Rynardt Spies

Rynardt Spies

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Today I've enabled PDA/Mobile Device functionality for this site. I've tested it on the Nokia E90 Communicator and the iPhone 3G. It seems to be working fine as far as I can see.

When you browse http://www.virtualvcp.com/ from your mobile device, you will see the PDA version, which should make your life a little easier in trying to browse for articles and technical tips from you mobile device.

 I will still be tuning this in the days to come to make it easier and faster to find articles.

Please contact me via the contact form or comment on this is you find any issues with the PDA site.

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I have decided to enable full article length RSS feeds as from yesterday, 08 December 2008.

Although I do realise that it may have an impact on the overall visitor count of the site, as users won't have to visit the site to read a full article anymore, I do hope that it makes life a little easier for my readers as you will be able to simply use your RSS reader without having to open your browser to get the article.

I will also NOT be running ads in the RSS feeds as it I myself really dislike being distracted by annoying ads while I'm reading articles on other sites.

Let's see how well this works. In the end, my main goal with the site is to post my findings in day-to-day tasks and troubleshooting, not to advertise.

 

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I don't know if anyone else has come across this issue, but since upgrading to ESX 3.5 Update 2 we've been having strange problems with VCB snapshots. I've not had much time for troubleshooting in the last 3 or so weeks, but I found a workaround. Before I get ahead of myself, let me just first explain the issue we are having.

When backing up our VMs with VCB, the snapshot delta files created by VCB needs to be merged back into the main VMDK. However, for the past few weeks I've seen cases on some of our ESX hosts where the snapshots never gets merged back, and the delta files just keep on stacking up every time a snapshot is created. In other words, here’s what happens:

1. VCB creates a snapshot of a VM. This creates delta files such as VMNAME-000001.vmdk.
2. When the backup process completes, the snapshot delta VMDK is supposed to merge back into the main or its parent VMDK file but fails to do so. Now, this is not normally a problem, as you can just go and "delete" the snapshot using the snapshot manager in the VI Client.
3. However, when you go to the snapshot manager in the VI client, there are no VCB snapshots but there may be a "consolidate helper" snapshot. Even if I delete this snapshot, the process fails to merge the VMDK files back.
4. If I then create another snapshot manually using the snapshot manager, this creates the second set of delta files such as VMNAME-000002.vmdk.
5. When I then try to delete the snapshot, the VI Client reports the Virtual Machine as having no snapshots, however when browsing the data store, I can still see all the delta files. Also, when I log onto the ESX server where the VM is running, and issue vmware-cmd /vmfs/volumes/<DATASTORE>/<VMNAME>/<VMNAME>.vmx hassnapshot, the ESX server returns no snapshots for that VM.

This is a strange problem. The Virtual Machine clearly has snapshots delta files in its data store; however the ESX host is unaware of any snapshots for that VM.Now I did find a workaround for this problem, but I've been unable to find the root cause of this problem as I've been way to busy the last few weeks to have a good look at it.

The workaround is:

1. Log onto the console of the ESX host where the VM with snapshot problems is running on.
2. Restart the management agent on that server with service mgmt-vmware restart.
3. In the VI Client, go to the snapshot manager and manually create a snapshot for the VM (without a memory snapshot).
4. Now, "Delete" all snapshots. This should merge all delta files back into the main VMDK file.

The workaround suggests that there is a problem with the management agent on the ESX hosts, but if so, it has to be something in the Update 2 release as my cluster has 16 hosts and the problem seems to be popping up on random hosts daily. I am now planning to upgrade to Update 3 to see if that will clear the problem.

If anyone else has come cross a similar issue, please drop me an email or a comment.

 

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So, in less than a year, VMware has gone from a strong fast growing public offering "to a company whose slowing growth and plummeting shares led to the ouster of its former CEO and co-founder Diane Greene." I remember just shortly after VMware listed on the NYSE, I bought some shares in VMW at around $70 per share. Shortly after that the stock went on a rally and turned at around $125 per share. Back then I thought that this is going to get good, but as the shares rose to $125 I realised that it would not be wise to buy more at such a high share price.

However, as fast as the share price went up, it came down. Lucky for me, I sold all my VMware shares at around $113 per share, so I still made some good profit in a very short period. Just after I sold my shares, the stock went on to crush down to around $70 again. It got even worse and dropped to around $50. Yeah sure, it went up a couple of times, but in the long run it went down more than up and that's when Dianne Greene got the sack! Surprise or not, but after she left the stock slumped even more to $35. On 12 Nov, the stock took another drop by $1.22 or 5% to $22. Back at the $125 mark, a $1.22 drop is not much, but at the $24 mark it does matter a lot.

Let's just hope that the new CEO, Paul Maritz can pull something back with the mounting battle over cloud computing. At the moment the computing power shift is moving towards tech giants like Microsoft, Google and Amazon. VMware needs to get it right if they want to be a player in the cloud computing league.

Call it lucky or not, but I'm just glad I sold off my stake in VMware at the best of times. I'm no stock broker so don't ask me where it's going but who knows, maybe a year from now they'll be back on the rise. Time will tell.

 

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I came across the following problem a couple of times:

In VirtualCenter, when trying to delete a virtual machine that is switched off, VirtualCenter comes up with:

"Operation failed since another task is in progress"

Also, when trying to use the vmware-cmd command to START, STOP, RESET, SUSPEND or UNREGISTER on the Virtual Machine, the ESX Server responds with:

VMControl error -999: Unknown error: SoapError: ServerFaultCode(1520) : (vim.fault.TaskInProgress)

Yet, when issuing the vmware-cmd getstate command, the ESX Server responds with "Off"

SOLUTION:

The following solution has always fixed the problem for me:

Just execute the following command on the ESX Server:

service mgmt-vmware restart

 

NOTES:

  • No Host Reboot or Downtime Required
  • No Virtual Machine Downtime Required
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VMware will today be launching VMware MVP (VMware Mobile Virtual Platform), a technology believed to be bought by VMware from Trango Virtual Machines. At this time VMware MVP is aimed at allowing phone manufacturers  to run different types of phones on the same OS image.

Today, each time a new mobile phone is designed, the OS has to be modified or sometimes even be redesigned to run of the new device. VMware MVP will allow the phone manufacturer to install only low-level real time functions such as call handling while the actual Operating System with the user interface could be snapped in as a virtual machine. This will allow the user to switch between the operating systems like Microsoft Windows Mobile and Symbian.

 VMware MVP will be sold to the phone device manufactures and not to consumers. The functional scope of VMware MVP is not (at the time of writing) to allow users to run conventional  desktop operating systems on mobile devices, but to run multiple phone operating systems on the same mobile device.

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VMware has now released and made available for download VMware ESX Server 3.5 Update 3. It can be downloaded from http://www.vmware.com/download/vi/

 

What's new in this release:

The following information provides highlights of some of the enhancements available in this release of VMware Infrastructure 3:

Note: Not all combinations of VirtualCenter and ESX Server versions are supported and not all of these highlighted features are available unless you are using VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 3 with ESX Server 3.5 Update 3. See the ESX Server, VirtualCenter, and Virtual Infrastructure Client Compatibility Matrixes for more information on compatibility.

New features and supported IO devices:

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"Advanced Conversion Tool Helps Customers Move to Virtual Infrastructure; Provides Cost Effective Disaster Recovery for Physical Machines"

Buffalo Grove, IL, November 5th, 2008 – Vizioncore Inc., a market leader in server virtualization management, today announced the availability of vConverter 4.0, the most rapid and versatile physical-to-virtual (P2V) and virtual-to-virtual (V2V) conversion tool on the market. vConverter 4.0 automates and accelerates conversions to Microsoft, Virtual Iron, VMware and XenServer environments, allowing customers to migrate workloads between platforms as part of scheduled conversion projects or for disaster recovery purposes.

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I found this very interesting atricle on how Virtualization and Cisco Nexus combine to eliminate blade servers. Now, personally I've never been the biggest fan of Blade servers. yes, maybe for Citrix environments, they seem to be perfect, but I've never seen the need and flexibility of them in virtualized environments.

The article below looks at why blade servers have never really made sense in Virtual Infrastructure Architectures, and I have to say I agree with all of it!

http://www.dabcc.com/article.aspx?id=9114

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 With VMware Distributed Virtual Switch or DVS, one of the new features in the upcomming VMware VI4, allows you to create Virtual Switchs at a cluster level and assign ESX Servers to them. Up to now, in VI3, virtual switches can only be created at a host level, and if in a DRS/HA Cluster, these virtual switches are normally configured the same across all hosts. With DVS, you only have to create a virtual switch once and assign it to all hosts. It also allows you to migrate virtual machines on existing virtual networks to a new network all with a few clicks!

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@unicorn_1485 What's your number? I can arrange a call 😉
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