“Disable VMware ESX” is the warning message that is displayed when you open your VMware vSphere Client after the 60-day evaluation period has expired without typing in a new license key for your free VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5 install. You cannot type in the license key in the vSphere Client after the evaluation period has expired. If you do not type in the key before it expires you will not be able to power on VMs after they have been powered down.

This is a short howto describing how you can type in the license key for you free VMware Hypervisor after it has expired, since you cannot use the vSphere Client.
This requires that you have enabled the SSH service on your host before it expired and you can access it using your favourite SSH client to your ESXi host.
The file should look something like this if you have not entered any license information 00000-00000-00000-00000-00000.
This key should be replaced with the key you have gotten from VMware you downloaded the installer file.

This is a step by step description of how you can update the license file

  1. Start a SSH session to your ESXi host using your favourite SSH client like Putty
  2. Log in with the username root (unless you have changed it to something else)
  3. Open the file /etc/vmware/vmware.lic using the vi editor
    ~# vi /etc/vmware/vmware.lic
  4. Delete the old license key with the dd command
  5. Insert a new license key by with the i command

    The key above is just an example and is not a valid key. Replace the key used above with the evaluation license key you received from VMware.

  6. Save the file using the write command w
  7. Now you can open a new vSphere Client window and see if the license warning windows appears again. If it does not, then you have successfully updated the license key. If not, then you need to check if the license key is typed in correctly.

All this can be done without a reboot of the ESXi host.


How To Install VMWare Tools v5 on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Server and 12.10 Server

After searching a long time in the internet, for getting the right solution on installing the VmWare Tools on my Ubuntu Server VM, I tried a lot different ones and came up with this one. For me it works great and my server is up to date!

Update your Ubuntu VM
sudo apt-get -y update
sudo apt-get -y upgrade

Install build tools
sudo apt-get -y install linux-headers-server build-essential

Mount vmwaretools within esx
In your esx select the ubuntu vm, right klick and select guest –> install vmwaretools. Now the vmwaretools cd is attached.

Create the mount point
sudo mkdir -p /media/cdrom

Mount the ISO
sudo mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom

Now change the directory
cd /media/cdrom

Copy the tar file
sudo cp VM*.tar.gz /tmp

Unmount ISO
sudo umount /media/cdrom

change directory
cd /tmp

Expand the tar
sudo tar xzvf VM*.tar.gz

Change Directory
cd vmware-tools-distrib

To prevent a potential error ..
in the install script on Ubuntu 11.10+,

Unable to create symlink “/usr/lib64/” pointing to file ”/usr/lib/vmware-tools/lib64/”.

, create a special directory:

sudo mkdir -p /usr/lib64

Run the Install script:
sudo ./ -d

sudo reboot

For me this is the quickest way to get vmtools installed! Hope it’ll work for you!

Introducing VMware NSX – The Platform for Network Virtualization

The VMware NSX platform delivers the entire networking and security model in software, decoupled from traditional networking hardware, representing a transformative leap forward in data center networking architecture.

Overview:  Today’s data center is largely virtualized from a compute perspective, and has unleashed unprecedented benefits of agility, efficiency and capex/opex savings. What is less known is that virtual network access ports have exceeded physical network access ports in number, and this trend is accelerating. In fact, today, 40% of vAdmins manage virtual networks. Beyond virtual switching, the time is ripe to virtualize the rest of the networking stack, and accelerate our customer’s journey to the software-defined data center.

At VMware, we’ve put together an all-star team, the Networking & Security Business Unit (NSBU), to address this opportunity, and bring virtualization-centric innovation to networking. This team has been responsible for many key foundational innovations toward network virtualization. We started with the best of Nicira, vSphere networking and vCloud networking and security technologies, and embarked on a mission to build a unified solution that will transform networking and security in the virtualized data center.  Today, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger will be launching VMware NSX™, the platform for network virtualization, in his keynote at VMworld 2013 San Francisco.

Challenges:  Businesses need to be more agile and resource-efficient, in order to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving global market.  Meanwhile, IT organizations have hit limits of scale, complexity, and operations.

Current data centers are an agglomeration of several generations of networking and security products. Today’s data center networking team faces significant challenges:

  • Manual, complex provisioning of hardware devices & agents
  • Limited placement, mobility & efficiency due to silos
  • VLAN sprawl, firewall rule sprawl, static IP inflexibility
  • Several networking & security blind spots
  • Performance choke points due to traffic hair-pinning
  • Lack of seamless, instant integration with CMPs & applications

Solution requirements:  Businesses need to deploy applications with greater speed, efficiency, and security.

Our mission was to overcome this challenge, and deliver secure network services to applications running in the data center, that meet the following criteria…

  • Instant and programmatic provisioning
  • Fast and highly available infrastructure
  • Secure i.e. isolated from the provider & other tenants

… under the following conditions:

  • Should support any compute platform, virtual or physical
  • Should provide instant gateways to the internet, WAN and LAN
  • Should decouple network services from underlying hardware
  • Should ensure that services are coupled with, and move with VMs
  • Should provide a platform for partners to integrate into
  • Should provide unified services to major cloud management platforms

Introducing VMware NSX

Today, we are announcing the VMware NSX platform and products that deliver on the above mission, unleashing the power of network virtualization. The team has re-created the network and security model in software, taking advantage of the benefits of virtualization. This realizes a significant leap forward in capability across the stack, and includes several industry firsts. Before delving into the product itself, here are the key highlights:

Logical switching & routing: Routing functions have been integrated with switching in the hypervisor, enabling direct one-hop connectivity for east-west traffic in the data center, and decoupled from the underlying network fabric using overlays.  Also included are optimizations to decouple multicast, unknown unicast and ARP broadcasts from the network. Net effect is efficient, fast packet delivery in the logical plane, and minimizing control traffic in the physical fabric.

Bridging to physical: A logical view of virtual and physical devices is presented, leveraging integration between the NSX Controller and agents in Arista, Brocade, Cumulus, Dell, HP and Juniper network devices. Also included are translational bridging between logical overlays and VLANs to enable seamless interconnection of physical and virtual without re-addressing.

Distributed Firewall: Stateful firewall capability is built into the hypervisor, delivering distributed, scale-out, high-performance firewall inspection at each virtual switch port, while tracking VM adds, moves and changes. Firewall management is dramatically simplified by enabling rules, audits and monitoring based on virtual infrastructure containers, applications, AD users/identity, and yet richer, using network virtualization and VM introspection. The distributed firewall capability also enables stateful, logical insertion of partner devices/agents e.g. F5, McAfee, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec and Trend.

Logical Edge Services: The NSX Edge Services router provides the critical network services required to on-ramp/off-ramp traffic to/from the data center, including perimeter routing (BGP, OSPF, IS-IS), firewalls, user & site VPNs, elastic load balancers and DNS/DHCP/IP services.  We also take advantage of virtualization to provide flexible placement, N+1 redundancy, runtime load balancing, and per-tenant resource management. These logical, scale-out services are programmatically deployed on a per-tenant or app basis, solving the choke point and provisioning issues commonly seen in current architectures.

VMware NSX – The Platform for Network Virtualization

For the first time, switching, bridging, routing and firewall capability are built into the hypervisor, and realized in an integrated, distributed fashion at each virtual switch port. This delivers unprecedented granularity of visibility, security and control. The scale out, integrated architecture combined with eliminating traffic hair-pinning, results in aggregate performance above 1 Tbps! NSX Controller clusters and the NSX Management layer abstract, logically centralize, pool and automate these functions, to enable real-time consumption by cloud management platforms and applications.

Overlays are used to decouple logical network services from the underlying network infrastructure. In addition, the VMware NSX platform leverages the broad adoption of VXLAN in commercial switching silicon to provide logical views of workloads and services attached to existing VLANs. We expect to continue to leverage partnerships with network vendors to create smart overlays that take advantage of additional capabilities in the network.

Applications can now take advantage of these abstractions to build logical networks to support their needs, as depicted here:


VMware NSX Architecture and Design

The VMware NSX solution resides in the virtualization layer, providing L2-L7 network services to the cloud consumption layer above, and mapping these services onto the physical infrastructure below. Independence between the cloud and virtualization layers is achieved by providing a REST API exposing the network services to any upstream provisioning platform. Likewise, vSwitch overlays such as VXLAN provide independence to deploy NSX on any physical IP network infrastructure.

This brings us to the network virtualization layer. For each capability, be it switching, routing or firewall, the services are provided via NSX APIs, and realized using a three-tiered design pattern encompassing the management plane, control plane and data plane. The NSX Manager internally maps the APIs onto the control plane. The controller cluster is the work horse of the system, handling real time mapping between the system’s desired state and the running state, which it communicates to the control plane agent(s) present per hypervisor. The local information is now used to set up the appropriate switching, routing, or firewall tables and contexts. The appropriate data plane function now proceeds with high-performance, in a scale out fashion across the virtual plane. The following picture depicts the NSX architectural context and design pattern.

Cloud Management Platforms or applications consume services logically i.e. without awareness of the physical network

The REST API abstracts underlying services; the Manager cluster maps services to the control plane

The control plane consists of a master controller cluster delegating tasks to control plane agents in each hypervisor

The agent performs the local task of activating the data planeaction in the hypervisor e.g. switching, routing or firewalls

Overlays de-couple the virtual plane from the underlying physical network fabric

The network fabric provides connectivity to physical servers, hosting multiple VMs connected to a programmable vSwitch. IP connectivity is the only requirement of the physical network fabric


VMware NSX – Delivering Network Services in the Software-Defined Data Center

Using the design pattern and architecture depicted above, we now have a unified network virtualization platform supporting several different stacks, including vSphere, vCloud Suites and OpenStack.  It is now possible for application developers or cloud management platforms to leverage the power of network virtualization in real-time, to build n-tier apps on existing compute racks and network infrastructure. VMware NSX handles the underlying complexity, and solves key problems including VLAN/IP sprawl and manual provisioning, inflexible silos, security blind spots and end-of-row or perimeter choke points, while delivering high-performance network services.


The VMware NSX platform represents a major leap forward in the realization of the software-defined data center vision. VMware NSX network virtualization, leveraging advancement in x86 processors, server virtualization, distributed systems and cloud application development frameworks, is ushering in a new generation of networking in the data center.

There’s has been a tremendous amount of work and innovation going into VMware NSX. Thanks and kudos to the several teams that have worked tirelessly to bring the VMware NSX platform to market, including early design partners who have helped shape this product.

Network virtualization is a profound development – as we begin to exploit virtualization further, more traditions will be challenged. We strongly encourage you to get started on the network virtualization journey with VMware NSX today. There are several sessions and labs at VMworld to gain further understanding and insight into the benefits of NSX and network virtualization, and more importantly – how customers are using these capabilities.

New features in VMware vSphere 5.5

vSphere ESXi Hypervisor Enhancements

  • Hot-Pluggable SSD PCI Express (PCIe) Devices
  • Support for Reliable Memory Technology
  • Enhancements for CPU C-States

Virtual Machine Enhancements

  • Virtual Machine Compatibility with VMware ESXi 5.5
  • Expanded vGPU Support
  • Graphic Acceleration for Linux Guests

VMware vCenter Server Enhancements

  • VMware vCenter Single Sign-On
  • VMware vSphere Web Client
  • VMware vCenter Server Appliance
  • vSphere App HA
  • vSphere HA and VMware vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (vSphere DRS)
  • Virtual Machine–Virtual Machine Affinity Rules Enhancements
  • vSphere Big Data Extensions

vSphere Storage Enhancements

  • Support for 62TB VMDK
  • MSCS Updates
  • vSphere 5.1 Feature Updates
  • 16GB E2E support
  • PDL AutoRemove
  • vSphere Replication Interoperability
  • vSphere Replication Multi-Point-in-Time Snapshot Retention
  • vSphere Flash Read Cache

vSphere Networking Enhancements

  • Link Aggregation Control Protocol Enhancements
  • Traffic Filtering
  • Quality of Service Tagging
  • SR-IOV Enhancements
  • Enhanced Host-Level Packet Capture
  • 40GB NIC support


I thought I would return to the subject of Avamar for a quick discussion of one of my favorite pieces of backup software. The geek in me loves new technology and new gadgets, and the contrarian in me loves the thought of doing things different–so long as different is also better.

Avamar meets both of those criteria.

I have written about Avamar for VMware before, and how it is such a good thing. And six months after writing that, it is still a good thing. It doesn’t matter if you opt to deploy it in a guest VM, or along side VCB proxy backup, it makes backup of a VMware environment vastly better than it is with traditional backup.

So call it an unintended consequence, but there is something else that happens when you elect to back up an ESX server with Avamar. That is, something else in addition to a reduction in the stress levels of backup administration roughly equivalent to a 6 month stay on Bora Bora, a reduction in storage requirements equal to a mountain of tape, and a reduction in bandwidth requirements of equally gargantuan proportions.



What happens? You get to consolidate more.

Avamar with VMware is so efficient at backup that you can fit more VMs on a single ESX box. When you reduce CPU utilization by 80%, and network utilization by 99%, your ESX server just got a lot less busy. And you know what we do with idle ESX boxes? We consolidate more.

VMware is all about consolidation, and this just lets you push it that much further.

Real world experience shows that if you had to stop consolidating at 10 VMs per ESX server with a traditional backup solution, you can push it to 12-13 VMs per ESX server with Avamar.

Let me put that another way: Avamar makes your VMware infrastructure 20-30% more cost effective.

That savings is equivalent to making Avamar free.

I like that math.

For a graphical look at what I am talking about here, consider the following two graphs, each of which depicts a backup job:






In this case, I am looking at what happens during the backup of a data set. My first graph shows CPU utilization during the backup of a single VM; on the left (in red) is with a “traditional” backup application, on the right (in blue) is with Avamar. Similarly, with network utilization, you can see the “normal” backup in red, and the Avamar in blue. Or rather, you really can’t see Avamar, because the reduction is so enormous, it becomes almost invisible.

Now stack a bunch of these VMs onto a single ESX system. You get contention–and contention prevents further consolidation. More accurately: you get contention if you are not using Avamar.

The real question becomes: can you afford not to use Avamar for VMware backup?

VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP) Error and Time Synchronization

Using vSphere Data Protection (VDP), I have seen the following error a few times and it has appeared in forums so I thought it would make sense to post a short article on it.

“The most recent request has been rejected by the server. The most common cause for this error is that the times on the VDP appliance and your SSO server are not in sync.”

That is an example of a well-written error message – thank you, VDP developers. As the error suggests, it is likely an issue of time difference between the VDP appliance and the VMware vSphere Single Sign-On (SSO) server it is linked to. To resolve the issue, make sure the vSphere host that is running the VDP appliance has its NTP client configured properly and running. In the vSphere Web Client, this is done by selecting a host, clicking the Manage tab, and then clicking Time Configuration.

Do the same for the host running the SSO server using the same NTP server, of course. If you are running the SSO server on a Windows server (virtual or physical), make sure Windows is configured with the proper time zone for its location, as well. Last, but not least, make sure the latest version of VMware Tools is installed in your virtual machines. Most virtual appliances, including the vCenter Server and VDP appliance, come with VMware Tools already installed.

In a few situations, I have seen the need to restart VMware Tools in the vCenter Server and VDP virtual appliances to force a time sync with the vSphere host they are running on. This can be accomplished by running the following commands at the command line of each appliance:

(vCenter Server virtual appliance)# service vmware-tools-services restart

(VDP virtual appliance)# service vmware-tools restart

In a VMware virtualized environment and in just about any environment, for that matter, it is best practice to make sure…
1. DNS name resolution is configured and working properly – forward and reverse lookup, long name and short name.
2. All hosts are configured to use an accurate and reliable source of time – preferably, the same source.