24 September, 2014

vCenter Orchestrator loses VM networks after host renaming

Last week I was asked to have a look at a VCO workflow issue. There was a issue with workflows used to deploy VM's, the workflows would fail on specific hosts. One of the customers' VMware administrators found that the workflow stopped at the point where a VM had to be linked to a specific VM port group.
This happened with any selected VM port group (VLAN) available within the workflow, these workflows have a automatic host selection a manual selection can also be made. After running workflows with manual host selection some hosts were found which completed the workflow successfully.
When verifying what the difference was between the hosts, it became clear that the hosts that failed the workflow where recently renamed.
The customer uses a dVswitch for all network traffic across all hosts within the HA-clusters. During the renaming you have to disconnect the ESXi host from vCenter and re-connect after the renaming,  a PowerCLI script was used to automate the renaming process, a similar script can be found here.
During the renaming there had been a issue with the hosts upon reconnecting to vCenter. After renaming hosts reconnected with a dvSwitch error message, to get rid of this error you manually re-add the host to the dvSwitch. After all the hosts network looked OK, nevertheless this was a good reason to take a better look at the network configuration of those renamed hosts.
One detail which stood out, was the color of the dvUplink interfaces. When all is fine they are coloured green, but when for instance the Physical NIC used by the Uplink is disconnected the color turns to white as shown in the picture below for dvUplink2.

 Now with the renamed hosts it was not one dvUplink, but all 4 dvUplinks where coloured white. Strangely enough the VM's hosted on these hosts had a fully functional network connection, so as expected none of the physical NIC's was disconnected.
One of the VMware administrators tried to get all dvUplinks "green"  again by simply removing and re-adding the vmmic from the dvUplink, this seemed to work all dvUplinks came back "green" again. Unfortunately the Orchestrator workflow persisted, after the actions above and none of the VMware administrators (me included) had any idea's on how to solve this issue so a support case was opened with GSS.
After the usual "please upload logfiles" steps, the problem was quickly solved during a Webex session. The solution was to force update the dvSwitch configuration across all hosts connected to this dvSwitch.
So how to you push the configuration or how do you forcefully update the configuration on ESXi hosts, simple just add a temporary new dvPortgroup to the dvSwitch. By adding a dvPortgroup all connected ESXi hosts get a updated dvSwitch configuration.
This solved the Orchestrator workflow issues finally, I can imagine that this updating of the dvSwitch configuration could also be of help in other dvSwitch "out of sync" kind of issues.
I will be trying next time I run into such a issue.

10 September, 2014

Exciting VMware revelations which make VMworld Europe a valuable event

Why would you go to VMworld Europa when all new product releases and most other revelations already where shown at VMworld US ?
VMworld US is the bigger event, more days, more sessions and a bigger venue.
The answer is simple if you ask me, when a new product (version) is introduced there is not always all technical info available on this product. For instance at VMworld US EVO:rail was introduced and at VMworld Europe there are at least three sessions scheduled, with one of them being a technical deep dive (the kind of session you want to attend to right?).

In short; EVO:rail is a management layer on top of the usual vSphere tools, wizards are what make this management layer standout. And it will only be bundled with standardised hyper converged hardware build by selected vendors.
EVO:rail is based on Enterprise plus licensing and also has VMware's Log Insight "build-in".

For some of the announcements it takes some time to sink in or get your head around, like for instance VAIO I/O filters, it has been announced at VMworld US. You can read some info about it on this blog post written by Cormac Hogan. At first it did not attract my attention immediately, only after reading press releases and some blog post (like Cormac's I got interested. If I had been at VMworld US, I would probably have skipped sessions regarding VAIO. But with the extra info I now have, I put a VAIO related session on my "must see" list.
Please check out my blog post "My take on interesting sessions @VMworld Europe" for my complete "must see" session list.

I am planning on writing more on EVO:rail and VAIO (amongst other topics) during and after VMworld Europe.

09 September, 2014

My take on interesting sessions @VMworld Europe

Like most VMworld attendees I also have been busy building my session schedule. This can be a rather time consuming task. There are so many sessions to choose from, there is also the Solution Exchange, Hands On Labs (HOL), Certification possibilities and meeting up with peers at the Hang Space.
You can fill up your entire schedule with sessions, but that would leave you very limited time to engage any (or all) of the activities mentioned above. There are numerous blogs where the writer has presented it's "must see" sessions list for VMworld, although most of those lists refer to the US edition a lot of the sessions will also be presented in Europe. I suggest you look at some of those "must see" lists, mine is at the bottom of this post and make a selection out of the "must see" lists and the complete VMworld catalog taking in account your interests / work field.
After I would make a selection of session the you want to see live (sessions like "ask the experts" or "The vExpert Storage Game Show" you have see live because of the interactive nature of these sessions) and which you could optionally see later online.
When you make this selection it will free up time you can use to attend to the other activities as mentioned above.

My selection of "must see" sessions:

NET1743 - VMware NSX - A Technical Deep Dive

INF1601 - Taking Reporting and Command Line Automation to the Next Level with PowerCLI

NET1592 - Under the Hood: Network Virtualization with OpenStack Neutron and VMware NSX

NET2745 - vSphere Distributed Switch: Technical Deep Dive

STO2197 - Storage DRS: Deep Dive and Best Practices

STO2554-SPO - Zooming In: How VMware Virtual Volumes (vVols) Will Provide Shared Storage with X-ray Vision

SDDC2095 - Overview of EVO: RAIL: The Radically New Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance 100% Powered by VMware

TEX1991 - vCenter Orchestrator - What's Next?

SEC2238 - Security and Microsegmentation for the Software Defined Data Center

TEX1492 - IO Filters: Adding Data Services to ESXi

NET1468 - A Tale of Two Perspectives: IT Operations with VMware NSX

INF1864-SPO - Software Defined Storage - What’s Next?

BCO2629 - Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication: What’s New Technical Deep Dive

STO2997-SPO - The vExpert Storage Game Show EMEA

STO1965 - Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive

INF2311 - vCenter Server Architecture and Deployment Deep Dive

SDDC1337 - Technical Deep Dive on EVO: RAIL, the new VMware Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance

STO2480 - Software Defined Storage - The VCDX Way Part II : The Empire Strikes Back

INF2427 - DRS : Advanced Concepts, Best Practices and Future Directions

SDDC2370 - Introduction to OpenStack for VMware Administrators

STO3098 - Virtual SAN Best Practices for Monitoring and Troubleshooting

I hope you will enjoy this year's VMworld Europe edition, I know I will for sure !!