This category contains 29 posts

Atlantis USX 3.5 – What’s New?

I’m excited to announce the latest enhancements to the Atlantis USX product following the release of Atlantis USX 3.5.

Before we delve too deep in what’s new in USX 3.5, let’s take a brief recap on some of the innovative features from our previous releases.

We delivered USX 2.2 back in February 2015 where we delivered XenServer Support and LDAP authentication, USX 3.0 followed in August 2015 with support for VMware VVOLs, Volume Level Snapshot and Replication and the release of Atlantis Insight. USX 3.1 gave us deduplication aware stretched cluster and also multi-site disaster recovery in October 2015. Two-node clusters were enabled in USX 3.1.2 as well as enhancements to SnapClone for workspace in January 2016.

Some of these features were first in the industry features, for example, support for VMware VVOLs on a hyperconverged platform, all-flash hyperconverged before it became an industry standard and deduplication-aware stretched cluster using the Teleport technology that we pioneered in 2014 and released with USX 2.0.


Figure 1. Consistent Innovation

The feature richness and consistent innovation is something that we strive to continue to deliver with USX 3.5 coupled with additional stability and operationally ready feature set.

Let’s focus on the key focus areas with this latest release and what makes it different from the previous versions. Three main areas with the USX 3.5 enhancements are Simplify, Solidify and Optimize. These areas are targeted to provide a better user experience for both administrators and end users.


XenServer 7 – USX 3.5 adds support for running USX on XenServer 7, in addition to vSphere 6.2.

Health Checks – We’ve added the ability to perform system health checks at any time, this is of course useful when planning for either a new installation or an upgrade of USX. Of course you can also run a health check on your USX environment at any time to make sure that everything is functioning as it should. This great feature helps identify any configuration issues prior to deployment of volumes. The tool will give pass or fail results for each of the test items, however, not all failed items prevent you from continuing your deployment, these will be flagged as a warning. For example, Internet Accessibility is not a requirement for USX, it is used to upload Insight logs or check for USX updates.


Figure 2. Health Checks

Operational Simplicity – enhancing operational simplicity, making things easier to do. On-demand SnapClone has been added to the USX user interface (UI), this enables the ability to create a full SnapClone – essentially a full backup of the contents of an in-memory volume to disk before any maintenance is done on that volume. This helps with maintenance of your environment where you need to quickly take a hypervisor host down for maintenance, the ability to instantly do a SnapClone through the UI makes this an easier method than in previous versions.


Figure 3. On-demand and scheduled SnapClones

Simple Maintenance Mode – We’ve also added the ability to perform maintenance mode for Simple Volumes. Simple Volumes can be located on local storage to present the memory from that hypervisor as a high performance in-memory volume for your virtual machine workloads such as VDI desktops. You can now enable maintenance mode using the Atlantis USX Manager UI or the REST API on simple volumes. What this does is that it will migrate the volume from one host to another, enabling you to put the source host into maintenance mode to perform any maintenance operations. This works with both VMware and Citrix hypervisors.


Figure 4. Simple Maintenance Mode


Alerting is an area that has also been improved. We have added new alerts to highlight utilization of the backing disk that a volume uses. Additionally, alerts to highlight snapshot utilization is also now available. Alerts can be easily accessed using the Alerts menu in the GUI and are designed to be non-invasive however due to their nature, highly visible within the Alerts menu in the USX web UI for quick access.

Disaster Recovery for Simple Hybrid Volumes

Although this is now a new feature in USX 3.5, we’ve actually been deploying this in some of our larger customers for a few years now and the automation and workflows are now being exposed into the USX 3.5 UI. This feature enables simple hybrid volumes to be replicated by underlying storage with replication enabled technology, coupled with the automation and workflows, simple hybrid volumes can be recovered at the DR site with volume objects like the export IP addresses and volume identities being changed to suit the environment at the DR site.


Plugin Framework is now a key feature to the USX capabilities. It is an additional framework which is integrated into the USX Web UI. It allows for the importing and running of Atlantis and community created plugins written in Python that enhance the functionality of USX. Plugins such as guest VM operations or guest VM query capabilities. These plugins enable guest-side operations such as restart of all VMs within a USX volume, or query the DNS-name of all guest VMs residing in a USX volume.


Figure 5. USX Plugin Framework

I hope you’ll agree that the plugin framework will provide an additional level of capabilities on top of the great capabilities we already have for automation and management such as the USX REST API and USX PowerShell Cmdlets.

Reduced Resource Requirements for volume container memory – we’ve decreased the metadata memory requirements by 40%. In previous versions the amount of memory assigned to metadata was a percentage of the volume export size before data reduction, for example, if you exported a volume of 1TB in size, the amount of memory reserved for metadata would then be 50GB, with USX 3.5 this is now reduced down to just 30GB, whilst still providing the same great performance and data reduction capabilities with fewer memory resources requirements. USX 3.5 optimizations also include the reduction of local flash storage required for the performance tier when using hybrid volumes, we’ve decreased the flash storage requirements by 95%!

In addition to reducing the metadata resource and local flash requirements, we’ve also reduced the amount of storage required for SnapClone space by 50%. This reduction reduces the SnapClone storage footprint on the underlying local or shared storage enabling you to use less storage for running USX.


ROBO to support vSphere Essentials.

ROBO use case is now even more cost effective with USX 3.5. This enhancement enables the use of the VMware vSphere Essentials licensing model for customers who prefer the VMware hypervisor over Citrix XenServer. This is a great option for remote and branch offices with three or less servers that wish to enable high performance, data reduction aware storage for remote sites.


Atlantis USX 3.5 is available now from the Atlantis Portal. Download now and let me know what you think of the new capabilities.


Release notes and online documentation are available here.

Virtual Volumes – Explained with Carousels, Horses and Unicorns – in pictures


[Tongue in cheek. There’s no World Cup on today so I made this. Please don’t take this too seriously.]

A SAN is like a carousel

  • It provides capacity (just like a carousel) and performance (when the carousel goes around).
  • People ride on static horses bolted to the carousel and try to enjoy the ride.
  • This horse is like a LUN. The horse does not know who is riding it.
  • Everybody travels at the same speed unless you happen to sit on the outside where things go a little bit faster.
  • The speed is relative to how fast the carousel rotates and how quickly you can get to an outside seat (if you want that extra speed and wind through your hair).
  • If you want to guarantee an outside seat, you can get to the front of the queue by having a FastPass+.
  • Get a bigger motor, or increase the speed, the carousel…

View original post 168 more words

Atlantis USX Data Services with Hyper-Converged Architecture – Web Scale, Virtual Volumes & In-line Deduplication


Atlantis USX has some very cool technology which I’ve had the pleasure to ‘play’ with over the past few weeks. In these series of posts I’ll attempt to cover the various technologies within the Atlantis USX stack.

The key technologies in the Atlantis USX In-Memory Data Services are:

  1. Inline IO and Data de-duplication
  2. Content aware IO processing
  3. Compression
  4. Fast Clone
  5. Storage Policies
  6. Thin Provisioning

This post focuses on Inline IO and Data de-duplication (or just dedupe for short) and Fast Clone and how these rich data services enable a hyper converged solution to outperform enterprise storage arrays.

Why would you use Atlantis USX?

The best way to approach this is to look at some use cases: Crazy as it seems, Atlantis USX delivers All-Flash Array performance but also gives five times the capacity of traditional storage arrays. Doing this with 100% software, no hardware appliances, and true software defined storage…

View original post 2,457 more words

Cannot decrypt password in sysprep after upgrading vCenter Server Appliance

A really quick post.

I’ve recently just upgraded from vCSA 5.1 to vCSA 5.5 link and found that Horizon View can no longer complete sysprep customization due to the public key being changed when you upgrade to a new appliance.

cannot decrypt password

Just edit the customization specification to fix. Hope this helps.

#VMwarePEX parties

Quick post to list all the parties and tweetups that are happening this week.

Day Time Venue Details
Saturday 1830 – late vBeers @ Ri Ra Irish Pub, Mandalay Bay ResortThe Shoppes at Mandalay Bay Place, 3930 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV http://www.vbeers.org/2013/02/20/vbeers-las-vegas-nv-saturday-23-february-2013/



Sunday 2100 – late Community Tweetup @ The Burger Bar
Mandalay Place is located in the mall between Mandalay Bay & Luxor.
3930 Las Vegas Boulevard S. #121A
Las Vegas Nevada. 89119
Not sponsored by organised by @CommsNinja, @hansdeleenheer and @mjbrender



Monday 1700 – 1900 Welcome Reception @ Solutions Exchange Kick off VMware Partner Exchange 2013 at the Welcome Reception. The Weclome Reception is a great opportunity to explore the Solutions Exchange, check out cool products and solutions, and interact with peers, partners and VMware teams. Sponsored by EMC.
Signup for #VMwareTweetup, taking place 5:30-7:30 in the Hang Space of the Solutions Exchange (same time as the Welcome Reception) to network with peers and to learn about VMware Link, the new social collaboration platform for VMware Partners! Later, you can also join the #PEXTweetup, an “unofficial” offsite sponsored tweetup for the community.
1900 – late Unofficial Tweetup @ Nine Fine Irishmen at New York, New York, 3790 S Las Vegas Blvd – Las Vegas, NV Unofficial Official Community Tweetup sponsored by HP Storage and Veeam.http://twtvite.com/CommunityAtPEX
Tuesday 1630 – 1830 Hall Crawl @ Solutions Exchange Grab a drink and discover new technologies while connecting with new partners and other attendees in the Solutions Exchange!
1730 – 1930 vExpert and VCDX Reception @ Ri Ra Irish Pub, Mandalay Bay Resort vExperts and VCDXes by invitation only.
1900 – 2200 VMware Partner Awards reception & dinner.
Breakers, South Convention Center Level 2.
Invitation only.
Wednesday 1930 – 1030 Partner Appreciation Party Join your colleagues at the Partner Appreciation Lounge in the Mandalay Ballroom! The evening will kick off with the club sounds of DJ Mike Attack and a lounge-style buffet, beer and wine. Then later, Third Eye Blind will take the stage with hits like “Jumper”, “Semi-Charmed Life”, and “Graduate”!

2012 in review

2012 summary of VMwire, not too bad although I did not blog much this year. Will try to do more in 2013. Thanks for visiting.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 250,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 5 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

VMworld 2010 pre-registration is now open


Power CLI Quick Start Guide


1.1 Overview

The VI Toolkit (for Windows) provides a powerful yet simple command line interface for task based management of the VMware Infrastructure platform. Windows Administrators can easily manage and deploy the VMware Infrastructure with a familiar, simple to use command line interface.

The VI Toolkit (for Windows) is a tool that system administrators and developers can use to automate the management of VMware Virtual Infrastructure. With the VI Toolkit (for Windows), many tedious and time-consuming tasks can be completely automated in as little as one line of code.

The VI Toolkit (for Windows) takes advantage of Windows PowerShell and .NET to bring unprecedented ease of management and automation to the Virtual Infrastructure platform. The VI Toolkit (for Windows) provides 125 PowerShell cmdlets that cover all aspects of Virtual Infrastructure management.
Some common tasks that the VI Toolkit (for Windows) can be used to perform include:

  • Snapshoting all virtual machines.
  • Disconnecting or removing all Floppy or CD-ROM drives from all Virtual Machines.
  • Large-scale cloning of templates.
  • Moving large numbers of Virtual Machines from one virtual switch to another.
  • Migrating large numbers of Virtual Machines between ESX hosts.
  • Reports and monitoring across the entire Virtual Infrastructure.

1.2 System Requirements

The following platforms are supported by the VI Toolkit (for Windows):

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 (32 or 64 bit)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) (32 or 64 bit)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 (SP1) (32 or 64 bit)
  • Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) (32 or 64 bit)
  • Microsoft Windows Vista (32 or 64 bit)

1.3 Virtual Infrastructure Platforms Supported

The following platform combinations are supported by the VI Toolkit (for Windows):

  • Management of ESX 3.0.2 using Virtual Center 2.5
  • Management of ESX 3.5 using Virtual Center 2.5
  • Management of ESXi 3.5 using Virtual Center 2.5
  • Direct management of ESX 3.0.2
  • Direct management of ESX 3.5
  • Direct management of ESXi 3.5

1.4 Pre-requisites

The following tables lists the software pre-requisites and the location to each installer. This guide focuses on the most recent releases as dated 05/02/2009, which are Windows PowerShell V2 CTP3, VI Toolkit (for Windows) version 1.5 and the VI Toolkit Community Extensions build 46896.

Windows PowerShell
VI Toolkit (for Windows)
VI Toolkit Community Extensions

Another pre-requisite that is also recommended for general administration is Notepad++. This is used to create and edit scripts that can be run with the VI Toolkit.
Notepad++ can be downloaded from here.


There are three installation tasks that need to be performed before you can start using the VI-Toolkit to manage a VMware Infrastructure.

Windows PowerShell. The VI Toolkit 1.5 (for Windows) requires Microsoft PowerShell V2 CTP 3.

Please download it from here.

VI Toolkit (for Windows). Can be downloaded from here.

VI Toolkit Community Extensions. Can be downloaded from here.


The procedures below go through in detail how to get the VI-Toolkit up and running after installation. Once installed the icon below will be available on the Windows Desktop.


Before launching the VMware VI Toolkit application, you must first set up your PowerShell profile. The new desktop shortcut does two things for you: it starts powershell with the VI Toolkit snapin loaded and it runs a script which modifies the look of the Powershell window and adds some cool extra functions. If you want to have the same functionality in your normal Powershell window and your scripts, you have to copy some stuff to your Powershell profile.

3.1 First, set up your profile:

1. Start a normal PowerShell Window by navigating to Start | All Programs | Windows PowerShell V2 (CTP3) | Windows PowerShell V2 (CTP3), the following will be launched:

2. Run the following command:
Test-Path $profile

3. If it returned True then you already have a profile file. If it returned False, then proceed to the next step.

4. Create a profile file by running:
New-Item $profile –ItemType File

5. If an error is returned then create a WindowsPowerShell directory under your My Documents folder and then repeat step 4.

3.2 Adding the snap-in:

1. Open your profile by running:
Invoke-Item $profile

2. Add the following line to the profile file to load the snap-in:
Add-PSSnapIn VMware.VimAutomation.Core -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

3.3 Adding undocumented functions

1. Open the file C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\VIToolkitForWindows\Scripts\Initialize-VIToolkitEnvironment.ps1

2. Copy the following Function Blocks to your profile file:
Get-VICommand, New-DatastoreDrive, New-VIInventoryDrive, Get-VIToolkitDocumentation, Get-VIToolkitCommunity

If the steps were performed successfully, then your profile will be present in the folder structure C:\Documents and Settings\Hugo Phan\My Documents\WindowsPowerShell/ Microsoft.PowerShell_profile.ps1

And its contents will look something like this:

3.4 Enabling the execution of scripts

The Set-ExecutionPolicy changes the user preference for the execution policy of the shell. The execution policy is part of the security strategy of Windows PowerShell. It determines whether you can load configuration files (including your Windows PowerShell profile) and run scripts, and it determines which scripts, if any, must be digitally signed before they will run.

You need to set the execution policy to unrestricted using the below cmdlet

set-executionpolicy unrestricted

will return the current execution policy.

The default ExecutionPolicy is Restricted. Unrestricted is unnecessarily risky.

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSignedis more secure and works for VI Toolkit 1.5.

3.5 Loading the Community Extensions

The VI Toolkit for Windows Community Extensions is a PowerShell module designed to work with the VI Toolkit for Windows.

1. Download and extract the package and then copy the coreModule folder to the root of C:

2. Open up a Windows PowerShell session and then type in the following command
Import-Module “c:\coreModule\viToolkitExtensions.psm1”

Now you are ready to start using the VI Toolit by either logging into a vCenter environment or by launching scripts.

Next London VMUG 14th May 2009

Details here.

Upgrading to VMware vSphere using the vSphere Host Update Utility

There are three ways in which to upgrade to VMware vSphere, these are

  1. VMware Update Manager
  2. vSphere Host Update Utility 4.0, and
  3. a clean install of vSphere

This post goes through the upgrade process using the vSphere Host Update Utility 4.0. A 10 minute video is available here:

The vSphere Host Update Utility 4.0 is an application that is installed as part of the vSphere vCenter installation package.

  1. To start the upgrade process, launch the vSphere Host Update Utility.
  2. The vSphere Host Update Utility will request confirmation to connect to the VMware patch repository.
  3. Add the host to the update utility by clicking on Host | Add Host.
  4. Type in the FQDN or IP address of the host you wish to upgrade then click on Add.
  5. Now click on the Upgrade button to start the upgrade wizard.
  6. Next browse to the location of your vSphere ISO file then click on Next.
  7. Read and accept the license agreement to continue.
  8. Enter the root credentials then press Next.
  9. The Host compatibility check will perform some checks and will allow the upgrade to continue if the host meets the criteria.
  10. Next select a local datastore (recommended) to store the disk file for the Console OS and also select the disk size.
  11. Leave all other settings on default and finish the Wizard
  12. Once complete, reconnect the host in vCenter to install the new vCenter Agent.

My lab is bigger than your lab

Following on from vinternals post about what a terrabyte of RAM looked like. Here is what 2Tb of RAM looks like installed in 16 BL685c servers.

VMware has just launched vSphere

Heres a picture of the box…

Disaster Recovery just got "sESXi"

Notes on using vRanger Pro & ESXi for Disaster Recovery

Just succesffully proved vRanger Pro to restore backups taken from Production (ESX 3.5, vRanger Pro on physical with VCB) to infrastructure in DR (ESXi 3.5, vRanger Pro on a VM, non VCB). All this from provisioning DR Infrastructure (ESXi Servers, Storage, vCenter VM) within 1 hour. Silver tier recovery just got “sESXi”!

Infrastructure at Production

  • ESX 3.5 Update 2 on BL460C
  • Storage on 400Gb LUNs presented by IBM SVC
  • VC 2.5 Update 2 VM
  • vRanger & VCB 1.5 & vRanger Pro VCB Plugin 3.0 on Physical DL380 G5 Server
  • VM backups on TSM and replicated to DR

Infrastructure at DR

  • ESXi Update 3 USB on DL360 G5
  • Local Storage
  • VC 2.5 Update 4 VM
  • vRanger & VCB 1.5 & vRanger Pro VCB Plugin 3.0 on W2K3 SP2 VM + .Net Framework 2.0 SP1

Important points to note

If you are running vRanger in a virtual machine to restore workloads backed up by vRanger installed on a physical host, with either traditional LAN based backup or VCB based backup. It is important that the software is installed in the correct order and all the necessary software is installed to enable vRanger to restore both types of backup. If the physical vRanger server performed a backup of a workload using the VCB framework, then you will not be able to restore that workload using another vRanger server unless the VCB framework is also installed. For example, you wish to perform a restore at a DR site.

The correct installation order is

  • Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0 SP1
  • vRanger Pro
  • vRanger Pro VCB Integration module
  • vRanger Pro file-level plugin
  • VMware VCB Framework


  • Install software in the correct order
  • Create the same directory structure for the VM at the DR site as it is at Production. E.g, if the vRanger working directory is D:\vRanger_Backups at Production, then keep the same directory structure for the vRanger server at DR.
  • This will enable you to first restore the vRanger database (esxRanger.mdb), which then populates the Restore table saving valuable time and effort because you will no longer need to use “Restore from Info”
  • If restoring a vRanger backup that was taken using the VCB framework, then the vRanger server at DR will also need to have the VCB framework installed.

What to do when an ESX host shows not responding?

Steps in order to progress

1) Login in the affected ESX server using Putty

2) service mgmt-vmware restart

If this doesn’t work then the vmware-hostd daemon has to be killed.

3) ps -e | grep vmware-hostd
Look for the process_id associated with vmware-hostd

4) kill process_id
i.e. if 3) returned:
32470 ? 00:01:12 vmware-hostd
the command would be:
kill 32470

5) service mgmt-vmware status
if the service is started use
service mgmt-vmware restart
if it’s stopped use:
service mgmt-vmware start

Using ESX 3.5 vmware-vim-cmd instead of vimsh


For those of you familiar with vimsh and used it to configure a scripted install of ESX 3.5, have you noticed that the following error would occur when launching commands using /usr/bin/vimsh ?

/usr/bin/vimsh -n -e “hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter

Alternatively, by using the wrapper developed for ESX 3.5, vmware-vim-cmd, you would get the following:

/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/maintenance_mode_enter

The two commands are detailed in the Xtravirt whitepapers, vimsh and vimsh for ESX 3.5. I would recommend at least having a quick browse to see what can be achieved with these commands. Using vmware-vim-cmd in conjunction with esxcfg- can achieve some very interesting results, especially if you love to create the perfect KickStart build script.

If only it is possible to launch vmware-vim-cmd commands using the RCLI just as esxcfg- can be launched using vicfg-. Anyone have an idea?

A few more examples

Refreshing the network settings
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/net/refresh

Refreshing the storage
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/storage/refresh

The all important enabling VMotion
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/vmotion/vnic_set vmk0

And how about setting vSwitch1 to use Route Based on IP Hash?
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/net/vswitch_setpolicy –nicteaming-policy=loadbalance_ip vSwitch1

And setting vSwitch0 to use Route Based on the Originating Virtual PortID. (vSwitch0 has two portgroups using VLAN tagging, 1 for Service Console and 1 for VMotion, we wish to use active-passive nic teaming policy)

Set active vmnic0 and standby vmnic2 for Service Console
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/net/portgroup_set –nicorderpolicy-active=vmnic0 vSwitch0 ‘Service Console’
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/net/portgroup_set –nicorderpolicy-standby=vmnic2 vSwitch0 ‘Service Console’

Set active vmnic2 and standby vmnic0 for VMkernel network
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/net/portgroup_set –nicorderpolicy-active=vmnic2 vSwitch0 VMkernel
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/net/portgroup_set –nicorderpolicy-standby=vmnic0 vSwitch0 VMkernel

Set vSwitch overide load balancing policy
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/net/portgroup_set –nicteaming-policy=loadbalance_srcid vSwitch0 ‘Service Console’
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/net/portgroup_set –nicteaming-policy=loadbalance_srcid vSwitch0 VMkernel

Let’s not forget to refresh our network settings
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/net/refresh
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd internalsvc/refresh_network

A Comparison of HyperVisors

You can download the zip file from here.

Changing the HBA queue depths on multiple dual-port adapters

Following on from optimising the storage for a customer, I decided to change the queue depths for the Emulex HBAs. The ESX hosts, each have two dual-port Emulex HBAs, the diagram below shows the setup..

Only two ports are in use at the moment, vmhba2 and vmhba5. To determine the instance numbers that are in use by the Emulex ESX driver – lpfc (use qla2300 or similar for QLogic), the output of the ls command includes a number for each active HBA in the system. We can then use the instance numbers to find the active adapters.

Emulex example

# ls /proc/scsi/lpfc

You should get an output similar to

Because of the way that the host is connected and from the picture above, I already know that 2 and 5 are the active adapters. Running the following command will confirm

# cat /proc/scsi/lpfc/2

this shows that vmhba2 is currently active and has 4-paths to the SAN

Running the same command on vmhba3 gives the following as expected

Running the command on vmhba5 is also as expected.

Now that we’ve found out which vmhbas are active, we can use the output to find out which lpfc# options we should add to the lpfc_740.o module to configure the queue length.

The outputs of # cat /proc/scsi/lpfc/2 and # cat /proc/scsi/lpfc/5, give us lpfc numbers of 0 and 3 respectively. So to configure a queue depth of 64 for lpfc2 and lpfc5 we run the following command

# esxcfg-module -s “lpfc0_lun_queue_depth=64 lpfc3_lun_queue_depth=64” lpfc_740


# esxcfg-boot -b

The -q option shows configured options for a module.

Now we reboot for the changes to take effect.

In this case, both HBAs lpfc0 (vmhba2) and lpfc3 (vmhba5) will have their queue depths set to 64.

With this post and the previous one, we have set manual load balancing for the LUNs over eight different paths and also changed the queue depth to 64, this should keep the ESX optimised for now, maybe I’ll change the VMFS3.MaxHeapSizeMB to 64 for good measure!

Using RCLI to configure multiple ESX 3.5 Servers

So I deal with a lot of customers on my travels, and most have multiple ESX servers and occasionally I receive the odd request for a change here and there. As you all know, with VI3 and the latest releases of ESX3.5/VC2.5, almost all configuration and most advanced configuration can be achieved by using the VI Client connected to VirtualCenter.

But how long would it take to add another portgroup to a vSwitch with a VLAN ID for 20 ESX servers? Quite long, if you have the time or the patience then thats fine, but I’d rather script something like that.

By using the VMware RCLI (Remote Client) you can send vicfg- (esxcfg) commands to both ESX 3.5 and ESXi hosts. Originally it was intended for use with ESXi due to it having limited service console but the functionality is also provided for ESX 3.5 hosts.

The VMware Infrastructure Remote CLI provides a command-line interface for datacenter management from a remote server. This interface is fully supported on VMware ESXi 3.5 and experimental for VMware ESX 3.5. Storage VMotion is a feature that lets you migrate a virtual machine from one datastore to another. It is used by executing the svmotion command from the Remote CLI. The svmotion command, unlike other RCLI commands, is fully supported for VMware ESX 3.5.

I use the RCLI with SSH access enabled, so now my RCLI acts as a service console proxy server. To send an esxcfg- command to an ESX 3.5 host, I would now log into the RCLI using SSH and then send the commands from the RCLI’s command line, or execute a .sh script on the RCLI.

So let’s use our example above…. to add another portgroup to vSwitch1, with a VLAN ID of 123 onto 20 ESX 3.5 hosts.

  1. Log into the RCLI using SSH
  2. the command line command is very similar to esxcfg- but we use vicfg- instead
  3. vicfg-vswitch –add-pg=VLAN123 vSwitch1 –server= –username=root –password=
  4. Now you can either repeat the above for all 20 servers or script it into a shell script..
  5. Create a new script on the RCLI called addportgroup.sh

#Script to add portgroup with vlad id of 123 to vSwitch1 onto all ESX 3.5 hosts

# Assign port groups to vSwitch1
vicfg-vswitch –add-pg=VLAN123 vSwitch1 –server= –username=root –password=

vicfg-vswitch –add-pg=VLAN123 vSwitch1 –server= –username=root –password=

vicfg-vswitch –add-pg=VLAN123 vSwitch1 –server= –username=root –password=

#Assign vlan ids to port groups
vicfg-vswitch -v 123 -p VLAN123 vSwitch1 –server= –username=root –password=

vicfg-vswitch -v 123 -p VLAN123 vSwitch1 –server= –username=root –password=

vicfg-vswitch -v 123 -p VLAN123 vSwitch1 –server= –username=root –password=

Now save, make the script executable and then launch it, and the script will create the new portgroups on all the servers in a couple of seconds.

Until Round Robin is here.. how to Load Balance over Active/Active Paths using scripts

Recently a customer had a few issues with having all VMs using the same path to the LUNs, this was down to putting too many workloads onto servers that were used as a proof of concept. Inadvertently, SAN problems arose so I was asked to checkover the storage.

First a little background on the infrastructure…. a number of rack servers plus a number of blade servers, hooked into two fabrics with IBM SVC as the backend. Each ESX server has two FC HBA, and each fabric switch had two connections to the SVC, therefore each ESX server has four possible paths to the LUNs. The paths were all active as shown on this pic:

As you can see the path policy is currently set to mru, most recently used path policy is best used in an active/passive configuration.


  • LUNs presented on single Storage Processor at any one time
  • No preferred path policy
  • No failback to preferred path if it returns online after failover

Since, esxcfg-mpath -l shows that we are in fact using active/active, it is best to change the policy to fixed path policy:

  • LUNs presented on multiple Storage Processors at same time
  • Failover over on NO_CONNECT
  • Preferred path policy
  • Failback to preferred path if it returns online after failover

So how do we now go about changing the policies on all our servers? Well we could use VI-Client and change each datastore to use a different path – doing this for 10 datastores per server with 20+ servers? howabout no! The alternative then would be to script it.

The script from Yellow Bricks is of particular use, as for each LUN it finds it uses a different path for each LUN. The script just sets each LUN up to use a preferred path, but obviously for default installations of ESX, you cannot use preferred path when you are using mru policy. So we must change all LUNs to use fixed path policy first.

By re-using the script form Yellow Bricks, I’ve come up with this:

# vmhbafixedpath.sh Script to rescan vmhbas on ESX 3.5 host
# Written by hugo@vmwire.com
# 21/05/2008 18:20
for PATHS in 2 4 6 8

for LUN in $(esxcfg-mpath -l | grep “has ${STPATHS} paths” | awk ‘{print $2}’)

esxcfg-mpath –lun=${LUN} -p fixed
COUNT=`expr ${COUNTER} + 1`
if [[ ${COUNTER} -gt ${STPATHS} ]]

Then use the script from Yellow Bricks, to set up the preferred paths. Now the changes do not take into effect until the HBAs are rescanned, and the Storage is refreshed. The following script rescans the HBAs

# rescanhbas.sh Script to rescan vmhbas on ESX 3.5 host
# Written by hugo@vmwire.com & nkouts
# 21/05/2008 18:50
# Assumes there is no vmhba0 and max vmhba9

for HBAS in 2 4


for HBA in $(esxcfg-info -w | grep vmhba | awk ‘{print $3}’ | grep -e ‘vmhba\+[1-9]’ -o)
esxcfg-rescan ${HBA}
COUNT=`expr ${COUNTER} + 1`
if [[ ${COUNTER} -gt ${STHBAS} ]]

And there is no known console based method to refresh the storage subsystem (anyone?) apart from using VI-Client, rebooting the ESX host or restarting the vmware management service:

service mgmt-vmware restart

UPDATE: Use /usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd to refresh the storage
/usr/bin/vmware-vim-cmd hostsvc/storage/refresh

So now we have the servers using different paths for each datastore.

It only took a couple of seconds to change the policies on each server using these scripts, obviously using these as part of a build script would be ideal for deployments where you know the SAN configuration.

VCDX: An overview

VCDX: VMware Certified Design Expert

VCDX is not a follow on from VCP and is not currently a VAC or Partner program requirement, this should be seen as an advanced Certification and is only applicable to architects who have designed and deployed enterprise environments. The Enterprise Exam is available this month. Candidates can check their skills and assess their suitability for this exam online via our Certification page : http://mylearn1.vmware.com/portals/certification/ Only those who meet these qualifications will be able to attend the exams. The Design exam is now in Beta development. We expect design submissions and presentations will begin in Q308.

The BluePrint is available now, use as a tick list… all 16 pages of it. 🙂

Here’s a summary of what I know about the VCDX over the last few days….

To attain the VCDX, one needs to achieve…

1. VCP
2. Pass the Enterprise Exam
3. Pass the Design Exam
4. Successfully pass a grilling by your peers, most likely chaps from VMware PSO on a design and implementation plan.

Now, according to my sources, the official preparation, and non-compulsory, for the Enterprise Exam is the DSA Course:

VI3: DSA v3.5
Duration 4 days
RRP £2095 p/p

It’s upto you to decide if you really need to go on the course to pass, so a read of the blueprint will probably give you a guide as to the level that you are at.

The official preparation for the Design Exam, also non compulsory are two new, unreleased courses from VMware, the first is aptly named Design Patterns (release Q3/Q4) and the second course is an unknown at the moment.