Update vCenter vCSA 7.0 Update 2 failed

Last night I spend several hours to update the vCenter in my lab from vCSA 7.0. Update 1d to vCSA 7.0 Update 2. The update kept going wrong. I’ve staged the update package first. After staging the update was completed I started the installation. This result in the following error: Exception occured in postInstallHook.

So I tried Resume.

This seems so far so good. Continue.

Continue the Installation.

Same error again! Let’s retry Resume and Cancel in the next step.

Cancel.

Now I get stuck. So I quit to get some sleep :-).

This morning I woke up and received an e-mail from WIlliam Lam that he has written a new blog post about an error during upgrade to vCenter vCSA 7.0 Update 2, “Exception occurred in install precheck phase“. This is a different error than the error that I experienced yesterday but I have seen this error also during one of the attemps.

Here an overview of the errors during my attempts:

  • Exception occured in postInstallHook
    This error appears after staging the update and install it later
  • Exception occurred in install precheck phase
    This error appears after stage and install at the same time.

Now let’s try the workaround from William Lam that should result in a working vCenter vCSA 7.0 Update 2.

  • Create a snapshot of the vCSA
  • Stage the update file
  • SSH to the vCSA
  • Move to folder /etc/applmgmt/appliance/
  • Remove the file software_update_state.conf
  • Move to folder /usr/lib/applmgmt/support/scripts
  • Run script ./software-packages.py install –url –acceptEulas

The update ended with an PostgreSQL error and vCenter is not working after the update. I rebooted the appliance one more time without any result.

Conclusion:

vCenter vCSA 7.0 Update 2 is in my opinion not ready for deployment at this moment. I rollback the snapshot and decide to wait for an updated version of vCenter vCSA 7.0 Update 2.

I will update this blog post later.

Introducing VMware vSAN 7.0 U2

Today Duncan Epping posted this video “Introducing VMware vSAN 7.0 U2”.

Since the introduction, I am a fan of VMware vSAN Native File Services. With the introduction of vSAN 7.0 Update 2, vSAN Native File Services is also available for stretched vSAN clusters. How cool is that!

vSphere 7.0 Update 2 is already available for download.

Complete vSAN 7.0 Update 2release notes here.

You can find the vSphere 7.0 Update 2 release notes here.

Source: Yellow-bricks.com

VM Summary Customize View

Recently I updated the vCenter appliance in my lab to version vCSA 7.0 update 1d. After updating I was clicking a bit through the environment. By coincidence I saw the following button when I opened the summary page of a VM.

Curious as I am, I clicked the button. But first the regular view below. This view, which everyone knows, is now called the classic view.

After clicking the “Swith To New View” button an customize view will appear.

What immediately stands out is the fresh widget view. It’s a small change, but I’m a fan of it right away. I been wondering ever since when this view was introduced. I searched the VMware documentation but I cannot find it. It is certainly not available in versions prior to vCenter vCSA 7. Maybe it has been available for a while but I haven’t noticed it before.

If you still prefer the classic view. You can just as easily switch back to your old trusted view.

You can easily adjust what you want to see and what not. If you know when this customize view was introduced, please leave a comment.

Early notification of vmhba resets in a vSAN cluster

In the past years, I have experienced some vSAN performance issues due to faulty hardware. The goal was to know at an early stage whether there are hardware errors that can lead to performance degradation.

One problem I’ve seen a few times are hardware related problems that lead to a high latency, outstanding io’s and congestions at the backend storage. I was wondering if it is possible to spot these kinds of issues earlier? I started searching in vRealize Log Insight.

I found some events afterwards during my research. In the period prior to the performance issues, many “Power-on Reset on vmhba” messages had been written in the vobd.log and vmkernel.log. At first it was a few events per day, but as time passed the frequency with which the events came increasingly higher and finally led to a very poor vSAN performance.

In the following steps I will explain how you can define an email alert in vRealize Log Insight that helps to detect this kind of issues at an early stage. Now it’s possbile to take early action to avoid potential problems.

Step 1. Create a query that search for “Power-on Reset occurred on vmhba” events

Step 2. Create an alert from the query

Step 3. Define the alert

Add Skyline to Customer Connect

Recently VMware has rebranded their customer portal “My VMware” to “Customer Connect”. One of the cool new features which I really appreciate is the app launcher. For example, you can add Skyline to the app launcher, so you can go directly to Skyline (SSO) after logging into Customer Connect. Follow the next steps to add Skyline to VMware apps.

Step1. Login to VMware Customer Connect and select the Customize button

Step2. Select VMware Apps and add VMware Skyline to My Apps

Step 3. Done. You have added VMware Skyline to VMware apps.

When you go back to home or log in again the next time you will see VMware Skyline in your apps and you can go directly to Skyline.

Cannot install the vCenter Server agent(HA) service. Unknown installer error

It had been a while since I have installed a non HCI VMware cluster. After installing the ESXi hosts, the updates and multipath software were installed. The storage team has made the datastores available. Nothing special. After installation, the host has been taken out of maintenance mode. Then there was an error “Error: “Cannot install the vCenter Server agent service. Unknown installer error“. See VMware KB #2083945 and VMware KB #2056299.

I have followed all standard procedures to resolve HA errors:

  • Right click the affected host. Reconfigure for vSphere HA
  • Reconfigure HA on a cluster level.  Turn Off vSphere HA and  Turn ON vSphere HA
  • Disconnect and reconnect the affected host

After performing the above options, the issue was still unsolved. Next I wanted to know if the HA (fdm) agent is installed or not. I ssh to the host and ran the following command:

Esxcli software vib list | grep fdm

The output was empty. I realized that the HA agent was not installed. In VMware KB #2056299 is written about a vib dependency. That made me realize that besides the VMware updates also multipath software was installed, Dell EMC PowerPath/VE. This turned me out to the right direction to solve the problem.

Solution:

  • Ssh to the affected host(in maintenance mode)
  • Esxcli software vib list or Esxcli software vib list | grep power. The results are three vibs: powerpath.plugin.esx, powerpath.cim.esx and powerpath.lib.esx
  • Uninstall the three vibs running the following command: esxcli software vib remove –vibname=powerpath.plugin.esx –vibname=powerpath.cim.esx –vibname=powerpath.lib.esx
  • Reboot the host
  • Esxcli software vib list | grep power The output shlould be empty.
  • Leaving maintenance mode. The HA agent is now installing. After the HA agent is installed enter maintenance mode again
  • Esxcli software vib list | grep fdm The output should be similar like: vmware-fdm VMware VMwareCertified 2021-02-16
  • Reinstall Dell EMC PowerPath/VE. Installing the same version PowerPath/VE gave a VUM error even after restarting the host. To resolve this error I’ve installed a newer version of PowerPath/VE. This version was installed succesful.
  • Leaving maintenance mode

In my case the PowerPath/VE vibs dependecies were causing the issue. Another dependency can also cause this problem. I am aware that looking for the right dependence can be a difficult job. I hope I have at least been able to help you start the search in the right direction.

Disable ESXi host alerts in vROPS when a host is in maintenance mode

For many years I have used Veeam Management Pack for VMware to monitor the VMware environments. After the switch to vROPS I never really missed it. However, whenever an ESXi host was in maintenance, there was an option that I could not find in vROPS. It’s such a small thing that makes you think “I still have to do something with that”. What it is? If an ESXi host is in maintenance, I don’t want any alerts from this host.

Recently, a colleague pointed me to an article that offers a solution to this problem. It is actually a very simple solution that only needs to be configured once. Because the article was already several years old, I have rewritten it based on the most recent version vROPS 8.2.x.

Use Case – An administrator wants to disable alerts on a ESXi host which has been put into maintenance mode in vCenter. This to avoid any alerts from this ESXi host inside of vROPS, while the admin wants to continue to collect metrics from this ESXi host.
Goal – Do this automatically without any manual changes in vROPS. As soon as a host is in maintenance mode in vCenter, vROPS should be aware of this and should stop alerting on the host in vROPS.
Solution – This can be achieved by a one time configuration using Custom Groups and Policy.

1- Create a new policy in vROPS named “Policy ESXi Hosts in maintenance mode”. This policy can be created under the default policy.
Go to Administration -> Policies -> Add
2- Select the default policy and click on the Add symbol to add a new policy.
3- Give it a name and description as shown below.

4- Click on Alerts and Symptom Definitions and filter the list of alerts with only host system alerts. We want a filtered list so that we can disable these in one go.

5- Now press CTRL + A on the keyboard to select all of them, you can also click on Actions -> Select All.
6- Click on Actions – > State -> Disable 

7- Click on Save and now you can see he new policy under your default policy.

8- Create a new custom group named “Group ESXi hosts in maintenance mode”. Use the following criteria to dynamically add members to this custom group based on ESXi host property which vROPS collects every few minutes.
Click on Environment -> Custom Groups -> Click on Add to add a new custom group.
Make sure to select the policy “Policy ESXi hosts in maintenance mode” which we created earlier.

9- Click on Preview to see if you are getting results. If there is any host in maintenance mode it will be displayed in the preview.

10 – Finally go into Administration -> Policies -> Active Policies and set the newly created policy at priority 1.

Now, as soon as you will put an ESXi host into maintenance mode in vCenter, within a few minutes it will be discovered as a ESXi host in maintenance in vROPS. It will be added to the new created custom group “Group ESXi hosts in maintenance mode”. Now all the alerts from this ESXi hosts are disabled. You will not see any alerts as long it is in maintenance mode.

Once the ESXi host is out of maintenance mode it will be moved out of the custom group.
Do note, that if you add any new alerts in the future, related to hosts, you would need to make sure that they are disabled in this policy.

Reference: Vxpresss blogspot

VMware vCLS datastore selection

Recently I noticed that after updating a VMware vCenter from 6.7 to 7.0 u1 the new VMware vCLS VMs where placed on datastores that are not meant for VMs.

Starting with vSphere 7.0 Update 1, vSphere Cluster Services (vCLS) is enabled by default and runs in all vSphere clusters.
vCLS ensures that if vCenter Server becomes unavailable, cluster services remain available to maintain the resources and health of the workloads that run in the clusters.

The datastore for vCLS VMs is automatically selected based on ranking all the datastores connected to the hosts inside the cluster. A datastore is more likely to be selected if there are hosts in the cluster with free reserved DRS slots connected to the datastore. The algorithm tries to place vCLS VMs in a shared datastore if possible before selecting a local datastore. A datastore with more free space is preferred and the algorithm tries not to place more than one vCLS VM on the same datastore. You can only change the datastore of vCLS VMs after they are deployed and powered on.

You can perform a storage vMotion to migrate vCLS VMs to a different datastore.

If you want to move vCLS VMs to a different datastore or attach a different storage policy, you can reconfigure vCLS VMs. A warning message is displayed when you perform this operation.

Conclusion: If datastores used that are intended for e.g. repository purposes, it is possible that the vCLS files are placed on that datastores. You can tag vCLS VMs or attach custom attributes if you want to group them separately.

Reference: docs.vmware.com

VMware vSphere 7 first impression

Yesterday VMware released Version 7 of vSphere. After downloading the necessary software, I built a nested vSAN 7 cluster in my lab. This is not a deep technical blogpost just my first impression.

vSphere logo 2020


I chose a fresh installation instead of an upgrade. This has to do with the available resources in my lab. The installation was simple as usual.

  • Deploy 4 nested ESXi hosts
  • Install vCSA
  • Create a cluster
  • Configure networks
  • Create vSAN
  • Deploy vm’s
  • Setup Skyline
  • Setup Backup

Deploying nested ESXi

When creating the nested ESXi hosts don’t forget to check the CPU option “Expose hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS”. This is required if you want a working nested ESXi.

CPU hardware assisted virtualization enabled

After spinning up the ESXi installation and just before the deployment, the following warning occurred.

CPU Warning during ESXi setup

This message is due to the obsolete CPU type of the physical ESXi host. Because it’s a lab we ignore the warning and start the deployment. After a few minutes the installation is finished.

Hooray!

vCenter vCSA

The first thing that is noticed, is the absence of the vSphere-Client. Nobody used the vSphere-client either. So only the native HTML5 client is available.

vSphere UI

vSAN cluster

I’ve manually created a local vSAN cluster. I prefer this method because it gives more flexibility than the Cluster quickstart wizard. There are a lot of new and enhanced features.

New:

  • Simplify Cluster Updates with vSphere Lifecycle Manager
  • Native File Services for vSAN

Enhancements:

  • Integrated DRS awareness of Stretched Cluster configurations
  • Immediate repair operation after a vSAN Witness Host is replaced
  • Stretched Cluster I/O redirect based on an imbalance of capacity across sites
  • Accurate VM level space reporting across vCenter UI for vSAN powered VMs
  • Improved Memory reporting for ongoing optimization
  • Visibility of vSphere Replication objects in vSAN capacity views
  • Support for larger capacity devices
  • Native support for planned and unplanned maintenance with NVMe hotplug
  • Removal of Eager Zero Thick (EZT) requirement for shared disk in vSAN
  • The complete information can be found here:

The vSAN capacity monitoring has also been greatly improved. It gives a good overview of the current and historical capacity usage.

Capacity Usage
Capacity History

Virtual Machines

Windows 2019 is now available as Guest OS.

Windows 2019 available as Guest OS

Skyline

Skyline gives a daily overview of security findings and recommendation from VMware environments. That is why I immediately added this cluster to Skyline. I wonder if there are any findings and recommendations after the first collection of data.

Update Skyline April 4, 2020

vSphere7 lab is connected to VMware Skyline. Already two recommendations. Good to see it works.

vSphere 7 connected to VMware Skyline

Backup

The vm’s in this environment must also be backed up. I have choose to use the backup solution from Veeam, V10. I don’t know if Veeam currently supports vSphere 7, but it works in my lab.

Conclusion

VMware has released multiple enhancements and improvements with vSphere 7. vSphere 7 remains the strong engine of a modern SDDC. In addition to vSphere7, VMware has also released VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 and VMware Tanzu. There is a lot to read and learn about all the new and enhanced VMware products.

What’s new in vSAN 7.0

Yesterday, VMware announced the following new software .

  • VMware vSphere 7.0
  • VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0
  • VMware Tanzu

With the announcement of VMware vSphere 7.0, vSAN 7.0 has also become available.

An overview of new and enhanced functions.

New:

  • Simplify Cluster Updates with vSphere Lifecycle Manager
  • Native File Services for vSAN
  • Deploy More Modern Applications on vSAN with Enhanced Cloud Native Storage

Enhancements:

  • Integrated DRS awareness of Stretched Cluster configurations
  • Immediate repair operation after a vSAN Witness Host is replaced
  • Stretched Cluster I/O redirect based on an imbalance of capacity across sites
  • Accurate VM level space reporting across vCenter UI for vSAN powered VMs
  • Improved Memory reporting for ongoing optimization
  • Visibility of vSphere Replication objects in vSAN capacity views
  • Support for larger capacity devices
  • Native support for planned and unplanned maintenance with NVMe hotplug
  • Removal of Eager Zero Thick (EZT) requirement for shared disk in vSAN

The complete information can be found here:

https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2020/03/10/announcing-vsan-7/

What’s new in vSAN 7.0