Mar 13

Collect Virtual Disk IOPS with PowerCLI

I was messing around with PowerCLI and the real-time statistics to collect the IOPS used by virtual machines/virtual machine disks in my my home lab. Virtual disk performance counters are available in the real-time performance stats but at the default statistics level, Level 1, the IOPS statistics are not rolled up into the historical performance statistics (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly). To get per device level statistics the statistics level has to be set to at least Level 3.

Here is an example of the real-time chart in the vSphere Web Client which shows the read/write requests per second, and the read/write latency for a single virtual disks:

I adjusted the virtual disk chart options selecting counters for NumberReadAveraged, NumberWriteAverage, TotalReadLatency, and TotalWriteLatency for virtual disk scsi0:1 on LABFILE01. If the the default statistics level has not been changed these counters are only available real-time and are only kept for the past hour.

To collect these counters past the hour which displays in the real-time statistics I put together a PowerCLI script, collect-iops.ps1, which uses the Get-Stat Cmdlet to collect the real-time samples and save each sample for each virtual machine, and each virtual disk, to a csv file.
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Mar 08

Microsoft Failover Cluster in a Box on SimpliVity

This is a White Paper I worked on with SimpliVity‘s Product Management to provide details on how to implement and operate a Microsoft Windows Server Failover Cluster in a Box (CIB) on a SimpliVity OmniStack system. It provides information on configuration and also details how availability is provided across different failure scenarios.

The White Paper is available here: Windows Server Failover Clustering and here: Windows Server Failover Clustering on SimpliVity and also here: Windows Server Failover Clustering on SimpliVity

You can also check out other SimpliVity Solution White Papers.


Feb 28

SimpliVity Getting Started Guide

This “getting started” guide introduces you to the SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure. It also steps you through performing common management tasks on deployed OmniStack hosts using the SimpliVity Extension for vSphere Web Client. The online guide is searchable to allow you to easily find the SimpliVity task or feature you are looking for.

Beyond common tasks there is also an introduction to SimpliVity terminology and links to additional resources for SimpliVity administrators.

The guide is accessible online or can be downloaded as a PDF. You can access the SimpliVity Getting Started Guide here.

Feb 21

Automated vSphere Lab Deployment Script

Very handy! @lamw has put together an automated lab deployment script which will deploy a 3 host nested vCenter/ESXi/VSAN/NSX Lab. It supports vSphere 6.0 Update 2 and vSphere 6.5. The scripts provide a fully deployed and ready to use lab in under an hour!

A full write up and links to the scripts can be found here: The README with configuration instructions can be found here:

Great stuff!!! Thanks @lamw

Jan 30

SimpliVity Custom Backup Scheduling Using the REST API

The ability to perform Policy-based VM-centric backups is a key feature delivered by SimpliVity’s Data Virtualization Platform (DVP). SimpliVity Backup Policies are a collection of rules which automate the protection of virtual machines to meet Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) for data recovery, this includes replicating backups to other SimpliVity Datacenters for off site retention and disaster recovery. SimpliVity Backups allow full virtual machines or individual files/folders to be quickly restored to the point in time when the backup was taken. This post provides a solution using the REST API to schedule SimpliVity backups outside of the standard options available when creating SimpliVity backup policy rules in the vSphere Web Client.

A SimpliVity Backup Policy contains backup rules which answer three questions: 1) frequency of backup, 2) retention period, and 3) in which SimpliVity datacenter to store the backup. A Backup Policy can contain multiple rules to protect VMs at different frequencies, with different retention policies, which can be replicated across multiple Datacenters.

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Jan 19

Automate Backup of the VCSA to the vMA

Recently I wrote a post on how to Target the vMA for VCSA Backups. This post takes things a step further and automates the backup of the VCSA using a shell script, the vCenter Appliance REST API, and cron on the vMA.

In the vSphere 6.5 Documentation there is a Bash Example of Backing Up the vCenter Server Instance so I did not have to re-invent the wheel. I made a few slight modifications to the example script to use SCP and separate VCSA instance backups into different folders.

My script can be found here:
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Jan 16

Target the vMA for VCSA Backups

One handy new feature available with vSphere 6.5 is the ability to take a supported backup of the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) configuration and database. The VCSA backup workflow can be accessed from the VMware vSphere Appliance Management Interface at https://IPorFQDNofvCenter:5480/

VCSA backups can be transferred to a target using HTTP/S, FTP/S, and SCP. A target will have to be configured to use one of the supported protocols in order to backup the VCSA, the vMA already supports SCP. This post walks through backing up the VCSA using SCP to target the vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) to store the backup.

Additional capacity will need to be added to the vMA to store the VCSA backups. Check out the post Adding a /workspace Disk to the vSphere Management Assistant for details on how to add an additional disk to the vMA.
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Jan 15

Adding a /workspace Disk to the vSphere Management Assistant (vMA)

The VMware vSphere Management Assitant (vMA) appliance allows admins to run scripts and agents against ESXi host and vCenter Server. The vMA includes the vSphere command-line interface (esxcli and vicfg) and the vSphere Perl SDK. The vMA allows you to remotely execute vCLI/esxcli and use resxtop without having to enable SSH on ESXi host.

The vMA is deployed with a single 3 GB disk with about 1 GB available after deployment. This post walks through adding a disk to the vMA appliance to provide additional storage for scripts, logs, VIBs, iso, backups, etc.

Adding a new disk the vMA appliance is pretty straight forward. Here is an overview of the process:

  1. Add a new hard disk (vmdk) to the vMA appliance.
  2. Identify the new disk device in the vMA.
  3. Create a partition table on the new disk device.
  4. Format the newly created partition with the ext3 filesystem.
  5. Mount the partition so it is accessible.
  6. Configure the new partition to mount when the vMA boots.

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Jan 05

Add an Entry to ESXi /etc/hosts using PowerShell

I was looking for away to easily add an entry to an ESXi host’s /etc/hosts file without using SSH to connect to the ESXi host. I ran across this article from a while back on Using vCLI’s vifs For More Than Just Datastore File Management. I could use vCLI, and that would be easy enough, but I wanted to figure out a way to do with PowerShell. In the article @lamw mentions the file management interface can be accessed with standard GET/PUT operations. The file management interface can be accessed with a Web Browser without enabling SSH on the ESXi host.

I put together a quick example of doing this with PowerShell using Invoke-WebRequest. The script Update-HostsFile.ps1 can be found at
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Dec 22

Locating SimpliVity Manual Backups

SimpliVity data protection is policy based and VM-Centric. A SimpliVity Backup Policy is a collection of data protection rules which define 1) how often to backup a VM, 2) how long to retain the backup for, and 3) in which SimpliVity Datacenter to store the backup. A Backup Policy is assigned to a VM, or multiple VMs, and ensures the RPOs for the assigned VM(s) are met.

SimpliVity Manual Backups can be taken at any time to provide a full point in time backup of a VM. These manual backups are useful when doing things like software updates or patching on VMs. For these types of tasks the SimpliVity Manual Backup can replace VMware Snapshots. Unlike a VMware Snapshot, the Manual SimpliVity Backup happens very quickly and has no impact on consumed capacity or the performance of the virtual machine.

Policy based SimpliVity Backups have a retention period defined in the backup policy. When the retention period expires the backup is automatically deleted from the system.

When an expired backup is deleted from a SimpliVity Federation the unique data associated with the backup is also deleted and the space is reclaimed as free space.

The backup retention period is only set when the SimpliVity Backup is Policy based. When a Manual SimpliVity Backup is taken no retention period set by default and the backup will never expire. A manual backup must be manually deleted, or manually configured with a retention period, before it will be removed from the Federation and any space associated with its unique data is reclaimed.

A customer recently asked me how to quickly identify all the Manual SimpliVity Backups in a SimpliVity Federation. One way is to use the vSphere Web Client to search each SimpliVity Datacenter from the SimpliVity Search Backups tab to locate SimpliVity Backups with the type Manual.

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