RVTools – A VMware Admin’s best friend

Today I would like to talk about one of my favorite tools that I use both internally and with my clients.

RVTools – https://www.robware.net/rvtools/

RVTools is a free utility that you can use to discover what is going on with your VMware Environment. All you have to do it install the client on your machine and in a few minutes you are able to log into your vSphere Environment (using your normal vSphere Credentials) and it will give you a read out of your entire environment.

From the login Screen the look and feel is very reminiscent of the old C# vSphere Client used back in 5.x and 6.0 days.

Once you log in you are presented with the vInfo tab which is a summary of everything going on with the vSphere/ESXi host you Connected to.

Along the top you will see a series to tabs that will drill down into the various components of your environment such as the ones seen below

I am only going to cover a few of these features, but I encourage you to try it out for your self.

 vCD will show you what Virtual Machine has a CD Drive installed on it, if it is connected, and what .ISO is currently connected to it. So ,.for instance, if you have a Virtual Machine that will not vMotion, you could use this tool to see if it is attached to a .ISO that is on Local Storage.

vSnapshot will show you all the Virtual Machines that have snapshots associated with it. It will report back to you the name of the Virtual Machine, the name of the Snapshot, the Date/Time it was taken, and the File Name of the snapshot.

And Lastly we will touch on the vHealth tab. This tab will give you advice on things that you may not realize is going on in your environment such as inconsistent naming, Host logs not being stored on persistent storage, VMware tools being out of date, and Zombies (Files that exist on Datastores, but are not in inventory).

On a final note that I forgot to mention, If you go up into the file menu you are able to export everything you see in the tool to a .CSV which can become very handy for documenting your environment. 
I hope you find this post useful and if you do download this product, please consider donating to it’s creator. Without tools like this it would make all of our jobs much harder. 

How to Change VM from BIOS to UEFI

I just had a question on the VMWare Community about how to change a VM from BIOS to UEFI.

I found that if you go into Edit Settings > Click on the VM Options Tab and you should see this

I hope this is helpful for anyone who needs this information in the future. 

It’s Official!!!

I just received my digital books for VMware vSphere: Design Workshop [V6.5]! I am looking forward to taking this class next week

How to add Target Servers to vMA

I have had this one post sitting around for a while and I figured I should get it written before it gets lost.

Earlier I was working on getting vMA stood up in my lab environment and I figured that I should do a post about how to configure vMA to connect to a target. Adding a Target Server in vMA is a faster way for you to be able to issue commands. Rather than having to specify which server you want to run commands against (especially if you are running several commands on the same box) you should set the server as a target. In this instance I will run through the steps of setting a target for an AD Authenticated host or vCenter. 

From the vMA console you will type the following command out:

vifp addserver <vcenter server name.domain.local> –authpolicy adauth –username <AD DOMAINUserName>

and press Enter and you will be prompted for the Password of the AD account that you referenced.

To verify that the server is connected you can use the following command:
vifp listservers –long

This will tell you the server name as well as the method of authentication. Now anytime you want to run a command against that host you will be able to do so without having to re-authenticate every time.

To set your Target server you can use the following command prior to running your actual command or script.

vifptarget -s <servername>

VMWare Virtual Machine will not Start in vCenter

So I was asked by a client to do up “hardware upgrades” on one of their virtual machines. This VM is not production and is not running anything at the moment, but will soon become an SQL Server running an application. So I went and powered off the VM, logged into the C# vSphere client (they are running vSphere 6.0), and doubled the memory as requested by the client.

After making the change I went to power on the VM and I get presented with this pop up error message from VMWare

The message itself seems pretty generic but I have actually seen this one before. This error has to do with  an issue with the management agents on  your ESXi host.

I followed the instructions found on this KB article but it did not resolve my issue. I also found this KB article which might yield better results but as this whole environment is production, I will need to wait to test that.

WORK AROUND:

In order to get this VM powered back online, I needed to log directly into the virtual host and power on the machine.

The VM powered on with no issues.

I hope you find this helpful and I will update this when I have a solution.

How to add vMA to Windows AD Domain

While working in my lab at work I wanted to see about adding my vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) to our lab Active Directory so it would be easier for me to connect to resources. After going through the process I decided to make a guide on the steps I took to get it working.

Just an FYI I was working with vSphere Management Assistant version 5.5.0.4 at the time of taking these screenshots so I am sure things may have changed in later versions… or not.

First you will need to get to the console of the machine.

Select the option to login

and log in using the vi-admin account

Once you are logged in you are presented with a command prompt. You will need to use the following command to add your appliance to a Windows domain.

Sudo domainjoin-cli join <domain.name> <Domain User Name>

You will then be prompted for the vi-admin password

Once your Appliance is added to the domain you will see a screen like this.

Once the reboot has been completed you will can verify that you are on the domain by running this command:
sudo domainjoin-cli query
and you will be presented with a response something line this
Now your appliance is on the domain and you will now have an easier time connecting to resources in your VMware environment.  

Scenario 004 – Issue with connecting to NETAPP OnCommand System Manager

It has been a while since I did one of these posts do I figured I would try to get back to it. 
Today I was working at a client site and I had to make some changes to one of their VMs to increase storage. While working on their management host I attempted to connect to their NetApp OnCommand System Manager when I was presented with this:

Having seen this so many times I figured I would share the solution. The error message above is telling you that the file SystemManager.ks is corrupt. This file can be renamed and is located here:

C:Users<username>NetAppSystemManager

Once you rename the file all you have to do it close you IE window and try again.

Exchange 2016 – Issue with changing URL for MAPI connections

As you know when you installed Exchange all of the Virtual Directories use the FQDN of the server as the URLs for the Exchange Virtual Directories. If your Exchange server is being used for OWA or CAS you will most likely have a SSL Cerfiticate to prevent you from getting those pesky SSL errors.

During an install that I recently did I ran into an issue where all the outlook clients were getting SSL pop up messages that looked like this:

From the message you are able to see that the name of the certificate does not match the server name. So I logged into the Exchange Admin Center and looked under Servers > Virtual Directories and checked each of the Virtual Directories listed. As this was my first 2016 installation I discovered that there was a virtual directory for mapi. So from the web interface I changed the internal url to match the name of the certificate “https://Mail.Domain.com/mapi” and restarted IIS. After that I go and try and configure an outlook client and good news I no longer get the SSL Error, but now I am unable to authenticate to the mailbox!!!

After playing around with it for a while I discovered that changing the name back did not fix the issue so I was forced to do a rebuild on the virtual directory and that took me back to square 1.

After hours of searching online for an answer I found this powershell command that worked

Set-mapivirtualdirectory -identity “[SERVERNAME]mapi (default Web Site)” -internalurl  https://Mail.DOMAIN.com/mapi

After doing this command I restarted IIS again and the clients are now able to connect without issue.

UPDATE on this issue:

I would appear that do to a misconfiguration in the client’s internal DNS their Autodiscover.domain.local was a A record and not a CNAME which it appears that outlook autodiscover does not like. So I changed the record to a CNAME by deleting the A record and recreating it. Then I went to a local machine and did a IPCONFIG /FLUSHDNS and then restarted outlook and that seems to have fixed the issue.

How to edit a VM hardware after it has been created

So after you go and make your Virtual Machine you realize you forgot to mount the .ISO for Windows Server 2012 and you left the Floppy Drive in the config which is not really hurting anyone but it makes things more aesthetically pleasing to not see it there.  So what do you do….
Here are the detailed steps to change the hardware configuration of a virtual machine from the VMware vSphere Client.
With the virtual machine selected in the navigation pane you should see the “Getting Started” tab in the center panel. On that tab towards the bottom you will see the “Basic Tasks” section as seen in the screenshot below. 

Click on “Edit Virtual Machine Settings” and the Virtual Machine Properties Window will open up for you.

From here you can see all of the virtual hardware that is assigned to the virtual machine in question. You can also make changes to the virtual hardware as you see fit.

Please note: you will not be able to modify all of the settings if the VM is powered on. Some things like Memory and CPU will require the VM to be off before VMware will let you modify it.

To remove the Floppy drive select the device by clicking on it and click the remove button.

You will now see that the device has a line though it, meaning that this is a pending change for removal and will not take effect until you click okay at the bottom. 
To add the boot ISO you will need to click on the CD/DVD Drive to highlight it.

To add an ISO stored on a Datastore like a LUN or the Local Datastore on the virtual host click Datastore ISO file radio button.

Once you click on the radio button the browse button then becomes available to you. Click on the Browse button to open the Browse Data store window. 

Navigate to where you ISO is stored and click Open.

The file path for the ISO is now populated for you. I suggest that you click connect at power on up at the top of the window. This will make sure that the CD drive presents the ISO to the VM at boot up and allows you to boot into the VM. 
Click okay to close the window and to commit the changes. Once the tasks have been committed you will then be able to power the VM back on. 

VM not Powering on due to vmx.lck

To start, let me apologize for not taking screen shots to share this issue. If this issue occurs in the future I will be sure to take them then and fill in the blanks.

Today after coming into the office from a long weekend because of Memorial Day we discovered that our Lab had an issue on Friday at 7 PM. While I was working on getting everything backup and online I found that my precision Exchange 2013 Server that I built in a previous post was showing up as being grayed out.

Play ominous music

My knee jerk reaction here was to remove the VM from inventory and try to re-add the VM back into inventory by right clicking on the .vmx file and click add to inventory. Something I have done hundreds of times before without issue. However this time was different, the .VMX file would not allow me to add the VM to Inventory. I also noticed there were more than 1. VMX file.

Fortunetly I was already logged into the host as root and saw the the VM was still in inventory. Then I looked at the other host while logged in as root and saw the same thing. I then processed to look at the vCenter and I did not see the VM anywhere.  I thought to myself now how can this be? I am not 100 % of what exactly happened for sure but I have a theory that I intend to try and duplicate at a later date.

So here is goes:

The entire environment went offline during a network issue that caused the iSCSI to drop out. We have had this issue before and after checking the NAS we discovered that the NAS is okay we initiated a reboot of the virtual hosts. Once they came back online we found that the storage adapters could not see the NAS. So from here we rebooted the NAS and we were then able to do a rescan and the LUNs all came back without issue.

Now because we have HA and DRS enabled on our cluster the VMs all started on their own, causing a whole new headache that I do not want to go into at this point. However during this process the one host evacuated all it’s VMs and sent it to the other host.

I am thinking that this is the point where the VM mix up occurred. the 2 virtual hosts were fighting for the VM and that contention caused it to become orphaned. To resolve this issue I removed the VM from the inventory on both machines and then the vmx.lck file disappeared and I was able to re-add the VM back into inventory though vCenter.

I hope this helps someone with their issue, sorry for the lack of pictures but if/when it happens again I will be sure to add it back in.