Latest VMware tools package and version numbers

I was trying to figure out where can I find the latest VMware tools package and what build versions were released with what ESXi host build? And voila, all the information is already published by VMware.

The latest VMware tools package is always referenced at the following URL:

https://packages.vmware.com/tools/releases/latest/index.html

Where as if you need to know what VMware tools versions were released along with which ESXi host builds, then you can find that answer at the following URL:

https://packages.vmware.com/tools/versions

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Windows 2003 VM Guest customization no longer supported

Today I deployed a Windows 2003 VM in a test infrastructure. I did not want to spend too much time installing and configuring the OS hence thought of using Windows 2003 instead of something like a Windows 10 or Windows 2016. ‘

Why  I still use and love to deploy Windows 2003 in my test environments? The reason is very simple:

  • Windows 2003 works very well in a nested environment
  • Windows 2003 virtual machine has a small  footprint does not require a lot of RAM nor does it require a lot of disk space.
  • Finally the important part; Windows 2003 was supported by VMware for guest customization under vCenter

Now here is twist in the story, I was trying the guest customization of Windows 2003 in vCenter 6.7 and guess what it failed. I did a bit of investigation why this was happening. I never expected VMware would stop supporting Windows 2003 guest customization under vCenter 6.7, but that’s exactly what the story is. VMware no longer supports Windows 2003 guest customization starting from vCenter 6.7

Here is the support document from VMware, that states Windows 2003 is no longer supported under vCenter 6.7:

https://partnerweb.vmware.com/programs/guestOS/guest-os-customization-matrix.pdf

 

 

Changing IP Address or hostname of the vCenter Server Appliance

A couple of days back during a discussion in a class, someone asked me if it is possible to change the IP Address of a vCenter Server appliance.

Short Answer:

Changing of IP Address is allowed. However changing of hostname (FQDN), also referred to as Primary Network Identifier (PNID) is not allowed.

Long Answer:

So the long answer, yes it is possible to change the IP Address of a vCenter server appliance after the deployment. (It is also possible to change the IP Address after a vCenter migration from a Windows instance to an server appliance.) One can change the IP Address by connecting to the Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) located at https://vcenter_server:5480.

Remember after changing the IP Address don’t forgot to update the forward and reverse DNS records.

There one corner condition when changing IP Address is does not work, this is specifically when one has configured a vCenter server appliance with an IP Address (without DNS records). In such cases it is not possible to change the vCenter server appliance IP Address.

However I don’t recommend changing IP Address of a vCenter instance after it has been deployed. Very simply there are many dependencies to take care of which can potentially break things in your environment. Hence always spend some time before deploying a vCenter instance and come up with a long term design strategy of  correct Hostname & IP IP Addressing policy.

Space Reclamation in VMFS 6

VMFS6 file system was in vSphere 6.5. Of the many new features introduced with VMFS6, one of the notable features is Automatic Space Reclamation.

Automatic space reclamation, also sometimes referred to as UNMAP is a feature that allows the hypervisor (vmkernel) to reclaim space when files (data) are (is) deleted from a virtual machine with a thin provisioned disk. The following video from VMware Tech Pubs provides an ease way to understand the same.

 

vSphere Swap files

In a vSphere environment, when from the command line you list the virtual machines files in a virtual machine folder; you find that there are 2 files with an extension vswp. So what are these files?

They are the Swap files associated with your virtual machine. And on a default installation of vSphere there are 2 swap files per virtual machines. They are:

  1. VM Swap file:
    VM Swap is created when a virtual machine is powered on and deleted on power off the VM. By default this file is created in the location where the VM configuration file resides. If VMKernel fails to create this file the VM will fail to power on.For additional details read:
    VM Swap file
    KB#2146618
  2. VMX Swap File:
    The second vswap file is created with a prefix vmx. This is the swap file for the overhead memory reserved for the VMX process. These VMX Swap files help in reducing contention when memory is over-committed.For additional details read:
    VMX Swap file

Both these swap files are automatically created by the VMKernel (ESXi host).

 

Find aggregate allocated VM CPU and Memory per host basis

Here’s a quick and dirty one-liner to find the total allocated CPU & Memory per ESXi host basis. This is useful when you want to get a quickly get your over-commitment ratios.

$TotalMem=0; Get-VMHost myESXiHost1 | Get-VM | ?{$_.PowerState -match 'PoweredOn'} | %{$TotalMem=$TotalMem+$_.MemoryGB};Write-Host $TotalMem
$TotalCPU=0; Get-VMHost myESXiHost2 | Get-VM | ?{$_.PowerState -match 'PoweredOn'} | %{$TotalCPU = $TotalCPU+$_.numCPU};Write-Host $TotalCPU