Building a PXE boot environment for ESXi

In our environment we run ESXi primarily on HPE Proliant servers. We use OneView for managing the hardware it self (i.e. monitoring, firmware), but for provisioning ESXi to the servers we have been doing some of it manually and some of it with HPE Insight Control Server Provisioning (ICsp).

When preparing for deployment of a new batch of servers we found that Proliant Gen10 servers is not supported by ICsp. Furthermore after an unofficial chat with a HPE employee it seems that it won’t be anytime soon either. There is a new major version of OneView coming, version 4, which has more features and integrations than before, but from the publicly available FAQs I can’t find anything about it supporting OS deployment

With that we decided to look into building a small deployment solution ourselves.… continue reading

Automating iLO config and OneView setup for HPE servers

We have quite a few Blade Enclosures with BL460c server blades in them and have been happy with those. For managing these we are primarly using HPE OneView and in some cases the Onboard Administrator (OA).

Our latest batch of new hardware however was DL360 and DL380 rack servers. These will also be managed by OneView primarly, but initially we need to do some iLO config on each server which in the case of blades are done by the OA. They will also have to be added to OneView manually while the blades would be brought in automatically from the chassis.… continue reading

Running Grafana on the Red Hat Openshift Container Platform

Last year we started building our own solution for Performance Monitoring of our Infrastructure platform with the focus on the VMware vSphere environment. The components used for this solution is PowerCLI for extracting the metrics, InfluxDB for storing the metrics, and Grafana for presenting the metrics.

I did a Blog series on this project which explains in detail what we did when building the solution.

The solution has been very well received and are used daily by many of my colleagues, and we frequently update the solution with new metrics and dashboards.

In my initial tests before deciding to build the solution with InfluxDB and Grafana I ran these components in Docker containers locally on my laptop.… continue reading

Import-SpbmStoragePolicy error – Object reference not set to an instance of an object

In a previous post I’ve talked about issues in the StoragePolicy and Tag cmdlets in PowerCLI. I found a workaround by ignoring certificate warnings and setting my date format to en-US.

Today I tried to replicate some Storage Policies from one vCenter to another and I found that I got new errors…

I can export the policies without issues, but when I try to Import the policy to the new vCenter I get the following error: “Object reference not set to an instance of an object”. Update 2018-04-06: VMware has confirmed the issue and stated it will be fixed in PowerCLI 10.1

I double-checked my workaround found in the mentioned blog post, but that was in place.… continue reading

Creating a Powershell module as an API wrapper

We all love today’s modern web with lots of API’s available, both for retrieving information from various sources, gaining additional insights and for transform and enrich your data. Most API’s today are RESTFUL, meaning that they should follow the REST principles. REST is not a standard, it’s more a guideline for how to design your API.

With the REST guidelines in place many API’s share the same or similar structure and with that it gets easier to work with API’s as you can make use of the same techniques. If you’re familiar with Windows Powershell this is one of the easiest ways of exploring an API.… continue reading

HPE OneView 4 – First look

HPE released it’s 4th version of their OneView management appliance late in December. While version 3 was a great deal better than v2 and v1 I have some expectations on this release as well.

I think all versions have had value and the new features and functionalities presented has been for the better. Still it wasn’t until version 3 I really felt that it was a solid product.

We’ve run v3 for almost as long as it has been available and have been happy with it. But, as always, there have been some features missing which we would like to se in the product.… continue reading

Chronograf dashboard

Exploring the TICK stack

For those of you that have read my blog you probably know I’ve done a series on performance monitoring infrastructure with the help of InfluxDB.

InfluxDB is a part of the TICK stack delivered by InfluxData. All components are open-sourced and available. The TICK stack consists of, Telegraf, InfluxDB, Chronograf and Kapacitor.

This post will do a quick review and some examples on how I have started exploring them in my Performance monitoring project.

To start of the TICK stack is documentated at docs.influxdata.com. The product documentation is very good and gives a lot of insight into how to get started with the products.… continue reading

Firmware update HPE Onboard Administrator

In our environment we have several HPE Blade Chassis systems. The chassis is managed with the Onboard Administrator (OA) which consists of one or two management modules.

Like all other hardware these modules have components that needs firmware to run. And firmware needs to be kept updated to fix bugs, add features, new hardware compatibility and mitigate security risks. It’s also a good thing to keep it pretty close to the iLO version updates on your blades as I suspect HPE might not test newer iLO against a lot of old OA version. However I haven’t found that kind of compatibility matrix.… continue reading

OneView crash – Error in log file content

This weekend our primary OneView appliance crashed.

This particular OneView appliance handles 10 blade chassis and over 120 blade servers

As OneView handles only the management side of the hardware nothing in production was affected by this crash.

TLDR; There is a bug in version 3.10.04 which doesn’t delete expired sessions. This is fixed in version 3.10.07

A few troubleshooting steps was taken initially.

  • First we restarted the appliance, it took a while but it stopped when loading it’s resource managers and threw the same error
  • We also gave it some more CPU’s and more RAM to see if it was a resource issue, after powering on the VM it eventually threw the same error

Unfortunately we are not doing backups of the appliance from OneView.… continue reading

Some InfluxDB gotcha’s

If you’ve followed my vSphere performance data blog series you probably have noted that I used InfluxDB as the database for storing the performance data.

With over 4 months of performance data in the InfluxDB I’ve picked up some gotcha’s along the way (there’s probably more lying around which I’ve not come over yet).

In this blog post I’ll outline what I’ve learned so far

(Save) Disk space

One of them is of course, and this is an obvious one, the amount of data and the corresponding disk space needed to store it.

Although InfluxDB is very good at compressing your data and saving a lot of space doing that it depends on you to do the right choices on how you write your data.… continue reading