ESXi boot fatal error 33 inconsistent data


Another quick write-up. Recently, while installing patches and rebooting ESXi hosts, I encountered the following error message during the boot process of an ESXi host: “esxi boot fatal error 33 inconsistent data”, accompanied by the filename causing the inconsistency.

A quick search on the Internet returned various useful tips, ranging from re-installation of ESXi, re-running the installer or replacing the damaged file. However, not all workarounds are applicable in all situations.

Perhaps it is too obvious, but this solution is also to be considered, especially while updating hosts;
Revert the ESXi host to it’s previous version. Now the ESXi host can boot and the installation of the patches can be continued.

This VMware KB outlines how to revert an ESXi host to it’s previous state.

If during the update process of ESXi this error shows up: “The host returns esxupdate error code:15. The package manager transaction is not successful. Check the Update Manager log files and esxupdate log files for more details
Also the esxupdate.log shows “esxupdate: esxupdate: ERROR: InstallationError: (”, ‘There was an error checking file system on altbootbank, please see log for detail.’)”, it is time to have a look at this KB.

I hope this will help. Thank you for reading.

ESXi CLIativity – Part 1


As I showed in a previous post, it is possible to do pretty awesome actions using the ESXi Shell.

By using VMware PowerCLI and some other tools, you can further extend these possibilities.
In this example we use a Windows workstation and the tool Plink.
Plink comes with the well known PuTTY utility and is a command-line connection tool similar to ssh and very useful for automated operations.

As an example, we use the unmap script from this post, the goal is to minimize manual actions. The first step is to deploy and start the unmap script on a more convenient way, without logon to the ESXi host.

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Check_MK and vSphere – vCenter Server


This post is the third part in a series about Check_MK and vSphere. In the second part, I showed you the options for monitoring an ESXi host without using vCenter Server. In this post we will explore the options for monitoring a vCenter Server on Windows and also the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA).

vCenter Server Windows

For this POC we have a vCenter Server 6.0 U2 (build 3634793) on a Windows Server 2012 R2. As this is a normal Windows server, I installed the Check_MK agent for Windows and added the host to Check_MK. For the property Agent type, select “Check_MK Agent (Server)”.

2016-08-21_01Figure 1

By default the Check_MK Windows Agents presents – without further tweaking – a lot of information; CPU and Memory utilization, Disk I/O, status of the filesystems, status of the Network interfaces and many more.

Now it’s time to reveal the vSphere options. We follow the same procedure as we did for the ESXi host. In the WATO configuration go to Host & Service Parameters \ Datasource Programs and select Check state of VMware ESX via vSphere. Now create a second rule for the vCenter Server, start with providing a descriptive name.

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Check_MK and vSphere – ESXi


This post is the second part in a series about Check_MK monitor and vSphere. In the first part Check_MK was introduced and some basic Installation and Configuration was explained.

According to the documentation, for monitoring VMware ESXi and vCenter Server, Check_MK has implemented a plugin that uses the vSphere API for retrieving information. This plugin is much more efficient than versions based on the Perl API.

So let’s start and see what can be revealed. To get a clear understanding of the various options, I will perform a step-by-step configuration instead of ticking all options at once.

The first step is to go into WATO and add an ESXi host. Under WATO, choose, Hosts and New Host.

2016-08-10-01Figure 1

You must at least enter the Hostname and an IP address, the Alias is optional. Under Agent Type place a tick and select “No Agent”.

At this time, the result is not very exciting; the ESXi host will be pinged.

2016-08-10-02Figure 2

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Wots … Uh the Driver?


A modern server is besides our favorite ESXi hypervisor loaded with all kinds of additional software, like BIOS, and firmware and drivers for items like; Baseboard management , Remote support interfaces, Storage controllers, NICs, Power Supplies, to name a few.
If trouble arises and you must contact your hardware vendor or VMware support, in many situations you are kindly requested to install the latest updates, firmware versions and drivers.

Some vendors provide ISO images or repositories containing the actual updates, you may run the update process and voilà, ready and done.
If you want to stay in control and want some more insight in this subject, please read on.

It comes down to these four questions:

  • What hardware is in the server?
  • How to determine the current firmware and or driver?
  • Which driver and or firmware do I need?
  • How do I upgrade drivers and firmware?

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You still got time


As you may have heard, on 30 June 2015, the last minute of the day 23:59 UTC will last 61 seconds instead of 60 seconds. The reason for this leap second is to sync time with the rotation of our Earth. The previous leap second was added in 2012, websites like LinkedIn, Mozilla and Reddit went down due to this leap second.

20150628_01Figure 1

Because a progressive number of computer systems rely on time synchronization, this means extra work for System Administrators (that will take much longer than 1 second). On the other hand there is also a lot of discussion; are leap seconds really useful in a world that relies on computer systems?

That brought me to the question; “Are VMware products affected and what can we do to prevent misery?”

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Implementing CA signed SSL certificates with vSphere 5.x – Part 5– ESXi and Automation


In the previous posts, we discussed the need for certificates, how to obtain certificates, implementing certificates on a vCenter Server Appliance, vCenter Update Manager server and finally a vCenter Orchestrator Appliance. Although there are more vSphere components, we conclude with the implementation of certificates for ESXi hosts.

ESXi hosts

The configuration of CA certificates is explained in KB “Configuring CA signed certificates for ESXi 5.x hosts (2015499)”. Most important remark in this KB; “Each server must be unique to the component as it ties to the fully qualified domain name of the server. As such you cannot just take a single certificate and apply it to all hosts. Wildcard certificates are currently not supported, but even if they were, it is much more secure to have a proper certificate for each host.”

To create a certificate request for multiple ESXi servers, you can follow the procedure as describes in KB “Configuring OpenSSL for installation and configuration of CA signed certificates in the vSphere environment (2015387)”.

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