VMworld 2018 is right around the corner! Where will you be?

It’s almost that time a year again….some might even call it that special time of year where VMware geeks from across the globe converge on VMworld.  One might even consider this summer camp, and like any who have experienced this before, you meet new people in the vCommunity, make friends, and part ways after the week of technical sessions, social gatherings, and just the straight up shop talking, war story sharing, and the sharing of ideas.  Personally, this will be my third year attending, and I am super excited to be going.  This conference means enough to me that, due to other circumstances that happened early this year, I purchased my own pass so to ensure that I wouldn’t miss out.

Now is the perfect time to cash in on those early bird discounts on conference passes, good until June 15.  Why wouldn’t you want to save a couple hundred dollars on one of the best IT conferences of the year?  For an individual, it’s $1,795 vs $2,095.  That’s before other discounts that may be applied like vmug memberships, or the discount for VMware Certified Professionals who hold an active VCP.

So, why go to VMworld?

I think for many first timers, there’s a certain electricity, and excitement about going.  Let me be the first to tell you, that feeling…. never really goes away.  Like the past couple of years, VMworld in the US will be held once again in Las Vegas.

Image result for VMworld 2018

I personally love coming to VMworld and have looked forward to it every year.  There’s always good energy here; the minute you get off the plane, it is happy.  Every experience I’ve had here is fun, and people genuinely are in a good mood.  This conference gives attendees the chance to attend VMware lead, and partner lead sessions on platforms you may have thought about using or are currently using.  These sessions are meant to share best practices with the community, transfer knowledge in ways to use VMware platforms, and also give you a chance to ask the experts, many of whom work for VMware, and in some cases, are very involved with the development of the platforms you use.

VMworld is not just about attending sessions however.  This conference gives you the unique opportunity to network with other IT professionals from across the globe and establish relationships that you would otherwise never be able to do.  Like it did for me, this conference may also inspire you to join the vCommunity, a thriving community of professionals who not only share their knowledge with others, but who also need help themselves.  I think we can all agree that no two environments/businesses are alike, and we have all used VMware’s platforms in ways that were intended, and in ways that even VMware might not have ever considered.  Members of the vCommunity take it upon themselves to share their experiences with others, through blogs, social media, and support forums to help others.  This conference gives us a chance to get together, share war stories from our time in the trenches, and many times, you will find attendees getting together to engineer and develop something cool.

VMware {code} group has even put together a hackathon, where members from the vCommunity can get together while at VMworld, to develop some amazing things, and sometimes there are even prizes to be had for the coolest of the cool ideas.  But don’t let those words “code” or “hackathon” scare you.  These sessions are not just for developers!  Sure it will certainly help, but the power of the community, enables you to participate in these teams anyways.  You may not be able to contribute code, but you can still contribute ideas to the team, and you might even pick up a few coding skills in the fun.  Let’s face it; some pretty cool ideas are cooked up during hackathons.  VMware’s internal hackathon cooked up the idea to bring VR into the datacenter, and allow you to virtually move your workloads from On-Premises Data Centers, into the cloud.  It’s freakin VR man!  How cool is that?

Screenshot2

The VMworld conference also affords you the opportunity to attend instructor lead labs, along with VMware’s hands on labs that you can also experience from home.  While at the conference, there will be many vendors out on the floor where you can experience new products, ask questions about products that you already use, and lets not forget the vendor haul crawl where there will be free adult beverages, snacks, and cool swag vendors are giving out.  All can be found in the solutions exchange area.

Image result for VMworld 2017

I’m not going to lie, the parties at VMworld are pretty wild too.  Not saying that should be the only reason you go, but it is a good way to mingle with other conference attendees, jam out to some good music, and of course escape the Las Vegas heat.  VMworld of course wraps up with it’s own party, before the last day of the conference.

Screen Shot 2018-06-02 at 12.16.46 PM

So what are you waiting for?  I can’t think of any reason not to attend the US 2018 VMworld in Las Vegas, August 26th – 30th, or the UK 2018 VMworld in Barcelona, November 5th – 8th.  Follow this link here, and I will see you at the conference in Las Vegas!  Remember to take advantage of those early bird rates, good until June 15th!  REGISTER HERE FOR VMWORLD 2018

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 9.29.50 AM

 

Get VM Tools Version with VMware’s PowerCLI

I had an engineer visit me the other day asking if there was an automated way to get the current version of VMtools running for a set of virtual machines, and in this case, it was for a particular customer running in our vCenter.   I said there most certainly was using PowerCLI.

Depending on the size of the environment, the first option here may be sufficient, although it can be an “expensive” query as I’ve noticed it takes longer to return results.  Using PowerCLI, you can connect to the desired vCenter and run the following one-liner to get return output on the console.  Here I was looking for a specific customer in vCloud Director, so in the vCenter I located the customers folder containing the VMs.   Replace the ‘foldername’ inside the asterisks with the desired folder of VMs.  This command would also work in a normal vCenter as well.

Get-Folder -name *foldername* | get-vm | get-vmguest | select VMName, ToolsVersion | FT -autosize

Example output:

vmtools01

You can see that this example that folder has a mix of virtual machines running, some not (no ToolsVersion value returned), and has a mix of VMtools versions running.

What if you just wanted a list of all virtual machines in the vCenter, the whole jungle?

 Get-Datacenter -Name "datacentername" | get-vm | get-vmguest | select VMName, ToolsVersion | FT -autosize

In either case, if you want to redirect output to a CSV add the following to the end of the line

 | export-csv -path "\path\to\file\filename.csv" -NoTypeInformation -UseCulture

Example:

Get-Folder -name *foldername* | get-vm | get-vmguest | select VMName, ToolsVersion | export-csv -path "\path\to\file\filename.csv" -NoTypeInformation -UseCulture

 

Another method/example of getting the tools version, and probably the fastest is using ‘Get-view’. A much longer string of command-lets, but this would be the ideal method for large environments if a quick return of data was needed, lets say for a nightly script that was least impactful to the vCenter.

 Get-Folder -name *foldername* | Get-VM | % { get-view $_.id } | select name, @{Name=“ToolsVersion”; Expression={$_.config.tools.toolsversion}}, @{ Name=“ToolStatus”; Expression={$_.Guest.ToolsVersionStatus}}

Example Output:

vmtools02

If you are after a list of all virtual machines running in the vCenter, a command similar to this can be used:

 Get-VM | % { get-view $_.id } | select name, @{Name=“ToolsVersion”; Expression={$_.config.tools.toolsversion}}, @{ Name=“ToolStatus”; Expression={$_.Guest.ToolsVersionStatus}}

VMware has put together a nice introductory blog on using get-view HERE

Just like last time, if you want to redirect output to a CSV file just take the following on to the end of the line for either method ie specific folder or entire vCenter:

 | export-csv -path "\path\to\file\filename.csv" -NoTypeInformation -UseCulture

 

 

 

Creating, Listing and Removing VM Snapshots with PowerCLi and PowerShell

PowerCLi + PowerShell Method

-=Creating snapshots=-

Let’s say you are doing a maintenance, and need a quick way to snapshot certain VMs in the vCenter.  The create_snapshot.ps1 PowerShell does just that, and it can be called from PowerCli.

createsnapshot

  •  Open PowerCLi and connect to the desired vCenter

powercli_connect

  • From the directory that you have placed the create_snapshot.ps1 script, run the command and watch for output.
> .\create_snapshot.ps1 -vm <vm-name>,<vm-name> -name snapshot_name

Like so:

snapshot2

In vCenter recent tasks window, you’ll see something similar to:

snapshot1

 

-=Removing snapshots=-

Once you are ready to remove the snapshots, the remove_snapshot.ps1 PowerShell script does just that.

snapshot5

  • Once you are logged into the vCenter through PowerCli like before, from the directory that you have placed the remove_snapshot.ps1 script, run the command and watch for output.
> .\remove_snapshot.ps1 -vm xx01-vmname,xx01-vmname -name snapshot_name 

Like so:

snapshot3

In vCenter recent tasks window, you’ll see something similar to:

snapshot4

Those two PowerShell scripts can be found here:

create_snapshot.ps1 and remove_snapshot.ps1

_________________________________________________________________

PowerCLi Method

-=Creating snapshots=-

The PowerCLi New-Snapshot cmdlet allows the creation of snapshots in similar fashion, and there’s no need to call on a PowerShell script.  However can be slower

> get-vm an01-jump-win1,an01-1-automate | new-snapshot -Name "cbtest" -Description "testing" -Quiesce -Memory

snapshot6

  • If the VM is running and it has virtual tools installed, you can opt for a quiescent snapshot withQuiesce parameter.  This has the effect of saving the virtual disk in a consistent state.
  • If the virtual machine is running, you can also elect to save the memory state as well with the –Memory parameter
  • You can also

Keep in mind using these options increases the time required to take the snapshot, but it should put the virtual machine back in the exact state if you need to restore back to it.

-=Listing Snapshots=-

If you need to check the vCenter for any VM that contains snapshots,  the get-snapshot cmdlet allows you to do that.  You can also use cmdlets like format-list to make it easier to read.

> Get-vm | get-snapshot | format-list vm,name,created

snapshot8

Other options:

Description
Created
Quiesced
PowerState
VM
VMId
Parent
ParentSnapshotId
ParentSnapshot
Children
SizeMB
IsCurrent
IsReplaySupported
ExtensionData
Id
Name
Uid

-=Removing snapshots=-

The PowerCLi remove-snapshot cmdlet does just that, and used in combination with the get-snapshot cmdlet looks something like this.

> get-snapshot -name cbtest -VM an01-jump-win1,an01-1-automate | remove-snapshot -RunAsync -confirm:$false

snapshot7

  • If you don’t want to be prompted, include –confirm:$False.
  • Removing a snapshot can be a long process so you might want to take advantage of the –RunAsync parameter again.
  • Some snapshots may have child snapshots if you are taking many during a maintenance, so you can also use –RemoveChildren to clean those up as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NSX Host VIB Upgrade From 6.1.X to 6.2.4

There is a known issue when upgrading the NSX host VIB from 6.1.X to 6.2.4, where once the host is upgraded to VIB 6.2.4, and the virtual machines are moved to it, if they should somehow find their way back to a 6.1.X host, the VM’s NIC will become disconnected causing an outage. This has been outlined in KB2146171

Resolution

We found the following steps to be the best solution in getting to the 6.2.4 NSX VIB version on ESXi 6u2, without causing any interruptions in regards to the network connectivity of the virtual machines.

  1. Log into the vSphere web client, go to Networking & Security, select Installation on the navigation menu, and then select the Host preparation tab.
  2. Select the desired cluster, and click the “Upgrade Available” message next to it.  This will start the upgrade process of all the hosts, and once completed, all hosts will display “Reboot Required”.
  3. Mark the first host for maintenance mode as you normally would, and once all virtual machines have evacuated off, and the host marked as in maintenance mode, restart it as you normally would.
  4. While we wait for the host to reboot, right click on the host cluster being upgraded and select Edit Settings.  Select vSphere DRS, and set the automation level to Manual.  This will give you control over host evacuations and where the virtual machines go.
  5. Once the host has restarted, monitor the Recent Tasks window and wait for the NSX vib installation to complete.
  6. Bring the host out of maintenance mode.  Now migrate a test VM over to the new host and test network connectivity.  Ping to another VM on a different host, and then make sure you can ping out to something like 8.8.8.8.
  7.  Verify the VIB has been upgraded to 6.2.4 from the vSphere web Networking & Security host preparation section.
  8. Open PowerCLI and connect to the vCenter where this maintenance activity is being performed.  In order to safely control the migration of virtual machines from hosts containing the NSX VIV 6.1.X to the host that has been upgraded to 6.2.4, we will use the following command to evacuate the next host’s virtual machines onto the one that was just upgraded.
Get-VM -Location "<sourcehost>" | Move-VM -Destination (Get-Vmhost "<destinationhost>")
  • “sourcehost” being the next host you wish to upgrade, and the “destinationhost” being the one that was just upgraded.

9.  Once the host is fully evacuated, place the host in maintenance mode, and reboot it.

10. VMware provided us with a script that should ONLY be executed against NSX vib 6.2.4 hosts, and does the following:

  • Verifies the VIB version running on the host.
    For example: If the VIB version is between VIB_VERSION_LOW=3960641, VIB_VERSION_HIGH=4259819 then it is considered to be a host with VIB 6.2.3 and above. Any other VIB version the script will fail with a warningCustomer needs to make sure that the script is executed against ALL virtual machines that have been upgraded since 6.1.x.
  • Once the script sets the export_version to 4, the version is persistent across reboots.
  • There is no harm if customer executes the script multiple times on the same host as only VMs that need modification will be modified.
  • Script should only be executed NSX-v 6.2.4 hosts

I have attached a ZIP file containg the script here:  fix_exportversion.zip

Script Usage

  • Copy the script to a common datastore accessible to all hosts and run the script on each host.
  • Log in to the 6.2.4 ESXi host via ssh or CONSOLE, where you intend to execute the script.
  • chmod u+x the files
  • Execute the script:
./vmfs/volumes/<Shared_Datastore>/fix_exportversion.sh /vmfs/volumes/<Shared_Datastore>/vsipioctl

 

Example output:

~ # /vmfs/volumes/NFS-101/fix_exportversion.sh /vmfs/volumes/NFS-101/vsipioctl
Fixed filter nic-39377-eth0-vmware-sfw.2 export version to 4.
Fixed filter nic-48385-eth0-vmware-sfw.2 export version to 4.
Filter nic-50077-eth0-vmware-sfw.2 already has export version 4.
Filter nic-52913-eth0-vmware-sfw.2 already has export version 4.
Filter nic-53498-eth0-vmware-sfw.2 has export version 3, no changes required.

Note: If the export version for any VM vNIC shows up as ‘2’, the script will modify the version to ‘4’ and does not modify other VMs where export version is not ‘2’.

11.  Repeat steps 5 – 10 on all hosts in the cluster until completion.  This script appears to be necessary as we have seen cases where a VM may still lose its NIC even if it is vmotioned from one NSX vib 6.2.4 host to another 6.2.4 host.

12. Once 6.2.4 host VIB installation is complete, and the script has been run against the hosts and virtual machines running on them, DRS can be set back to your desired setting like Fully automated for instance.

13.  Virtual machines should now be able to vmotion between hosts without losing their NICs.

  • This process was thoroughly tested in a vCloud Director cloud environment containing over 20,000 virtual machines, and on roughly 240 ESXi hosts without issue. vCenter environment was vCSA version 6u2, and ESXi version 6u2.

How to evacuate virtual machines from one host to another with PowerCLI

If you ever find yourself in need of evacuating an esxi host there is a handy PowerCLI command that can do just that, and it maintains the resource pools for the virtual machines too.  This was used in vCenter 6u2, PowerCLI 6.3 R1, esxi 5.5

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

Connect-VIserver <vcenter-name/ip>

Get-VM -Location “<sourcehost>” | Move-VM -Destination (Get-Vmhost “<destinationhost>”).

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

I recently went through an outage that affected our ability to put hosts into maintenance mode, as the vMotion operation would get stuck at the vCenter level at 13%, with no indication at the host level that something was happening.  This PowerCLI command allowed me to evacuate one host’s virtual machines onto another getting me through all 18 hosts in the cluster.