Migrating to embedded PSC, mind the decommission order.

I recently migrated a few vSphere environments with external PSC’s to vSphere 7 and noticed some PSC leftovers afterwards. Now a lot is already written about the deprecation of the External Platform Services Controller (PSC) deployment model so I will not go into this.

What I do want to highlight is the importance of the decommission order for the PSC’s and the way you can actually check if there are stale records under the hood.

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Batch migrate VM’s with VMware Cross vCenter vMotion (Fling)

VMware already features Cross vCenter Migrations since vSphere 6.0. The biggest constraint for this feature is that you can’t use it via the vSphere Web Client if the vCenter Server instances are not in Enhanched Linked Mode and within the same vCenter Single Sign-On domain. (a full list of requirements can be found here.)

If vCenter Server instances are in different SSO domains VMware does give you the ability to use vSphere API/SDK,  but for most of us the usage of API/SDK is hard to understand.

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Filtering and Auditing within vRealize Log Insight

The article below describes one of the ways to implement vRealize Log Insight into an environment where a (security departments) syslog server is already available and where this server ideally only receives filtered events and auditing information around changes to the filters.

Let’s start of by saying that with the introduction of ESXi6, VMware makes it possible to do Log Filtering directly on the syslog service. This however is not recommended as it will make troubleshooting potential future issues impossible.

The overview below shows you a basic setup where Log Insight is used by the operations team and the security departments  syslog server only receives filtered events relevant to its purpose. This filtering can be setup in numerous ways like “everything,  except …” or “only these specific matches …”. So you could easily filter out all vpxa, vMotion, scsi, etc events that are not relevant for the security department but are useful for the operations team.

  1. Devices log towards Log Insight;
  2. Log Insight applies filtering;
  3. Filtered events get forwarded to the security departments syslog server.

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New-DeployRule : Cannot process argument transformation

While doing some vSphere 6 Auto Deploy development I found out that when using PowerCLI 6.3 R1 (latest release when writing this article) and using the New-DeployRule command you will receive an error message stating: New-DeployRule : Cannot process argument transformation on parameter ‘Item’. Unsupported version URI urn:rbd1/3.0


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Reset VMware Auto Deploy Database to default

One of the things that the VMware Auto Deploy Database contains is the ESX Images that are uploaded and related to the DeployRules that are created. For instance, if I add an ESXi Image to the software depot and create a new DeployRule using the following commands:

Add-EsxSoftwareDepot "VMware-ESXi-6.0.0.update01-3380124.x86_64-Dell_Customized-offline-bundle-A04.zip"
Get-EsxImageProfile | ft -autosize 
New-DeployRule -Name "Cluster01" -Item "Dell-ESXi-6.0U1-3380124-A04"  -Pattern "model=PowerEdge M630"

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The OVF package is invalid and cannot be deployed.

While deploying a random OVF image within vSphere I received the following error message: The provided network mapping between OVF networks and the system network is not supported by any host.


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NSX bug while using Logical Switch as a Destination in the Edge Firewall

While working on a cool VMware NSX project we have discovered a bug within the Edge Firewall when using a “Logical Switch” as a “Destination”.

Lets first start off with making troubleshooting easy and adding the “Rule Tag” and “Log” information to the Firewall view.

Firewall RuleTag

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Creating a single bootable ISO with HP SPP and MSB

This blog post will guide you through the process of creating a single bootable ISO file which consists of the latest HP Service Pack for Proliant (SPP) ISO and an additional HP Maintenance Supplement Bundle (MSB) which is delivered in a ZIP format. Additionally you can add single “Firmware Supplemental Updates” as well.

The HP Service Pack for Proliant is a complete system software and firmware solution that is delivered several times a year, mainly driven by the release of a new server. This SPP is delivered as a bootable ISO and can be used to do offline firmware upgrades. Due to the fact that the SPP is only delivered several times a year it will most likely not contain the most recent updates, that’s why HP lets you also download a Maintenance Supplement Bundle (MSB). The SPP combined with a MSB contains a fully supported set of software.

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Unresponsive/BSOD VM’s on ESXi 5.1 and 5.5

Since a few days I got several customers complaining about unresponsive or blue screening VM’s (both Windows 2008 and 2012) on ESXi5.1 and 5.5 environments. Troubleshooting at the customer site pointed out that the vnetflt.sys driver was causing these issues. This driver is part of the vShield Endpoint components that are installed whenever you a) explicitly installed them or b) when you installed VMware Tools with the “Complete Setup”-option.

Following this VMware KB article is appears that there is a memory leak in the vShield Endpoint and consequently this resolution is described:

This is a known issue affecting VMware Tools 5.1 and can impact ESXi 5.1 and 5.5.
This issue is resolved in:
Currently, there is no resolution in VMware ESXi 5.1.

To resolve this issue when you are using vShield Endpoint Protection in your virtual environment, uninstall and reinstall VMware Tools with the Custom or Complete setup option.

For ESXi 5.5 this is a easy solution but what about ESXi 5.1 environments that are dependent on the vShield Endpoint Components? (like environments running Trend Micro Deep Security or Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager)

There’s another VMware KB article which gives this as a resolution:

This issue is resolved in:

ESXi 5.5 Update 2, available at VMware Downloads. For more information, see the VMware ESXi 5.5 Update 2 Release Notes.

ESXi 5.1 Patch 04, available at VMware Download Patches. For more information, see VMware ESXi 5.1, Patch Release ESXi510-201404001 (2070666).

So be advised on these patches since it’s currently unclear to me why all these customers recently experienced these issues.


Failed to attach filter ‘pxdacf_filter’

During a recent customer visit we had a testing environment available on where some VM’s couldn’t be powered on/vMotionned to some of the ESXi Hosts. The error message:

An error was received from the ESX host while powering on VM xxxxx.
Failed to start the virtual machine.
Module DevicePowerOn power on failed.
Unable to create virtual SCSI device for scsi1:0, ‘/vmfs/volumes/39dfa56f-83350d20/xxxxxx/xxxxxx.vmdk’
Failed to attach filter ‘pxdacf_filter’ to scsi1:0: Not found (195887107).

The error message is similar to the one which VMware is describing in this KB article around vShield Endpoint: The virtual machine power-on operation fails with this error when a virtual machine that was earlier protected by vShield Endpoint is either moved or copied to a host that is not protected by the vShield Endpoint security solution.

However this customer wasn’t using vShield in this test environment and Google didn’t got any hits on the “pxdacf_filter”. Troubleshooting eventually pointed out that some of the ESXi Hosts had Proximal Data AutoCache installed and VM’s that are accelerated by Proximal contain the following lines in their .vmx file:

scsix:x.filters = “pxdacf_filter”

Which obviously caused the VM to be unable to power-on on an ESXi Host without Proximal Data AutoCache installed.