General Availability of VMware ESX/ESXi 3.5, 4.0, 4.1 and 5.0 Patches

A new patch release notification from VMware was received today, it’s copied below.

We are pleased to inform you that new VMware ESX/ESXi Patches are available as of May 3, 2012.

These patches address several critical security issues. Detailed information regarding resolved and known issues and enhancements can be found in these Knowledge Base articles:

3.5 EP2 Patch Release Notes:
ESX: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2019535
ESXi: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2019537

4.0 EP7 Patch Release Notes:
ESX: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2019853
ESXi: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2019855

4.1 EP2-1 Patch Release Notes:
ESX: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2019859
ESXi: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2019860

5.0 EP3 Patch Release Notes:
ESXi: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2019857

VMware ESX/ESXi Patches are available for download at http://www.vmware.com/patch/download/.

Regards,

VMware vSphere Product Release Team

Performance Troubleshooting for vSphere 4.1

Chethan Kumar has recently updated the Performance Troubleshooting for vSphere 4.1 guide. This is a great asset I use regularly for any client or partner that asks about vSphere performance – especially those working with Tier 1 applications. It is very educational and addresses the most common scenarios clients experience.

Abstract:

“The hugely popular Performance Troubleshooting for VMware vSphere 4 guide is now updated for vSphere 4.1 . This document provides step-by-step approach for troubleshooting most common performance problems in vSphere-based virtual environments. The steps discussed in the document use performance data and charts readily available in the vSphere Client and esxtop to aid the troubleshooting flows. Each performance troubleshooting flow has two parts:

1. How to identify the problem using specific performance counters.
2. Possible causes of the problem and solutions to solve it.”

It is located here: http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-14905

VMware – Best Practice KB Articles for Installing vSphere 4.1 and vCenter 4.1

Here’s a great post over at www.vladan.fr (who’s a well known VMware blogger and vExpert) on some of the KB articles he’s found regarding best practices on installing vSphere 4.1 and vCenter 4.1.
http://www.vladan.fr/best-practices-kb-on-how-to-install-esx-4-1-and-vcenter/

Preparing the vCenter Server Installation Worksheet – Download and fill out the vCenter Server Installation Worksheet.
MicrosoftSQL Server 2005 Express is intended for use with small deployments of up to 5 hosts and/or 50 virtual machines.

    Memory – 3GB RAM. RAM requirements may be higher if your database runs on the same machine. VMware VirtualCenter Management WebServices requires 128Mb to 1.5GB of memory which is allocated at startup.Disk storage – 2GB. Disk requirements may be higher if your database runs on the same machine.

  • vCenter Server 4.1 requires a 64 bit DSN and MUST NOT be a Domain controller. vSphere Compatibility Matrix.
  • The computer name – no more than 15 characters.
  • have reliable DNS and Time services.

Recommended, but not mandatory:

  • separate database for vCenter Server and vCenter Update Manager

vCenter server needs all this (will be installed as part of vCenter Installation):

  • Apache Tomcat (64 bit)
  • Java Runtime Environment JRE (64 bit)
  • Active Directory Application Management (ADAM)
  • Visual C++ 2005 Runtime Redistributable
  • .NET 3.0 SP1 or above (optional based on DB selection)

If the machine on which you are installing vCenter Server has a previous version of vCenter installed (if it’s on 64 bit hardware), you might want to upgrade instead of performing a fresh installation of vCenter Server.

Best practices for the ESX installations:

Check on the HCL (hardware compatibility list) page…. – I blogged about that earlier too ….

  • System compatibility
  • I/O compatibility (Network and HBA cards)
  • Storage compatibility
  • Backup software compatibility

32bits installation are no longer supported. VMware ESX 4.1 only installs and runs on servers with 64 bit x86 CPUs.

  • Check the Enable Intel VT in the BIOS.
  • If you are installing to the local disks and you have a  SAN with Fiber Channel connected  to the ESX host, make sure and detach the fiber before continuing with the installation. (Do not disable HBA cards in the BIOS)
  • minimum size of the vmdk where the  /swap, and all the optional partitions are stored should be set for 8GB.
  • Make a separate partition for  /var/log.

Source: Installing ESX 4.1 and vCenter Server 4.1 best practices

Quick Guide: Installing VMware Tools with Fedora 12

Running on vSphere 4.1, I installed a VM with Fedora 12 on it (Kernel version: 2.6.32.21-168.fc12.x86_64) and when I tried to install VMware Tools, I kept  getting an error at the step that said:
“What is the location of the directory of C header files that match your running kernel?”

There are countless posts around the internet with people looking for help with this.

I searched and searched online but could not find a solution that worked for me, until I came across this site, which I followed and it worked perfectly!
http://www.crazyhawt.com/2010/01/25/quick-guide-installing-vmware-tools-with-fedora-12/

The steps are copied below for reference (from the above site).

  1. Download Fedora 12.
  2. Install the OS.
  3. Boot up the virtual machine.
  4. Open up the Terminal.
  5. Run “su” and type your root password to gain administrative control.
  6. Run “yum update” to update all the packages to the newest version.
  7. Reboot.
  8. Open up the Terminal.
  9. Run “yum install kernel-devel kernel-headers gcc mkinitrd”
  10. Reboot.
  11. Click the menu option in your VMware application to install VMware tools. This should put a compressed folder on the desktop.
  12. Expand the zip file and using the terminal, navigate into the newly created directory.
  13. As the root user, type “./vmware-install.pl”
  14. When it asks you questions and prompts you for a response, just hit enter. Everything should be properly configured at this point.
  15. Reboot when the script finishes. That’s it!

VMware – Extend a vSphere Win2k3 C Drive

Here’s a great write-up with screenshots on how to resize and extend a Windows 2003 “C” drive on VMware vSphere.

http://thevlab.net/vmware/tips-and-tricks/extending-a-vsphere-win2k3-os-drive/

Link for the Dell Utility (called ExtPart) that he uses:
http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/download.aspx?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs&releaseid=R64398&formatcnt=2&fileid=83929

Hope it helps!

Changing or Resetting a Lost Root Password on ESX or vSphere

This lesson describes how to reset a lost password on vSphere 4 and ESX 3.x. This information is based off of VMware KB article 1317898 which can be found here:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1317898.

vSphere 4

1.Reboot the ESX host.
2.When the GRUB screen appears, press the space bar to stop the server from automatically booting into VMware ESX .
3.Use the arrow keys to select Service Console only (troubleshooting mode).
4.Press the ‘a’ key to modify the kernel arguments (boot options).
5.On the line presented, type a space followed by the word single.
6.Press Enter. The server continues to boot into single-user mode.
7.When presented with a bash prompt such as sh-2.05b#, type the command passwd and press Enter.
8.Follow the prompts to set a new root user password.
9.When the password is changed successfully, reboot the host using the command reboot and allow VMware ESX Server to boot normally.

ESX 3.x

1.Reboot the ESX host.
2.When the GRUB screen appears, press the space bar to stop the server from automatically booting into VMware ESX .
3.Use the arrow keys to select Service Console only (troubleshooting mode).
4.Press the ‘e‘ key to modify the kernel arguments (boot options).
5.On the line presented, type a space followed by the word single.
6.Press Enter then press the ‘b‘ key to boot the ESX host in single-user mode.
7.When presented with a bash prompt such as sh-2.05b#, type the command passwd and press Enter.
8.Follow the prompts to set a new root user password.
9.When the password is changed successfully, reboot the host using the command reboot and allow VMware ESX Server to boot normally.

ESX 2.x

1.Reboot the ESX Host.
2.When the LILO screen appears, press the space bar to stop the server from automatically booting into VMware ESX.
3.At the LILO prompt select linux, adding the -s to the end of the line. For example: linux -s.
4.Press Enter. The system begins to boot. The server continues to boot into single-user mode.
5.When presented with a bash prompt such as sh-2.05b#, type the command passwd and press Enter.
6.Follow the prompts to set a new root user password.
7.When the password is changed successfully, reboot the host using the command reboot and allow VMware ESX to boot normally.