If you are running a vCloud Director environment, host maintenance and host management is a bit different. Changes you make in vCenter might not reflect correctly inside vCloud. If vCloud Director does not know about certain changes, the stability and performance of your environment is at risk. [Read more…]
Recently I ran into an issue with a VMware server running ESX 4.1 U2. The server started crashing randomly. Working with Dell we did a lot of troubleshooting and they replaced a lot of hardware during the process. Dell could not pinpoint the faulty part and so they started replacing motherboard, CPUs, RAM, Memory Riser Cards, the motherboard (again), and the 2 Qlogic HBAs. At that point Dell required that the HBA Firmware needs to be upgraded due to the replacement parts not being on the latest version. And that’s where things became ugly. [Read more…]
With version 4.1 of ESX VMware discontinued the vSphere versions that were based on the Linux Kernel and started offering only vSphere ESXi editions of its popular Virtualization platform. If you are still running your virtualization on version ESX 4.1 or lower you need to upgrade to ESXi if you want to use vSphere 5. [Read more…]
I recently had to P2V (or better V2V) a VMWare VM. The Virtual Machine was sitting on an ESXi host and I wanted to pull it over into a production ESX cluster. At the same time I wanted to shrink the hard drives of the VM – especially the D drive. When the machine was built it had gotten a 200 GB hard drive, but in the end they only used 5 GB (if at all). The solution is often the VMWare converter application as it allows to shrink the drives during the process.
I fired up the converter, but within 1 minute after kicking off the P2V process the converter died giving me this error message:
FAILED: Unable to create a VSS snapshot of the source volume(s). Error code:
I did a Google search for it and found several people with the same problem. Some found a fix by modifying the registry, but that did not match my situation. Found a few other things, but again with no luck. Then I tried the cold clone converter version from VMWare. However, the cold clone converter failed to recognize the NIC inside the VM. [Read more…]
When moving VMs from an ESX 3.5 cluster to an ESX 4 “vSphere” cluster in VMWare you will have to look at upgrading the VMWare Tools for sure. However, you also have the option to upgrade the virtual hardware of a VM. The virtual hardware upgrade offers some performance benefits, but not every VM will be able to take advantage of it. It is also not mandatory to upgrade the virtual hardware, however if you do want to upgrade the virtual hardware, you need to upgrade the VMWare tools to the latest version first AND you need to go through a full reboot cycle first. Upgrading the virtual hardware of a VM requires to shut it down as the option is only available in a powered off state of a VM.
So far I have upgraded the virtual hardware on several VMs in my environment and the overall experience has been good (knock on wood). In one instance I had missed to update the VMWare Tools to the latest version and upon the attempt to upgrade the virtual hardware my vCenter politely asked me if I really wanted to proceed. I did not and opted to update the VMWare Tools first.
What can you expect after the upgrade? You can expect a plug and play fest so to speak. It’s like ripping out the motherboard and all the other components from a physical server and to replace them with newer ones. So far I upgraded several operating systems including Windows 2000, Windows 2003, and Windows 2008. No issues other than the usual “plug and play spiel” inside Windows.
I still have to do some performance testing, but overall things seem to be speedier.
Are you planning on using Hyper-V for web hosting as a host server or to offer Hyper-V host servers to your customers? I have been working with Hyper-V a little bit and I am not too impressed with it at the moment. I am a friend of streamlining my environment, to automate stuff, and to reduce any need for support as much as possible by being pro-active and cautious how and what I roll out.
While Hyper-V is a virtualization product that – once it is running and configured – seems to do a good job, I do see it as a potential problem, too. For one, if you are not experienced with Server 2008 Core, MS Clustering, and Hyper-V itself, the learning curve is quite challenging. The setup is fairly complex and I also see it from a maintenance and support perspective that this could draw resource away from your core web hosting business.
So, if you plan on using Hyper-V for Web hosting, make sure to put enough research into the project. Automate as much as possible and set clear expectations and a framework – especially if you are offering Hyper-V servers to customers.
Personally I do prefer VMWare ESX over Hyper-V. It is a little more expensive, but the ROI is definitely there + the software is mature and easier to setup and to maintain compared to Hyper-V. I see it as one of those “You get what you pay for” situations. Yes, Hyper-V allows you to do virtualization, but it is still way behind the offerings of VMWare.
PS: Check out ThePlanet.com for your dedicated server needs. Great prices and great support.
Installing the VMWare tools to a VM should be an easy task, but sometimes it isn’t. I recently ran into a problem where the VMWare tools did not want to install. The installer crapped out on me with the following error message:
Windows Installer Service could not be accessed
I rebooted the VM with no luck. Then I checked that the Windows Installer Service was actually running. It wasn’t but even after starting it and another reboot, no joy. After digging around for a few minutes I decided to make the following change.
Go into the Windows Installer service properties and click the check box that allows the service to interact with the desktop. As soon as that was done I restarted the VMWare Tools installer and the installation went through just fine.
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