vCenter Server 7.0 – Fresh install

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Prologue

With the release of vSphere 7 at the beginning of this month, I decided to make a post about how to install vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) which is quite simple.

Which are the new features? Check this post from my friend Graham Barker to find out!

 

Let’s move on!

  • Proceed to download the “VMware vCenter Server 7.0.0” ISO file from my.vmware.com
  • Mount the ISO file and execute the installer.exe file :

Prerequisite: We need DNS if we want to deploy vCenter with an FQDN but if you don’t have it or you can’t for any reason, you can trick the installer and put the IP address as the hostname and it will work.

Another prerequisite will be to have an ESXi host where we’re going to install our vCenter

Stage 1 – New deployment

1. We will proceed to select install as we are going to perform a fresh install from the scratch of vCenter Server 7.0.

2. I like that it tells you that External PSC is deprecated! Continue with NEXT.

3. Just put the details of a vCenter (if you have one) or an ESXi host where you want to deploy this new vCenter. In my case (and probably the most if you’re doing everything from the scratch) I am using a host called “johto.pokemon.jp” to deploy the vCSA.

Once you press next, accept the certificate warning if you know the fingerprint of the certificate.

4. Put the name of the VM and set the root password for the vCSA and continue.

5. I am going for the Tiny deployment as it is more than enough for my lab environment. In a production environment usually, you will deploy a small one that fits in many small companies (or in your lab if you’re testing it).

6. Continue by selecting a Datastore and check ” Enable Thin Disk Mode” which is usually the best deployment as it doesn’t allocate all the space and is also enabled by default. (Look even my VMFS-5 datastores work well).

7. Now, let’s configure the network settings. Here my Network you can see a portgroup “Std_mgmt” from my ESXi host. If you have an ESXi host with default portgroups, yours probably is called “VM Network“.

About the FQDN, as I said before (check the Prerequisite section in the beginning) you need to create an A record in your DNS in order to be able to deploy a vCenter with a name.

If you don’t have DNS because you’re installing vCenter and you don’t have it, you can use the IP address as FQDN and it will work.

8. And that’s all for stage 1, here we have a summary saying what is going to do. Be sure to review it: Once you’re ready, press FINISH.

 

It will start with Stage 1, which is the deployment of the VM where the vCenter Server resides:

After some minutes, STAGE 1 is completed, which means that the VM where the vCSA resides is deployed but not configured yet.

Stage 2 – Configuration

Let’s go to STAGE 2 where the vCSA will be configured.

1. Set an NTP server or let the ESXi host also enable SSH if you want to have access to the vCSA.

2. Configure the SSO, the default is the “vsphere.local” domain, in my case I created a custom one.

3. And the last summary after we finish Stage 2 when the vCenter will be fully configured.

4. After a while (15-20 min.), Stage 2 finished without errors!

5. Now I access the GUI from the URL provided in the previous screenshot and I see that is working flawlessly!

6. Enjoy your new vCenter Server with the only HTML5 interface and lots of new features that were mentioned at the beginning of this post.

 

We conclude this article where you can see how simple and easy is to install and deploy vCenter Server version 7.0.

 

 

vForum Online Spring 2020

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A few days ago VMware announced that VMworld will be online due to the current situation with COVID-19. Review the VMworld FAQs.

 

Therefore, as there will be only one big online event during the week of September 28, 2020.

 

So, why not attend a free mini-VMworld in less than a month?
That’s vForum Online!

vForum Online is a LIVE virtual event where you can access it directly from any device. Obviously there’s no travel required, so why not engage with more people and learn about new trends, features, and technologies?

When is it?

May 13th, 2020
9:00 AM – 3:00 PM PDT
12:00 PM – 6:00 PM EDT
6:00 PM – 12:00 AM CEST

Why attend?

  • Lots of technical breakouts (+30) delivering practical guidance about many different VMware technologies.
  • Live Q&A video chats, this is very nice, I like to be able to answer questions when I am on a session and receive an answer or at least some guidance.
  • 10+ instructor-led Hands-On Labs where you can test many technologies like vSphere, vSAN, VMware Cloud on AWS, Carbon Black, and Workspace ONE.

Who Should Attend?

Anyone! From solutions/network/storage engineers to CxO should join this virtual event, and remember, it’s free.

There would be some sessions in Spanish and Portuguese!

Agenda

Do you want to know the schedule? Check out the detailed agenda here

Featured attendees

Pat Gelsinger – CEO, VMware, will be speaking at the event and there will be a VMware Expert Panel Discussion with:

Kit Colbert – CTO, Cloud Platform
Lee Caswell – VP, Storage and Availability
Pete Chargin – Sr. Director, vSphere Platforms
Dormain Drewitz – Director of Product Marketing

 

Register here!

 

That’s all! I will be there for a couple of hours and attend some sessions just to know a couple of things I am interested in and to chat with some of the experts that will be answering live.

vExpert PRO announcement

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Just a quick post about the vExpert sub-programs that have been announced recently.

In my case, yesterday I received this message:Welcome to the vExpert PRO

This means that I’ve been selected to be a vExpert PRO!

 

Becoming a representative of your country/region and willingness to help others become aware of the vExpert program are the main functions of a vExpert PRO.

 

So, if you want to become a vExpert, start now and you can probably become one!
I wrote a couple of months ago a post about it: Want to be a vExpert?

If you want to check your region vExpertPRO, just take a look at the official directory.

Since yesterday I can say that I am part of the vExpert PRO program. Also congratulations to others like me that made it and the ones who continue!

vexpert-pro-badge

See you soon!

Troubleshooting tips for beginners in Windows Server

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I was thinking these days what I wish I have known when I started working with Windows servers, some basic (and some not) commands that can help me to troubleshoot servers without requiring additional software.

 

That’s why this is a post dedicated to people who just started administering servers with Windows Server 20xx-2019 (I expect at least 2008 although it is going end of support the next month) or maybe you’re curious and want to know more about Windows Server administration.

We will exclude networking problems as that is another huge topic so, we assume that the server is reachable by using ping (ICMP protocol).

 

RDP isn’t everything

First thing I notice when someone tells me: “I can’t access the server via RDP, it must be overloaded, unresponsive, etc. because I can ping it”.

As you may know (or not) RDP is the Remote Desktop protocol which usually runs in port 3389, there can be tons of reasons why you can’t access a server via RDP at the moment an alert raises (port blocked, server out of resources, user not allowed to RDP, etc.)

Therefore, I will list some points about how to troubleshoot a server when you can’t access using RDP. In this way, you’ll be able to manage a server (Windows) without accessing it.

 

MMC (Microsoft Management Console)

MMC is everywhere, when you open the Event Viewer it is indeed an MMC that has the Snap-in “Event Viewer”. Here is how would you do it manually instead of opening the Event Viewer “console”:

event viewer

You should try to master the MMC as it provides you the best way to manage different aspects and features from a Windows server (remote or local).

 

By typing “mmc” in Run and pressing Enter”, an empty console (MMC) will be open.mmc_console_empty

And then, you can add a “snap-in” about any particular feature, service, etc. from Windows. Meaning that with the MMC you have at your disposal a tool to troubleshoot a remote or local server.

Just go to File > Add/Remove snap-in and here choose what do you want! For this example,  I will add the Certificates snap-in in order to check which certificates are installed in my server:

Once you press Add, it will ask you which account, usually you want to use the computer account because services and features related to the computer nor a user account.

Choose if you want to manage a local or remote server:

And finally, here is the final screenshot after adding the Certificates snap-in from my computer:

 

Now, imagine if you do the same with the Services snap-in and select Another Computer, you will be able to manage the services from a remote computer by just doing that and without connecting to the server using RDP!

 

Check memory resources (RAM)

CMD (command prompt)

Our “old” friend CMD or command prompt interpreter which works on all versions of Windows Server, no matter which problem you have on your server that you can always run it and it is available on any Windows installation without any requirement.

There are some useful commands to manage a remote Windows server. The first command I want to show you is the “tasklist” command, which is the equivalent of the “Task Manager” that you probably know.

It can become very handy to check which processes are consuming more memory resources:

tasklist /s <server> | sort /R /+58

tasklist command

The previous command is just for Memory usage (RAM) but it won’t work for CPU so, how can I check which process is consuming more CPU resources?

Check the next section!

 

Check CPU resources (CPU)

WMIC (Windows Management Interface Console)

In order to check the CPU remotely, there isn’t a simple command like “tasklist” with parameters as it is harder to get the stats from the CPU perspective.

Anyway,  this is another command that can be used within CMD, the command is wmic, here you have some examples:

To get the CPU usage of the server:

 wmic cpu get loadpercentage 

Or the processes that are consuming a particular percentage (70% in this example):

 wmic path win32_perfformatteddata_perfproc_process where (PercentProcessorTime ^> 70) get Name, Caption, PercentProcessorTime, IDProcess /format:list 

As you can see in this output, it says “PercentProcessorTime=100”, which means that a process (mcshield) consumed 100% of his time when we asked for the processes above 50% of the server.

So in this case, the process “mcshield” (which is related to McAfee) is consuming more than 50% of the CPU.

Obviously de “_Total” process mustn’t take into account and it’s in the output because I didn’t want to make it larger (although is a bit large).

There is another command (typeperf) which although it can be more powerful (it uses performance counters), the output is a mess (lots of data). I won’t show it here but  I wanted to let you know.

Alternate access to RDP

A server can be physical or virtual then, you can probably access the virtual machine using Hyper-V Manager (if you use Hyper-V) or the vSphere Web Client (vSphere) tools in order to gain access to the virtual server.

If the server is physical, you have probably access to some remote console (iLO, iDRAC, etc.) to access the server and finally be able to log if you need to.

 

 

I hope these tips helped you or at least make you remember how to do it, see you next time.

Post VMworld Europe 2019: Days 1 and 2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Here I will explain a summary of days 1 and 2 (November 4th and 5th) of VMworld Europe 2019 from my perspective.

So, the first official day is on Monday (November 4th) where there aren’t many people like the next day (the second day, Tuesday 5th) but anyway there are many activities to do!

This time I was awarded a blogger pass, hence, I will have the honor to be with other bloggers at VMworld while enjoying some privileges like having a reserved seat in the general session, stay with other bloggers or join some special events.

The Community: vCommunity

I think that for almost everyone that is involved in the vCommunity, VMworld means vCommunity but why?

Easy, is the main event where you can meet again your friends, make new ones and have fun with them! By the way, vCommunity means virtual community and not VMware Community 😉

This year, I was able to help as a Champion for the Tech Level up Project which is the one who made The vTrail Map (A community guide for your virtualization journey)!

You can get the digital version here for free!

Many people from the vCommunity as Champions delivered lots of physical copies of the vTrail Map at VMworld just to engage them in our community.

 

1st general session

Although there weren’t bigger announcements like at the VMworld US, there were some new projects and features that were announced.

Day 1 (Now talking about November 5th) is more focused on announcements about new products, strategies and gives you a better vision of what VMware has to offer with new features, insights, etc.

 Here you have the link for the first session:

vBrownbag Tech Talks

On Day 1 there wasn’t much to do as we couldn’t record anything at the vBrownbag stage.

Gregg Robertson (vBrownbag member) likes to make fun of me a bit while I am performing tests on the stage:

 

On Day 2 we started the vBrownbag Tech Talks at the VMware Community booth from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Ariel Sánchez, Alastair Cooke and me recorded around 15 sessions where many people from the vCommunity among other companies that showed us their community programs, new features, versions, etc.

Although I was “anchored” at the VMware community booth recording people with the mixed audio and all of the vBrownbag members helping the presenters (and recording as well), it was so nice to spend time there with lots of new and old people from the community.

Also, I learned from each session that we recorded. If the topic is a bit interesting for me, it was great to hear about it and even ask the presenter.

Here you have a picture of me while I was recording my friend Jorge de la Cruz!

Enjoying VMworld

And here I share with you some events, moments and things that couldn’t be possible without the vCommunity.

All these moments are perfect to meet new people, engage with them and have fun!

vFit Run

In the early morning (6:45 AM) we did a run on the first day (November 4th) with some people from the community. It was so nice but at the same time painful to wake up at that time…

There was a second run scheduled for November 6th but I couldn’t attend so I assume that it wasn’t done.

vSoccer

So, a run for me in the morning and at night…soccer, no, vSoccer!

Jorge Torres organized a match between friends within the community and it was fantastic. We rent a field and after the match, we had a light dinner with some finger-food, omelets, etc. I absolutely recommend you to join the next one!

vStreetfighter

Well… this can happen at any hour… Gregg, Ariel and I love Street Fighter so, if you want to play with us at VMworld (or online) just let us know.

We have our own hashtag: #vStreetfighter

vBreakfast

Another amazing event from the vCommunity (organized by Fred Hofer). This is always done on the second day (November 5th) before the general session. There is a special place where we have a great breakfast and if there is a sponsor (Runecast) you will have it for free 🙂

But the main point here is, meet new people, talk with them and have a nice breakfast before going to the conference center!

 

And that would be all I wanted to share from the first 2 days, I will post the remaining ones in the same format.

I hope you enjoy it!