Hitachi Data Systems’ Bloggers Day #HDSday

Hitachi Data Systems

It's 6am here in San Jose, as you can tell I have a little jetlag. If you regularly follow me on Twitter, you'll probably know that I am over here in the US for the Hitachi Data Systems' Bloggers day which takes place tomorrow and Wednesday.

I'll be joined today by a small list of other bloggers, some of wish I've met before at the Gestalt IT Tech Field Days. So I'm really looking forward to catching up with them and meeting the other guys who I have only chatted to on twitter. Here is a list of the attendees for you to follow.

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VMware ESXi 4 Log Files

Like most VI Admins, I've been using VMware ESXi quite a lot more lately and I'm slowly coming across things that are different to how they are in ESX. Log files being one of these differences.

With the absence of the Service Console, ESXi presents a slightly different architecture. If you haven't yet read The Architecture of VMware ESXi, I would recommend having a good read through.

Differences between ESX and ESXi logs

Here is the common log file structure in ESX (Source)

  • /var/log/vmware/hostd.log – ESX Service Log
  • var/log/vmware/vpx/vpxa.log – vSphere Client Agent Logs
  • /var/log/vmware/aam – VMware HA Logs
  • /var/logvmkernel – VMKernel Messages
  • /var/log/vmkwarning – VMKernel Warnings
  • /var/log/messages – Service Console Log

Here is the common log file structure in ESXi

  • /var/log/vmware/hostd.log – ESXi Service Log
  • var/log/vmware/vpx/vpxa.log – vCenter Agent Logs
  • /var/log/messages – Syslog Log (Combines vmkernel & hostd)

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Using vMA As Your ESXi Syslog Server

This is something I did a while ago, but it came to my attention that people didn't; a) Know that it's recommended to use a syslog server with ESXi b) You could use an application built in to vMA called vilogger.

Although it is stated in The Architecture of VMware ESXi…..

Because the in-memory file system does not persist when the power is shut down, log files do not survive a reboot. ESXi has the ability to configure a remote syslog server, enabling you to save all log information on an external system. 

…..it is not a well known fact. So that is partly the reason for writing the post. The other reason is to introduce you to vilogger, which is part of the vMA. Of course you can use which ever syslog server you wish,  if you plan to use your own, be sure to checkout Managing VMware ESXi page #68 to view the configuration steps.

I'm not going to take you through the steps of installing vMA, nor am I going to tell you all about what the vMA (vSphere Manage Assistant) does. If you want to read more about that please find the relevant links in the Sources section at the bottom of the page. But I am going to take you through the steps I took to use vMA as my ESXi syslog server.

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VMware Certified Advanced Professional – VCAP

Today VMware finally officially announced their new Exam set named;  VMware Certified Advanced Professional – VCAP

The VCAP Certification will sit in between VCP and VCDX

The VCAP comprises of two Exams:

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vSphere 4 – System Resource Allocation/Reservation

resource reservationsThis is more of a discussion point than a informational Post. I've been trying to find out about what is the best practice for an ESX Hosts System Resource Reservation (Not Resource Pools). What values to use? And should I dive deeper and apply/remove reservations from System Resource Pools (See Screenshot).

I've been reading through these two VMware documents but nothing obvious seems to jump out at me.

It mostly just explains about how Shares/Reservations/Limits and standard Resource Pooling, which I think I already understand well.

Before I moved over to ESXi, it was part of my build document to Reserve 800MB of RAM for the COS. Do I need to reserve anything now? What do you do?

  1. Do you just set a simple CPU and Memory System Resource Reservation? If so what values and why?
  2. Do you dive deeper into the Advanced System Resource Pool Reservations? If so, Why?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Note: I am not talking about Resource Pools. I'm talking about The System Resource Allocation section on the Config tab of an ESX Host. (As seen below)

 

Resource Allocation

 

Global Knowledge – Going The Xtra Mile

VMware Xtra

A few weeks back, Global Knowledge announced a new service called VMware Xtra. VMware Xtra is the brainchild of awarding winning Instructor Scott Vessey. Having already met Scott and regularly chatting with him I had a feeling that this will be good.

VMware Xtra is a selection of online resources to help you get the most from your VMware training courses. The online repository allows users access to support tools such as technical papers, industry experts and video tutorials.

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PowerCLI: A Simple VM Backup Script

Just lately I've been doing a lot of work in a Lab environment. Some of the work I'm doing is quite important to me so I decided to workout a way I can backup my VM's onto a backup device. To my surprise this was pretty simple to do.

Here is how I decided the script should function:

  1. Send myself an email telling me that the backup process has started
  2. Import the name of the VM to be backed up and the destination datastore from a CSV file
  3. Create a Snapshot of the VM I want to backup
  4. Create a Clone'd VM from the Snapshot
    • Place the backup onto my Backup Datastore
    • Name the backup <master VM name>-<date stamp>
    • Thin provision the backup
  5. Remove the Snapshot from the master VM
  6. Send myself an email telling me that the backup process has completed

So that's what I wanted to do, this is what I ended up with.

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Bedtime Reading – EMC’s ISM Book

ISMbookIf you're a virtualisation enthusiast like myself, you'll understand that we don't only need to know about virtualisation. We also need to know about all of the other IT areas that are incorporated into our virtual environment. Storage is a massive part of this. Whether your using iSCSI, FC SAN, NFS or even local storage, it's crucial to make sure you have your storage set up correctly to get the best performance, reliability and availability for your data. Storage isn't one of my strengths. Even though I know the basics, I feel, and have also been told that this can hold me back in becoming a better virtualisation specialist.

Fortunately whilst visiting EMC at the GestalIT TechFieldDay earlier in April, each of the delegates, including myself were given a copy of EMC's book; Information, Storage And Management.

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TechFieldDay Boston – Brilliant!

As you probably all know, at the start of the month I was invited over to Boston to take part in the 2nd ever GestaltIT TechFieldDay. For those of you who didn’t know, or who aren’t sure what the TechFieldDays are about, first read my earlier blog and then read below to find out how I got on.

TechFieldDay Deletgates

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vBeers – May 6th

Definition of vBeers

 vBeers is an informal get together of virtualisation enthusiasts and professionals to meet and discuss all things IT.  It's a great opportunity to network, learn and meet like minded people.

vbeers

When? Where?

So now you know what it is, it’s time for me to let you know the when and the where.The first vBeers evening will be held on:

May 6th6pm till late at The Pavillion End, Watling Street – MAP

This is straight after the London VMUG. For those of you who regularly attend the VMUG, vBeers will be help at the same pub as the usual after-VMUG beers.

The next vBeers evening

June 3rd  – 6pm till late at The Cittie Of Yorke, Holborn – MAP

Please feel free to copy this post and post it on your own Blogs, The more places it's posted, the more people will know about it.