In a previous post I blogged about creating a vanilla vSphere 5 ESXi USB drive using the VMware .iso file from VMware. This post shows how to create one using the HP version of vSphere ESXi (5.0_Oct_2011_ESXi_HD-USB-SDImgeInstlr_Z7550-00253.iso).
The HP version comes pre-installed with all the HP CIM providers which work very well with HP servers, including the HP MicroServer. Using the HP version gives you the more details in the Hardware Status tab.
I’m going to be using a different method, recommended by Will Rodbard (thanks Will), who is a colleague of mine at VMware, you can see his comments from the previous post. In summary the steps are:
Once completed your USB drive will boot into the ESXi 5 installer. Once booted, install the ESXi 5 Hypervisor to the USB drive (overwriting the installer). This will then leave you with the installed ESXi Hypervisor on the USB.
Note that using this method creates a brand new bootable USB key for use in a new installation of vSphere ESXi. You will have to go through the process of installing ESXi onto the USB key, or another disk or LUN on the target server. If you want a USB key that is already installed with ESXi which saves you from going through the installation wizard, you can use the other method in this post.
I coincidently left an older USB key in my laptop and booted. Here’s a picture of my Macbook Pro running vSphere ESXi, and it all works by the way, including networking!
This post highlights some best practices on the management of the vCSA log and core files. VMware recommends that these files are stored on an NFS share external to the vCSA due to the possibility of the default log and core locations filling up.
When this happens, vCenter services will be impacted.
For more information about the vCSA, please see the resources listed here http://vmwire.com/vmware-vcenter-server-virtual-appliance-vcsa/.
This screenshot shows what happens when this is not done, the partitions for /storage/core will fill up over time and will impact the availability of vCenter Server.
Figure 1 – Local core storage full!
You can add the NFS shares for the log and core files by logging into the VMware Studio management interface of the vCSA, normally https://<vcsa>:5480.
The default username and password is root | vmware.
Click on the vCenter Server tab, and then click on Storage.
Figure 2 – Configuring NFS storage on the vCSA
The correct syntax for adding the storage is
So if my NFS_Server is 192.168.200.21 and my NFS_Export is /mnt/vg01/vcsa_core/vcsa_core/, I would enter the following in the box for NFS share for core files:
Make sure that the NFS export on the NFS Server is configured with a UID/GID mapping of no_root_squash. For example, use the command on the NFS server:
exportfs -vo rw,no_root_squash,sync :/mnt/vg01/vcsa_core/vcsa_core/
Once done, click on Test Settings to verify that the vCSA can successfully store files to the specified NFS shares, then click on Save Settings, then restart the vCSA.
You can also see what is created in the NFS share if you listed the contents of the core files share.
Figure 3 - Core logs
You can also see what is created in the NFS share if you listed the contents of the log files share. The screenshots below show the directory structure on the NFS server. On the vCSA the directories are mounted at /storage.
Figure 4 – All other Logs
In previous posts I blogged about what the vCenter Server Virtual Appliance (vCSA) is, its features and benefits, feature parity with the Windows vCenter Server and also how to quickly deploy the vCSA. For more information about the vCSA, please see the resources listed here http://vmwire.com/vmware-vcenter-server-virtual-appliance-vcsa/.
This post extends the series with how to configure an external Oracle database for use by the vCSA.
The vCSA comes preinstalled with an embedded DB2 database which has similar use cases as the Windows vCenter Server when configured with SQL Express – intended for small deployments of 5 ESX/ESXi servers or less. The ability for the vCSA to utilise an external Oracle database allows customers to scale and manage larger vSphere infrastructures equivalent to environments with Windows vCenter Servers backed by SQL or Oracle databases.
This post shows how quickly and easily it is to use an external Oracle database instead of the embedded DB2 database. Hopefully you’ll see the benefits of how much quicker it is to configure the Oracle connectivity between the vCSA and the Oracle server vs installing the Oracle 64-bit Client onto a Window Server and configuring tnsnames.ora, followed by configuration of ODBC settings.
C:`>sqlplus sys/<password> as SYSDBA
CREATE SMALLFILE TABLESPACE "VPX" DATAFILE 'e:/app/oracle/oradata/orcl/vpx01.dbf' SIZE 1G AUTOEXTEND ON NEXT 10M MAXSIZE UNLIMITED LOGGING EXTENT MANAGEMENT LOCAL SEGMENT SPACE MANAGEMENT AUTO;
CREATE USER "VPXADMIN" PROFILE "DEFAULT" IDENTIFIED BY "oracle" DEFAULT TABLESPACE "VPX" ACCOUNT UNLOCK; grant connect to VPXADMIN; grant resource to VPXADMIN; grant create view to VPXADMIN; grant create sequence to VPXADMIN; grant create table to VPXADMIN; grant create materialized view to VPXADMIN; grant execute on dbms_lock to VPXADMIN; grant execute on dbms_job to VPXADMIN; grant select on dba_tablespaces to VPXADMIN; grant select on dba_temp_files to VPXADMIN; grant select on dba_data_files to VPXADMIN; grant unlimited tablespace to VPXADMIN;
After you've tested that everything is working, you can revoke the following privileges using SQL*Plus again.
revoke select on dba_tablespaces from VPXADMIN;
revoke select on dba_temp_files from VPXADMIN;
revoke select on dba_data_files from VPXADMIN;
Total configuration time ~approx 10 minutes.
A very quick post on how to create an image that contains vSphere 5 ESXi Embedded with which you can use to quickly create USB sticks that have the ESXi hypervisor installed. This is not the same as creating a bootable USB key that contains the installation files to install ESXi from the USB stick. For this method please refer to this post.
Use this in your lab environment, I wouldn’t recommend doing this in production environments.
In previous versions of vSphere ESXi, it was relatively straight forward to create a bootable USB key which already contained the ESXi hypervizor. This was done by extracting the files from the ISO and then using ‘dd’ to image the directory structure to the USB stick. With vSphere ESXi 5 however, this technique is no longer possible. There is a workaround however. ESXi is installed and configured in two steps, the installation is done to a disk with a vanilla installation of ESXi without configuration. The server is then rebooted and the configuration of ESXi continues with the creation of the management network vmk0 or vmk1 (depending on your setup), hostname, DNS etc.
For this to work, we do not perform the second part, which is the configuration, but take an image of the USB key directly after the installation of the vanilla installation of ESXi without configuration. This enables us to image this vanilla installation onto as many USB sticks, i.e., servers as we like without clashes in virtual MAC addresses and the like.
What you will need: VMware Workstation, 1 USB stick, the ESXi Installable ISO file VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.0.0-469512.x86_64.iso, WinImage.
Once the stick is ready, just insert into a spare USB port on your server and ESXi will boot into the configuration screen ready for you to configure management network details.
You may need to log onto the local console once ESXi has finished booting and launch the ‘Restore Network Settings’. This will reset the vmk0 or vmk1 (depending on your setup) interface.