VMworld EU Hackaton join me to have some View vCheck fun!

So for a long time I have been looking forward to the VMworld EU Hackaton. The announcement has now been made and it will take place on Monday evening the 11th from 6pm to officially 10pm but my guess is that it might run a little longer ūüėČ It will be held at the Valkiria Hub Space and you can join as a member of mine or another team or as spectator, just schedule the right session in the schedule builder.

My Team

So I have signed up to lead a team to improve and expand the Horizon View vCheck I have been building. Since this probably also wil involve the Horizon View Community module I wouldn’t be too surprised if improvements will be made to that as well.

Who am I looking for?

For my team i don’t care how much experience you have with PowerCLI or Horizon view but it might be handy if you at least have some idea when we talk about it. Just bring your laptop and if we end up having learned something by the end of the night it has been a success for me!

Do I need something installed on my laptop?

Yes, make sure PowerCLI (at least 6.5) has been installed and your favorite script editor. I will prepare the connection brokers, composers and other vm’s on my laptop.

Anything else?

Just have fun!

New and updated VMware flings for july 2017

Intro

I decided to make this almost monthly post a bit wider and just post updates and new releases of all flings in that month. There are four flings that have been updated at least once this month.

New Flings

There has been one new release this month:

DRS Lens

During the development fase at some point DRS Lens was named DRS Goggle so if you talk to me irl it might be possible that I call it that way. What this Flings does is give you insight in DRS activity. In several dashboards it will help the user visualize why DRS did or maybe didn’t move those vm’s you are so attached to.

As VMware vSphere DRS has become more widely adopted now, more and more users are interested in knowing how it works. They need more insights into DRS activity and actions. They want to know the value that DRS provides to their clusters. DRS Lens is an attempt to provide a UI-based solution to help understand DRS better.

DRS Lens provides a simple, yet powerful interface to highlight the value proposition of vSphere DRS. Providing answers to simple questions about DRS will help quell many of the common concerns that users may have. DRS Lens provides different dashboards in the form of tabs for each cluster being monitored.

Changelog

Version 1.1

  • Added login compatibility to 5.5 vCenter
  • Fixed VC certificate parsing bug found with some 5.5 vCenters

Updated flings

These Flings have received one or more updates during this month.

Horizon Toolbox 2

The Horizon toolbox 2 has been updated to version 7.2 and since Horizon 7.2 itself now contains a Remote Assistance feature in the helpdesk part this has been removed from the fling. This is stil one of my favorite flings that has functionality that should be in Horizon itself!

Changelog

2017 Jul 17

New Features

  • Support Horizon 7.2. Horizon Toolbox uses the same version as the latest supported Horizon.
  • Support end users’ actions auditing (agent side), including USB storage, Client Drive Redirection and Clipboard.
  • Support vSphere Console Access to all Parent Images.

Bug Fixes

  • Fix one bug which caused the number of concurrent sessions not accurate.
  • Fix one bug which caused missed domains in login page.

Removed Features

  • Remote Assistance is part of Horizon 7.2 production (in Help Desk). So we have removed this feature from Horizon Toolbox.

vSphere html5 web client

The updates for this really great fling don’t get a date but a build number. I could find that 3.16 was released early July so I decided to take that one as the oldest for the changelog of the vSphere html5 web client.

Changelog

Fling 3.18 – Build 6163115

Improvements

  • Upgrade distributed switch wizard now supports the upgrade of LACP to Enhanced mode and the upgrade of Network I/O Control to version 3.
  • View settings of link aggregation groups on a distributed switch

Fling 3.17 – Build 6088028

New Features

  • Create VM Storage Policy (limited)
    • Migrate Host Networking to a Distributed Switch
    • Configure default gateway address on VMkernel adapters (ESX 6.5 only)
    • Network I/O Control v3 – configure shares, reservation and limit for the different types of system traffic
    • Customize hardware options when cloning VM or deploying VM from template
    • Create VVol Storage Policies

Improvements

  • Warn when about to edit the settings or perform snapshot operations on VM managed by a solution
  • Warning message when uploading files bigger than the datastore free space

Known Issues

  • Import Item into Content Library is not working.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed the bug on import workflow in content library

Fling 3.16 – Build 5956761

New Features

  • Create VM Storage Policy (limited)
    • Create vSAN Policy (without Tags)
    • Create Policy with Tags and Common rules
  • Distributed Switch
    • Manage physical network adapters at the host level
    • LACP support – view the link aggregation groups created on a distributed switch
    • Upgrade distributed switch wizard
  • SR-IOV support – enable/disable SR-IOV on physical network adapters that support it
  • Content Library
    • Tags, notes, subscription/Publication portlet
    • Edit settings on the content library
    • Delete Content Library
    • Synchronize Library

Improvements

  • Select TCP/IP stack while creating new VMkernel network adapter

Known Issues

  • Import Item into Content Library is not working.

HCIBench

HCIBench is a tool developed for benchmarking the hyper-converged infrastructure. It not only works for VSAN but for all kinds of hyper-converged solutions. Again this tool has no build date but version but the Internet Waybackmachine found for me that 1.6.1 was released back in february.

Changelog

Version 1.6.2

  • Integrated with vSAN Performance Diagnostic of vSphere_6.5U1/vSAN_6.6.1.
  • Added DHCP Service validation.
  • Added Vdbench workload profile validation.
  • Removed the root password expiration policy.
  • Changed results display to show full file names.
  • Changed easy-run calculation from host basis to disk-group basis.

Updated flings for Horizon View in May

Yes I am a bit late but there are only two Horizon View related flings that received an update last month. First is the OS Optimization tool and second is the¬†Ubuntu OVA for Horizon. The OSOT even already received an update in June but that’s for next month.

Ubuntu OVA for Horizon

Changelog:

v1.1.0

  • MATE Only Release
  • Increased vRAM to 128 MB instead of Automatic
  • Removed Audio Device
  • Updated default network device to VMXNET3
  • Updated repository for open-vm-tools to Ubuntu repo
  • Added Horizon 7.1 Agent Dependencies
  • Updated Dependency packages for Ubuntu 16.04 on Horizon 7.1
  • Agent installer script updated with Horizon 7.1 links
  • Updated Media Codec packages for Ubuntu 16.04
  • Updated MATE packages to Xenial
  • More reliable domain join
  • Password update optional
  • Timezone update optional
  • Option to change hostname
  • Desktop addons optional
  • Added retry attempts for failed wgets of smb and krb5 configuration files
  • Renamed ‚Äėhorizon-linux-installer.sh‚Äô to ‚Äėlinux-agent-installer.sh

VMware OS Optimization Tool

Changelog

May 16, 2017

  • OSOT binary is now digital-signed, to make sure the integrity of distribution
  • Template update: Windows 10 – Item “Use small icons on taskbar” is unselected by default.

Building a Horizon View vCheck (part 3)

So it’s time for part 3 already of building checks for Horizon View. I got some remarks after last post and thus I need to say that the checks have been created¬†for View 7 because some commands might not work against a 6.* installation. three new plugins this time or actually two since one was already in the original uploads on github but I didn’t mention it on here yet.

11 Linked Clone Desktop Pool Information.ps166

Just like the full clone pool information but tailored for linked pools.

13 Dedicated Full Clones Assignment.ps1

This plugin is targeted at the dedicated full clones (and I just realize that one can also have dedicated linked clones so will need to build one for that as well). It gives information about which desktop is assigned to which account but also with information about the host it is running on if this information is available (not in my case).

04 License Status.ps1

This plugin gives licensing information including expiration date and what techniques are allowed under this license.

Building a Horizon View vCheck with those nice api’s (part 1 of ??)

Intro

Ever since I saw Alan Renouf’s vCheck script first in action years ago it has been one of the tools I have been promoting to use for daily checks. The fact that you can disable and enable plugins makes it a flexible adjustable solution that helped me preventing companies having big problems or proving that I have been warning them about things for weeks or months. Also I have whipped many colleague or customer around the ears with questions why they didn’t remove those snapshot they created 3 days before

Getting started

Fast forward until a couple of months ago when I saw those release note’s for PowerCli 6.5 with more options to talk to the Horizon View api’s. This immediately gave me the idea to build a set of vCheck scripts for Horizon View. One of the first things to do was finding out how the vCheck framework actually works. This turned out to be a matter of outputting the info you would like in the output as if it is on the command line. Also adding a section that contains a description helps in building the output:

The 2nd thing to do is deciding on what checks needed to be build. After checking on the vExpert slack and with some co-workers and friends I came up with a shortlist:

  • Dashboard error status (Sean Massey)
  • Desktops with error (non-standard) status (Myself,Sean Massey)
  • Compare the Snapshots that have been set to the ones actually used on desktops to see if recompose might not have run (Brian Suhr, myself)
  • relation between Composer and vCenter (Kevin Leclaire)
  • last use time for dedicated desktops (Kees Baggeman)
  • Event Database status
  • Connection,composer,security server status
  • Information and status about the various desktop pool types
  • RDS farm status

Getting things done

Before actually building any checks a connecton has to be made this is done in the Connection plugin:

As you might notice the vmware.hv.helper plugin is required to do this.

The first real check I decided to build was to see if the desktops are actually build on the same snapshot as configured on pool level. With this you are able to see if a recompose ran into trouble. Let me highlight some of the code:

There are a couple of pooltypes and one of them is automated, since we’re looking for linked clones we also need to make sure the pool source is VIEW_COMPOSER if this says VIRTUAL_CENTER you’re looking at full clones.

I could have shortened this one by defining a couple of variables but this gives an impression of how deep you might have to go to get the required data. WHat I do is check if the snapshot has the same name AND if the selected source VM has the same name if either of the two is different the vm wil be entered on the output.

Last of the real code is about displaying the actual info for the desktop.

This all results in the following plugin, be aware that this might be a bit slow to run since it needs go go trough all desktops. For my customer it takes about 3 minutes on 1350 desktops.

And this is how it looks:

Another script I already made is a simple one to get the status of all full clone pools. Not really fancy but it gets information about what template is used as the base and several counts for the various status of desktops:

and again this is how it can look:

Github

After Alan Renouf saw me posting screenshots on Twitter he offered to setup a github project for this. Last week this was done and I have already done my first few commits. Hopefully more people will jump on the bandwagon so we can make this check as awesome as the original is.

Using PowerCLI to get Horizon view status & events

Update: There is a new way to pull the event information without having to enter the sql password please see this post about it.

So two weeks ago I had a nice little post about talking to Horizon View using PowerCLI. I also promised to be digging a bit more into PowerCLI by grabbing the script posted on the VMware blog and editing it a little to my taste. It’s a very useful script they have on there but still I prefer to know what might have caused the issues. I decided I needed to know who the last user was that used the desktop and the last entry into the eventlog and the time of that log. So actually most code used talks to the eventlog database, something already available pre PowerCLI 6.5 but what I hardly ever used.

The basics for connecting I won’t post but we do need an extra connection and that is to the event database:

As with the Horizon View connection it’s best to put this into a variable so it can be used later on. The $hvedbpassword should be the password for the user that View uses to connect to the database server in plain text! Earlier in the script I read the password from hashed contents in a text file.The request has been dropped to be able to pass encrypted credentials and/or creta a credentialstore for this.

Next up is grabbing the events for a certain Desktop

This could use some rework since I would prefer the time period to be a variable based on the current date but if the event is older then a day it will be hard to find anything on it anyway.

This grabs the latest event, the time it happened and the user it happened to. This can be anything including a logoff. It might be able to help you why a lot of desktops are ending up in a rotten state.

The rest of the script is basic building of arrays, filling them, mailing it etc etc. So still not a lot of complicated code that some people build but it’s a bit of the basics in talking to the View Api and the event database.

This is the output you will get (this is from an html file and heavily edited to anonimize it)

The complete script, please do use and abuse it to your own taste as I have done with the original:

 

 

Talking PowerCLI against Horizon view (basics)

You know that VMware product that really lacked on the PowerCLI front called Horizon View? Well from PowerCLI 6.5 R1 it finally (try to imagine saying this like The Rock¬†: Finally Powercli has come to Horizon View!) has its own module that you can use to talk to Horizon View and the View API’s.

Offcourse i am not the first to write about it and lots can already be found at the above link to the VMware blog by Graeme Gordon but I did want to share a couple of easy commands with you. I will not bore you with how to set it up because that’s already perfectly explained in Graeme’s post.

First we need to connect, looks like the connect-viserver right?:

you will get a popup box for credentials, I haven’t found an option yet to do something like new-vicredentialstoreitem yet but you can use a hashed password in a text file.

Now for example to retrieve all disconnected desktops

This can be changed to whatever states are available for desktops.

One of the things Horizon View always lacked was proper reporting for desktop counts i.e. how many desktops are in what state. Lots of people had to use things like scripts that counted them from the adam database (sloooooow) or used tools like the VMware Horizon toolbox 2. To get a count is now really easy with powercli, just repeat the above command and do a count on it.

For me this was a matter of a second with over 900 desktops available.

Want some information about a single desktop?

In short you can find anything you want with the command or by using the View API’s. Since I am not an APi expert myself I would recommend heading over to the API browser and see what you want to use.¬† In my next post I will dig into the command a bit more by grabbing the script from the VMware blog post and editing it more to my taste.

Can you smellllllll what The Rock is cooking?

Getting Started with Altaro VM backup 7 (part 1)

One of the perks of being a VMware vExpert is that you now and then get licenses for and a chance to play with new software. Since I needed a backup solution for my lab I remembered a couple of Backup software builders int he list of companies that support the community. From this list I decided to give Altaro a go and requested the vExpert NFR License. Within a day I received the license and it turned out they just released a brand new version of their software: Version 7!

You can go to Altaro’s website to see what’s new in¬†this version.

The mail contained a download link to the software and after a while¬†I had a new (backup) vm rolled out (someone who wants to sponsor a NUC with 32GB RAM for me? ML150G6’s are slooooooow). Installing the software is next next finish so I won’t bore with that. One thing I noticed is no requirement for a database server. Let’s hope my disks are fast enough for what¬†Altaro does.

This post is in no means a deep dive in what Altaro can give you. It’s a step by step guide to set it up and get started with the product. Also I show some features that are present in the console. Except for the NFR license Altaro has had no influence on this post itself.

Getting Started

The first thing you see after the installation is the Welcome screen that let’s you choose to connect to a local or remote server. Just select this machine (I like it that they mention the required port for the remote server though!)

Next up is the Quick Setup screen, select add Hyper-V / VMware Host (duh)

So here you can select between loose ESXi hosts and vCenter, I selected vCenter.

Enter the vCenter’s dns name/ip address and proper credentials (yes I am lazy in my lab) and next (it wil test the connection itself anyway. Under port settings you can set alternate ports if required.

Altaro will now recognize and add the ESXi hosts that are added to the vCenter server. It had no problems with my LABESX01 that is powered down. Hit finish to end this.

You are taken to the hosts screen where they show running on a trial license.

You can hit the 30 days remaining to add licenses, the licensing options will be shown.

The license can be added with the appropriate button. Enter the license key and select assign license.

You need to repeat this for all hosts!

After this I went back to the quick setup screen to add storage. Altaro has several options to write to but I added a couple of cmdk’s to the backup server that run on local slow as **** sata drives on this server.

Select physical disk

Select the disk (yes these screenshots are mixed up), create a new folder if you want and choose select .

When the storage is added you can link vm’s to the storage by drag & drop.

back to the quick setup i went and choose to create the first backup. this will take you to the take backup screen, select the vm to backup and hit take backup.

Schedules

I decided to remove the original schedules and add a new one. The time might look strange but during the daytime no-one is home and I ain’t playing with it unlike in the evening and sometimes nights. After deleting the old ones click Add Backup Schedule

Select the time and days you want to run the backup at.

When the schedule is created drag and drop the vm’s to the schedule to link them. Don’t forget to save these settings at the bottom.

Retention

Setting retentions is fairly easy, by default vm’s are linked to the 2 week retention policy. If you remove them by clicking the X they wil get moved to the Never delete policy! Please be aware that after adding a retention time I wasn’t able to remove it so this might get cluttered easily.

Notifications

Fairly basic stuff in here, you can get notified by email or events int he event log.

Advanced Settings

Not that extremely advanced but under advanced settings you can select deduplication, encryption, iso’s to be backupped and if Change Block tracking needs to be used. The last option is exclude drives where you actually select the vmdk to exclude so make sure what vmdk is what drive or mapping.

VSS Settings

Under VSS Settings you have the option to select application consistent  backups and to truncate logs.

The Master encryption Key

.The name says enough about what this does.

The End of part 1

In this part one we got started using Altaro Vm Backup 7 and viewed some of the options In the management console. In the next part we’re going to see if we can actually restore files, maybe start a vm from backup and see what the sandboxing does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VMworld 2016 US Part 4 – the last one!

So right now it’s thursday evening and here I am in my hotel room too damn tired to even go outside. VMworld is a wrap and wow it was awesome. Yesterday I had 2 more sessions. First a quick vExpert session at the Docker booth where we got a nice vExpert embroided hat.Then it was time to get the vExpert Raspberry Pi 3 at the Datrium booth. Men they had big issues on getting them in but succeeded at last so thank you very much for that! I ended with a Rubrik session with Chris Wahl that was pretty good. In the evening it was time for the biggest party of them all at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. To be honest I think the sound of the bands sucked and the music of the dj’s wasn’t good either but I had an awesome time playing all the games, talking to people ad even made a lap in 1 of the 50! Rental cars that wil probably be going back to budget with hardly any tires left.

So today was the last day and I did only 1 session and that was about troubleshooting Horizon and killed the time by doing some labs and hanging at the vBrownbag area where I learned a lot by listening to the sessions. This space just seemed to be vExpert HQ the whole week.

All in all I think this was the best way ever to experience your first VMworld. I really want to thank all vExperts for welcoming me in the community because I don’t think I would have had such an awesome experience without you guys!

VMworld 2016 US report part 3

Wow it’s wednesday already, time flies at VMworld! Yesterday again was an awesome day, first the 2nd keynote and after I had to head out to the Luxor for the Inner Circle fireside chat.

The Inner Circle is a group of about a 1000 people that is engaged by the VMware Customer Advocacy program. We have our own forum, weekly polls on the site and surveys by mail. Our feedback gets handled by VMware on a high level and personally I really have the idea that they listen to us. The fireside chat they had an idea of how to do it but it ended as an organized free for all where VMware received honest, harsh but really good feedback. In short they got slaughtered on several topics. They did not expect this so it was good to see that they seemed to handle it pretty wel. Later in the day I went to stop by at their boot hand asked them to get more vExperts involved because I think we are exactly the kind of people that can give this feedback.

Because of the Inner Circle session running way over time and me getting hungry pretty bad I missed the uem 9 sessions so I hope that one is recorded. My final session of the day was the vSphere 6.x Host Resource Deep Dive by my fellow Dutchies Frank Denneman and Niels Hagoort. This session was soo deep the entire Mount Everest might fit into it. Really good stuf and very useful.

After the sessions it was partytime! First a quick beer and a snack at the Inner Circle reception and after I hopped on the bus to The Mob Museum for my first vExpert party. First we had our mugshots taken. We got a print but also digitally by mail so please check mine on Twitter. We had great fun over there and had Pat Gelsinger over doing a Q&A for over an hour! Best quote? Hyper-V is free as a puppy!

Today I had a hard time waking up, not getting out of bed but during my first session at 8 am I was not paying enough attention at all. But still it was a good session on how to architect a HA resilient scalable mobility & desktop environment. After that I had a session about troubleshooting avSphere 6 environment by a couple of GSS guys and picked up a lot of good stuff!