Disk mapping Windows <-> VMware – Part 2

A couple of years ago I did a post on how to map your windows disk with the real disk in VMware. The post will be an extension of it but with updated commands.

Why do I need to know the mapping? It happens when you stumble upon a VM disk with many disks attached. If the many disks vary in size you normally can look at those numbers and match them with the disks in VMware, but when all disks have the same size that approach become difficult.

Windows serial number:

In windows, we can retrieve the serial number on the disk we need to expand and then map the serial number to the VMware disk. In newer Windows Server versions it’s fairly easy to find but when dealing with older than 2012 you are missing the PowerShell cmdlets like get-disk. Someone on StackOverflow got a way that works on Windows Server 2008 > 2022.

$DriveLetter = "C:"
Get-CimInstance -ClassName Win32_DiskDrive |
Get-CimAssociatedInstance -Association Win32_DiskDriveToDiskPartition |
Get-CimAssociatedInstance -Association Win32_LogicalDiskToPartition |
Where-Object DeviceId -eq $DriveLetter |
Get-CimAssociatedInstance -Association Win32_LogicalDiskToPartition |
Get-CimAssociatedInstance -Association Win32_DiskDriveToDiskPartition |
Select-Object -Property SerialNumber

VMware disk:

From VMware’s side, it’s straightforward to find the disk and its serial number. Below is an scripted way of finding the disk and then adding the extra capacity.

Connect-VIServer ""

$VMname = ""
$disksn = "6000c295ec128b3d14472bdbf8e65aee"
$vmDisk = (Get-VM $VMname | Get-HardDisk) | Where-Object {$_.ExtensionData.Backing.uuid.Replace("-","") -eq $disksn } 

$ExpandSizeGb = 50
$vmDisk | Set-HardDisk -CapacityGB ($vmDisk.CapacityGB + $ExpandSizeGb) -Confirm:$false 

Conclusion:

Instead of having to guess what disk in windows is mapping to the VMware disk you here have a more automated way. The disk serial number retrieve commands are compatible with up to Windows Server 2022.

Cloud Director 10.3 – Update certificates

Since my last article on how to update Cloud Director SSL certificates, there has been a major change. No more binary java truststore – jaaay.

Cloud Director has changed over too, what I think, is a better and more normal way of storing the private and public keys, which is in PEM format. From release notes, the change actually happened in 10.2, but the certificate path changed again in 10.3. If you are in doubt of where the certificate path is then look inside global.properties

/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/global.properties

VMware’s own documentation state that we can now just swap the .pem files, use the cell-management tool to import and restart the cell.

What we will do and what is needed

  • Get a new public signed certificate
    • Either in PEM format as .key and .pem(certificate including intermediate)
    • Or in PFX so it can be exported
  • Backup existing certificates
  • Replace existing certificates with your new certificate
  • Run VCD tool to import and define the private key encryption password
  • Restart cell(s)

Process

If you have a pfx you can use this article to extract the key and cert. If you already have the two files, .key end .pem then you can proceed.

We will follow VMware documentation and create a backup of the existing files.

cp /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.http.pem /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.http.pem.original
cp /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.http.key /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.http.key.original
cp /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.consoleproxy.pem /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.consoleproxy.pem.original
cp /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.consoleproxy.key /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.consoleproxy.key.original

Now we can wither SCP in our key and certificate or edit and replace the content of the files on the server by copying and pasting in content from the files you have. Whatever you find to be the easiest.

Forgot your root password for the Cloud Director appliance, off cause not. But anyway, here is a link to reset it....

After the “user.http.pem/key” and “user.consoleproxy.pem/key” files have been updated with the new certificate data we can tell Cloud Dictor to update its config with the commands below. This is done to update the encryption password for the private key.

If you don’t care about security you can also update without –key-password, then off cause your private key will need to be in an unencrypted format in the .key files.

/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin/cell-management-tool certificates -j --cert /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.consoleproxy.pem --key /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.consoleproxy.key --key-password PASSWD
/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin/cell-management-tool certificates -p --cert /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.http.pem --key /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/etc/user.http.key --key-password PASSWD

If everything works out it will tell you the certificates have been updated and you need to restart VCD for it to take effect.

SSL configuration has been updated. You will need to restart the cell for changes to take effect.

Now safely shut down your cell(s) with the command below. this will ensure that VCD is the first shutdown when all tasks are done.

/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin/cell-management-tool cell -i $(service vmware-vcd pid cell) -s

Start again with the command below

systemctl start vmware-vcd

Conclusion

VMware has made it much easier to change a certificate in Cloud Director. The new way of storing certificates is a warm welcome change.

I did see a few different placements for the .key and .pem files depending on versions or if the cells have been created with raw Linux or an appliance, but you can always look in the conflig file placed in the same folder as the certificates.

Storage DRS recommendations – with PowerCLI

Many things can happen when you let Storage DRS run fully automated. If you have it on from the beginning it will probably only give you good things. But enabling it on a large storage space imbalanced cluster might be a bit too risky.

Many things that Storage DRS is not aware of. Like your storage underneath running out of space on pool/aggregate or the operations is too IO heavy to run within business hours.

Call me a wimp, but in this case, it seems better to be in control and apply the recommendations little by little. But having to use the GUI is a pain, you need to go into Storage Cluster > Monitor > Storage DRS > Recommendations. And from here you need to override the selections and uncheck the boxes so you can run smaller batches of Storage vMotions.

I will just use VMware PowerCLI cmdlets…

Well, unfortunately not all of vSphere API is exposed through PowerCLI cmdlets, but after a bit of googling it seemed quite easy to call the SDK API directly from within PowerShell

One post that came to my attention where containing most of the code needed.

Solution:

I’m not that much into what the ServiceInstance or StorageRessoruceManager is. But I expect it to be the API instantiated by PowerShell where you then have each operation from where you can find the functionality that you are looking for.

 # DSC you want to work with
$dscName = 'DatastoreCluster'

# Get DSC info
$dsc = Get-View -ViewType StoragePod -Filter @{'Name'=$dscName}

# Get Service Intance
$si = Get-View ServiceInstance

# Get the StorageResourceManager
$storMgr = Get-View -Id $si.Content.StorageResourceManager

# Refresh SDRS Recommendation on DSC
$storMgr.RefreshStorageDrsRecommendation($dsc.MoRef)

# Update dsc object with fresh recommendation data
$dsc.UpdateViewData()

# Filter on reason for storage balance. Select only 40 VMs.
$balance = $dsc.PodStorageDrsEntry.Recommendation | Where-Object {$_.Reason -eq "balanceDatastoreSpaceUsage"}  | Select-Object -First 40

# Do a run of each VM and start the storage vMotion process
foreach($vm in $balance){
   $message = "Moving VM: {0} to datastore: {1}" -f $(get-vm -id $("VirtualMachine-"+$($vm.Action[0].Target.Value))).name, $(get-datastore -id $vm.Action[0].Destination).name
   write-host $message -ForegroundColor Green
   $storMgr.ApplyStorageDrsRecommendationToPod($dsc.MoRef,$vm.Key)
} 

Conclusion:

I was expecting to use some PowerCLI cmdlets to make my granular balance of the storage cluster. Unfortunately, that did not exist.

But from the great community, I found how to use the vSphere API through PowerShell and in the end got the functionalty I was looking for.

Maybe there is an easier way to do the same, if so, let me know. Until next time I have a bit of vSphere SDK googling to do.

Veeam – Network Extention Appliance performance

This post will give a brief write-up on what to expect from a network perspective when using the Veeam Network Extention.

Since you found this post I don’t think an introduction is needed. But anyway. A quick write-up of the network so you can visualize how the test is performed.

  • Greenline indicated the L2 VPN made from both NEA to CloudGateway
  • The on-prem environment with 10gbit internet uplink
  • Service provider with multiple 10gbit internet uplinks
  • 4ms between on-prem and service provider

Tests:

So when a replica VM has been failover and the NEA L2 is running. What to expect? Veeam does not give you any info on the performance of the NEA. Veeam support is not either able to give out a performance chart. So here a the results from ping and iperf test.

Test 1 – ping of latency over the L2 tunnel:

Ping to 185.177.120.140 showing the latency over the internet. Ping to 192.168.12.151 showing the latency over the L2 VPN.

So from a latency perspective, it seems good. Only adding 1ms to the internet latency. Which is pretty good.

Test 2 – iperf over tunnel

iperf test from a VM in service provider side to an on-prem server.

About 110Mbit, not very good compared to the internet being able of doing 10Gbit.

iperf test from VM in service provider side to an on-prem server. This time with -P 8 for 8 parallel threads.

8 threads are not giving any further bandwidth.

Test 3 – Multiple VLAN with multiple NEA

It’s always interesting to find where the bottleneck could be. Since iperf over the internet is giving a completely different result. then it must be within NEA. When I tried to do multiple VLAN bridges to the cloud resources in Cloud Director I get the same results pr NEA. Meaning it could be something in NEA or its components making the bottleneck.

The good news is off cause that you will see the same result pr NEA even when doing iperf test to the same target in the other end. So NEA will scale linearly.

A look from the Veeam Cloud Connect gateway being the broker of the L2 VPN connections.
View from the iperf server – showing the connections from the servers in the other end of L2 VPN.

Conclusion

NEA is a very helpful solution, especially when it comes to large migrations where L2 between datacenters is required meanwhile migrating. Bandwidth using this solution is not great, but I would say is ok. L2 connection should only be used shortly when doing actually migrations.

In numbers, it seems NEA will add +1ms to the latency seen over the internet between the two environments. Bandwith is between 110 to 140mbit pr sec.

Manual mount VMFS datastore

Have a datastore that shows Not Consumed? From time to time I stumble across them and from what I have found there is really only one way to get around it, manually mount the datastores from the shell of the ESXi host.

Not sure what the root cause for it is, but if you know, then please let me know 🙂

Workaround

What we need to do is have the partitions UUID’s on the block device listed and afterwards mount the datastore with that UUID.

### Listing all available datastores that is not mounted
esxcfg-volume –l
### Mount a specefic datastore with the UUID found with -l 
esxcfg-volume –M <UUID>

Conclusion

After mounting with esxcfg-volume it should be mounted permanatly. Hope it works for you to.

Shrink VMDK disk

I have always thought that VMDK could only grow, so that has also been my default response to colleagues when they expanded a disk too much. Sure a storage vMotion could reclaim unused space in a thin disk, but the “down arrow” for storage capacity would never work. But then someone mentioned that he had done shrinking of disks a couple of times, I decided to investigate.

The official VMware kb isn’t too much help – somewhere discussing it on StackOverflow. But then I found an older post back from 2016 that seems to have found the approach so that’s what we are going to test out.

Disclaimer:

This is not supported in any way, use at your own responsibility. If you want a supported solution, then VMware converter in a v2v manner is kind of the only way. If you still want to try out the method, then be sure to have a valid backup! And by backup, it’s not a VMware snapshot.

Not supported:

From the VMware documentation, it seems shrinking disk is not allowed under the following circumstances:

  • The virtual machine is hosted on an ESX/ESXi server.ESX/ESXi Server can shrink the size of a virtual disk only when a virtual machine is exported. The space occupied by the virtual disk on the ESX/ESXi server, however, does not change.
  • The virtual machine has a Mac guest operating system.
  • You preallocated all the disk space to the virtual disk when you created it.
  • The virtual machine contains a snapshot.
  • The virtual machine is a linked clone or the parent of a linked clone.
  • The virtual disk is an independent disk in nonpersistent mode.
  • The file system is a journaling file system, such as an ext4, xfs, or jfs file system.

The test scenario:

I have a windows 2019 VM, here is the process I want to try out

  1. Expand VMDK disk in vCenter
  2. Extent disk in VM guest using diskpart
  3. Shrink disk in VM guest using diskpart
  4. calculate new sector size
  5. edit VM *.vmdk with the newly calculated sector size
  6. Storage migrate to other datastore
  7. Check if VM is still ok.

Walkthrough:

We start off with the VM. Its Windows 2019, original size is 40GB.
Disk is now extended with 5gb.
With a view from the esxi we can see the disk is also showing 45GB.
inside “win2019.vmdk” we can see the “extent description”. This is the number we have to change after the guest os filesystem has been shrunk.
Here we see the disk has been extended to 45GB and then shrunk down with 10GB.

Calculating the “extent description”:

So there is now 10GB free space we can shrink the VMDK with.

A virtual disk described as monolithic and flat consists of two files. One file contains the descriptor. The other file is the extent used to store virtual machine data.

Considering our existing extent
RW 94371840 VMFS “win2019-flat.vmdk”
This means that the file win2019-flat.vmdk is 94371840 sectors × 512 bytes/sector = 48318382080 bytes = 48318MB in size.

Let’s calculate the new value from GB to sectors.

36GB x 1024(mb) x 1024(kb) x 1024(byte) / 512byte pr sector = 75.497.472

before proceeding, we need to power off the VM. The .vmdk file is loaded into memory, so even if we can edit it now and start storage vMotion our changed value will just change back.

Letting vMotion do its magic
And after the boot of VM the disk is now shrunk. And we still have a working guest os.

Conclusion

It worked, we were able to add more space to the VM, extent, and shrink the guest os filesystem. We then calculated the number of sectors for the .vmdk file and storage vMotion did its magic and made the VMDK smaller in physical size.

I have also tried this in a couple of cases, also real life senairoes where people have added 4TB to much…. Then its sometimes easier to shrink than having to move files around.

VCD – Find free external IPs

Finding free public IPs in Cloud Director backed by NSX-V is not as easy as it should be. Some people will tell you to ping the scope and see what’s responding. But pinging is not reliable was of finding free IPs. Not every device is responding to ICMP messages.

Somewhere along the line, I found a guy on the VMware forum posting a script for finding available IPs in Cloud Director using the PowerCLI module for querying VCD and getting back IPs that are not allocated by an Edge. I have been using the script quite a bit since. His blog is not available today, but the code is still on the forum.

Now it’s also available here on the site with a bit more explanation on how to connect and use the function. I have been using it with NSX-V as backend, haven’t tried it with NSX-T at the network backend yet.

 ### Install PowerCLI module
Install-Module -Name VMware-vCD-Module

### Import PowerCLI Cloud module
Import-Module -Name VMware.VimAutomation.Cloud

### Connect to Cloud Director instance with your credentials
Connect-CIServer -server <VCD_URL>

Function Get-FreeExtIPAddress([String]$extnetName){
    function  Convertto-IPINT64  () { 
    param ($ip) 
    
    $octets = $ip.split(".") 
    return [int64]([int64]$octets[0]*16777216 +[int64]$octets[1]*65536 +[int64]$octets[2]*256 +[int64]$octets[3]) 
    } 
    
    function  Convertto-INT64IP() { 
    param ([int64]$int) 
    
    return (([math]::truncate($int/16777216)).tostring()+"."+([math]::truncate(($int%16777216)/65536)).tostring()+"."+([math]::truncate(($int%65536)/256)).tostring()+"."+([math]::truncate($int%256)).tostring() )
    } 
    $extnet = Get-ExternalNetwork -name $extnetName
    $ExtNetView = $Extnet | Get-CIView
    $allocatedGatewayIPs = $extnetView.Configuration.IpScopes.IpScope[0].SubAllocations.SubAllocation.IpRanges.IpRange | ForEach-Object {
        $startaddr = Convertto-IPINT64 -ip $_.StartAddress
        $endaddr = Convertto-IPINT64 -ip $_.EndAddress
        for ($i = $startaddr; $i -le $endaddr; $i++) 
        { 
            Convertto-INT64IP -int $i 
        }
    }
    [int]$ThirdStartingIP = [System.Convert]::ToInt32($extnet.StaticIPPool[0].FirstAddress.IPAddressToString.Split(".")[2],10)
    [int]$ThirdEndingIP = [System.Convert]::ToInt32($extnet.StaticIPPool[0].LastAddress.IPAddressToString.Split(".")[2],10)
    [int]$FourthStartingIP = [System.Convert]::ToInt32($extnet.StaticIPPool[0].FirstAddress.IPAddressToString.Split(".")[3],10)
    [int]$FourthEndingIP = [System.Convert]::ToInt32($extnet.StaticIPPool[0].LastAddress.IPAddressToString.Split(".")[3],10)
    $octet = $extnet.StaticIPPool[0].FirstAddress.IPAddressToString.split(".")
    $3Octet = ($octet[0]+"."+$octet[1]+"."+$octet[2])
    $2Octet = ($octet[0]+"."+$octet[1])
    $ips = @()
    if ($ThirdStartingIP -eq $ThirdEndingIP) {
        $ips = $FourthStartingIP..$FourthEndingIP | % {$3Octet+'.'+$_}
    } else {
        do {
            for ($i=$FourthStartingIP; $i -le 255; $i++) {
                $ips += ($2Octet + "." + $ThirdStartingIP + "." + $i)
            }
            $ThirdStartingIP=$ThirdStartingIP + 1
        } while ($ThirdEndingIP -ne $ThirdStartingIP)
        for ($i=0;$i -le $FourthEndingIP; $i++) {
            $ips += ($2Octet + "." + $ThirdStartingIP + "." + $i)
        }
    }
        $allocatedIPs = $ExtNetView.Configuration.IpScopes.IpScope[0].AllocatedIpAddresses.IpAddress
    for ($i=0;$i -le $ips.count; $i++) {
        for ($j=0; $j -lt $allocatedGatewayIPs.count; $j++) {
            if ($ips[$i] -eq $allocatedGatewayIPs[$j]) {
                $ips = $ips | Where-Object { $_ -ne $ips[$i] }
                $i--
            }
        }
        for($z=0;$z -lt $allocatedIPs.count;$z++) {
            if ($ips[$i] -eq $allocatedIPs[$z]) {
                $ips = $ips | Where-Object { $_ -ne $ips[$i] }
                $i--
            }
        }
    }
    return $Ips
}

### Find the names of external networks
Get-ExternalNetwork

### Find free IPs using function from above
Get-FreeExtIPAddress -extnetName <vcd-net>

You can help yourself by copy and pasting the code snip into either PowerShell ISE or VisualCode. And since you need to install a cmdlet you need to run it with elevated rights. If you get a red message with importing the module it’s probably because of execution rights, you then need to run to command beneath. This is for allowing remote signed cmdlets to be executed.

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

Getting the names of the external networks with “get-externalnetwork”
Using the function to find available IPs in the selected external network

VCD – remove org and its items

Having a nice VRO job to create the VCD tenants with its VDCS, Edges and networks are nice. When having to clean up after testing its a pain to click through the GUI to first remote networks, then edges, then disable VDC, delete it, and final delete the org. A bit of PowerShell fu can help with the task, this is a quick and dirty script set of commands, but it works as intended.

get-module VMware.VimAutomation.Cloud | Import-Module

$ciCred = Get-Credential
Connect-CIServer -Server vcd.domain.tld -Credential $ciCred

$org = get-org deletemeorg
$orgvdc = $org | get-orgvdc
### Remove Org networks
$orgvdc | Get-OrgvdcNetwork | Remove-OrgVdcNetwork 
### Remove edges
($orgvdc | get-edgegateway | Get-CIView).delete() 
### Remove VDC
$orgvdc | Set-OrgVdc -Enabled $false | remove-orgvdc
### Remove Org
$org | set-org -Enabled $false | remove-org

Unlock ESXi root account

I often see people, including myself, lock themselves out of the ESXi web-based host client. It only locks you out from ssh and the web console. Password lockout is NOT active on the console/DCUI. Below is how you reset the counter and regain access.

Procedure to unlock the ESXi root

First, you need to gain ILO/IMM/IPMI or physical access to the server.

  1. At the console, press ALT+F1 to get to the ESXi shell. If a login shows up continue with step 3, otherwise continue with step 2. Change back to the login screen with ALT+F2.
  2. Login to the DCUI (to enable the ESXi Shell if not already done)
    1. Login with root and the correct password.
    2. Go to Troubleshooting Options
    3. Select Enable ESXi Shell
    4. Press CTRL+ALT+F1
  3. At the ESXi shell login with root and the password
  4. Run the following command to unlock the root account:
pam_tally2 --user root --reset

Cloud Director 10.1 released

Been using vCloud since version 5.1. After a brief love affair with something called “Azure Pack” we put all our focus into vCloud.

8.20 was the first sign of heartbeats coming from VCD. We got confirmation that vCloud was for sure the platform that we were and had been looking for. Now we see the 10.1 released and from my point of view it’s a big one, may things change in GUI as in infrastructure. This release is also the final farewell to the old flex GUI.

First off we have to address the naming, I always liked the vCloud term, for me a strong brand. So a bit sad to see that go and now we have to get used to the Cloud Director instead. Thankfully we can still use the acronym VCD for VMware Cloud Director. #LongLiveVCD.

In the next few points, I will address some of the major things within this release.

APIs

We use a lot of the functionality of the APIs of VCD. Since we see that the development of VCD is changing into higher gear, so is the deprecation of the older API versions. For a small service provider, it’s always hard to revisit automation already working with existing APIs. When going on board 10.1 we have to go through a couple of workflows to update the to use the new 34.0 API. But on the other side, it’s also a good chance to refactor and optimize.

  • VMware Cloud Director API version 29 and below are not supported.
  • VMware Cloud Director API version 30.0 is deprecated and will become unsupported after VMware Cloud Director 10.1
  • VMware Cloud Director API version 31.0 is deprecated.

NSX-T feature improvements

More of the core NSX-T features is now available through VCD.

  • IPSec VPN
  • Dedicated External Network
  • BGP and Route Advertisement

We have been looking from the side for NSX-T development to reach an acceptable level for some time. NSX-V is still doing a good job. As someone who right now is standing up a new 16 node VMware cluster as a new provider VDC, I would have wished for it to be 6 months later so that all NSX-T functionality was ready and we could hopefully solo use NSX-T.

But we have to look into maybe having two 8 node clusters for NSX-V and on for NSX-T so we can already now start to transition to NSX-T…

But the good thing about being a VMware customer is that you are not left in the dust. There have been already been created migration tools for NSX-V > NSX-T, NSX-T Data Center Migration Coordinator, but it had no integration to VCD. which bring me to the next point!

NSX-V to NSX-T VCD Migration Tool

This is a way of helping us transition from NSX-V to NSX-T as we are seeing NSX-V lacking to the end of support in January 2021.

Before we could still do a new provider VDC that was backed by NSX-T controller and then start to move workloads over to the new cluster and at the time had to use NSX-T functionality, but all in a manual process.

There is now an automated way to do it, which is VCD aware. The approach will require a new cluster since NSX-V and NSX-T can’t coexist in the same cluster. From the Whats New in 10.1 it stats that the workflow will help with following

  • Automates migration of vCD metadata and workloads from NSX-V to NSX-T
  • Migrate per Org VDC migration to reduce maintenance window to single tenant
  • Minimize network downtime with bridged networks during migration
  • Live migrate with vMotion to ensure non-disruption to user workloads
  • Keep source VDC configuration and environment as-is to allow rollback
Before live migration
After live migration

Tomas did a good discussion on this subject

SSL and Certificate Management

This seems like something to read up on carefully. In short, VCD does not trust endpoint certificates unless they have been imported to the trust store.

There is a tool helping with the import, trust-infra-certs, that automatically connect to the endpoint, grabbing and importing the certificate. If this is not done successfully you will not be able to talk to those endpoints after upgrading to VCD 10.1.

App Launchpad

A new feature to help introduce a marketplace with the help of the content from Bitnami. From there we can now offer customers to easily find, deploy and manage new workloads. Not just as VMs but also as containers.

Daniel did an excellent write up on this subject.

Conclusion

There is still a lot more in this release to talk about, CSE2.6, OSE1.5, Terraform 2.7 provider, etc. read more from the official release notes.

Might have had to write a disclaimer for the length of this post and the lack of interesting pictures, will try to improve for next time.

I love to see VCD take flight. We are looking forward being part of the future journey where things like Bitnami and App Launchpad together with more NSX-T functionality and a whole lot of other features helps us Cloud Providers to help other business to there digital transformation .

Big shout out to VMware and the VCD team!

vCloud SAML authentication – Automation

Cant say that I did everything by my self in this post, I had a great great help from my college and friend Kasper Hansen. Also gotten a great help from the vExpert community, especially Tom Fojta.

In my last post I found out how to setup vCloud SAML against AzureAD. Now we are gonna look on how to automate each tenant to use the same AzureAD. In these days everybody have either a Microsoft og AzureAD account, so this way its easy to invite them as guest users and this way have controlled access but also ensure that vCloud users have MFA enabled.

We use VRO for the creation of vCloud tenants, in this flow we are now going to introduce a new workflow that will do following. Although the workflow is just a restcall to trigger an event in Azure Automation.

  • Create AzureAD Groups for admin and viewer
  • Post federation metadata to vCloud tenant
  • Post federation groups to vCloud tenant

Enable SAML

Fojta have some very good articles on his blog on the basic setup of SAML to different IDP systems. I also did a piece on it where Azure where the IDP provider.

Because we want to have all organisations linked to the same SAML app in Azure we need to have the same SAML certificate on all organisations. You can only do this with the API, but what the documentation did not say was that the certificate needs to be trusted by the keystore, the java keystore of the cells.

Create a self-signed certificate and make vCloud trust it

These commands will help you create a certificate and a private key in the needed pkcs8 format and certificate in the x509 format.

### Create the self-signed private key and certificate
jr@mbp:~ jr$ openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:4096 -keyout selfsigned.key.pem -out selfsigned-x509.crt

### Convert the private key to pkcs8 format
jr@mbp:~ jr$ openssl pkcs8 -topk8 -inform PEM -outform PEM -in 
selfsigned.key.pem -out selfsigned-pkcs8.key -nocrypt

When you have done the new self-signed certificate you need to import it to each and one of your cells. After import you will need to restart the cells. One of the errors I did here way that I tried to import a .pem where the private key and certificate where combines, that won’t work. Only import the certificate.

/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/jre/bin/keytool --import -trustcacerts -keystore /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/jre/lib/security/cacerts -alias saml -file selfsigned-x508.crt

Publish federation settings to API

We where having a lot of trial and error in this step, because that vCloud did not trust the certificate. Each time a put where done to the API the log complained. /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/logs/vcloud-container-debug.log it showed “Failed to generate keystore | requestId=<id>,request=PUT.”

Following is a example done in PowerShell, insert your self-signed certificate where it says —–END/BEGIN CERTIFICATE—–

### XML with federation metadata for AzureAD saml app
$xmlBody = 
@'
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<OrgFederationSettings xmlns="http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/v1.5" xmlns:rasd="http://schemas.dmtf.org/wbem/wscim/1/cim-schema/2/CIM_ResourceAllocationSettingData" xmlns:ovf="http://schemas.dmtf.org/ovf/envelope/1" xmlns:vssd="http://schemas.dmtf.org/wbem/wscim/1/cim-schema/2/CIM_VirtualSystemSettingData" xmlns:common="http://schemas.dmtf.org/wbem/wscim/1/common" xmlns:vmw="http://www.vmware.com/schema/ovf" xmlns:ovfenv="http://schemas.dmtf.org/ovf/environment/1" xmlns:vmext="http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/extension/v1.5" xmlns:ns9="http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/versions" href="https://<VCD_URI>/api/admin/org/7688ff82-77e8-4f70-a4b6-b1767ab110d1/settings/federation" type="application/vnd.vmware.admin.organizationFederationSettings+xml">
<SAMLMetadata>
    ...
</SAMLMetadata>
    <Enabled>true</Enabled>
    <SamlSPEntityId>test</SamlSPEntityId>
    <SamlAttributeMapping>
    	<EmailAttributeName>EmailAddress</EmailAttributeName>
    	<UserNameAttributeName>UserName</UserNameAttributeName>
    	<FirstNameAttributeName>http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/claims/givenname</FirstNameAttributeName>
    	<SurnameAttributeName>http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/ws/2005/05/identity/claims/surname</SurnameAttributeName>
    	<FullNameAttributeName>FullName</FullNameAttributeName>
    	<GroupAttributeName>Groups</GroupAttributeName>
    	<RoleAttributeName>Role</RoleAttributeName>
    </SamlAttributeMapping>
    <SamlSPKeyAndCertificateChain>
         <Key>-----BEGIN PRIVATE KEY-----
...
-----END PRIVATE KEY-----</Key>
        <CertificateChain>
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
...
-----END CERTIFICATE-----
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
...
-----END CERTIFICATE-----</CertificateChain>
     </SamlSPKeyAndCertificateChain>
</OrgFederationSettings>
'@

Invoke-RestMethod -Uri "https://<VCD_URI>/api/admin/org/$orgId/settings/federation" -Method Put  -Headers @{'x-vcloud-authorization'= $vCDAuthorizationToken ; Accept = 'application/*+xml;version=31.0'; "Content-type"  =  "application/*+xml;version=31.0"} -Body ([System.Text.Encoding]::UTF8.GetBytes(($xmlBody)))

Publish SAML groups to API

Now that the SAML metadata/certificate is uploaded and in place we need to add groups to tenant. You can read more about what groups/users should be imported in my other SAML blog post.

Each tenant have its own role ids, so when doing automation with group import we need to query the vCloud API and get the role ids. There is a specific query API to get data. When using a system account we need to specify a “VCLOUD-TENANT-CONTEXT” in the header of the request. This we we can query a tenant context from a system account.

 ### Retrieve roles from tenant
[xml]$xml = Invoke-RestMethod  -UseBasicParsing -Uri 'https://<VCD_URI>/api/query?type=role&page=1&pageSize=20&links=true'  -Method get  -Headers @{'x-vcloud-authorization'= $vCDAuthorizationToken ; Accept = 'application/*+xml;version=31.0'; "Content-type"  =  "application/*+xml;version=31.0";  "X-VMWARE-VCLOUD-TENANT-CONTEXT" = "$orgId"}'

### Find the real is for x
$RoleHref = ($xml.QueryResultRecords.RoleRecord | where {$_.Name -eq "$role"}).href

After we got the role id we can now send up the group together with the role id and this was be able to authenticate based on a SAML group from AzureAD.

### Define XML with role and groupid
$xmlBody =
@'
<Group xmlns="http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/v1.5"
    xmlns:ns9="http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/versions" name="{1}"
    type="application/vnd.vmware.admin.group+xml">
    <ProviderType>SAML</ProviderType>
    <Role href="{0}" type="application/vnd.vmware.admin.role+xml"/>
</Group>
'@ -f $RoleHref , $GroupId
 
### Post xml to vcd 
Invoke-RestMethod -UseBasicParsing -Uri "https://<VCD_URI>/api/admin/org/$orgId/groups"  -Method Post  -Headers @{'x-vcloud-authorization'= $vCDAuthorizationToken ; Accept = 'application/*+xml;version=31.0'; "Content-type"  =  "application/*+xml;version=31.0"} -Body ([System.Text.Encoding]::UTF8.GetBytes(($xmlBody)))

Conclusion

Now we have all the pieces for making automation where we can enable a tenant for SAML authentication and afterwards import f.eks. a viewer and admin group. External users will then be invited to the AzureAD, imported into the right group and now they have access to the their tenant. We can help the organisation secure the access to their virtual datacenter with MFA and they will have single sign-on with there own user that originates from their own AzureAD or Microsoft account.

A service library will be made where users can be invited to the tenant organisation. So that when one user have been invited that user will be able to invite its colleagues.

Homelab – v1

This will be a short blog series of the new setup and how you can start to do your own homelab.

The basic idea of a homelab

I have always had a homelab, small, but enough to learn and the more you learn the bigger your need is. The first homelab consisted of 2* Apple Mac mini. The Apple Mac mini is very power efficient and very quiet. Not the beefiest hardware, but just enough to be able to run a vCenter and have vSAN running.

  • Apple Mac Mini v5.1 mid-2011 A1347
  • 2.3 GHz Core i5 (I5-2415M)
  • 16GB DDR3 memory
  • Dual Drive kit
  • 256GB Cache disk
  • 600GB capacity disk

They were mounted in a Sonnet MacRack mini 1U enclosure. Which have been perfect for many years. In my small setup I have been running my pFsense firewall and all sorts of small VMs, due to the small memory amount I was primary FreeBSD VMs with services as Zabbix, Weewx, OpenHAB, Unify controller, TOR and things like that. All stuff to play around with besides VMware of cause.

“Homelabbing” is where is see people learn and are having fun, without breaking too much.

The idea of new homelab

I have always had a way higher power bill than other “normal” people”. Servers, NAS and home automation gear standing around are not good for you power bill. And that’s also why my first homelab was made of Mac mini.

So instead of having huge servers in the garage or basement, I have always tried to keep the footprint down. The WOF(WifeAprovalFactor) also makes a hit here 🙂

I have a wall-mounted 19″ rack with 12U and 600mm depth. Placed in the garage where noise is not a problem anymore.

I want to run an all-flash VMware vSAN cluster with three nodes. I don’t want only two hosts and a witness appliance, even if it works and it is a fully supported concept for small- or branch offices. I want a real scale. Each server should have one cache device and at least one SSD for the capacity tier. I went all-in and decided to go with two SSDs for capacity. All servers have to be connected with 10Gbit SFP+ for vSAN and vMotion.

Conclusion of upcoming homelab

  • Small footprint, both power, and space.
  • 3 node all-flash vSAN cluster
  • 10Gbit SFP+ networking
  • Formfactor must be rack

The new hardware

Decided to go with Supermicro hardware. They have IPMI and actually some of the E300 series is now on the VMware compatibility list.

Supermicro kits such as the E300 are a very popular choices amongst the VMware community. It got a powerful Xeon-based CPUs and support for up to 128GB of memory, it is perfect for running a killer vSphere/vSAN setup and still keeping cost, noise and power bill down.

BOM

Here is a list of what the hardware consists of. This gives a hell of horsepower for a homelab and plenty of memory and CPU for doing nested environment so test our NSX-V to NSX-T migrations etc.

NumberItem
3Supermicro E300-8D 4core Intel D-1518 2Ghz
3Intel 790p 128GB disk for cache tier
3Supermicro Riser card
3Supermicro SATA-DOM 32GB
12Samsung 32GB DDR4 memory modules
3Intel 600GB SSD for capacity tier
3Supermicro Rackmounts

Now the hardware is documented. Next will be rack and stack and how the environment will be designed 🙂

vCloud SAML authentication

vCloud have LDAP, SAML and local users as an option for tenant authentication. In this post, we are looking into SAML integration. With AzureAD.

The cool thing about AzureAD is that you will gain the MFA option out of the box, and when tenants want access we can also invite them from their own AzureAD tenant into the resource AzureAD tenant. This gives flexibility and overview of who has access.

ADFS is also an option, but there you need to keep your own infrastructure with a resource AD/ADFS and furthermore need a 3. party MFA solution.

Process:

  • Setup Enterprise app in desired resource AzureAD
  • Setup claims
  • Set federation entity id for tenant
  • Import vCloud federation metadata to AzureAD
  • Import AzureAD enterprise app federation metadata to vCloud
  • Setup allowed users/groups in vCloud

AzureAD

Let’s get started with Azure AD configuration. Login to your AzureAD portal https://portal.azure.com. Navigate to “Azure Active Directory” > “Enterprise App” and press “New Application”. Choose “Non-gallery application”. Give it the name “vCloud SAML test” and press “Add”. This will take a couple of minutes.

Navigate back to “Enterprise Apps” > “All applications” and choose your newly created App.

For test purpose, add/assign a test user to the app. This is under “Users and groups”. This user will be able to login to the enterprise app with AzureAD.

Now go to “Single Sign-on”. This will now ask for the sign-on method, and here we will choose “SAML”. This will then take us to the SAML setup. The first thing to do is importing the metadata from the cloud.

You will find the metadata by logging in to vCloud, go to the tenant, under “administration” > “federation” tab. Enter the URL for the tenant as a entity id, apply and afterwards download the metadata from the link.

You will find the metadata by logging in to vCloud, go to the tenant, under administration choose the federation tab. Enter the URL for the tenant as a entity id, apply and afterwards download the metadata from the link.

In azureAD “Upload Metadata” and chose the downloaded file from vCloud. This will give AzureAD the knowledge of where to redirect and accept request from.

vCloud can validate a couple of user/group parameters. Vmware documentation. So we will add some claims to Azure AD.

Now we will need to download the AzureAD metadata and import into vCloud. Fetch the data by pressing “Download” to the “Federation Metadata XML”.

Head over to vCloud tenant federation page again. Paste the content from the download metadata file. check the “Use SAML identity” and apply. Now we are almost ready to try it out. But first, head over to “Users” tab in vCloud. We need to add the user/role to whom are allowed to gain vCloud Access.

Here we put in the mail address and role of the user from Azure AD. When the SAML response then returns to vCloud then vCloud can see it been authenticated in Azure AD and that the user is an Org admin.

Next step would be to use groups and roles so that we can put users into groups in Azure AD and that way manage access for the tenant. But after this, we can now head to the tenant URL. We will then be redirected to the Azure AD login page, login and accept to MFA so that we can be redirected to our vCloud tenant.

And voila, we have logged into our vCloud tenant with Azure AD.

Troubleshooting:

When I first started this project I was using a GUID as a vCloud entity id. That meant that I could get it to work with ADFS but not AzureAD. I went full mole on the troubleshooting.

In the end, I intercepted the SAML responses. These are encoded in base64, easy task to decode. And afterwards, I got the XML that either ADFS or AzureAD is sending back. I could then compare them, and I saw som <ds> tags to the cert that wasn’t on in the response from AzureAD. Unfortunately, that was a duck and meant nothing.

By tailing the log from vCloud, tail -f /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/logs/vcloud-container-debug.log, I could get some hints when the SAML auth failed.

org.opensaml.common.SAMLException: Local entity is not the intended audience of the assertion in at least one AudienceRestriction

doing a bit more googling and found out that I should be looking at the <audience> tag from the two SAML responses. And yes, that made some sense.

Azure AD sets the value of this element to the value of Issuer element of the AuthnRequest that initiated the sign-on. To evaluate the Audience value, use the value of the App ID URI that was specified during application registration.
Like the Issuer value, the Audience value must exactly match one of the service principal names that represents the cloud service in Azure AD. However, if the value of the Issuer element is not a URI value, the Audience value in the response is the Issuer value prefixed with spn:.

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/38978298/azuread-jwt-token-audience-claim-prefix-makes-jwt-token-invalid

And that was the problem, spn: prefix when not using a URL as entity id. Changing it to the URL made it work.

Maybe this is obvious to the world, but I didn’t know it, but glad my troubleshooting skills where sufficient 🙂

Install and use MegaCLI on VMware host

Over the last decade, I had the fun of how having to manage an LSI based RAID controller. Never on Windows machines, where the GUI-based Storage Manager tools are simple to work with.

Even though I usually find the vib and get it installed I always struggle to remember how it’s installed and what the commands are. This time I will write it down for the future me, or you?

Procedure

  • Find the MegaCLI vib file and download it…
  • Copy vib to ESXi host
  • Install vib
  • Use MegaCLI for whatever purpose you got

Finding the vib

This is where I struggle the most. LSI was bought by Avago and soon after Avago was bought by Broadcom. So the support links for the downloads have been 404 and using Broadcom’s support site is an education degree that I do not own. This time the link was this, giving you a zip file containing the MegaCLI package for all platforms.

If the link does not work for next time, or maybe a newer version is out. I also managed to find it on https://www.broadcom.com/support/download-search. Make a keyword search for MegaCLI, expand the “management software and tools” from the results and choose the newest “MegaCLI x.x Px” For now it’s MegaCLI 5.5 P1 version 8.07.07.

Install MegaCLI

We now got the zip, extract it and under the “VmwareMN” folder there is the vib that we are gonna be needing.

### SCP it to the host
jr@mbp:~ jr$ scp /Users/jr/Download/8-07-07_MegaCLI/VmwareMN/vmware-esx-MegaCLI-8-07-07.vib root@[ESXHOST]:/tmp/

### SSH to the ESXi host and install. Reboot afterwards
[root@esxhost:~] esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/vmware-esx-MegaCLI-8-07-07.vib

If you are lucky and get a “Could not find a trusted signer” when trying to install the vib the workaround is to add “–no-sig-check” at the end of the esxcli command, after the file path. Since I downloaded it from Broadcom’s own site, I trust it.

After the host reboot(which is very annoying, but necessary). We can not find MegaCLI binary under /opt/lsi/MegaCLI/

Useful MegaCLI commands

### Enclosure information
 /opt/lsi/MegaCLI/MegaCli -EncInfo -aALL

### Virtual drive information
/opt/lsi/MegaCLI/MegaCli -LDInfo -Lall -aALL

### Physical drive information
/opt/lsi/MegaCLI/MegaCli -PDList -aALL

### Silence active alarm
/opt/lsi/MegaCLI/MegaCli -AdpSetProp AlarmSilence -aALL

### Disable alarm
/opt/lsi/MegaCLI/MegaCli -AdpSetProp AlarmDsbl -aALL

### Enable alarm
/opt/lsi/MegaCLI/MegaCli -AdpSetProp AlarmEnbl -aALL

### Prepare for removal
/opt/lsi/MegaCLI/MegaCli -PdPrpRmv -PhysDrv [E:S] -aN

### Unconfigured Bad to good
/opt/lsi/MegaCLI/MegaCli -PDMakeGood -PhysDrv[E:S] -aN

I found a guy that did a bit more advanced MegaCLI scripting, its bit old but still very useful. You can find the site here. I have done some copy-pasting from the script, but all credit goes to the guy behind the link.

### List disk status
/opt/lsi/MegaCLI/MegaCli -PDlist -aALL -NoLog | egrep 'Slot|state' | awk '/Slot/{if (x)print x;x="";}{x=(!x)?$0:x" -"$0;}END{print x;}' | sed 's/Firmware state
://g'

Conclusion

CLI is awesome, so many possibilities and so flexible. In my opinion its a bit hard to find, but after you got it installed its easy. I have tested this on ESXi6.7 and it world as it should. I hope you can use some of it.

vCloud – Changing SSL certificate

In this post, I will explain how to install a public certificate into vCloud Director cell(s). This exact environment has a public signed cert that is up for renewal. A new certificate has been bought and signed and is ready to import.

vcd cells have 2 IP addresses that allow support for 2 different SSL endpoints (http and consoleproxy). Each endpoint requires its own SSL certificate. vCloud Director uses a java keystore to read its SSL certificates from.  In a multi-cell environment, you need to create 2 certificates for each cell and import the certificates into the vcd java keystore. But since we hare here using a wildcard certificate the same certificate will be used to but endpoints.

The new certificate have been created with a CSR that was not generated from the vCloud cells, so we need to import both private and public key from an export of the certificate. In this case it’s a .PFX.

Certificate is a wildcard. If you are using a UCC SAN certificate with the exact names then be sure that the names in certificate are matching accordingly to vCloud settings.

I assume you got

  • Already working/configured vCloud environment
  • New public signed certificate exported to a .PFX format (contains both public and private key)

We will

  • Connect to cell with winscp and transfer the .PFX to /tmp/
  • Connect to cell with Putty
    • Create a new keystore with the new certificate
    • Stop vcd service
    • Swap old keystore with new
    • Start vcd service

Initialize certificate change…

winscp copy the .pfx to the cell tmp directory

The commands for creating the new keystore and importing the cert is below. Change the STOREPASS and KEYPASS to something meaningful for your environment. It is also important to notice that the alias of each certificate must be “http” and “consoleproxy”. Else vcd won’t find the certs.

A note about the alias, I have seen it generate GUID but also just numbers. So if your list command is showing “1” then you need to change alias 1 to respectively http or consoleproxy.

### Stop vCloud Director service
service vmware-vcd stop

### make passwords variable in unix
STOREPASS= <pass>
KEYPASS= <pass>

### Add the certificate to a new created certificates.ks keystore.
/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/jre/bin/keytool \
-keystore /tmp/certificates.ks \
-storepass STOREPASS \
-keypass KEYPASS \
-storetype JCEKS \
-importkeystore \
-srckeystore /tmp/wildcard2020.pfx

### List certificate alias
/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/jre/bin/keytool \
-storetype JCEKS \
-storepass STOREPASS \
-keystore /tmp/certificates.ks \
-list | grep -i alias

### Rename certificate random alias to http
/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/jre/bin/keytool \
-storetype JCEKS \
-changealias \-alias "te-d487d1c7-2c76-482a-8e61-69107ee3027f" \
-destalias http -keystore /tmp/certificates.ks

### Add the Remote Console Proxy certificate to a new created certificates.ks keystore.
/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/jre/bin/keytool \
-keystore /tmp/certificates.ks \
-storepass STOREPASS \
-keypass KEYPASS \
-storetype JCEKS \
-importkeystore \
-srckeystore /tmp/wildcard2020.pfx

### List certificate alias
/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/jre/bin/keytool \
-storetype JCEKS \
-storepass STOREPASS \
-keystore /tmp/certificates.ks -list | grep -i alias

### Rename certificate random alias to consoleproxy
/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/jre/bin/keytool \
-storetype JCEKS \
-changealias \
-alias "te-d487d1c7-2c76-482a-8e61-69107ee3027f" \
-destalias consoleproxy \
-keystore certificates.ks

### Make a backup of the existing keystore 
cp /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/certificates.ks /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/certificates.ks_old

### Copy the new keystore file to the vCloud Director environment
cp /tmp/certificates.ks /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/certificates.ks

### Set correct permissions to the keystore file
chown vcloud:vcloud /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/certificates.ks
chmod 600 /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/certificates.ks

### Make cells generate proxy console certs based on new keystore.
cd /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/bin
./cell-management-tool certificates -p -k /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/certificates.ks -w STOREPASS

### Start vCloud Director service
service vmware-vcd start

To see if the cell have booted correctly you can tail the cell log. It will give you a “startup completed in x”.

 tail -f /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/logs/cell.log

I got more than one cell…

That’s awesome – me too. You can scp the certificate from the cell with the new cert to the other cells. So let’s get that newly created keystore over the other cells.

### SSH to next cell and stop the vCloud Director service
service vmware-vcd stop

### Go to keystore path
cd /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/

### Move the existing to new filename with .old surfix.
mv certificate.ks certificate.ks.old

### Copy the new certificate into place
scp root@dc1svcdcell01:/opt/vmware/vcloud-director/certificates.ks .

### Make cells generate proxy console certs based on new keystore.
./cell-management-tool certificates -p -k /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/certificates.ks -w KEYSTORE_PASSWD

### Start vCloud Director service
service vmware-vcd start

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Feel free to share this on social media if it is worth sharing.

Disk mapping Windows/VMware

Since I’m working in a datacenter department at a service provider automation is a big thing. We have lots of different automatic workflows already. Everything from reading out power usage for co-location customers to creating a fully functional virtual datacenter with VMware vCloud Director.

The latest idea was to create an automatic disk expansion service. We monitor the customer’s environments with PRTG and call to help them with an expansion when more disk space is needed. But that’s only within business hours and of our service desk are busy we don’t always make the expansion in a timely fashion. For an exchange server, this is bad, full-disk means no mail flow.

Our backend developer(super skilled guy) extended the service agent that we run on all customer servers, with a new data collector that looks for free space and disk-identifiers. If a disk is running full he will create a RabbitMQ ticket that will trigger a vRealize Orchestrator workflow that finds the disk and expands it. Then reports back to his services so that his service can expand the disk from within Windows.

Identifying Windows disk from VMware environment

Our google foo was giving the same result over and over again, we should look at the SCSI ID. From within Windows, you can get the LUN ID and what controller its located. That position should then be the same as seen from VMware side.

While testing it on Windows 2016+ this worked ok. BUT we have customers that are still on Windows 2012, and here it didn’t work. *Sigh*. If the VM where having multiple controllers then we could not see what UnitId were to attach to the corresponding Controller Id. So back to the drawing board.

### From VMs Id and ControllerId and UnitId the disk that needs expansion is found. 
#$vmDisk = (Get-VM -Id $vmid | Get-HardDisk) | where { $_.ExtensionData.ControllerKey -eq ((Get-VM -id $vmid | Get-ScsiController ).ExtensionData | where { $_.BusNumber -eq $ControllerId }).Key } | where { $_.ExtensionData.UnitNumber -eq $SCSITargetId }

### Afterwards the disk can have the added capacity.
$vmDisk | Set-HardDisk -CapacityGB ($vmDisk.CapacityGB + $ExpandSizeGb) -Confirm:$false

We then kept looking but could not find anything in particular. Thinking about a physical disk having a serial number we began to pursue that idea, the VM should see the UUID that VMware where presenting. And yes, this sure seems to be working a Windows 2008 through Windows 2019.

VMware VM extension data – UUID

With the disk serial number approach, it was also easier to find the disk.

### UUID can be found in the VM extension data.
$vmDisk = (Get-VM -Id $vmid | Get-HardDisk) | Where-Object {$_.ExtensionData.Backing.uuid.Replace("-","") -eq $disksn } 

Conclusion:

Don’t know why other people are not suggesting the disk serial number approach instead of the SCSI ID. But my theory is that many looks at what data they can get from the vCenter GUI. And here the SCSI ID based on controller id and unit id is the only thing really available.

But there is a lot of nice data when using PowerCLI to look at the data. Especially when doing automation.

Prevent Drive Failure at 32,768 Hours

This is one of the nasty bugs. Some SSD models will fail after they have been powered on for more than 32768 hours. Imagine running vSAN and you bought x amount of disks that where affected. They will all fail at the same time, so you are left alone with your backup(hopefully).

I seen this one time before, where Intel disks where the problems. Unfortunately the Intel SSDs where metadata disks in a Ceph storage cluster, and since they all failed at the same time, the cluster died!

This is of cause due to that nobody where informed of the bug. When buying hardware from HPE and other enterprise hardware vendors we cat a mail letting us know of the problem before it becomes a disaster.

https://support.hpe.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=emr_na-a00092491en_us

Update procedure – VMware

We had to do a firmware update of the disks, we are running VMware and vSAN. And gladly HPE have allready released the patch. Also with guidance for VMware.

https://support.hpe.com/hpsc/swd/public/detail?swItemId=MTX_6089c15599b647aca0c049ce24#tab2

  1. download the patch, copy it to /tmp of the ESXi servers.
  2. Unzip and make the .vmexe file executable chmod +x CP****.vmexe
  3. Put one of the hosts into maintenance mode.
  4. Run the CP***.vmexe – ./CP****.vmexe. It will lists the disks that it found and you tell it the disk numbers for those you want to have firmware upgraded.
  5. After upgrade I did a reboot anyway.

Remember that reboot of vSAN nodes can take a long time, 10-30 min. On the console of the server it says: “vSAN initialising SSD XXX” Give it time, it will boot.

Fetching firmware version

When you use the HPE custom VMware image then we have all the HPE tools on the server, so that we can query hardware etc.

  1. cd /opt/smartstorageadmin/ssacli/bin
  2. Execute ./ssacli ctrl slot=0 pd all show detail

For more a command cheat sheet you could look at https://wiki.phoenixlzx.com/page/ssacli/ or the official documentation https://support.hpe.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docId=c03909334

This will give you all info on the disks behind the controller. The model number is the one that you can look up on HPEs site to see if its affected.

vRO – start a workflow with AQMP message

System to system interaction can be hard. API integrations are a way of doing it, but we can also use a message bus. Actually I think that using a message bus is a very awesome way of doing it, it’s a very loose couple between systems and we can queue multiple things and have the task or messages in RabbitMQ until system is ready to consume the messages.

This is a guide of using vRO to pick up the RabbitMQ message and start a workflow with the payload of the message.

Adding RabbitMQ to vRO:

  • Open vRO legacy client, login
  • Expand Library > AMQP > Configuration
  • Start the workflow Add a broker. This will pair vRO and RabbitMQ.
  • Follow the wizard. I’m using a virtual host, but input all depends on your RabbitMQ config.
Running the workflow “Add a broker” to pair vRO and RabbitMQ.

Subscribe vRO to a RabbitMQ queue:

From the same position in vRO, now run the workflow “Subscribe to queues“. This will make vRO aware of the queue and be able to use it as a trigger.

Subscribing to a RabbitMQ queue.
Give the queue subscription a name.
Choose the broker we added in the section before.
Add the name of the queue from RabbitMQ, must be identical from what the queue name is in RabbitMQ.

Now vRO is monitoring the queue, we are ready to proceed.

Creating a policy:

Now we need to create a policy that can tie the event of a message from RabbitMQ into a starting a workflow.

Navigate to the policy fane in vRO and create a new policy.
Inside the new policy, add a new policy element.
Choose the AMQP:Subscription.
From the popup you can now filter for the queue that you earlier made a subscription on.
Right-click the queue name and chose Add trigger event
Choose onMessage
Holding focus at the “onMessage” event we can choose a workflow that the policy will start on message.
You will need to search, this time its for the workflow that you want to start when there is a message in the queue.
Now we will need to map a variable to the payload of the message that we have received. You need to have an in variable declared as a string in the workflow that you have mapped to.
The in variable from your workflow will show and by double-clicking on the name of the variable you are able to choose the “event.key.body” to it. This will make the payload of the message become a variable for your workflow.

Wrap-up:

That was a lot of screen dumps, I hope it still makes sense.

Now you should make the policy start when vRO starts and for now also start the policy so that you can see it works. The case that is shown in the screen dumps will have a JSON as the message payload, it then sends it to the messageBody variable and then inside the script it will extract the values that it needs in for the workflow to run.

Example of how to parse the JSON to a JavaScript object and afterwards parse the needed parameters over to a new variable. In this case its parameters for a PowerShell script.

ESXCLI host upgrade procedure

Most of the time you would want to use VMware Update Manager when doing upgrade. Its part of vCenter and is necessary tool when having to maintain your environment. But for smaller deployments, with standalone hosts and no vCenter the following upgrade methods are desired and can help the upgrade time. Instead of having to upgrade with IPMI and an ISO.

Online mode:

This method is for getting the update online, no need to download ISO/offline bundles, etc. This will work for most of the upgrade use cases.

1: Connect to your ESXi host via the host client and enable SSH. Afterward ssh to the ESXi host and enable ESXi firewall rule to allow the host to access the internet.

esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient

2: With the beneath command you will get a list of available ESXi packaged that are on the VMware repos. Enter this command to list all available profiles. We filter only those which are relevant to our case – upgrade to ESXi 6.7

esxcli software sources profile list -d https://hostupdate.vmware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml | grep -i ESXi-6.7

3. Chose the desired profile and use the following command for choosing and upgrading the ESXi version. Before upgrade its a good idea to enter maintenance mode.

esxcli system maintenanceMode set --enable true
esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.7.0-20190402001-standard -d https://hostupdate.vm
ware.com/software/VUM/PRODUCTION/main/vmw-depot-index.xml

4. After it’s done, you will need to restart the host, after its rebooted you will run on the new ESXi version.

Custom, with Offline bundle:

This method is for when you desire to install a custom update, or that your hosts down have access to the internet.

1: Download the offline bundle from the VMware webpage, in this upgrade I will use an HPE custom version. But if you run a generic version, that will also work.

2: After downloading the “VMware-ESXi-6.7.0-8169922-depot.zip” file, place it (upload it) to a datastore which is visible by your ESXi host. Best would be a local datastore if this host has some. If not, it can also be a shared datastore too.

3: Find the profile name from the depot offline bundle

 esxcli software sources profile list -d /vmfs/volumes/prd.r60lun01/ISO/VMware-ESXi-6.7.0-Up
019-depot.zip

Put your host into maintenance mode, enable SSH if you haven’t done yet.

3: Execute this command to upgrade your ESXi 6.x to 6.7

esxcli software profile update -p ESXi-6.7.0-13006603-standard -d /vmfs/volumes/your_datastore/VMware-ESXi-6.7.0-13006603-depot.zip

esxcli software profile update -p HPE-ESXi-6.7.0-Update2-Gen9plus-670.U2.10.4.1.8 -d /vmfs/volumes/prd.r60lun01/ISO/VMware-ESXi-6.7.0-Update2-13006603-HPE-Gen9plus-670.U2.10.4.1.8-Apr2019-depot.zip

After checking that your upgrade was successful, reboot your host. You should see a message saying that the upgrade completed successfully.

Troubleshooting

I have tried to get an error with:

Failed updating the bootloader: Execution of command /usr/lib/vmware/bootloader-installer/install-bootloader failed: non-zero code returned…. return code: 1”

Error when upgrading, due to “insufficient space”.

This problem is due to the SWAP is but on the installation of the ESXi, not a good thing. So let’s change it.

Go to the UI of the ESXi Hosts https://IP/ui, login and proceed to the following:

Manage > System > Swap > Edit Settings

Chose the dropdown and select a datastore. Apply and the swap space is not freed from the ESXi install device so that you can try to upgrade again.

Conclusion:

After the upgrade, it’s a good idea to disable the ESXi firewall rule for “HTTP outside access”. Stop and disable SSH again, but it’s optional 🙂

esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e false -r httpClient

Now you should have an upgraded host.