Photon OS vCenter 6.5 deleting EAM folders in /tmp

To anyone that runs into an issue where hosts fail to get prepared with VXLAN by NSX, hopefully this post will help you out. This specific issue a very wise colleague(Mr.Sage) found, is when EAM(ESX Agent Manager) folders get deleted within the /tmp directory in the Photon OS 6.5 vCenter and that causes your hosts to not get prepared by NSX with VXLAN until a workaround is put in place or your restart EAM.

The good news is that there is a workaround(Please note I’m not expert on this and implementing this is done at your own risk

  1. First, as noted above you can simply restart EAM. Seems easy enough but how often do you reboot a host and how often do you really want to restart EAM?
    1. If you do want to restart EAM you can simply use the following command to check the status/stop/start vmware-eam

# Use this to check the status of EAM and simply change the "--status" to "--start" or "--stop"

service-control --status vmware-eam

  1. The other work around is to create a new file under this directory: /usr/lib/tmpfiles.d named tmp-eam.conf with the following contents:

# Exclude the following for EAM service
x /tmp/eam*

The above would allow the eam files to stay around until the system is rebooted. Once the vCenter is rebooted EAM would be restarted anyway and the files would be recreated.

Hope this helps and ping me with any feedback or questions

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NSX API tips and guides

Lately I’ve been working more with the API for multiple versions of NSX with my colleague @VirtSouthWest. Here are a couple of of API calls that we have been using which are something I’d like to keep track of for future configurations and hope they help someone else:

To get started you need a REST API Client/plugin, here is one I use that works with FireFox – RESTCLIENT

Once you have that installed you are ready connect to your NSX manager. If you have a self signed cert you may need to go to the NSX Manager and accept the “not secure connection”. That is something good to check if you get a response like the one below:

api-auth-fail

Once you accept the security warning you and ensure you have the correct Authorization and Header in place you should get a 200 OK response as shown below:

api-auth-200ok

Here is a sample configuration of what you would send to a NSX manager API to configure Syslog. Make sure to specify the protocol TCP/UDP) and which port you have your syslog configured on, the standard being 514.

<syslogserver>
<syslogServer>Syslog-Server-FQDN/IP</syslogServer>
<port>514</port> - Port Configured on your Syslog Server
<protocol>UDP</protocol> - TCP/UDP
</syslogserver>

Here is a sample configuration of what you would send to a NSX manager API to configure NTP, you can configure 2 NTP servers using IP or FQDN which is great for redundancy.


<timeSettings>
<ntpServer>
<string>NTPServer-IP1</string><string>time1.google.com</string> - You can configure 2 NTP Servers
</ntpServer>
<timezone>UTC</timezone>
</timeSettings>

From the limited experince I have the backups are small ranging from 10-40MB.

Please note that once they reach their destination you configure they stay there and NSX does not currently clean up the backups. Meaning if you configure a backup job to run daily, after 1 year you will have 365 backups. This can take a while to load on the backup/restore screen. Please configure a job on the destination end to cleanup the backup jobs as needed. NSX will reflect these backups being gone and the list will be come shorter/load faster.

Here is a sample configuration of what you would send to a NSX manager API to configure scheduled Backups. In the example I have the time scheduled for 19:50 and for each manager you can configure the backup time. I have mine set to be staggered every 5 minutes.

Replace the following fields(Snip from the API Guide 6.2 below):

transferProtocol: FTP, SFTP

frequency: weekly, daily, hourly

dayOfWeek: SUNDAY, MONDAY, …., SATURDAY(Not in my example below)

Hour of Day: [0 ‐ 24 [  Minute of hour: [0 ‐ 60 [

Exclude Tables: AUDIT_LOG, SYSTEM_EVENTS, FLOW_RECORDS

The tables specified in the excludeTables parameter are not backed up.

<backupRestoreSettings>
<ftpSettings>
<transferProtocol>FTP</transferProtocol>
<hostNameIPAddress>Backup-Destination/IP-Address</hostNameIPAddress>
<port>21</port>
<userName>FTPUSER</userName><password>Password-for-FTPUSER</password>
<passPhrase>passPhrase</passPhrase> - For the backup file to restore
<backupDirectory>NSXBackupDir/</backupDirectory>
<filenamePrefix>NSX-Manager1-</filenamePrefix>
<passiveMode>true</passiveMode>
<useEPRT>false</useEPRT>
<useEPSV>true</useEPSV>
</ftpSettings>
<backupFrequency>
<frequency>DAILY</frequency>
<hourOfDay>19</hourOfDay>
<minuteOfHour>50</minuteOfHour>
</backupFrequency>
<excludeTables>
<excludeTable>AUDIT_LOGS</excludeTable>
<excludeTable>SYSTEM_EVENTS</excludeTable>
</excludeTables>
</backupRestoreSettings>

There are many of other things you can do via the NSX API and the above are just some some calls to get started. You can create controllers, controller backups, edges, etc.. Please review the guides below for the version you have.

API Guides link for different versions:

NSX 6.0.4 Guide

NSX 6.2 Guide

Certification upgrade paths

So I spend a good amount of time(read far too much time) on the VMware Education blog site, it is a great place to get the current information on new courses, videos, free labs and certification news. I was looking over some older posts before taking my VCAP6-DCV Deployment exam and found this post. It is about getting your DCV certifications upgraded to version 6 and the new VCIX.

After reading the above I think it is interesting that, if I am reading this post correctly and I like to think I am, you can take either the Deploy or Design exam to get upgrade your version 5 VCAP-DCV certs depending on which v5 exams you’ve passed. To quote the page:

“To upgrade from a VCAP5, complete the alternate VCAP6 certification. For instance, a VCAP5-DCA plus a VCAP6-DCV Design would earn you the VCIX6 designation.”

So having both the VCAP5-DCA + DCD and having passed the VCAP6-DCV Deployment exam I should get an upgrade to the VCIX shortly. I’ll post back my experience on how long this takes.

 

**********************

Update: I opened a case and have received a reply stating I also need the VCP6 passed for the upgrade to happen. I have yet to see that via a public doc and per the attached screenshot I do not feel this is the case. More to come:

vcap-upgrade

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Update: After providing more info and documentation is was decided that you do not need the VCP6 in order to get the VCIX6-DCV. I have been informed this will reflect in my transcript in the near future! Hopefully this does not happen to anyone else going forward.

VCAP6-DCV Deployment passed!

vmw-lgo-cert-adv-pro-6-data-ctr-virt-deploy-k

A few days ago I sat and passed the fully released version of the VCAP6-DCV Deploy exam! I failed the Beta version of this exam a few months ago but even then I felt this was a good exam that covered great topics. Having the VCAP5-DCA/DCD passed so this should upgrade my certs to the VCIX6-DCV.

Here is a quick breakdown of resources I used, my experience and notes I can share that are important before sitting this exam:

Review the new platform interface “disclaimer”! There are some tricky limits that you need to be aware of before sitting this. At the time I am typing this Control, Alt, Backspace do not work. This means that if you miss type something and instinctively hit backspace to correct your error you will not be able to. If you want to use that nifty ctrl + c and then ctrl + v to say… copy and paste something that will not work either. Hopefully this is changed in the future. Also check your screen resolution, I overlooked this for 2 hours and had a terrible time with scaling.

Resources used:

Much like other exams the breakdown/blue print is key. I go over the blueprint for each exam since they can literally touch on any topic listed. A great breakdown comes from Kyle Jenner’s study guide which can be found at vJenner.com and you can find him on twitter @kylejenneruk. Another great resource is Pluralsight’s video training. There are slack and google study groups that you can join as well.  Building a home lab for this or any exam I think is helpful. Having said that I’m lucky enough to work with many different VMware products in my current role that are covered in this exam. There are also Hand on Labs that you can use if you do not have a home lab.

Exam experience:

My experience was really good from a performance side of things. The new platform works well aside from the above noted issues. I wasted so much time since I forgot about changing the resolution. Be careful on your time management, I spent a good amount of time on the first few questions without realizing that an hour had passed. Time management is key as I ended up having 8 questions left with about 35 minutes remaining. Keep an eye on that clock! Do not give up even if you are short on time see what you can do! I felt like the topics covered were fair and things a well rounded VI admin should know or at least tinkered with to keep current.

Hopefully this is helpful. Please reach out to me on twitter/slack/linkedin/email if you have questions.

vExpert 2016

vexpert-badge

As you could probably guess I am a vExpert 2016! I’m very thankful and honored to be part of this group. Already getting emails/info/perks from the community and Corey Romero is pretty amazing. One of the best perks being a FREE year of PluralSight access.

I can’t thank Corey and everyone else involved enough for all of the hard work they put in to make this program happen. Congrats to all of the other 2016 vExperts!! The full directory can be found here https://communities.vmware.com/vexpert.jspa and I can’t help but link to my own listing as I’m very proud of this – Me!

vCNS / NSX + vCenter(s) + Single PSC potential license issues

During the course of upgrades/installs/adding capacity people hit many different errors. One such error or issue came up and I just want to make people aware going forward about it.

If you are thinking about adding NSX to your environment and are currently running vCNS please be careful if you are using a SINGLE PSC that your vCenters are connected to. Once you add a NSX license(EVAL or full license) it will AUTO UN-SELECT your vCNS license!vspherelicense1

Then if you are using something like vCloudDirector you might see errors like the following: “VSM response error (214): Not licensed for Entity : vcloud-netsec feature : vxlan : add on :”

vspherelicense2

To resolve this and revert back to your vCNS licenses, under Licenses click the Assets Tab, click on Solutions, select the license you want to assign again and then under the All Action gear dropdown you can click assign license. vspherelicense3.PNG

 

This is a short post but hopefully it will save some people frustration in the future.

 

VCIX-NV

VMW-LGO-CERT-IMPLMT-EXPRT-NTWRK-VIRT_K

A few days ago I sat the VCIX-NV exam. This was not the first time that I had taken this exam but it was the last as I did manage to pass ! I will try and break down what I used to study for this exam and how my experience was.

To start, I do not work extensively with vSphere/NSX networking daily as far as installing/configuration goes but I do get a good amount of exposure to troubleshooting these areas. I was able to get some more hands on experience and some great breakdown thanks to my colleagues @Virtsouthwest(Mike A) and @Tompkins_23(John T).

Resources used:

Overall there are many resources out there for this exam and I will list a few that I found very helpful in preparing.

Jason Nash’s pluralsight courses found here were fantastic. I have always found pluralsight courses helpful for learning something new or getting more in depth into things. There are two courses, an intro course and a NSX Network Services course.  If you have a subscription these are a must watch.

Iwan Hoogendoorn’s set of NSX videos found on YouTube are a great breakdown in video form of the blueprint for this exam. HUGE thank you to Iwan for this content since it seems if you know all of the points in the VMware exam blueprint you will do just fine.

Martijn Smit’s blog LostDomain has a downloadable guide that breaks down the VCIX blueprint in detail with screenshots(I really like screenshots). Again it is vital to know each point in the blueprint for VMware exams. This guide is a perfect resource for knowing each point.

Exam experience:

Overall I had some issues much like others that have written about this exam. There are just some bugs with the version of NSX used in the exam. Be sure that if you do have an issue you get some help ASAP. I ran into issues that I can’t go into but I ended up needing assistance which resulted in a fix. I was able to keep moving forward with my exam and I was still in a decent mood(keep calm if you run into issues). Moving past the issues, I thought the exam itself did a good job of covering a wide range of network items that one could expect to run into in the course of being a VMware Admin/NSX Admin/vNetwork Admin. As I said above, know and be able to complete each point in the blueprint!