A few weeks ago, VMware snuck the vSphere Client for the iPad quietly into the Apple App Store. I decided to download it and give it a spin to see how viable a management option is was. I went through the steps for install and gave it a shot performing basic day-to-day management task that admins may have to perform. Here is what I experienced.
The app itself is easy to find in the App Store and is easy to download. However, it’s not as simple as downloading and pointing it to your vCenter server. To be able to access your vCenter server, you need to install and configure the vCenter Mobile Access on your server. This is where my first gripe comes in. The vCenter Mobile Access is an ‘as-is’ technology that is still in technical preview, which means it has no official support outside of the technical community. Installation of the vCenter Mobile Access piece is fairly straight forward as it comes in an OVF virtual appliance package. Deployment of an OVF is fairly simple, just follow through the prompts, name and point it to a location where you want the new VM to live. Once the deployment is complete, the VM will get a DHCP address if available. I configured a static address as I view this as best practice.
Once you have the IP Address for the vCenter Mobile Access system setup, you can browse to its management have via http://IPADDRESS:5480. Here you can configure passwords and also make your IP changes if you prefer. The default password is passwd and I strongly suggest changing it.
Next you will need to configure your iPad vSphere client. Return to the home screen and select Settings. From there, scroll down and select the vSphere Client from the left. On the right, you will need to enter the IP Address of your newly deployed vCenter Mobile Access virtual appliance.
Using the vSphere Client:
Once you launch the client, enter your vCenter server hostname or IP, as well as your login credentials, much like your standard vSphere client.
From there you will see a listing of your host, as well as some basic details, such has total host and total VMs, as well as a listing of each host and the number of VMs on that host. You can select hosts or VMs to get more detailed information. Once thing I did like was the data displayed about VMs, allowing you to quickly see if snapshots are in use on a VM and the status of the VMware Tools, all in one spot. Inside the app you can perform basic task such as rebooting host and placing them in maintenance mode, among other things. You can also perform pings and trace routes on selected machines, as well as examine their performance data.
While the vSphere Client for iPad is definitely a slick little device that looks really pretty, its uses are limited. I do think eventually it could be a pretty good standalone management tool, but for now I view it more as a monitoring tool for your vSphere environment. The fact that connectivity relies on a Virtual Appliance that is in a “technical preview” state also doesn’t help its case. I would have much rather seen VMware release a vSphere client for OSX or Linux with the same functionality as the Windows counter part, rather than rush to be the first to have a management app on the iPad. The View Client for iPad was second on the scene to Citrix Receiver but its a very well put together app that’s full of functionality and thought, where as the vSphere client feels rushed and a little lacking. I would definitely recommend give it a try if you have the time and availability in your environment. I hope VMware continues to develop this and it gets to the level of functionality that its Windows counterpart has.
Visit your Apple App Store on your iPad or iPad 2 to download the app. The vCenter Mobile Access virtual appliance can be found HERE.
Many of you noticed your VUM alerting you to the fact that VMware released Update 1 for vSphere 4.1. The amount of new items is pretty short and routine. They include the following updates to ESX/ESXi:
- Support for up to 160 Logical Processors
- Additional Drivers Support
- Enablement of Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) for ESXi Only
- Additional Guest OS Support
vCenter also received some new items and they include:
- Additional Guest OS Customization Support
- Additional vCenter Server Database Support
The interesting thing here isn’t the fact that there is any amazing new features. What’s crazy is that this could be potentially the last update that an ESX host ever receives. I’d suspect the next update (4.2) will be released for ESXi only, as VMware has previously announced 4.1 would be the last ESX update.
During one of our weekly vHealth reports that run against our ESX environment, we noticed a new error showing up for our vCenter server. The error was complaining about the Directory Partition not being backed up. After checking the event logs on the vCenter server, the following error was found:
This directory partition has not been backed up since at least the following number of days. Directory partition:DC=virtualcinter,DC=vmware,DC=int ‘Backup latency interval’ (days):90 It is recommended that you take a backup as often as possible to recover from accidental loss of data. However if you havent taken a backup since at least the ‘backup latency interval’ number of days, this message will be logged every day until a backup is taken. You can take a backup of any replica that holds this partition. By default the ‘Backup latency interval’ is set to half the ‘Tombstone Lifetime Interval’. If you want to change the default ‘Backup latency interval’, you could do so by adding the following registry key. ‘Backup latency interval’ (days) registry key: System\CurrentControlSet\Services\NTDS\Parameters\Backup Latency Threshold (days)
Obviously, this error threw up a flag with us. We backup our server on a regular basis and couldn’t figure out where this alert was coming from. After some digging we came across a KB Article from VMware, basically saying this error could be ignored.
This message does not impact the vCenter Server functionality and can be safely ignored because vCenter Server automatically backs up the ADAM database into the vCenter Server database.A complete copy of the ADAM database is kept in the VPX_BINARY_DATA table of vCenter Server database. To know the last time when the ADAM database was backed up, see the CREATED_TIME column of the VPX_BINARY_DATA table.
The entire KB article can be found HERE. The one thing that did baffle us is that we do take system state backups of our vCenter server, however, something isn’t triggering the Backup Latency Interval to reset. We are still looking into this, though since it’s more or less a false alert, it has moved down the priority list. As soon as there is more info, I’ll update this post. If anyone has seen this before, feel free to share your thoughts or experiences.
As a company who is an HP Shop for all of our servers in the datacenter, its nice to have a few good tools to make the day easier. I wanted to share some of these tools with you all, so that it may help benefit some of you.
The first is useful for P2Vs of HP systems. Its a free tool created by Guillermo Musumeci and is designed to remove HP Products such as the Array Config Utility and Insight Management agents installed by the HP PSPs. Since this is a major part of the cleanup of a VM after a P2V, its nice to have a tool that automates it completely.
It can be downloaded HERE.
The second tool is a vCenter plugin called HP Insight Control for VMware vCenter. As you can gather from the name, these are plugins that pump management capabilities straight into vCenter as to keep you from having to jump around to multiple consoles to manage your HP ESX host. Features include in depth monitoring, remote control and power optimization straight from vCenter. If you run HP systems, its definately a great addition for vCenter, as it allows you to combine your management view over both your virtual and physical environments from one console.
It can be found HERE.
These are both great examples of tools available to help manage your HP Environment when it comes to VMware. Feel free to offer up anymore suggestions with a comment.