Remote restart ESXi management agents

Today I had a problem with all of our vSphere hosts in my cluster. To resolve the problem I needed to restart the management agents on each host. In the past with ESX there was the service console to which you could connect by using SSH and then execute the restart commands from the CLI. But since ESXi doesn’t ship with the service console this is not an option.

The correct method stated in KB 1003490 by VMware is to restart the management agents from the console of the host. Because we have over 15 hosts this is time consuming task so I decided to look for an alternative method, and found it 🙂

First you have to enable ‘remote techsupport’ (SSH access) to your hosts, this can be done at the configuration tab of your host under the ‘security profile’;

Click the ‘Properties…’ link to enable or disable services.

Now highlight the SSH service and click ‘Options…’

Click ‘Start’ to start the SSH service, now you’re able to remote connect to your host using SSH.

Now you can restart the management agents by executing the following command

/sbin/ restart

This command will restart the management services, the VMs running on the host are not affected.

When you’re done is recommended to disable SSH for security purposes.

VMware abandons controversial pricing model

With the release of  vSphere 5 last year VMware introduced a new ‘vRAM based’ licensing model. In this new model customers have to pay for socket licenses with a limited vRAM entitlement. With this strategy VMware seemingly penalized customers who succeeded in deploying many virtual machines on few physical servers, which lead to many complains. Before the release of vSphere 5 the vRAM entitlements are raised but still in place.

At VMworld in San Francisco, newly minted VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger referred to VRAM as a four-letter, dirty word. “Today I am happy to say we are striking this word from the vocabulary.” From now on, pricing will be all per-CPU, and per-socket, Gelsinger said. By moving back to a pricing model based on usage of physical infrastructure, VMware is once again encouraging users to get as many virtual servers as they can out of each physical machine, which is the point of virtualization in the first place.

Gelsinger never mentioned specific pricing, but a press release provided a few details about the new pricing of vSphere, VMware’s flagship virtualization software.

“VMware vSphere pricing starts around $83 per processor with no core, vRAM or number of VM limits,” VMware said. “VMware vSphere Essentials is $495, and VMware vSphere Essentials Plus is $4,495. All VMware vSphere Essentials Kits includes licensing for 6 CPUs on up to 3 hosts.”

This new, hardware-based pricing applies both to the forthcoming version 5.1 of vSphere and the existing version 5.0. More details can be found in the VMware pricing document.


VMware “Unable to access file since it is locked” when removing snapshot

Today I ran into a problem with a VM which have snapshots but are  not visible in the VMware snapshot manager. As you can see in the screenshot vCenter reports no snapshots;

But when I took a look at the datastore folder of this VM in noticed several delta vmdk files which indicates there are active snapshots. The properties of the VM’s configuration also supports this thought.

So how to fix this? The most easy way is to create a new snapshot and after creating hit the ‘Delete All’ button (as described in VMware KB 1002310). After I did this a new error pops up; “Unable to access file <unspecified filename> since it is locked”.

Why is it locked? Well, you can find out by following the instructions in VMware KB 10051 but I my case it was simple. The customer is using snapshots for backups by Veeam Backup and Replication, so the only one who’s making snapshots is the Veeam VM. The specific job which responsible for the problem VM was crashed and that’s why the base VMDK of the problem VM was still locked by the Veeam VM. After disconnecting the VMDK from the Veeam VM I was able to create a new snapshot and hit the “Delete All” button to commit the delta-vmdks.

Where to find vCenter Server Appliance 5.0 Update 1

Last week I’ve been installing a vSphere cluster at a customer site. All the hosts are running VMware vSphere 5.0 Update 1. The customer also wants to use the vCenter Server Appliance as alternative to a Windows based VM running VMware vCenter Server. After a one hour search at the VMware Download site I couldn’t find it…

So where is it? Well, it’s not strange I couldn’t find it because it isn’t there… As you can read in the vCenter Server 5.0 Update 1 release notes the appliance will be available later this year;

Oke, so what now? If you don’t have to use the new features and fixes in Update 1 you can safely use the vCenter Appliance 5.0 which you can download over here.