NSX 6.4.4 new release + Bug followup for backup issues with fix!

Following up from a post I did a while back regarding this specific error within NSX:

“Server failed to respond. HTTP request time out.”

This issue might also cause edges to fail to deploy or other random issues related to NSX. Be sure to check your backups!

This has been an ongoing issue as NSX does not manage the backups or backup location. It only takes and restores backups. There was an issue reading a large number of files(over 100 to be exact) and loading the count of files in the directory where NSX was pointed to backup.

I’m excited to announce that this has been fixed in NSX 6.4.4 release on December 13th 2018!  NSX Backups now only create 2 files in the backup directory, a backup file and a checksum file. The backup file now has version info added as a suffix to the end of the file. These files are now sorted by matching prefix specified in backup settings and version suffix, additionally when there are over 100 backups; NSX will only load the latest/newest 100!! This is referenced specially under this page

Fixed Issue 2018917: High count of NSX backup files causes unpredictable behavior”

The new error message when the 100 backup count is exceeded is:

“Too many backup files in backup folder, reading latest 100 backups. Please move out backup files and keep limited number of files in the backup folder.”

Another bug down 🙂

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VMware Fling – Cross vCenter Migration tool install example

If you are wondering how to “install” and start the Fling called Cross vCenter Migration tool running I’ll outline the steps below! I like screenshots and the Fling page did not have many at the time of writing this. I’ll also expand on the “install/starting” of this tool.

First you will want to download and extract the newest version of the tool in the link above. Make sure you remember where you extracted this as you will need to browse to that directory in the coming steps.

Next up, you will want to check your Java version in the Java Control Panel (I’m running Version 9(build 9+181) at the time of writing this). I’m also trying to use the XVM-2.5 version for the Cross vCenter Migration. This matters for the next commands you are going to run.

From the instructions on the Fling page you can run the following command:

****Make sure you change the version to the version you have downloaded****

<pre>Java 8:
$ java -jar xvm-2.0.jar
Java 9/10:
$ java --add-modules java.se.ee -jar xvm-2.0.jar
Default app port is 8080 which can be changed (e.g., 31000) by providing an additional flag:
$ java -jar -Dserver.port=31000 xvm-2.0.jar</pre>

This will start the App on port 8145 but you can change it to run on any port you would like:

c:\xvm-2.5&gt;java --add-modules java.se.ee -Dserver.port=8145 -jar xvm-2.5.jar

xvm-initialize

 

This is what you should see if your command worked! If it did not work please double check your version of Java or version of XVM. Other issues may be that you are trying to run the incorrect “jar” file. In the example on the Fling page you see xvm-2.0.jar but as you can see below this needs to be updated for the version you are running or probably renamed 🙂 xvm-started-25

That “refresh” looking button does NOT refresh, it clears the task history:

xvm-webport

Next you would need to register new vCenters within the tool:

xvm-register-new-site

 

**After you add your vCenters you would be able to select the source site, destination site, source DC, VMs, placement target, datastore target and network mappings(from and to). Careful here as there are a number of things to take into account when migrating between vCenters. Hardware version or maybe features in use by each VM that might not be available in the destination/target site. Please reference this KB before you migrate. 

I’ll try to update soon with examples of migrations after I get a couple of vCenters registered.

VCAP-DCV 6.5 Deploy or VCAP-DCV 2018 Exam experience and Results!

First, I passed! 🙂 Super happy about that, now onto the actual details…

vcap-dca-2018-pass

Normally for an exam write-up I would take time to list all of the resources or study material that I used, however; with this exam I decided to take it without putting in the time to study. I did so because with my current position I am deeply involved in the technologies required for this exam.

I will quickly share my thoughts and then direct you to another blog which covers the exam perfectly! Overall the skills covered and expected in the exam are very fair, in fact they even give you plenty of time to figure out the questions you may be unsure about. I ended up having over 1 hour left to look things up which is a massive change versus the 6.0 version!

As you will see here in Joshua Andrews’ blog make sure you cover the items in the blueprint. This holds true with any VMware exam, study the blueprint. Unsure of where to start? Download the blueprint!! A quick fantastic resource you could/should use is VMware’s Hands-on Labs. Not only is it free but you do not need to follow the script/directions if you do not want to. That means you have a free lab to study on!!

Good luck to anyone taking this exam, remember to take your time(you have plenty for this exam, do not feel rushed!)

VCAP-NV6 Deploy Exam experience

Earlier this year I sat and passed 🙂 the VCAP-NV6 Deployment Exam, also known as 3V0-643: VMware Certified Advanced Professional 6 – Network Virtualization Deployment Exam. I thought I would give my 2 cents about the exam, which covers a wide range of network/NSX related topics. Per the Exam Guide/blueprint, you could have to use the following “products and technologies”

VMware NSX
Cross-vCenter NSX
Service Composer

You are given 205 minutes aka 3 hours 25 minutes to take this exam in the US. Depending on your location you may get a standard time bump. Make sure you adjust the resolution inside the session if needed! Scrolling or missing part of a window is a giant pain, plus it could cost you time thinking you are missing an option that falls outside of what you can see. You can collapse the “action bars” inside of the vC web client as well to save on some screen space. Also, don’t forget the C# client is still a thing with 6.0…. just putting that out there.

My experience was very positive, even though I ran out of time. I still thought the exam covered a good wide range of topics. The VMs in the exam responded well and I didn’t have a single issue with that. With any exam the wording of questions can be tricky, I read questions more than once and had a dry erase board to map some items out where needed.

As with any VMware exam, know the objectives listed in the blueprint. Due to the agreement you sign when taking an exam, I cannot go into great detail but I can tell you this, know or at least have gone to/completed each item in the blueprint once. Knowing where to go is part of the battle. See below on where to practice! There are PDFs that you have access in the exam however, with the time constraint you will not have sufficient time to look up every item needed.

If you need somewhere to practice as you do not have a home lab or access to a “playground” fire up a Hands-on Lab! The NSX labs are among the most popular during VMworld. If you don’t want to follow the guide that is perfectly ok to. Feel free to try any features you want and don’t be worried about breaking something. You can always start over 🙂

Also after passing you can complete an object on VMware’s CloudCred site to gain some points!

–Brandon

VMware Tools 10.3.2 and AppDefense

5 days ago VMware released VMware Tools version 10.3.2 and there are a slew of “What’s new” notes that can be found here.

To jump into the juicy updates, please know that 10.3.0 is deprecated due to a VMXNET3 driver issues for Windows. Update with 10.3.2 to avoid any issues with this driver.

  • VMware Tools lifecycle using driver update from Windows Update server: This integration will allow you to update the PVSCSI driver during a Windows update. This feature supports PVSCSI for Windows Server 2016 only.
  • Shared folders: FUSE-based Shared Folders client which is used as a replacement for the kernel mode client supports Linux distributions with kernel version 3.10 and later.
  • VMware Tools user space compiler upgrade: Compiler for VMware Tools 10.3.0 for Windows has been upgraded to Microsoft Visual Studio 2015.

In addition to the above updates this little nugget was dropped into the release

  • Integration of VMware AppDefense with VMware Tools: VMware Tools installation includes the VMware AppDefense, a security management, and monitoring solution. This data center security solution is based on application control, detection, and response. For more information, see the VMware Tools User Guide.

If you are wondering how this exactly happens I’ll break it down below as I was curious as well. For quick reference of what AppDefense is and how to this driver in VMware Tools helps you here is a snip from the User Guide like above and a link to the product page.

This data center security solution is based on application control, detection, and response.
AppDefense agent can be installed on the guest virtual machine using the VMware Tools installer. Virtual
machines with VMware Tools installed are monitored and managed whenever they are started up on an
ESXi host that has the solution installed

As of right now the install is not automatically done when you update/install VMware Tools. Additionally you need to meet the following prerequisites that can be found in the User Guide as well:

  • If you have installed VMware AppDefense version older than 1.2.1.0 using VMware AppDefense installer, uninstall the older version.
  • Ensure that the guest virtual machine is hosted on ESXi 6.5 or later.
  • This feature is available on a fresh installation or custom installation of VMware Tools. It is not available by default.
  • Ensure that the guest virtual machine has a supported version of Windows installed. AppDefense component supports the following Windows 64-bit guest operating systems running on a ESXi server.
    • Windows 2008 R2
    • Windows 2012
    • Windows 2012 R2
    • Windows 2016  

Once you ensure you meet the above, you can do a manual install of VMware Tools for AppDefense and VMware Tools version 10.3.2.

Select “Custom” setup:

AppDefense1

then change AppDefense to “Will be installed on local hard drive” from the list under VMware Device Drivers:

AppDefense2

Click Next, Install, Finish, and then you are prompted to reboot. After the reboot VMware Tools will show the updated version. To find what versions you have install by build number please visit this page.

**Note that installing VMware Tools and just clicking next will not install the VMware AppDefense driver on the Windows VM, by default it is set to not install as you can see in the screenshot above. You can customize the install per the User Guide and include/exclude any features you wish.**

 

Dell Technologies World and VMware Hands-on Labs!

 

This year I had the pleasure of supporting the Hand-on Labs for the Dell Technologies World event from the VMware side of things. It was a great event and the first time VMware teamed up with Dell to provide the same experience with Hands-on Labs that  we do during VMworld. I had personally not attended a DTW event before and thought event was very informative and high energy.

Much like the Hands-on Labs that we provide at VMworld, the same monitoring setup was used. It was a very popular set of screensDTW2.JPG

The Dell staff was fantastic to work with! I also enjoy the treats the staff brought with from Ireland 🙂 Thanks for the goodies and hopefully I’ll get to meet up with some of these folks again next year!

DTW1.jpg

Overall the event was a huge success and the numbers from the Hands-on Labs were records!

  • Overall Total Labs 3901
  • Overall Total VMs Provisioned: 28238
  • Overall Total NSX Networks Provisioned: 3987

Ohio VMUG UserCon presentation: Upgrade to 6.5 with Zero Downtime

A little while ago I was able to fill in for a colleague of mine(@TomRalph) and present on his original VMworld session “Upgrading to vSphere 6.5 with Zero Downtime” at the Ohio VMUG/UserConference. It was a fantastic experience and my first time presenting at a VMUG/UserConference.

VMUG-ohio1

Being my first time presenting at a VMUG I was a bit nervous. I had to present twice that day and was lucky enough that another colleague of mine, Simon was presenting there as well and gave me plenty of pointers before and after my presentation, for which I am incredibly grateful!

Overall it was an amazing experience and if you haven’t had a chance to present and share your knowledge it is well worth it. Everyone involved was amazing to work with and encouraging to give back to the vcommunity.  Everyone wants you to succeed up there and to hear your experiences and story!