Monitor the size of your vDisks

In a recent thread on the VMTN PowerCLI Community someone asked if it is possible to get historical hard disk statistics. I referred the user to my Datastore usage statistics post, where I showed how to use the “disk” metrics to get that information.

But getting the individual vDisk statistics is a bit more tricky compared to getting the datastore statistics, as I showed in that post. The “disk” metrics hold the information, but the Instance that points to the MoRef value of a VM makes it a bit more tricky to retrieve.

Be forewarned, the “disk” metrics hold usage data for all the vDisks that a specific VM has on a specific datastore. You will not be able to get individual vDisk statistics, unless the vDisks are stored on different datastores !

On the positive side, the “disk” metrics will allow you to see how your vDisks increase in size over time. For your Thick vDisks that increase will be by expanding them, and for your Thin vDisks it will also show the natural growth.

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Work with E1000E NICs in PowerCLI

Now that Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are readily available , we all want to do some exploring. But if you want to automate the creation of some test VMs for this, you are in for a surprise.

The current PowerCLI 5.1 Release 1 doesn’t accept the E1000E NIC as a Type on the New-NetworkAdapter cmdlet. Users start hitting this limitation, as can be seen on this PowerCLI Community thread. You can go for the E1000, but why settle for less if you can easily script the use of the E1000E NIC from PowerCLI?

So even though Eric “the Scoop Meister” Sloof debunked the myth that the E1000/E1000E is faster than the VmxNet3, the E1000E is the default NIC type that vSphere gives you when you create a VM for a Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8 VM. Note that the E1000 apparently uses slightly more CPU resources than the E1000E. With the function in this post you can now automate this behavior.

Update November 17th 2012: In KB2006859 it seems to say that the VMXNET3 NIC doesn’t work with Windows Server 2012 or Windows 8. And there have been several blogs (including mine) that picked up this info. But after you apply the September 2012 patch to your ESXi servers, you can also use a VMXNET3 NIC for both Windows OS. See here and here for more info.

Thanks to reader alcapapower for drawing my attention to this (see his remark in the comments below).

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vNIC transmit and receive rates

The VMTN PowerCLI Community is a constant source of inspiration for blog posts. User roswellevent raised, in the thread Any way to get virtual machine Nic card usage?, the question if it was possible to get the transmit and receive rate for each vNIC in virtual machines.

Since I’m interested in all things statistics in vSphere I decided to tackle the question. Finding the metrics to use for this kind of report is not too difficult. Under the PerformanceManager Network section we find the metrics net.received.average and net.transmitted.average. And, provided your Statistics Level is set to 3 for the timeframe you want to report on, the metrics capture statistics on the device level.

Great, exactly what we need! A quick check in the Performance tab in the vSphere Client showed an additional problem to solve. The instance didn’t mention Network Adapter 1 but a number.

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Test if the datastore can be unmounted

Lately I have been playing around with the new Storage related features in vSphere 5. One of the novelties is that you can now unmount a VMFS datastore and detach a SCSI LUN through the API.
To be able to unmount a datastore, some conditions have to be met. In the vSphere Client you get an informative popup that tells what is prohibiting the datastore unmount. If not all conditions are met, you can not continue with the unmount.

Nice feature, but what for those of us that want to automate this ?

Update October 28th 2012: Take into account that the datastorecluster is not connected to a host that is part of a cluster. Skip the HA heartbeat test.

Update April 23th 2012: Use the RetrieveDasAdvancedRuntimeInfo method to find the actual datastores that are used for the heartbeat.

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dvSwitch scripting – Part 12 – Find free ports

On the PowerCLI Community there was an interesting question about dvSwitches, portgroups and connecting VMs. Turns out you will need to provide a free port to connect a VM’s NIC to a portgroup on dvSwitch.
Since the solution is a nice follow up on my previous, somewhat lengthy post, called Variations on a port, I decided to create a short post on the subject in my dvSwitch series.

Update 3th March 2016: added test to capture portgroups with no VM connected to it

Continue reading dvSwitch scripting – Part 12 – Find free ports

Variations on a port

I got an interesting question from one of my co-authors of the PowerCLI Reference book. He was looking for a method to find the port used by a VM when connected to a portgroup on a dvSwitch.

Finding the answer to that question is not too difficult, once you know which property holds the value. But while writing and testing the script, I thought that this question would be a good opportunity to show several ways and methods that you have at your disposal in PowerCLI and PowerShell, to come to a solution.

Here it goes.

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Get complete vCenter session info

There was an interesting thread in the PowerCLI Community today. It raised the question how one could report on the current vCenter sessions, including the IP address or hostname from where the session was started.

Unfortunately the SessionManager doesn’t hold any information from where the session was started.

But there are other ways of finding that information. The UserLoginSessionEvent object has a property, called ipAddress, that has the information we’re after.

Btw if you are only interested in looking for idle sessions, independent from which host they were started, there is a great post, called List and Disconnect vCenter Sessions on the PowerCLI blog.

Update May 4th 2012: function updated to handle multiple vCenter connections.
Continue reading Get complete vCenter session info

Change the root password in hosts and Host Profiles

For good security measures you should change the password of your root account on your ESX(i) servers on a regular basis. Instead of logging on to each and everyone of your ESX(I) servers, you can easily automate this process.

But what about the new ESX(i) hosts you will roll out in between root password changes and where you use a Host Profile to configure these new ESX(i) hosts ? Will you need to run a script after the deployment to change the root password ?

Turns out that you can easily update  the root password in your Host Profile with the help of an SDK method.

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Will Invoke-VMScript work ?

The Invoke-VMScript cmdlet can be a very useful cmdlet, but sometimes it will fail against one or more of your VMs. And it is not always immediately clear why the Invoke-VMScript cmdlet will not work against that specific VM.
The cmdlet help contains a number of prerequisites, but how do you verify if all the prerequisites are fulfilled?
I decided to create a function that would verify the prerequisites, and that would, if requested, which of the prerequisites was missing.

Continue reading Will Invoke-VMScript work ?

vSphere 5 Top 10 – VMFS5

Continuing my Dutch VMUG Event 2011 presentation series with a post on the VMFS5 feature. This feature clocked in at position 8 in the Top 10.

With VMFS5 comes a bunch of new features. Just to name a few:

  • 64TB VMFS Volumes in 1 extent
  • 64TB physical RDM
  • Unified block size of 1MB
  • Support for more files (> 100000)

For a complete list of the features that VMFS5 introduces, have a look at Cormac‘s post, called vSphere 5.0 Storage Features Part 1 – VMFS-5.

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