Tag Archive: vCenter


I have recently switched my network configuration from 2 routed subnets;

192.168.0.0/24
192.168.5.0/24

To a single subnet;

192.168.0.0/21

I had hoped this would have little to no impact and be a seamless transition (how wrong I was). I have a mix of devices with both dynamic (DHCP) and static IP addresses. Those using DHCP didn’t cause much of an issues, but those configured using static addresses required the subnet mask and default gateway changing (again, fairly straight forward).

The real issue came when it came to changing my vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) network configuration. The obvious place to look (and several articles online) pointed toward the configuration option inside the vSphere Web Client; System Configuration -> Nodes -> x ->Manage -> Settings -> Common -> Networking

vc_network_settings

Unfortunately the settings are grayed out with a message “IPv4 configuration for nic0 of this node cannot be edited post deployment.”.

Other articles pointed toward the console (alt-f2 option), vmware Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) running on https://your-vc-hostname-or-ip:5480/ or SSH; Unfortunately I couldn’t login to try any of these techniques.

Console -> Alt-F2- “Authentication failed; Invalid login or password.”
SSH- “Login incorrect”
VAMI- “Unable to authenticate user. Please try again”

This had me stumped for many hours. I was able to reset the root password (reset the VM, prevent vcsa autoboot by pressing any key when the grub bootloader appears, press p, enter the grub password (default is vmware), enter, press e, add init=/bin/bash, enter, press b then type passwd root) but still couldn’t login using the new password. I think a few issues were at play here, but eventually tracked it down to the password complexity requirement forcing the use of special characters which were in turn being transposed by RDP / vSphere (” was becoming @ and £ was becoming # etc). Once I had figured the password issue I was then able to try the techniques again;

Console -> Alt-F2 -> Configure Management Network -> IP Configurationvc_consoleNope- “Configure Management Network; Management network configuration not allowed”

Next… SSH -> /opt/vmware/share/vami/vami_config_netvc_libxml2modNope- Lots of errors stating “ImportError: No module named libxml2mod”

Finally… VAMIvmaiAgain, no joy- “Updating has been disabled”.

Eventually I decided to try the same technique i’d previously used to modify my Linux (CentOS) VMs.

I started an SSH session and modified /etc/sysconfig/network/routes (from default 192.168.0.1 to 192.168.5.1 and then /etc/sysconfig/network/ifcfg-eth0 (NETMASK=’255.255.255.0′ becomes NETMASK=’255.255.248.0′). Rebooted and voila!

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I provisioned a new Windows Server 2012 R2 VM to be used as a Domain Controller and another to be used for VMWare Update Manager and Veeam (Backup and Replication).

Assign a static IP address, and install all windows updates (this takes considerable time and numerous reboots).

Domain Controller

Follow the “wizard”. The main thing to note (as previously mentioned)- follow best practice when choosing a domain name; I’ve always gone with something.local or something.home in the past, but suffered as a result. I did a little research and found some articles suggesting best practice is to use a subdomain of an internet facing domain you own http://www.mdmarra.com/2012/11/why-you-shouldnt-use-local-in-your.html. So, say you own microsoft.com, your internal domain name may be ad.microsoft.com. You configure the NETBIOS name to be whatever you like, this will be used when you logon using NETBIOS\User rather than user@ad.microsoft.com.

Now you can join the other Windows Server to the domain and configure the identity source in vCenter. This took me a little longer than anticipated; You must login as administrator@vsphere.local (not root).

Update Manager

  • Install update manager (follow the “wizard”)
  • Login to vCenter (using vSphere)
  • Ensure all virtual machines off of host
  • Scan
  • Attach (patch and upgrade baselines)
  • Remediate (check both baselines and check all patches)
  • Repeat for each host

Veeam

  • Install Veeam
  • Connect to vCenter
  • Setup Backup Repository
  • Configure Backups (I stick roughly to the default… Weekly full backup with daily incrementals, retaining 14 restore points). *I added the entire datacenter to the job, so as I add new VMs they will automatically be included in the backup job. I can then create a new datacenter to store development machines and/or anything I don’t want included in the nightly backups*
  • Deploy vCenter Virtual Appliance
  • Configure static IP address, hostname etc
  • Check for & install updates (this took quite a while and the web interface appeared to hang, be patient)
  • Reboot
  • Launch & complete the setup wizard
  • Login to the web interface
  • Create a datacenter & cluster and add your hosts
  • Create vSphere Distributed Switch
  • *This is the step i’ve often missed which then causes loss of network connectivity. You then have to connect to the console (IPMI) and reset the host networking and start over!* : Edit the Distributed Port Group settings, under “Teaming and failover” move the uplink port(s) you intend to use to “Active uplinks”
  • Assign physical NICs to vDS
  • Migrate VMKernel  network adapters to vDS
  • *Assign SSL certificate (i’ve yet to do this, and imagine some detail will be required)

I have some additional hardware to setup. So will probably try and follow my own guide sometime in the coming weeks. I may add some screenshots and if it seems like any detail is missing.

New Virtual Lab – Part 2

…continued from https://tickett.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/new-virtual-lab-part-1/

So- in came the first set of bits for new server #1 and I begun piecing it together…

Issue #1- The motherboard doesn’t sit quite right on the spacers/chassis screws (because of the element of the cpu cooler which sits on the underside of the metherboard)- not really a problem, I just added a few washers (I expect I may’ve been able to find some slightly larger spacers too, if i’d looked hard enough).

Issue #2- My USB pen drive didn’t fit in the internal slot with the chassis together. Not to worry- i simply attached a header to the spare pins and plugged the USB stick into one of those ports still inside the case.

Issue #3- When i powered up the machine it was pretty loud. I checked and believe this to be because the Akasa cooler (AK-CCE-7107BS) only has a 3 pin header so doesn’t support pulse-width-modulation (PWM) and effectively runs at full speed all of the time! Fortunately the other cooler (Gelid Slim Silence IPlus Low Profile Intel CPU Cooler) had the correct 4 pin connector and when hooked up, supported PWM and ran nice and quiet!

Issue #4- I intend to run the server “headless” so one of the great features of the X8-SiL-F motherboard is the on-board IPMI. Unfortunately when i tried to connect with the default username/password “ADMIN” / “ADMIN” access was denied. I downloaded a copy of the latest firmware from the Supermicro site and flashed using:

dpupdate.exe -f SMT_SX_250.bin -r n

The -r n parameter telling it to reset to factory settings. Voila- I could now login via the web-interface or windows IPMI tool using the default login credentials (“ADMIN” / “ADMIN”).

ESXi 4.1 installed like a charm but i’ve had a little trouble trying to deploy my first Virtual Machine (ESXi management network losing connectivity and/or the hypervisor crashing)- I think this might be because i’m using old knackered network cables! I will replace them and hopefully update tomorrow in Part 3.

The 2nd of these servers is on route and hopefully be delivered before the weekend.

My next question is what virtual machines should i configure?

I definitely need a vCenter server
I definitely need at least one SQL server (possibly 2 or 3 as i’d like to experiment with replication)
I definitely need at least one web server (IIS)
I definitely want to get trixbox back up and running
I am considering experimenting with pfSense or possibly untangle?
I also need a local dns server but think that might best sit on physical hardware or i’ll get problems with the hypervisor being unable to query DNS before the VM has started?
My fileserver currently runs WHS2011- So I would also like a WHS2011 VM to test the “Drive Extender” replacements on (however I realize I can’t really test performance here so might have to give that a miss).
Also, i think that OSX Server might run on ESXi- and i’d quite like to have a proper (non-hacked) time machine backup store configured so this might be the right route to go down…

L

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