What have you achieved in the last 2 years?

If you had said to me in January 2019 that by December 2020 that I would have spoken publicly at 2 events, have this blog site up and running, and became a VMware vExpert, I would not have believed you. In fact, I probably would have laughed at you!

Well in January 2019, I persuaded my employer to pay for membership for VMUG Advantage for myself and a colleague, giving us benefits like 365 evaluation licenses, etc. etc. By the second VMUG meeting I attended, I decided to give speaking a go.

Whilst at vBeers after London VMUG, I was talking to David Simpson (and Alaric Davies). After a few drinks (for Dutch Courage) I volunteered myself for a vFactor talk at the next London BMUG meeting. But, there were not enough speakers for vFactor so it was decided it would be moved to UK Usercon for July. More drinks followed and again after a few vBeers talking with Chris Porter and Dave Simpson I decided I would do my presentation on VoIP on VMware. I currently support a large VoIP environment and thought it would be good to talk to community about.

London VMUG leaders (Simon Gallagher and Chris Dearden) organised weekly meetings to help us prepare for our presentations. I have never presented in a small meeting! Let alone at a UK UserCon in front of 60 people. There were four presenters: Me, Rick Tyler, Gavin Stephens and Tim Alexander. As a vFactor first time speaker I won a prize. Go me!

In April 2020 I decided to start blogging (CloudITBlog.com). It was a domain which I had bought a while ago but done nothing with it. Having never created a website or blogged in my life, I thought I would give it a go. The idea being to document how I have resolved issues I have faced in my day job and how I resolved them. Putting them on the internet gives others a chance to get helped, and is also a record for me if the same issue popped up again.

In May 2020 I reached out to vExpert Pros regarding becoming a vExpert, and was contacted by Andrew Hancock. We arranged a Zoom call where Andy went through what I had typed up so far and advised where I needed make changes. Andy helped me with my overall application as well. In July I got an email advising I was now a vExpert. I couldn’t believe it.

In November I get a message from Paul Donnachie at Runecast on LinkedIn regarding Runecast call for papers for presenting at Uptime 2020. Had a chat with Paul and I did a fireside chat with Kev Johnson at Runecast titled Stable Systems, Stable Services Keeping Critical NHS Services Delivering In Covid Crisis.

We are now in December 2020 and my journey this last year has been fun. I have pushed myself to do the things that I have never done before and have found I have enjoyed doing all of them some more so then others.

What have you achieved in the last 2 years?

How to setup SNMP on ESXi 6.5

1: Select Host you want to turn SNMP on. 2: Configure and Security profile. 3: Services and edit

1: Highlight SSH. 2: Click Start and OK

Launch Putty and log onto host you enabled SSH on

Type the following or copy and paste.

esxcli system snmp set –communities
esxcli system snmp set –enable true

When using ESXi Firewall you will need to allow SNMP.

esxcli network firewall ruleset set –ruleset-id snmp –allowed-all true
esxcli network firewall ruleset set –ruleset-id snmp –enabled true

NOTE: This opens up to Everyone.

You can configure it to specific IP addresses:

esxcli network firewall ruleset set –ruleset-id snmp –allowed-all false
esxcli network firewall ruleset allowedip add –ruleset-id snmp –ip-address 172.16.1.21/24
esxcli network firewall ruleset set –ruleset-id snmp –enabled true

The CMD to restart SNMP service

/etc/init.d/snmpd restart 

Migrating from Windows vCenter to VCSA 6.7

Important Note: Before you start this work make sure you have a full backup of vCenter and backup of Database.

Logon to MyVMware and download VMware-VCSA-all-6.7.0-10244745.iso (latest version).

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Once downloaded Mount iso (by right clicking on file and selecting mount)

Copy migration-assistant to C drive

Goto migration-assistant folder on C drive and double click on VMware-Migration-Assistant.

You should then get the screen above. Then minimise the screen DO NOT CLOSE THIS CONSOLE UNTIL THE MIGRATION IS COMPLETE.

Goto CD drive VMware VCSA – vcsa-ui-installer – win32 – double click on installer.exe

Click on Migrate

Select Deploy appliance and Next

Accept the terms of Licence aggreement and click Next

Enter your Window vCenter FQDN, Username and Password and click Next

Yes

Enter details for ESXi host where you want to install vcsa

Yes

Enter Name for vcsa, root password and confirm root password. Next

Choose deployment size

Selct Datastore for vcsa. Next

Enter network details. Step 4 you will need to provide a tempory IP address for vcsa at the end of the migration vcsa will have the original IP of your vCenter.

Check details are correct before clicking Finish

Progress bar will now show

Click Continue

Next


Next

Enter details to join vcsa to AD Domain. Next

Select Migration Data. Next

This one is up to you, I would recommend you join CEIP. Next


Make sure you have done what step 1 says before you tick this box. Finish

OK

Progress bar for Data transferfro vCenter to new vcsa

Click on Launch VSPher Client (HTML5) to access your new vcsa

vCenter (Windows) not showing any items in inventory.

I had this happen to me 4 times I think on the sam customers vCenter sometimes when we rebooted the Windows server for Microsoft patching the vCenter webpage would load with just headings no configuration or content. Which I must admit the first did make you panic a bit.

Searching the web and talking to other peers only answer people could recommend was to rebuilt vCenter an option, but, not the best solution.

So I logged a ticket with VMware the issue appeared to be with the vCenter Postgres DB having corruption. The engineer to took a backup of DB and VMware investigated this and came back to me and resolved the issue.

To resolve this issue I would recommend you have a backup of your vCenter DB this can be done by following this VMware KB2091961 and logging a ticket with VMware

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2091961

“Host cannot communicate with one or other nodes in the vSAN enabled cluster”

Highlight the host you are getting error on.

Select the Configure tab, System / Security Profile Services click on Edit:

Enable SSH on each host in the VSAN cluster:

Launch a terminal application like Putty to SSH onto your hosts.

Note: When restarting the vCenter Management Agents on the ESXi host, you will get a brief interruption to the host manageability. This is perfectly safe and will resolve itself automatically. In some cases, the host may momentarily enter a not responding state in vCenter Server, however this is rare.

Run the following command to restart the Management Agents:

/etc/init.d/vpxa restart

Run this command on all VSAN nodes. This updates the cluster information in vCenter Server and clears the message.

If you are still getting this error you can try the following:

Remove the host from the VSAN cluster and re-add. This forces all hosts to update the information about the cluster membership and clears the message.

Warning: When you attempt to remove and re-add the host, data synchronisation does not occur when the host is in maintenance mode and out of the VSAN cluster. If you select the Ensure accessibility maintenance mode option, some objects may be unprotected while executing the workaround.

To remove a host from the VSAN cluster and re-add:

  1. Select the ESXi host in the vSAN cluster that can be put to the maintenance mode temporarily
    Best Practice: VMware recommends to select the least busy/utilized host.
  2. In the vSphere Web Client, right-click the ESXi host and click Enter Maintenance Mode.
    Note: Select either the Ensure Accessibility or Full data migration options for vSAN maintenance mode.
  3. If applicable, allow powered-off virtual machines to be migrated to the remaining ESXi hosts.
  4. Remove the host from the vSAN cluster
  5. Select the host.
  6. Drag the host out of the cluster.
  7. Place the host in the datacenter object in the vCenter Server inventory.
  8. Note: After moving the host into the datacenter, wait for approximately two minutes
  9. Drag the host back into the vSAN cluster.
  10. After adding the host back in the vSAN cluster, right-click the host and click Exit Maintenance Mode.
  11. Note: The message on the remaining hosts should be clear.

Add the ESXi Host back into the VSAN cluster

VUM Issues on Windows-based vCenter

I was getting an error where I wasn’t able to download patches one day. This was the fix that I found.

On Windows server where VUM is installed Stop VMware vSphere Update Manager Service.

In Windows Services, stop the vSphere Update Manager Service as below:

Open up Windows ODBC 64-bit, select ‘System DSN’ tab and highlight VMware vSphere Update Manager, click Configure.

Then click Next until you reach Finish:

Click Test Data Source

Came back successfully as below:

If OK, go to the next step but if not look at error and resolve the issue:

Launch the VMware vSphere Update Manager Utility (located Program files/ VMware/ Infrastructure/ Update Manager.) Login with vSphere Credentials.

Available options once you login:

First I would normally try to re-register to vCenter Server. Enter the relevant details and click Apply. Restart the VMware vSphere Update Manager Service.

Try patching the hosts again with VUM. If successful, well done, you are finished.

If you still have issues go to the next step.

Launch VMware vSphere Update Manager Utility (located Program files/ VMware/ Infrastructure/ Update Manager.) and login with vSphere Credentials.

Select Database Settings and click Re-intialize Database, and then click Apply. WARNING: This will reset the database back to default! Any HPE / Dell Custom Baselines and Images you had added to downloads will need to be recreated along with custom baselines.

Upgrading ESXi 6.5 hosts with VUM

Using Runecast (great tool, more posts to come) we can see this ESXi host has been selected has 89 issues that need to be resolved:

I personally check the following before starting as these are common reasons for post remediation issues:

Cluster – Configure – Services – make sure vSphere DRS is set to Manual:

Cluster – Configure – Services -untick vSphere HA and Proactive HA:

Cluster – Configure – Configuration – VMware EVC – Enable  for the chipset you are using

Highlight the ESXi host you want to patch, then under the Update Manager tab select Scan for Updates:

Select what you want to Scan for and click OK:

Once Scan has completed Click on Stage Patches:

Note that if you click Remediation, everything will take place in one go (staging is where the patches are uploaded to the host pre-install)

Select the Baselines you want to apply and then click next:

Verify the host you want to patch is selected and the click next:

Select Patches and Extensions you want to be staged and click next.

Click Finish:

Wait for the staging of patches to complete:

Click on Remediate:

Select Baselines you want to apply and click Next:

Verify the Host and click Next:

Verify that the patches selected are ones you want to install and click Next:

Options 1 and 2 is for you to decide. I choose to do this when I am available to monitor, however a lot of admins to it out of hours. Click Next:

The depends on your environment and the situation, for example you might want VMs to reboot at the same time. It is safer to leave VMs as-is for this update. Click Next:

Same as before. Click Next:

Running Pre-check Remediation is a safe way to see if you will have any issues, if you do, resolve them and come back to this step.

If you get no issues click Finish as above.

Wait for the Remediation to complete.

Check Update manager for host and it should now show it is Compliant.

Runecast still reports issues for this host, but there are a lot less to action now!

Step out of your Comfort Zone? Hell Yes.

Sometimes in IT, when you are the infrastructure person in the company, you may spot a product or a solution that could be a good fit internally, or for a customer. Not only will this help you learn something new, but could bring a genuine benefit to the business or customer.

Sometimes we are too scared to build our case for why we think it should be implemented. What if it goes wrong? Luckily I work for a great company, where there is no blame culture, and we are encouraged to suggest and try new things.

I was at work one day and we were discussing storage expansion for a large customer (14x ESXi hosts across 2 sites). Internally, our expertise has always been HPE-oriented, and somebody suggested a HPE MSA as a cost-effective way of expanding the storage. My suggestion was “why not use VSAN?” I then proceeded to talk about the benefits of VSAN, and performance vs cost/GB. That was the last I heard about it!

About 3 weeks later my boss says “Right, you are going to site to install drives and deploy VSAN for our customer.” I had clearly made a decent suggestion, then!

Although we support existing customers running VSAN and have installed it in the past, this particular customer is a Blue Light Service; an NHS 111 provider. VSAN would be installed directly into their brownfield environment to extend their existing storage.

I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a bit nervous about making this change on such a critical service. It actually forced me to brush up on VSAN, relearn everything I already knew and take a quick test drive around existing environments. But I still felt I needed a bit more help.

So, in preparation I signed into the VMware Hands-on Labs and refreshed my memory on VSAN installation specifically. It is an incredibly simple thing to do, and actually seems too good to be true.

Along came the installation day, which was a huge success and has been up and running for nearly a year now. That’s the thing with VSAN I guess, it just works!

Moral of the story is to always strive to operate outside of your comfort zone; that’s where the real fun takes place.