vSphere Web Client vs. vSphere Client - Sessions

There are a great number of differences between the two, and it is obvious that the vSphere Web client is where the future lies – VMware made it clear at VMworld that 5.1 will be the last release of the vSphere Client

vSphere Client EOL
Picture (c) by Marco Broeken.

But unfortunately there are things that have / will fall between the cracks – and functionality we are used to – is no longer available.

One such an example – controlling the current sessions connected to vCenter.

vSphere Client


vSphere Web Client

No Terminate

Just so that you know how to find it – because it is not where you would expect it.

vSphere Client


vSphere Web Client

Click on your vCenter –> Manage –> Sessions Tab


I expect we will see a number of these coming up in the near future.

But if you ask me – the change from the Windows Client to the vSphere Web Client is a great thing and something we all get used to – so you might as well start now.

Message of the day by the way can be found here in the Web Client:
(in case you want to broadcast something to your users)



vESXi with 10Gb Ethernet Using VMXNET3 - Yes You Can!!

I have asked for this…. Begged for …… Ok not begged, but I did ask nicely.. a number of times, a great number of times!!!!
One of the slight drawbacks of working in vESXi is that you could not configure a virtual 10Gb Ethernet card. Why would you? Because you can of course but also because if you wanted to see what would happen in a lab before implementing 10Gb Ethernet in your Production environment– the only way to do it was with a physical server and a physical NIC. This would have been ideal for testing the implementation of NIOC for example.
And why was this – because the only Virtual Network Adapter type that worked up until now was E1000. VMXNET3 would not work. As you are aware – VMXNET3 presents itself as a 10Gb adapter to to Guest Operating Systems.
Until ESXi 5.1.
I noticed this in the release notes.
Release Notes
What was that VMXNET3 in a VM running ESX?
So I tried it out
And lo and behold…..
Ladies and Gents… I present to you a vESXi with 10Gb Ethernet adapter.
And how do I know that it is 10Gb? I looked in the console.
Besides the fact that vESXi is not supported – as noted above – this could cause your
vESXi host to crash.
You have been warned…!!
But it is cool!!!!!


Read the vSphere 5.1 Release Notes!!

The first thing I always do when a new version is released is go over the Release notes. There are always interesting things that come out of a document like this.

vSphere 5.1 is no different.

Here are my takeaways (and some questions as well) as a result of going over the Release Notes

Deprecated OS


  • For vSphere 5.1 you have no change. But before the next version you should be prepared to retire these old Operating Systems.
  • If for some ridiculous reason reason you still have a Windows NT VM in your environment – then get rid of it. Microsoft does not support it – has not for a while – and VMware will not either


  • Why is Windows 2000 not on that list?
  • Ubuntu Support LifeCycle – is a lot shorter than other operating systems – that is what LTS is for!

Linked Mode


  • If you have more than 1 vCenter in your environment and you are using Linked mode you will need to sever the link until they are all upgraded


  • Wasn’t SSO supposed to remove the need for linked Mode? If so – why is it still in use?



  • If you did have access to the Beta Program – it is time to rebuild. An upgrade from a Beta/RC has never been (and probably will never be) supported.

Web Client is the future


  • This has been said more than once – the traditional vSphere Client is history.
  • Get used to the new client, get comfortable with it


  • Check that your vCenter Plugins are compatible with the Web Client, if not sit on your vendors head to make it so.
  • What are VMware doing to assure that 100% of the features that are available in the vSphere Client will be available in the Web client as well. Today that is not the case.
    More on that in another post.

Guest Customization


  • Same thing I said about Windows NT above…



  • Have you heard of these commands before? Tried them? Do you know what they do? How they work?
    SSO is a new component. VMware would like you to believe it is just clickedy, click click – but this is a complex and perhaps one of the least publicly documented component of the release.
  • People are going to have issues with this – understanding how this works and where this fits in the overall strategy for vCenter going forward.


  • When will VMware release more info about the innards of SSO?



  • Pure IPv6 will present issues. But who the heck has a pure IPv6 environment anyway… ?

root is king


  • No matter how much you think an AD account has the same privileges/rights/permissions – root will always be king!!

Prefix - Mac


  • Learn more about this feature and if you can make use of it.
  • Don’t start using this feature until you have upgraded your whole environment.


  • What the heck is this????

16 VMkernel interfaces


  • Maximum of 16 VMkernel adapters – but for the life of me I would not know why you would ever get to that amount…

ESXi uses vmxnet3?


  • Since when is VMXNET3 supported for vESXi?????

GUI Error


  • This is a bug – you should see exactly what this means.


  • When will it be fixed?

Emulex 10Gb


  • Always read the notes. If this applies to you do not upgrade until you have solved the problem.


  • How many environments are effected by this?



  • SDRS/SIOC will be wonky until you complete your upgrade to 5.1



  • If you are getting the metrics you expected – this could be why.


  • What other metrics if any have been moved?
  • What was the performance gain?



  • If this is relevant to your environment – test and make the changes.

The Suspense.....


  • The suspense is killing me!!!! – VMware will you please fix the doc? – Thanks

View Accelerator


  • You might have to add another automation step if this applies to your environment


  • When will this be fixed?



  • Ok I promise I won’t


  • When will this be fixed?

Web Client


  • How many tasks until this situation occurs?



  • As I said before – there is not enough info out there about SSO

Hostname change


  • I now understand what happened to me today with this.


  • When will this be fixed?



  • vCenter is configured for DHCP by default
  • Changing the IP is not the only that needs to be done.
  • You will need to run the wizard again.


  • Why not give us the option of configuring the IP address before the Wizard starts. I do not know many people who would assign a DHCP address to their vCenter Server. Do you?



  • This is new – all that you needed to do up until now was restart the services – now a full OS restart is required?


  • What other complexities are now involved due to the introduction of SSO?



  • Again – not enough info is available about SSO or its command line options…

Slow load


  • Plan for this if you need to restart your vCenter web client service.


  • What causes this to take so long?
  • 2-4 minutes to get access to my vCenter is not so good. Could this present a problem in times of crisis?



  • Look out for this when changing vCenter SSL Certificates – which you all should.


  • When will there be a decent solution to replace all SSL certs for all VMware appliances – this is becoming a cumbersome process.

password expires


  • This introduces an additional level of administration – something to plan for.


  • Why do I need to start managing my users and their password policies in two different places now? What was wrong with Active Directory?



  • It is a limitation – but one you should be able to live with – that is the price we pay for redundancy.


  • How do you configure SSO for High availability?

VMware tools


  • If you have Centos 6.3 installed – then take note


  • Why is the default set as Flexible – if that is the problem? Should the default not be changed?



  • Why? They should be they same – when will this be fixed?

Windows 2012 Clustering


  • If I have a Windows 2012 Failover Cluster in my environment – then no vSphere 5.1


  • Is there any specific reason – or was it because of lack of validation process?




A Powershell Script to notify you on the vSphere 5.1 Release

vSphere 5.1 will most probably be released by the end of September 10th (that is 2 minutes from now in my timezone).

Of course nothing is 100% certain but I will explain on what this assumption is based.

  1. From this Press release 
    Press Release 1 
  2. From the VMware Unveils Industry’s Most Comprehensive Cloud Infrastructure and Management Solution press release
    Press Release 2
  3. September 11, 9-11. This is a sensitive date for especially for Americans. I doubt that anyone, let alone VMware, would go all out with the release multiple new versions of their software on this day. I assume it will be before that.
  4. vCAT 3.0 release end of day September 10, 2012

  5. vSphere 5.0 is available for download from here – but 5.1 is not – yet…

    Not yet

So instead of pushing F5 the whole day I wrote a very simple Powershell script to do it for me.


The basic function was taken from this post Using PowerShell to Query Web Site Information

Then the rest was easy.

Get the page. Parse the HTML and see if it still contains the Unable to Complete Your Request text.

If it does – that means the 5.1 site has not gone live. Sleep for 5 minutes, and check again.

If the text is no longer there – then probably the 5.1 bits are available. In that case – do something (like send me an email)

function Get-WebPage {
   Downloads web page from site.
   Downloads web page from site and displays source code or displays total bytes of webpage downloaded
    URL of the website to test access to.
.PARAMETER UseDefaultCredentials
    Use the currently authenticated user's credentials  
    Used to connect via a proxy
.PARAMETER Credential
    Provide alternate credentials 
    Displays the size of the downloaded page in bytes                 
    Name: Get-WebPage
    Author: Boe Prox
    DateCreated: 08Feb2011        
    Get-WebPage -url "http://www.bing.com"
Returns information about Bing.Com to include StatusCode and type of web server being used to host the site.

	DefaultParameterSetName = 'url',
	ConfirmImpact = 'low'
            Mandatory = $True,
            Position = 0,
            ParameterSetName = '',
            ValueFromPipeline = $True)]
            Position = 1,
            Mandatory = $False,
            ParameterSetName = 'defaultcred')]
            Mandatory = $False,
            ParameterSetName = '')]
            Mandatory = $False,
            ParameterSetName = 'altcred')]
            Mandatory = $False,
            ParameterSetName = '')]
Begin {     
    $psBoundParameters.GetEnumerator() | % { 
        Write-Verbose "Parameter: $_" 
    #Create the initial WebClient object
    Write-Verbose "Creating web client object"
    $wc = New-Object Net.WebClient 
    #Use Proxy address if specified
    If ($PSBoundParameters.ContainsKey('Proxy')) {
        #Create Proxy Address for Web Request
        Write-Verbose "Creating proxy address and adding into Web Request"
        $wc.Proxy = New-Object -TypeName Net.WebProxy($proxy,$True)
    #Determine if using Default Credentials
    If ($PSBoundParameters.ContainsKey('UseDefaultCredentials')) {
        #Set to True, otherwise remains False
        Write-Verbose "Using Default Credentials"
        $wc.UseDefaultCredentials = $True
    #Determine if using Alternate Credentials
    If ($PSBoundParameters.ContainsKey('Credentials')) {
        #Prompt for alternate credentals
        Write-Verbose "Prompt for alternate credentials"
        $wc.Credential = (Get-Credential).GetNetworkCredential()
Process {    
    Try {
        If ($ShowSize) {
            #Get the size of the webpage
            Write-Verbose "Downloading web page and determining size"
            "{0:N0}" -f ($wr.DownloadString($url) | Out-String).length -as [INT]
        Else {
            #Get the contents of the webpage
            Write-Verbose "Downloading web page and displaying source code" 
    Catch {
        Write-Warning "$($Error[0])"

$SMTP = "smtp.maishsk.local"

do {

	$a = Get-WebPage https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/info/slug/datacenter_cloud_infrastructure/vmware_vsphere/5_1
	$test = $a -match "Unable to Complete Your Request"
	sleep 300
while ($test)

Send-MailMessage -From "Maish<maishsk@maishsk.local>" -To "Maish<maishsk@maishsk.local>" -Subject "vSphere 5.1 page has changed" -SmtpServer $SMTP
The script is not perfect, clean or optimized – but actually this shows you how to check for a change on a web page – which can be used in a large number of scenarios.

I will probably be asleep when vSphere 5.1 is released – but it will be interesting to see how accurate my script was – and at what time I received the notification from the script.

Solutions Exchange - Did You Miss the Last Day?

A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum Solutions Exchange floor (forgive me for the corny humor…)

In previous years the Solutions Exchange floor usually opened with a the Hall Crawl Solutions Exchangewhich was at the end of the first day (i.e. Monday). This year it opened on Sunday afternoon and was open until the end of Wednesday.

I have not been able to find out what the rationale was behind this, and it depends on who you ask this was either a good / a bad thing.

The Good

  1. People at the show on Sunday – could already get on the floor to speak to Vendors.
  2. The mad rush for giveaways for SWAG was not on Thursday afternoon – which means the vendors closed up shop early – and they could make it home back in time for the end of the week.
  3. Sessions on Thursday – actually had people in them. I have never seen so many people in sessions on the last day of the show – they had nowhere else to go..
  4. It was quiet – you could hear yourself.
  5. It was less crowded – because people had already gone back home.

The Bad

  1. Vendors had to arrive before Sunday to set everything up – I guess that some of them were already there on Saturday or Friday.
  2. I did not count the hours – to see if they had more or less show floor hours than previous years.If there were less hours then it was not good for the vendors.
  3. It was less crowded – that means people did not stay for the last day.
  4. As a participant, to get full use of the session floor – you needed to be there on Sunday.
It would be interested in hearing why this change was made, and what the attendees, VMware and the vendors think about it.

Please feel free to add your comments below.

I appreciated the quiet on Thursday and happy to see so many people – even at the last scheduled sessions on Thursday.


Release Cycles and Why We Are Chasing Our Tails?

One of the things I continuously heard from a decent number of people during VMworld is that they are constantly running after the technology.

I actually put out a question on Twitter with the following poll:

How many of you are still running ESXi 4.X in your environment?

The results were actually a confirmation of what I heard at the show. Over 70% of those who replied said they were running the previous version. In fact there were a few who actually said they still had customers or knew customers who were still running on 3.X!! (heaven forbid)


The obvious question that might come out of this is why? Why are people still running on older versions? Why not upgrade to the latest and greatest? The incentive is so compelling, the new features that are added with each new version are so enticing - it should actually be hard to resist! And it is!
I guess that is what any software vendor would like. Use the new version, we have fixed up the bugs. We have listened to our customers, improved based upon the client's feedback, added the latest and greatest

So..... if the customers want it, the vendors want it, the. Why is it not happening? Well here is what I would like to raise in this post. I do not actually think that is what the customers want. Well not exactly true - we do want the latest and greatest, but... (and here it comes..) not so often. What do I mean? VMware has been on a release cycle of a newer version once a year - a it usually happens around the time of VMworld. Granted it is not a major version release every year, but every other year (ESXi release dates)
ESX 3.0.0 GA 2006-06-16 27701
ESX 3.5.0 GA 2008-02-20 64607
ESX 4.0 GA 2009-05-21 164009
ESX 4.1 GA 2010-07-13 260247
ESXi 5.0 GA 2011-08-24 469512
And ESXi 5.1 GA is expected within the next week or so. Looking back at the table above, the past 4 versions have been released 12-14 months apart.
I am sure that not everyone is the same as me but let me explain how a release would be deployed in my environment. We never deploy x.0 releases at time of GA, NEVER! - why you may ask, because there are always bugs, always. Our infrastructure depends on the hypervisor being stable - rock solid. So we will wait for 3-4 months or until Update 1 (or SP1 in the case of Windows) to come out.
The GA version gets deployed into a lab environment which is as similar as possible to the production environment for testing, for training and for evaluating what the new features can do for us, and where the pain points might be.
x.1 is released. We will wait a period of up to two months to see if there are any major bugs with this version - and in the meantime upgrade our lab environment.
We are now 6 months from GA.
If all is OK then it is time to perform the upgrade. Some upgrades will take longer than others, take for example the migration from full blown ESX to ESXi. But then comes the rest of the work needed. And that is upgrade of VMware tools and upgrade of virtual hardware. This requires downtime for each and every single VM in you environment which is not a simple procedure which sometimes take months. Take into account that this is not the only thing you are doing of course. Storage upgrades, optimization, exploring new technologies, maintenance and support of course. You can easily see how it can take at least a year or even more to move over to a new major version.
Once we are running on the major version, the minor version upgrades are more simple and take less time of course - it would be pretty much the same as a patching cycle. I assume that you can see where I am going here. I do applaud VMware for their rapid release cycle, the additional functionality added. It is expected of the market leader and highly appreciated. Windows server is slightly different Take this graphic for example:

A major version has been released once every 3-4 years. Is this a good thing - hard to say, but it does make IT's life more manageable.
Web browsers like Firefox and Chrome are moving to a rapid release schedule of all most once a month, are these major upgrades or releases, not really sure, but what I would really really like (perhaps the better term should be expect) is that stability is just as (if not more) important than innovation. Technology is a great thing, but it also has its down sides. We have become a society of instant gratification, we want everything now, and if not then we find it somewhere else. Television and advertising are molded on that assumption. You have to get the viewers attention within 10 seconds otherwise you lose them. Things are on sale now! Act now! Always now now now!!!
Another example sales pitches, they turned into elevator pitches, which then turned into 20 second pitches because elevators move much faster than they used to in the olden days
Chasing our tail??
I am not a believer in instant gratification, I do not raise my kids this way, and I generally think that things that are done on impulse are not always the right thing to do. That does not mean that spontaneity is a bad thing, it is not always the right way to do things in all circumstances. When major changes are needed, serious consideration, planning and testing are called for.
Back to the title of this post and I hope you have managed to stay with me until now. If you ask me, if I was to choose between having a new version every year be it minor or major, or having something a less bit fancy, but that allowed me to reap the stability benefits and therefore manage my environment in a more efficient way - I would choose the second option every single time! Keeping up with technology is fighting a losing battle.
IT is battling with their users who are constantly running ahead of them, and they have to play catch up the whole time. Sometimes this demands compromises on their part, compromises they would not have agreed to if they had sufficient time to plan. What this does pose as a challenge and an opportunity to VMware or any vendor for that matter, to provide this rapid rate of evolution, and still enabling the Enterprise to embrace it swiftly and keeping the disruption to a minimum. I think that the latest feature VM Compatibility is a great step towards meeting that challenge.
One last thing for you to ponder…
  • How often do you upgrade your storage?
    • When was the last time you upgraded your storage firmware to a new major version, or a minor one for that matter?
  • When did you flash the IOS on your Cisco switches to a new major version?
    • Would you do it once a year?
    • Once every two?
    • Three?
If I could say the same thing about my virtual infrastructure then I wouldn’t be writing this post, would I … ?
Give me a stable platform over a rapid release cycle any day.