Skip to main content

How to Cleanly Uninstall the Nimble Connection Manager Before an ESXi Upgrade

If you’re using HPE Nimble storage arrays to back your VMware environment, there’s something that you should know. Lets start from the top. As of this writing, the Nimble Connection Manager (NCM) for ESXi comes in three different flavors. There’s a version available for use with ESXi 5.X, one available for use with ESXi 6.0, and one available for use with ESXi 6.5. Add the appropriate download source to VMware Update Manager (VUM), then create and attach a baseline for Nimble Connection Manager to your hosts. Doing so will ensure that Nimble Connection Manager is installed or updated during your normal VMware Update Manager update cycle which will keep Nimble Connection Manager updated across your infrastructure. For those that need them, here are the source URLs:

Nimble Connection Manager Download Sources for VMware Update Manager
ESX VersionDownload Source
ESXi 5.xhttps://update.nimblestorage.com/esx5/ncm/index.xml
ESXi 6.0https://update.nimblestorage.com/esx6/ncm/index.xml
ESXi 6.5https://update.nimblestorage.com/esx6.5/ncm/index.xml

I recently upgraded my entire VMware environment from vSphere 5.5 to 6.5. Because I had Nimble Connection Manager installed on the hosts, and the version installed was compatible with ESXi 5.X, I had to do a few things before I could upgrade the hosts. If you leave the older version of Nimble

Read More

How to Cleanly Uninstall Legacy NSX and Trend Micro from ESXi

So I recently migrated from a vSphere 5.5 environment to 6.5 using the migration utility. Overall, I had a great experience with a few exceptions, both of which were my fault. We’ll cover one of them in this post.

We were running Trend Micro Deep Security, which means we had NSX deployed in support of that product throughout our environment. My thinking, incorrectly, was that after the vCenter upgrade, I could upgrade the existing NSX components of the environment and I would be off to the races!

That was a mistake, and I thought it might be worth it for me to share what I saw unfolding, and how I resolved the issues. So here goes…

After the vCenter upgrade was successful, I noticed that I no longer had an NSX manager registered, which was odd. I was seeing issues with DRS, and the only way to get around the virtual machines hanging and eventually erroring out during DRS triggered vMotions was to manually migrate the virtual machines to other hosts and place the affected host in Maintenance Mode while I took steps to remove all things NSX, Guest Introspection and Trend Micro.

Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough of how I …

Read More

Homelab Considerations: Storage Simulators for Your Homelab

Part 1: Homelab Considerations: Software Licensing for Your Homelab
Part 2: Homelab Considerations: Storage Simulators for Your Homelab

In Part 2 of the Homelab Considerations series, we’ll be talking about storage simulators. Storage simulators will help you familiarize yourself with various enterprise storage offerings that you would typically see attached to a vSphere environment. We’re going to cover each Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) I’ve been able to find, where and how to download those VSAs, and how to set them up in an environment.

In any virtual environment, you need a few key things:

  • Servers, or compute
  • Networking, or routers and switching
  • Storage, or a centralized box of hard disks to store all of the infrastructure on

If you’re testing an application, OS or the network infrastructure in your environment, you’re probably fine putting the infrastructure on local storage if you have a decently sized hard drive and can thin provision the disk. If you’re in the market to learn how enterprise data centers and cloud technologies work, especially with VMware vSphere, you will need dedicated shared storage for your homelab infrastructure in order to use most of those enterprise features. Not all of us can build out a homelab …

Read More

Homelab Considerations: Software Licensing for Your Homelab

Part 1: Homelab Considerations: Software Licensing for Your Homelab
Part 2: Homelab Considerations: Storage Simulators for Your Homelab

So I’ve been digging into how to license enterprise software for my homelab, and I thought I’d share some of what I’ve found. Some people choose to go the route of getting below-board licensing for enterprise software, but I’m not one of those people. For those of us who want a legitimate software footprint on their network, this post is for you. We are not going to cover how to build your homelab, or what storage you should use. We are going to cover how to license your  homelab at little or no cost to you, including your choices for legally licensing products from VMware, Microsoft, Veeam and more.

VMware Licensing

Let’s start the conversation by talking about VMware, since virtualization is the main focus of this blog. While VMware does offer their ESXi hypervisor for free, that doesn’t include some of the enterprise features like access to APIs, and the rest of the vSphere suite. In terms of licensing, the cheapest way to get a production copy of VMware for an enterprise is vSphere Essentials, which costs $560 at the …

Read More

vSphere 5.5 and vSAN 5.5 End of General Support Reminder

I thought I’d take a moment to remind everyone that the End of General Support (EOGS) for vSphere 5.5 and vSAN 5.5 is September 19, 2018.

VMware recommends that anyone still running those versions of the software upgrade to vSphere 6.5 or vSphere 6.7 as soon as possible to maintain your full level of Support and Subscription Services. Upgrading to vSphere 6.5 or 6.7 will put you in a good spot, and give you all of the latest capabilities of vSphere and vSAN. VMware has announced that vSphere 6.5 and vSphere 6.7 general support has been extended to five years from it’s release date, which will end on November 15, 2021.

Note: vCloud Suite 5 and vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) customers running vSphere 5.5 are also recommended to upgrade to vSphere 6.5 or vSphere 6.7.

Visit the VMware vSphere Upgrade Center for more information on the benefits of upgrading and how to upgrade from vSphere 5.5 to vSphere 6.5 or vSphere 6.7. If you’re looking for detailed technical guidance, visit vSphere Central and the vSphere 6.5 Topology and Upgrade Planning Tool.

If you need a little bit of help upgrading to a newer version of vSphere, VMware …

Read More

VMware Product Walkthroughs Tool

The VMware product line can be a little overwhelming. With VMware announcing new features, products and services regularly, it can be hard to keep up. That said, VMware offers a tool to help you digest and retain all of that information, and they’ve been keeping it up to date. It’s been around for a while now, since about 2014 I think, but if you haven’t seen it…

Allow me to introduce the VMware Product Walkthrough website. The site is mobile friendly, and pretty intuitive.

This tool provides technical overviews and step-by-step guides for installing, configuring and managing VMware products and services. Every single walkthrough includes screenshots and detailed explainations.

You can also use the site as a self-paced demo of VMware products and features. Get familiar with the basic features of VMware products before you dive into the VMware Hands-on Labs for those products.…

Read More

vSphere Deployment: Configuring an HA Cluster in vCenter 6.5

vSphere Deployment is a 6 part series that will walk you through deploying and configuring the components of vSphere 6.5.

Part 1: vSphere Deployment: Deploying ESXi 6.5 to a Host
Part 2: vSphere Deployment: Deploying the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5
Part 3: vSphere Deployment: Configuring an HA Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 4: vSphere Deployment: Configuring Traditional Storage in vCenter 6.5
Part 5: vSphere Deployment: Configuring a Datastore Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 6: vSphere Deployment: Configuring vSphere Update Manager (VUM) in vCenter 6.5

vSphere HA clusters allow ESXi hosts to work together as a group and provide performance assurance and higher levels of availability for hosted virtual machines. Before we get into building vSphere HA clusters, let’s go over how vSphere HA works. vSphere HA provides high availability for virtual machines by pooling the virtual machines and the hosts they reside on into a cluster of ESXi hosts. Hosts in the cluster are actively monitored through a network and datastore heartbeating and if a failure occurs, the virtual machines on failed hosts are automatically restarted on alternate hosts.

Note the distinction between vSphere HA (High Availability) and vSphere FT (Fault Tolerance). vSphere FT allows for no service interruption, …

Read More

vSphere Deployment: Deploying the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5

vSphere Deployment is a 6 part series that will walk you through deploying and configuring the components of vSphere 6.5.

Part 1: vSphere Deployment: Deploying ESXi 6.5 to a Host
Part 2: vSphere Deployment: Deploying the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5
Part 3: vSphere Deployment: Configuring an HA Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 4: vSphere Deployment: Configuring Traditional Storage in vCenter 6.5
Part 5: vSphere Deployment: Configuring a Datastore Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 6: vSphere Deployment: Configuring vSphere Update Manager (VUM) in vCenter 6.5

For those unfamiliar, VMware vCenter is a management suite for your VMware vSphere environment. It allows you to manage your VMware infrastructure from a single pane of glass. With vCenter 6.5 you can choose one of two ways to deploy the software:

  • Install the vCenter software on a Windows server (physical or virtual)
  • Deploy the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA)

Though VMware still allows you to deploy vCenter on a Windows server, we’re not going to cover that here. Not only is that installation fairly straight-forward being that it’s a Windows application, but 6.5 is the last version of vCenter that VMware will make available for Windows. Going forward you will have to deploy vCenter as a …

Read More

vSphere Deployment: Deploying ESXi 6.5 to a Host

vSphere Deployment is a 6 part series that will walk you through deploying and configuring the components of vSphere 6.5.

Part 1: vSphere Deployment: Deploying ESXi 6.5 to a Host
Part 2: vSphere Deployment: Deploying the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5
Part 3: vSphere Deployment: Configuring an HA Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 4: vSphere Deployment: Configuring Traditional Storage in vCenter 6.5
Part 5: vSphere Deployment: Configuring a Datastore Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 6: vSphere Deployment: Configuring vSphere Update Manager (VUM) in vCenter 6.5

For those unfamiliar, VMware ESXi is VMwares purpose-built, bare metal hypervisor that installs directly onto a physical server.

There are a few requirements when deploying ESXi 6.5:

  1. You’ll need a host compatible with vSphere 6.5 (compatibility guide available here).
  2. You’ll need the ESXi 6.5 ISO image (available here). I also recommend that you check out the vendor-specific (Dell EMC, HPE) ESXi builds if you want to avoid installing drivers, etc.
  3. You’ll want to keep the vSphere Installation and Setup – VMware vSphere 6.5 documentation handy.
  4. Ensure that all shared storage is disconnected from the host when installing ESXi.

Step 1: Deploy ESXi to a Physical Machine

Once you have …

Read More

VMware Configuration Maximums Tool

It’s finally happened! VMware has just made our lives a lot easier. If you manage a VMware environment, you have to know the configuration maximums for each VMware product and version in your environment. If you’re taking a VMware certification exam, you have to know the configuration maximums for each product and version in the blueprint for the exam you want to take.

Now, all of that information is readily available on the web, eliminating the need to search for the documentation you need and write everything out in your own spreadsheets. Check out the new VMware Configuration Maximum Tool here: https://configmax.vmware.com/

As of this writing, this tool contains the configuration maximums for vSphere 6.0, 6.5, and 6.5 Update 1. I’m sure more versions, and more products will be added to the tool in the future, so bookmark it!

This handy tool allows you to select your vSphere version, and then choose to display maximums only for the technology you choose. You can even compare the configuration maximums across different versions, which is really useful if you want to see what improvements and enhancements have been made that may lead to a small rearchitecture effort in your environment, or plan …

Read More

Simplifying Veeam Backups Using VMware Tags

If you’re lazy like me, you hate having to open 26 different applications when you provision a new virtual machine. Lets eliminate the need to open one of those applications, Veeam.

Traditionally, when you provision a new virtual machine, you would open Veeam Backup & Replication Console and add that specific VM to one of the Backup Jobs you have configured. You’d have to make sure that you’ve correctly configured things like encryption, application-aware backups, exceptions and credentials for the VM you’ve provisioned.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I hate extra work. Here’s how you can solve this problem with a little bit of automation using VMware Tags and Veeam Backup & Replication.

Note: VMware Tags require vCenter version 5.1 and above. Reference

Step 1: Create Backup Tags in VMware vCenter
For my needs, I created quite a few VMware Tags. One for each of the Veeam Backup Jobs I needed, and a few to dynamically change the settings of the backup job for specific virtual machines. Here’s how they’re laid out:

  1. Create a new category for your backup tags called Backup. For this category, you should set Cardinality to Many tags per object, and you

Read More

VMware vSphere 6.5 Upgrade eBook

Emad Younis is a Staff Technical Marketing Architect working in the Cloud Platform Business Unit, part of the R&D organization at VMware. His current focuses are the vCenter Server Appliance, vCenter Server Migrations, and VMware Cloud on AWS. He’s written tons of blogs, whitepapers and eBooks for VMware, including the eBook that this blog is about. For those of us who are migrating from older vSphere versions (like 5.5,  which is end of support in September) to vSphere 6.5, this eBook is a must have resource.

This free eBook was written to help guide VMware customers through every phase of the vSphere 6.5 upgrade process. It’s broken down into three phases:

Phase 1: Pre-upgrade – The work that you need to do before starting an upgrade.
Phase 2: Upgrade – Outlining the steps of the upgrade process and execution.
Phase 3: Post-Upgrade – Validating with business owners that everything went according to plan.

Each phase outlines minute details things that you should consider during the upgrade process, and also links to resources that will help make your upgrade a successful one. Included in the eBook are two common upgrade scenarios to help guide you through the upgrade process from …

Read More

VMware Certification and You

VMware certification is a great way to boost your worth in the market. In addition to the employer recognition and compensation benefits you’ll get, VMware certifications come with a pretty big list of perks. You’ll get professional recognition of your technical knowledge and skills, greater opportunities for career advancement, official transcripts from VMware that you can link, VMware Digital Badges for your earned certifications, you’ll be granted use of the logos that come with your certification, you’ll get access to the exclusive VMware certification portal & logo merchandise store. If that wasn’t enough, you also get discounts from VMware Press (you can use this to purchase materials for higher certifications, or just books to keep you at the bleeding edge of VMware technologies and best practices), discounted admission to VMware events like VMworld, and invitation to beta exams and classes to help you stay current and certify at a discounted rate.

Getting started on a VMware certification track is easier than you might think. They’ve even provided this handy roadmap for each of the tracks offered. As of this writing, there are four certification tracks to choose from:

  1. Data Center Virtualization (DCV) – This is by far the most popular

Read More

VMware Tagging and Why You Should Care

VMware Tags were introduced with vSphere 5.1, and replace the legacy Custom Attributes feature from earlier versions. Tags allow you to add valuable metadata to every object in your inventory, which makes them searchable and sortable by those tags. How can this be used, you ask? Well I’ll tell you how I use tags.

I use tags to control which backup a virtual machine is a part of, to control the settings that should be applied during the backup, to identify the priority of virtual machines for business continuity and disaster recovery purposes, to define the patch group the virtual machine is in, to identify server roles and installed applications, to create dynamic groups of machines in Turbonomic Operations Manager. One of the guys on my team even built a dynamic list of servers on our SharePoint site that allows us to see at a glance every server in our environment and filter it to find the information we need quickly.

What is a Category?
Categories allow you to group related tags together. When you define a category, you can also specify which object types its tags can be applied to and whether more than one tag in the category …

Read More