VSAN on Ravello

First off I would like to thank Ravello for making this happen.  As being part of the vExpert Community Ravello has give us free use of their services.  Which allows me to design and build Software Defined Data Centers all in the cloud running on AWS, Google or Oracle.  I would also like to thank VMware for their vExpert program.  Because of this I have licenses to be able to setup all these labs and grow my knowledge.

This article is going to be a high level overview of setting up VSAN on Ravello.  In future articles I will go deeper into how to actually set it all up.

For this design I was wanting to setup a Proof of Concept for VSAN.  I had only used Ravello a few times so I was not exactly sure how to use Ravello to accomplish what I wanted.  My Design consisted of 5 instances on Ravello.

  1. Domain Controller using Server 2012 and DNS.
  2. 3 ESXi Host each one configured with a 100gb drive for VSAN cache and a 1TB drive for data.  With VSAN your cache drive should be 10% of the total datastore.  So if you have 3 host each with 1TB then the cache should be 100gb.  If you turn on FTT of 1 (RAID 1) or mirroring you will lose half your storage so 1.5tb usuable.
  3. A jump VM running Windows 7 for RDP from my home computer.
  4. vCenter


First came the network design.  I wanted to seperate out the traffic for each layer of networking.

  1. Management – Traffic for the ESX host itself.
  2. Data/VM – Traffic for running VM’s
  3. Storage – Traffic for VSAN
  4. vMotion- vMotion Traffic

Now its time to build everything.

  1. Setup Domain Controller
  2. Add each ESX host to domain
  3. Add the jump VM to the domain
  4. Deploy vCenter  and join domain

Deploying vCenter on Ravello can be tricky.  Ravello is essential virtualization on top of virtualization.  I am running an ESX host on top of Ravello virtualization, which is a layer of virtualization running on top of AWS or Google.  They are also running a layer of virtualization on top of there physical hardware.  I had some issues trying to get the appliance to work with Ravello.  For now I will have to stick with the Windows version.


Notice from the above image the yellow signs.  They are there because there is not any shared storage and HA will not work.  You must also turn off HA before you can enable VSAN. Now that I have setup all 5 of my instances and applied all the networking settings it is not time to deploy it.  It takes about 10-15 minutes to get all the instances up and running. Now come the cool part of setting up VSAN.

  1. Setup the VMKernel port on your vswitch for each host.  Make sure to check the VSAN setting and use the same name.
  2. Go to each host and mark the cache disk ad SSD.  This will allow the host to use is for cache.
  3. Right click on the cluster and enable VSAN and choose manual mode for adding disk.
  4. Now claim the disk.
  5. VSAN is now Setup!!!!

Notice now the yellow icons are gone?   Now the host have shared storage, and can utilize HA.


Sometime soon I plan on building up a SDDC lab on ravello.  This will use most of the VMware products and utilize Veeam for backup.  Thanks for reading and leave a comment if you have any questions.

Preparing for a vCenter Server Migration using…

Preparing for a vCenter Server Migration using the vSphere 6.0 Update 2m Migration Tool – Part 2

Preparing for a vCenter Server Migration using…

The first post of this series covered pre-migration considerations for both the vSphere Single Sign-On domain and vCenter deployment models. Now it’s time to focus our attention on the two co-stars of the show, the Windows vCenter Server and Database. When it comes to the Windows vCenter Server there are plenty of things to consider such as networking, The post Preparing for a vCenter Server Migration using the vSphere 6.0 Update 2m Migration Tool – Part 2 appeared first on VMware vSphere Blog .

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vCenter Design

I am currently working on a redesign of out VMWare vSphere environment.  Currently vCenter is running on Windows with and embedded PSC.  It is also using an external SQL database that is managed by an DBA.  I wanted to get this design up to date using best practices, and to also get away from  using the external SQL database.    I have two data centers one is for “production” and the second is for “Disaster Recovery”.  To create high availability the each side will have its on vCenter connected to two PSC’s.  They will be load balanced with an F5.  Here is a quick high level design I created.capture

To set this up I had to first deploy the two PSC’s for the production data center.  I then setup load balancing with the F5 following this KB.

Now that the new environment is all setup I connect the two vCenter together using Enhance Link Mode.  This will allow me to manage both vCenter’s from one location and to do vMotions between the two vCenters.  To start the migration of host and VM’s to the new vCenter I must first set the distributed port groups to ephermal.  You can read more about ephemeral ports from Chris Wahl and from VMWare KB.  Doing this will allow the host to control the binding of ports instead of vCenter.  I will also duplicate my Distributed Switch structure in the new vCenter.

Now that all of this is done I can disconnect a host, and then reconnect it to the new vCenter.  Then I  will use the distributed switch migrate all the VM’s to the new Distributed Switch.  I will also have to reinstall all my plugins and recreate my folder structure.  Once everything is moved over everything is done with no down time.




Delete Folder on Isilon From Command Line

With the Isilon you can do most of your daily work with the GUI.  Sometimes you need to go down to the command line to do the things you don’t normally have to do.  Recently with a file migration I had some issues, and had trouble deleting the directory.  To fix this issue I had to run this command.


isi job start treedelete –path=<PATH TO DIRECTORY FOR DELETION>

isi job status

Find Block Size with vscsiStats and Other Storage Statistics.

Ever wonder what block sizes your VM’s are using for writing and reading to disk?  I always have and I recently found a way to get this information out of the ESXi hypervisor.  You can also get a lot of other data such as random and sequential writes, latency, and a few other items.

  1.  Connect to the host with SSH.
  2. Enter the command “vsciStats -l” This will list all the VM’s on that host and its disk.
  3. vsciStats -s will start that stats collection.  You can pair this down by using the -w for the world group id and -i for handle id.
  4. vsciStats -p ioLength -w 123456 would display the block sizes for that particular VM and drives.
  5. -h will give you a list of all the possible variables to use.

Set NTP on all host in vCenter

Here is a Powershell script that will set NTP on all the ESX host connected to your vCenter.

First connect to the vCenter using Connect-VIserver then run the following code.


#Get Host
write-host “Gathering ESX Host”
$esx = get-vmhost

#Configure NTP server
write-host “configuring NTP”
Add-VmHostNtpServer -VMHost $esx -NtpServer

#Allow NTP queries outbound through the firewall
wrtie-host “Setting Firewall Permissions”
Get-VMHostFirewallException -VMHost $esx | where {$_.Name -eq “NTP client”} | Set-VMHostFirewallException -Enabled:$true

#Start NTP client service and set to automatic
write-host “Starting NTP service”
Get-VmHostService -VMHost $esx | Where-Object {$_.key -eq “ntpd”} | Start-VMHostService
Get-VmHostService -VMHost $esx | Where-Object {$_.key -eq “ntpd”} | Set-VMHostService -policy “automatic”