Accessing Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) from SSH

This article provides information on how to access Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) from an SSH session. 

We may want to access the DCUI if you want to troubleshoot issues and there are no remote management tools available, such as DRAC, iLO to access the ESXi host and for the initial configuration of the Host.

Before accessing the DCUI via SSH session, it is important to note that making any changes to network settings may lead to management issues through vCenter Server, vSphere Client or SSH. Networking changes should only be made through a console session (for example through DRAC, iLO, KVM) to avoid host management issues. Changing network settings using this command may make the host unusable and can necessitate a reboot.

To access DCUI from SSH

Connect the ESXi host using putty and type the following command

# dcui

DCUI

 

DCUISSH

Press F2 and enter credentials and you are into the Direct Console.

DCUISSHPage

To Exit from DCUI just press Ctrl+C

This will be really useful to restart the management agents of ESXi host and also to view the system logs who are not aware using command line interface. 

Firewall Ports…

vCenter Server, ESXi hosts, and other network components are accessed using predetermined TCP and UDP ports.This article provides information on the ports required for VMware products.

ESXi FW Ports

ESXi Firewall

vCenter FW Ports

vCenter Firewall

Storage FW Ports

Storage Firewall

More detailed information of the ports that are being used in all the VMware Components can be found in the below link.

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1012382

Disable ESXi Shell & SSH warning for ESXi host !!!

ESXi shell and SSH are the two command line option mostly used by the VMware Administrators along with PowerCLI. ESXi Shell will be used for setting up the  initial configuration of ESXi host and during the time of  ESXi host not reachable on the network. SSH is mostly & generally used all the times by administrators. So, We will be enabling ESXi shell and SSH mostly for administrative purposes.

CMD

 

But, If you have enable SSH and ESXi shell  in your ESXi host. There will be alert always displaying the Configuration Issues (ESXi shell for the host has been enabled and SSH for the host has been enabled) under your ESXi host summary tab.

Conf

 

This annoying alert can be removed by simply changing the advanced settings of your ESXi host. Login to your vCenter server or ESXi host using vSphere client.

Shell

 

Under Configuration tab, Click on Advanced Settings -> Click on UserVars

Change the Value of “ UserVars.SuppressShellWarning” = 1 to suppress the warnings .

Click on ok. By Default ,value is 0.

Configuration issue- “Quick stats on hostname is not up-to-date” – vCenter 5.5.

When connecting to VMware vCenter Server 5.5 using the VMware vSphere Client or VMware vSphere Web Client, the Summary tab of the ESXi 5.5 host shows a yellow warning.

 Error

This issue does not occur if you connect directly to the ESXi host.

Solution:

This is a known issue in vCenter Server 5.5.

To work around this issue, add these quickStats parameters to the Advanced Settings of the vCenter Server:

    vpxd.quickStats.HostStatsCheck

    vpxd.quickStats.ConfigIssues

 To add the quickStats parameters to the Advanced Settings of the vCenter Server:

  • In the vSphere Web Client, navigate to the vCenter Server instance.
  • Select the Manage tab.
  • Select Settings > Advanced Settings.
  • Click Edit.
  • In the Key field, enter this key: vpxd.quickStats.HostStatsCheck
  • In the Value field, enter: False
  • Click Add.
  • In the Key field, enter this key: vpxd.quickStats.ConfigIssues
  • In the Value field, enter: False
  •  Click Add.
  •  Click OK.
  • Restart the vCenter Server service.

Difference between vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 and vCenter Server 5.5 on Windows OS.

vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 is reducing the dependency of Windows operating system for vCenter server Install. With vCSA 5.5 on Embedded database can manage 100 hosts and 3000 Virtual Machines. vCSA reduces lot of administrative efforts by reducing efforts needed for windows patching, software update and management of Guest OS on windows operating system. It is necessary to understand the difference between the vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 and vCenter server 5.5 installed on windows Server. 

Feature

vCenter Server Appliance 5.5

vCenter Server 5.5 on Windows
Can be Deployed   Only as a Virtual Machine Can be installed on Physical or
Virtual windows Machine
Operating System Preconfigured Linux-based
virtual machine
vCenter 5.5 requires 64 Bit OS and 64 bit DSN:
Windows Server 2012 (64 bit)
Windows Server 2008 Sp2 (64 bit)
Windows Server 2008 R2 Sp1 (64 bit)
Windows Server 2008 R2 (64 bit)
Database PostgreSQL for the embedded database
Supports Oracle Database
SQL Server 2005 (SP4) (Standard\Enterprise)
(32-bit & 64-bit)SQL Server 2008 (R2 SP2, R2 SP1) (Express\standard\Enterprise\Datacenter) (32-bit & 64-bit)

SQL Server 2012 (SP1) (Enterprise\Standard) (32-bit & 64-bit)

Oracle 11 G Release 2 (Enterprise\Standard) & Oracle 11G ONE edition (32-bit & 64-bit)

Installation Method  Deployed as a Virtual Machine using OVF or
OVA template
Need to install on top of Windows Operating System.
Hosts Per vCenter 100 Hosts with
embedded vPostgres database
1000 Hosts with Oracle Database
1000 hosts per vCenter Server
Virtual Machines Per vCenter 3,000 VM’s with
embedded vPostgres database
10,000 VM’s with Oracle Database
10,000 VM’s per vCenter Server
vCenter Linked Mode Not Supported Supported with Windows Install
vCenter Server Heartbeat Not Supported vCenter heartbeat is a windows application.
It works with Windows install vCenter server
VMware Update Manager You can’t install VUM on VCSA. Update Manager can be installed on separate windows machine to use with VCSA Supported with Windows Install
AutoDeploy Autodeploy is bundled with VCSA Should be installed as an additional package. Installation files are located in vCenter Installation DVD
Syslog Collector Syslog collector is installed by default Should be installed as an additional package. Installation files are located in vCenter Installation DVD
ESXi Dump Collector Service ESXi Dump Collector Service is installed by default Should be installed as an additional package. Installation files are located in vCenter Installation DVD
vSphere Web Client Pre-Installed with VCSA Should be installed as an additional package. Installation files are located in vCenter Installation DVD
PowerCLI Cannot be installed on vCSA Can be installed on Windows vCenter Server machine
IPV6 support IPv6 is not supported. Only supports IPV4 Both  IPv4 and IPv6 are supported

How to install Android – KitKat in VMware Workstation?

1. Download the iso file from this page – the file is called android-x86-4.4-RC1.iso

2. Then create a new VM via the Wizard and connect the ISO (VM Workstation detects the new VM as FreeBSD).

1

3. Adjust the hardware of the VM and adjust the Memory. I put mine to 1Gb of RAM as most of today’s phones uses 1 GB of RAM. Click next and use the arrows to go down to select the 4th option – Install Android Kitkat.

2

4. Select Create or modify partitions.

3

5. Then create a newprimary partition and write down the changes.

6. Then select this partition to install Android KitKat.

4

7. Chose EXT3 as file system ….

.5

8. Almost done, just validate the formatting of the media.

6

9. Validate the Read/Write possibility, otherwise you won’t be able to make any changes to this VM.

7

10.It asks you if you want to install GRUB as a boot loader. Says YES as without validating you won’t be able to boot up the system.

8

11. Let the installation Complete….

9

12.Then you’ll see a screen which shows you if you to run Android or reboot. You can go either way, but don’t forget to disconnect the ISO file before the next reboot otherwise you’ll start over again!

10

Ok, now you should see the VM booting into a configuration of Android, where you can personalize the system !!!!..

Kitkat

RVTools 3.6 released

New version of Freeware RVTools 3.6 has just been released.

RVtools is a windows .NET 2.0 application which uses the VI SDK to display information about your virtual machines and ESXi hosts. Interacting with vCenter 2.5, ESX Server 3.5, ESX Server 3i, vCenter 4.x, ESX Server 4.x, vCenter 5.0, vCenter Appliance, ESXi 5.0, vCenter 5.1, ESXi 5.1, vCenter 5.5, ESXi 5.5. RVtools is able to list information about VMs, CPU, Memory, Disks, Partitions, Network, Floppy drives, CD drives, Snapshots, VMware tools, Resource pools, Clusters, ESXi hosts, HBA’s, NIC’s, Switches, Ports, Distributed Switches, Distributed Ports, Service consoles, VM Kernels, Datastores, Multipath info and health checks. With RVtools you can disconnect the CD-ROM or floppy drives from the virtual machines and RVtools is able to update the VMware Tools installed inside each virtual machine to the latest version.

The utility allows to get some huge amount of details in single window application which has different tabs.

 It is one of the tool that every VMware Admin should have in their machine. 

Cool Updates in Version 3.6

  • New tabpage with cluster information
  • New tabpage with multipath information
  • On vInfo tabpage new fields HA Isolation response and HA restart priority
  • On vInfo tabpage new fields Cluster affinity rule information
  • On vInfo tabpage new fields connection state and suspend time
  • On vInfo tabpage new field The vSphere HA protection state for a virtual machine (DAS Protection)
  • On vInfo tabpage new field quest state.
  • On vCPU tabpage new fields Hot Add and Hot Remove information
  • On vCPU tabpage cpu/socket/cores information adapted
  • On vHost tabpage new fields VMotion support and storage VMotion support
  • On vMemory tabpage new field Hot Add
  • On vNetwork tabpage new field VM folder.
  • On vSC_VMK tabpage new field MTU
  • RVToolsSendMail: you can now also set the mail subject
  • Improved documentation for the command line options

RVtools

12 terrific updates in vSphere 5.5

VMware’s vSphere 5.5 release has a good number of enhancements and improvements that stretch across the entire stack.

Flash Read Cache

This completely new feature in vSphere 5.5 provides a mechanism for utilizing fast SSD as a Linux host swap cache or to provide improved read speed for a host virtual disk.

Application HA

Also new in vSphere 5.5 is policy-based application monitoring and automatic remediation. Based on vFabric Hyperic, Application HA supports a short list of off-the-shelf applications, including Microsoft SQL Server, SharePoint, IIS, and the Apache Web Server, and makes it possible to attempt a restart when a failure is detected. If the application restart is unsuccessful, the feature will leverage vSphere HA to restart the VM on the same host after a predetermined amount of time. If that process fails, the VM will be restarted on another host.

Low-latency improvements

VMware has added a number of improvements at both the VM and hypervisor level to help improve overall latency. At the VM level, this consists of a single setting to indicate to vSphere the sensitivity to latency. For high-sensitivity applications, the underlying hypervisor can do things like bypass the CPU scheduling algorithms and dedicate one or more CPU sockets exclusively to a single VM. Additional actions include reserving memory for latency-sensitive VMs and disabling networking features, such as coalescing and LRO vNIC support for predictable network response.

62TB virtual machine disks

The 2TB limit on VM disks is starting to pinch. With vSphere 5.5, the maximum size for VMDK files increases all the way up to 62TB. Why that particular number, you might ask? VMware settled on something smaller than 64TB to allow room for snapshots and any other required services while staying under a 64TB volume size. Existing VMDK files will have to be offline in order to be expanded.

AHCI support

One of the limitations of previous versions of VMware virtual machines was the small number of virtual devices supported. The vSphere 5.5 release introduces Virtual Hardware 10, which adds SATA-based virtual device nodes via AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) support. AHCI support is required for OS X guests going forward due to Apple’s elimination of support for IDE devices. It also makes it possible to connect up to 120 devices per VM.

Support for new graphics devices

Virtual Hardware 10 adds support for a number of new graphic capabilities — first up, both AMD and Intel GPUs. Included in this update is the ability to vMotion a VM between disparate hardware platforms, including disparate GPU support. 

Storage tagging

In really large data centers, it can be a challenge to identify the appropriate class of storage for a specific purpose. For Example, you can create  a new VM Storage Policy with the name Print Server being. This creates a new policy that can be applied to all new virtual machines needing storage for a print server, making storage provisioning much simpler.

Improved LACP support

LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol) allows you to aggregate the bandwidth of multiple physical NICs. Whereas vSphere 5.1 supported only one LACP group per distributed switch, severely limiting your aggregation options, vSphere 5.5 supports up to 64. Plus, you can now save LACP configurations as templates to use on other hosts, and you can draw on 22 different hashing algorithms  to distribute load across links.

Port mirroring

Sometimes it becomes necessary to capture the packets going across the network to track down a problem. The latest version of vSphere includes an enhanced version of the open source packet analyzer tcpdump and a number of options for mirroring ports to capture traffic in a variety of places. You can capture packets from virtual NICs, virtual switches, and uplinks at the host level as well.

Traffic filtering

Moving network traffic from host A to host B in a virtual network now resembles what you would expect to see on a physical network with sophisticated switches. The vSphere 5.5 distributed switch now includes the ability to shape and direct Layer 3 network traffic using the Differentiated Services Code Point field in the IP packet header. It’s also known as DiffServ and acts like the access control list feature found on many high-end physical switches. Individual rules can be configured on a distributed switch to handle specific types of traffic in order to provide a higher quality of service when necessary.

vCenter Server improvements

The vSphere Web Client has seen a number of enhancements in this release. Many reflect user feedback, such as the “10 most recent objects” list shown in the screenshot. Other improvements to the user experience include the new drag-and-drop support and the ability to filter search results for large installations.

The vCenter Server Appliance, meanwhile, gets a scalability boost. Previous versions supported a limited number of hosts and VMs, but these limits have been increased to 500 hosts and up to 5,000 VMs.

VMware has also poured a good deal of effort into making vCenter Single Sign-On simpler to install and easier to scale across multiple vCenter Server instances. Version 5.5 will even include a suite of diagnostic tools

Multiple point-in-time replicas

Previous versions of vSphere Replication kept only the most recent copy of a virtual machine. Version 5.5 can keep up to 24 historical snapshots. You could retain one replica per day for 24 days, or one per hour for 24 hours — however you want to slice it. Recovery always draws on the most recent copy, but from there, you can use the snapshot manager to revert to any other point in time.

What’s new in vSphere 5.5 !!

There’s a lot that’s new in this release, and they’ve addressed many of the vSphere 5.1 SSO issues. So if you skipped vSphere 5.1 for production environments, then get ready for the vSphere 5.5.

Applications

  • vSphere Big Data Extensions – Optimize Hadoop workloads and extend project Serengeti
  • Pivotal and VMware vSphere – Building PaaS on-Premises
  • Latest chip set support – Intel E5 V2, Intel Atom C2000
  • Open Stack – Delivering architecture choices

Performance and Scale

  • 2x in configuration maximums
  • Up to 62TB VMDKs
  • Low latency application configuration 31% latency improvement
  • 320 pCPUs, 4TB RAM, 16 NUMA nodes, 4096 vCPUs
  • 4GB ESXi minimum RAM (e.g. for labs)

vSphere App HA

  • Detect and recover from application or OS failure
  • Supports most common packages apps (Exchange, SQL, Oracle, SharePoint, etc.)
  • vCloud Extensibility – APIs and ecosystem
  • Deployed as two virtual appliances
  • Tier 1 application protection at scale

vSphere Flash Read Cache

  • Virtualized flash resource managed just like CPU and memory
  • Per-VM hypervisor based read caching using server flash
  • Compatible with vMotion, DRS and HA
  • Accelerates performance for mission critical apps by up to 2x
  • Enables efficient use of server flash in virtual environments
  • Fully transparent to VMs

vSphere Big Data Extensions

  • Elastic scaling
  • Easy to use interface
  • Enhanced HA/FT leveraging vSphere
  • Higher cluster utilization

vSphere Replication

  • Still 15 minute RPO
  • Multiple point in time copies
  • Multiple replication appliances per vCenter
  • Support storage vMotion and storage DRS

vSphere Data Protection

  • 4x greater scalability – Advanced SKU (more $$)
  • Agent-based application awareness of Exchange and SQL – Advanced SKU only 
  • Direct recovery – can recover VMs without vCenter
  • Restore individual VMDKs
  • Can restore with a different VADP appliance
  • 6x faster recovery
  • 4x more storage efficient
  • Managed from vSphere web client

vCenter Server 5.5

  • SSO: Improved user experience. SSO no longer requires SQL database.
  • vCenter Appliance supports 500 vSphere hosts and 5000 VMs
  • vCenter Databases – Official support for database clustering – Oracle RAC, SQL cluster
  • Added support for OS X vSphere web client
  • VM console access, deploy OVF templates

Best of the Rest

  • Hardware version 10
  • MSCS support enhancements
  • VMFS heap enhancements
  • Enhanced LACP support
  • Enhanced SR-IOV
  • QoS tagging
  • Packet capture
  • 40G support
  • Support “reliable memory”
  • Hot-plug SSD PCie Devices
  • Expanded vGPU and GP-GPU support

License SKUs

  • Enterprise: Adds big data extensions and reliable memory
  • Enterprise Plus: Flash read cache and App HA

vSphere 5.5 Support Lifecycle

  • Normal 5 year support would end 2016 (based on vSphere 5 starting in 2011)
  • Support will be extended to 2018
  • Only applies to ESXi and vCenter 5.5

VMware High Availability & High availability: What’s the difference?

When marketing and virtualization collide, the result can foster confusion, especially when similar terms are used to describe both a general technology and a specific product.

In general IT terms, high availability refers to a system or strategy whose primary goal is to maintain up-time. Then there’s VMware High Availability (HA), a specific technology in vSphere that automatically restarts a virtual machine (VM) in the event of a hardware or software failure.

Defining what exactly constitutes high availability can be subjective. The general consensus is high availability is achieved when a system has up-time of 99.999% — a total of 5.39 minutes of downtime, either by design or by accident, over the course of a year. This vaunted “five nines” of availability typically means certain measures have been implemented to construct a near-bulletproof system.

VMware HA, introduced in 2006, works when several hosts and their respective VMs are placed in a cluster. One host, which is selected as the master host, monitors the network heartbeats of the other hosts in the cluster to detect any downtime. If the master host finds another host in the cluster is not responding, or if the VMs on a host power off, the master host will restart those VMs on another host in the cluster.

Systems using VMware HA are reactive and will experience some downtime following the failure of a host or an application before the VMs are restarted. System administrators who need to keep business-critical applications running without interruption should consider VMware Fault Tolerance (FT), a high-availability feature introduced in 2009. A system with FT enabled has identical VMs running on separate host servers; if the primary host server fails, the virtual machine will continue to run without interruption on the secondary server.

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