Browsing Posts published by Andrea Mauro

There are only two weeks left to VMworld Europe 2011, and probably there are also some promotion code left (search at vendor site or forum).

This event is a great opportunity for training and information with a lot of sessions (and note that is possible watch at them also later), but I see at least two good reasons to attend at this kind of events (and not only VMworld):

  • Hands-on Labs: they are great and cover the latest (or future) products.
  • Network: meet and know people is invaluable.

But of course there can be also some reasons to do not attend at this event:

  • It is too close to the VMworld US… so who was lucky enough to be there, maybe do no need to attend also at the European edition.
  • Most products have already been announced and/or released… so there will be less news on feature release of them… but still news on strategies, vision, and other new products.
  • Copenhagen is quite expensive… the travel must be planned well… but maybe there are still some good opportunity for hotel and fly “cheap”.

Remenber also that one VMworld ticket will be draw during the Italian VMUG Meeting :)

See also:


With the new HA implemenation, something has changed also in the advanced options with new parameters, but also with some that now are no more available. For a list see Supported vSphere 5.0 Advanced Options.

One options that has been removed “das.failuredetectiontime”. The reason is well explained in Duncan’s HA Deep Dive:

I know many of you used this advanced setting to tweak when the host would trigger the isolation response, that is no longer possible and needed to be honest. If you’ve closely read my other articles you hopefully picked up on the datastore heartbeating part already which is one reason for not needing this anymore. The other reason is that before the isolation response is triggered the host will actually validate if virtual machines can be restarted and if it isn’t an all out network outage. Most of us have been there at some point, a network admin decides to upgrade the switches and all hosts trigger the isolation response at the same time… well that won’t happen anymore!

Some of the New vSphere 5 HA, DRS and SDRS Advanced/Hidden Options related with the datastore heartbeat are:

  • das.ignoreinsufficienthbdatastore – Disables configuration issues created if the host does nothave sufficient heartbeat datastores for vSphere HA. Defaultvalue is false.
  • das.heartbeatdsperhost – Changes the number of heartbeat datastores required. Validvalues can range from 2-5 and the default is 2.

For a list of all objectives see the VCP5 page.

Objective 6.4 – Perform Basic Troubleshooting for HA/DRS Clusters and vMotion/Storage vMotion

For HA and DRS see also: HA Deepdive and DRS Deepdive.

Identify HA/DRS and vMotion requirements (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See the vSphere Availability guide (page 11) and the vSphere Resource Management guide (page 51). Basically a shared storage is required, some network configurations, and (for DRS and vMotion) a CPU compatibility or the EVC function in the cluster.

Verify vMotion/Storage vMotion configuration (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See the vCenter Server and Host Management guide (page 119 and 122). For the network for vMotion a vmkernel interface is required (note that now vSphere 5 can use more interfaces). For Storage vMotion the main requirement is that the host can see both storages.

Verify HA network configuration (new in vSphere 5)

See the vSphere Availability guide (page 13). Heartbeat can go through the vmkernel management interfaces (or other specific interfaces)… but now with vSphere also thought the shared storage.

Verify HA/DRS cluster configuration (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See the vSphere Availability guide (page 11) and the vSphere Resource Management guide (page 51). Some new windows are now available to check HA and DRS status.

Troubleshoot HA capacity issues (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See the vSphere Troubleshooting guide (page 31). When planning for HA you need to plan for a maximum host failure; the number of hosts that can fail before you run short on resources. When VMs can no longer start this might be due to a lack of resources (memory is quite common) with warnings like “insufficient resources to satisfy failover level”.

Troubleshoot HA redundancy issues (same as vSphere 4.x)

See the vSphere Availability guide (page 11).

Interpret the DRS Resource Distribution Graph and Target/Current Host Load Deviation (same as vSphere 4.x)

See VMware DRS Resource Distribution Chart.

Troubleshoot DRS load imbalance issues (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See the vSphere Resource Management guide (page 62).

Troubleshoot vMotion/Storage vMotion migration issues (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See the vCenter Server and Host Management guide (page 119 and 122). Check also compatibility with snaphosts.

Interpret vMotion Resource Maps (similar as vSphere 4.x)

Topology maps are a easy way to show you the network and storage connection from an to hosts and/or VMs. As stated above there are some requirements to the use of vMotion live storage, networking etc. A first and easy check is to look at the topology maps and see if these requirements are met. Maps can be found when selecting a server and than selecting the tab Maps.

Identify the root cause of a DRS/HA cluster or migration issue based on troubleshooting information (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See all the previous references and also Perform Basic Troubleshooting for HA/DRS. For HA failover see also the vSphere Troubleshooting guide (page 34).


For a list of all objectives see the VCP5 page.

Objective 6.3 – Perform Basic vSphere Storage Troubleshooting

Verify storage configuration (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See the vSphere Troubleshooting guide (page 45). A minimum of storage enterprise knowledge is also required.

Troubleshoot storage contention issues (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See the vSphere Troubleshooting guide (page 45) and vSphere Storage guide (page 24).

Troubleshoot storage over-commitment issues (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See the vSphere Storage guide (page 183) and VCP5 Exam Prep – Part 3.1 (in the thin provisioning points).

Troubleshoot iSCSI software initiator configuration issues (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See the vSphere Storage guide (page 107). Also a networking check could be useful.

Troubleshoot Storage Reports and Storage Maps (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See Using VMware vSphere Storage Views.

Identify the root cause of a storage issue based on troubleshooting information (similar as vSphere 4.x)

See the vSphere Troubleshooting guide (page 45).


So the last VCDX4 defense opportunity will not be Frankfurt, as written in a previous post

By popular demand, the VCDX program has added another opportunity to attempt VCDX.  This will take place in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada, metropolitan area during the week of May 7 through 11, 2012.  The exact address will be provided to registered candidates who are accepted to defend. Registration will open on February 20, 2012.  Applications are due March 12, 2012.

See the full announce on the VMware Community:


Some hours ago I have received an e-mail from VMware Technical Certification Team to my VCP5 certification in my official transcript:

The VMware education transcripts will now include your VMware technical certifications.
Your online transcripts will reflect your VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 status as soon as you:
–  Confirm your shipping address
–  Consent to transcript release
–  Accept the VMware Certification Agreement

With this, all certifications are now correctly listed in the transcript… and I can take a breack… until next new certifications :) Some welcome kits are still missing (also my VCDX4 kit), I’ve already send and email to the certification staff and seems that they will arrive in the next weeks.

Note that the rumor about the Workstation license was correct: with the new VCP5 certification is included a VMware Workstation 8, with the follow note:



With the new version of VMware vSphere there are some small and big changes: some products and features were removed, but also some new features were addes (for the 140 new features of vSphere 5 see: vSphere 5.0 Features and Duncan’s 50 out of 140 vSphere 5 Features Challenge).

Who is out:

Who is in (for a complete list see previous links):

  • vCenter Server for Linux: distribuited as a virtual appliance (vCenter Server Virtual Appliance)
  • the Web Client is a possible multiplatform replace (in several tasks) for the vSphere client (still only for Windows platform)
  • AutoDeploy
  • Central collector for hosts log and core dump
  • Storage DRS and Storage Profiles

On the VMTN Blog (the official blog of the VMware Community) today there is my “vExpert Spotlight”:

How did you get into IT in  the first place?

I’ve started (a lot of years ago) with a Commodore 64, but only with my first experience on a PC (with MS-DOS) I understand that this passion would also be my possible work area. During University, I also played with Linux distributions and this gave me a better understanding of Operating Systems and networking. Things are really change. Now start in IT is simpler and cheaper (I remember how expensive my first PC was and how difficult it was to find good books or good documentations).

How did you get into working with VMware and becoming a 2011 vExpert?

As most people I’ve started of course with VMware Workstation and honestly not with the ESX 1.0 (I remember that was not possible, at least in my Country) to have an evaluation or trial version.

My first virtualization project (for academic purposes) was building a virtual honeynet with Linux UML (it was the end of 2001). My first virtualization project based for a production system virtualization solution was instead with VMware ESX 2.5.

After that I’ve follow a lot of virtualization projects and recently (around three ago) I’ve started also to give some contribution to the VMTN Community. This probably has open new perspectives, outside the limits of my Country and my native language (that isn’t English). For example, I’ve tried to applied with success to the VCDX3 path and also to vExpert 2010 and 2011.

What would you tell someone who wanted to get a job like yours to do?

In the IT field and especially in the virtualization area there is a lot to do. The required knowledge is quite huge, but worst (or better. it depends) there are a lot of changes so you cannot stand still. You have always to learn new things. For those reasons I also think that in this kind of job the collaborations is really important. You can be great, but you can greater in a group of good people.


As I’ve written in a previous post, Dell has recently released the new versions of some Equallogic’s software, included the new Host Integration Tools (HIT) for VMware 3.1 that is now compatible with vSphere 5 (it support also the Storage Clusters and VASA). The appliance and the documentation are available from the Equallogic support site.

HIT/VE is distributed as a OVA file (the current version is HITVE- and the deploy is the same as other virtual appliance. The VM it’s based on a CentOS 5.3 distro and it’s configured with virtual hardware 7 (so it can run also on 4.x hosts), 1 vCPU, 2 GB vRAM (but seems that also 1,5 GB could be enough) and two vNIC: one for reach the vCenter Server and one for reach the Equallogic management (or the iSCSI network).

When the appliance is deployed and powered on, with the vSphere Console or SSH it is possible to login with root/eql (password can be change) to run the setup program and start the configuration (that is quite simple):

Note that View and VASA configurations are optional. After the plugins are registered in vCenter Server the VM will be rebooted. To update a previous version of the HIT/VE appliance an ISO file is available… but of course it’s also possible delete the old VM and deploy the new one (to de-register the old one you can also use the setup menu of the new appliance).

When the appliance is configured and the plugins are registered, you can see some new icons in the home page of vSphere Client (see the next figure), but also some new menus and tabs.

The Datastore and Auto-Snapshot Managers are just the Equallogic volumes and snapshots (smart copies) manager, and are very similar as the same in the native storage manager interface. The Virtual Desktop Deployment plugin is just a way in integrate some function of the View Manager (like pool creation and management).

Also some new alarms (specif for the storage) are created in vCenter Server. In this way the vCenter Server become a unified interface to manage also the storage part (to be honest some function, like firmware upgrade, still require the storage management interface).

About VASA, in my case, it was quite strange: it doesn’t register correctly in vCenter Server. Of course a vCenter Server 5 was used, but the VASA provider was not added to it (note that the VASA API are not provided directly by Equallogic, but by the HIT, at his address https://HIT_IP/vasa/services/vasaService). The error was related to this issue: “cannot connect to profile-driven storage service”.

Some root causes and solutions were available in the release note (apply if there is a conflict with the Web Client Server or Orchestrator) or in the KB2001804 (apply if the profile-driver storage service was not registered due an early reboot of vCenter Server). But neither of them was a solution of my case: the true was really funny… simple the Inventory and the Service Profile-Driven Storage were not installed (probably an issue during the vCenter Server installation). For fix them was needed a new run of the vCenter installation.

When the VASA provider is registered (see the first picture for the status), is possible build new storage profiles based on some capabilities automatically collected from the storage. Note  that those information are available also with firmware 5.0.8. I’ve not test yet if the capability list is more reach and detailed with the new 5.1.x firmware.



With ESX/ESXi is possible have several information from the physical hardware (with CIM) and this could be enough in most cases, especially for monitoring (with hardware health) and to gain some inventory info (like the Service Tag of a server).

But for some specific tasks (like a RAID rebuild o check of the local storage, or have a detailed inventory of the physical RAM banks) is necessary use the specific native tool from the hardware vendor. For Dell servers, the tool is called OpenManage Server Administrator (OMSA) and the current version is 6.5. It is available for several platforms of operating systems (in case of physical servers) or hypervisors (included VMware ESX/ESXi, XenServer and Hyper-V).

For vSphere 5 it’s already available a preliminar and working version (but is not yet included in the official repository):

continue reading…


For a list of all objectives see the VCP5 page.

Objective 6.2 – Perform Basic vSphere Network Troubleshooting

Verify network configuration (same as vSphere 4.x)

See VMware Virtual Networking Concepts for basic concepts for standard virtual switches. See Objective 2.2 – Configure vNetwork Distributed Switches for distributed virtual switches.

Verify a given virtual machine is configured with the correct network resources (same as vSphere 4.x)

See VMware KB: Troubleshooting virtual machine network connection issues and

Troubleshoot virtual switch and port group configuration issues (same as vSphere 4.x)

Use previous links. For vmkernel porgroup vmkping can help in network tests (remember to use -d option to test large packets like, for example, Jumbo Frames).

Troubleshoot physical network adapter configuration issues (same as vSphere 4.x)

Remember that each pNIC act as an uplink, so the relative pSwitch port must be configured in the same of others in the same vSwitch. Mix of different NIC adapters is permitted. Mix of different speed could be possible, but can create performance issues. For IP hash team policy a specific configuration is required on the pSwitch. Beacon probing make sense only with at least 3 pNIC.

Identify the root cause of a network issue based on troubleshooting information (similar as vSphere 4.x)

A top-down or bottom-up approach though the network layer could be useful. Also a packet trace in the network could help (see Using a Network Packet Analyzer on a VMware vSphere Virtual Network and VMware KB: Capturing a network trace in ESXi using Tech Support).

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