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Running Hyper-V Windows Server 2012 from Esxi 5 & Workstation 8

Quickest Way to Patch an ESX/ESXi Using the Command-line | VMware vSphere Blog - VMware Blogs

By William Lam, Sr. Technical Marketing Engineer

As you know, when it comes to automating patch management for your vSphere infrastructure, we highly recommend leveraging our vSphere Update Manager (VUM) which is part of the vSphere vCenter Suite to help simplify the update process. Though not all environments have the luxury of running vCenter Server to manage their ESX(i) hosts. An example of this could be 1-2 hosts running at a ROBO (remote office/branch office) site or single test/dev host in a home or office lab where VUM is not available.

However, it is still possible to patch/upgrade your ESX(i) host using the command-line without the need of VUM, but you will have to manually identify the patch dependencies and ensure host compliance.

Depending on the version of ESX or ESXi you are running, you may have several options that could include local and/or remote command-line utilities that are available in following four forms:

  • ESX Service Console
    • esxupdate – Local utility found on classic ESX hosts to manage/install patches
  • ESXi Shell
    • ESXCLI – Local utility found on ESXi 5.0 hosts that can be used manage/install patches
  • vCLI (Windows/Linux or use vMA)
    • vihostupdate35 – Remote utility to manage/install patches for ESXi 3.5
    • vihostupdate – Remote utility to manage/install patches for ESX(i) 4.0 & 4.1
    • ESXCLI – Remote utility to manage/install patches for ESXi 5.0 (patch capability introduced in vSphere 5 for ESXi 5.0 hosts only)
  • PowerCLI(Windows)
    • InstallVMHostPatch – Remote utility using PowerCLI to manage/install patches for ESX(i) 4.0 and 4.1

Note: If you are using vSphere Hypervisor (Free ESXi), you will not be able to leverage any of the the remote CLI’s but you can still use the local CLI.

Here is a table summarizing all available command-line options based on the version of ESX(i) you are running:

Hypervisor Version Local Command vCLI Remote Command PowerCLI Remote Command
ESX 3.5 esxupdate –bundle= update N/A N/A
ESXi 3.5 N/A vihostupdate35
–bundle= –install
N/A
ESX 4.0 esxupdate –bundle= update vihostupdate –bundle= –install Install-VMHostPatch
ESXi 4.0 N/A vihostupdate –bundle= –install Install-VMHostPatch
ESX 4.1 esxupdate –bundle= update vihostupdate –bundle= –install Install-VMHostPatch
ESXi 4.1 N/A vihostupdate –bundle= –install Install-VMHostPatch
ESXi 5.0 esxcli software vib install –depot=/vmfs/volumes/[datastore]/ esxcli software vib install –depot=/vmfs/volumes/[datastore]/ Install-VMHostPatch
Or Get-ESXCLI with the local command referenced in this table.

Note: When you download patches from VMware, there is an associated VMware KB article and it provides a link to the patch management documentation. You should always refer to that for more details and information for different methods of applying a patch.

Here is an example of using esxupdate on a classic ESX host. The patch bundle needs to be uploaded to ESX host using scp or winSCP and then specifying the full path on the command-line:

$ esxupdate –bundle=ESX400-200907001.zip update

Here is an example of using the remote vihostupdate utility for an ESXi host, you will need to specify the ESXi host using the –server parameter and –username/–password for remote authenication. You may choose to leave off –password and you will be prompted to enter your credentials. The patch bundle does not need to be uploaded to ESXi host, it can reside on the system that is running the vihostupdate command. During the execution, the patch bundle will automatically be transfered to the host:

$ vihostupdate –server [ESXI-FQDN] –username [USERNAME] –bundle=ESXi410-201011001.zip –install

Here is an example of using the local esxcli utility for an ESXi 5.0 host. The patch bundle needs to be uploaded to ESXi host using scp or winSCP and then specifying the full path on the command-line:

$ esxcli software vib install –depot=/vmfs/volumes/datastore1/ESXi500-201112001.zip

Here is an example of using the remote esxcli utility for an ESXi 5 host, you will need to specify the ESXi host using the –server parameter and –username/–password for remote authenication. You may choose to leave off –password and you will be prompted to enter your credentials. The patch bundle needs to be uploaded to ESXi host using scp/winSCP or vCLI’s vifs utility and then specifying the full path on the command-line:

$ vifs –server [ESXI-FQDN] –username [USERNAME] -p ESXi500-201112001.zip “[datastore1] ESXi500-201112001.zip”
$ esxcli –server [ESXI-FQDN] –username [USERNAME] software vib install –depot=/vmfs/volumes/datastore1/ESXi500-201112001.zip

Note: In ESXi 5, –depot only supports local server path or remote URL. The latter is to help centralize the location of your patches and help reduce manual transfer. This is why you need to transfer the patch to host if you do not have a patch depot.

Here is an example of using Install-VMHostPatch utility for an ESXi host:

Get-VMHost ESXI-FQDN | Set-VMHost -State Maintenance
$DS = Get-VMHost ESXI-FQDN | Get-Datastore datastore1
Copy-DatastoreItem C:\tmp\ESXi500-201112001\ $DS.DatastoreBrowserPath -Recurse
Get-VMHost ESX-FQDN | Install-VMHostPatch -Hostpath “/vmfs/volumes/datastore1/ESXi500-201112001/metadata.zip”

Note: The Install-VMHostPatch cmdlet does have a -LocalPath parameter for you to specify a local path to the patch. For larger files it is recommended you use the Copy-Datastore cmdlet to upload the file to a datastore on the host and then the -HostPath parameter as can be seen in the example above.

As you can see over the releases, we have had several methods of patching a host using the command-line both locally/remotely and it may not always be intuitive. When we converged to only ESXi with the release of vSphere 5.0, you will see that patching from the command-line has also converged to a single command-line utility using ESXCLI and a common patch format called a VIB. ESXCLI was first introduced in vSphere 4.0 and it had some limited capabilities. With vSphere 5.0, it has been significantly enhanced and now supports patching as one of it’s many capabilities. The syntax and expected output is exactly the same if you execute ESXCLI locally or remotely on an ESXi host with the exception of the remote authentication that is required for a remote execution. This should provide for a better user experience and consistency going forward.

An alternative method to patching from the command-line if you do not have VUM is using VMware Go, which is an online service (SaaS) provided by VMware. VMware Go can help manage your ESXi host but it also provides a patching capability similar to that of VUM.

Get notification of new blog postings and more by following VMware Automation on Twitter:  @VMWAutomation


The 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

The 6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers

You're the boss, but you still spend too much time on the day-to-day. Here's how to become the strategic leader your company needs.

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In the beginning, there was just you and your partners. You did every job. You coded, you met with investors, you emptied the trash and phoned in the midnight pizza. Now you have others to do all that and it's time for you to "be strategic." 

Whatever that means.

If you find yourself resisting "being strategic," because it sounds like a fast track to irrelevance, or vaguely like an excuse to slack off, you're not alone. Every leader's temptation is to deal with what's directly in front, because it always seems more urgent and concrete. Unfortunately, if you do that, you put your company at risk. While you concentrate on steering around potholes, you'll miss windfall opportunities, not to mention any signals that the road you're on is leading off a cliff.

This is a tough job, make no mistake. "We need strategic leaders!” is a pretty constant refrain at every company, large and small. One reason the job is so tough: no one really understands what it entails. It's hard to be a strategic leader if you don't know what strategic leaders are supposed to do.

After two decades of advising organizations large and small, my colleagues and I have formed a clear idea of what's required of you in this role. Adaptive strategic leaders — the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment – do six things well:

Anticipate 

Most of the focus at most companies is on what’s directly ahead. The leaders lack “peripheral vision.” This can leave your company vulnerable to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. To anticipate well, you must:

  • Look for game-changing information at the periphery of your industry
  • Search beyond the current boundaries of your business
  • Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better

Think Critically

“Conventional wisdom” opens you to fewer raised eyebrows and second guessing. But if you swallow every management fad, herdlike belief, and safe opinion at face value, your company loses all competitive advantage. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill you must force yourself to:

  • Reframe problems to get to the bottom of things, in terms of root causes
  • Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including their own
  • Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions

Interpret 

Ambiguity is unsettling. Faced with it, the temptation is to reach for a fast (and potentially wrongheaded) solution.  A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint. To get good at this, you have to:

  • Seek patterns in multiple sources of data
  • Encourage others to do the same
  • Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously

Decide

Many leaders fall pretty to “analysis paralysis.” You have to develop processes and enforce them, so that you arrive at a “good enough” position. To do that well, you have to:

  • Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter
  • Balance speed, rigor, quality and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers
  • Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views

 Align

Total consensus is rare. A strategic leader must foster open dialogue, build trust and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge.  To pull that off, you need to:

  • Understand what drives other people's agendas, including what remains hidden
  • Bring tough issues to the surface, even when it's uncomfortable
  • Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support

Learn

As your company grows, honest feedback is harder and harder to come by.  You have to do what you can to keep it coming. This is crucial because success and failure--especially failure--are valuable sources of organizational learning.  Here's what you need to do:

  • Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons
  • Shift course quickly if you realize you're off track
  • Celebrate both success and (well-intentioned) failures that provide insight

Do you have what it takes?

Obviously, this is a daunting list of tasks, and frankly, no one is born a black belt in all these different skills. But they can be taught and whatever gaps exist in your skill set can be filled in. I'll cover each of the aspects of strategic leadership in more detail in future columns. But for now, test your own strategic aptitude (or your company's) with the survey at www.decisionstrat.com. In the comments below, let me know what you learned from it.

Paul J. H. Schoemaker: Founder and Chairman of Decision Strategies Intl. Author, professor, entrepreneur and speaker. Research Director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at Wharton, where he teaches strategy and decision-making


VMware: VMware Support Insider: NIC is missing in my Virtual Machine

VMware Support Twitter tweaks | Main | Some random, but useful thoughts

June 30, 2010

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NIC is missing in my Virtual Machine

Today we have a post about virtual networking from Ramprasad K.S., who is a senior tech support engineer in our Bangalore office.

Have you ever had a case where a virtual machine loses its configured NIC?

Background

In vSphere we introduced “Hot Add/Remove” for Network Adapters and SCSI controllers along with CPU and Memory. This means you can now add or remove these devices while a VM is powered on and the guest is running. This action is not limited to the management. These devices also show up as hot removable in the guest (in Windows you use the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon in the system tray).

2 reasons why a NIC will go missing in the Virtual Machine.
  • One reason is Hot Removal from the Guest. With the new Hot Add/Remove feature, NICs show up under the “Safely Remove Hardware” list. Any user with administrative privileges can accidentally remove the NIC using this feature. This is a common reason why the NIC has gone missing. This misstep results in numerous calls into support.
  • Another reason why NIC can go missing is someone manually removed it from the Virtual Machine configuration (Probably using UI or some SDK APIs).
How can we find out which one of the methods was used?

In both cases we can resort to the Virtual Machine logs to provide clues as to which one of these method was used.

NIC removed from VM using UI (Edit Settings)

In case of the NIC is removed using UI (“Edit Settings” for the Virtual Machine) then one would see API calls being logged in the vmware.log of the Virtual Machine. The log text would be similar to the following:

Mar 15 03:13:37.392: vmx| Vix: [466627 vmxCommands.c:1929]: VMAutomation_HotPlugBeginBatch. Requested by connection (1).
Mar 15 03:13:37.420: vmx| Vix: [466627 vmxCommands.c:1861]: VMAutomation_HotRemoveDevice
Mar 15 03:13:37.420: vmx| VMAutomation: Hot remove device. asyncCommand=3E10BA28, type=54, idx=1
Mar 15 03:13:37.420: vmx| Requesting hot-remove of ethernet1

The line immediately above indicates that the NIC removal was initiated by either an SDK API Call or UI and the following log segment indicates the Hot Removal completed.

Mar 15 03:13:37.463: vmx| Powering off Ethernet1
Mar 15 03:13:37.463: vmx| Hot removal done.

You may also observe the VM pause for a brief time to complete the removal.
Mar 15 03:13:37.447: vmx| Checkpoint_Unstun: vm stopped for 17696 us

NIC removed inside the Guest

In this case we will see slightly different log entries. There will be no indications of VMAutomation being involved here. The start of removal is identified by following lines:

May 27 16:38:52.903: vcpu-0| CPT current = 0, requesting 1
May 27 16:38:52.903: vcpu-0| CONFIGDB: Logging Ethernet0.pciSlotNumber=-1
Completion of Hot Removal can be identifed with same logging message as the one in earlier case.
May 27 16:38:53.417: vmx| Powering off Ethernet0
May 27 16:38:53.418: vmx| Hot removal done.

Note:  NIC removal is always a user initiated process either outside of the Guest (using UI) or inside the guest. There are no other reasons why a NIC should go missing from Virtual machine configuration.

How to Stop the NIC from being removed
  • Hot Add/Remove has to be disabled at each the level of Virtual Machine. At this time we don't have any global configuration that would be valid for all Virtual Machine at ESX/vCenter Level. The parameter which controls the hotplug nature of the devices is devices.hotplug. Please follow the Knowledge base article 1012225 : Disabling the HotPlug capability in ESX 4.0 virtual machine

Note:Remember disabling hotplug means you can neither add not remove a device from virtual machine in powered on state.

  • For Guests running Windows operating systems, we can use a registry hack to hide the hot removable capabilities of the NIC. Be careful following this method as it uses potentially dangerous registry editing. Please backup your registry before proceeding with any edits.
    • Run regedit as Local System account. One way to do this is to run “at <current time + 1 min in 24 hr format> /interactive regedit.exe”, without the quotes. Something like “at 00:33 /interactive regedit.exe”
    • Now go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum, search for E1000
    • Set the Capabilities flag in the key(s) found above, to the current value - 4.
For example, we have the key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_100F&SUBSYS_075015AD&REV_01\4&47b7341&0&1088 with the Service value E1000. Capabilities is set to 6. On changing the value to 2, (immediately) E1000 NIC will be no longer listed in the safely remove hardware list anymore.
If the guests are part of Domain, you might be able to push these changes to the system registry for the guests.

VMware vSphere 5 makes it even easier to run ESXi on ESXi, and now supports 64-bit nested guests | VCritical

VMware vSphere can virtualize itself + 64-bit nested guests

July 12, 2011 in Virtualizationism | 53 comments

Running VMware ESXi inside a virtual machine is a great way to experiment with different configurations and features without building out a whole lab full of hardware and storage. Virtualization enthusiasts everywhere have benefited from the ability to run ESXi on ESXi, first introduced with the vSphere 4 release.

VMware vSphere 5 makes it easier than ever to virtualize hypervisor hosts. With new capabilities to run nested 64-bit guests and take snapshots of virtual ESXi VMs, the sky is the limit for your cloud infrastructure development lab. Heck, you can even run Hyper-V on top of vSphere 5 — not that you’d want to.

Physical Host Setup

The physical host running VMware ESXi 5 requires just a few configuration changes; here is a guide:

  • Install VMware ESXi 5 on a physical host and configure networking, storage, and other aspects as needed
  • Configure a vSwitch and/or Port Group to have Promiscuous Mode enabled
  • Create a second Port Group named “Trunk” with VLAN ID All (4095) if you want to use VLANs on virtual hypervisors
  • Log in to Tech Support Mode (iLO or ssh) and make the following tweak to enable nested 64-bit guests
    echo 'vhv.allow = "TRUE"' >> /etc/vmware/config

Virtual VMware ESXi Machine (vESXi) Creation

For various reasons, it’s not feasible to clone virtual ESXi VMs. As an alternative, create a fully-configured shell VM to use as a template — it can be cloned before ESXi is installed.

Create a new VM with the following guidance:

  • Guest OS: Linux / Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (64-bit)
  • 2 virtual sockets, 2+ GB RAM
  • 4 NICs — connect NIC 1 to the management network and the rest to the “Trunk” network:
  • Thin provisioned virtual disks work fine
  • Finish creating the VM, then edit the following settings
    • Options/General Options: change Guest Operating System to Other – VMware ESXi 5.x
    • CPU/MMU Virtualization: Use Intel VT … EPT… ( bottom radio button)
  • Don’t power this VM on — keep it to act as a template
  • Clone and install VMware ESXi via ISO image or PXE boot
  • Add to vCenter and configure virtual ESXi hosts for action

Nested 64-bit Guests

With the release of VMware vSphere 5, nested guests can be 64-bit operating systems. Just be sure to make the change to /etc/vmware/config on the physical host as indicated above.

Nested guests can be migrated with vMotion between virtual or physical VMware ESXi hosts; this requires a vMotion network and shared storage.

Nested Hyper-V Virtual Machines

It is possible to run other hypervisors as vSphere virtual machines, and even power on nested VMs. Here you can see Hyper-V running a CentOS virtual machine — all on VMware ESXi. Talk about disrupting the space-time continuum!

A couple of extra tweaks are needed to enable this, and performance is not great. Nevertheless, an amazing feat of engineering from VMware!

Do the following to enable Hyper-V on VMware ESXi:

  • Add hypervisor.cpuid.v0 = FALSE to the VM configuration

  • Add —-:—-:—-:—-:—-:—-:–h-:—- to the CPU mask for Level 1 ECX (Intel)

For another take, check out William Lam’s post on this topic.

Parting Thoughts

Given the right hardware, it is possible to create a fully-functional VMware test lab that is completely virtual. Go ahead and experiment with the Distributed Virtual Switch, vShield, vCloud Director, and everything else without deploying a ton of servers and storage.

How are you taking advantage of a virtual vSphere environment?

Related posts:

  1. VMware ESX 4 can even virtualize itself
  2. New VMware ESXi Management Kit
  3. Taking snapshots of VMware ESX 4 running in a VM
  4. PowerShell Prevents Datastore Emergencies
  5. Understanding VMware vSphere, ESXi, and Release Cycles

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