VMware vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b released

vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b released

VMware released vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b today. The release does not bring any new features but instead patches a few bugs and possible security issues such as the heartbleed fix and most recent OpenSSL as mentioned in CVE-2014-0224. vCenter 5.5 Update 1b now includes the OpenSSL library which has been updated to versions openssl-0.9.8za, openssl-1.0.0m, and openssl-1.0.1h.

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Clone VMware ESXi USB boot drive to another USB flash drive

A few days ago one of my hosts in my home lab was displaying an alarm message:

Lost connectivity to the device

Lost connectivity to the device mpx.vmhbaXX:XX:XX:XX backing the boot filesystem /vmfs/devices/disks/mpx.vmhbaXX:XX:XX:XX. As a result, host configuration changes will not be saved to persistent storage.

The last part of the message (“persistent storage”) made me think it might have something to do with the USB drive due to the fact that a similar message appeared when setting up the home lab on the Intel NUC’s. After some research it appears my assumption was correct and that the USB flash drive I was using to boot from was indeed starting to fail.

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Upgrade ESXi host to ESXi 5.5 using VMware Update Manager 5.5

A while back I wrote about how to upgrade to ESXi 5.5 via command line which works great when you only have a few hosts as each host has to download the ISO from the web each time. This time I’ll show you step by step how to upgrade your ESXi 5.1 host to ESXi 5.5 using VMware Update Manager 5.5 (aka VUM).

For this post I’m going to assume you have already upgraded your vCenter and VUM to versions 5.5 as well as the VUM plugin installed. So lets begin!

Upgrade ESXi host to 5.5 using VMware Update Manager (VUM)

  1. Open the vSphere client and click on Update Manager
    VMware Update Manager icon

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Restore a VM using the {vm}-flat.vmdk file

missing vmdk file error

A couple days ago I was asked the question “An admin deleted the vmdk file associated with a VM, there are no snapshots or backups of the VM . Can we restore this VM somehow?“. I believe in backups, I like to have my VM’s backed up so that I can depend on them for events just like this very issue. At first I was stumped, until the {vm-name}.flat.vmdk was mentioned. That’s when I remembered a method to recover a VM using the vm-flat.vmdk file that I had actually done 2-3 years ago.

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How to install VisualEsxtop

If you haven’t already heard, VisualEsxtop is a Fling developed by a few VMware Engineers that provides a java based GUI to the every useful ESXTOP. As an added bonus provides a description of each counter, multiple windows, the ability to sort metrics, and even provide basic graphs. Oh and it’s FREE!

Setup and install on Windows 7 is pretty easy as well:

Visual ESXtop

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Shrink a thin provisioned VMDK disk

When maintaining a Horizon View environment I like to keep my parent images as small as possible and over time a thin provision disk can start to grow on you if you don’t watch it – be it from downloading installers, updates, or even running disk defrag. While there isn’t a simple, one click button in the View Administrator Console there is a fairly easy manual method using vmfkstools.

Before we can use “vmkfstools” to shrink the VMDK file we must zero out any unused space on the thin provisioned disk. A simple way of doing this is by using a free utility called SDelete from Sysinternals.

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Setup Synology Syslog server for VMware ESXi

After performing my home lab upgrade, ESXi now runs from a USB stick and because of that vSphere would complain that the system logs where on non-persistent storage:

ESXi syslog error

If I wanted I could have ran the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) as it comes with it’s own syslog server, or I could have used something like KIWI or Splunk to be my syslog server. I instead went the route of my Synology NAS as it too has the ability to act as a syslog server and these are the steps I performed to setting it up.

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