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vRealize Orchestrator 8.X Download Hotfix

When running VMware vRealize Orchestrator 8.X at some point in time you need to install a hotfix. When performing this operation at a customer I was running into an issue, I could not find the link on the VMware website in the first place.

After some searching, I found the location so I thought lets write a small blog post about locating the patch files on the VMware website.

Keep in mind: this blog post is focused on a standalone vRealize Orchestrator instance that requires a hotfix bundle. This is not for the embedded version inside vRealize Automation (vRA).

Download location

At first, we need to go to the appropriate location on the VMware website. This update and the latest patched installation files are in my opinion not easy to find. Because you would expect the files to be on the VMware Download page. So where do we need to go?!

Here is a short write-up:

  1. Go to the following URL for the vRealize Orchestrator 8.X downloads.
  2. Log in with your My VMware account.
  3. Select the vRealize Orchestrator product and the appropriate version.
  4. On this page, you will found OVA versions and iso version of the latest vRO hotfixes.

Note:

  • *.OVA = is required for installing a new vRealize Orchestrator instance.
  • *.ISO = is required for patching a currently running vRealize Orchestrator instance.

vRealize Orchestrator Install Hotfix

Here is a short description of how to install a vRealize Orchestrator 8.X hotfix. Keep in mind when writing this blog post vRealize Orchestrator 8.2 did not have a hotfix yet! So far I figured out a difference between the releases:

  • vRealize Orchestrator 8.0 & 8.1 still have a VAMI
  • vRealize Orchestrator 8.2 does not have a VAMI.

So after vRealize Orchestrator 8.2, the upgrade procedure will be slightly different!



Installation Procedure

Before starting the upgrade always make sure you have a backup!

  1. Mount the ISO file to the vRO virtual machine.
  2. Log in to the vRealize Orchestrator VAMI with the root account.
  3. Click on the Update tab.
  4. Modify the download mirror to the CD-ROM drive.
  5. Check for updates
  6. Install the updates.
  7. Wait some time to let the upgrade complete and that should be it!

This was my short blog post about updating vRealize Orchestrator 8 with a Hotfix. If you have any comments please respond below :)!

vRealize Automation 7 – Creating Business Groups Automatically

In the blog post were are going to automatically create Business Groups in vRealize Automation 7.X. This can be handy when a customer has a lot of Business Groups and adds additional Business Groups overtime. So it was time to write a little bit of code that makes my life easier.

I wrote it in the first place for using it in my lab environment to set up vRealize Automation 7.X quickly for testing deployments and validating use cases.

Advantages of orchestrating this task:

  • Quicker
  • Consistent
  • History and settings are recorded in vRealize Orchestrator (vRO)

Environment

My environment where I am testing this vRO workflow is my Home Lab. At home, I have a Lab environment for testing and developing stuff. The only products you need for this workflow are:

  • vRealize Automation 7.6 in short vRA.
  • vRealize Orchestrator 7.6 in short vRO.

Note: The vRealize Automation endpoint must be registered to make it work.

vRealize Orchestrator Code

Here is all the information you need for creating the vRealize Orchestrator workflow:

  • Workflow Name: vRA 7.X – Create Business Group
  • Version: 1.0
  • Description: Creating a vRealize Automation 7.X Business Group in an automated way.
  • Inputs:
    • host (vCACCAFE:VCACHost)
    • name (string)
    • adname (string)
  • Outputs:
    • None
  • Presentation:
    • See the screenshots below.

Here is the vRealize Orchestrator code in the Scriptable Task:

// Variables
var domain = "company.local";
var mailDomain = "company.com";

// Input validation
if (!domain) {
	throw "Defined variable 'domain' cannot be null";
}
if (!mailDomain) {
	throw "Defined variable 'mailDomain' cannot be null";
}
if (!host) {
	throw "Input variable 'host' cannot be null";
}
if (!name) {
	throw "Input variable 'name ' cannot be null";
}
if (!adname) {
	throw "Input variable 'adname' cannot be null";
}

// Construct Group Object
var group = new vCACCAFEBusinessGroup();
	group.setName("BG-" + name);
	group.setDescription("vRA Business Group: BG-" + name);
	group.setActiveDirectoryContainer("");
	group.setAdministratorEmail("vra-admin" + "@" + mailDomain);
	group.setAdministrators(["vra-admin@vsphere.local", "vra_" + adname + "@" + domain]);
	group.setSupport(["vra-admin@vsphere.local", "vra_" + adname + "@" + domain]);
	group.setUsers(["vra_" + adname + "@" + domain]);

// Create the group; return the ID of the group.
var service = host.createInfrastructureClient().getInfrastructureBusinessGroupsService();
var id = service.create(group);

// Get the SubTenant entity from vRA
group = vCACCAFEEntitiesFinder.findSubtenants(host , "BG-" + name)[0];

// Add custom property to Business Group
vCACCAFESubtenantHelper.addCustomProperty(group, "Company.BusinessGroup", name, false, false);

// Create update client and save the local entity to the vRA entity
var service = host.createAuthenticationClient().getAuthenticationSubtenantService();
	service.updateSubtenant(group.getTenant(), group);

Screenshots

Here are some screenshot(s) of the Workflow configuration that helps you set up the workflow as I have done!

Wrap-up

This is a vRealize Orchestrator workflow example that I use in my home lab. It creates vRealize Automation Business Groups to improve consistency and speed.

Keep in mind: Every lab and customer is different. In this workflow I use for example the prefix BG- for Business Groups. What I am trying to say is modify it in a way that is bested suited for your environment.

Thanks for reading and if you have comments please respond below.

vRealize Automation 8 Changing Product License

After a recent deployment in my Lab environment with a new vRealize Automation 8 installation I figured out that my NFR product license was about to expire within a week. So it was time to change the product key on my running environment. Here is a write-up to change the license in vRealize Automation 8 with a standard installation (standalone-node) that is running with an Enterprise license.

Keep in mind: as explained in the vRealize Automation 8 release notes you cannot change the version of the license “After configuring vRealize Automation with the Enterprise license, the system can not be re-configured to use the Advanced License.“.

Connecting with vRA8

Start a connection with the vRealize Automation 8 appliance to get shell access to the system. I like to use Putty but you can use any terminal emulator you prefer that supports SSH.

Procedure:

  1. Start a terminal emulator like Putty on your desktop.
  2. Connect with the FQDN/hostname of the vRealize Automation 8 Appliance.
  3. Login with the root account.


Viewing product license

To validate the currently installed license key on the vRealize Automation 8 appliance you need to enter the following command “vracli license current“. Here can you find a screenshot of the output in my lab environment (keep in mind multiple lines are hidden):

Installing product license

To install a new license in vRA8 you need to perform some steps on the command line.

In this example we are changing the product license from one license key to the other:

  • New license key: AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA
  • Old license key: ZZZZZ-ZZZZZ-ZZZZZ-ZZZZZ-ZZZZZ
### List current license installed
vracli license current

### Install new license
vracli license add AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA-AAAAA

### Remove old license
vracli license remove ZZZZZ-ZZZZZ-ZZZZZ-ZZZZZ-ZZZZZ

### Reboot the appliance to apply the license change
reboot

Wrap-up

I think this covers this small blog about changing the vRealize Automation 8 product license on a running system because there was no procedure available in the official documentation. I have not tested this procedure yet on a clustered deployment with three vRealize Automation 8 appliances. This might behave differently.

Be aware: I have tested this procedure on vRealize Automation 8.0.1 Hot Fix 1. The result may defer on another hotfix or version because of the ongoing product evolution.

Thanks for reading this blog and see you next time!

VMware vRealize Log Insight content pack for Cisco ASA

In this blog, we are going to set up the VMware vRealize Log Insight content pack for a Cisco ASA device for capturing syslog information. With setting up this pack we are able to provide a central location for storing the logging information and a way to maintain the data for longer periods of time.

Almost a year ago I moved from pfSense to a physical Cisco ASA firewall and it was time to improve the visibility into the firewall rules that were blocking and allowing traffic in my network. This was a nice opportunity to configure VMware vRealize Log Insight with an additional content pack.

Environment

When I was writing this blog post I was using the following software releases:

In essence, the procedure is the same for older and newer versions of Log Insight and a Cisco ASA.

Log Insight Content Pack

Let’s start by installing the content pack on vRealize Log Insight. Make sure you install the Cisco ASA content pack for vRealize Log Insight. This can be found in the VMware marketplace that is available in the central VMware vRealize Log Insight interface.

Here is a screenshot with the location of were you can find the content pack:



Cisco ASA Configuration

Login into your Cisco ASA firewall with a console or SSH session and configure the syslog settings as displayed below. Keep in mind this is an example configuration, change the config based on your needs!

Here is an basic configuration example:

config t
  logging enable
  logging timestamp
  logging trap debugging
  logging host %interface% %ip-address_syslog_facility%
exit

To verify the status of the configuration run the following commands


### Show configuration and logging forwarding status
show logging

### View configuration
show run | grep logging

Here is an example output of my Cisco ASA:



Viewing information

After everything has been set up the dashboards will be populated with information received from the Cisco ASA.

Here are some screenshots from my environment:

Here are some useful examples of with kind of information you can expect from the Cisco ASA Content Pack for vRealize Log Insight. I personally think it is one of the best free content packs because the dashboards are really good at providing a lot of information with good solid diagrams.

ProLiant ML10 v2 CPU Swap

In this blog post, I am talking about the HPE ProLiant ML10 v2 home lab servers that I have been using for the last three years. I had some performance issues related to the processor with the number of virtual machines and containers running on the little ML10 v2 servers. So it was time for a CPU Swap!

On the internet, there are a lot of speculations on which CPUs are supported in the HPE ProLiant ML10 v2. So that is why I did this blog post.

The servers were originally bought with Intel® Pentium® Processor G3240 CPUs. This was the smallest CPU available at the time. At first, I was looking at the Intel Xeon E3-1220 v3 CPUs but I decided to buy the Intel® Core™ i3-4170 Processor on Ebay.com for a couple of bucks. The choice was related to the pricing difference and the amount of power usage.

I can confirm that both HPE ProLiant ML10 v2 servers detected the i3-4170 CPUs without any issues. The systems are running 24×7 and the CPU temperature is around fourth to fifty degrees with the fans running on their lowest operating mode.

Comparison

As you already figured out the G3240 is a slow CPU compared to the i3-4170. So it was a well worth invested upgrade it for about 40 euro’s for both CPUs in total.

The hypervisor (VMware ESXi) and workload performance improved drastically. Because of the additional instruction sets like AES-NI and clock speed. So it was a good investment at least in my opinion.

Here is a comparison provided by the Intel ARK website. Click here for the link.



Screenshot(s)

Here are some screenshots of one of the HPE ML10 v2 server that was upgraded with the new CPU. As you can see the screenshots are from the HPE Integrated Lights-out or in short (iLO). The first screenshot is of the new CPU that is detected, the second one is the memory configuration and the third screenshot is the operating temperatures after running a couple of days with the workload.

Result

As you can see the Intel i3-4170 CPU is working without any issues in the ML10 v2 server. Currently, they have been running for about 100 days without any reboot. So I can confirm they are stable and do not overheat! The CPU swap is successful!

Notes:

  • I use stock cooling.
  • I do not use a modified BIOS.

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

VCSA 6.7 Out of Space (SEAT)

Today I was greeted by the following error message when logging into the VMware vCenter Server also known as VCSA: “Could not connect to one or more vCenter Server systems: https://%fqdn%:443/sdk“. So it was time for a quick write-up on how to resolve this issue.

The issues were already present a couple of hours earlier based on monitoring and logging. For example, Veeam Backup & Replication tried to perform a backup but failed because there were no vSphere Tags available. Veeam Backup & Replication generated the following message “Tag Backup SLA – Bronze is unavailable, VMs residing on it will be skipped from processing.“.

I’m running a VMware vCenter Server as in a VCSA 6.7 appliance and it has an embedded Platform Services Controller. The exact version of the appliance was at the moment of the issue “6.7.0.32000 – Build 14070457“.

Could not connect to one or more vCenter Server systems:

At first glance everything looks fine, the web-interfaces are online, authentication is working but after login, the following message appears “Could not connect to one or more vCenter Server systems: https://%fqdn%:443/sdk“. None of the pages are displaying any content. Here is a screenshot:



After performing a simple reboot nothing had happened, the result was the same. So it was time to dig deeper. Luckily the reboot did trigger a new event in the Appliance Management Page (5480). It appeared that the /storage/seat disk had filled up. The alert that popped-up was “File system /storage/seat is low on database storage space. Increase the size of disk /storage/seat or decrease the data retention.” Here is a screenshot:



Increasing Disk Space

After finding the error message it appeared to be an easy fix. Here is an overview of the commands I used. The commands are also usable for expanding one of the other VCSA virtual disks.

Keep in mind: before increasing disk capacity make sure you have a backup or snapshot available.

It this case we are going to expand this /storage/seat volume. The seat volume is responsible for Stats, Events, Alarms, and Tasks (SEAT) for VMware Postgres (Database).

# Step 01: Connect with the vCenter Server with an SSH Session (use for example Putty).

# Step 02: Login with the root account (root/your-password).

# Step 03: Enable the shell
shell

# Step 04: Run the command to verify the current disk space:
df -h

# Step 05: Increase disk capacity with the Host Client because the vCenter Web-interface is not working ;) (see screenshots)

# Step 06: Run the disk expansion command, the expected output should be: VC_CFG_RESULT=0
vpxd_servicecfg storage lvm autogrow

# Step 07: Verify the disk again, the disk should be bigger!
df -h

# Step 08: Reboot the VCSA
reboot

# Step 09: Verify the working of the VCSA Appliance after reboot.

Here is a collection of screenshots of me performing the procedure.

Conclusion

VMware made it easy for the system administrators to identify the issue and quickly expand the virtual disk from the vCenter Appliance. This is a huge improvement compared to the past. The only thing you need to watch out for is the number of virtual disks connected to the VCSA. If you do not watch out you could expand the wrong disk.

The reason that the disk filled up was caused by two things in my case. 1) I created and destroyed lots of virtual machines in the days before the incident. 2) The VCSA is configured as a tiny footprint so that is why the disks are relatively small.

So this was the write-up! If you got any comments or questions please respond in the section below.

VMware ESXi Start a Virtual Machine from Shell

In this blog post, we are going to talk about VMware ESXi and the ability to start & stop a virtual machine from the ESXi shell.

Recently, I ran into a situation where vCenter Server was powered-off manually and the ESXi host that was responsible was not able to open the VMware Host Client to start VMware vCenter with a single mouse click. So it was time to figure out how to boot a virtual machine from the VMware ESXi shell.

I was lucky because SSH was enabled on the ESXi Host so I was able to connect and log in with the root account, but then I ran into the issue… Which command do I need to power on a virtual machine? I knew for sure that it was possible but it took me some time to find the right commands.

So based on that experience, it was time for a quick write-up to show you how to boot a virtual machine from the shell with VMware ESXi. To complete the article I also added the commands for powering off.

Note: The environment was running on vSphere 6.7 Update 2. So all commands are valid for vSphere 6.7 and probably older versions of VMware vSphere.



Start a Virtual Machine from Shell

Here is a step-by-step procedure for booting a virtual machine from the VMware ESXi shell.

# Step 01: Connect with SSH (for example Putty).

# Step 02: Login as a user with root privileges

# Step 03a: View ESXi host virtual machine inventory
vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms

# Step 03b: View ESXi host virtual machine inventory with filter
vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms | grep %VMname%

# Step 04: Write-down the VMid, in my case:
183

# Step 05: Verify the current power status
vim-cmd vmsvc/power.getstate %VMid%

# Step 06: Power-on virtual machine
vim-cmd vmsvc/power.on %VMid%

# Step 07: Command has been executed the virtual machine will be power-on. To verify you can use:
vim-cmd vmsvc/power.getstate %VMid%

Screenshots

Here are the screenshots of performing a VMware vCenter virtual machine startup from the VMware ESXi shell.


Stop a Virtual Machine from Shell

Here is the procedure for stopping a virtual machine from the VMware ESXi Shell.

# Step 01: Connect with SSH (for example Putty).

# Step 02: Login as a user with root privileges

# Step 03a: View ESXi host virtual machine inventory
vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms

# Step 03b: View ESXi host virtual machine inventory with filter
vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms | grep %VMname%

# Step 04: Write-down the VMid, in my case:
183

# Step 05: Verify the current power status
vim-cmd vmsvc/power.getstate %VMid%

# Step 06: Power-on virtual machine
vim-cmd vmsvc/power.off %VMid%

# Step 07: Command has been executed the virtual machine will be power-off. To verify you can use:
vim-cmd vmsvc/power.getstate %VMid%


Conclusion

You can easily perform this procedure if you know the right commands. There is not a lot of new information available about the vim-cmd command but I added the source(s) below.

ITQ Transform! 2019

On the twenty-sixth of September 2019, it was time for our yearly event! For the third time in a row under the name ITQ Transform! This year the theme of the event was “Empower your Business”.

The event was located in Fort Voordorp near Utrecht in Holland. A central spot in the country with enough parking space to accommodate all attendees.

For the attendees, there was choice enough to select an appropriate session. The sessions were grouped into three main categories:

  • Accelerate your cloud journey
  • Empower the Digital Workspace
  • Modernizing your Apps

There were also multiple guest speakers how we’re responsible for the opening and closing keynotes:

  • Spencer Pitts – VMware
  • Wouter Sliedrecht – Pivotal
  • Robert Doornbos – F1 driver


TeraSky & ITQ

The biggest announcement that was made on ITQ Transform was about TeraSky & ITQ. TeraSky is a premier VMware Partner that is located in Israel and ITQ is an enterprise VMware partner that is located in the Benelux.

Combining there effort they join forces to help customers around the world. The company will be called SKY-TQ. Here is the announcement video that was shown on ITQ Transform:

ITQ Transform Session

This year I did a customer case session with a VMware Cloud Provider called ViaData. It was a combined effort with Jitse Hijlkema about the first Cloud Provider Pod that was deployed in the Benelux. Because of our experience with the product, it was time to talk about it in the form of a knowledge sharing session.

For those who are interested here is the presentation of our slide deck. The drawback is that the entire event was in Dutch… so we are sorry if you are an English viewer.

View Slide Deck:

SDDC Based on Cloud Provider Pod
Transform! 2019 – Jitse & Mischa – SDDC based on Cloud Provider Pod


ITQ Transform! Showcase

Here are some photos of the ITQ Transform! 2019 event. You can click on the image for the full-color version.

Note: Not all pictures are very clear… somehow my Pixel 3 phone didn’t like the lighting setup.

For those who are interested in the past, I also wrote a blog post about ITQ Transform! 2017.

vCloud Director Appliance Keystore Password

Recently I was deploying vCloud Director (vCD) at a customer and I was experiencing some issues surrounding the Java Keystore password that is configured out of the box (OOTB) in the vCD Cell.

Before digging into the topic, let’s talk about the latest vCloud Director releases. Since the release of vCloud Director 9.5, the software is available as a virtual appliance. In the releases before vCloud Director was released as an installable package for on a Linux Distribution. So a lot has changed related to the vCloud Director software package.

Personally, I really like the vCloud Director appliance since it reduces the complexity and the deployment time at the customer. So that is a good thing!



Why Keystore Access

To install an SSL certificate on a vCloud Director Cell you need access to Java Keystore for replacing the default certificate. The default certificate installed is a self-signed certificate, so not usable for a production environment with a cloud management portal available in the outside world.

So to install a new SSL Certificate that has been issued by a third-party certificate authority we need access to the Java Keystore from the vCloud Director Cell.

The problem is there is no password listed in any of the manuals or online documentation. So that is not really ideal…

After a lot of searching and trying we came up with the following solution for vCloud Director 9.5 and vCloud Director 9.7.

vCloud Director 9.5 Keystore Password

To verify the default Java Keystore Password on your vCloud Director 9.5 cell you need to run the following commands:

  1. Open an SSH Session with your vCloud Director Cell with for example Putty.
  2. Login with your root account.
  3. Run the following command:
cat /opt/vmware/etc/isv/firstboot | grep 'keystore-password'

Here are two screenshots of the full code and the output from the command above.

In all the cases I have tested so far the standard password is “akimbi“. Not really the most save solution in my opinion. You can also create a new Java Keystore to work around the problem and to set a selfdefined password.



vCloud Director 9.7 Keystore Password

I also tested the same operation on a vCloud Director 9.7 Cell and the default password has been removed from the firstboot script. If you look closely at the firstboot code the entire script is overhauled and the script now responsible for certificate generation is “generate-certificates.sh“.

The root password configured at deployment is now the default password for the Java Keystore on the appliance. Keep in mind: When changing the root password the old password is still valid for the Java Keystore but not as login. Also, this is not a very ideal scenario in my opinion.

Here are two screenshots of the code:

Final word

This concludes my blog post about the vCloud Director Java Keystore Password. I wasted more time on this subject than expected… so it was time for a proper write-up for the vCommunity.