VMware – vSphere Basics – Re-package An OVA

This is a quick and easy one. I came across a virtual appliance the other day that had an expired certificate.

When you click Next you’ll get an error saying the package is signed with an invalid certificate.

It’s a relatively easy fix (or at least workaround) and I followed Stephen Wagner‘s guidance here. In short, grab a copy of the VMware OVF Tool from here. You then run the following command:

ovftool.exe --skipManifestCheck c:\tmp\old.ova c:\tmp\new.ova

You’ll then be able to deploy the appliance without it barfing. Remember, though, that this is a bit of a rough workaround, and you should really contact the appliance vendor in the first instance as they’ll likely be keen to fix the issue. In my case I was able to continue with my testing while the vendor went ahead and fixed things on their side.

OT – Top 78

Eric Siebert recently published (okay, fine, it was three weeks ago) the full results of the Top vBlog voting. I was pleased to find I’d made a jump up from last year.


I’ve previously changed my tune on asking for votes in this competition, not because I don’t think it’s a good bit of fun, but I think there’re a bunch of other bloggers you should be voting for. A few people like to huff and puff about it being a popularity contest, but if nothing else I’ve found these types of lists (and Eric’s site in general) to be extremely useful when tracking down links to things on the internet that I know I need but can’t remember how I googled them in the first place. A lot of work goes into the site, so thanks Eric, and please keep it up! Thanks also to anyone who did throw a vote my way, I do actually appreciate it.

VMware – Deploying vSphere Replication 5.8

As part of a recent vSphere 5.5 deployment, I installed a small vSphere Replication 5.8 proof-of-concept for the customer to trial site-to-site replication and get their minds around how they can do some simple DR activities. The appliance is fairly simple to deploy, so I thought I’d just provide a few links to articles that I found useful. Firstly, esxi-guy has a very useful soup-to-nuts post on the steps required to deploy a replication environment, and the steps to recover a VM. You can check it out here. Secondly, here’s a link to the official vSphere Replication documentation in PDF and eBook formats – just the sort of thing you’ll want to read while on the treadmill or sitting on the bus on the way home from the salt mines. Finally, if you’re working in an environment that has a number of firewalls in play, this list of ports you need to open is pretty handy.

One problem we did have was that we’d forgotten what the password was on the appliance we’d deployed at each site. I’m not the greatest cracker in any case, and so we agreed that re-deploying the appliance would be the simplest course of action. So I deleted the VM at each site and went through the “Deploy from OVF” thing again. The only thing of note that happened was that it warned me I had previously deployed a vSphere Replication instance with that name and IP address previously, and that I should get rid of the stale version. I did that at each site and then joined them together again and was good to go. I’m now trying to convince the customer that SRM might be of some use to them too. But baby steps, right?

Note also that, if you want to deploy additional vSphere Replication VMs to assist with load-balancing in your environment, you need to use the vSphere_Replication_AddOn_OVF10.ovf file for the additional appliances.

VMware – SRM 5.8 – You had one job!

The Problem

A colleague of mine has been doing some data centre failover testing for a customer recently and ran into an issue with VMware’s Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.8 running on vSphere 5.5 U2. When attempting to perform a recovery, and you’re running Linked Mode, and the protected site is off-line, the recovery may fail. The upshot of this is “The user is unable to perform a recovery at the recovery site, in the event of a DR scenario”. Here’s what it looks like.



The Reason and Resolution

You can read more about the problem in this VMware KB article: Performing a Recovery using the Web Client in VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.8 reports the error: Failed to connect Site Recovery Manager Server(s). In short, there’s a PowerShell script you can run to make the recovery happen.




I don’t know what to say about this. I’d like to put the boot into whomever at VMware is responsible for this SNAFU, but I’m guessing that they’ve already had a hard time of it. At least, I guess, there’s a workaround, if not a fix. But you’d be a bit upset if this happened for the first time during a real failover. But that’s why we test before we handover. And what is it with everything going pear-shaped when Linked Mode is in use?


*Update – 29/10/2015*

Marcel van den Berg recently pointed out that updating to SRM 5.8.1 resolves this issue. Further detail can be found here.

OT – Top Virtualisation Blogs – Don’t Vote For Me

Eric Siebert has opened up voting for the 2015 top VMware & virtualization [sic] blogs. I’m listed on the vLaunchpad under storage blogs. Previously, I’ve been keen to get your vote. I even once made it in the top 10 (for storage bloggers). But this time around I think it would be a bit silly to vote for me when there’s all these other great bloggers you can vote for. People like Ray, Nigel and Chin-Fah are really, really, switched on people and you should be giving them some voting love. As are all those virtualisation types. So go and do that. And don’t vote for me. Unless you’re really into CX700 FLARE recovery and QNAP mdadm shenanigans.

EMC – RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines

EMC announced RecoverPoint for VMs last week, and I thought I’d do a quick summary post / highlights for those who missed it.

Firstly, an overview from EMC can be found here. You can get the datasheet here. And you can watch an overview video of the features here.


Secondly, it’s important to understand where EMC is pitching this product. Both the traditional RecoverPoint appliance and the RecoverPoint Virtual Edition have been aimed at storage admins. RecoverPoint

  • protects LUNs;
  • is managed through Unisphere;
  • is deployed on physical hardware appliances, using embedded storage array splitters in VMAX, VNX, and VPLEX; and
  • supports over 50 storage systems, including EMC and 3rd party arrays using the VPLEX splitter.

RecoverPoint Virtual Edition removes the need for dedicated EMC hardware appliances.  RP VE

  • protects storage LUNs;
  • is managed through Unisphere;
  • is deployed as virtual appliances on existing ESXi servers, and uses the embedded array splitter in VNX; and
  • it currently only supports EMC VNX.


So what about RP for VMs? RP for VMs

  • protects at the VM level;
  • is fully managed through vCenter;
  • is deployed as a virtual appliance on existing ESXi servers;
  • has an embedded I/O splitter within the vSphere kernel; and
  • is storage agnostic and supports any SAN, vSAN, NAS or DAS storage arrays on VMware’s HCL.


It’s critical to note that this is a completely separate product from RecoverPoint – there is no upgrade, no downgrade and no interoperability with the existing RP products.

It does support both VMDKs and RDMs (this is a good thing).


It’s comprised of:

  • a VMware vCenter plug-in;
  • a RecoverPoint write-splitter embedded in vSphere; and
  • virtual appliances

Here’s a picture that shows the different elements.



The splitters are deployed as VIBs, while the appliances come in OVF format. Management is performed using a plug-in via the vCenter Web UI.


The RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines product uses a VM-based licensing model and is priced per VM (starting at a minimum of 15 VMs). Note that there is no transfer of licenses between the RecoverPoint and the RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines products.


This is going to be a handy product for people looking for a contained appliance, with flexible deployment options, that will provide synchronous replication performance (if required and subject to certain constraints). I’m looking forward to taking it for a spin.

VMware – EVO:RAIL – Link-o-rama

The past week is a bit of a blur. While I re-adjust to GMT +10, I thought I’d put out a quick post with links to various useful resources on VMware’s EVO:RAIL. Firstly, here’s some from VMware that provide a nice overview of the product.

Duncan has a typically comprehensive post on EVO:RAIL here, while Keith has a pretty decent write-up here. Tim also has a nice intro post here, as well as a good post on the installation. Roy Mikes has a good write-up here, and Chris does some nice analysis here.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t quite the link-o-rama that I told you it would be, but these articles should serve as a reasonable starting point for further reading.

Login VSI 4.1 Released

Disclaimer: I received a free Login VSI 12-month license this year as part of my membership of the vExpert programme. There is no requirement for me to blog about their products and I am not compensated in any way for this post.  This disclaimer is also probably longer than I’d intended the original post to be, but there you go.

Login VSI recently released version 4.1 of their performance testing tool for virtualised desktop environments. I’m going to do a longer post on this in the future, but in short new functionality includes:

  • Four new workloads: Task, Office (1 vCPU), Knowledge (2 vCPU) and Power User;
  • Import, mix and correlate performance data from any source like ESXtop and Perfmon; and
  • Improved VSImax simplifies understanding of potential bottlenecks like CPU or Disk I/O.

Sounds pretty cool. If you want to see a video about the new features, check it out here.

VMware – VMware Health Analyzer

I was using VMware Health Analyzer the other day to perform a health check at a customer site and needed to change the web port on the Thinapp version I was using. If you’re a VMware person or partner engaged in delivering these kinds of services, vHA is an excellent starting point for delivering health check services. Samir has a great write-up on it here and here.

In any case, I found the instructions for changing the port on the Virtual Potholes blog. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Start the ThinApp and let it fail. This creates a folder structure for the Tomcat instance.

2. Go to C:\users\*the user you ran the ThinApp under*\AppData\Roaming\Thinstall\*random identification string*\%drive_c%\usr\share\vha\tomcat\conf

3. Edit server.xml

4. Find ConnectorPort=”80″

5. Change 80 to whatever port number you know is free.

6. Save the changes and start the ThinApp.

7. You should see Initializing Coyote HTTP/1.1 on http-(port number you chose)

8. Access the interface from http://localhost:port

And you’re good to go.

OT – A vote for me is a vote, er, for me.

Eric has launched the voting for the 2014 top VMware and virtualisation blogs here. There’re also categories for storage, independent, podcasts and other things. Please head on over and check it out. I’m listed under the general category, storage and independent. Last year I made the top 109, let’s see if I can move up that list a little.