Tuesday 17 December 2013

HA Issues with VSAN Beta Refresh

With the latest release of the VSAN Beta software I decided to rebuild my VSAN nested lab.  I've always used the .ova that William Lam (Blog | Twitter) created here as it's easier than having to configure the VM's individually.  I've always kept the VM defaults of 4GB RAM and 2 x vCPU's but increase the disk sizes and added an additional NIC.

After installing and configuring ESXi and then enabling VSAN it was time to enable HA.  After trying to enable I received the following error message:

The fdm-installer.log showed the following:
fdm-installer: [47599] 2013-12-17 10:35:51: Logging to /var/run/log/fdm-installer.log
fdm-installer: [47599] 2013-12-17 10:35:51: extracting vpx-upgrade-installer/VMware-fdm-eesx-2-linux-1440532.tar.gz...
[47599] 2013-12-17 10:35:51: exec rm -f /tmp/vmware-root/ha-agentmgr/upgrade
[47599] 2013-12-17 10:35:51: status = 0
[47599] 2013-12-17 10:35:51: exec cd /tmp/vmware-root/ha-agentmgr/vpx-upgrade-installer
[47599] 2013-12-17 10:35:51: status = 0
fdm-installer: [47599] 2013-12-17 10:35:51: Installing the VIB
fdm-installer: [47599] 2013-12-17 10:35:53: Result of esxcli software vib install  -v=/tmp/vmware-root/ha-agentmgr/vpx-upgrade-installer
fdm-installer:  [Errno 28] No space left on device
fdm-installer:        vibs = VMware_bootbank_vmware-fdm_5.5.0-1440532
fdm-installer:  Please refer to the log file for more details.
fdm-installer: [47599] 2013-12-17 10:35:53: All done! Status: 0
The no space left on the device error confused me so in order to rectify the issue I tried the following:

  1. Increases the size of the VMDK used for the ESXi installation from 2GB to 5GB
  2. Inflated the ESXi installation VMDK so it was Thick Eager Zero'd just in case this was causing any strange issues
  3. Rebuild the nested environment manually (not using the .ova supplied by William Lam)
Not of the above resolved the issue.  After raising it in the VSAN Beta forums Duncan Epping (Blog | Twitter) advised to increase the memory assigned to the nested VSAN VM's from 4GB to 6GB.  In my previous nested VSAN environment I had no issues running VSAN with 4GB.  After increasing all three hosts to 6GB the FDM vib installed and HA enabled successfully.

Friday 6 December 2013

Backup a single VM with VDP 5.5

Something I just noticed and though it might be useful for some people.  You can backup a single VM directly from the web client by Right Clicking on the VM and selecting All VDP 5.5 Actions and then Backup Now.  This saves you from having to go via the plug-in options.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Backup and Restore with VDP 5.5

In my previous article I showed you how to install and configure the VDP 5.5 Advanced appliance and access it via the new vSphere Web Client.  In this article I'm going to show you how to create a backup job and then perform your first restore.

Backing up your Virtual Machines

Log into the Web Client and connect to your VDP appliance:

On the first screen you can select the option to Create Backup Job or this can be achieved via the Backup tab at the top:

You first need to select type of backup you wish to perform.  You can either backup all data in a virtual machine i.e. all VMDK's or choose specific VMDK's.  I'm going to choose to create a Full Image which will backup all VMDK's.  Click Next to continue:

Choose which virtual machines you wish to backup.  In my case I'm going to backup the entire Production cluster.  Click Next to continue:

Now select your required schedule.  From here you can select when you wish to perform your backups and at what time.  I'm going to leave the default option of Daily.  Click Next to continue:

Now select your retention policy.  This obviously depends on the amount of available storage you have allocated and available.  For this example I am just going to store 7 days work of backups.  Click Next to continue:

Give you job a meaningful name and click Next:

Finally click Finish to create the job:

The backup job should be successfully created.  If you receive an error message indicating that one or more clients could not be added to the job you can check the log via Configuration tab and then Log.  In my case it failed to add the VDP appliance and a Windows 2012 template to the backup job which is absolutely fine.

If you click the Backup tab you should now see your newly created backup job.  Since the job hasn't been run before you should see 0 successes and failures and the next run time should be at 20:00

You can either choose to leave the backup job to run at it's next run time or force the job to run now by highlighting the job, clicking on Backup Now and then selecting Backup all sources:

Depending on the size of your environment it may take a while for the jobs to complete.  In my case one of my virtual machines failed to backup and the log indicated that there was a snapshot present.  When I checked there was no snapshot but performing the good old trick of creating and then removing the snapshot resolved the issue.  You can monitor the progress of the backup jobs by clicking on the More Tasks in the Web Client recent tasks pane:

Once the job completes you can verify that all virtual machines were successfully backed up by selecting the Backup tab and checking the Success Count and  Failures Count:

Restoring a Virtual Machine

We will now go through the steps in restoring a virtual machine from the most recent backup we just completed.  Click on the Restore tab and browse to a virtual machine that you wish to restore (You can drill down even further to restore a specific VMDK rather than the whole virtual machine) then click the Restore button:

Choose the restore point and click Next:

Select your restore options.  In my case I'm going to restore the virtual machine to another location and under a different name as I don't want it to impact the original virtual machine.  Click Next once you've made your changes:

If your happy then click Finish to start the restore:

The job should successfully submit and you can once again monitor the job via the tasks screen:

Once the job completes you should see your restored virtual machine within the Web Client inventory.  You can now attach this to whatever network you want and power it on:

Monday 11 November 2013

Deploying VDP 5.5 Advanced

In this post I'm going to show you how to deploy the VMware VDP (VMware Data Protection) 5.5 virtual appliance.  Some of the features of the VDP appliance include:
  • Virtual appliance deployment
  • vSphere Web Client Integration
  • Simplified backup policies
  • One-step recovery
  • Self-service file-level recovery
  • Deduplication
  • Agents for mission-critical apps (Microsoft SQL, Exchange and Sharepoint)
  • Network-efficient, secure backup replication
Prior to deploying the .ova file you need to ensure you add both forward and reverse DNS entries otherwise you may receive the following error message during the configuration:

Ensure you've downloaded the latest version from and saved the .ova file to your local disk.  Now we are going to deploy the .ova into your environment.  Open the web client interface, select your cluster and then right click and Deploy OVF Template:

Click Allow if prompted:

Browse your local file system and locate the .ova file and click Next:

Once it has been validated review the details and click Next:

Accept the license agreement and click Next:

Give the appliance the same name as the DNS record you added earlier, select its location and click Next:

Select your desired disk format and datastore and click Next:

Assign it to the correct portgroup and click Next:

Enter the correct IP address and network information for the portgroup and click Next:

Review your setting and optionally tick the Power on after deployment if you so wish.  Finally click Finish and wait for the .ova to deploy and power on:

Once the appliance has been powered on you should be able to browse to the following URL in order to start configuring:

Username - root
Password - changeme

Once logged in click Next:

Verify the network settings are correct and click Next:

Select your timezone and click Next:

Enter a suitable password ensuring the password complexity requirements are met and click Next:

Enter valid credentials that have permission to your vCenter server and test the credential to ensure they are correct and can successfully connect.  If you can successfully connect then click Next to continue:

Select the size of the storage you wish to create and click Next:

Specify the device allocation how you wish to provision the storage and click Next:

Finally click Next:

Click Yes when prompted:

Once the process has completed the appliance will automatically reboot:

It may take a while for the appliance to complete it's configuration but you can monitor this in the Recent Tasks pane of the web client.  Once it has finished in order for the VDP plugin to become visible you may need to log out and back into the web client.  If you experience any issues with it not being visible check out the following link which helped me out.  The VDP plugin should now be visible:

I had issues connecting into the VDP appliance and received the following error message:

I verified that the time was identical on both the SSO and VDP servers as per the following blog entry but this failed to resolve the issue.  I ended up restarting the vCenter server (Or in my case, the VCSA) and hey presto, I could access the VDP server:

In the next article I will show you how to configure backup jobs and also perform a restore.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

New Job, New Role

After 5 years working for Nexus within multiple roles I've decided it was time for a change and a new challenge.  Throughout my IT career I've always worked within operations, climbing the progression ladder from 1st Line support through the ranks and then up to my current role as a Systems Architect.  I've enjoyed these roles as you get exposure to a multitude of technologies and it can be a fast paced environment.  I will be sad to leave Nexus as I've met some great people and I'm very thankful for the opportunities they have given me over the last 5 years.

After numerous interviews and a trip to lovely Frimley I've gladly accepted a role as a Pre-Sales Systems Engineer within VMware covering the UK North.  I am extremely excited to start this role as the VMware software portfolio is something that I 100% believe in.  The role is completely new to me and I'm expecting a steep learning curve but I'm excited and looking forward to all the challenges this role brings with it.  I'm especially looking forward to getting out and meeting customers and VAR's and gaining more experience and knowledge with the entire VMware software suites   I'll post an update once I've been at VMware for a few months to see how the move has been.