Slow or failed logon to VCSA 5.5 with vCOps in the environment

vsphere logoRecently I encountered this problem in a customer site whereby the logon to VCSA 5.5 would either time out, or take 3-5 minutes to actually log on.

Running a netstat on the VCSA during the attempt to logon showed there was a SYN packet sent to the vCOps appliance on port 443 that never established a connection. Another check was attempting to connect using curl https://<vCOpsIP> –k  – this would time out.

Ensuring connectivity to the vCOps appliance over port 443 fixed the logon timeout issue – presumably a the connection attempt holds up the logon process (single threaded?!) which causes a timeout in the logon process.

Book Review: Learning Veeam Backup and Replication for VMware vSphere

I was recently sent a copy of Christian Mohn’s new book “Learning Veeam Backup and Replication for VMware vSphere” to review, and as ever this is my honest opinion of this book. I am not receiving anything other than the copy of the book for this review. I don’t work for a vendor, so I have no axe to grind!


The book starts of with explanations of basic backup strategies and explains principals like Grandfather-Father-Son media rotation and RPO/RTOs. From there it dives into the architecture of Veeam BR and its components. The remainder of chapter 1 covers a walk through of the installation of the product.

Chapter 2 covers the configuration of backups, and gives some background into the different types of backups within Veeam, their drawbacks, and how Veeam have addressed them. For example solving the problem of having to combine incremental backups with the last full, which Veeam solve with synthetic full backups. The chapter also covers backup proxies, and configuring backup jobs, copying to tape or remote repository, and the WAN accelerator.

The next chapter walks through performing restores with Veeam, including full VMs, VM files (like a vmx) and VMDKs, and guest OS files.

Chapter 4 covers the replication part of Veeam Backup and Replication, and after explaining the differences between backup and replication it covers the infrastructure required before stepping through the set-up of a replication job. It also covers the process for fail over and fail-back, and here is one example of where I’d like to see some comparison – e.g. with VMware’s SRM, which has a similar feature set.

The fifth and final chapter covers some of the more unique features of Veeam’s offering, and I thought it provided a good explanation of those features – here is where I think walk through of setup/config would be most valuable, but it reads more as a feature list than a learning guide.


I found the writing style easy to read and I thought it flowed quite well throughout the book – this is always impressive when the author’s first language isn’t English.

I did find that I had to keep reminding myself that the book is specifically written about a single product rather than a more agnostic approach – I felt it read more like a vendor produced document. Personally, I would have liked some comparison with other well-known backup products to ground it a little and perhaps some more real-world explanations to distinguish it from vendor install documentation.

Perhaps that’s a little unfair as the book is specifically about that one product, and there is added value in the explanations provided. The introduction specifically states that it’s aimed at “vSphere administrators looking for an introduction to Veeam Backup & Replication v7 for VMware” and it definitely does provide that.

Learning Veeam Backup and Replication for VMware vSphere is available on Amazon and Packt


Book review: Networking for VMware Administrators

NetworkingForVMwareAdministratorsI recently got my hands on a copy* of Chris Wahl and Steve Pantol’s Networking for VMware Administrators and was very keen to read it – especially given the reputation of the authors. I came to the book as someone who is at CCNA level (although now expired) and someone who regularly designs complex VMware networks using standard and distributed switches. I would class myself as having a fairly decent understanding of networking, though not a networking specialist.

The book starts out at from a really basic level explaining OSI, what a protocol is etc. and builds on the foundation set out as it progresses. Part I of the book gives are really good explanation of not only the basics of networking, but a lot of the “why” as well. If you’ve done CCNA level networking exams then you will know most of this stuff – but it’s always good to refresh, and maybe cover any gaps.

Part II of the book translates the foundations set out in Part I into the virtual world and takes you through the similarities and differences with between virtual and physical. It gives a good overview of the vSphere Standard Switch (VSS) and vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS) and even has a chapter on the Cisco 1000v. One of the really useful parts of the book are the lab examples and designs, which takes you though the design process and considerations to get to the solution. [Read more…]

Some useful vSphere related diagrams

VMware.jpgOne of the things that never fails to amaze me are the superb PDF diagrams I occasionally stumble upon so i thought it would be a useful idea to list some of the the ones I have found on my travels.


VMware vSphere 5 Memory Management and Monitoring diagram








 Concepts and best practices in Resource Pools








[Read more…]

Installing VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.5 in the Lab

Site Recovery ManagerI’ve been playing about with a compact SRM install in my lab – since I have limited resources and only one site I wanted to create a run-through for anyone learning SRM to be able to do it in their own lab too. I am creating two sites on the same IP subnet (pretend it’s a stretched LAN across two sites) and will be protecting a single, tiny Linux web server using vSphere Replication. I’m aiming to cover SAN based replication in a later post.

Below is the list of hosts and VMs running for this exercise:

  • ESXi-01 – my “Protected Site” – this is running DC-01, VC-01, SRM-01 and VRA-01 (to be installed later)
  • ESXi-02 – my “Recovery Site” – this is running VC-02, SRM-02 and VRA-02 (to be installed later)
  • DC-01 – this is my domain controller, I’m only going to use one DC for both “sites” as I don’t have the compute resource available to have a second running. This is also my Certificate Authority.
  • VC-01 – this is my primary Virtual Center server, it’s a Windows 2012 R2 server. It is managing ESXi-01.
  • VC-02 – this is my “recovery site” and it’s a Virtual Center Server Appliance (VCSA). It is managing ESXi-02
  • SRM-01 – “protected site” SRM server, base install of Windows Server 2012 at this point
  • SRM-02 – “recovery site” SRM server, base install of Windows Server 2012 at this point
  • WEB-01 – this is a really, really, basic Ubuntu web server I’ve deployed from a template to use for testing.

Right – without further ado, let’s get stuck in!

[Read more…]