Tag Archive for vCenter

Top 10 Tekhead Posts of 2016

I’m pleased to say that I upped my game somewhat over the past year, managing to churn out 62 posts in 2016, more than double the 28 posts I produced in 2015!

There were a few other interesting trends over the previous year. The balance between VMware and other subjects has definitely shifted for me, where for example, I wrote well over a dozen posts on AWS.

I guess this is probably representative of both my recent role change, as well as the shift in my customers from being 90%+ VMware houses, to a broad mix of different cloud platforms, both public (AWS / Azure) and private (VMware / OpenStack).

This trend is only going to accelerate in the future, and I suggest Scott Lowe’s Full Stack Journey podcast would be well worth your time subscribing to for great information on how to avoid being left behind as our industry morphs over the coming years!

thecloud

It’s worth noting that this trend is also mirrored in the top 5 articles alone, which include popular newer technologies such as Docker and AWS. That said, it’s great to see the Intel NUC Nanolab series is still as popular as ever, and people are obviously still keeping their vSphere skills and certs up to date, based on the VCP delta study guide popularity.

You may also have noticed that I have been a little quieter of late. The main reasons for this have been down to starting my new role earlier this year, studying for exams, plus a number of other projects I’ve been involved in (such as the Open TechCast podcast). Hopefully I can find a little more balance between them all in 2017, though I already have a couple of podcasts, a VMUG presentation, and a possible exam lined up for January so I’m not really helping myself on that front!

Tekhead Post Stats 2016

So, enough jibber jabbing! Here follows the top 10 most popular posts of the past 12 months.

Tekhead Top 10 Posts of 2016
  1. My Synology DSM Blue LED issue was actually just a failed drive!
  2. Installing Docker on Ubuntu Quick Fix
  3. NanoLab – Running VMware vSphere on Intel NUC – Part 1
  4. Fix for VMware Remote Console unrecoverable error: (vmrc)
  5. AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate Exam Study Guide & Resources
  6. VCP6-DCV Delta Exam (2V0-621D) Study Guide and Exam Experience
  7. NetApp – Is this the dawn of a new day?
  8. NanoLab – Part 10 – Your NUCs are nice and cool, but what about your stick?
  9. Index of Tekhead.it Blog Posts on Amazon AWS
  10. Quick Fix for “The task was canceled by a user” when deploying OVA in vCenter 6

Something Mike Preston and I discussed on our recent Open TechCast podcast episode, was how it can be a little frustrating as a blogger that often an opinion piece which took ages to write and edit will get a small number of views, whilst a quick tip which took a couple of minutes to jot down, might get thousands or even tens of thousands over time!

Gladly, my top 10 this year includes both types, so my time wasnt completely wasted! 🙂

Anyway thats enough from me for now; all the best for 2017 folks!

Quick Fix for “The task was canceled by a user” when deploying OVA in vCenter 6

The task was cancelled by a user

So I came across a very odd vCenter bug today when trying to deploy an OVA file on vSphere 6.0, specifically the latest CoreOS image.

The import was repeatedly failing with the same error message.

What was more frustrating was the fact that the error message was “The task was cancelled by a user”, which it blatantly was not!

Error log example below:

OVA Import Errors

OVA Import Errors

A quick bit of testing and Googling and I came across an article by my good friend Ather Beg from the LonVMUG, who had a very simple fix for the same issue in vSphere 5.5.

  1. Install 7-zip or a similar archiving tool
  2. Extract the OVA file using 7-zip into its component parts
  3. Import into vCenter, selecting the OVF file for the import target

That’s it – simples!

Success!

Success!

What’s really weird is that after importing the OVF successfully, I then went back and imported the OVA, and it worked fine!

Very strange indeed…

Without good Analytics you dont have a competitive storage product

Throughout my career, analysing storage utilisation for solution design and capacity management has not been an easy task! Even recently when I speak to customers about utilisation, they often don’t have the management tools in place on their legacy arrays or servers to be able to help us understand what their true workloads look like, or indeed often just basic statistics.

Gathering them is laborious at best, and almost impossible at worst. For example:

  • One previous major vendor I used to work with was only able to surface a small amount of basic throughput and latency data over the past 30 days or so, along with a bit of controller and port utilisation, through their Java-based BUI (Java version specific of course – I still shudder at the thought).
  • More recently another vendor I have used has a web based stats console which can aggregate multiple arrays, but they use a rather outdated method of visualisation which requires filling in a big form to get the stats generated and the produced graphs don’t include any kind of trending data or 95th percentile, etc.
  • Another vendor array I work with fairly regularly requires you to run an API call against the array which only provides you with the stats since the last time you ran it. By then running the API every 30 seconds to a minute, you can build up a body of stats over time. Not brilliant, and it’s a total pain to rationalise the exported data.
  • Even if you have the stats at the array, you need to then gather the same stats at the connected hosts, to ensure that they roughly correlate and that you don’t have any potential issues on the network (which is significantly more likely if say you are running storage and IP traffic on a converged network fabric).

In a word; clunky!

One of the things that struck me about many if not all of the vendors at Storage Field Day 8, was how much better the management consoles and analytics engines were than virtually all of those I have used in the past.

Several vendors use their dial home features to send the analytics back to HQ. This way the stats for individual customers as well as their customer base as a whole can be kept almost indefinitely and used to improve the product, as well as pre-emptively warning customers of potential issues through analysis of this “big data”. This also avoids customers having to spend yet more money on storing the data about their data storage!

Of those we spoke to, one vendor in particular really stood out for me; Nimble Storage. Their InfoSight platform gathers 30-70m data points per array, per day, which are uploaded to their central analytics platform and accessible via their very user friendly interface. It can produce a number of very useful graphs and statistics, send scheduled reports, and will even provide predictive upgrade modelling based on current trends.

Recently they have also added a new opt-in VMVision service which can actually plug into your vCenter server to track the IO stats for the VMs from a host / VM perspective as well, presenting these in conjunction with the array data. This will show you exactly where your potential bottlenecks are / are not, meaning that in a troubleshooting scenario you can avoid wasting precious time looking in the wrong place and all of the data is automatically rationalised into a single view, with no administrative effort required.

As certain storage array features are becoming relatively commoditised, it’s becoming harder for vendors to set themselves apart from the field. Having strong analytics and management tools is definitely one way to do this. So much so, I was compelled to tweet the following at the time:

Disclaimer/Disclosure: My flights, accommodation, meals, etc, at Storage Field Day 8 were provided by Tech Field Day, but there was no expectation or request for me to write about any of the vendors products or services and I was not compensated in any way for my time at the event.

vCMA – VMware vCenter Mobile Access Tips

This started as an article for a really random error I got when installing the vCMA (vCenter Mobile Access) fling today, but I’ve added a few extra tips for those not used to managing appliances.

As per most other VMware appliances, the vCMA is based on CentOS, so most CentOS commands will work.

 

Where do I download it from?

The vCMA appliance can be downloaded from:
http://labs.vmware.com/flings/vcma

JavaScript TypeError exception

After connecting to https://your-vcma-address:5480 and logging in with the default username and password (root/vmware) from Firefox, I was presented with the following error:

Uncaught Exception:
 com.google.gwt.core.client.JavaScriptException: JavaScript TypeError exception: Object doesn't support property or method 'setExpression'

vcma-error

This would appear to be an incompatibility with browsers as it occurs in Firefox, works intermittently with IE, but appears to work fine with Chrome (Windows) or Safari (iPad). I haven’t tested any other browsers / platforms to date.

vCMA Address

The new default vCMA address now requires HTTPS:

https://vcma-address:5480

vCMA Default Password

User: root
Password: vmware [change this asap after installation as per below!]

Change Your vCMA Root Password

Once your vCMA is up and running, log in via the console, or SSH as root, and change your root password using the following command:

passwd

 

Changing your timezone in vCMA

If you then want to change your timezone, use the following steps (modified from this post by Chris Jean, thanks Chris!):

First, make a backup of the existing localtime file. It’s always good practice to make backups of original config files.

mv /etc/localtime /etc/localtime.bak

Next, create the link:

ln -s /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/London /etc/localtime

Make sure to replace “Europe/London” with the directory (if your zone has one) and filename of the timezone you wish to use.

Now you just need to test your change. Run “date” from the command line, and ensure that the appropriate time, date, and timezone are reported.

Connecting from your iPad

Once you have the vCMA up and running, download and install the VMware vSphere Client for iPad:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/vmware-vsphere-client-for/id417323354?mt=8

Enter the hostname or IP address of your vCMA server.

You will then be presented with the main login screen to allow access to your vSphere infrastructure. You can then connect either to the address of an ESXi host or your vCenter server using the appropriate address/username/password combo.

That’s about it for today. If I find any other useful vCMA tips I will update the article, or alternatively if you have any good vCMA tips, please feel free to comment / share below!

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