Category Archives: Virtualization

vSearch 2.0 Released: “Super vCenter” is Even Superer

After more than 4 months of hard work, we are proud to announce the second major release of the product. On the high level, there are 3 major features besides many smaller improvements over the first release based on the customers’ feedback.

1. VM Actions and Group Actions

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Too Early to Say GoodBye VMware vSphere Client?

VMware published a blog “Goodbye vSphere Client for Windows (C#) – Hello HTML5” with two announcements: 1. There won’t be the traditional C# based vSphere Client for the next version of vSphere (no one knows the version yet but it’s safe to call it the next version.). 2. The vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling will be supported soon (no exact timetable is given). My guess is that it will make into next release of vSphere if not earlier.

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Paradigm Shift in Data Center Management: What’s After VMware?

The recent release of DoubleCloud vSearch represents a paradigm shift in how we manage data center in the future. Before agreeing with me on that, let’s take a quick look at the history.

Yahoo vs. Google

When the Web first came out in the early 90s, there weren’t many Web sites and pages out there. To help us find pages of interest, a typical directory approach was used. That created the initial success for Yahoo in the first place.

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DoubleCloud Inc Announces “Super vCenter” with Unlimited Scalability

After leaving VMware and VCE, I founded DoubleCloud Inc. While working with many of my clients, we found it’s really a pain point for people to use vSphere Web Client which is quite slow and based on obsolete Flash technology. The old vSphere Client is a lot better in performance and usability, but VMware stopped upgrading it with new features.

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How to Build Smaller and Faster Virtual Appliance

While building a new server product of its own kind, we chose virtual appliance as the package. During the development phase, we configured thin disk to save space. But for our beta customers to try out, we decided to switch to thick disk for better performance as the product has to do lots of processing and heavy disk I/O. BTW, we still have a few slots for new beta customers with have large vSphere deployments. Please contact me if you are interested.

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VMworld Day Two: Five Imperatives

Today is the second day of VMworld 2015 in San Francisco. The general session started at 9AM for about one and half hours. Today’s topic includes desktop, networking, and 5 imperatives for digital business.

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VMworld Day One: Contain Containers?

Today is the first day of yearly VMworld in San Francisco (strictly speaking, it started yesterday with reception party). The general session started at 10 AM for about one and half hours. Having been with VMworld for many times, I found this general session was pretty exciting with quite a few things worth sharing.

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Unable to Connect to vCenter Inventory Service

When I was doing a demo today, I got an error saying “An internal error has occurred – Error #1099. Reloading the client is recommended, so as to clear any problems left by this error. Click Yes to reload the vSphere Web Client?” After reloading the Web Client, I got the same error. So something has to be fixed on the server side.

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Installing vCenter Appliance 6.0: A Few Gotchas

There is a big change in the vCenter 6.0 with the introduction of Platform Service Controller. To run vCenter 6.0, there must be a PSC server somewhere: either existing one, or new one installed together with vCenter. For most dev/test environments, you would choose the latter option which is also referenced as embedded mode. Because of this separation of vCenter and PSC, the installation process of vCenter appliance 6.0 is quite different from the previous versions.

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A Little Known Security Feature in vCenter: Certificate Based Authentication

Although we are all familiar with the username and password based login to the VMware vSphere, it’s also possible to login into vSphere with just certificates. If you are a third party vendor, either IHV (independent hardware vendor) or ISV (independent software vendor), the certificate based login is actually a better and preferred alternative to the one using username and password.

Let me explain why it’s the case, and how it can be done painlessly.

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VMware ESXi esxcli Command: A Quick Tutorial

The esxcli is a command tool that is available on VMware ESXi for managing ESXi. Unlike the vim-cmd command, it focuses on underlying infrastructure and touches lower level of controls of the ESXi hypervisor itself. Although it’s just one command, it packs a lot of functionalities with different namespaces/sub-namespaces, and sub-commands. Because they are organized in nice tree hierarchy, it’s actually quite easy to use most times.

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Announcing vijavaNG 6.0 with vSphere 6.0 Support

Even before VMware announced the GA of vSphere 6.0, I’ve started to work on the vijavaNG making sure that vijavaNG will keep up with the latest release of vSphere. Although it may take a bit time for customers and partners to move onto this new release, we want early adopters to have the choice to use the best Java APIs for managing vSphere.

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Simulating APD Event with ESXi

APD stands for all path down. It’s a storage issue that is discussed in VMware KB article Intermittent NFS APDs on VMware ESXi 5.5 U1 (2076392). You can install a patch to address the issue with ESXi 5.5.

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How To Get vCenter Database Records from VMware Support Bundle

If you want to find out the information in the vCenter database, the VMware support bundle comes handy. For example, if you want to analyze the event history, task history, you can dig out these information from the support bundle. By default, the vCenter support bundle is collected as part of the VMware support bundle on standalone client, but not on the vSphere Web Client. So make sure to mark the check box if you want the vCenter info.

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vSphere Web Client URL Patterns

Although I don’t think vSphere Web Client is a good choice as main GUI for vSphere administration, it has done one thing right and well – it has a unique URL for almost everything you can browse the vSphere Web Client. The benefit is that you can bookmark a URL and open to the page without many clicks.

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How to Create New User in ESXi With Shell Script

It’s pretty easy to create a new user using vSphere APIs in Java. If you want one or two lines of scripts, you can write a few line Python script using PyVimomi wrapped by a command line. Even easier is a solution discussed at PureVirtual.

The trick is really about how to access the adduser command, which is available but not accessible from console as it is. To use the command, you have to type the following command from ESXi console: (I assume there are a few more commands that can be used in the same way)

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How to Hack vCenter Database in vCSA Appliance

As @lamw documented in his blog, you can access the database in the vCenter software appliance (vCSA). In the first appliance of version 5.0, VMware included IBM DB2 Embedded and then switched to vPostgres right after. That’s because vPostgres is VMware’s own product based on the open source Postgres.

By default, the access to the vPostgress database is limited to local applications. In other words, if you want to access the database remotely, it will not work. After researching a little, I figured out how to configure the databse for remote access.

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How to Expire ESXi License immediately

VMware has evaluation license for ESXi servers. After 60 days, it expires and you have to apply a paid or free license to continue. Technically, there is a trick to reset the evaluation key by deleting two files (/etc/vmware/vmware.lic and /etc/vmware/license.cfg) and rebooting the server. It’s of course not complying with VMwrae license terms. Under some circumstances like training lab, it may be OK. Make sure to consult VMware on this if you are not working for VMware. But wait – if you are working for VMware, do you need evaluation license? In his reply to my tweet, Duncan mentioned he never saw license expiration.

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How to Manually Change ESXi Time

Although VMware ESXi supports common Linux commands, its implementation is based on busybox. Some of the commands are not supported, or functionalities are reduced. Setting time is one of the cases.

To find out the current time, you issue the following command:

~ # date
Sun Jul 13 10:50:59 UTC 2014

Now if you want to use the same date command to change the time, it’s a different story. In fact, the help of the date command works as normal, but when you really type in full command, you’ll see it won’t work.

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Setting Security Certificate: What VMware Did Not Tell You

In my last article, I discussed on the format requirement for Java APIs and how I found out the root cause and its solution. Even more mysterious is the format requirement of VMware vCenter as I discovered in another VMware related project, in which I needed to register an extension with vCenter and set up its certificate.

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    My company has created products like vSearch ("Super vCenter"), vijavaNG APIs, EAM APIs, ICE tool. We also help clients with virtualization and cloud computing on customized development, training. Should you, or someone you know, need these products and services, please feel free to contact me: steve __AT__

    Me: Steve Jin, VMware vExpert who authored the VMware VI and vSphere SDK by Prentice Hall, and created the de factor open source vSphere Java API while working at VMware engineering. Companies like Cisco, EMC, NetApp, HP, Dell, VMware, are among the users of the API and other tools I developed for their products, internal IT orchestration, and test automation.