Collecting Java Heap dump from vCloud Director Cells

You just need to generate the java heap dump from one of the cells.  What you’ll need to succeed:

  • IP tables disabled on the cell you are connecting to.
  • Disk space available on the cell to accommodate the dump – I believe these can be between 8 and 10 GB in size
  • Unless an emergency, do this operation outside of normal business hours as it will be CPU intensive for up to 3 minutes, can impact API call performance, and can potentially cause the VCD cell inventory service to hang.

Step #1: Disable iptables on the cell

  • ssh to the desired cell and run the following command:

# service iptables stop

Step #2: Connect with jconsole (java console)

  • domain credentials should work here depending on your environment
  • connect to port: 8999
  • connect to desired cell


  • If you get this message “Secure connection failed. Retry Insecurely?” just click the ‘insecure’ button to continue

Step #3: Generate the heap dump

  1. On the MBeans tab, in the object, select the Operation section.
  2. In dumpHeap parameters, enter the following information:

    p0: [heap-output-path]

    p1: true – do a garbage collection before dump heap

    For example:

    p0: /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/xx01-1-vcdc1_heap-dump-file.hprof

    p1: true

  3. Click the dumpHeap button.


  • There will be no indication that the heapdump completes.  I just watch the size of the file until the growth stops on the cell.  This process typically takes less than two minutes.

Step #4: Cleanup and send-off

  • Locate the heap dump in /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/ and move off to a location where you can compress and upload to VMware FTP site as you would for logs.
  • Start the iptables on the cell: # service iptables start

Upgrading VMware vCloud Director to 8.20

This document was creating while upgrading an existing vCloud Director 8.10.1 environment with an Oracle database, and multiple cloud cells.

After downloading the latest version of vCloud Director 8.20 for service providers,  SCP the upgrade to all VCD cells.  You can review the release notes here.

What you’ll need to do before getting started:

  • SSH into each cell and ‘sudo su -‘ to root
  • move the bin to the root directory
  • chmod +x vmware-vcloud-director-distribution-8.20.0-5515092.bin
  • I strongly advise opening an support request with VMWare before proceeding with the upgrade.  You may not need it, but it comes in handy having one logged beforehand.

Maintenance – Shutdown the cells

1. Open an SSH session into each VCD cell


2. Sudo to root using the following command:

# sudo su -

3. Change to the vcloud-director/bin/  directory

# cd /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin/

4. Use the Cell Management Tool to quiesce the cell.  This will move active jobs over to another cell.

# ./cell-management-tool -u administrator cell --quiesce true

5. Get the status of any running jobs on each cell.   ** Verify Job count = 0   |  Is Active = false  | In Maintenance Mode  = false

# ./cell-management-tool -u administrator cell --status
Example Output:


6. Shut the cell down to prevent any other jobs from becoming active on the cell.  This command will also allow active jobs to cleanly finish

# ./cell-management-tool -u administrator cell --shutdown

Example Output:


7. Get a status on the cells to be sure everything is down

# service vmware-vcd status

8. Now complete steps 4 – 7 on the remaining cells to cleanly shutdown the vCD service on all cells.

9. Here is where I would shutdown the VCD cell virtual machines, and database to get a clean snapshot while the environment is powered off

10. Once the database virtual machine is fully up, power-on the VCD cell virtual machines.

11. Log back into the vCloud Director environment to verify functionality before the upgrade.

12. SSH to all VCD cell virtual machines and use the following command to stop the service again on each cell.  Here there is an assumption made that we are now well within a maintenance window.

# service vmware-vcd stop

Starting The vCloud Director Upgrade

1. Start with the first cell, and run the first half of the upgrade.  DO NOT upgrade the database yet.

# ./vmware-vcloud-director-distribution-8.20.0-5515092.bin

Example Output:


2. Respond with: y

Example Output:


3. Stop.  Now you need to run steps one and two on the rest of the vCloud Director Cells, and install the upgrade.  Do them one at a time.  DO NOT upgrade the database yet.

4. Now that all cells have been upgraded, go back to the first cell and run the database upgrade.

# ./opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin/upgrade

Example vCD Database upgrade output:


5. Respond with: y


6. Start the the first cell by responding with ‘y’


7. Manually start the VCD service on the remaining cells

# service vmware-vcd start

8. Get the VCD status of all cells by running the following command on each

# service vmware-vcd status

9. Log into the cell, and watch/wait for vCenter to sync with vCD under the Manage & Monitor section → vCenters.  This normally takes 30 minutes or so.  Once done the status will change from a spinning circle to a green check mark.

10. Run some environment validation tests to be sure everything is working and is proper, and then delete those snapshots taken earlier.


Closing Out VMWORLD 2017

vmware’s annual party was held at the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas this year.

Great entertainment, however the convention ran out of food pretty quick at several kiosks.  This year’s entertainment was a band from New Jersey called Bleachers who put on a decent show.

The main headliner for the night was Blink-182.  Certainly not the band I remember growing up, but they hit a lot of the songs from my youth.

On Thursday, the last day of the conference, vmware invited several guests on stage to discuss the future of science and technology.

The first speaker discussed the advancement of facial recognition, and the desire to track human emotions.  The ability to have artificial intelligence (A.i) understand empathy, and the ability to deliver digital content based on the emotional preferences of the viewer.  Although this session was cool, I personally feel that this technology is dangerous to pursue.

  • Delivering digital content to the viewer based on their viewing habits feels as if it would lead us to an era where people become emotionally numb.  If people are not shown content that exposes them to the full spectrum of emotions, it feels as if society would become even more disconnected from the world around them.
  • Giving A.I the ability to show empathy, and more huminized emotions may not be a bad thing if the proper requlations are in place.  I think as we become more escustomed to having our robotic companions, this would certainly make thss frustrating to use.

The second speaker discussed the advancement in prosthetics.  This was probably the most exciting keynote I’ve watched.

  • The speaker discussed his double leg amputation in his early twenties due to frostbite while mountain climbing.  He discussed his research at MIT where not only did he design his own prosthetics, but began a journey with colleagues that will ultimately change the future of prosthetics.  They identified a problem with the current generation and the lack of true innovation.
  • The speaker also discussed the crude method surgeons still currently use that prevents the rewiring of the human body, to feel the prosthetic, and to be able to flex and use it as if it were a real limb.  He then went on to show a new surgical procedure that allows the human body to do just that, and it was truly inspiring.

The final speaker of the keynote was a pediatric surgeon discussing the advancement of surgical “batting practice” where the teams practicing surgical procedures on patients is now finally becoming a thing of the past, and instead surgeons have teamed up with Hollywood special affects organizations.

  • This partnership has allowed the creation of life like surgical dummies that allows surgeons to practice in preparation for the real thing.  This allows surgeons to tackle complex cases, theories procedures, and then order these surgical dummies to suit these theories, and the patients specific medical condition.
  • They can then perform the multiple procedures, attend after action meetings to discuss, and ultimately find the best surgical solution for the patient.  This ultimately allows the surgeon to discuss these findings with families before even asking them to come to the hospital for the procedure, giving them the confidence that the surgical teams have practiced of their child’s specific condition.