Posts Tagged ‘vmware tools’


In-the-Lab: NexentaStor and VMware Tools, You Need to Tweak It…

February 24, 2012

While working on an article on complex VSA’s (i.e. a virtual storage appliance with PCIe pass-through SAS controllers) an old issue came back up again: NexentaStor virtual machines still have a problem installing VMware Tools since it branched from Open Solaris and began using Illumos. While this isn’t totally Nexenta’s fault – there is no “Nexenta” OS type in VMware to choose from – it would be nice if a dummy package was present to allow a smooth installation of VMware Tools; this is even the case with the latest NexentaStor release: 3.1.2.

I could not find where I had documented the fix in SOLORI’s blog, so here it is… Note, the NexentaStor VM is configured as an Oracle Solaris 11 (64-bit) virtual machine for the purpose of vCenter/ESXi. This establishes the VM’s relationship to a specific VMware Tools load. Installation of VMware Tools in NexentaStor is covered in detail in an earlier blog entry.

VMware Tools bombs-out at SUNWuiu8 package failure. Illumos-based NexentaStor has no such package.

Instead, we need to modify the script directly to compensate for the loss of the SUNWuiu8 package that is explicitly required in the installation script.

Commenting out the SUNWuiu8 related section allows the tools to install with no harm to the system or functionality.

Note the full “if” stanza for where the VMware Tools installer checks for ‘tools-for-solaris’ must be commented out. Since the SUNWuiu8 package does not exist – and more importantly is not needed for Illumos/Nexenta – removing a reference to it is a good thing. Now the installation can proceed as normal.

After the changes, installation completes as normal.

That’s all there is to getting the “Oracle Solaris” version of VMware Tools to work in newer NexentaStor virtual machines – now back to really fast VSA’s with JBOD-attached storage…

SOLORI’s Note: There is currently a long-standing bug that affects NexentaStor 3.1.x running as a virtual machine. Currently there is no known workaround to keep NexentaStor from running up a 50% cpu utilization from ESXi’s perspective. Inside the NexentaStor VM we see very little CPU utilization, but from the performance tab, we see 50% utilization on every configured vCPU allocated to the VM. Nexenta is reportedly looking into the cause of the problem.

I looked through this and there is nothing that stands out other that a huge number of interrupts while idle. I am not sure where those interrupts are coming from. I see something occasionally called volume-check and nmdtrace which could be causing the interrupts.

Nexenta Support

A bug report was reportedly filed a couple of days ago to investigate the issue further.


VMware vSphere Update 2, View 4.x Issues

June 17, 2010

Right on the heels of vSphere 4 Update 2, a flurry of twitter and blog postings suggestion caution if upgrading a VMware View 4.x environment. Now, VMware has updated its KB to include a workaround for those needing to move to Update 2 for the feature and hardware support benefits but can’t afford to break their PCoIP-based View environment: in short, it’s all VMware Tools fault! Seems the SVGA drive in VMware Tools for Update 2 has a problem with PCoIP – preventing desktops from connecting.

Now that makes some sense given the fact that VMware is quite adamant about the ORDER in which VMware Tools, .NET framework and the View Agent must be installed. The current options for PCoIPers out there needing Update 2 are three-fold:

  1. Don’t upgrade VMware Tools;
  2. Upgrade VMware Tools with “Advanced Options” including
    1. For x86 guests:
      (line breaks included for formatting only)
    2. For x64 guests:
      (line breaks included for formatting only)
  3. Use RDP (not really an option for PCoIP environments)

If you’re already STUNG by the VMware Tools, the KB has a procedure for back-tracking the SVGA driver after VMware Tools for Update 2 has been installed. Here it is:

For customers that are experiencing the issue and want to continue using PCoIP, use this workaround:

Note: VMware recommends that you have VMware View 4.0.1 installed prior to performing these steps.

  1. Log in to the affected virtual machine(s) with Administrator rights. This is any virtual machine that has the VMware Tools shipped with ESX 4.0 Update 2 installed.
  2. Rename the C:\Program File\Common Files\VMware\Drivers\Video folder to C:\Program File\Common Files\VMware\Drivers\Video-OLD.
  3. From a working virtual machine, copy the C:\Program File\Common Files\Vmware\Drivers\Video folder to C:\Program File\Common Files\Vmware\Drivers\ on an affected virtual machine.
  4. Click StartSettingsControl PanelSystem.
  5. Click the Hardware tab and click Device Manager.
  6. Expand Display Adapters.
  7. Choose VMWARE SVGA II. Right-click on it and choose Properties.
  8. Click the Driver tab. You are presented with the SVGA driver properties.

    The version is (Driver Date 01/03/2010).

  9. Click Update Driver. The Hardware Update wizard displays.
  10. When prompted with the question, “Can windows connect to Windows Update to search for software?”, click No, not at this time and click Next.
  11. When prompted with the question, “What do you want the wizard to do”, click Install from a list or specific location (Advanced) and click Next.
  12. Click Don’t search. I will choose the driver to install and click Next.
  13. On the next screen, you are presented a list of two or more VMWARE SVGA II Versions to choose from. For example:

    VMWARE SVGA II Version: (21/09/2009)
    VMWARE SVGA II Version: (24/09/2009)
    VMWARE SVGA II Version: (01/03/2010)

    Choose VMWARE SVGA II Version: (24/09/2009).

  14. Click Next. The driver begins installing.
  15. Click Continue Anyway when Windows notifies you that VMware SVGA II has not passed Windows logo testing.

    The driver install completes.

  16. Click Finish.
  17. Click YES when prompted to restart your computer.
  18. Verify that PCoIP is now working.

Note: VMware is investigating a permanent fix for the issue so our customers can upgrade to ESX 4.0 Update 2 without experiencing this issue.

– VMware KB1022830, 6/17/2010


In-the-Lab: Install VMware Tools on NexentaStor VSA

June 17, 2010

Physical lab resources can be a challenge to “free-up” just to test a potential storage appliance. With NexentaStor, you can download a pre-configured VMware (or Xen) appliance from NexentaStor.Org, but what if you want to build your own? Here’s a little help on the subject:

  1. Download the ISO from NexentaStor.Org (see link above);
  2. Create a VMware virtual machine:
    1. 2 vCPU
    2. 4GB RAM (leaves about 3GB for ARC);
    3. CD-ROM (mapped to the ISO image);
    4. One (optionally two if you want to simulate the OS mirror) 4GB, thin provisioned SCSI disks (LSI Logic Parallel);
    5. Guest Operating System type: Sun Solaris 10 (64-bit)
    6. One E1000 for Management/NAS
    7. (optional) One E1000 for iSCSI
  3. Streamline the guest by disabling unnecessary components:
    1. floppy disk
    2. floppy controller (remove from BIOS)
    3. primary IDE controller (remove from BIOS)
    4. COM ports (remove from BIOS)
    5. Parallel ports (remove from BIOS)
  4. Boot to ISO and install NexentaStor CE
    1. (optionally) choose second disk as OS mirror during install
  5. Register your installation with Nexenta
    2. (optional) Select “Solori” as the partner
  6. Complete initial WebGUI configuration wizard
    1. If you will join it to a domain, use the domain FQDN (i.e. microsoft.msft)
    2. If you choose “Optimize I/O performance…” remember to re-enable ZFS intent logging under Settings>Preferences>System
      1. Sys_zil_disable = No
  7. Shutdown the VSA
    1. Settings>Appliance>PowerOff
  8. Re-direcect the CD-ROM
    1. Connect to Client Device
  9. Power-on the VSA and install VMware Tools
    1. login as admin
      1. assume root shell with “su” and root password
    2. From vSphere Client, initiate the VMware Tools install
    3. cd /tmp
      1. untar VMware Tools with “tar zxvf  /media/VMware\ Tools/vmware-solaris-tools.tar.gz”
    4. cd to /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib
      1. install VMware Tools with “./”
      2. Answer with defaults during install
    5. Check that VMware Tools shows and OK status
      1. IP address(es) of interfaces should now be registered

        VMware Tools are registered.

  10. Perform a test “Shutdown” of your VSA
    1. From the vSphere Client, issue VM>Power>Shutdown Guest

      System shutting down from VMware Tools request.

    2. Restart the VSA…

      VSA restarting in vSphere

Now VMware Tools has been installed and you’re ready to add more virtual disks and build ZFS storage pools. If you get a warning about HGFS not loading properly at boot time:

HGFS module mismatch warning.

it is not usually a big deal, but the VMware Host-Guest File System (HGFS) has been known to cause issues in some installations. SInce the NexentaStor appliance is not a general purpose operating system, you should customize the install to not use HGFS at all. To disable it, perform the following:

  1. Edit “/kernel/drv/vmhgfs.conf”
    1. Change:     name=”vmhgfs” parent=”pseudo” instance=0;
    2. To:     #name=”vmhgfs” parent=”pseudo” instance=0;
  2. Re-boot the VSA

Upon reboot, there will be no complaint about the offending HGFS module. Remember that, after updating VMware Tools at a future date, the HGFS configuration file will need to be adjusted again. By the way, this process works just as well on the NexentaStor Commercial edition, however you might want to check with technical support prior to making such changes to a licensed/supported deployment.