Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Use Cisco Nexus 1000V for virtual hosts in nested ESXi

11/14/2013 Comments off

The native VMware vSwitch and Distributed vSwitch do not use MAC-learning. This was removed because the vSwitches would be aware of the VMs attached to them and the MAC addresses in use. As a result, if you nest ESXi under a standard vSwitch and power-on VMs under the nested instance, those VMs will be unable to communicate because their MACs are masked by the virtual host and the vSwitch is not aware of them.

Workaround options:

  1. Enable Promiscuous mode on the vSwitch.
  2. This works but should never be used in production.  It adds a lot of unnecessary traffic and work to the physical NICs.  It makes troubleshooting difficult and is a security risk
  3. Attach your virtual hosts to a Cisco Nexus 1000V.
  4. The 1000V retains MAC-learning, so VMs on nested virtual ESXi hosts can successfully communicate because the switch learns the nested MAC addresses.
  5. If your physical servers support virtual interfaces, you can create additional “physical” interfaces and pass them through to the virtual instances.  This allows you to place the virtual hosts on the same switch as the physical hosts if you choose.  There is obviously a finite amount of virtual interfaces you can create in the service profile, but I think this is a clean, low-overhead solution for environments using Cisco UCS or HP C7000 or similar.


The Nexus 1000V brings back important functionality for nested ESXi environments, especially those environments that do not have access to features like virtual interfaces and service profiles.

Helpful links:

Standing Up The Cisco Nexus 1000v In Less Than 10 Minutes by Kendrick Coleman


Resolving vCAC Design Center Crash

After having installed the vCAC Design Center, every attempt to run it failed. The GUI would not load. In my case, the Windows Application log recorded the error:

.NET Runtime Event ID 1026 in Application CloudUtil.
Framework Version v4.0.30319
Description: The process was terminated due to an unhandled exception.
Exception Info: System.Reflection.TargetInvocationException.

Only when I tried calling CloudUtil.exe from the command line did I get an error message indicating that the application could not establish a trust relationship with the vCAC MOdel Manager. This meant that the self-signed SSL cert was not trusted.

Logon to vCAC administration portal and import the SSL certificate into the “Trusted Root Certification Authorities\Local Computer” physical Certificate Store.

After this, I was able to successfully launch the vCAC Design Center.

WTF is wrong with vCenter Chargeback?!

Every time I try to install vCenter ChargeBack, it fails. Every. %^#$#*. Time.

The installation log – which isn’t visible until the installation ends – indicates that a batchfile is created and then cannot be run because it is in use by something else. As a result, the services don’t get created and because the installer cleans up after itself, I cannot go back to run the batchfiles.

Preinstallation Tasks

  • Create a vCenter Chargeback Manager database and database user.
    Done, created SQL database and user. Ran script to add the CB_ADMIN_ROLE, added user to dbo_admins for database. Database uses SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS, so its not case-sensitive.
  • Set a static IP address on the machine
  • Ensure that MSI installation is enabled
    Installed the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package (x86) anyway.
  • Check whether the required ports are free
  • Ensure that port exceptions are configured on Windows FirewallWindows Firewall turned off.
  • Ensure that system time of all the servers and databases are in sync Done. All members of same AD domain.
  • Ensure that the Windows user has the Log on as a service permission Done. Added admins, domain admins, administrator.
  • Ensure that the SQL Server Browser service is running It is.
  • Ensure that the vCenter Chargeback Manager database is case-insensitive.See first bullet.

I’m attempting the installation under the domain administrator account. Windows 2008 R2, SQL 2008 R2. I’ve exhausted everything I know to try and am open to suggestions…

Ok, I started from scratch with a new Windows VM, built from scratch. Not yet joined to the domain. So far, so good. Switching to Decaf….


Windows 8 – How to install the vSphere Client 5.0 Update1a

If you’re considering a machine with Windows 8, you may notice that the installer for VMware vSphere client 5.01a (latest release) complains that it can only be installed on “Windows XP SP2 or higher” and quits. For now, here’s the work-around I used:

  1. Windows8 vSphere Client Compatibility Settings

    Windows8 vSphere Client 5.01a Compatibility Settings

    Use 7-zip to open the ~350MB executable and extract the contents

  2. In Windows 8, run dotnetfx35.exe – it will prompt you to download and install .NET 2.0. I let it download and install the files it needed.
  3. Next, run vjredist64.exe (Assuming Windows 8 x64)
  4. Right-Click VMware-viclient.exe, choose “Properties”
  5. On the “Compatibility” tab, check the “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” and choose “Windows 7” from the list. Click “Ok”
  6. Run the VMware-viclient installer as you normally would.

Something New!

07/06/2012 Comments off

After 15 great years at Venture Technologies, I’m moving on to boost my career. I’ve been given an opportunity to join EMC Consulting as an Advisory Solutions Architect. Everyone I’ve met there has been very friendly and knowledgable. I’m excited to join a great team and make the most of this opportunity. I’ll continue to tweet and blog about the things that interest me and may be a help to others.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

EMC World Coming Up!

05/18/2012 Comments off

I’m excited to be returning to EMC World! If you’re going to be there, let me know via twitter @brianragazzi so we can meet. I try to schedule as many sessions as I can for the conference, but there’s a couple of openings. I’m scheduled to give a small, 10-minute presentation at VCE’s booth #410 on Tuesday at 6:20 PM and again on Wednesday at 2:10 PM. If you happen to see me great, just don’t tell you you’re going to come by. I’ll get all nervous and stuttery, it won’t be pretty.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

VMware vSphere 5 AutoDeploy on Cisco UCS – Part 1: DHCP

First, many thanks to Gabe and Duncan for their great Auto-Deploy guides that got me started.  Found here and here.  Their information answered a lot of questions, but left me with even more questions about how to implement it in my environment.

My goal is to demonstrate how to implement and configure vSphere Auto-deploy in a near-production environment that uses vSphere 5, Cisco UCS, EMC storage, Nexus 1000V and vShield Edge.

The first hurdle I ran into was trying to make DHCP cooperate.  I’m using vShield Edge for DHCP in some of the protected networks, but the Cisco 2900-series router is doing DHCP for the network where the vSphere Management addresses live.  In IOS for DHCP, you can assign a manual address in a pool via the “hardware-address” OR the “client-identifier” parameter.  Looks like “client-identifier” is used by DHCP, whereas “hardware-address” is used by BOOTP.  When booting, the blade first draws information via BOOTP, but after acquiring the details from TFTP, it changes its personality and sends another DHCP DISCOVER request.

Here’s how we got this working in our environment:

  • Identify permanent addresses for your hosts  ( in this case)
  • Identify a temporary address for each host ( is this case)
  • Make sure those addresses are not excluded

    ip dhcp excluded-address
    ip dhcp excluded-address
    ip dhcp excluded-address
    ip dhcp excluded-address

  • Create your “main” pool if it doesn’t already exist

    ip dhcp pool mgmt
    lease 0 8
    update arp

  • Create Pool for your permanent host address, make sure to use the “client-identifier” parameter

    ip dhcp pool AutoDeploy23
    client-identifier 0100.25b5.0000.2d
    bootfile undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired
    client-name AutoDeploy23
    option 66 ip
    option 67 ascii undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired
    lease 0 8
    update arp

  • Create Pool for the temporary host address, assigned first by BOOTP and dropped after PXE boot

    ip dhcp pool AutoDeploy123
    hardware-address 0025.b500.002d
    bootfile undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired
    client-name AutoDeploy23
    option 66 ip
    option 67 ascii undionly.kpxe.vmw-hardwired
    lease 0 8

Continue on to Part 2, covering the creation and assignment of the image profile