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.
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.
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 22.214.171.124” and extract the ZIP file.
2- Upload the offline bundle ZIP file (VMW-ESX-5.0.0-emulex-cim-provider-126.96.36.199-01-offline_bundle-799300.zip) to any of the Datastore via Putty or vSphere Client Datastore browser, to an ESX/ESXi host.
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 # ls -l
-rw——- 1 root root 7629804 Mar 5 2013 VMW-ESX-5.0.0-emulex-cim-provider-188.8.131.52-01-offline_bundle-799300.zip
4- Now install the offline bundle and you will get a SUCCESS message if it went properly.
/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-184.108.40.206-01-offline_bundle-799300.zip
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_220.127.116.11-01
4- Now reboot the ESXi host and you can see the Emulex Hardware details in the vSphere client
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
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
Note: To check the status of the agent on ESXi, run the below command.
For troubleshooting purpose you can use the below commands to restart the CIM related services in ESXi host
Disabling a Single ESXi CIM provider when it fails or is unstable.
To see the CIM providers installed on your ESXi host:
- Log in to the ESXi shell as the root user.
- Run the command:
esxcli system settings advanced list | grep CIM
- You see output similar to:
Description: Enable or disable the CIM service
Description: Set the log level of the CIM Service
Description: Set the watchdog polling interval for the CIM Service
Description: Enable or disable the CIM vmw_sfcbrInterop provider
- 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
- To allow the changes to take effect, restart the SFCBD agent by running the command:
I will post a details blog regarding the use of OneCommand manager
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.
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
- Attempts to upgrade vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO) 5.1 Update 1 to version 5.5 might fail with error code 1603
- Attempts to log in to the vCenter Server might be unsuccessful after you upgrade from vCenter Server 5.1 to 5.5
- 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
- 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
- Attempts to search the inventory in vCenter Server using vSphere Web Client with proper permissions might fail to return any results
- vCenter Server 5.5 might fail to start after a vCenter Single Sign-On Server reboot
- 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
- Active Directory group users unable to log in to the vCenter Inventory Service 5.5 with vCenter Single Sign-On
- 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
- 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
- Attempts to Log in to vCenter Server might fail for an OpenLDAP user whose account is not configured with a universally unique identifier (UUID)
- Unable to add an Open LDAP provider as an identity source if the Base DN does not contain an “dc=” attribute
- 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
For more information on this is available on the Release notes given in the link below
Today is the moment, where I became a VMware DCD certified professional. As many others, I am very very happy and satisfied. This is one of the toughest exam I ever wrote. Like VMware technologies, to master it, you need lot of skills and domain experience. Similarly this exam need lot of personal skills, like CONCENTRATION, DEDICATION, HARDWORK, FAST READING, COMPREHENDING, QUICK DECISION MAKING, FAST THINKING and TIME MANAGEMENT and good PHYSICAL STRENGTH also because it is 4 hours exam, at a stretch you need to write. Even though you can take a break in between the exam, but in REALLITY you don’t even get time to think for a !!! BREAK !!!
VMware Certified Advanced Professional 5 – Data Center Design (VCAP5-DCD) the examination path is given below
After getting VCP5-DV, I attempted the DCD exam on 6 September 2013, I got 288 marks and failed for 12 marks. It was really a close miss……
My close friends and wife motivated and supported me well, I studied well and rectified the mistakes happened in the first time. Finally with a month preparation, and couple of Exam reschedules, I PASSED the Exam second time.
Even though there are lot of help materials, blueprints, brown bag sessions, sample designs and video trainings, you need a real time Design experience, guidance and mentoring from experts. If you have a good friends circle to discuss the VMware design process and methods and considerations etc… it will be very much helpful in the exam preparation.
I am really thanks for Chand Shaik for the study materials, Anoop Kundathil for design discussions, Preetam Zare for quick exam doubts and clarifications, Artur Krzywdzinski my technical mentor and guide, Anoop Madhavan and Srijit S my friends, they all helped me in my preparation.
My satisfying moment !!!!
I will share my exam experience and tips in my next blog post.
As we all know Network virtualization is the next Game changer in the Datacenter technologies, as always VMware innovation is very much ahead in the game. VMware announced this new product in the August VMworld 2013 in United States. http://blogs.vmware.com/networkvirtualization/2013/08/vmware-nsx-network-operations.html
SDN (Software defined Networking) is one of the main pillar in the Software Defined Data Center concept.
This October at VMworld® in Barcelona, the NSX is GA for the public.
For more details about the NSX http://www.vmware.com/products/nsx/
For our better understanding VMware hands on labs are available for learning the technology.
A great architecture diagrams and youtube links are available Hany Michael site http://www.hypervizor.com/2013/10/diagram-vmware-nsx-6-0-for-vsphere-system-architecture/#!
I will give more details about the NSX in future posts.
As we all know VMware has released three new certifications. There’s no training course requirement for the new exams although VMware offers a free self-paced eLearning course which is recommended to help you prepare for the VCA exams. Earning VMware Certified Associate (VCA) certification demonstrates your foundational understanding of virtualization technology.
VMware Certified Associate – Cloud (VCA-Cloud)
With the VCA-Cloud certification, you’ll have greater credibility when discussing cloud computing, the business challenges the vCloud Suite is designed to address, and how deploying the vCloud solution addresses those challenges. You’ll be able to define cloud computing and provide use case scenarios of how vCloud and cloud computing can take advantage of private and public clouds without changing existing applications and leverage a common management, orchestration, networking, and security model.
To become VCA-Cloud certified you must pass the VCA-Cloud exam (exam code: VCAC510). There is no training requirement, however there is a free, self-paced e-learning class that can help you prepare: VMware Cloud Fundamentals
VMware Certified Associate – Data Center Virtualization (VCA-DCV)
With the VCA-Data Center Virtualization certification, you’ll have greater credibility when discussing data center virtualization, the business challenges that vSphere is designed to address, and how virtualizing the data center with vSphere addresses those challenges. You’ll be able to define data center virtualization and provide use case scenarios of how vSphere and data center virtualization can provide cost and operational benefits.
There is no training requirement, however there is a free, self-paced e-learning class that can help you prepare: VMware Data Center Virtualization Fundamentals
After booking the exam, it will be available for two days. The length of the exam is 90/120 minutes. When you take the exam in 2013, you will get a discount of 50%. The normal price is 95.00, after discount it’s only EUR 57.47 (inclusive VAT). The exam can be taken online from home and you may cancel this exam as long as the exam has not been started, and the delivery period has not expired.
There’s a special promotion that expires on October 30, 2013 –
Yesterday I took the exam, and passed it is very simple exam with 50 questions, and to pass you need to score 300. This is really a great initiative from VMware for the fresher’s in the industry and those who are new to VMware technology.
As of today, the free VCA exam promotion code is: VCA13ICS
After a long waiting, the latest version of vSphere 5.5 is available for the public. As you all know the latest features and innovations bought by the vmware. Below are the main features;
• vSphere ESXi Hypervisor Enhancements
––Hot-Pluggable SSD PCI Express (PCIe) Devices
––Support for Reliable Memory Technology
––Enhancements for CPU C-States
• Virtual Machine Enhancements
––Virtual Machine Compatibility with VMware ESXi™ 5.5
––Expanded vGPU Support
––Graphic Acceleration for Linux Guests
• VMware vCenter Server Enhancements
––VMware® vCenter™ Single Sign-On
––VMware vSphere Web Client
––VMware vCenter Server Appliance™
––vSphere App HA
––vSphere HA and VMware vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler™ (vSphere DRS)
Virtual Machine–Virtual Machine Affinity Rules Enhancements
––vSphere Big Data Extensions
• vSphere Storage Enhancements
––Support for 62TB VMDK
––vSphere 5.1 Feature Updates
––16GB E2E support
––vSphere Replication Interoperability
––vSphere Replication Multi-Point-in-Time Snapshot Retention
––vSphere Flash Read Cache
• vSphere Networking Enhancements
––Link Aggregation Control Protocol Enhancements
––Quality of Service Tagging
––Enhanced Host-Level Packet Capture
––40GB NIC support
HP has released the new firmware for the HP Virtual connect devices, on June 2013 they released the firmware version 4.01 this was a major release with lot of improvements and fixes.
You can download the firmware version 4.01 for windows (if you are doing the upgrade from a windows OS)
You need to install the latest “HP BladeSystem c-Class Virtual Connect Support Utility “ in a windows OS where you perform the upgrade. You can download this from below link
Once installed, just run the utility and you can see the below.
Run the HP firmware exe, it will extract to a binary file (*.bin)
Open the “Virtual Connect Support Utility” then give the command “update” then give the OA IP address, user name and password. Then accept the default values
It will ask for the Virtual connect user name and password and give those;
Once you gave the Virtual connect credentials, and type “YES” then it will start the upgrade process and you can see the percentage of the progress.
Once completed you will get the below, the interesting part is we don’t need to reboot the VC manually it will do automatically.
As you all know the pioneer in the Virtualization backup technology, has released their latest version Veeam Backup and Replication 7. This is a major release, there are lot of new features that I will discuss in my next blog. I have just done an upgrade for my client, to be very honest, I really saw the power of Veeam simplicity and easiness. From an administrator and organizational point this matters a lot. The amazing fact is, it took below 20 minutes to upgrade with few mouse clicks !!!
The Steps are given below;
1- Download the latest version, it is in ISO format extract or burn to a CD and mount. Just run the Setup program
2- Click “Next” it will show you the current version of veeam components and Click “Next”
3- Download the license, you have to upgrade your existing 6.5 version to 7, we can apply license at this stage or after completing your upgrade.
4- It will automatically check the prerequisites, any dependencies will be installed automatically.
5- Give the local admin or domain credentials, which has full admin access to the veeam sever and its database.
6- Select the MSSQL database instance correctly, after that it will give a warning that “any old database will be automatically updated” This is safe, just click “Yes”
7- Now Click “Install” and Enjoy !! Relax…..
8- That’s it…. Click “Finish” you are done, no need to reboot that’s cool !! But at this stage the upgrade is not completed.
9- Now run the veeam program, its there in the desktop !!
10- Now we have to upgrade the components like, the backup transport module, instant recovery module etc… just click “OK” now its done.
11- Apply the license
Now you can resume all of your backup operations, just note the below
This is why I really love Veeam, what a cool and easy Stuff. In my next blog, I will discuss the main features and its uses.
Last week I came across an interesting requirement with my client, he wants to convert or export a VMware virtual machine to an Amazon EC2 virtual machine. I have summarized the steps I have done;
There are 2 ways we can do, one is via Amazon EC2 VM Import Connector and other is via Amazon EC2 API Tools. Here we are discussing the command line method.
For the first method you can refer the below link;
You can use the Amazon EC2 VM Import Connector virtual appliance (vApp), a plug-in for VMware vCenter, to import virtual machines from your VMware vSphere infrastructure to Amazon EC2. The Connector is a virtual appliance that works with VMware vCenter Server only. It provides an easy-to-use interface, enhancing your existing management tools to work with the Amazon EC2 VM Import Connector.
You cannot use the Connector to import Citrix Xen or Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines to Amazon EC2. Instead, use the command line tools to import your Citrix and Hyper-V virtual machines to Amazon EC2. You can also choose to use the command line tools to import your VMware VMs.
For the command line method refer the below;
You need to install the Amazon EC2 Command Line Interface Tools or called as Amazon EC2 API Tools, in Windows or Linux operating system.
1 – Download and Configuring the Amazon EC2 API Tools as per the below links;
2 – Export the required VMware VM in OVF format as per the link
3 – Now import the OVF appliance in to the EC2 by command line as per the link
1, First set the variables in the user profiles and appened the system path
JAVA_HOME = C:\Program Files\Java\jre7\
EC2_HOME = C:\ec2-api-tools
append ;C:\ec2-api-tools\bin to windows System PATH variable
If the above variables are set correctly we get the below when we execute the command ec2-describe-regions
C:\Documents and Settings\admin.gopinath.k>ec2-describe-regions
REGION eu-west-1 ec2.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com
REGION sa-east-1 ec2.sa-east-1.amazonaws.com
REGION us-east-1 ec2.us-east-1.amazonaws.com
REGION ap-northeast-1 ec2.ap-northeast-1.amazonaws.com
REGION us-west-2 ec2.us-west-2.amazonaws.com
REGION us-west-1 ec2.us-west-1.amazonaws.com
REGION ap-southeast-1 ec2.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com
2, i have exported a 64 bit RHEL6 vm called Nessus-Proffessional and stored in the location \\weststorage10\d$\Storage\OS\VMware\templates\Nessus-Proffessional
3, Now for importing we need to use the command “ec2-import-instance” syntax of the command is
ec2-import-instance DISK_IMAGE_FILENAME -t INSTANCETYPE -f FORMAT -a ARCHITECTURE-SYSTEM -b S3_BUCKET_NAME -o OWNER -w SECRETKEY
for 32 bit vms we need to use the below
ec2-import-instance C:\Nessus-Proffessional\Nessus-Proffessional-disk1.vmdk -f VMDK -t m1.small -a
i386 -b API-test-bucket -o AKIAISRI3LTKFRR2TYEQ -w vQxFp44FdDGzTeE7qprEvwvNuhYxwg+Nt7iIY1d+
for 64 bit vms we need to use the below
ec2-import-instance C:\Nessus-Proffessional\Nessus-Proffessional-disk1.vmdk -f VMDK -t m1.small -a x86_64 -b API-test-bucket -o AKIAISRI3LTKFRR2TYEQ -w vQxFp44FdDGzTeE7qprEvwvNuhYxwg+Nt7iIY1d+
4, The result we got is below;
C:\Documents and Settings\admin.gopinath.k>ec2-import-instance C:\Nessus-Proffessional\Nessus-Proffessional-disk1.vmdk -f VMDK -t m1.large -a x86_64 -b API-test -bucket -o AKIAISRI3LTKFRR2TYEQ -w vQxFp44FdDGzTeE7qprEvwvNuhYxwg+Nt7iIY1d+
Requesting volume size: 30 GB
Disk image format: Stream-optimized VMDK
Converted volume size: 32212254720 bytes (30.00 GiB)
Requested EBS volume size: 32212254720 bytes (30.00 GiB)
TaskType IMPORTINSTANCE TaskId import-i-fga6rr6l ExpirationTime
2012-01-10T12:46:31+00:00 Status active StatusMessage Pending Instance ID i-a683e7c4
DISKIMAGE DiskImageFormat VMDK DiskImageSize 3383129600 VolumeSize 30 AvailabilityZone us-east-1d ApproximateBytesConverted 0 Status active StatusMessage Pending
Creating new manifest at API-test-bucket/a99d465a-86db-499d-8c19-77fb6baa27a6/Nessus-Proffessional-disk1.vmdkmanifest.xml
Uploading the manifest file
Uploading 3383129600 bytes across 323 parts
0% |————————————————–| 100%
Average speed was 2.216 MBps
The disk image for import-i-fga6rr6l has been uploaded to Amazon S3 where it is being converted into an EC2 instance. You may monitor the progress of this task by running ec2-describe-conversion-tasks. When
the task is completed, you may use ec2-delete-disk-image to remove the image from S3.
5, Current status of the entire process
C:\Documents and Settings\admin.gopinath.k>ec2-describe-conversion-tasks
TaskType IMPORTINSTANCE TaskId import-i-fga6rr6l ExpirationTime 2012-01-10T12:46:31+00:00 Status active StatusMessage PendingInstance ID i-a683e7c4
DISKIMAGE DiskImageFormat VMDK DiskImageSize 3383129600 VolumeSize 30 AvailabilityZone us-east-1d ApproximateBytesConverted 2748806848 Status active StatusMessage Pending
C:\Documents and Settings\admin.gopinath.k>ec2-describe-conversion-tasks
TaskType IMPORTINSTANCE TaskId import-i-fga6rr6l ExpirationTime 2012-01-10T12:46:31+00:00 Status cancelling StatusMessage ClientError: No windows directory found. InstanceID i-a683e7c4
DISKIMAGE DiskImageFormat VMDK DiskImageSize 3383129600 VolumeId vol-97b4fbfa VolumeSize 30 AvailabilityZone us-east-1d ApproximateBytesConverted
3383129600 Status completed