Here’s What’s New in VMware vSphere and vCenter 6.7 You can expect some incremental changes to VMware hypervisor (ESXi) and management (vCenter Server)

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In many Article, we talked about Tips & tricks, or to solve problems, like here, or here. Now we will talking about a big news from VMware.

vSphere 6.7, released today, includes an update to both its hypervisor (ESXi 6.7) and management console (vCenter Server 6.7). This release shows that VMware Inc. is not content to let its hypervisor become a commodity, and that it’s possible to make incremental, evolutionary changes to a proven product and, moreover, that VMware is still making substantial investments in its hypervisor. The vSphere 6.7 beta, though NDA-constrained, has been available to the public since October 2017. Despite the fact that a lot of new features were baked into the 6.5 release, this release does make some nice incremental changes. Following are some of the most important changes included with vSphere 6.7.

Hardware Caveat
An important hardware caveat to be aware of is VMware has released an HCL for vSphere 6.7 that excludes some older, yet popular CPUs. If you’re thinking about running this release on an older system for development or testing first before placing it into production on your newer servers, make sure to check the HCL to ensure compatibility.

Single Reboot Upgrade
vSphere upgrades can now be completed with one single reboot. Prior to vSphere 6.7, major version upgrades took quite a while (although they could be done without disruption by transferring workloads by using the Distributed Resource Scheduler [DRS]). vSphere 6.7, on the other hand, allows you to do a “quick boot” where it loads vSphere ESXi without restarting the hardware because it only restarts the kernel. This feature is only available with platforms and drivers that are on the Quick Boot whitelist, which is currently quite limited.

VMware Configuration Maximum Tool
The most visible configuration maximum change in vSphere 6.7 is the number of devices that can be attached to a host. VMware has increased some of the other maximums.

vSphere Client
vSphere 6.5 eliminated the vSphere Client that ran natively on Windows (also known as the C# Client or Thin Client) in favor of the vSphere Web Client, which was Flash-based. Also introduced in version 6.5 was the vSphere Client, which replaced Flash with HTML5. vSphere 6.7 further extends the capabilities of the vSphere Client and will eventually replace the vSphere Web Client. It looks like the vSphere Client can do about 90 percent that the vSphere Web Client can do. In vSphere 6.5, VMware had a list of the functionalities not yet supported in the vSphere Client; hopefully the company will do the same for vSphere 6.7.
Figure 1 shows the main menu of the vSphere Web Client, and Figure 2 shows the main vSphere Client menu. Although the new client looks cleaner, and does seem more responsive than the vSphere Web Client, the location of some items has changed and some workflows will have to be adjusted accordingly with these changes. I wrote an article on the vSphere Client when it first came out that explains why VMware is switching to an HTML5-based client.

[Click on image for larger view.]Figure 1. 
The vSphere Web Client main menu.
[Click on image for larger view.]Figure 2.

vCenter Server Appliance

Now that the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) is functionally equivalent to the Windows-based vCenter Server, it would take a lot to convince me to use the Windows-based one instead of VCSA. Overall, I have found that the VCSA embedded database (PostgreSQL) performs great. Furthermore, the VCSA is very easy to update, and the Linux OS (Photon OS) is rock solid. As a side note, the VCSA can easily be monitored using vimtop (be sure to read my recent articles on using vimtop). You can also read my article about migrating from a Windows-based vCenter Server to a VCSA, as well as another article on using the built-in VCSA backup tool. The built-in backup tool in vSphere 6.7 offers more scheduling options for its VCSA backup tool than in vSphere 6.5. The Backup Scheduler tool (Figure 3) can be accessed from the vCenter Server Appliance Management Interface (VAMI). VMware is also stating that there are “phenomenal” performance improvements in vCenter operations per second, in reduction of memory usage and DRS-related operations.

[Click on image for larger view.]Figure 3. 
The Backup Scheduler tool.

Suspend and Resume of vGPU Workloads
vGPU allows you to carve up a physical GPU into multiple virtual GPUs that can be used by VMs. Although vGPUs were introduced with vSphere 6.0, the VMs that used vGPUs there were limited in what you could do with a VM that was using a vGPU. vSphere 6.7, on the other hand, removes some of these barriers, and now you can suspend and resume a vGPU-enabled VM.

Per-VM EVC
For quite some time vSphere has had the ability to mask off CPU features so that VMs that were running on systems with newer CPUs could be vMotion to servers with older CPUs. This is called Enhanced vMotion Compatibility, or EVC. In vSphere 6.7 VMware has extended this capability to allow you to do this on a per-VM, rather than on an ESXi-host basis. This means that if you have VMs that you want to take advantage of CPU-specific features, and are willing to limit those VMs to CPUs that only have those features in your cluster, you can configure them to do so.

A per-VM EVC is set from the vSphere client by selecting a VM, going to the Configure tab and selecting Edit (Figure 4).

[Click on image for larger view.]Figure 4. Setting up a per-VM EVC.

 

Instant Clone
I’ve been a fan of using instant clones with virtual desktops—they’ve proven to be a big space saver, to use only a fraction of the disk resources compared to a full clone, and to allow VMs to be provisioned in seconds from a parent image. With vSphere 6.7, VMware has exposed the APIs that can be used to create instant clones. It looks like a straightforward process and I suspect that many people will figure out some very interesting ways to use the instant clone API.

ESXi Quick Boot
vSphere 6.7 introduces the Quick Boot feature, which allows a system to reboot in less than two minutes as it does not re-initialize the physical server BIOS. This can speed up operations that require an ESXi system to be rebooted; however, Quick Boot is only supported on certain systems and does not work with systems that have ESXi Secure Boot enabled.

Figure 5 shows two hosts, one with Quick Boot enabled and another without it enabled. By default, Quick Boot is enabled if the system supports it.

[Click on image for larger view.]Figure 5. 
The New ESXi Quick Boot feature is enabled by default if the system supports it.

Persistent Memory (PMem) Devices
vSphere 6.7 now supports the next generation of storage devices that use persistent DRAM memory, known as non-volatile dual in-line memory module (NVDIMM) devices. This technology is still in its infancy, but applications that require the lowest possible latency regardless of the cost will find this feature invaluable. PMem is presented to vSphere as either as vPMemDisk, which is treated somewhat like a datastore, or as a virtual NVDIMM (vNVDIMM), which is presented directly to guest OSes that can use NVDIMM devices.

Virtual Hardware Version 14
Virtual hardware is the abstract version of physical hardware to a virtual machine or, in essence, a virtual motherboard. As physical hardware supports more features, VMware builds new virtual hardware accordingly to emulate the physical version. vSphere 6.7 comes with a new virtual hardware, version 14. Version 14 adds support for NVDIMM, as well as Trusted Platform Module (TPM), Microsoft Virtual-based Security (VBS) and I/O Memory Management.

VMFS Datastores
VMFS3 datastores have been around for a long time, but VMware is now phasing them out. To assist with this transition, vSphere 6.7 automatically upgrades VMFS3 datastores to VMFS5 when they’re mounted. If you want to upgrade VMFS5 datastores to VMFS6 datastores, you’ll need to upgrade the datastore with vSphere Storage vMotion because an in-place upgrade of a VMFS5 to VMFS6 datastore isn’t possible.

As a side note, vSphere 6.7 supports VMFS5 and VMFS6; however, vSphere 6.0 and earlier systems only support VMFS5 datastores. As such, if you have an environment that contains vSphere 6.0 or earlier systems, you’ll want to only use VMFS6 datastores on systems that won’t be accessed by them.

Upgrading to vCenter Server 6.7
A specific order must be used when upgrading to vSphere 6.7. Check the documentation for the latest order and caveats, but the basic procedure can be carried out by first upgrading the Platform Service Controller (PSC), then upgrading vCenter Server and, last, updating the ESXi hosts.

Because upgrading directly from vSphere 5.5 to 6.7 isn’t supported, you’ll need to first upgrade from vSphere 5.5 to vSphere 6.5, and then finally to vSphere 6.7. It needs to be noted that an ESXi 5.5 host cannot be managed by VCSA 6.7. On the contrary, upgrading from vSphere 6.0 to 6.7 is supported. If you’re still running a window-based vCenter Server rather than a VCSA, VMware does offer a tool to assist you in the migration; be sure to read my article on using this tool.

Upgrading to ESXi 6.7
As mentioned earlier, ESXi 6.5 doesn’t support all the CPUs that ESXi 6.0 does, so be sure to check the HCL to unsure that your system is supported. Roughly speaking, what you’ll typically find supported, at the minimum, is a 2 core CPUs that were released after September 2006 and have NX/XD enabled. You can use the VMware Update Manager (VUM) to do an orchestrated automated upgrade. Alternatively, you can manually update the ESXi systems using an ISO image or esxcli commands or, if you use stateless host, you can use vSphere Auto-Deploy to update your servers. To see how to update an ESXi system using esxcli commands, be sure to read my article.

Wrapping Up
If I’m forced to pick one single standout feature in vSphere 6.7, it would have to be the instant clone API. I see this feature as a great enabler for the VMware ecosystem and VMware developers because the ability to spawn hundreds of identical VMs that only use a small amount of space in minutes has some mind-boggling use cases. However, with great power comes greater responsibility, and it will be interesting to watch the development of tools to manage and orchestrate these VMs over time.

Yes, instant clones is the gee-wiz feature in this release, but the rest of the improvements in this release prove that the hypervisor has room for evolutionary growth—and that VMware is serious in maintaining its leadership position in this regard.

Related Article: Here’s What’s New in vSphere 6.7

How To Fix Scsiport.sys Blue Screen Errors (BSOD) Converting P2V a Windows 2000 error KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED – scsiport.sys

What Is Scsiport.sys?

Scsiport.sys is a type of SYS file associated with Microsoft Office System Beta 2 Kit 2003 developed by Microsoft for the Windows Operating System. The latest known version of Scsiport.sys is 1.0.0.0, which was produced for Windows. This SYS file carries a popularity rating of 1 stars and a security rating of “UNKNOWN”.

What Are SYS Files?

SYS files such as scsiport.sys are third-party (eg. Microsoft) device drivers or critical system files that come as part of the Windows operating system. Most SYS files allow internal PC hardware or attached hardware, such as a printer, to communicate with third-party software programs (eg. web browsers, word processors, Microsoft Office System Beta 2 Kit 2003) and the operating system (eg. Windows).

Other SYS files are critical system files called “kernel mode device drivers” which are used to power the Windows operating system. Files such as “CONFIG.SYS” contain configuration settings and specify what device drivers should be loaded by the operating system. Without driver files such as scsiport.sys, you wouldn’t be able to do simple tasks such as printing a document.

Why Do I Have SYS Errors?

SYS file errors are typically caused by faulty hardware or corrupt device driver files. Because of the importance of Scsiport.sys in the functionality of Microsoft Office System Beta 2 Kit 2003 and other Windows functions, any corruption or damage to this file can create critical system errors in the form of a “blue screen of death” (BSOD). Please see “Causes of Scsiport.sys Errors” below for more information.

When Do SYS Errors Occur?

SYS errors, such as those associated with scsiport.sys, most often occur during computer startup, program startup, or while trying to use a specific function in your program (eg. printing).

Common Scsiport.sys Error Messages

The majority of scsiport.sys errors that you encounter will be “blue screen of death” errors (also know as a “BSOD” or “STOP error”) that occur in Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10:

  • “A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer. The problem seems to be caused by the following file: Scsiport.sys.”
  • “:( Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We’re just collecting some info, and then we’ll restart for you. If you would like to know more, you can search online later for this error: scsiport.sys.”
  • “STOP 0x0000000A: IRQL_NOT_LESS_EQUAL – scsiport.sys”
  • “STOP 0x0000001E: KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED – scsiport.sys”
  • “STOP 0×00000050: PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA – scsiport.sys”

In most cases, you will experience scsiport.sys blue screen errors after you’ve installed new hardware or software. These scsiport.sys blue screens can appear during program installation, while a scsiport.sys-related software program (eg. Microsoft Office System Beta 2 Kit 2003) is running, while a Microsoft driver is being loaded, or during Windows startup or shutdown. Keeping track of when and where your STOP error occurs is a critical piece of information in troubleshooting the problem.

Causes of Scsiport.sys Errors

Scsiport.sys blue screen errors can be caused by a variety of hardware, firmware, driver, or software issues. These could be related to either Microsoft Office System Beta 2 Kit 2003 software or Microsoft hardware, but it is not necessarily the case.

More specifically, these scsiport.sys errors can be caused by:

 

  • Incorrectly configured, old, or corrupted Microsoft Office System Beta 2 Kit 2003 device drivers. (very common)
  • Corruption in Windows registry from a recent scsiport.sys-related software change (install or uninstall).
  • Virus or malware infection that has corrupted the scsiport.sys file or related Microsoft Office System Beta 2 Kit 2003 program files.
  • Hardware conflict after installing new Microsoft hardware, or hardware related to scsiport.sys.
  • Damaged or removed system files after you’ve installed software or drivers related to Microsoft Office System Beta 2 Kit 2003.
  • scsiport.sys blue screen caused by a damaged hard disk.
  • scsiport.sys STOP error due to memory (RAM) corruption.

Requirements:

  • VMware Standalone Converter version 4.0.1 (See Additional Info at the end)
  • Update Rollup 1 for Windows 2000 SP4 from our repository (KB891861)
  • Windows 2000 Sysprep tools (Q257813)
  • A Windows or Linux LiveCD. I recommend Knoppix (6.4+ – Linux) or Hiren (Windows).
    If you need to modify registry keys, use Hiren.

Procedure:

  1. Install VMware Standalone Converter version 4.0.1 on target machine
  2. Converto machine to VMware host or infrastructure;
  3. Extract sysprep tools and place them in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter Standalone\sysprep\2k
    That should be on the same machine that has VMware Converter, not the Windows 2000 server.
    * On Windows 2008, the location is C:\Users\All Users\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter Standalone\sysprep\2k (Thanks Anonymous for the tip!)
    or C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware vCenter Converter Standalone\sysprep\2k (thanks Ben!)
  4. Either apply the update rollup to the server or extract the update rollup and replace it with the file SCSIPORT.SYS in C:\WINNT\system32\drivers. Applying the update is recommended if the system is stable.
  5. Run the Converter and deploy the agent. If you’re asked to restart, restart then start the VMware Converter service manually before running the Converter again, otherwise it’ll ask you to deploy the agent again.
  6. In Step 3: View / Edit Options, Click on the Devices pane and change the disk controller to BusLogic SCSI.
  7. Keep the number of processors as is, because if you change it, Windows 2000 won’t auto-detect new CPUs and you’ll need to update the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) on it manually. See KB234558 and KB249694 for more details.
  8. In the Networks pane, deselect the option to connect at power on.
  9. In the Advanced Options pane, do not select the options to power off the source and select the option to power on the target (VM). Do install VMware tools.
    Do NOT select “configure guest preferences for the virtual machine”

 

How to Find a Lost, Missing, Hidden or Removed Network Card In a scenario where you have physically removed hardware from a machine you can no longer see it in device manager.

In a scenario where you have physically removed hardware from a machine you can no longer see it in device manager.  This does not mean that it is gone.  Evidence of that is, if for example you had a network card that had a Static IP address set and you remove the card and add a new one then try to set the IP address to the same as the old NIC you will get an error message. The error might look something like “The IP address 192.168.30.100 you have entered for this network adapter is already assigned to another adapter (Microsoft Virtual machine Bus Network Adapter #3) which is no longer present in the computer.  If the same address is assigned to both adapters and they both become active, only one of them will use this address.  This may result in incorrect system configuration”.  In Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 it actually gives you an opportunity to “remove the static IP configuration for the absent adapter”. If you say Yes, this will eliminate the IP conflict problem but does not solve the problem of the adapter still being present in the machine.  In older versions of the OS, it was even worse because every time you go into network properties it gives you an error message.  Another way this comes up is if you move a virtual machine from one host to another.  Like in the case of moving from Virtual Server 2005 R2 to Hyper-V or perhaps you are moving from one Hyper-V machine to another but you did not do an export, you just moved the VHD’s and created a new machine.

The IP address XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX you have entered for this network adapter is already assigned to another
The IP address XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX you have entered for this network adapter is already assigned to another

Getting rid of these old devices is actually very simple. Well, it is simple if you know how

Before you proceed, I recommend that you confirm that you have a good backup. I have never had a problem with this but hey, it is your server not mine.

Description

  • You need to run a command prompt so you can set an environment variable prior to opening the Device Manager This will bring up a command windowClick Start – Type the following command and then press ENTER

    cmd
  • Step 2: We have the command window open.  We now need to set the variable (that is the “set” line and then with the variable set, we need to run Device Manager.
    The file name for the Device Manager snap-in is devmgmt.msc.  The first line will not appear to do anything but it is setting the environment for next step.  The second command will actually open the Device Manager but it will be in a “special” mode which allows you to show devices that no longer exists.Type the following commands pressing ENTER after each line

    set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1

    devmgmt.msc

  • Step 3: Now all we have to do is show hidden devices and you will be able to access the devices that are not present in the machine.  This will also turn a checkbox on in front of the Show Hidden Devices menu option.In this Special Device Manager Window; on the menu, click View then Show Hidden Devices
  • Step 4: Now you can just go find the adapter or device that is missing and delete it!  Expand the network adapter (or whatever category of device) and look for the device that needs to be removed.  The error message that you got should tell you the “name” of the device so you just have to go find that named device.  You may also notice while you are there that the icon for the “non-present” or missing device is slightly subdued so that will make it easier to find it if you have many devices in a category.See screen shot belowExpand the network adapter (or whatever category of device) and look for the device that needs to be removed.
    Right-Click the Device and select Uninstall
devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices
devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices

Related Article: VMware KB  | Microsoft Blog Technet

Installing VMware Tools in a Linux virtual machine How to install VMware Tools on linux Centos Virtual Machines

Purpose

This article provides steps to install VMware Tools in a Linux guest operating system using Compiler.

Note: For an overview of installing VMware Tools, see Overview of VMware Tools (340).

Resolution

Note: If your Linux distribution is not RPM-based, has a custom kernel, or is unsupported, use the steps below to compile VMware Tools, otherwise, see Installing VMware Tools in a Linux virtual machine using RPM (1018392).

To install VMware Tools in a Linux guest operating system using Compiler:

 

Note: If your Linux distribution is not RPM-based, has a custom kernel, or is unsupported, use the steps below to compile VMware Tools, otherwise, see Installing VMware Tools in a Linux virtual machine using RPM (1018392).

To install VMware Tools in a Linux guest operating system using Compiler:

  1. Ensure that your Linux virtual machine is powered on.
  2. If you are running a GUI interface, open a command shell.
    Note: Log in as a root user, or use the sudo command to complete each of these steps.
  3. Click VM in the virtual machine menu, then click Guest > Install/Upgrade VMware Tools.
  4. Click OK.
    Note: In some cases, verify that the CDROM device is Connected from within the Edit Settings option of the virtual machine.
  5. To create a mount point, run:
    mkdir /mnt/cdrom
  6. To mount the CDROM, run:
    mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
  7. To copy the Compiler gzip tar file to a temporary local directory, run:
    cp /mnt/cdrom/VMwareTools-version.tar.gz /tmp/
    Where version is the VMware Tools package version.
  8. To determine the version of VMware tools, run:
    ls /mnt/cdrom
    You see output similar to:
    # VMwareTools-5.0.0-12124.tar.gz
  9. To change to the tmp directory and extract the contents of the tar file into a new directory called vmware-tools-distrib, run:
    cd /tmp
    tar -zxvf VMwareTools-version.tar.gz
  10. To change directory to vmware-tools-distrib and run the vmware-install.pl PERL script to install VMware Tools, run:
    cd vmware-tools-distrib
    ./vmware-install.pl
    Notes:

    • Complete the screen prompts to install the VMware Tools. Options in square brackets are default choices and can be selected by pressing Enter.
    • To compile VMware Tools successfully, you need gcc Compiler and Linux Kernel sources provided by your Linux distribution. Consult your Linux distribution documentation for details on methods to install these packages.
    • It is normal for the console screen to go blank for a short time during the installation when the display size changes.
    • Some warnings or errors are normal, like when a files does not exist.
    • Depending on the Linux distribution, your network service might restart after installation. VMware recommends that you invoke this command from the console and not remotely.
  11. If you are running a GUI interface, restart your X Window session for any mouse or graphics changes to take effect.
  12. To start VMware Tools running in the background during an X Window session, run:
    /usr/bin/vmware-toolbox &
  13. Depending on your environment, you may need to unmount the CD-ROM. To unmount the CD-ROM, run:
    umount /mnt/cdrom
  14. Depending on your environment, you may need to manually end the VMware Tools installation. To end the VMware Tools install, click VM in the virtual machine menu, then click Guest > End VMware Tools Install.
  15. To remove VMware Tools installation packages, run:
    cd
    rm /tmp/VMwareTools-version.tar.gz
    rm -rf /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib

Original Article by VMware KB >Here<

How To Run Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 on ESXi 4.1 Tips and Tricks Run Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 on ESXi 4.1 with UEFI Rom

If you  are running an ESXi 4.x O.S. you should know that, according with Guest OS Customization Support Matrix (PDF Guest OS Customization Support Matrix VMware ESXi), most recent Windows Server Operating Systems are not Compatibile (2012, 2012R2 and 2016).

VMware Guest OS Customization Support Matrix
VMware Guest OS Customization Support Matrix

With this How-to we will show you how to run Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 on ESXi 4.x

I found these set of instructions from VMware communities (VMware communities)

>>Don’t do this for a production environment<<

      1. Create a new VM over the vSphere Client;
      2. As “Guest Operating System” use “Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit)”;
      3. After VM has been created but before first power on, download the following  bios file and upload it to your ESXi datastore into the folder of the VM;
      4. Now open the .vmx file of the new VM and add the following lines (or edit on the VM advanced option from UI)
    bios440.filename = bios.440.rom
    mce.enable = TRUE
    cpuid.hypervisor.v0 = FALSE
    vmGenCounter.enable = FALSE

    5. Power on VM and Server 2012 will install and run