Friday, September 10, 2010

Quick and Dirty on vSphere 4

Working with any large software suite can be frustrating, at best. VWware's vSphere 4 production is not immune to this frustration. Over the last few months, I have been involved pretty heavily in the installation, setup, and maintenance and a virtual environment. That said, I have learned a few vital things that I thought I would enumerate here so I can find them later. :-)

1) Installing ESX servers and using the vSphere vCenter Server management client. The major release that I have been working with is 4. Sooooo, I would assume that any minor relase would work with any other minor release. But NOOOOOO, leave it to VMware to over-complicate everything. Lesson here:
- if you have more than one ESX server and are using the vCenter Server, here is the scoop: Remote management from the client is easier when all ESX servers are the same build. Additionally, the management of the ESX servers through the vCenter Server will not work if the vCenter server is 4.0 and one or more of your ESX servers are 4.1.x. If you have this setup, you will most likely end up with an error along the lines of "vmodl.fault.HostCommunication"...although I admit I don't recall the exact error string. There are two fixes that I found for this. The first one involves updating the vCenter Server....but this must be on a 64-bit machine as the update is not supported on the 32-bit machine. The second fix is that of downgrading the ESX server to the 4.0 build. The downgrade wasn't bad AND more importantly, the downgrade (or upgrade) allows you to preserve your data store.

2) View Connection Server: If the machine you are trying to serve up shows "no desktop source available," there are a couple of possilbe issues here.
- You may not have the agent installed in the virtual machine
- The name you have used for your machine may not match the name on your client settings if you specified a particular desktop for one user
- Sometimes this error has shown from me when there has been a DNS issue on the domain.

3) Cloning/migrating:
If you have to clone or migrate a virtual box and will be serving it up via the View Connection Server, it proved neccessary for me to run the View Connection Agent installer again and select "Repair." Although I used customization settings to ensure differing hostnames after a clone, I still found that the View Manager Server would NOT see the machine until I "repaired" the installation.