Category Archives: Servers

How to find HPE Proliant Serial Number from Command Prompt

I was trying to find a serial number for an HP (HPE) Proliant Server, and the System Management Agent wasn’t displaying the info and I didn’t have access to the iLO. I found the following workaround from a user on a forum.

Open a commands prompt and type:

wmic /node:%computername% bios get serialnumber

To find the Serial of a remote computer, type the following:

wmic /node:HOSTNAME bios get serialnumber

 

While attempting to upgrade a ESXi host from 6.0.0.3073146 to the latest 6.x build (6.0.0.update02-4192238) via CLI (see my post here about pathcing via CLI)

I got the following error:

[DependencyError]
VIB VMware_bootbank_esx-base_6.0.0-2.43.4192238 requires vsan >= 6.0.0-2.43, but the requirement cannot be satisfied within the ImageProfile.
VIB VMware_bootbank_esx-base_6.0.0-2.43.4192238 requires vsan << 6.0.0-2.44, but the requirement cannot be satisfied within the ImageProfile.
Please refer to the log file for more details.

The exact build on the error may be different on yours, but the issue is the same. I found this KB from VMware and decided to make a post that gets right to the point: VMware KB

This error occurs because the newest version of VSAN (which is built into ESXi) is looking for a specific base hypervisor build (esx-base). In order to run the update successfully, you’ll need to define the update profile for the VIB you are using. Its actually a lot easier than it may sound.

First, lets find the software profile the VIB you will be using contains. Run the following command, pointing the destination to the .zip VIB you uploaded to a datastore on the host.

esxcli software sources profile list -d <location_of_the_esxi_zip_bundle_on_the_datastore>

It will output something similiar to this:

That Name is the Profile you will need to add to your update command.
So in my case, the update command would look like this (highlighting added for emphasis):

esxcli software profile update -d /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/VMware-ESXi-6.0.0.update02-4192238.x86_64-Dell_Customized-offline-bundle-A04.zip -p Dell-ESXi-6.0U2-4192238-A04

It should update and finish with no errors:

The final step is to issue a reboot command, and you are done.

Create Bootable VMware ESXi Installer USB Drive

Getting ESXi installed on a server today is more often done through the servers BMC (iLO, iDRAC, CMC, etc). But this guide might be helpful when installing vSphere on a standalone server. The tool of choice for any bootable USB is my friend Rufus.

There are three things you will need to do this:

  • Download Rufus Here
  • Download whatever .iSO image you want to be bootable (whether its WIndows, ESXi, or Linux).
  • Use a somewhat quality USB Flash Drive (1GB or larger). For some reason, I will run into some cheap-o thumb drives that do not boot anything. If your boot drive doesn’t work, try a different flash drive

 

Here are the easy steps:

  • Insert your blank (or soon to be formatted) flash drive into your PC
  • Open Rufus

  • Under Device, select the flash drive you wish to format and use
  • Select MBR partition Scheme for BIOS or UEFI
  • Filesystem = Fat32
  • Use default Cluster Size (4096 bytes)
  • Click the icon next to FreeDOS and select your ISO image
  • Rename the New Volume Label to whatever you wish to see when you insert the flash drive into a PC
  • Click Start

  • When prompted to replace menu.c32, select Yes

  • Finally, click Yes to the warning that this flash drive will be formatted (destroyed)

 

That’s it. It will take a couple of mins, but you should have a bootable flash drive.

vSphere 6 Upgrade Fails – “The Upgrade contains the following set of conflicting VIBs:”

I was upgrading an ESXi 5.5 host for a client and ran into some “Incompatibility” errors. They had a mix of Dell server hosts, but three of them were Dell R715’s and all three were getting upgrade errors. I first tried the update using VMware Update Manager (VUM), and made sure I was using the Dell Customized ISO, which includes Dell specific drivers. (You can download the ISO here: http://goo.gl/3UOeNV ).

After adding the ISO to a new upgrade baseline and scanning the host for updates, I was the following errors:
Compliance State: Incompatible
The upgrade contains the following set of conflicting VIBs:
Mellanox_bootbank_net-mlx4-en_1.9.9.0-1OEM.550.0.0.1331820
Remove the conflicting VIBs or use Image Builder to create a custom upgrade ISO image that contains the newer versions of the conflicting VIBs, and try to upgrade again.

Attempt to continue the upgrade and dismiss the errors, resulted in upgrade failure. Any attempt to upgrade via the CLI also failed.

So what is the problem and how do you fix it?

The problem is with incompatible drivers that are currently on the host. Drivers that aren’t supported by ESXi 6, and drivers that aren’t included in either VMware’s or Dell’s ISO.
This particular VIB is a Mellanox Infiniband HBA, which probably most of us seeing this error do not use.

To remedy this issue and proceed, we need to remove those drivers from the host.

First, enable SSH on the host that has the issue
Next, SSH into the host and run the following commands:

~ # esxcli software vib list | grep Mel
~ # esxcli software vib remove -n net-mlx4-en
~ # esxcli software vib remove -n net-mlx4-core
~ # reboot

It may take a min or so after running commands two and three, but it should complete successfully. After rebooting the host, proceed to upgrade via Update Manager or CLI.

After I completed the above instructions and scanned my host again with Update Manager, it found one more incompatible VIB that I had to remove on all three servers.

Compliance State: Incompatible
The upgrade contains the following set of conflicting VIBs:
VMware_bootbank_xhci-xhci_1.0-3vmw.550.3.78.3248547
Remove the conflicting VIBs or use Image Builder to create a custom upgrade ISO image that contains the newer versions of the conflicting VIBs, and try to upgrade again.

I was able to fix this in the same manner I did the previous VIB:

~ # esxcli software vib list | grep Mel
~ # esxcli software vib remove -n xhci-xhci
~ # reboot

VMware Consumed Host Memory vs Active Guest Memory

I get asked frequently, what is the difference between the Consumed Host Memory of a VM (shown in the VM Resources), and the Active Guest Memory. This explanation is technical, but answers the question correctly.

Consumed Host Memory usage is defined as the amount of host memory that is allocated to the virtual machine.

Active Guest Memory is defined as the amount of guest memory that is currently being used by the guest operating system and its applications.

 

But here is the technical aspect of it all:

1) Why is consumed host memory usage higher than active guest memory?

“The hypervisor knows when to allocate host physical memory for a virtual machine because the first memory access from the virtual machine to a host physical memory will cause a page fault that can be easily captured by the hypervisor. However, it is difficult for the hypervisor to know when to free host physical memory upon virtual machine memory deallocation because the guest operating system free list is generally not publicly accessible. Hence, the hypervisor cannot easily find out the location of the free list and monitor its changes.”

So the host allocates memory pages upon their first request from the guest (that’s why consumed is less than the configured maximum), but doesn’t deallocate them once they are freed in the guest OS (because the host simply doesn’t see those guest deallocations). If the guest OS re-uses such previously allocated pages, the host won’t allocate more host memory. If the guest OS however allocates different pages, the host will also allocate more memory (up to the point where all configured memory pages for the specific guest have been allocated).

 2) How is active guest memory calculated? 

“At the beginning of each sampling period, the hypervisor intentionally invalidates several randomly selected guest physical pages and starts to monitor the guest accesses to them. At the end of the sampling period, the fraction of actively used memory can be estimated as the fraction of the invalidated pages that are re-accessed by the guest during the epoch”.

In other words, the active guest memory is calculated from outside the guest by an approximation on the hypervisor level.

Get iDrac to work with Chrome and FireFox

I’ve been able to use Dell’s Remote Console, iDRAC 6, to work with Google Chrome without any issues. You can login to the web interface and navigate all of the menus without any re-configuration to the iDRAC settings. However to launch the Virtual Console and Virtual Media interface, you must make one adjustment. You must change the virtual console from Native to Java and specify the javaws.exe as the launcher for the JNLP file that will download.

1. Log into the web interface for iDRAC.
2. Select System from the right menu and then click Console/Media.
3. Select the Configuration screen menu
4. In the Virtual Console section, locate the Plug-in Type drop-down menu and select Java (Native is the default)

5. Click Apply at the bottom of the screen.
6. Select the Virtual Console and Virtual Media screen and then click Launch Virtual Console to launch the server console.
7. The file viewer.jnlp will download. Once the download is complete, click on the file download notification in Google Chrome to open it.
8. Click the Select a program from a list of installed programs radio button and click OK.

9. Click Browse…
10. Navigate to the Java Runtime installation directory on your computer and open the BIN folder (the complete path on my computer, which has a default installation, is C:\Program Files\Java\jre7\bin)
11. Select javaws.exe from the list of files and click Open. (This program file is called the Java(TM) Web Start Launcher)
12. Check the box Always use the selected program to open this kind of file and click OK.

13. Confirm any security or firewall prompts that appear.

That should be it. If you get the following error, you might have to change some setting in Java:

Error Message: Missing required permissions manifest attribute in main jar

This error appears with newer versions of Java, and you’ll need to do the following:

1. Open Control Panel
2. Click on Java

3. Click on the Security Tab, and then “Edit Site List”
4. Enter the iDrac URL in the List

Now you should be able to follow the above steps and open the .jar file and get to the console!

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