Network, Meditech, and a VMAX3 failed backup

Recently the backup server rebooted itself in the middle of Networker running Meditech Magic backups.

Then all the Meditech backups would fail after 2 minutes.  This was caused by locked volumes with the VMAX3.  Backups with Meditech use BCV (Business Continuity Volumes) which are synced with TDEV volumes (Thin Devices).  These two volumes stay synced up at all times.  Then when a backup starts this connection is broken, and the backup is pulled from the BCV.  When the backup finishes the BCV reconnects to the production TDEV and syncs again.

Here are the commands I used with Solutions Enabler to unlock the volumes.

symdg -sid 1234 list (This will give you a list of all the LUNs on your server in the Device Group

symdev -lock list (This will give you a list of all LUN that are in locked mode)

symdev -lost # release (This will release the lock on the volumes)

Now you should be able to run the Meditech Magic backup.

Using Ravello Systems for your lab.

Creating a home lab can get very expensive. Turning to the cloud can be a cheaper and easier way to go.  I decided to setup my lab using Autolab on Ravello.  Running my Ravello lab cost about $2 an hour.  That can add up to a lot of savings by not using all the hardware, power and cooling that I would need at my house.

Using Autolab will spin up your lab in a matter of hours instead of days if you were doing it yourself.  Basically your provide ISO’s and it will run the scripts to spin everything up.  There is even a template already in Ravello that makes spinning up your lab even faster.

In the next few weeks I will show how I setup everything with Ravello.

Using PowerCLI to retrieve Snapshots

Forgetting about snapshots can lead to serious issues.   Not only does the snapshot make the VM perform slower, but it can lead to space issues on the datastore.  You can use PowerCLI to find out what snapshots you have in your vCenter enviroment.

Run PowerCLI and connect your your vCenter instance. Then run these commands

Get-VM | Get-Snapshot | Select, VM, Name, Description.

Home Lab Setup (Part 1)

I am working on achieving the VMware VCIX. To practice for this I am setting up a home lab.  There are other options than using an home lab such as Ravello, but I wanted to set up my own self enclosed enviroment. I will be utilizing the VMUG Advantage for licensing aspect of the VMware products in my lab.

My setup includes

  1. AMDFX 8-Core CPU
  2. 16Gb Ram
  3. 1 SSD
  4. 2 7200RPM drives
  5. Workstation 12

Setup is 3 Host within Workstations each running on an individual HD.  This should spread the IO load and keep the environment running at a acceptable level.

First I deploy the 3 host.

  1. From Home screen select “Create New Virtual Machine”
  2. Select Typical
  3. Select Install Disk Image and chooise your vSphere 6 ISO
  4. Name Host and Select first HD
  5. Store as single file.
  6. Select power on and finish

Do this two more times for the other 2 host and HD.

Now under Network Adapter settings for our 3 host we select “Custom VMnet2” and we will use this as our Management network.

Now go into each host and fill in all the network information such as the IP and gateway.

Now we have a nested virtualized lab. With step 2 I will setup the vCenter appliance and management workstation for connecting to everything within the enviroment.


This week I became VMware VCP6-NV certified.  This was after months of studying with reading PDF’s and watching videos.  Normally to get a VCP certification there is a prerequisite class that you must take, and it can be quite expensive.  For this year only I was able to bypass taking the class because I already have my CCNA.  Next I plan on going for the VCIX6-DV.  I am hoping to get started on it soon.  They have not released the requirements yet for it, but I am hoping that they will later this year.

Adding Power Path 6 to an ESX 6 ISO

I am currently working on migrating all my ESXi host from 5.5 to 6.  I need Power Path to be installed on all these host. The easiest way to do this is to add the Power Path VIB directly into the ISO.  I knew this could be done, but was not sure how to.  I tried searching for an easy way to do this, but could not find any simple guides.  Here is the quick and simple way to add a VIB to and ESXi ISO.

First you should have downloaded your ESXi ISO.  I downloaded the Dell Custom ESXi offline bundle zip. It already contains all the Dell drivers I need and the Dell Open Manage software to help me monitor the hardware.  You need the ZIP and not the ISO to create this image. “Still working on the images.  Click to enlarge them.”

  • First add the Dell ESXi zip. Add-EsxSoftwareDepot “C:\file location” step one
  • Add the PowerPath zip Add-EsxSoftwareDepot “C:\file location”step 2
  • Clone the Dell image this has to be done because it is already an customized image.  (Not sure about the Acceptance Level.  Anyone have any insight on this?) New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile Dell-ESXi-6.0.0-2494585-A00 -Name dellesx6withpp -AcceptanceLevel PartnerSupported Step 3
  • Now its time to add the VIB. This will show all the packages from EMC  Get-esxSoftwarePackage | Where-Object Vender -eq “EMC”  Step 4
  • Now add the software package to the Image Profile.  You need all 3 packages. Add-ESxSoftwarePackage
  • step 5
  • Now you can export the image profile to a ISO Export-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile dellesx6withpp -ExportToIso -FilePath ‘C:\ESX 6 Custom Image\dellesx6withpp.iso’ steap 6

VMWare Support Assistant

I had been using VMware for about a year before I discovered this helpful plugin.  VMware Support Assistant can be used to open an SR and upload the logs that are needed.  It is a lot easier to use than trying to collect the logs yourself and uploading them to the support site which does not always work like it should.  One thing to remember is that it does not work with all the plugins.  When I had issues with update manager I still had to collect the logs and manually upload them myself.

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