GestaltIT, vCloud Director, Virtualization, VMware, VMworld, vSphere

VMworld 2012 – Call for voting and a jiffy?!

vote! by smallcaps, on FlickrThe Twitter world has been slightly abuzz. The reason? Well, a couple of weeks ago people were allowed to submit session proposals on VMworld.com. Basically, the call for papers is a way for folks to say “Hey, this is a cool idea for a session I have. This is what I would like to talk about.”. You submitted that on the site, and a first selection was made of the submissions, before they were now put online.

What do you need to do now? Well, you need to vote! If you go to VMworld.com you can click on the “Call for Papers Public Voting” link, and then cast a vote for the sessions you would like to see at VMworld. The only thing you need is a registered account at VMworld.com, and if you don’t have an account, you can create one here.

Once your are on the site, just browse through the sessions, and click on the thumb symbol in front of the session to cast your vote. It’s as easy as that, and you can vote for all the sessions that seem interesting to you (and others).

And while you are browsing, why not also take a quick look at session number 1665? This was submitted by my colleague Jonas Rosland and myself, and is titled:

Automagically Set-up Your Private Cloud Lab Environment: From Empty Box to Infrastructure as a Service in a Jiffy!

After casting your vote, it should look like this:

In the session, we will cover setting up a fully automated vCloud Director deployment in your lab environment. Starting off with an empty server and teaching you how to automate the installation of a full Cloud Infrastructure with ESXi, vCenter, vCloud Director and vApps, combined with the power of vCenter Orchestrator. And with all of this combined, you’ll be done in a jiffy!

If you think it would be interesting, we are both thankful for your vote! πŸ™‚

vCloud Director, Virtualization, VMware

Enabling nested 64-bit virtual hosts on vCloud Director 1.5 using MSSQL

After a crash of the database inside of my lab, I was forced to setup my vCloud Director environment once more. Before you ask, yes, I did have a backup of my database. But as Murphy would have it, it wasn’t usable for a restore.

Anyway, this allowed me to actually re-create my environment, which wasn’t a bad thing. My idea was to create an easy to use nested 64-bit vSphere environment, where I could actually quickly deploy a vSphere lab to work/test/play with.

First off, I had to enable my hosts to allow nested 64-bit vSphere guests to be installed. A way to set this up can be found here.

In summary, you can either manually add the following line:
vhv.allow = "TRUE"
to the file /etc/vmware/config on your ESXi host, or you can SSH to your ESXi host, and use the following esxcli command to set the flag (which only works if the vCloud agent has already been installed, as @lamw correctly pointed out on Twitter here):
esxcli vcloud esxvm enable64bitnested

So much for step one. πŸ˜‰

But now comes the fun part, enabling this in vCloud Director. Basic instructions on how to do that can be found here, and I can only confirm the warning given there:


This is not a supported configuration by VMware and this can disappear at any time, use at your own risk!


Since the instructions found on virtuallyGhetto are a bit more targeted towards Oracle, I thought I’d might as well share the instructions for a Microsoft SQL server, since these are slightly different.

For starters, go to the SQL server that is running your vCloud Director database, open the Object Explorer, and run a query against the dbo.config table that will allow nested 64-bit systems to run inside of vCloud Director. That query should look like this:

USE ReplaceWithYourDatabaseName;
SELECT config_it, cat, name, value, sortorder
FROM dbo.config
WHERE (name = 'extension.esxvm.enabled');

From there you can simply edit the value from “false” to “true”

Next up, you need to create an additional guest operating system type. However, by default you don’t have any permissions to add values to the table, so on SQL2008, you need to first change the “IDENTITY_INSERT” setting for the table, add the new family type, and finally set the Identity Insert value back to it’s original value, which goes like this:

USE ReplaceWithYourDatabaseName;
SET IDENTITY_INSERT dbo.guest_osfamily ON;
INSERT
INTO dbo.guest_osfamily (family_id,family)
VALUES (6,'VMware ESX/ESXi');
SET IDENTITY_INSERT dbo.guest_osfamily OFF;

Next up, we need to insert the operating systems for the entry we just created. We do this once for ESXi 4.1:

USE ReplaceWithYourDatabaseName;
SET IDENTITY_INSERT dbo.guest_os_type ON;
INSERT INTO dbo.guest_os_type
(guestos_id, display_name, internal_name, family_id, is_supported, is_64bit, min_disk_gb, min_memory_mb, min_hw_version,
supports_cpu_hotadd, supports_mem_hotadd, diskadapter_id, max_cpu_supported, is_personalization_enabled, is_personalization_auto,
is_sysprep_supported, is_sysprep_os_packaged, cim_id, cim_version)
VALUES (81, 'ESXi 4.x', 'vmkernelGuest', 6, 1, 1, 8, 3072, 7, 1, 1, 4, 8, 0, 0, 0, 0, 107, 40);
SET IDENTITY_INSERT dbo.guest_os_type OFF;

And once more for ESXi 5:

USE vmvblvcd15;
SET IDENTITY_INSERT dbo.guest_os_type ON;
INSERT INTO dbo.guest_os_type
(guestos_id,display_name, internal_name, family_id, is_supported, is_64bit, min_disk_gb, min_memory_mb, min_hw_version, supports_cpu_hotadd, supports_mem_hotadd, diskadapter_id, max_cpu_supported, is_personalization_enabled, is_personalization_auto, is_sysprep_supported, is_sysprep_os_packaged, cim_id, cim_version)
VALUES (82, 'ESXi 5.x', 'vmkernel5Guest', 6, 1, 1, 8, 3072, 7,1, 1, 4, 8, 0, 0, 0, 0, 107, 50);
SET IDENTITY_INSERT dbo.guest_os_type OFF;

Should the query analyzer give an error on the 81 or 82 values, you can increase these, because that just means that these values were already in use in the table. Just increase the numbers until the query analyzer doesn’t give you an error anymore.

And that’s it. You should now be able to see the new options when you create a new virtual machine for your vApp.

There are some additional steps to follow if you actually want to use the newly created options though. You need to restart the vCloud Director daemon on your vCloud cells, and re-prepare your hosts. Also, make sure to set promiscuous mode for the portgroups backing your vCloud network infrastructure, and you can check the post virtuallyGhetto for the details on that.

GestaltIT, vCloud Director, VMware, vSphere

Shorts: VMware vCloud Director not displaying the web portal

A colleague of mine approached me today with a question on our vCloud Director environment. He tried to log in to the vCloud Director portal, and was unable to log in, because there was no page being displayed at all.

After checking if I was able to ping the interface, I logged on to the machine to see if there were any obvious errors. The vCloud Director daemon was still running and so was the database, but a netstat did not show any listeners on the vCloud Director IP. So, after going over the vCloud Director log files, there was a pretty obvious error in the vcloud-container-info.log:

ORA-28001: the password has expired

So, you now stop your vCloud Director daemon and switch to your Oracle user to see what was going on inside of the DB:
sqlplus "/ as sysdba"

Now, list all the users to see if they have an expired password:
select username,ACCOUNT_STATUS,EXPIRY_DATE from dba_users;

Or display just the specific user:
select username,ACCOUNT_STATUS,EXPIRY_DATE from dba_users where username='VCLOUD';

And guess what came up:
USERNAME ACCOUNT_STATUS EXPIRY_DA
-------- -------------- ---------
VCLOUD EXPIRED 17-MAR-11

Expired is something that you don’t want to see for a user that is being used actively. So, let’s set the password again and unlock the user:
alter user VCLOUD identified by replace_this_with_your_password;
alter user VCLOUD account unlock;

So, once that is done, let’s check one more time:
SQL> select username,ACCOUNT_STATUS,EXPIRY_DATE from dba_users where username='VCLOUD';
USERNAME ACCOUNT_STATUS EXPIRY_DA
-------- -------------- ---------
VCLOUD OPEN 26-SEP-11

Now, start your vCloud Director daemon again, and in the log file you should no longer see the error, and the web interface should be working normally again.

Update – April 11th 2011:

One of my other colleagues actually ran in to the same issue and found my blog post. He gave me some feedback asking if I would not be able to add how to find the sqlplus binaries since not everyone is a Linux master, so here goes:

Normally, if Oracle is installed on Linux, it is one of the prerequisites to set the environment variables. Basically this means that you tune your system to allow Oracle to run on it. You perform tasks like telling the system how much shared memory to use, you set semaphores and create a seperate user under which the Oracle installation runs.

Part of these tasks usually also means setting the path to the Oracle binaries for this user I just mentioned. Now, in some situations, your database is already installed, but you don’t know as what user or in what directory. This is not necessarily an issue. Just use the “ps” command to list all processes from all users. Use something like:

ps -efor
ps auxf

and look for the Oracle processes. At the start of the line you should see as which user these processes are running.

Once you have identified the user, switch to said user, using the following command:

su - user_name
Obviously, replace the user_name with the actual username. The “su” (or “switch user” if you will) is a command to actually switch to a different user. The dash or minus sign that is appended after the “su” command, makes “su” pass the environment along unchanged, as if you were actually logged in as the specified user.

The benefit of adding the dash, is that the user environment is set correspondingly, meaning that your path for the Oracle user is also set. This in turn means, that you normally don’t have to worry about the exact path to the Oracle installation. Normally you can just enter “sqlplus” in the way described above, and you should be set.

Should you still not be able to find sqlplus, you can try using the “find” command to search for sqlplus. Try using something like this:

find / -name sqlplus
This actually tells the find command to start searching in the “/” or root-directory for files with sqlplus in their names. Depending on your Linux release, you could also change the “-name” option to “-iname”, which changes the search to ignore the case in your search. This way, your search would also return a result if the binary would be called SQLplus (most Unices and Linux installations are case sensitive).

Once you have found your sqlplus binary, just enter the full path to the binary and you should be set.

If you have any other feedback, just let me know folks, and I’ll be more than happy to append it to my post.

GestaltIT, vCloud Director, Virtualization, VMware

Shorts: VMware vCloud Director installation tips

So folks, I helped a colleague install the VMware vCloud Director. In case you are not aware of what the vCloud Director is I can give you a very rough description.

Think about how you deploy virtual machines. Usually you will deploy one machine at a time, which is a good thing if you only need one server. But usually in larger environments, you will find that applications or application systems are not based on a single server. You will find larger environments that consist of multiple servers that will segregate functions, so for example, your landscape could consist of a DB server, an application server, and one or more proxies that provide access to your application servers.

If you are lucky, the folks installing everything will only request one virtual machine at a time. Usually that isn’t the case though. Now, this is where vCloud Director comes in. This will allow you to roll out a set of virtual machines at a time as a landscape. But it doesn’t stop there, since you can do a lot more because you can pool things like storage, networks and you a tight integration with vShield to secure your environment. But this should give you a very rough idea of what you can do with the vCloud Director. For a more comprehensive overview, take a look at Duncan’s post here.

Anyway, let’s dig in to the technical part.

There are plenty of blog posts that cover how to set up the CentOS installation, so I won’t cover that at great length. If you are looking for that info, take a peek here. If you want to install the Oracle DB on CentOS, take a look here to see how it’s done.

Here are some tips that might come in useful during the install:

  • Use the full path to the keytool. There is a slight difference between /usr/bin/keytool, /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.4.2-gcj-1.4.2.0/jre/bin/keytool and /opt/vmware/cloud-director/jre/bin/keytool. Be sure to use one of those, and if the commands to create and import your self-signed certificates are not working for some reason be sure to try a different one.

If you just simply create a database and browsed through the installation guide, you might have a hard time once you install the binary. Basically you run the “dbca” tool to create an empty database. If you by any chance forget to create the database files and run the installation binary (or the vCD configuration tool for that matter), you will receive an error while running the .sql database initialization scripts under /opt/vmware/cloud-director/db/oracle. The error message will tell you that there was an error creating the database.

Well, if only you had read the installation guide properly. Bascially what you do is start up the database:

sqlplus "/ as sysdba"
startup

Make sure that the path you use in the “create tablespace” command actually exists. If they don’t you need to perform “mkdir $ORACLE_HOME/oradata” first. Then create the tablespaces and corresponding files:

Create Tablespace CLOUD_DATA datafile '$ORACLE_HOME/oradata/cloud_data01.dbf' size 1000M autoextend on;
Create Tablespace CLOUD_INDX datafile '$ORACLE_HOME/oradata/cloud_indx01.dbf' size 500M autoextend on;

Now create a seperate user that we will give right for the database. The password for the user is the thing you type after “identified by”:

create user vcloud identified by vcloud default tablespace CLOUD_DATA;

Make sure that you give the user the correct rights to perform all the DB operations:

grant CONNECT, RESOURCE, CREATE TRIGGER, CREATE TYPE, CREATE VIEW, CREATE MATERIALIZED VIEW, CREATE PROCEDURE, CREATE SEQUENCE, EXECUTE ANY PROCEDURE to vcloud;

Now run the setup script, or run the configure script and you should be set to go.