VMware Consolidated Backup and User Access Control

Working with a customer recently I got to spend some quality time troubleshooting VMware Consolidated Backup framework.  Generally VCB is a very straight forward install and it pretty much “just works” – which made my recent experience very atypical (in my experience anyway).

Here’s the setup – we have a group of ESX servers, and a Windows Server 2008 Standard 64-bit system, all attached to the same Fibrechannel SAN, with everything zoned properly.  VCB is installed on the 2K8 system.  The 2K8 OS sees all of of the VMFS luns which are presented to it.  We are using Win2K8’s native MPIO stack.

Running VCB Mounter in SAN mode returns an error that there is no path to the device where the VM is stored.  Running it in NBD mode works great…except that it passes all of the traffic over the network which is not desirable.

Again, diskpart, and the disk Management MMC see all of the LUNs with no issues.

VCB’s vcbSanDbg.exe utility however see no storage.  None at all.

We tried various options – newer and older versions of the VCB framework (btw, only the latest 1.5 U1 version of VCB is supported on Win2K8).  We tried various ways of presenting the storage.  We even tried presenting up some iSCSI storage thinking maybe it was an issue with the systems’ HBA’s.

Ok, if you’ve read the subject of this post then you already know the answer.  In case you didn’t here it is – the system has User Access Control (UAC) enabled.   The user we’re running the framework as is a local administrator on the proxy, but that’s not enough to allow it to properly enumerate the disk devices.   In order for the VCB framework to work you either have to run it in a command window with the “run as administrator” option,  or turn off UAC on the server.  The former can be a little tricky to accomplish if you’re wanting to run the framework from inside a backup application, while the latter seems to be the most common approach.

That’s it.  Turn off UAC and reboot the computer.  Now VCB works great.

Upgrading from vSpehere 4.0 to 4.0U1 on HP Proliant

I just stumbled across something which I thought might be more than helpful to a few of us. VMware has a documented issue when upgrading vSphere 4.0 when the HP Insight Manager agents are installed on the host. The short version is that the Insight Manager services must be disabled before attempting to upgrade the host, or the host can be left in an unstable partially upgraded state.

The full article can be found here: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1016070

Release: VMware View 4.0

Although at first delayed for a few days, VMware View 4.0 is now out!

Thanks to VMGuy.com for the detailed info below!

View 4.0 was release for download tonight.  It can be downloaded here.  Here’s the what’s new section from the release notes:

  • VMware View with PCoIP – PCoIP provides an optimized desktop experience for the delivery of the entire desktop environment including applications, images, audio, and video content for a wide range of users on the LAN or across the WAN. PCoIP can compensate for an increase in latency or a reduction in bandwidth, to ensure that end users can remain productive regardless of network conditions.
  • PCoIP includes VMware View Display with support for up to four monitors and the ability to deliver the optimal resolution and pivot orientation to each monitor independently.
  • VMware vSphere Support – VMware vSphere 4 support enables improved virtual machine scalability, performance, and management, with continued support for VMware Infrastructure 3.x.
  • Enhanced single sign-on – The Log in as current user feature is integrated with Active Directory and smart cards to help simplify the process of logging in to a VMware View desktop.
  • Restricted entitlements – Administrators can control user access to virtual desktops based on the View Connection Server being used for authentication.
  • Smart card policies – Administrators can set group policies to force desktop disconnection and require reconnection when users remove smart cards.
  • Domain filtering – You can use vdmadmin.exe to control the accessibility of domains and traverse trust relationships more quickly.
  • You can cleanly delete View desktops using scripts.
  • You can log in to View desktops using user principal names (UPN).
  • You can explicitly configure IP addresses to override those supplied by the View Agent when accessing a desktop.
  • Mixed Active Directory and Kerberos authentication is supported.

Release: vCenter Server Heartbeat 5.5 Update 2

Thanks to VMGuy.com for the detailed info below.

The maximum uptime solution for vCenter has been upgraded to 5.5 Update 2 and can be downloaded here.  Here’s the what’s new section from the release notes:

Support for Windows Server 2008 SP1 and SP2 (x86/x64) — VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat now supports running on Windows Server 2008 SP1 and SP2 (including x86 and x64 versions) operating systems.
Support for Windows Server 2003 Enterprise SP2 (x64) — VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat now supports running on the Windows Server 2003 Enterprise SP2 (x64) operating system.
Protection of VMware vCenter Management Web Services — This release of VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat adds the vCenter Management Web Server to its list of protected vCenter Server components.
Introduction of the WinZip Self-Extracting executable file for Setup — Installation and setup of VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat is initiated through the use of a WinZip Self-Extracting executable file.
60-day evaluation mode — This release of VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat provides a built-in 60-day evaluation mode that is triggered from the date of installation. Either prior to or upon expiration of the 60-day evaluation period, administrators will need to provide a valid license key to continue to leverage VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat functionality.
Tomcat Monitoring Rule — A new rule has been added for vCenter 4.0 Tomcat Web Server availability.
Note: The term vSphere Client is applicable to both vSphere Client and VI Client except where VI Client is specifically stated.

Release: VMware Data Recovery 1.1

Thanks to VMGuy.com for the detailed info below.

The little backup application that could just got better and upgraded to v1.1 and can be downloaded here.  Here’s the Enhancements section from the release notes:

File Level Restore Functionality is Officially Supported
File Level Restore (FLR) provides a way to access individual files within restore points for Windows virtual machines. In previous versions of Data Recovery, FLR was provided as an experimental feature. File Level Restore feature is now officially supported.

Integrity Check Stability and Performance Improved
The integrity check process is faster and more stable. Note that integrity checks are computationally intensive processes and can take significant periods of time. The exact amount of time integrity checks take varies based on of the size of the deduplication store. Even with these enhancements, integrity checks that take several hours are not unexpected.

Integrity Checks Provides Improved Progress Information

When an integrity check is running, a progress indicator is displayed. This progress indicator has been improved, although it does not provide the optimal level of detail.

Enhanced CIFS Shares Support

Release: vCenter 4.0 Update 1

Thanks to VMGuy.com for the detailed info below.

vCenter was also updated tonight with update 1 and can be downloaded here.  Here’s the What’s new section from the release notes:
IBM DB2 Database Support for vCenter Server — This release adds support for IBM DB2 9.5 as the backend database platform for VMware vCenter Server 4.0. The following editions of IBM DB2 are supported:
IBM DB2 Enterprise 9.5
IBM DB2 Workgroup 9.5
IBM DB2 Express 9.5
IBM DB2 Express-C 9.5
VMware View 4.0 support — This release adds support for VMware View 4.0, a solution built specifically for delivering desktops as a managed service from the protocol to the platform.
Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 support — This release adds support for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 as well as 64-bit Windows 2008 R2 as guest operating system platforms. In addition, the vSphere Client is now supported and can be installed on a Windows 7 platform.
Pre-Upgrade Checker Tool — A standalone pre-upgrade checker tool is now available as part of the vCenter Server installation media that proactively checks ESX hosts for any potential issues that you might encounter while upgrading vCenter agents on these hosts as part of the vCenter Server upgrade process. You can run this tool independently prior to upgrading an existing vCenter Server instance. The tool can help identify any configuration, networking, disk space or other ESX host-related issues that could prevent ESX hosts from being managed by vCenter Server after a successful vCenter Server upgrade.
HA Cluster Configuration Maximum — HA clusters can now support 160 virtual machines per host in HA Cluster of 8 hosts or less. The maximum number of virtual machines per host in cluster sizes of 9 hosts and above is still 40, allowing a maximum of 1280 Virtual Machines per HA cluster.
Bug fixes described in Resolved Issues.

Release: ESX 4.0 Update 1

Thanks to VMGuy.com for the detailed info below.

The first update of ESX 4.0 has been released and can be downloaded here.  Here’s the What’s new section from the release notes:
VMware View 4.0 support – This release adds support for VMware View 4.0, a solution built specifically for delivering desktops as a managed service from the protocol to the platform.

Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 support –This release adds support for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 as well as 64-bit Windows 2008 R2 as guest OS platforms. In addition, the vSphere Client is now supported and can be installed on a Windows 7 platform. For a complete list of supported guest operating systems with this release, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

Enhanced Clustering Support for Microsoft Windows – Microsoft Cluster Server (MSCS) for Windows 2000 and 2003 and Windows Server 2008 Failover Clustering is now supported on an VMware High Availability (HA) and Dynamic Resource Scheduler (DRS) cluster in a limited configuration. HA and DRS functionality can be effectively disabled for individual MSCS virtual machines as opposed to disabling HA and DRS on the entire ESX/ESXi host. Refer to the Setup for Failover Clustering and Microsoft Cluster Service guide for additional configuration guidelines.

Enhanced VMware Paravirtualized SCSI Support – Support for boot disk devices attached to a Paravirtualized SCSI ( PVSCSI) adapter has been added for Windows 2003 and 2008 guest operating systems. Floppy disk images are also available containing the driver for use during the Windows installation by selecting F6 to install additional drivers during setup. Floppy images can be found in the /vmimages/floppies/ folder.

Improved vNetwork Distributed Switch Performance – Several performance and usability issues have been resolved resulting in the following:

Improved performance when making configuration changes to a vNetwork Distributed Switch (vDS) instance when the ESX/ESXi host is under a heavy load
Improved performance when adding or removing an ESX/ESXi host to or from a vDS instance
Increase in vCPU per Core Limit – The limit on vCPUs per core has been increased from 20 to 25. This change raises the supported limit only. It does not include any additional performance optimizations. Raising the limit allows users more flexibility to configure systems based on specific workloads and to get the most advantage from increasingly faster processors. The achievable number of vCPUs per core depends on the workload and specifics of the hardware. For more information see the Performance Best Practices for VMware vSphere 4.0 guide.

Enablement of Intel Xeon Processor 3400 Series – Support for the Xeon processor 3400 series has been added. For a complete list of supported third party hardware and devices, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.

Resolved Issues – In addition, this release delivers a number of bug fixes that have been documented in the Resolved Issues section.

Office 2010 Beta – Are You Missing Email Messages in a old PST?

I have an older PST file that I keep a lot of my older email in. It’s huge. But it’s well organized and I’m a bit lost without it. I know, I’m an email horde. But, it has "saved" me countless times as I’ve come across something that I’ve discussed or ran across in the past and I can search my PST and find the answer or related discussion. So I started to freak out a little bit (just a little as I have multiple backups of my PST hehe) when I opened my PST in Outlook 2010 (Office 2010 Beta) and in a few of the folders, all I saw was really old messages, even when I knew there were newer messages that should be in there. The messages were there if I opened the same PST in Outlook 2007, so I knew it was either a bug or something else. Come to find out, it was a simple setting that’s hidden pretty well. This lesson shows what I did to see my old messages again.

Where’s My Email Messages?


This screenshot shows a PST folder in Outlook 2010, that should contain a lot of messages from THIS year. As you can tell from the screenshot, all I’m seeing is email from 2006!

How to “See” Again


Turns out that for some reason, certain folders in my PST have a "filter" applied to them. I don’t know why or how, but here’s how to remove the filter. Right click near the top of the window (1) and choose "View Settings" (2).

Dang Filter


Now, click on the "Filter" button. Notice that there is a filter in place since it says "Messages: Advanced" on this screen.

Remove the Filter


Click on the "Advanced" tab (1) and then remove the filter by clicking on the "Remove" button (2). Now click on the "Ok" button (3).


The filter is now off as this screenshot shows. Click on the "Ok" button.

Email Galore!


There you go! All of my email is visiable again.. Whew, glad it’s all still there.. 😉

Office 2010 Beta – Publicly Released

It looks like the Office 2010 beta has been released publicly (as well as Technet and MSDN subscribers last week or so).
Go get it here: http://bit.ly/1hKHq2

We went over some screenshots for Office 2010 on our blog, here:

The new beta release doesn’t look like it’s changed much, probably just minor bug fixes. I’ve been using Office 2010 as my “primary” Office application and it’s worked great so far! Very few bugs, only 1 of which I’ve given a “frown face” (Office 2010’s feedback mechanism).

Tell us what you think!