Monthly Archives: November 2013

Emulex Firmware upgrade in HP Bladecenter C7000

For System admins and VMware admins it’s a common task to update the Firmware of HBA, BIOS etc in the servers. I would like to share the steps involved in upgrading the HP FlexFabric Converged Adapters in the Blades, the HP Flexfabric adapters are mainly from Emulex OneConnect Universal CNA (UCNA) Adapter family.

These are CNA (Converged Network Adapters ) are 10GbE adapters which can handle both FC-SAN traffic via Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and Ethernet Traffic in the same physical card. In short SAN & LAN traffic though a single adapter !!

In the HP blades these adapters are embedded on the system motherboard as a LOM (LAN on motherboard) or it will be as Mezzanine adapters. As VMware release the ESXi versions frequently we have to maintain the Firmware/Driver level as per the VMware HCL and as per HP VMware recipe. Here I am doing the Firmware upgrade for HP NC553i 10Gb 2-port FlexFabric Converged Network Adapter below are the main steps

1- Download the Emulex latest OFFLINE Firmware image – OneConnect-Flash-4.6.247.5.iso (35 MB) from this LINK

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2- Login to the HP Bladecenter Enclosure on board administrator (OA) and open the ILO (Integrated Lights-Out) console of that Blade

– it is good to use the “Integrated Remote Console” option for the ILO so that you will directly get the ILO console in one mouse click or just use the normal “Web administration”

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3- In the ILO console  mount the Emulex firmware ISO image and reboot the Blade and boot from the CD, ensure the first boot device is DC/DVD.

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4- Once you booted from the CD you will get the EMULEX OneConnect flash utility console, and type the option “y” in the command prompt.

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5- Once the firmware upgrade is SUCCESSFUL then it will show percentage complete 100%

 

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6- Now reboot the Blade and unmount the ISO image  from the ILO virtual drive, In the command prompt type reboot

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Now enjoy the rest of the day with a cup of Coffee !!

Install Emulex CIM Provider in VMware ESXi

As a part of VMware vSphere administration, you all will came across this term “CIM Provider” let see what it is …

The Common Information Model (CIM) system: CIM is the interface that enables hardware-level management from remote applications via a set of standard APIs.

The CIM is an open standard that defines how computing resources can be represented and managed. It enables a framework for agentless, standards-based monitoring of hardware resources for ESXi. This framework consists of a CIM object manager, often called a CIM broker, and a set of CIM providers. CIM providers are used as the mechanism to provide management access to device drivers and underlying hardware.

Hardware vendors, which include both the server manufacturers and specific hardware device vendors, can write providers to provide monitoring and management of their particular devices. VMware also writes providers that implement monitoring of server hardware, ESX/ESXi storage infrastructure, and virtualization-specific resources. These providers run inside the ESXi system and hence are designed to be extremely lightweight and focused on specific management tasks.

The CIM object manager in ESXi implements a standard CMPI interface developers can use to plug in new providers. The CIM broker takes information from all CIM providers and presents it to the outside world via standard APIs, including WS-MAN (Web Services-Management). Figure 3 shows a diagram of the CIM management model.

So the Hardware vendors like Brocade, HP, DELL, IBM, EMC, Qlogic, Emulex etc will provide these modules and we have to install in the ESX/ESXi hosts.

 

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Now let’s see how we can implement Emulex CIM in the vSphere infra. There are 3 main components in the Emulex Software solution for device management in the vSphere environment.

1- Emulex CIM Provider : This we have to install on the ESX/ESXi hosts, it will be available in offline bundle in ZIP format or in the VIB format.

2- Emulex OneCommand Manager  (OCM) : This we can install in any windows virtual machine or in the vCenter server itself

OCM for VMware vCenter Server and Emulex CIM provider for ESX/ESXi host is free to download from the Management tab on the following pages.

3- Emulex vCenter server plugin : Once every thing configured and ready, you can see the OCM plugin in the vSphere console and just enable the plugin.

Installation Steps

1- Download the corresponding CIM provider for the ESXi based on your version, in my case it is vSphere 5 update 2 and download the file “CIM Provider Package 3.8.15.1” and extract the ZIP file.

http://www.emulex.com/downloads/emulex/drivers/vmware/

http://www.emulex.com/downloads/emulex/drivers/vmware/vsphere-50/management/

The release notes and user manual are there for more information

2- Upload the offline bundle ZIP file (VMW-ESX-5.0.0-emulex-cim-provider-3.6.12.1-01-offline_bundle-799300.zip) to any of the Datastore via Putty or vSphere Client Datastore browser, to an ESX/ESXi host.

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3- Login to the ESXi shell via SSH, and first check the files are copied correctly and their location

~ # cd /vmfs/volumes/Templates/emulex/

/vmfs/volumes/50bd9d4d-adf00e08-78e9-002655e66551/emulex #

/vmfs/volumes/50bd9d4d-adf00e08-78e9-002655e66551/emulex # ls -l

-rw——- 1 root root 7629804 Mar 5 2013 VMW-ESX-5.0.0-emulex-cim-provider-3.6.12.1-01-offline_bundle-799300.zip

/vmfs/volumes/50bd9d4d-adf00e08-78e9-002655e66551/emulex #

4- Now install the offline bundle and you will get a SUCCESS message if it went properly.

/vmfs/volumes/50bd9d4d-adf00e08-78e9-002655e66551/emulex #
/vmfs/volumes/50bd9d4d-adf00e08-78e9-002655e66551/emulex # esxcli software vib install -d /vmfs/volumes/50bd9d4d-adf00e08-78e9-002655e66551/emulex/VMW-ESX-5.0.0-emulex-cim-provider-3.6.12.1-01-offline_bundle-799300.zip
Installation Result
Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.

Reboot Required: true
VIBs Installed: Emulex-Corporation_bootbank_emulex-cim-provider_3.6.12.1-01
VIBs Removed:
VIBs Skipped:
/vmfs/volumes/50bd9d4d-adf00e08-78e9-002655e66551/emulex #

 

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4- Now reboot the ESXi host and you can see the Emulex Hardware details in the vSphere client

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ESX/ESXi – Administration TIPS

How to disable or Stop the CIM agent on the ESX/ESXi host ?

Note: The CIM agent is the process providing hardware health information. Disabling this service will disable the hardware health status.

To disable the CIM agent on an ESXi host: Log in to the ESXi shell as the root user.

    chkconfig sfcbd-watchdog off
    chkconfig sfcbd off
    /etc/init.d/sfcbd-watchdog stop

    Note: Changing the chkconfig disables the sfcbd service and is persistent across reboots.

To re-enable the CIM agent on the ESXi host, run these commands:

    chkconfig sfcbd-watchdog on
    chkconfig sfcbd on
    /etc/init.d/sfcbd-watchdog start

    Note: To check the status of the agent on ESXi, run the below command.

    /etc/init.d/sfcbd-watchdog status

For troubleshooting purpose you can use the below commands to restart the CIM related services in ESXi host

#/etc/init.d/wsman restart
#/etc/init.d/sfcbd-watchdog start

Disabling a Single ESXi CIM provider when it fails or is unstable.

To see the CIM providers installed on your ESXi host:

  1. Log in to the ESXi shell as the root user.
  2. Run the command:
    esxcli system settings advanced list | grep CIM
  3. You see output similar to:
    Path: /UserVars/CIMEnabled
    Description: Enable or disable the CIM service
    Path: /UserVars/CIMLogLevel
    Description: Set the log level of the CIM Service
    Path: /UserVars/CIMWatchdogInterval
    Description: Set the watchdog polling interval for the CIM Service
    Path: /UserVars/CIMvmw_sfcbrInteropProviderEnabled
    Description: Enable or disable the CIM vmw_sfcbrInterop provider
    Path: /UserVars/CIMvmw_hdrProviderEnabled
  4. Disable a CIM provider by running the command:
    esxcli system settings advanced set -o /UserVars/CIMProviderName -i 0
    Note: To re-enable the CIM provider, run the command:
    esxcli system settings advanced set -o /UserVars/CIMProviderName -i 1
  5. To allow the changes to take effect, restart the SFCBD agent by running the command:
    /etc/init.d/sfcbd-watchdog restart

I will post a details blog regarding the use of OneCommand manager

ESXi Storage Device Naming Convention for a LUN : Part-1

This blog post came as a result of my VMware community interaction, so the questions are simple !!

1- What is the need for such a Storage Device Naming Convention for a LUN and the theory behind this.

2- Who is responsible for assigning an Unique Storage Device Name for the LUN in an ESX/ESXi host.

3- For a LUN why you need an unique and same LUN ID across the ESX/ESXi hosts in a cluster.

4- How an ESX/ESXi host can uniquely identify a LUN in a Storage Area Network.

5- What are the different types of naming standards or convention for a LUN in an ESX/ESXi host.

As we all know, for the ESX/ESXi hosts & clusters we have to create/present LUN’s from the Storage Array, to get the features like VMotion,HA,DRS etc. Now let’s see the answers for the above:

1- What is the need for such a naming convention and the theory behind this.

The need for a standard

But here comes a basic problem. If I can expose the same LUN to one or more machines, then how could I address it? In other words, how can safely I distinguish between one LUN and another? This seems to be a really trivial problem. Just stick a a unique GUID to each LUN and you are done! Or, stick a unique number. Or… a string… but hold on, things are not that easy. What if storage array maker ABC assigns GUIDs to each LUN and another vendor assigns 32-bit numbers? We have a complete mess.

To add to the confusion, we have this other concept – the serial number attached to a SCSI disk. But this doesn’t work all the time. For example, some vendors assign a serial number for each LUN, but this serial number is not guaranteed to be unique. Why, some SCSI controllers are even returning the same serial number for all exposed LUNs!

Every hardware vendor had a more-or-less proprietary method to identify LUNs exposed to a system. But if you wanted to write an application that tried to discover all the LUNs you had a hard time since your code was tied to the specific model of each array.  What if two vendors had a conflicting way to assign IDs to LUNs? You could end up with two LUNs having the same ID !!

We all know the Storage devices, I/O interfaces, SAS disks are basically used to send and receive Data by using SCSI commands and they all has to follow the SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) standards.

T10 develops standards and technical reports on I/O interfaces, particularly the series of SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) standards. T10 is a Technical Committee of the InterNational Committee on Information Technology Standards (INCITS, pronounced “insights”). INCITS is accredited by, and operates under rules that are approved by, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

T10 operates under INCITS and is responsible for setting standards on SCSI Storage Interfaces, SCSI architecture standards (SAM), SCSI command set standards.  As per T10, SCSI Primary Commands – 3 (SPC-3) contains the third-generation definition of the basic commands for all SCSI devices. As of now all the major Storage array vendors like EMC, Netapp, HP, DELL, IBM, Hitachi and many others follows these T10 standards, all these arrays follow the SPC-3 standards during the LUN creation, presentation, and communication to the hosts etc. Similarly the ESXi storage stack and other latest Operating systems also uses these standards to communicate to the Storage array, Access the luns etc.

So in short these are industry standards and vendor neutral so that ISV, OEM and other software/hardware vendors can develop solutions and products inside single frame work.

2- Who is responsible for assigning an Unique Storage Device Name for the LUN to an ESX/ESXi host.

There are 2 people assigns and maintain an unique name for a LUN one is the Storage Array and other is the Host, both assigns and maintains at their own level.  But what ever luns created and given from a Storage it will be unique, and it is the responsibility of the Storage to maintain the Uniqueness the array uses the T10/SPC-3 standards to maintain the Uniqueness.

That is from the SAN when we create a LUN with a LUN ID the SAN itself make sure it is unique, and we will give LUN name to understand easily. Once that LUN is presented the ESX/ESXi host will make this volume unique with UUID, and in particularly with ESX/ESXi it has different types of multiple naming conventions and representations.

So the Storage array is responsible for this and the ESX/ESXi just uses the LUN, but they follow the guidelines of T10/SPC-3 standards to maintain the Uniqueness.

vCenter Server 5.5.0a Released

After the major vSphere release on september, vmware again released the latest vcenter this month. Even though it is a minor release, lot of bugs fixed in this release.

Issues resolved with this release are as follows

  1. Attempts to upgrade vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO) 5.1 Update 1 to version 5.5 might fail with error code 1603
  2. Attempts to log in to the vCenter Server might be unsuccessful after you upgrade from vCenter Server 5.1 to 5.5
  3. Unable to change the vCenter SSO administrator password on Windows in the vSphere Web Client after you upgrade to vCenter Server 5.5 or VCSA 5.5
  4. VPXD service might fail due to MS SQL database deadlock for the issues with VPXD queries that run on VPX_EVENT and VPX_EVENT_ARG tables
  5. Attempts to search the inventory in vCenter Server using vSphere Web Client with proper permissions might fail to return any results
  6. vCenter Server 5.5 might fail to start after a vCenter Single Sign-On Server reboot
  7. Unable to log in to vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 using domain credentials in vSphere Web Client with proper permission when the authenticated user is associated with a group name containing parentheses
  8. Active Directory group users unable to log in to the vCenter Inventory Service 5.5 with vCenter Single Sign-On
  9. Attempts to log in to vCenter Single Sign-On and vCenter Server might fail when there are multiple users with the same common name in the OpenLDAP directory service
  10. Attempts to log in to vCenter Single Sign-On and vCenter Server might fail for OpenLDAP 2.4 directory service users who have attributes with multiple values attached to their account
  11. Attempts to Log in to vCenter Server might fail for an OpenLDAP user whose account is not configured with a universally unique identifier (UUID)
  12. Unable to add an Open LDAP provider as an identity source if the Base DN does not contain an “dc=” attribute
  13. Active Directory authentication fails when vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 runs on Windows Server 2012 and the AD Domain Controller is also on Windows Server 2012

 

Product Support Notices

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For more information on this is available on the Release notes given in the link below

https://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere5/doc/vsphere-vcenter-server-550a-release-notes.html

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