25 Jun 2009
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The esxcfg-addons CLI command is used to enable and disable addons in ESX 4.

Usage: esxcfg-addons [action] [parameter(s)]

22 Jun 2009
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I’ve found myself asking this very annoying question just last week again. Which one of the servers is holding a lock on a virtual machine log file that was last modified 3 months ago?

Last week I came across a problem where VCB failed a job while trying to perform a full backup of one of the VMs. This was because one of the log files for the Virtual Machine was locked on the SAN. VCB was therefore unable to copy the log file to the backup server and therefore failed the entire job.

Normally, a simple VMotion of the Virtual Machine to another host will solve this issue, but I wasn’t as lucky this time. So I thought powering off the VM will do it... Didn’t work! No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get the lock released on that file. One of the ESX hosts in the cluster was holding on to the log file, but how do I go about finding out which one of the 20 ESX hosts is was? To me, this sounded like a job for vmkfstools, and indeed it was. Well, sort off. Using vmksftools, I was able to retrieve the MAC address of the ESX host in the cluster that was holding on to the 3 month old log file.

The command is:

vmkfstools –D /filename

In my case this was;

vmkfstools –D /vmfs/volumes/iscsi-002-vmfs/WKSTN01/vmware.log

The output is then written to /var/log/vmkernel.

To get the output, simply do:

tail /var/log/vmkernel

This returned:

Jun 20 15:35:33 esx1 vmkernel: 23:02:22:35.020 cpu0:4174)FS3: 142:
Jun 20 15:35:33 esx1 vmkernel: 23:02:22:35.020 cpu0:4174)Lock [type 10c00001 offset 29190144 v 7, hb offset 4083712
Jun 20 15:35:33 esx1 vmkernel: gen 1881, mode 1, owner 4a2128d2-86a81c3a-ce30-000e0cc41e98 mtime 893]
Jun 20 15:35:33 esx1 vmkernel: 23:02:22:35.020 cpu0:4174)Addr , gen 6, links 1, type reg, flags 0x0, uid 0, gid 0, mode 644
Jun 20 15:35:33 esx1 vmkernel: 23:02:22:35.021 cpu0:4174)len 312433, nb 1 tbz 0, cow 0, zla 1, bs 1048576
Jun 20 15:35:33 esx1 vmkernel: 23:02:22:35.021 cpu0:4174)FS3: 144:  

The MAC address of the host locking the file is reported in line 3:


Now, this is the bit where I can’t make it any easier for you. Unless you write a script, (and I don’t have that much time at the moment) the only way to find the host with that MAC is to log onto each host via SSH and run: 

esxcfg-info |grep –i  ‘system uuid’

This will then return the UUID for the host you are on. If it matches the MAC retrieved using vmkfstools, then you know the process that’s keeping the lock is on that server.

So what process is locking the file? That I can’t tell you. I can only give you some tips as to how to find it.
1.       Power off the VM in vCenter;
2.       Log onto the service console of the host that’s locking the file;
3.       Try to move or delete the lock file from the service console of the locking host. This worked me. If it works for you, then good. If not, go to step 4;
4.       Try and see if there’s a process running with the filename that is locked;

ps –auxwww |grep

If it returns a line(other than the grep line) kill the process with “kill -9 "

5.       If it doesn’t return any processes under that filename, then try and search for a PID with the VM name that has a locked file:

ps –auxwww|grep

If it returns a PID, kill the PID, as your VM was already powered off in step one and should therefore not have a PID on any host;

6.       If it still doesn’t work, leave a comment and we'll have a look at it ;-) 

10 Jun 2009
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Here's a last chace to win a trip to VMworld 2009:



02 Jun 2009
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Image: Veeam
Veeam Software has released Veeam Monitor 4.0 and Veeam Monitor Free Edition 4.0. The new version of Veeam Monitor Includes:

  • Support for VMware vSphere 4;
  • Storage monitoring;
  • Hardware monitoring;
  • More new features requested by customers.


I've not had time to install and play with Veeam Monitor 4.0, but if Veeam Monitor 3.0 is anything to go by, I'm sure Veeam Monitor 4.0 will be good. I'll install it and do a review sometime this week.


You can download Veeam Monitor 4.0 from: http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esx-monitoring.html 

You can download Veeam Monitor Free Edition 4.0 from: http://www.veeam.com/esxi-monitoring-free.html

01 Jun 2009
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This may not be the most technical post, but it should hopefully give VM administrators some ideas on managing their VMs.

Despite having tools like VirtualCenter, keeping track of your VMs can still be a mission. Today I look after thousands of virtual machines running on hundreds of ESX hosts in several data centres. Most of these VMs are production systems, some are clones of production systems, some are test and some are dev. Creating and managing machines for new services is not always an issue. We have processes in place to control VM sprawl. We know which VMs belongs to which customers. We also know who to contact in regards to which VM. This is all documented in change records and CMDBs. However, having to go back to CMDBs and change records every time you need to know who owns a VM is a bit of a slog. Sure we’ve tried adding relevant information into the “Notes” Attribute, but it gets messy and some administrators “forget” to add all the information we need into the notes.

To try and keep track of who owns what, I use a simple but very effective tool inside vCenter to manage VMs. It’s the “Custom Attribute” function of vCenter that allows administrators to specify custom attributes for all the VMs and hosts in vCenter. Custom Attributes are by no means a new feature in Virtual Infrastructure or vSphere, yet a lot of administrators don’t use them as they simply don’t realise that custom attributes functions exists or what custom attributes are for. I’ve seen many virtual Infrastructures built on VMware VI 3 (small environments to large enterprise environments) and I simply can’t recall ever seeing custom attributes being used.

30 May 2009
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VMware has released a security advisory to address multiple vulnerabilities in VMware Workstation, Player, ACE, Server, Fusion, ESX, and ESXi. The first of these vulnerabilities is due to a error in the VMware Descheduled Time Accounting driver. Exploitation of this vulnerability may result in denial of service in Windows-based virtual machines. The second vulnerability is due to a known error in the libpng package used by some VMware products. Exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code.

It's recommended to visit VMware security advisories page and download the necessary updates to resolve the issues.