Saturday, 15 April 2017

ESXi 6.5/6.x Partition layout

I was bit curious about any change in terms of disk layout in ESXi 6.5. So when I checked, there was no difference as compared to 6.0.

We used to have ESXi partition layout in ESXi 6.0 as shown in below image.

When executed df -h command, below was the output.

As you can see, we can notice four partitions in the above screenshot as below.

  1. 250 MB - Boot Bank partition (System Partition)
  2. 250 MB - Alt Boot bank partition (LinuxNative)
  3. 4 GB - Scratch partition
  4. 286 MB - Store partition
To check it further, I tried running few extra commands like partedUtil and ls -l as below.

As in above screenshot we can notice some additional partitions as below.
  • 4 MB - Pre-boot partition
  • 110 MB - First Diagnostic partition
  • 2.5 GB - Second Diagnostic partition
Other partitions that you see in above screenshots are the VMFS data stores on my ESXi Server.

You can check current status of active diagnostic partition, as we have two diagnostic partitions. Use ESXCLI command as below.

So the conclusion is that the partition layout for ESXi server remains unchanged in ESXi 6.5 from its previous versions like 6.0 or ESXi 5.5 U3. However, will keep an eye on this in case I come across some update on this. Will keep you posted.

Hope this helps. Cheers!!!!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

How to reset root password in vCenter Server Appliance 6.5

Changing password of root account in vCenter Server appliance has changed every time when underlying OS platform is changed. Since vCenter Server appliance 6.5, we have new OS platform developed by VMware i.e. Photon OS 1.0. Previously we had SLES or CentOS.

Due to this OS platform change, it is worth to get information on how to reset root account password in case we loose it.  

Grub Boot loader is part of the pre-booting environment of Photon OS within vCSA. We have the option to enter the GRUB’s boot menu to enter commands which allow us to reset the VCSA root password.

We will have to reboot the vCSA appliance in order to access the GRUB boot loader menu options.

The steps below will show you how to Reset root password in vCenter Server appliance (VCSA) 6.5, but some precautions shall always be taken. I’d highly recommend to backup the VCSA appliance first, or at least take a snapshot.
  • Gracefully shut down the vCSA appliance and Take a snapshot. 
  • Start the VCSA appliance and when the VM starts to boot (PhtonOS splash screen as in screenshot below).
  • Press “e” on your keyboard to access the GRUB boot menu.
  • Append the rw init=/bin/bash to the line which ends with “consoleblank=0” as shown in image below.
  • Press F10 key to continue booting process.
  • You will be presented with root prompt in red colour.
  • Enter "passwd" command and hit enter. Enter new password details.
  • Unmount the filesystem by running "umount" command
  • Reboot the appliance with "reboot" command as in image below. You can also use web client or host client to do this task.
  • Once rebooted, verify that you are able to login with new details.
  • Remove the snapshot taken in Step one if applicable.
That's it guys. We have successfully configured new password for vCSA root account. Hope this helps.


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

vSphere Installation Part-4: Installing vCenter Server 6.5 in distributed deployment (vCenter Appliance)

This will be the last post in this series of vSphere installation 6.5. You can find previous 3 articles as below.

vSphere Installation Part-1: Installing ESXi server 6.5
vSphere Installation Part-2: Installing vCenter server 6.5 appliance in embedded mode
vSphere Installation Part-3: vCenter Server 6.5 distributed installation (External PSC)

In previous article we deployed external PSC appliance and configured SSO domain. In this post we will deploy vCenter 6.5 appliance and join the SSO domain configured previously.

  • Navigate to installation media we mounted for PSC installation and launch the installer.exe again.
  • On Installer screen click Install to proceed with vCenter appliance deployment.

  • On stage 1 - Deploy appliance screen, click next to continue the setup.
  • Accept the EULA and click next to continue.

  • This time select deployment type as vCenter Server under External Platform Services Controller and click next to continue.

  • Enter the ESXi Server details where you will deploy and host vCenter Appliance VM and click next.

  •  Provide vCenter Appliance details as per your environment and click next.

  • Select expected size of inventory in your environment from drop down. Setup will display required resource information as per your selection. Review the same and make sure you have enough resources. Click next to continue.

  • Select the datastore where you want to place vCenter Appliance VM files and click next.

  •  Provide network details as per your environment and click next

  • Finally review the settings and click finish to continue the deployment process.

  • Once clicked finish, deployment process will be initiated for vCenter appliance. Wait for deployment to get completed. 

  • Once deployment is completed, Click continue to launch stage 2 of vCenter Appliance setup.

  •  On Stage 2 - Setup vCenter appliance screen click next to continue.

  •  Configure NTP and SSH services as per your requirement and click next.

  • Provide the details of PSC appliance deployed previously and click next to continue.

  • Review the configuration and click Finish to continue configuring vCenter appliance.

  • Once clicked finish it will show the warning that setup cannot be stopped once started. Click OK to continue.

  • Once the setup is started, wait for setup to complete.

  •  Once setup is completed, you will see the link for vSphere Web client.

  • Access and login to the Web client to confirm successful deployment of vCenter Appliance.

  • You can also check health status by connecting to VAMI page of vCenter appliance.

  • Below is the screenshot of ESXi host client inventory where PSC appliance and vCenter appliance are running for this test environment.

Finally this post completes the series for vSphere 6.5 Installation. Feel free to comment for any queries or suggestions.

Hope this helps.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

vSphere Installation part-3: vCenter Server 6.5 distributed installation (External PSC)

Welcome to this third post in vSphere installation series for vSphere 6.5. Below are the links for other articles in this series.

Part-1 ESXi 6.5 Installation
Part-2 vCenter 6.5 Installation in Embedded mode
vSphere Installation Part-4: Installing vCenter Server 6.5 in distributed deployment (vCenter Appliance)

Before we discuss about vCenter Server 6.5 installation with external PSC, it is worth to note VMware KB article about recommended designs. Do refer VMware KB  2147672

Here are the deprecated topologies for vCenter Server 6.5.

Image: VMware

Looking at above deprecated topologies, be careful when you plan your vCenter server 6.5 deployment design.

As we discussed in previous article that vCenter Server 6.5 appliance deployment is 2 staged process for each instance. So we will have 2 stages while deploying PSC appliance and 2 stages while deploying vCenter appliance.

Also, for installing vCenter Server 6.x with external PSC, we will have to follow the installation order. We must install PSC appliance first and then install vCenter Server 6.x appliance.

To keep post short and simple, in this post we will see the walkthrough of installing PSC appliance node only. In another post, we will see deploying and joining vCenter server to external PSC appliance as continuation of this post.
So, let's walkthrough with PSC 6.5 installation steps along with screenshots.
  • Download and mount the vCenter Server 6.5 ISO media from VMware portal
  • Once ISO is downloaded, you can mount it from your desktop which can be windows, MAC OS or Linux operating system as this ISO includes installer support for all these operating systems as you can see in image below.

  • Navigate to directory as per your desktop OS.

  • Double click installer.exe under win32 directory as in my case I am using windows desktop for deployment.
  • We now have 4 options to choose from on installer launch screen as described.
    • Install - for deployment of vCenter server appliance or PSC.
    • Upgrade - To upgrade from previous version of vCenter appliance
    • Migrate - To Migrate from windows based vCenter server to vCenter appliance 6.5
    • Restore - To restore the backups taken with native backup feature introduced in vCenter Server 6.5
  • We will click Install as this will be greenfield deployment.
  • Clicking Install link will launch the stage one. Click next to begin the deployment process.
  • Accept the EULA license agreement and click next

  • Select PSC node first under External PSC installation mode and click next.
  • Enter  ESXi server details where you will deploy and host PSC appliance and click next.

  • ESXi host has self signed certificate currently hence we will get certificate warning. Accept the certificate warning by clicking Yes.

  • Provide PSC Appliance VM details such as Appliance VM name, root credentials and click next.

  • Select datastore to store PSC appliance VM files and click next. If required, you can enable thin provisioning for PSC appliance.
  • Configure network settings for PSC appliance and click next.
  • Review and click finish to complete stage one of PSC appliance deployment.

  • Once clicked finish, PSC appliance deployment will start. Deployment process will take few minutes to complete. Wait for deployment to complete

  • Once completed, click Continue to proceed with stage two of the deployment .

  • On Stage two screen, click next to continue PSC setup.

  • Configure NTP and SSH settings as per your environment and click next.

  • On Configure SSO screen, select create new SSO Domain and provide SSO domain details such as SSO domain name, Admin credentials, site name and click next.

  • Make selection as per your choice of joining VMware CEIP and click next.

  • Review the configuration and click finish to complete stage 2 of PSC deployment.
  • Once clicked finish, stage 2 configuration will be launched as per settings done. Wait for stage 2 to get completed.

  • On completion screen you can see the PSC client URL. Access the URL to confirm successful deployment of PSC appliance.

  • You can also access VAMI page interface and check the appliance health.

  • Ensure all services are healthy and running.

This completes the PSC appliance deployment process. Hope this helps.


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