ESXi

Re: Why you should upgrade to vSphere 6.5 / ESXi 6.5

Recently I went to extend a volume on one of my guest systems and received an error requiring me to power off the system before extending the disk.

ErrorHot-extend was invoked with size (5368709120 sectors) >= 2TB. Hot-extend beyond or equal to 2TB is not supported. The disk extend operation failed: msg.disklib.INVAL

Good News – With vSphere 6.5 this is no longer a limitation.

Just one more reason why you should think about upgrading your VMware environment to the latest.

My VMware Certification Experience

I recently received my VCP6-DCV Certification from VMware by Passing the 2V0-621 Proctored Exam with Pearson VUE.

The Journey

For many years I have used VMware products. I distinctly recall getting my hands on VMware Workstation back in 2001, and it was truly an amazing tool. I could emulate Windows 3.1 and Windows 95, QNX, and even a few BSD environments, which I used to learn and troubleshoot issues.

Over the years I continued to use VMware line of products from: Workstation, ESX, GSX, and lastly the introduction of VirtualCenter.

Fast forward to now: The latest products have changed the landscape of running the data center, desktop provisioning, and the rapid deployment of test/development systems.

It was a no-brainer that I should obtain a certificate, but I never felt the need to. This changed when I was made a vExpert in 2017 this year, and that initiated my drive to do more with my knowledge and experience with the product. I now wanted to “prove” to myself, and perhaps others that I had what it takes to pass the exam and have an official recognition backing my previous and current experience levels.

VCP6-DCV Prerequisite

Obtaining the VCP6-DCV Certification requires a set of prerequisites. You need to meet all 3 requirements:

  • Attend an authorized training course
  • Pass the vSphere Foundations exam (2V0-620)
  • Pass the VCP6-DCV exam (2V0-621)

Training

The most difficult part of my path to being a vCP was finding a reputable company to train with in addition to scheduling the time to attend training. The following may sound like a plug and do I assure you that I am not being compensated for writing about them.

I choose to train with a company by the name of StormWind as they offer exceptional VMware Certified professional training which is not only budget friendly, but doesn’t require travel as training is instructor lead; Live in real time and can be done from the comfort of your home or office.

The course I enrolled in was: VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage [V6], with instructor: Vince Rightley.

This was a very engaging class which allowed for attendees to not only be instructed but to participate in supplemental discussions which I personally found to be beneficial. Labs were particularly useful as they allowed for students to get hands on.

Study

vSphere Foundations exam (2V0-620)

After completion of my course I was now qualified to take the vSphere Foundations exam (2V0-620). Admittedly I rushed in to take this exam and FAILD my first attempt.

This was an eye opener that I was not fully prepared to take the test. What I discovered was that many of the resources can be found on VMware’s My Learn site. I would highly recommend following their guidance.

VCP6-DCV exam (2V0-621)

After successful passing the vSphere Foundations exam (2V0-620) it was time to start preparing myself for the VCP6-DCV exam (2V0-621)

VCP6-DCV exam Preparation

I have a few suggestions to make regarding preparation for the VCP6-DCV exam which I believe was beneficial to my success in passing.

Study the materials you obtained in your training course. Continue to leverage the study notes you made for yourself from the Foundations exam (2V0-620). Yes! You should have been keeping notes.

Seek out resources from VMware’s My Learn site. They are beneficial to your success.

Search ‘Google’ for VCP-DCV Study Guides. You will find many results many of great value

Practice Labs

I highly recommend that you gain access to a lab such as VMware’s Hands-On Labs (HOL) to get hands on to all the subject areas covered under the VCP6-DCA as you will need them. I built my own lab so I could have the full experience of building from scratch, to give me a full understanding of the environment.

Test many scenarios including areas of troubleshooting things which are broken (I had to break them, so I could fix).

Familiarizing yourself with acronyms and terms is also very helpful. Example: http://jermsmit.com/vmware-vcenter-terms-acronyms-glossary-tag-your-it/

Find yourself a practice test, and take it once a week to get yourself in accustom to taking tests; In my case it’s been a long time, and practice pays off.

Certification URL

Originally Posted on my LinkedIn

And, that’s it all folks.

–         Jermal

VMware vCenter 6/6.5: Creating Host Profiles

This post describes how to perform the basic task of creating a host profile.
Description of Hos Profiles:

VMware Host Profiles are available through VMware vCenter Server and enable you to establish standard configurations for VMware ESXi hosts and to automate compliance to these configurations, simplifying operational management of large-scale environments and reducing errors caused by mis-configurations.

Prerequisites:

  1. You need to have a vSphere installation
  2. You need to have admin rights
  3. You need a configured ESXi host that acts as the reference model

Steps:

  1. In vCenter Navigate to the Host profiles view
  2. Click the Extract profile from a host icon
  3. Select the host that will act as the reference model host and click Next
  4. Enter the name and  a description for the new profile and click Next
  5. Review the summary information for the new profile and click Finish
  6. The new profile will appear in the profile list

Video:

Done!

VMware / vCenter: Terms, Acronyms, Glossary {Tag your IT}

Recently I have taken, failed later taken and passed my VMware 2V0–620 – vSphere 6 Foundations Exam and passed. I am now in the process of practicing and studying for proctored exam(s) for the VMware Certified Professional 6 – Data Center Virtualization Certificate.

With that there are many terms, acronyms, and Glossary items I will need to remember.
I am adding a list of terms and will expand on them as I come across new ones.

 

VM: Virtual Machine – a software computer that, like a physical computer, runs an operating system and applications. https://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-50/topic/com.vmware.vsphere.vm_admin.doc_50/GUID-CEFF6D89-8C19-4143-8C26-4B6D6734D2CB.html

ESXi: The vSphere Hypervisor from VMware (formerly ESX) is an enterprise-class, type-1 hypervisor.

VMFS: Virtual Machine File System for ESXi hosts, a clustered file system for running VMs

DCUI: Direct Console User Interface

iSCSI: Ethernet-based shared storage protocol.

SAS: Drive type for local disks (also SATA).

FCoE: Fibre Channel over Ethernet, a networking and storage technology.

HBA: Host Bus Adapter for Fibre Channel storage networks.

LUN: Logical unit number, identifies shared storage (Fibre Channel/iSCSI).

IOPs: Input/Outputs per second, detailed measurement of a drive’s performance.

pRDM: Physical mode raw device mapping, presents a LUN directly to a VM.

vRDM: Virtual mode raw device mapping, encapsulates a path to a LUN specifically for one VM in a VMDK.

SAN: Storage area network, a shared storage technique for block protocols (Fibre Channel/iSCSI).

NAS: Network attached storage, a shared storage technique for file protocols (NFS).

NFS: Network file system, a file-based storage protocol.

DAS: Direct attached storage, disk devices in a host directly.

VAAI: vStorage APIs for Array Integration, the ability to offload I/O commands to the disk array.

SSD: Solid state disk, a non-rotational drive that is faster than rotating drives.

VM Snapshot: A point-in-time representation of a VM.

ALUA: Asymmetrical logical unit access, a storage array feature. Duncan Epping explains it well.

VMX: VM configuration file.

VMEM: The page file of the guest VM.

NVRAM: A VM file storing the state of the VM BIOS.

VMDK: The virtual machine disk format, containing the operating system of the VM. VMware’s virtual disk format.

VMSN: Snapshot state file of the running VM.

VMSD: VM file for storing information and metadata about snapshots.

VMSS: VM file for storing suspended state.

VMTM: VM file containing team data.

VMXF: Supplemental configuration file for when VMs are used in a team.

Quiesce: The act of quieting (pausing running processes) a VM, usually through VMware Tools.

NUMA: Non-uniform memory access, when multiple processors are involved their memory access is relative to their location.

Virtual NUMA: Virtualizes NUMA with VMware hardware version 8 VMs.

VSAN: Virtual SAN, a new VMware announcement for making DAS deliver SAN features in a virtualized manner.

vSwitch: A virtual switch, places VMs on a physical network.

vDS: vNetwork Distributed Switch, an enhanced version of the virtual switch.

ISO: Image file, taken from ISO 9660file system for optical drives.

vSphere Client: Administrative interface of vCenter Server.

vSphere Web Client: Web-based administrative interface of vCenter Server.

Host Profiles: Feature to deploy a pre-determined configuration to an ESXi host.

Auto Deploy: Technique to automatically install ESXi to a host.

VUM: vSphere Update Manager, a way to update hosts and VMs with latest patches, VMware Tools and product updates.

vCLI: vSphere Command Line Interface, allows tasks to be run against hosts and vCenter Server.

vSphere HA: High Availability, will restart a VM on another host if it fails.

vCenter Server Heartbeat: Will keep the vCenter Server available in the event a host fails which is running vCenter.

Virtual Appliance: A pre-packed VM with an application on it.

vCenter Server: Server application that runs vSphere.

vCSA: Virtual appliance edition of vCenter Server.

vCloud Director: Application to pool vCenter environments and enable self-deployment of VMs.

vCloud Automation Center: IT service delivery through policy and portals, get familiar with vCAC.

VADP: vSphere APIs for Data Protection, a way to leverage the infrastructure for backups.

MOB: Managed Object Reference, a technique vCenter uses to classify every item.

DNS: Domain Name Service, a name resolution protocol. Not related to VMware, but it is imperative you set DNS up correctly to virtualize with vSphere.

vSphere: Collection of VMs, ESXi hosts, and vCenter Server.

vCenter Linked Mode: A way of pooling vCenter Servers, typically across geographies.

vMotion: A VM migration technique.

Storage vMotion: A VM storage migration technique from one datastore to another.

vSphere DRS: Distributed Resource Scheduler, service that manages performance of VMs.

vSphere SDRS: Storage DRS, manages free space and datastore latency for VMs in pools.

Storage DRS Cluster: A collection SDRS objects (volumes, VMs, configuration).

Shares: Numerical value representing the relative priority of a VM.

Datastore: A disk resource where VMs can run.

vSphere Fault Tolerance: An availability technique to run the networking, memory and CPU of a VM on two hosts to accommodate one host failure.

DPM: Distributed Power Management, a way to shut down ESXi hosts when they are not being used and turn them back on when needed.

vShield Zones: A firewall for vSphere VMs.

vCenter Orchestrator: An automation technique for vCloud environments.

OVF: Standards based format for delivering virtual appliances.

OVA: Packaging of OVF, usually as a URL to download the actual OVF from a source Internet site. Read more here.

VMware Tools: A set of drivers for VMs to work correctly on synthetic hardware devices. Read more on VMware Tools.

vSphere Licensing: Different features are available as the licensing level increases, from free ESXi to Enterprise Plus.

vCloud Suite: The collection of technologies to deliver the VMware Software Defined Data Center.

VMware Compatibility Matrix: List of supported storage, servers, and more for VMware technologies. Bookmark this page!

vSphere role: A permissions construct assigned to users or groups.

Configuration Maximums: Guidelines of how big a VM can be; see the newest for vSphere 5.5.

Transparent page sharing: A memory management technique; eliminates duplicate blocks in host memory.

Memory compression: A memory management technique; applies a compressor to active memory blocks on the host.

Balloon driver: A memory management technique; reclaims guest VM memory via VMware Tools.

Hypervisor swap: A memory management technique; puts guest VM memory to disk on the host.

Hot-add: A feature to add a device to a VM while it is running, such as a VMDK.

Dynamic grow: A feature to increase the size of VMDK while the VM is running.

CPU Ready: The percentage of time that the VM is ready to get a CPU cycle (higher number is bad).

Nested hypervisor: The ability to run ESXi as a VM either on ESXi, VMware Workstation, or VMware Fusion.

Virtual hardware version: A revision of a VM that aligns to its compatibility. vSphere 5.5 is hardware version 10, for example.

Maintenance mode: An administration technique where a host evacuates it’s running and powered off VMs safely before changes are made.

vApp: An organizational construct combining one or more VMs.

Cluster: A collection of hosts in a vSphere data center.

Resource pool: A performance management technique, has DRS rules applied to it and contains one or more VMs, vApps, etc.

vSphere folder: An organizational construct, a great way to administer permissions and roles on VMs.

Datacenter: Parent object of the vSphere Cluster.

vCloud Networking and Security: Part of the vCloud Suite; provides basic networking and security functionality.

vCenter Site Recovery Manager: An automated solution to prepare for a site failover event for the entire vSphere environment.

NSX: New technology virtualizing the network layer for VMware environments. Read more here.

VDI: Virtual desktop infrastructure, also called DaaS (Desktop as a Service) from Horizon View; run as ESXi VMs and with vSphere.

VXLAN: VMs with a logical network across different networks.

vCenter Configuration Manager: Part of vCloud Suite that automates configuration and compliance for multiple platforms.

vCenter Single Sign on: Authentication construct between components of the vCloud Suite.

VM-VM affinity: Sets rules so two VMs should run on the same ESXi host or stay separated.

Storage I/O Control: I/O prioritization for VMs.

NIOC: vSphere Network I/O Control – Enabled by default network I/O control is enabled, distributed switch traffic is divided into the following predefined network resource pools: Fault Tolerance traffic, iSCSI traffic, vMotion traffic, management traffic, vSphere Replication (VR) traffic, NFS traffic, and virtual machine traffic.

 

 

 

VMware vSphere 6.5 Nested Virtualization – Create and Install ESXi 6.5

With vSphere 6.5 and nested ESXi 6.5 hosts I enable myself to get hands on with vSphere advanced features with vCenter without having the physical hardware in my home lab. The advantages to this setup allows me to test out new VMware features or simulate issue that could happen in production.

The term “nested virtualization” is used to describe a hypervisor running under another hypervisor. In this case, I will be installing ESXi 6.5 inside a virtual machine hosted on a physical ESXi 6.5 host.

Requirements:

  • Physical ESXi Host (ESXi 6 – 6.5 – )
  • Physical hardware supporting either Intel EPT or AMD RVI

Steps to setup ESXi 6.5 virtual machine guest:

Log into vCenter or ESXi host with a user with admin credentials. In my case I am using the vSphere web client. *spoiler alert* no more C# (Thick) client for vCenter. However it still works with the ESXi 6.5 hosts.

Switch to the “VMs and Templates” view. Right click a folder and select New Virtual Machine > New Virtual Machine…

Choosing “Custom” configuration select type Other for OS family, doing the same for Guest OS version. *note* Ensure you are choosing 64-bit (Other 64-bit)

Once at the configuration hardware screen; Make a few modifications to the default values.

VM Guest Configuration Settings:

  • Define the CPU to a minimum of 2 or more. This includes cores.
  • Define memory to a minimum of 6GB RAM
  • Define Disk to 2 GB (Thin Disk)
  • Change network adapter type to VMXNET 3
  • Add an addition network adapter (also VMXNET 3)

Additional Configuration Step: Enabling support for 64-bit nested vms

Locate the and expand the CPU properties page and tick the check box next to “Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS”. This setting will allow you to 64-bit vms inside nested ESXi hosts. Read more about this feature here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware-assisted_virtualization

Click next and exit configuration

At this point you are ready to install ESXi 6 – 6.5 as a Guest VM.

I leave you with this video of the full process. Thanks for visiting and I hope this helps any of you looking to do the same.

 

Originally posted on my LinkedIn Page:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/vmware-vsphere-65-nested-virtualization-create-install-jermal-smith