VMware VSAN – More than meets the eye.

Way back in 2014 I wrote a piece called VSAN – The Unspoken Future, and I think it’s about time it got a revision. Of course, lots of things have happened to VSAN since then and even more is on the way, but I think there is more to this than adding features like erasure coding, deduplication and compression. All of these are important features, and frankly they need to be in a product that aims a lot higher than you might think.


At the moment, VSAN does storage internally in a vSphere Cluster. If you want to use that storage in other ways, you either have to share it from a VM over the network or use NexentaConnect for VMware Virtual SAN.

Yesterday, VMUG.it shared the following photo from Duncan EppingsGoodbye SAN Huggers, Hello Virtual SAN” session from their VMUG UserCon:

Generic Object Storage Platform

Look closely at that one for a minute. What is Duncan and VMware telling us here, if you squint your eyes and try to read between the lines? For me, this slide was a bit of a lightbulb moment: VMware wants to turn VSAN into a generic storage provider in the data center. You need some storage of some sort? VSAN will provide it, even if your applications are not located on the same cluster.  Object based? Sure. Block? Sure. REST? Sure, that’s what the cool kids do. VMFS? Only if you need to run a VM.

Couple this with  the vSphere Integrated Containers and Photon Platform announcements, VMware is already talking about the microvisor. So, remove the vSphere layer in the slide above, and replace it with a variant of the VSAN ROBO witness appliance of some sort, which runs enough to provide policy based storage services. Once you have those two bits talking to each other, you don’t need the traditional vSphere layer to provide hardware virtualization at all for those cloud native apps. Add NSX to the mix, and network policies that follow the application, and you have a portable application infrastructure that can run pretty much anywhere you prefer.  At VMworld 2015, VMware showed NSX for Multi-Hypervisor running on AWS, extending the network from on-premises to Amazon. Why not do the same with storage?  Want cloud based storage? Sure, add the little VSAN layer in front of your providers storage offering, and boom, instant policy  management and portability.

And of course, VMware will be there to provide you with the management and monitoring layer for all of this – Even if you don’t run vSphere.

VMware is getting ready for the post-virtualization, multi-platform, world, no question about it.  Are You Ready for Any?


vCenter / SSO unable to retrieve AD-information | Error while extracting local SSO users

After deploying a new VCSA 6.0u1 I was seeing some weird errors while trying to retrieve AD- users/groups (or anything from the esod.local domain):


After some serious head scratching, it dawned on me after checking the DNS records for the DC in the domain, from the vCenter Appliance itself:

dig +noall +answer +search dc1.esod.local
dc1.esod.local. 3600 IN A

So far so good, the DNS lookup works as expected.

dig +noall +answer +search -x

That’s right, the reverse lookup returns exactly zilch, zero, zippo, nil, nada and null.

The Solution

Add reverse lookup zone to DNS and update the DC PTR record._1446155633910


Once that it done, it works as expected:

dig +noall +answer +search -x 3600 IN PTR dc1.esod.local.

Re-checking the domain in the vCenter Web Client, and  AD-information is retrieved correctly.



It turns out that in VC6.0u1 reverse PTR records are required for SSO and Active Directory authentication to function properly.

Update ESXi Embedded Host Client Fling

VMware ESXi Host Client 2015-08-26 18-42-24The ESXi Embedded Host Client Fling got an upgrade today, and in addition to new features it now works properly on ESXi 5.5. In addition to this, it’s also available as an offline bundle so you can distribute it with Update Manager.

Since I’ve spent most of my day in esxcli, here is a quick post on how to perform the upgrade from a local http repository hosting the .vib file.

Install .vib file

  1. Download the esxui-3015331.vib file and place it somewhere accessible via http.
  2. SSH to your ESXi host, and run the following command (remember to enable maintenance mode if needed).
    esxcli software vib install -v http://[yourip:port/path]/esxui-3015331.vib
  3. Wait for the installation to finish
    Installation Result
    Message: Operation finished successfully.
    Reboot Required: false
    VIBs Installed: VMware_bootbank_esx-ui_0.0.2-0.1.3015331
    VIBs Removed: VMware_bootbank_esx-ui_0.0.2-0.1.2976804
    VIBs Skipped:
  4. Access the updated Embedded Host Client via http://hostip/ui/