For those IT professionals who are based in Sydney or are planning to travel to this stunning city shortly, it is good to know that VMware vForum 2018 will be held here at Luna Park, Milsons Point on the 17th and 18th of October, 2018.
Even if the event takes two days, this time it is completely free for all participants. The main focus will be on Data Centre, Cloud, Workforce Transformation, and Security. A detailed agenda is available here.
For the technology geeks it is good to know the availability of Hands-On Labs, including the expert-led workshops, as well as generous discounts for the On Demand courses, VMware Learning Zone Premium subscription, and the VCP/VCAP certification exams.
Also, vBrownBag crew will host TechTalks at the event – a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Considering the number of announcements at VMworld 2018 US, vForum 2018 is an essential place to be next week!
The Native Device Driver architecture is not something new. Since its introduction more than five years ago, VMware encourages their hardware ecosystem partners to work on developing native drivers. A list of supported hardware is growing with every major release of ESXi, with the company’s aim to deprecate the vmkLinux APIs and associated driver ecosystem completely in the future releases of vSphere.
The benefits of using the native drivers are as follows:
It removes the complexity of developing and maintaining Linux derived drivers,
It improves the system performance,
It frees from the functional limitations of Linux derived drivers,
It increases the stability and reliability of the hypervisor, as native drivers are designed specifically for VMware ESXi.
Saying that one of the steps when upgrading to a new version of vSphere is to check that the hardware supports native drivers. By default, if ESXi identifies a native driver for a device it will be loaded instead of Linux derived driver. However, it is not always a case, and you need to check whether native drivers are in use after the system upgrade.
Following steps in KB 1031534 and KB 1034674, you can pinpoint PCI devices and corresponding drivers loaded for each of them:
To identify a storage HBA (such as a fibre card or RAID controller), run this command:
# esxcfg-scsidevs -a
To identify a network card, run this command:
# esxcfg-nics -l
To list device state and note the hardware IDs, run this command:
# vmkchdev -l
The /etc/vmware/default.map.d/ folder on ESXi host contains a full list of map files referring to the native drivers available for your system.
To quickly identify the driver version, you can run this command:
# esxcli software vib list | grep<native_driver_name>
In addition, information about available vSphere Installation Bundles (VIBs) in vSphere 6.5 can be found via the web client or PowerCLI session:
To view all installed VIBs in vSphere Client (HTML5), open Configure > System > Packages tab in the host settings:
To view all installed VIBs in VMware Host Client, open Manage > Packages tab in the host settings:
To list all installed VIBs in PowerCLI, run this command:
Comparing findings above with information in the IO Devices section in VMware Hardware Compatibility List, you would be able to find out whether native drivers available for your devices, as well as the recommended combination of the driver and firmware, tested and supported by VMware.
It worth reading the release notes for the corresponding drivers and search any reference to it on VMware and the third-party vendors’ websites, in case there are any known issues or limitations that might affect how device function.
If everything seems good, it is time to enable the native driver following steps in KB 2147565:
# esxcli system module set –enabled=true –module=<native_driver_name>
This change requires a host reboot and a thorough testing afterwards. The following commands can be quite helpful when troubleshooting native drivers:
To get the driver supported module parameters, run this command:
# esxcfg-module -i<native_driver_name>
To get the driver info, run this command:
# esxcli network nic get -n<vmnic_name>
To get an uplink stats, run this command:
# esxcli network nic stats -n <vmnic_name>
31/08/2018 – Update 1: After some feedback provided, I have decided to list well-known issues with the native drivers that exist currently. They are as follows:
The Mellanox ConnectX-4/ConnectX-5 native ESXi driver might exhibit performance degradation when its Default Queue Receive Side Scaling (DRSS) feature is turned on (Reference: vSphere 6.7 Release Notes),
Native software FCoE adapters configured on an ESXi host might disappear when the host is rebooted (Reference: vSphere 6.7 Release Notes),
HP host with QFLE3 Driver Version 184.108.40.206 experienced a PSOD or stuck at “Shutting down device drivers…” shutdown or restart (Reference: KB 55088),
Last week VMware released VMware Tools version 10.3.0.
Not only does it include new features and a security update to address an out-of-bounds read vulnerability, it also introduces a significant change in a way VMware Tools install to Windows operating systems. In some circumstances, VMware Tools 10.3.0 installation or upgrade can even fail, as documented in VMware KB 55798.
Please bear in mind that the installer size for Windows has almost doubled with this release (for example, the 64-bit version has 72.6 MB in size compared to 47.4 MB for version 10.2.5), as it includes the following additional software:
Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable packages (both 32- and 64-bit versions),
VMware AppDefence (disabled by default).
As a result, VMware Tools require to reboot the operating system at least once before actually proceed with the software install or upgrade.
To reduce the maintenance window, the vendor’s recommendations are as follows:
Upgrade Windows with latest service pack available from Microsoft and install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable manually before installing or upgrading to VMware Tools 10.3.x.
Note: If installing Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable is not possible, consider installing the Windows Update KB2999226 manually to reduce the need for system restart in versions earlier to Windows 10.
When VMware Tools installation or upgrade is invoked with REBOOT=ReallySuppress argument and a system restart is required for completing Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable install, re-attempt the VMware Tools installation or upgrade after restarting the Windows system. vSphere client can detect this situation by noticing no change in VMware Tools version and guestinfo.toolsInstallErrCode=3010 in the guest variables or in the advanced configuration of the virtual machine.
Note: When VMware Tools installation or upgrade is invoked without any arguments, a system restart may occur automatically to complete Microsoft Visual C++ 2017 Redistributable install. After Windows system restarts, re-attempt the VMware Tools installation or upgrade.
Also, VMware has enabled the receive data ring support for the VMXNET3 driver in Windows with this update. Thorough testing is required to understand how this change influences the virtual NIC performance.
07/09/2018 – Update 1: VMware has recalled VMware Tools 10.3.0 due to a functional issue with 10.3.0 in ESXi 6.5. More information is available here.
I couldn’t believe something as simple as vCenter Converter Agent installation would cause me a headache. The service was properly registered on the remote machine. However, it was failing to start with the error message as follows:
For a moment I thought about any dependencies that VMware vCenter Converter Standalone Agent service could have, but it was a false assumption.
Looking for any hint from the community, I thought it might worth time to check the release notes for VMware vCenter Converter Standalone. To my great surprise, this issue has been documented as the known issue:
Who can imagine that the Internet access can be a requirement for this tool?
Gladly, it can be fixed with a workaround provided by VMware:
Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Control in the Windows Registry Editor and create or modify a ServicesPipeTimeout DWORD32 decimal value to at least 300000 (5 minutes).
Restart the system for the changes to take effect.
16/08/2018 – Update 1: If any issues with VMware vCenter Converter Standalone, it makes sence to look into VMware KB 1016330 ‘Troubleshooting checklist for VMware Converter’ for possible solutions.
For those of you who are based in Sydney or Melbourne, VMware User Group organises the most prominent annual community event this week – VMUG UserCon 2018. I’ve been participating in VMUG UserCon in Sydney for a few years, and it was always above my expectations meeting technology experts and raising startups, and socialise with the peers.
According to the event’s agenda, this year the primary focus is going be on the solutions to build a hybrid VMware Cloud on AWS, provide automation and analysis for virtual machines and containerised workloads, secure environment with VMware NSX and more.
In addition to local VMUG leaders and stars, there will be industry pioneers like Bruce Davie (NSX) and Cormac Hogan (Storage and Availability). So if you would like to learn about modern trends in the virtual space, have some questions for VMware or the event sponsors, or just want to mingle with the crowd – the registration is still open here and here.
Another news I would like to share with you is related to hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). VMware is planning to hold a virtual event called ‘Deploy, Manage and Scale vSAN and HCI with vRealize Operations‘ on March 21 and 22, 10 am PDT. The first webinar will be focused on business needs to accelerate HCI adoption, whereas the second one is promised to be a technical deep dive into the components that comprise the HCI architecture. Looks like a fascinating subject to explore to me!
For those of us who have been interested in getting explicit information about VMware vSAN, Site Recovery Manager, and vSphere storage in general, VMware StorageHub was a unique source of technical documentation.
It is great to see the vendor working on improving this portal with the design and user interface refresh.
Now it is possible to choose between English (US) and Mandarine languages for some of the articles.
All seems quite logical, and I personally like navigation and how fast search works.
For those who were responding quickly to Meltdown and Spectre by applying security patches to their ESXi environment, it can be a bit frustrating to know that VMware pulled those packages down few days after they were released.
This is related to a reboot issue in the recent CPU microcode updates released by Intel, and both vendors aks for some time to provide a revised version of firmware.
Currently, VMware urges to apply the latest patches (released on January 9, 2018) to vCenter Server and VCSA as follows:
New Year is a great time to save on purchasing different sort of things. Especially when you are planning to obtain new or update existing IT certification.
That is why I was pleased to see that Packt Publishing had a generous discount on almost all of their ebooks and video courses. Currently (and I believe it lasts until the end of this week) you can buy them for just AUD 6.50 / USD 5.00 each. Almost bargain!
A few titles I found quite interesting to add to my library are as follows:
Happy New Year to everyone!!! 2017 was definitely full of disruptions from VMware, and the folks in Palo Alto keep the wheels of innovation fast turning.
Saying that it is always a good idea to look at what is happening behind the curtains, meet with the experts and peers, and plan for the next technology upgrade. This is where VMUG UserCon can be of great use!
This year VMUG UserCon is promised to be more about deep-dive learning and hands-on training. Woo-hoo!!!
The primary focus is on modernising data centres and integrating with the public cloud, expanding into the digital workspace with Workspace ONE, and transforming security with solutions like NSX and vSphere.