Hands-on with VxRail v4.7.100

Recently (yesterday!) upgraded the VxRail clusters in a lab my team uses for Pivotal Ready Architecture development and testing and immediately noticed many differences.

When trying to go to the VxRail Manager, I am redirected to the vSphere Web Client This was concerning at first, but quickly realized that the VxRail Manager interface is now embedded in the vSphere Web Client (hence the redirection!)

In this environment, we have a “management” cluster using the VxRail-managed vCenter Server. On this cluster is also another vCenter Server that is used by three additional VxRail clusters – when the “Availability Zone” clusters are deployed, they use this shared “external” vCenter Server.

After upgrading the management cluster, the VxRail extension was registered in the HTML5 vSphere Web Client.

From here, when selecting the “VxRail” choice, you’ll see the VxRail dashboard.  This allows you to see a quick status of the selected VxRail cluster, some support information and recent messages from the VxRail community.


The most important features of the VxRail extension is found under the VxRail section of the Configure tab of a selected VxRail vSphere cluster:

  • The System section displays the currently-installed VxRail version and has a link to perform an update.  Clicking the “Update” link will launch a new browser tab and take you to the VxRail Manager web gui where you can perform the bundle update.
  • Next, the Market item will also launch a new browser tab on the VxRail Manager web gui where you can download available Dell EMC applications.  For now, it lists Data Domain Virtual Edition and Isilon SD Edge.
  • The Add VxRail Hosts item will display any newly-discovered VxRail nodes and allow you to add those nodes to a cluster
  • The Hosts item displays the hosts in the cluster.  One interesting feature here is that it displays the Service Tag and Appliance ID right here! You may not need this information often, but when you do, it’s super-critical.
    You’ll notice the “Edit” button on the hosts list; this allows you to set/change the host’s name and management IP.


  • On the Monitor tab for the selected vSphere VxRail cluster, the Appliances item provides a link to the VxRail Manager web gui where the hardware is shown and will highlight any components in need of attention.  Any faults will also be in the “All Issues” section of the regular web client, so the hardware detail will provide visual clues if needed.

Congratulations to the VxRail team responsible for this important milestone that brings another level of integration with vSphere and a “single-pane-of-glass”!


Configure Wyse Windows Embedded Standard thin client to load VMware View Client automatically


  • Faster time from power on to View logon prompt
  • User cannot access any other applications on the Windows Embedded O/S
  • Exiting the View Client automatically relaunches it
  • Administrator account is not affected


  1. Disable PXE boot
    1. As the thin client is booting, hit <delete> to enter the BIOS
    2. At the BIOS password prompt, enter “Fireport” (unless the BIOS password has been changed)
    3. Update the device boot order so Hard Drive is first
  2. Get “User” SID
    1. Reboot thin client, load Windows as default “user”
    2. Click “Start|Shutdown|Log off” while holding <shift>, continue holding <shift>
    3. At the logon prompt, logon as administrator using the password “Wyse#123”
    4. Launch Regedit, navigate to HKEY_USERS
    5. Examine the USERNAME value under each “HKEY_USERS\<SID>\Volatile Environment” to find which SID belongs to the default “user”.  A SID begins with “S-1-5-“.
    6. Double-click “Disable FBWF”, wait for system to reboot
  3. Create scripts
    1. Click “Start|Shutdown|Log off” while holding <shift>, continue holding <shift>
    2. At the logon prompt, logon as administrator using the password “Wyse#123
    3. Launch Windows Explorer
    4. Create a folder named” bat” in the root of C:\
    5. Launch Notepad; paste in the following:

      @echo off
      “C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware View\Client\bin\wswc.exe”
      goto View

    6. Save the file as C:\bat\View.cmd
    7. Launch Notepad; paste in the following:

      Set WshShell = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
      WshShell.Run chr(34) & “C:\bat\view.cmd” & Chr(34), 0
      Set WshShell = Nothing

    8. Save the file as C:\bat\View.vbs
  4. Update Shell for “User”
    1. Launch Regedit
    2. Navigate to “HKEY_USERS\<SID>\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WinLogon”
    3. If the “Shell” values does not exist, create it as a new String Value
    4. Update the “Shell” value to “wscript c:\bat\view.vbs”
    5. Close Regedit
    6. Double-click “Enable FBWF”
    7. Reboot thin client

Credits to Sparko Design, Free Wyse Monkeys and MidWest Wyse Guys.

Not all smartcard readers are created equal

Recently, I was working with a customer site where they used smartcards to authenticate to applications. In this case, since the reader was not part of the VMware View session authentication, the USB reader itself had to be passed through via redirection.

I tried setting the “AllowSmartcards” value to true:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware VDM\USB AllowSmartcards=true

But the reader still wasn’t redirected to the View session. In this case, I ended up having to follow this KB article to recognize the device as one that can be redirected. The particular reader is identified as a “USB Keyboard”, which are typically not redirected. Obviously, you’ll have to make sure that you don’t redirect your actual keyboard.

Experience in upgrading UCS to 1.4(1j)

The UCS deployment in the Mobile VCE is different from many deployments because it does not employ many of the redundant and fault-tolerant options and doesn’t run a production workload.  So, I have the flexibility to bring it down at almost any time for as long a duration as needed.

All this aside, it IS a complete Cisco UCS deployment with all the same behavior as if it were in production.  This means, I can perform an upgrade or configuration change in this environment first and work through all the ramifications before performing the same action on a production environment.

There’s a lot of excitement around the web about the new features in this upgrade and I’ve been looking forward to installing it.  For me, I’m excited about the lengthy list of fixes, the ability to integrate the management of the C-series server with the UCS Manager, FC port-channels and user-labels.

To start, I used the vSphere client to shut down the VMs I could and moved those I couldn’t to the C-series.  Please note that I have not yet connected the C-series to the Fabric Interconnect for integration yet (that’s another post).  Then I shutdown the blades themselves.

For the actual upgrade, I simply followed the upgrade guide – there’s no reason to go through the details of that here.

However, the experience was not exactly stress-free.

Although it makes sense, when the IO Module is rebooted, the Fabric Interconnect loses connection to the Chassis.  It cycled through a sequence of heart-stopping error messages before finally rediscovering the chassis and servers and stabilizing.  During this phase, it’s best to not look – the error messages led me to believe the IOM had become incompatible with the Fabric Interconnect.  Like I said, after a few minutes, the error messages all resolved and every component was successfully updated to 1.4.1.

GUI changes after upgrade

Nodes on the Equipment tree for Rack-Mounts/FEX and Rack-Mounts/Servers







User labels (Yes! )

I’ll be connecting the C-series to the Fabric Interconnect soon and am looking forward to setting up the FC port channel.

Resolve Hardware Status Alert SEL_FULLNESS

I noticed an alert on two UCS B250M2 hosts in the vSphere Client.  The alert Name was “Status of other host hardware objects”.  This isn’t helpful.  To get more information, you have to navigate to the Hardware Status tab of the host properties.  Here I saw more information about the alert.  It’s cryptically named “System Board 0 SEL_FULLNESS”.

SEL_FULLNESS alert in vSphere Client

This points to the System Event Log for the UCS blade itself.  Luckily, this is easily cleared by using the UCS Manager to navigate to the management Logs tab of the Server properties under Equipment.

Clear management Log for UCS Blade

Once there, you can back up and clear the SEL.  Within a few minutes, the vSphere sensors will update and the alert will be gone.

UPDATE:  Once UCSM has been updated to 1.4.1, the “Management Logs” tab is named “SEL Logs”

“Mobile” VCE?

Venture has a unique tool in its arsenal.  We are the only partner that I know of that are able to bring a complete top-tier Virtual Computing Environment to a customer.  The Mobile VCE is composed of four 10-RU rolling cabinets, which together contain the storage, compute and network resources.  This rolling data center allows us to demonstrate the technology in front of a customer; at their location – even on their network.

The options are nearly limitless.  We can not only show a vSphere vMotion from host to host, but move a UCS service profile from one B-series blade to another.  We’re able to step through a simple deployment of VMware View, consumed by thin clients and demonstrate how VMware data Recovery can work with the NAS features of the EMC Celerra NS-120.

To see how the technologies discussed here (and more) can be used by your company, please contact us.