vCenter 5.5 Compatibility

Have just given the current version a basic test again vCenter 5.5 and all seems good! I used the vCenter appliance, specifically version 5.5.0, build 1398495, and fired up the existing version of sfvAlarms against it. VMware have upped the number of default alarms again, and there are now some 68 alarms. I ran a basic test of exporting the default alarms, deleting them, and importing again. All looks good. There is a new version of the SDK, so at some point I should really compile against the new SDK and then re-check against all versions and try out a few custom alarms set at different levels.

Appreciate all feedback against 5.5 or if you encounter any issues.

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sfvAlarms – Updated Version Available

I have uploaded a new version (v1.1.2) – see Download page. This fixes a small issue where characters in the Alarm name were invalid when used as file names for export. Thanks to Rob for taking the time to post on this issue and send me output from his export so I could nail it. The Dell Management Plugin he is using adds a load more alarms, some using characters in the alarm name which were invalid when used as filenames.

sfvAlarms – New Version

Just uploaded a new version of sfvAlarms. Had a feature request over on vladan’s blog to allow the user to specify the alarm export path so as not to fall foul of local policies that limit where data can be written to. This is now implemented in v1.1.1 available on Download page along with updated user guide. The export setting is on the Preferences dialogue – you can leave at default  or specify custom folder.

sfvAlarms and vSphere 5.1

Thanks to Pascal for trying out sfvAlarms on newly released vSphere 5.1 (sfvAlarms is my import and export utility for vCenter alarms). The export is OK but not the import. Am looking into this now and hope to have another version that will be 5.1 compatible as well as backwards compatible with 4 and 5. Currently sfvAlarms only works with 4.0 and 5.0 as per User Guide description.

Have downloaded the 5.1 vCenter Appliance and 5.1 C# Web Services SDK and getting an error it looks like on the AlarmSpec when calling CreateAlarm. I can’t however see anything wrong withe spec! aaarrgghhh! I need to go back to something really simple and see if can create the simplest possible alarm in 5.1 to make sure not something awry at VMware’s end!. Nothing I can see in the revision updates seems to relate to alarms, although have noticed that there are now 61 default alarm definitions as opposed to the 54 in vSphere 5.0.

The VMware KB for restoring default vCenter alarms doesnt seem to work any more either for 5.1 (KB: 2009166) – at least I cant get the default alarms back on the 5.1 applicance.

*Update 12-Oct-2012

  • KB all good.. dont know what happened but works fine on v5.1
  • New version of sfvAlarms now on Download page (v.1.1.0) now with vCenter 5.1 support 🙂

vSphere Autodeploy and DHCP

Few things I have learnt on my Autodeploy journey regarding DHCP…

When using DHCP, use reservations, then add Option 12 to your reservation and enter the host name. When your host gets added to vCenter it will come in with proper host name and qualified with domain (depending on other setups).

Also on properties of your reservation (using W2008R2), select DNS tab, and allow updates by ensuring Enable DNS dynamic updates is ticked, then selecting option Always dynamically update DNS A and PTR records. I Also tick box Dynamically update DNS A and PTR records for DHCP clients that do not request updates. This will mean you will get your auto-deploy hosted added to DNS with Host(A) record (and if you have remembered to create a reverse lookup zone for your subnet)a PTR record as well. This saves the work of adding this manually.

And finally… setting Spanning-Tree PortFast on your switch port with which your host is booting and getting DHCP lease is required. Have seen 2nd-stage DHCP request within gPXE failing / timeout unless Spanning-Tree PortFast is set.

vSphere Autodeploy

Stripeyfish is feeling chuffed! Managed to get AutoDeploy working under VMware Workstation 7 and just pushed out my first stateless ESXi 5 VM! Still a way to go with host files, answer files, VIB cutomisations etc but its a start!

Have built the lab from scratch – no use of appliances. So have W2008R2 based VMs as follows:

  • Domain Controller (inc. DNS)
  • SQL 2008R2
  • vCenter
  • Auto Deploy server hosting DHCP / AutoDeploy / Solarwinds TFTP

The PowerShell side of things strikes me as odd… like its unfinished though. For some reason even though the latest PowerCLI installed I had to manually add in the snapins for VMware.ImageBuilder and VMware.DeployAutomation (which took me a while to figure out). Was launching PowerCLI from desktop shortcut.

Once have tested all in the lab will be trying on real tin as part of a vCloud setup (which am also teaching myself and have partly setup in Workstation as well although my PC getting a bit stetched!) so can push out Resource Cluster hosts via Auto Deploy. Well thats the plan!

VMware vCenter Server Alarms – Import and Export utility now uploaded!

V1.0.0 of sfvAlarms has hit the decks and is now available on the download page. This simple utility allows the export and import of vCenter Server alarms from a simple Windows GUI. It uses the VMware Web Services SDK and is written in C#.

I felt something a lot simpler than having to use Powershell scripting or other scripts would enable managing alarms across vCenter’s to be much more controlled. Being able to import and export alarms at will allows for duplication of alarms as well as being able to revert to a known state in case of meddlers!

All comments greatly received as well as enhancement requests! I have tested as much as I can on vCenter 4 and against the vCenter 5 appliance. The User Guide on the download page has much more info about the utility.

If you are giving it a whirl I would obviously suggest not installing it on a production environment, but trying it out on a test vCenter installation first or maybe the VMware vCenter 5 appliance that can be downloaded from VMware.

Hope it proves useful, if not at least it has been a technical exercise for me to brush up on some programming skills 🙂