorrectly handled. This issue could have allowed an attacker who was capable of manipulating the traffic from a remote virtual device to crash the virtual machine. The Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures project (cve.mitre.org) has assigned the name CVE-2012-3289 to this issue.
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Public voting now open on papers for VMworld – Symantec Papers

As this years VMworld draws near, time has come to start preparing for the event and for those who have answered the “Call for papers” its time for the nervous bit when public voting opens and selection for content begins.
Anyone with a VMworld user account has the ability to mark their choices and with a plethora of topics available there’s definitely something that will spark an interest for everyone.
There are a number of Symantec sessions that I would ask for your consideration if you would be so kind to vote that would be great too 🙂
Special mention goes to session 2554, if you want to hear about something really special then its one not to miss, so please vote..
To access the public voting please visit. http://www.vmworld.com/www.vmworld.com/cfp.jspa
Thanks for voting…
Symantec Sessions:

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How to Configure Hyper-V v3 & Windows Server 2012 "8" 8250 nested inside ESXi 5.0

Here is an update to the previous blog http://goo.gl/II3gf regarding nested VMs inside ESX 5.0, I wanted to give an update on how to install the Beta of Windows Server 2012 “8” 8250 build and more importantly how to enable Hyper-V role inside the nested VM.
For the majority of the installation of this build the steps remain the same as with Windows 2008 R2 but with a couple of additions.
First make sure you are either runnning ESX 5.0 Update 1 or atleast have patch ESXi500-201112001 http://goo.gl/oWZXV installed against ESX 5.0
1. You need to enable hardware virtualization by modifying the etc/vmware/config file. Enable SSH via tech support mode and putty to the ESX5i server
2. Once connected with putty  :
# echo ‘vhv.allow = “TRUE” ‘ >> /etc/vmware/config
3. Next create your Virtual Machine hardware, I personally used hardware version 8 to make things easier with configuration.
4. Before you get to booting up the VM and installing Hyper-V you need to add three lines the virtual machines config file .vmx
You can either add these via the vSphere Client in the settings of the virtual machine > Configuration Parameters, or doing it from command-line
To add them using command-line move back in SSH > change into the directory where you Hyper-V VM is installed
For example config file where my VM is located is called Hyper-V.vmx. Type the following commands:
# echo ‘monitor.virtual_exec = “hardware” ‘ >> Hyper-V.vmx
# echo ‘hypervisor.cpuid.v0 = “FALSE” ‘ >> Hyper-V.vmx
# echo ‘mce.enable = “FALSE” ‘ >> Hyper-V.vmx
5. Next there are a couple of changes to be made with the CPU configuration.
in the VM settings > Options > CPU/MMU Virtualization make sure you select the option to pass the Intel EPT feature.

6. Next move to the Options area > CPUID Mask click on Advanced

Add the following CPU mask Level ECX: —- —- —- —- —- —- –H- —-

8. Finally you are now ready to install Beta Windows 2012 “8” and enable the Hyper-V role.
Additional Notes: Watch out for blank screens once VMtools are installed, if this happens then enable 3D support for your Video card in the VM settings  – See VMware KB http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2006859
Also when configuring your VM use the E1000 network driver type and not the VMXNET3 as this driver does not work.
Once the Windows server is installed, just enable the Hyper-V role and your all set to start exploring the world of Hyper-V v3.

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How to enable SSH on ESX 5 via vSphere Client

OK, so this is probably one of the easiest tasks to perform but its strange how many times I get asked how to enable this for remote access. I guess, most things people are really interested in are the new features which each version of ESX brings and may forget about the mundane stuff you may need for day to day admin.

  • First start the vSphere Client
  • Select the ESXi host in the configurations tab
  • Select Security Profile

  • Click on Properties in the upper right corner and you will get the a popup with all the services on this ESXi 5.0 hosts. Select the SSH service and press the Options button.

  • Now you can start the services and set the startup options

  • press okay and you are done..

that was easy wasn’t it

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How to create a bootable USB disk for VMware ESX 5.x installation

One question that I get asked alot is how to create a bootable USB disk especially for installation for ESX and Linux distros. There are probably multiple ways to do this but I effectly use a free tool call UNetbootin, this utility has binaries for Windows, Linux and Mac so works great whatever your desktop of choice, now burning CDs becomes a thing of the past.
1. Download UNetbootin and run the software (WindowsMac OS XLinux).
2. Download the VMware vSphere 5 ISO file -> VMware Download Center.
3. Start the UNetbootin application and choose Diskimage (ISO) and browse to the downloaded ISO file.

4. Choose Type: USB Drive and choose the correct USB drive letter that you want the bootable installer to be installed to( make sure your USB drive is formatted as FAT32 and not NTFS)
5. You are now done! Just make sure you select the correct boot sequence in your BIOS so that the USB drive boots first.

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How to suppress "The number of vSphere HA heartbeat datastores for this host is 1 which is less than required 2"

Whilst preparing my ApplicationHA lab for the SE interlock and Symantec Vision in the next couple of weeks, I was busily just making sure that no errors or alarms were triggered and everything looked clean, one thing I did notice and has been there from the start of building the lab, was a message “The number of vSphere HA heartbeat datastores for this host is 1 which is less than required 2”.
The heart beating over a datastore is something that was added with vSphere 5.0, the new FDM HA agent utilizes the storage subsystem as an alternate communication path and typically needs 2 paths to communicate, it’s actually similar to Veritas Cluster Server heart beating which uses 2 extra NICs for heart beating as well as using disk type heartbeats via Coordination Point Server (CPS).

Ok so how to remove or suppressing of the alarm.
There are a couple of ways to remove the message from appearing, the recommended way is to add redundancy via adding another shared datastore to the vSphere cluster or alternatively you can use the “das.ignoreInsufficientHbDatastore = true” attribute in the advanced vSphere HA settings.
1. From within the vSphere Client right-click on the cluster and edit settings.
2. Select the vSphere HA feature and click “Advanced Options”
3. In the options column enter the tag “das.ignoreInsufficientHbDatastore”
4. In the value column enter “true” for the value.
5. Click on “OK” and then “OK” again to make the changes in the advanced options
6. right-click on the ESX server which is displaying the warning symbol and select “Reconfigure for vSphere HA”
That’s it, once the reconfigure task completes the warning should disappear and you are left with a warning icon clean ESX server.

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How to reset a lost HP ILO100 admin password with IPMItool

Slightly off the virtualization track but it is lab related…
A new addition to the home VMware lab arrived today, another ML110 G6, these systems are great for building a VMware environment and also have the added benefit of an ILO100 remote management board. I picked this one up from ebay for an amazing £120 and with some additional ram and possibly a CPU upgrade this will still be under £300 and for a quad core 16gb lab machine thats a bargain, finally I can build out SRM permanently intead of using my laptop VMs…
Anyway these ILO cards are great for remote management and I can place my servers out the way from the kids and remotely power on or connect via virtual KVM. The main issue I had with this one was that the admin password was unknown but with the use of the Intel tool  IPMItool its fairly straightforward to reset once a bootable USB stick is created.
follow the steps below to gain access back with your ILO

  • Create a DOS bootable disk (floppy or USB key)
  • Download the IPMItool from this link:     http://www.intel.com/design/servers/ipmi/ipmi_tool.htm 
  • Copy the IPMItool.exe to the bootable disk
  • Boot the server using the bootable disk
  • Run “ipmitool.exe 20 18 47 03 02 61 64 6d 69 6e 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00”
  • Now your password should reset back to “admin”
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vSphere 5.0 Update 1 is released

The first update to vSphere 5.0 was released by VMware yesterday and although a minor release its worth mentioning some fixes and enhancements that it brings.
Guest Operating System Customization Improvements: vCenter Server adds support for customization of the following guest operating systems:

  • Windows 8
  • Ubuntu 11.10
  • Ubuntu 11.04
  • Ubuntu 10.10
  • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2
  • vSphere Web Client fails to start after Web Client installation is complete In vCenter Server, vSphere Web Client might fail to start after Web Client installation is complete. This issue is resolved in this release.
  • Upgrade to vCenter Server 5.0 fails with the error After you upgrade a vCenter Server 4.1 instance to vCenter Server 5.0, vCenter Server does not start, and produces a win32 exception error and backtrace.   When this issue occurs, the following error message is written to vpxd logs. Found both stateful stateless event expressions in the same alarm This issue is resolved in this release.
  • vCenter Server 5.0 U1 is shipped with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Express database When upgrading Virtual Center 5.0 GA (installed with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express database) to Virtual Center 5.0 U1 , Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express database is upgraded to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 express database. Note: A restart is required when a Virtual Center 5.0 is upgraded to Virtual Center 5.0 U1. This issue is resolved in this release.
  • vMotion operation fails with error messages indicating insufficient CPU or memory resources A vMotion operation might fail with error messages similar to the following:
    Failed to initialize migration at source. Error 0xbad00a4. VMotion failed to start due to lack of cpu or memory resources.
    vMotion task failed - This host has reached its concurrent migration limit.

    This issue is resolved in this release.

For more information and to download the update goto..
ESXi Release Notes:- http://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere5/doc/vsp_esxi50_u1_rel_notes.html
vCenter Release Notes:- http://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere5/doc/vsp_vc50_u1_rel_notes.html
Download:- http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/datacenter_cloud_infrastructure/vmware_vsphere/5_0
 

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VMware Workstation Technology Preview 2012 now open

The VMware Workstation Team is providing public access to the VMware Workstation Technology Preview 2012 to gather real-world feedback from its users. This VMware Workstation Technology Preview does not contain major new features, but it does include significant changes to its core virtualization technology especially in the following areas.
Installation and operation of VMware Workstation on Windows 8 and Windows Server 8

  • Installation and operation of Windows 8 consumer preview and Windows Server 8 in a virtual machine
  • Rendering and graphics correctness issues on all platforms and applications
  • Linux 3D desktop experience, particularly when using the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Beta
  • Linux 3D application graphics correctness and performance Stability in real-world scenarios including suspend/resume and display and device support
  • Nested Virtualization – running ESX and even trying Hyper-V* as a guest OS
  • VNC connection performance and stability

While this release is focused on VMware Virtualization platform enhancements it does include a few user interface enhancements.
To join in and give your feedback visit:-
http://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/beta/workstationtp2012

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