How to upgrade a Tintri VMstore

Tintri has been selling their VMstore arrays since early 2011 and the upgrade process has become as simple as the array is to manage. More important is that the upgrade to the Tintri OS can be completed without interruption to your virtualization environment. The upgrade process upgrades the software on a single controller at a time handling failover of the controllers through the process to ensure its always available to your hosts.

I’ve put together this short post on the upgrade process to help others with the upgrade or showcase how easy the upgrade is if you are evaluating Tintri as a storage platform. Before you start the upgrade process you will need to log into the Tintri support portal and download the upgrade version that you will be installing.

To get things started you will need to log into the management web page for your Tintri VMstore. Once there locate the settings menu from the top right and click on it.

tintriup-1

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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How to use VMware VisualEsxtop

Esxtop is a powerful tool and you should be using it, if you are not then start today. It just got easier to use this powerful tool with the release of VisualEsxtop as a VMware Fling from the labs team. This allows admins an easier to understand and work with method to using esxtop. The new Gui that was added allows for people of all technical levels to use the tool and gain insight into their environments.

Upon launching VisualEsxtop you will see some very familiar looking details from the CLI version of the tool. You will be greeted with the same summary at the top as seen with the original tool. The summary gives you a high level view based on the tab that you are looking at. Below I am showing an example showing CPU related details.

summary

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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Building new whitebox servers for VMware home lab

I have needed to get some more capacity added to the home lab for a while now, but have taken my time. I have been gathering up enterprise servers that are a couple of generations old in the past. These have always done me well but have limited amount of memory in them and upgrading them was pretty expensive, not to mention they are very loud. So I decided to go another direction and build a couple of whitebox servers based on common desktop parts. I’ve been watching for sales and collecting the parts to build them. After finding a couple of good deals lately I finally had all the parts need to build two hosts.

Another thing that I had to make a decision on was if I needed a server class motherboard or would a desktop one work. After thinking about it I came to the decision that a desktop motherboard would work just fine and probably save me a few dollars in the build cost. I almost never use the out of band management access to the enterprise servers that I had at this point and since they are just down in the basement, I can easily run down and access them if needed.

I also did not need the ability to use VT-d so a server board was even less important. I simple needed hosts with good power and more RAM. It really comes down to memory for me, I needed the ability to run more VMs so that I don’t have to turn things on and off.

The Why:

This type of lab is important to me for personal learning and testing out configurations for the customer designs that I work on during the days. I have access to a sweet lab at work but it’s just better to have your own lab that you are free to do what you want, and my poor bandwidth at the house makes remote access kind of poor.

I want the ability to run a View environment, vCloud suite and my various other tools all at once. With these new hosts I will be able to dedicate one of my older servers as the management host and a pair of the older servers as hosts for VMware View. This will leave the two new hosts to run vCloud suite and other tools on.

The How:

I have set the hosts up to boot from the USB sticks and plan to use part of the 60GB SSD drives for host cache. The remaining disk space will be used for VMs. Each host will have 32GB of RAM, this is the max that the motherboard will support with its 4 slots. There is an onboard 1GB network connection that is a Realtek 8111E according to the specs. I can report that after loading vSphere 5.1 the network card was recognized and worked without issue. I had a couple of gigabit network cards laying around that I installed for a second connection in each of the hosts.

The case came with a fan included, but I added another for better cooling and air flow. Even with multiple fans running the hosts are very quiet since there are no spinning disks in them and put out very little heat. I could have probably reduced the noise and heat a bit more by choosing a fan less power supply but they are over $100 and was not a priority for me.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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What tools should a VMware team have to monitor their environment

I have worked with a bunch of customers over the last couple of years and there has been a very common theme. The overwhelming majority of IT shops have not invested in any tools to help them manage and monitor their VMware environments. Sure they have vCenter and you can get some great info out of it, but unless something is going really wrong or has already you might not have a clue. You are essentially driving blind.

This guy does not monitor his vCenter server

This guy does not monitor his vCenter server

VMware event monitoring

To me the first thing that I think shops should invest in if they don’t already have a tool capable of doing this is, get something that can properly monitor your VMware environment. To be clear of what I mean by this is a tool that will scrape logs and watch for events in your environment and notify you about issues. How it notifies you can vary, whether you want a ticket created or simply an email.

Without something actively monitoring your hosts and vCenter you could be missing some very serious issues. I’ve seen customers that had paths down and did not know about them. You could also be exceeding some threshold that could be pointing to something more serious. Basically there are a ton of small and large issues that you could discover with proper monitoring.

There are products from several companies like Veeam, Quest software. One of the tools that has impressed me a few times was the SCOM plugin called Veeam Management Pack. This is a very powerful tool that can be used by Windows shops that already have SCOM deployed and are monitoring. The plugin contains a ton of items that it monitors for and maybe the most extensive set of items that I have see out of any tool so far.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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How to create custom firewall rules on ESXi 5.0

While studying for the VCAP5-DCD I was working on Objective 7.2 that covers the built in firewall for ESXi 5.0. I needed to be comfortable with creating custom rules on the host firewall. At first I figured well there must be a ESXCLI command that I can just use to add and remove these rules much like other tasks. Well there certainly is a ESXCLI Firewall command but it does not go as far as allowing you to create and remove the rules from the firewall. The command is more about turning on and off already defined rules and refreshing the rule set.

The rule list is kept in an XML file located here – /etc/vmware/firewall/service.xml

The first thing that you should do is create a backup copy of this file to protect yourself from any mistakes. Then you are going to need to change the permissions on the file to allow you to edit the file. You can do this with CHMOD or WinSCP if that is easier for you.

Once you have changed the permissions you should edit the file with a plain text editor, use what is available and you are comfortable with. The most common options available for me usually are VI or WinSCP again. I tend to lean towards the second one because its easier for me. Once you open the service.xml file you will see a rule list something like the one listed below. The two sections at the end in bold are an example that I placed in for my practice.

<ConfigRoot>
<service id=’0000′>
<id>serviceName</id>
<rule id = ‘0000’>
<direction>inbound</direction>
<protocol>tcp</protocol>
<porttype>dst</porttype>
<port>80</port>
</rule>
<rule id=’0001′>
<direction>inbound</direction>
<protocol>tcp</protocol>
<porttype>src</porttype>
<port>
<begin>1020</begin>
<end>1050</end>
</port>
</rule>
<enabled>true</enabled>
<required>false</required>
</service>

<service id=”0050″>
    <id>suhr1</id>
    <rule id=’0000′>
      <direction>outbound</direction>
      <protocol>tcp</protocol>
      <porttype>src</porttype>
      <port>2100</port>
    </rule>
    <enabled>true</enabled>
    <required>false</required>
  </service>
<service id=”0051″>
    <id>suhr2</id>
    <rule id=’0000′>
      <direction>inbound</direction>
      <protocol>tcp</protocol>
      <porttype>dst</porttype>
      <port>2000</port>
    </rule>
    <enabled>true</enabled>
    <required>false</required>
  </service>

</ConfigRoot>

Simply create your new rule(s) by following the same format that is shown above or in the file. Once completed save the file and then you will need to enable the new rule set.

To refresh the rules and make them take effect you need to use the following command. Now is the time for the ESXCLI command line fun that you have been waiting for.

# esxcli network firewall refresh

Now that you have refreshed the rules you should have a look and make sure they are showing up and there are a couple of ways to accomplish this.

The first way to check is to fire up the vSphere client and select the host that you modified the rules on. Go to the configuration tab and then security profile option under the software section. You can see from the image below that I created two different rules one incoming and one outgoing rule.

The second way to verify that your new rules are showing up is to use the command line and ESXCLI. You need to use the command listed below to display the rule set.

# esxcli network firewall rule set list

One thing that I came across while researching different ways to add rules  was there a lot of discussion on how to make the rules persist after a host reboot.  If you use this method you should do some testing, but in my home lab using this method the rules did persist host reboots.  I used the method listed in the follow VMware KB.

 

 

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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