PowerCLI: Reconfiguring NTP Servers on ESX Hosts

Just lately I’ve been creating a lot of PowerCLI scripts to help configure various aspects of out ESX environment. We’ve just implemented a new NTP Server to our network. So I was given the job to update all of our ESX Hosts. I didn’t fancy spending all morning manually changing them, so I set to work in creating a PowerCLI script to do the business. Here is the result.

$Cluster = "<cluster name>" 
$Hosts = Get-Cluster $Cluster | Get-VMHost 
ForEach ($Host in $Hosts) 
{ 
Remove-VmHostNtpServer -NtpServer "<old ntp server>" -VMHost $Host | Out-Null  
Add-VmHostNtpServer -NtpServer "<new ntp server>" -VMHost $Host | Out-Null 
Get-VmHostService -VMHost $Host | Where-Object {$_.key -eq "ntpd"} | Restart-VMHostService -Confirm:$false | Out-Null 
write "NTP Server was changed on $Host" 
}

VMware Hot-Add Memory/CPU Support

I've been asked to take a look into the Hot-Add Memory and CPU features which are available with vSphere 4. The concept seems pretty useful and straight forward, but what isn't is the list of Operating Systems that support these features. There doesn't seem to be a definitive list. Either that, or I should have gone to Specsavers?

I've had a look around and I can find two KB articles from VMware: Here, and Here which talk about using Hot-Add on Linux OS's. Another VMware document focused on Microsoft: VMware Guest/Host OS Compatibility Guide There is Jason Boche's great article which he researched and tested himself, And Daniel Eason's summary on Hot-Add.

From these different articles I have taken all of the information and produced the following table which in theory should be all of the OS's which support VMware Hot-Add Memory/CPU.

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Restarting Management Agents in VMware ESX/ESXi

VMware have just released a new KB article 1003490 which focuses on restarting the Management agents on both ESX and ESXi Hosts from Version 3 through to Version 4.

Restarting the management agents on Hosts is often used when you are unable to connect your ESX/ESXi Hosts to vCenter or you can’t connect directly to your Hosts using the VMware Infrastructure Client.

The KB Article explains other symptoms which can be resolved by restarting the agents, it also be contains two video’s, one for ESX and one for ESXi (Shown below)

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VMware VMDirectPath I/O

What is VMware VMDirectPath I/O?

VMDirectPath allows guest operating systems to directly access an I/O device, bypassing the virtualization layer. This direct path, or passthrough can improve performance for VMware ESX systems that utilize high-speed I/O devices, such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet. A single VM can connect to up to two passthrough devices.

VMDirectPath I/O is experimentally supported for the following Storage and Network I/O devices:

  • QLogic QLA25xx 8 Gb Fibre Channel adapters
  • Emulex LPe12000 8 Gb Fibre Channel adapters
  • LSI 3442e-R and 3801e (1068 chip based) 3 Gb SAS adapters
  • Intel 82598 10 Gigabit Ethernet controller
  • Broadcom 57710 and 57711 10 Gigabit Ethernet controllers

VMware regularly adds support for new hardware. Check your hardware’s support at the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide portal.

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Deploying ESX3.5 using EDA v0.87 inside VMware Workstation 6.5

As a follow-on to my post Deploying ESX3.5 using EDA v0.85 inside VMware Workstation 6.5 i have decided to document the steps i took to deploy an ESX 3.5 host using the new version of EDA, v0.87.

The actual software versions i used are;

  • VMware Workstation 6.5.2 build-156735
  • EDA v0.87 Note: Not the patched version
  • VMware ESX 3.5 Update 3 build-123630

There is quite a big difference in how the EDA v0.87 VM is created to how it was created using EDA v0.85, so I have documented my steps below.

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VMware ESX 3 and Virtual Center 2 Logs

I really could have done with this information when i had An error occurred during configuration of the HA Agent on the host rather than having to trawl through loads of discussions on the VMware Communities.

There are now two really useful documents which can be found at the VIOPS website, one is called ESX 3 Server Log Map and the other is VirtualCentre 2 Logs. These documents contain all the information you need to know about VMware ESX 3.* and vCenter 2.* log files and their locations.

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Deploying ESX3.5 using EDA v0.85 inside VMware Workstation 6.5

VMware Workstation is becoming a very good friend of mine since I installed it a few months ago, it makes testing soo much easier and quicker which pleases my boss as I’m not installing and uninstalling software on Production VM’s.

My interest in deploying ESX using EDA (ESX Deployment Application) came about when I received a new project which was to create a new ESX cluster with 6 hosts. I know 6 hosts isn’t a lot but I wasn’t sure whether it would have been quicker for me to manually install the ESX hosts one by one or to setup a scripted install which would install them all automatically for me.

If any of you listen to the VMware Communities Roundtable Podcasts you may remember a discussion that was had in Episode #32 about “How many ESX Servers do you have to install before automation is really worth it?” The discussion was inconclusive so I decided that I was going to install my new host manually, but as part of my own development I download EDA to see what functionality was on offer.

This is not a step-by-step guide; it just provides you with the settings I used and the solutions to problems i found when setting up my Test deployment environment.

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An error occurred during configuration of the HA Agent on the host

A funny thing happened whilst configuring a new ESX3.5 cluster, part of my process was to enable HA on my hosts.

After checking the “Enable VMware HA” box and making a few changes to the default settings my Hosts begin to Configure HA.

All seemed to be going well until I was presented with this;

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VMotion Performance

I’ll set the scene a little….

I’m working late, I’ve just installed Update Manager and I‘m going to run my first updates. Like all new systems, I’m not always confident so I decided “Out of hours” would be the best time to try.

I hit “Remediate” on my first Host then sat back, cup of tea in hand and watch to see what happens….The Host’s VM’s were slowly migrated off 2 at a time onto other Hosts.

“It’s gonna be a long night” I thought to myself. So whilst I was going through my Hosts one at time, I also fired up Google and tried to find out if there was anyway I could speed up the VMotion process. There didn’t seem to be any article or blog posts (that I could find) about improving VMotion Performance so I created a new Servicedesk Job for myself to investigate this further.

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Microsoft NLB Error when trying to Cluster Cloned VM’s

My Job; Cluster 2 VM’s using Microsoft NLB, a simple 2 minute job right? Wrong!

Why? Because my 2nd VM was a clone of the 1st.

Once I had my newly created VM’s configured I proceeded to fire up the NLB Manager tool and began to create my new cluster. Cluster configured…first VM added to the cluster, no problems.

Then I tried to add the 2nd VM… I was confronted with this Error:

“No interfaces are available for installing a new cluster”


Great there goes my lunch break!

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