Update Firmware DELL PowerEdge under ESX 3.5u2

For a customer we needed to upgrade ESX servers from 32 GB to 46 GB. This type of servers (Dell PowerEdge 2850) had a problem reading 8GB memory modules. To support 8 GB memory modules a minimum BIOS level is 2.3.1 and BMC level 2.10 is required.

Therefore we needed to upgrade the firmware of the BIOS and BMC.

I downloaded the newest Dell images from the Dell site (actually the complete DVD image of all updates) and attached the DVD in the DVD player. After that i mounted the DVD with a ssh session:

mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom

I browsed to the repository directory of the DVD (offcourse you can copy the files through the netwerk with tools like winscp. Make sure you have the proper rights to execute the files “chmod +x filename.BIN”) and updated the BMC first (no reboot required) with the command:


This will enter the install dialog wich you need to follow. After the BMC update was finished i continued with the BIOS update:


After this the Server needs to reboot on which point (during reboot) i shut down the server and placed the 8 GB memory modules in slot 1, 2, 5 and 6 for optimal performance (this are the first 4 slots).

Find Orphaned VMDK’s

A script to find orphaned vmdk’s on your ESX infrastructure.

Source here: http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-6960

[wpdm_file id=”13″]

If you want to run it to ESX 3.5 make sure you include the snapshot files extension for it (000001.vmdk and so on).

In the following example 00001 and 00002 are added:

# Purpose : List all orphaned vmdk on all datastores in all VC's
# Version: 1.0
# Author  : HJA van Bokhoven


$arrayVC = "YourVirtualCenter"
$OutputFile = "c:\OrphanedVMDK.txt"

Foreach ($strVC in $arrayVC)
	Connect-VIServer $strVC
	$arrUsedDisks = Get-VM | Get-HardDisk | %{$_.filename}
	$arrDS = Get-Datastore
	Foreach ($strDatastore in $arrDS)
	   $strDatastoreName = $strDatastore.name
	   Write-Host $strDatastoreName
	   $ds = Get-Datastore -Name $strDatastoreName | %{Get-View $_.Id}
	   $fileQueryFlags = New-Object VMware.Vim.FileQueryFlags
	   $fileQueryFlags.FileSize = $true
	   $fileQueryFlags.FileType = $true
	   $fileQueryFlags.Modification = $true
	   $searchSpec = New-Object VMware.Vim.HostDatastoreBrowserSearchSpec
	   $searchSpec.details = $fileQueryFlags
	   $searchSpec.sortFoldersFirst = $true
	   $dsBrowser = Get-View $ds.browser
	   $rootPath = "["+$ds.summary.Name+"]"
	   $searchResult = $dsBrowser.SearchDatastoreSubFolders($rootPath, $searchSpec)
	   $myCol = @()
	   foreach ($folder in $searchResult)
	      foreach ($fileResult in $folder.File)
             $file = "" | select Name, FullPath
		     $file.Name = $fileResult.Path
		     $strFilename = $file.Name
		     IF ($strFilename)
		     IF ($strFilename.Contains(".vmdk"))
		     IF (!$strFilename.Contains("-flat.vmdk"))
		     IF (!$strFilename.Contains("delta.vmdk"))
		     IF (!$strFilename.Contains("000001.vmdk"))
		     IF (!$strFilename.Contains("000002.vmdk"))
		        $strCheckfile = "*"+$file.Name+"*"
			 IF ($arrUsedDisks -Like $strCheckfile){}
			 $strOutput = $strDatastoreName + " Orphaned VMDK Found: " + $strFilename
			 $strOutput | Out-File $Outputfile -width 150 -Append

Performance Troubleshooting for VMware vSphere 4

Performance problems can arise in any computing environment. Complex application behaviors, changing demands, and shared infrastructure can lead to problems arising in previously stable environments. Troubleshooting performance problems requires an understanding of the interactions between the software and hardware components of a computing environment. Moving to a virtualized computing environment adds new software layers and new types of interactions that must be considered when troubleshooting performance problems.

The attached document is the first installment in a guide covering performance troubleshooting in a vSphere environment. It uses a guided approach to lead the reader through the observable manifestations of complex hardware/software interactions in order to identify specific performance problems. For each problem covered, it includes a discussion of the possible root-causes and solutions. Topics covered include performance problems arising from issues in the CPU, memory, storage, and network subsystems, as well as in the VM and ESX host configuration. Guidance is given on relevant performance metrics to observe using the vSphere Client and esxtop in order to isolate specific performance issues.

This first installment of Performance Troubleshooting for VMware vSphere 4 covers performance troubleshooting on a single VMware ESX 4.0 host. It focuses on the most common performance problems which affect an ESX host. Future updates will add more detailed performance information, including troubleshooting information for more advanced problems and multi-host vSphere deployments.



VMware ESX and ESXi Comparison

source: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1006543

VMware ESX and ESXi Comparison


This article provides a detailed comparison of VMware ESX and VMware ESXi. The article is separated in to capabilities or features and compared at that level.



VMware ESX

VMware ESXi

Service Console Service Console is a standard Linux environment through which a user has privileged access to the VMware ESX kernel. This Linux-based privileged access allows you to highly customize your environment by installing agents and drivers and executing scripts and other Linux-environment code. VMware ESXi is designed to make the server a computing appliance. Accordingly, VMware ESXi behaves more like firmware than traditional software. To provide hardware-like security and reliability, VMware ESXi does not support a privileged access environment like the Service Console of VMware ESX. To enable interaction with agents, VMware has provisioned CIM Providers through which monitoring and management tasks – traditionally done through Service Console agents – can be performed. VMware has provisioned RCLI to allow the execution of scripts.
Remote CLI VMware ESX Service Console has a host CLI command through which VMware ESX can be configured. ESX 3.5 Update 2 supports RCLI. VMware ESX Service Console CLI has been ported to a Remote CLI (RCLI) for VMware ESXi. RCLI is a virtual appliance that interacts with VMware ESXi hosts to enable host configuration through scripts or specific commands. Note

  • RCLI is limited to read-only access for the free version of VMware ESXi. To enable full functionality of RCLI on a VMware ESXi host, the host must be licensed with VI Foundation, VI Standard, or VI Enterprise.
  • The VMware Infrastructure toolkit for Windows and the Perl toolkit access ESXi through the same API as RCLI. Similarly, these toolkits are limited to read-only access for the free version of VMware ESXi. When the host is upgraded to VI Foundation, VI Standard, or VI Enterprise, these toolkits have write-access and provide a scriptable method for managing ESXi hosts.
  • The following Service Console CLI commands have not been implemented in RCLI:
  • ESXcfg-info
  • ESXcfg-resgrp
  • ESXcfg-swiscsi 
Scriptable Installation VMware ESX supports scriptable installations through utilities like KickStart. VMware ESXi Installable does not support scriptable installations in the manner ESX does, at this time. VMware ESXi does provide support for post installation configuration script using RCLI-based configuration scripts.
Boot from SAN VMware ESX supports boot from SAN. Booting from SAN requires one dedicated LUN per server. VMware ESXi may be deployed as an embedded hypervisor or installed on a hard disk.   In most enterprise settings, VMware ESXi is deployed as an embedded hypervisor directly on the server. This operational model does not require any local storage and no SAN booting is required because the hypervisor image is directly on the server.


The installable version of VMware ESXi does not support booting from SAN.

Serial Cable Connectivity VMware ESX supports interaction through direct-attached serial cable to the VMware ESX host. VMware ESXi does not support interaction through direct-attached serial cable to the VMware ESXi host at this time.
SNMP VMware ESX supports SNMP. VMware ESXi supports SNMP when licensed to a VI Foundation, VI Standard, or VI Enterprise edition. The free version of VMware ESXi does not support SNMP.
Active Directory Integration VMware ESX supports Active Directory integration through third-party agents installed on the Service Console. VMware ESXi with a Virtual Infrastructure license and in conjunction with VirtualCenter allows users to be authenticated via Active Directory. In this configuration, users can log in directly to an ESXi host and authenticate using a local username and password. The free version of VMware ESXi does not support Active Directory integration at this time.
HW Instrumentation Service Console agents provide a range of HW instrumentation on VMware ESX. VMware ESXi provides HW instrumentation through CIM Providers. Standards-based CIM Providers are distributed with all versions of VMware ESXi. VMware partners may inject their own proprietary CIM Providers in customized versions of VMware ESXi. To obtain a customized version of VMware ESXi, you typically have to purchase a server with embedded VMware ESXi through a server vendor. At this time, HP also offers its customized VMware ESXi Installable on www.vmware.com. Dell, IBM, and FSC will soon offer their customized version of VMware ESXi on www.vmware.com.


Remote console applications like Dell DRAC, HP iLO, IBM RSA, and FSC iRMC S2 are supported with ESXi.


Note: COS agents have a longer lineage than CIM Providers and are therefore more mature. VMware is actively working with its 250+ partners to close the CIM Provider–Service Console agent gap.

Software Patches and Updates VMware ESX software patches and upgrades behave like traditional Linux based patches and upgrades. The installation of a software patch or upgrade may require multiple system boots as the patch or upgrade may have dependencies on previous patches or upgrades. VMware ESXi patches and updates behave like firmware patches and updates. Any given patch or update is all-inclusive of previous patches and updates. That is, installing patch version “n” includes all updates included in patch versions n-1, n-2, and so forth.
VI Web Access VMware ESX supports managing your virtual machines through VI Web Access. You can use the VI Web Access to connect directly to the ESX host or to the VMware Infrastructure Client. VMware ESXi does not support web access at this time.
Licensing VMware ESX hosts can be licensed as part of a VMware Infrastructure 3 Foundation, Standard, or Enterprise suite.  VMware ESXi hosts can be individually licensed (for free) or licensed as part of a VMware Infrastructure 3 Foundation, Standard, or Enterprise suite. Individually licensed ESXi hosts offer a subset of management capabilities (see SNMP and Remote CLI).



ESXi – Free License

(ESX not available without VI)

VI Foundation

(with ESX or ESXi)

VI Standard

(with ESX or ESXi)

VI Enterprise

(with ESX or ESXi)

Core hypervisor functionality





Virtual SMP










VirtualCenter Agent





Update Manager





Consolidated Backup





High Availability










Storage VMotion















Errors when gathering disk information during a physical to virtual conversion

KB Article: 1010341


When gathering disk information during a physical to virtual conversion, you may see the following errors:

  • Fatal error occurred. The most common reason for this is loss of network connection.
  • The wizard will now be closed.
  • Please check your network connection and try again.
  • Exception getting Disks and Volumes
  • sourceStorageInfo is missing


This article provides troubleshooting steps for converting a physical Windows source computer to a virtual machine. It assists you in eliminating common causes for this issue by verifying that networking is still in place between the Converter server and the the Windows source, and that the Windows source is not using any virtual disks.


Please validate that each troubleshooting step below is true for your environment. Each step will provide instructions or a link to a document, in order to eliminate possible causes and take corrective action as necessary. The steps are ordered in the most appropriate sequence to isolate the issue and identify the proper resolution. Please do not skip a step.

Note: If you perform corrective action in any of the following steps, attempt the conversion again.

  1. Verify that networking is still in place between the Converter server and the source computer. For more information, see Required VMware vCenter Converter ports (1010056).
  2. Confirm that there are no virtual disks appearing as disk devices in the Disk Management utility.
    1. Click Start > Run.
    2. Type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter.
    3. Review the list of drive letters and devices in the bottom window. If there is a drive that is not associated with a physical device then remove it.

      Note:  You must determine what software process has mounted this virtual drive and consult with its product documentation.

Note: If your problem still exists after trying the steps in this article, please:

Microsoft Cluster Service (MSCS) support on ESX


ESX Server 3 Release MSCS Supported? Documentation
3.0 Yes Setup for Microsoft Cluster Service (PDF)
3.0.1 Yes Setup for Microsoft Cluster Service (PDF)
3.0.2 Yes Setup for Microsoft Cluster Service (PDF)
3.0.2 Update 1 Yes VMware Infrastructure 3 Release Notes

see also Setup for Microsoft Cluster Service (PDF)

3.5 No VMware Infrastructure 3 Release Notes
3.5 Update 1, 2, 3, 4 Yes VMware Infrastructure 3 Release Notes

see also  Setup for Microsoft Cluster Service (PDF)

vSphere 4.0 Yes What’s New in VMware vSphere 4.0

see also  Setup for Failover Clustering and Microsoft Cluster Service(PDF)

Extend boot volume on Windows Server 2000/2003


Before you begin, make sure that you do not have an active snapshot on the VM, extending a virtual disk with a snapshot will cause corrpution

Extend the boot volume of Windows Server 2003 Virtual Machine
To start, I have a Windows Server 2003 Virtual Machine that has a 5.3G disk allocated to it, I need to expand this disk to 10G.


Step 1: Power off the virtual machine that holds the boot volume that you want to extend.

Step 2: Make a backup copy of your virutal disk, this is optional but if you mess up don’t call me unless you’re willing to pay.

Step 3: From the service console, increase the size of the .dsk or .vmdk virtual disk file. This can also be accomplished through the Virtual Infrastructure Client if you are using VirtualCenter 2.x+.

[[email protected] local]# ls -lah test.vmdk

-rw------- 1 root root 5.4G Jul 18 13:57 test.vmdk

Extend the virtual disk with vmkfstools. The input to the -X switch is the size that you want the disk file to be not the size you want to extend the disk file by.

[[email protected] local]# vmkfstools -X 10G test.vmdk

View the new size of test.vmdk

[[email protected] local]# ls -lah test.vmdk

-rw-------    1 root     root          10G Jul 18 13:57 test.vmdk

Step 4: For this step you will need an additional Virtual Machine running Windows Server 2003. Power off the second Virtual Machine, and add the disk from the first Virtual Machine to it through the mui. Power up the second Virtual Machine and verify that the imported disk has unallocated space on it.


From the run menu type “diskpart.exe” to enter the command line utility to resize disk partitions in Windows Server 2003.


The command list volume will show you all the available volumes. Select your volume as shown below. select volume 1 corresponds to the “D” volume that I want to exntend. Finally extend the volume with the extend command.


If all goes well, the partition will be immediately exnteded under the Disk Management snap in.


Step 5: Shut down the second Virtual Machine and remove the disk from the second Virtual Machine. Power on the first Virtual Machine and check out your new space.


Change all ESX root passwords

Another great script from Arnim van Lieshout.

With this script you can change all ESX root passwords at once:

# This script changes the root password on all ESX hosts in the esxservers.txt textfile

# Add VI-toolkit #
Add-PSsnapin VMware.VimAutomation.Core
Initialize-VIToolkitEnvironment.ps1# Get old root credential
$oldrootPassword = Read-Host “Enter old root password” -AsSecureString
$oldrootCredential = new-object -typename System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist “root”,$oldrootPassword

# Get new root credential
$newrootPassword = Read-Host “Enter new root password” -AsSecureString
$newrootCredential = new-object -typename System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist “root”,$newrootPassword
$newrootPassword2 = Read-Host “Retype new root password” -AsSecureString
$newrootCredential2 = new-object -typename System.Management.Automation.PSCredential -argumentlist “root”,$newrootPassword2

# Compare passwords
If ($newrootCredential.GetNetworkCredential().Password -ceq $newrootCredential2.GetNetworkCredential().Password) {

 # Create new root account object
 $rootaccount = New-Object VMware.Vim.HostPosixAccountSpec
 $rootaccount.id = “root”
 $rootaccount.password = $newrootCredential.GetNetworkCredential().Password
 $rootaccount.shellAccess = “/bin/bash”

 # Get list of Host servers from textfile to change root password on
 Get-Content esxservers.txt | %{
  Connect-VIServer $_ -User root -Password $oldrootCredential.GetNetworkCredential().Password -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue -ErrorVariable ConnectError | Out-Null
  If ($ConnectError -ne $Null) {
   Write-Host “ERROR: Failed to connect to ESX server:” $_
  Else {
   $si = Get-View ServiceInstance
   $acctMgr = Get-View -Id $si.content.accountManager
   Write-Host “Root password successfully changed on” $_
      Disconnect-VIServer -Confirm:$False | Out-Null
Else {
Write-Host “ERROR: New root passwords do not match. Exiting…”

Example esxservers.txt:


Download: [wpdm_file id=9]