Extending an EagerZeroedThick Disk

Today a coworker asked me about extending an EagerZeroedThick disk, as they had a customer inform them that extending an EagerZeroedThick disk actually turned it LazyZeroed. Although this is somewhat true, it is not 100% accurate. What actually happens is the extension becomes LazyZeroed but the original portion of the disk still remains EagerZeroedThick. This is actually by design, if you want to extend the VMDK and ensure that it is all EagerZeroedThick you must specify a flag in the vmkfstools command to do so.

Extending an EagerZeroedThick VMDK

# vmkfstools -X 10G -d eagerzeroedthick /path/to/vmdkfile.vmdk

In the above syntax example it is critical that you specify eagerzeroedthick as the disk format.

Created on September 4, 2013 by Rick Scherer

Posted under Storage, vSphere.

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Chad’s Choice Webcast on June 28th, 2012 – Don’t Miss!

To all of my EMC customers, fanboi’s or anyone just interested in hearing about some great new technology… Be sure to listen in to Chad’s Choice this Thursday at 8:00am PT.  This time he has some important information for those VNX and CLARiiON customers out there on VAAI and Multipathing, as well as a next generation preview.

So come hang out with the VirtualGeek and learn about some really cool stuff!

Register now by visiting http://bit.ly/NKEdXx

Thursday, June 28, 2012, 8:00 am PT / 11:00 am ET / 15:00 GMT

Join us to learn important EMC VNX and CLARiiON updates, including:

  • What’s the scoop on VAAI on vSphere 5 and CLARiiON – Why isn’t it shown as supported with vSphere 5, but is with vSphere 4.x?
  • Multipathing behaviors – How does it work today, and how will it work tomorrow?
  • Upcoming VNX software release has material changes – What are they and how do they work?

Created on June 26, 2012 by Rick Scherer

Posted under EMC, Storage, VMware, vSphere.

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vmware 2011 Mega Launch

It is 9am Pacific Time on Tuesday, July 12th 2011 and I sure hope you’re tuned into the vmware Mega Launch so greatly titled “Raising the Bar, Part V”. If you’re not watching the live broadcast, stop right here and tune into it by clicking this link, then come back and read this post.

Spoiler alert… reading beyond this point talks about amazing updates and new features from vmware!

Read More…

Created on July 12, 2011 by Rick Scherer

Posted under Cloud, Security, SRM, Storage, vCenter, VMware HA, vSphere.

This blog has 4,979 views and 2 responses.

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VAAI Train Running Late Today

Another one of those posts today that most likely will not affect most, however there is a known issue with the vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) mixed together with EMC VMAX Storage Arrays. My best bud, Chad Sakac, wrote about this last week (over here).

Long story short, if you’re running a VMAX with Enginuity 5875.135.91 or 5875.139.93 along with ESX(i) 4.1 hosts you may see some slowness when trying to do things like Storage vMotion, Deploy from Template, etc…basically things that leverage HardwareAcceleratedMove.

So how do you fix it?  First thing is you need to disable HardwareAcceleratedMove, instructions on how to do this can be found in VMware KB1033665. Next thing is to contact EMC Support and have the ePack that engineering released for this problem installed on your VMAX. Then finally, contact VMware support for their hotfix…rumor has it that a VMware support bundle should be released sometime soon. After you have the patch for VMAX as well as vSphere you should have no problem turning HardwareAcceleratedMove back on.

So to wrap this up….VAAI issue when mixed with VMAX, but it doesn’t affect all VAAI functionality, just XCOPY (HardwareAcceleratedMove) and even then it doesn’t affect every single operation. Get the patches, get them installed and get back on schedule!

Created on June 14, 2011 by Rick Scherer

Posted under Storage, vSphere.

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EMC Webcast on 6/24 – VAAI: Learn all about vStorage API for Array Integration

EMC is running a webcast hosted by Chad Sakac next Thursday and the topic should be of an interest to any VMware or Storage administrator.  If you haven’t heard about VAAI and it’s great offloading capabilities I strongly urge you to register for this webcast.


Thursday, June 24, 2010, 11:00 am ET

Host: Chad Sakac, VP VMware Technology Alliance, EMC

Register Now by Clicking Here


During this discussion, you can learn about vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI). There are some functions that your storage system can handle more efficiently than your virtual servers and their hosts can. VAAI are a set of APIs that allows VMware vSphere to offload specific operations to the storage system improving VMware performance and freeing up resources on your virtual servers by leveraging more efficient array-based operations as an alternative to VMware host-based operations.


Join EMC Virtual Geek, Chad Sakac on June 24 to get key updates and honest answers to your most demanding questions.


Register Now by Clicking Here

Created on June 18, 2010 by Rick Scherer

Posted under EMC, Storage, vSphere.

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EMC Celerra Plug-in for VMware v1.1 – View Integration

Just a little teaser of what we’re working on here at EMC. This is the next version of the EMC Celerra Plug-in for VMware which is v1.1 and offers great new VMware View integration. Below in the video you will see that it has a new wizard based interface for common tasks, as well as the ability to place clones (Full and Fast) of Virtual Machines into a VMware View pool which then can be entitled to users for access.

What does this mean?  Well, with Fast Clones you are now offloading the great ability to do Linked Clones back to the storage array. You can ultimately have hundreds of copies of a single virtual machine which only using minimal disk space, and now with the plug-in have those automatically provisioned into VMware View.

Fast, Easy and Efficient…just how we like it!

Download the high-rez versions here: WMV and MOV

Created on June 8, 2010 by Rick Scherer

Posted under Celerra, Storage, View.

This blog has 2,670 views and one response.

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vMotion over Distance support with EMC VPLEX Metro

Last month at EMC World we released a storage virtualization product unlike any other. EMC VPLEX not only virtualizes back-end storage from other vendors it also allows shared storage to be presented active/active over long distances. This capability makes it possible for long distance vMotion and brings a new technical term to disaster planning, Disaster Avoidance.

Imagine you’re planning a datacenter shutdown due to a power outage or building maintenance, or perhaps that wildfire is making its way to your office location. Now you have the flexibility to be able to avoid major downtime by simply swinging your workloads to an off-site datacenter.

VMware has taken notice and has officially released a KB article detailing out full support for long distance vMotion with the EMC VPLEX product. More information on this KB article can be found at http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1021215. Perhaps you want to know more about VPLEX or even see a demo of it in action? Chad Sakac posted a great breakdown of how it works along with some videos on his website, check it out now.

Created on June 8, 2010 by Rick Scherer

Posted under Backup & Recovery, Storage, vCenter, vSphere.

This blog has 5,774 views and 10 responses.

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NetXen HP NC522SFP Network Flooding

I had a very fun weekend. It started at 4am Saturday with a migration of ~125 virtual machines from an old AMD based environment to a new Intel Nehalem based environment. Who could’ve known that within a few hours all hell would’ve broken loose.

Enter in problem of network flooding from the NetXen based HP branded NC522SFP.  Because all of the 10GbE ports from the (9) new ESXi servers were creating thousands of pause frames on the Cisco Nexus 5020 switches, I thought originally that it was an issue on the switch.  Talks with Cisco revealed nothing.  We attempted to disconnect one of the connected ports (each ESXi host is dual connected into a pair of N5Ks using vPC) to remove a potential spanning tree loop….no dice.

A reboot of the host resolved the problem, things appeared to be running normally and we decided to let it be and wait until Monday.

10 hours goes by, it is now Sunday morning and the problem returns.  First host loses storage (we’re doing NFS over 10GbE here), then two more…until all 9 in this cluster are pretty much toast.  I decide to open a ticket with VMware.  Wouldn’t you know, there is a potential known bug and resolution.

Bug 496013

Description: Some NetXen based 10GbE cards using the unm_nic and nx_nic drivers sometime flood the network with pause frames causing the port to become disabled.

Resolution: NetXen believes upgrading the firmware to version 4.0.516 will resolve the problem.

I’ve gone ahead and patched 4 of the hosts with this new firmware, so far it has been stable (knock on wood).   I’ll let you know if something happens.

Checking which version of the firmware you’re running is simple. From a command-line (ESX or ESXi hidden CLI), type ethtool -i <vmnic#> (replace vmnic# with the alias to the vmnic you’d like to check).  You should see output similar to:

driver: nx_nic

version: 4.0.301

firmware-version: 4.0.406

bus-info: 0000:07:00.0

Update – Utility CD with firmware patch now included…

As you can see above, the firmware is out of date. To update the firmware you will need to boot from a Linux utility CD that has the appropriate driver, you then run a firmware update utility provided by HP.  To make this process easy I have created a bootable SLAX utility CD with the drivers pre-loaded. You can download the ISO from here (file temporarily removed). Once booted run the installer located in the root filesystem (ie: ./CP011471.scexe).

Let me know if you have any questions.

Created on January 11, 2010 by Rick Scherer

Posted under ESX 3.5 Tips, ESXi 3.5 Tips, Networking, Storage, vSphere.

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VMware ESXi 4 and HP Servers

I’m proud to say that HP has full support for ESXi 4 installed on SD or USB Flash memory.  They even offer the installable ISO pre-built with their CIM providers, available here. There is a catch though, they only support their approved SD or USB Flash memory….sorry, but you cannot BYOF (Bring Your Own Flash).  This is reflected on their download page:

HP VMware ESXi 4.0 solution requires the following:

  • VMware ESXi 4.0 free downloadable product. To upgrade your license to Enterprise Plus, purchase HP VMware ESXi 4 product 571979-B21.
  • HP ESXi 4 CIM Providers.
  • Registration on VMware ESXi hypervisor web page to obtain permanent license serial number.
  • Acquire your choice of HP supported and qualified media – any HP supported hard drive, USB or SD Flash devices listed below.
  • Please note that all devices will need to be imaged for ESXi 4.0.

    Information about HP supported SD card and USB Flash drive:

    • Supported SD card**:
      HP 4GB SD Flash Media
      HP Part Number 580387-B21
      [spare kit part number 583306-001]
    • Supported USB Flash Drive**:
      HP 4GB USB Flash Media Drive Key
      HP Part Number 580385-B21
      [Spare kit part number 583307-001]
      *Must be purchased separately.
      **HP VMware ESXi 4.0 does not support any other USB or SD flash devices

    Seems simple, doesn’t it?   Actually it works great and I have put a few dozen servers into production with this method, the best part is no more local HDD which saves even more power!

    One question I often get is,  why do you need a 4GB drive, I though ESXi was only 32MB?  Well, even though it is true that ESXi is only 32MB you still need adequate space for the VI Client, VMware Tools (all Operating systems) and upgrade space (for future ESXi patches and releases).  Using a 4GB drive ensures that you’ll have enough space for everything.

    There is one problem currently that I am facing, HP has both the SD Card and USB Flash Drive on back-order and there is no expected ETA for either of them!  This has delayed a major project I’m working on and I’ve had to resort to using temporary “junk” USB drives to get the customer by in the mean time.

    If someone from HP is reading this, PLEASE get your OEM to produce some new ones ASAP!

    Created on October 27, 2009 by Rick Scherer

    Posted under Storage, vSphere.

    This blog has 13,644 views and 11 responses.

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    NetApp SnapManager for VI 2.0 (SMVI)

    For those of you using NetApp for your back-end virtual machine storage, there is a new version of their SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure (SMVI) tool that was recently released. SMVI 2.0 will include a number of enhancements that really push the bar when it comes to NetApp/VMware integration.

    Some of the enhancements to the 2.0 product include;

    • Autosupport Integration
    • Backup Enhancements & GUI Re-design
    • Snapshot Naming Changes
    • Scripting
    • Restore Enhancements
    • Single File Restore
    • Self-Service Restore
    • Limited Self-Service Restore
    • Administrator-Assisted Restore
    • Restore Agent

    What really excites me with this new version is the ability for an end-user to do a single file restoration, this will dramatically decrease the labor required at the server administration level for these types of requests.  Most of us already using the 1.0 product have seen the benefits of the VMware/NetApp snapshot integration, how NetApp utilizes VMware Tools to quiesce the virtual machine(s) within a datastore then do a NetApp level snapshot. Then there is also the ability to tie this all into SnapMirror, which works great.

    Check out this video demonstrating some of the new features in SMVI 2.0

    For those of you using NetApp, I’d strongly recommend adding SMVI to your FY11 budget!

    Created on September 16, 2009 by Rick Scherer

    Posted under Backup & Recovery, NetApp, Storage.

    This blog has 15,644 views and 4 responses.

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