XenApp on vSphere

September 29, 2009

If you’re a XenApp user making a virtualization platform choice you need to read the new Project VRC paper that came out last week NOW.  The paper is titled, "VRC, VSI and Clocks Reviewed".  The results have shifted dramatically since the January findings.  Instead of trailing, ESX 4.0 now has a 4% advantage over XenServer 5.5 in the number of Terminal Services users it can support on a server. 

You can read the VRC whitepaper here (requires free registration).

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New vSphere patches released

September 28, 2009

New patches have been released for vSphere:

VMware ESX 4.0, Patch Release ESX400-200909001 (1014078)
Date Published: 9/25/2009
VMware ESXi 4.0, Patch Release ESXi400-200909001 (1014079)
Date Published: 9/25/2009
VMware ESX 4.0, Patch Release and Cisco Nexus 1000V Virtual Ethernet Module (1014080)
Date Published: 9/25/2009
VMware ESXi 4.0, Patch Release and Cisco Nexus 1000V Virtual Ethernet Module (1014081)
Date Published: 9/25/2009
VMware ESX 4.0, Patch ESX400-200909401-BG: Updates vmx and vmkernel64 (1014019)
Date Published: 9/25/2009
VMware ESX 4.0, Patch ESX400-200909402-BG: Updates VMware Tools (1014020)
Date Published: 9/25/2009
VMware ESX 4.0, Patch ESX400-200909403-BG: Updates bnx2x driver (1014021)
Date Published: 9/25/2009
VMware ESX 4.0, Patch ESX400-200909404-BG: Updates ixgbe driver (1014022)
Date Published: 9/25/2009
VMware ESX 4.0, Patch ESX400-200909405-BG: Updates perftools (1014023)
Date Published: 9/25/2009
VMware ESX 4.0, Patch ESX400-200909406-BG: Updates hpsa driver (1014024)


P2V Essentials

September 18, 2009

Last week I had to p2v some HP Proliant servers to virtual machines with VMware Converter. An important process after the p2v migration is cleaning up unnecessary drivers and software from the guest operating system. The following tools come in handy to support you in this proces:

The HP Proliant Support Pack Cleaner v1.1 from Guillermo Musumeci. This free tool removes all the HP Proliant Support Pack software from virtualized servers.

HPPSPCleaner11A

The HP Proliant Support Pack Cleaner v1.1 can be downloaded here.

The HP Physical to Virtual Cleaner Utility. This batch file semi-automates the removal of management agents and drivers from a virtual server that has been virtualized. This batch file assumes relatively newer versions of the HP support software, and may not completely remove all the software for older versions.

The HP Physical to Virtual Cleaner Utility can be found here.


vSphere Upgrade and Microsoft ISA Server

September 7, 2009

I am currently upgrading a customer environment to vSphere 4. All hosts are already running on ESXi 4 and I am in the process of upgrading the VMware tools on all virtual machines. Yesterday I run into a problem with a Microsoft ISA Server virtual machine after upgrading the VMware Tools to vSphere level.

The Windows eventlog reported the following events:

– Timeout (30000 milliseconds) waiting for the MSSQL$MSFW service to connect.
– The Microsoft Firewall service depends on the MSSQL$MSFW service which failed to start because of the following error: The service did not respond to the start or control request in a timely fashion.

For some reason the SQL server instance would not start without reporting any additional error information.

Lucky enough, I found this recent blog article. Apparently the VMware Tools 3.5 and older tools use the msvcp71.dll, and VMware Tools 4.0 does not. When upgrading the VMWare 3.5 tools, the VMware 3.5 tools are uninstalled along with msvcp71.dll from both the VMWare Tools directory and the Windows System32 directory.

SQL server relies on msvcp71.dll and won’t start because the dll has gone. Restoring the msvcp71.dll to the system32 fixed the problem!

In this case Microsoft ISA server was affected, but any program relying on msvcp71.dll could be affected.


vSphere Volume Grow does not work

September 4, 2009

One of the new features of vSphere is the ability to grow a volume/extent. This way you don’t have to add additional extends/lun’s to grow a datastore.

However trying to a grow a volume with vCenter on a ESXi 4 host didn’t work for me. If I clicked on the "Increase" button, a pop-up for Increase DataStore Capacity came up, but it was blank.

image

vCenter reports 110 GB on the device and 100 GB capacity on the extent. So vCenter did recognize the increase of the lun, but I wasn’t able to use the ability to grow an extent.

After some research I found out that the ability to grow a volume/extent does work on new created datastores on vSphere.

However under some circumstances a datastore upgraded from ESX 3.5 cannot be not be grown from the vSphere client through vCenter. But when you connect directly to the ESX host it can be upgraded! vCenter now presents the datastore as expandable.

image

Not possible when done via vCenter. How strange?