vSphere NFS Connection Status Alarm Auto-Remediation

One minor annoyance I had when moving to a new company was a load of alerts that were simply noise.  Not to anyone's fault, but simply poor default VMware implementation.

VMware comes packaged w/ an alert to notify when a storage path is down.  The problem is that, that's all it does.  So say you have the SNMP traps generated from that to create a ticket.  Great, now you have a ticket, but little did you know that the problem fixed itself via some failover method.

So now you have a ticket, you were woken up in the middle of the night for something that was benign.  Wouldn't it be great if another SNMP trap were sent that said "Hey, I'm ok now, close out the ticket"?

The assumption is that the SNMP trap collector, like HP's BSM/SiteScope tool, were smart enough to associate a trap to the same alarm.  Which, in my case, it does.  So here is how I redesigned an NFS alarm to send trap stating a problem and then having that alarm send a trap designating everything is ok.

Some interesting results from the Project VRC State of VDI/SBC Survey

I can't publish all the results, but they will be available here on March 24th, 2015.

Here are two that I found rather interesting that I can publish early:

XenDesktop seems to be the incumbent VDI solution for the survey respondents.  I knew that Citrix had been around a long time, but still rather surprised that it's still trumping VMware's Horizon View.  I probably shouldn't be though as Citrix has always advertised their solution very well and feature functionality always seems to be ahead of View.  Although, seeing XenDesktop in practice on vSphere infrastructure doesn't give me the warm and fuzzy's especially leading into the next question.
How updates are installed/updated/managed responses doesn't really surprise me, but it does bother me.  Manually updating images seems so archaic and I'm quite frankly surprised that VMware hasn't made updating Parent VM's a more automated process.  Being that the respondents were also Citrix heavy, I feel this bodes poorly for their product on the automated operations front as well.

The only way I've hypothesized to update parent VM's in a somewhat automated process is to:

  1. power-up the parent VM 
  2. query SCCM for the related VM 
  3. wait for a 'success' of applicable 'some time window' updates.  
  4. Power off VM
  5. Snapshot it
  6. Delete old snapshots (based on some time window and count)
  7. WinRM call powerCLI cmdlets on View Brokers to then associate pool to new snapshot.

I think if I remember correctly, doing that last step was not possible or somewhat very difficult because the cmdlets didn't have this capability.  Something to look into again I suppose.  I also have thoughts on using WinRM in a 'cloud' fashion against View Brokers.  I'm working on an article that I'll publish later w/ my thoughts and practical application of this thought.

Counts of VM's running specific OS types

This was a fun little exercise for me in getting a count of VM's per OS type spawned off by a question in the vmware communities board.  The result would look something like this:

It's quite simple and probably could be written a bit more efficiently, but ran sufficiently fast enough for me.

$TotalVMs = Get-View -ViewType VirtualMachine -Property Name,'Summary.Config.GuestFullName'
$OSFilters = $TotalVMs | select -ExpandProperty summary | select -expandproperty config | select -unique guestfullname | sort

$MyCustomReport = New-Object PSObject
Foreach ($OSFilter in $OSFilters)
     {$MyCustomReport | Add-Member -Name $OSFilter.GuestFullName -MemberType NoteProperty -Value ($totalvms | select -expandproperty summary | select -expandproperty config | where {$_.GuestFullName -eq $OSFilter.guestfullname}).count}
$MyCustomReport | Add-member -Name Total -MemberType NoteProperty -Value $TotalVMs.Count


Time to participate in the Project VRC "State of the VDI and SBC union 2015" survey

(I was requested to post this with the benefit of being allowed early access to the results to share.  I'm mainly curious to see what 2015's report looks like.  That and I'd like to see US respondents go up.)

The independent R&D project ‘Virtual Reality Check’ (VRC) (www.projectvrc.com) was started in early 2009 by Ruben Spruijt (@rspruijt) and Jeroen van de Kamp (@thejeroen) and focuses on research in the desktop and application virtualization market. Several white papers with Login VSI (www.loginvsi.com) test results were published about the performance and best practices of different hypervisors, Microsoft Office versions, application virtualization solutions, Windows Operating Systems in server hosted desktop solutions and the impact of antivirus.

In 2013 and early 2014, Project VRC released the annual 'State of the VDI and SBC union' community survey (download for free at www.projectvrc.com/white-papers). Over 1300 people participated. The results of this independent and truly unique survey have provided many new insights into the usage of desktop virtualization around the world.

This year Project VRC would like to repeat this survey to see how our industry has changed and to take a look at the future of Virtual Desktop Infrastructures and Server Based Computing in 2015. To do this they need your help again. Everyone who is involved in building or maintaining VDI or SBC environments is invited to participate in this survey. Also if you participated in the previous two editions.

The questions of this survey are both functional and technical and range from “What are the most important design goals set for this environment”, to “Which storage is used”, to “How are the VM’s configured”. The 2015 VRC survey will only take 10 minutes of your time.

The success of the survey will be determined by the amount of the responses, but also by the quality of these responses. This led Project VRC to the conclusion that they should stay away from giving away iPads or other price draws for survey participants. Instead, they opted for the following strategy: only survey participants will receive the exclusive overview report with all results immediately after the survey closes.

The survey will be closed February 15th this year. I really hope you want to participate and enjoy the official Project VRC “State of the VDI and SBC union 2015” survey!

Visit www.projectvrc.com/blog/23-project-vrc-state-of-the-vdi-and-sbc-union-2015-survey to fill out the Project Virtual Reality Check "State of the VDI and SBC Union 2014" survey.

Error: Issues information is not available at this time. (vCenter Appliance)

The above was a wonderfully descriptive error I would receive in the web client.  This started appearing after I removed individual nodes from a cluster and readded them back to inventory.  (was trying to clear some bunk HA errors)

Long story short, I had to open the C# client to find out what 'warning/error' it was complaining about.  Quite simply, I had forgotten to re-add the hosts back into the vDS and migrate the vMotion/vSAN vmk connections.

Man-o-man, I see why so many people complain about the web client.

The upside to the story was I found out a couple of things about vSAN.

  1. Having a 3-node cluster minimum, I was able to remove and re-add each host back into the cluster with no issues to VM's running on each host.
  2. Even w/ the vDS problem, vSAN kept chugging along w/ VM's running just fine.
  3. In other words, even without vCenter managing things, the ESXi hosts kept everything running just fine.
  4. This was on my mac mini vSAN cluster.