Blue circle in the vSphere client after upgrading to vCenter Server 6.7 Update 2

After upgrading the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) to version 6.7 Update 2, I tried to log in using the vSphere Client. After entering the credentials an endless blue running circle appears.

In the VAMI interface (https://vcsa-fqdn:5480) of the VCSA, the health statistics of all the components are green (okay) so I decided to reboot the VCSA.

After the VCSA reboot I encountered the same blue running circle when trying to log in using the vSphere Client. I tried Firefox and Google and the Internet Explorer browser. The only browser that worked was Internet Explorer. I never used  Internet Explorer before so I tried to clear the cache of Google Chrome and Firefox using the following methods:

Clear cache, cookies and history of Google Chrome:

  • Open Chrome.
  • At the top right, click More More
  • Click More tools and then Clear browsing data
  • Time range: All time
  • Select Browser history, cookies and cache images and files
  • Click Clear data

Clear cache and cookies of Firefox browser:

  • Open firefox
  • In the address bar enter: about:preferences
  • Click Privacy & Security
  • Under Cookies and Site Data select Clear Data
  • Check Cookies and Site Data and Cached Web Content
  • Click Clear and select Clear Now

After clearing the cache I was able to log in using the vSphere Client without the endless blue circle. So make sure to clear the cache of the browser(s) when experiencing the circle problem.

Install Home Assistant Hass.io as Virtual Machine (VM) on VMware ESXi

I started exploring Home Assistant Hass.io on a Raspberry Pi. After several SD card crashes I decided to installed Hass.io as Virtual Machine (VM) on VMware ESXi. There is a VMDK version available (link) that can attached (this involves manual steps) but I prefer a clean installation. VMware ESXi is installed on my Shuttle SH370R6 plus home lab server (link).

Other advantages of running Hass.io as VM on VMware ESXi are for example:

  • The Raspberry PI has limited hardware resources and can be a performance bottleneck when using more and more sensors and installing Hass.io add-ons. A home lab server offers more CPU power, memory and storage performance.
  • Snapshot functionality. Quickly make a Virtual Machine snapshot before upgrading the add-ons or Hass.io itself. When something went wrong during the upgrade, simply revert the snapshot and everything works again within seconds.
  • The installation of Hass.io in a Ubuntu VM on ESXi is simple.
  • USB sticks like Z-Wave or Zigbee2MQTT can be attached to the Hass.io VM using ESXi USB pass-through.

Here are the steps outlined how-to install an Ubuntu VM and install Hass.io.

Configure the Virtual Machine hardware specifications

  • Download Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS (Long-Term Support), link.
  • Make a connection to the ESXi host: https://<ip-address>/ui
  • Upload the Ubuntu ISO to a datastore
  • Create a new virtual machine with the following specifications:
    • Name: HA-01
    • Compatibility: ESXi 6.7 virtual machine
    • Guest OS family: Linux
    • Guest OS version: Ubuntu Linux (64-bit)
    • Storage: datastore with 30 GB free space
    • CPUs: 2
    • Memory: 2048 MB
    • Hard disk 1: 30 GB
      • Disk Provisioning: Thin provisioned
    • SCSI Controller 0: VMware Paravirtual
    • USB controller 1: USB 2.0 or 3.0 depending on the ESXi hardware
    • Network adapter 1: Select the portgroup
      • Adapter type: VMXNET 3
    • CD/DVD Drive 1: Datastore ISO file
      • Browse to the Ubuntu ISO
      • Connect: checked
    • Video Card: Default settings

  • Next
  • Finish
  • Power on the VM
  • Open a console session

The VM has a paravirtualized SCSI controller (PVSCSI) and Virtual NIC (VMXNET3)

Install Ubuntu on ESXi

  • Language: English
  • Select: Install Ubuntu Server
  • Choose your preferred language: English
  • Keyboard configuration: Select the layout and variant: English US (
  • Installation: Install Ubuntu
  • Networking connections: The VMXNET3 NIC of the VM is displayed. Select for the IPv4 method DHCP or a manual fixed IP address
  • Configure proxy: leave this blank
  • Ubuntu mirror: Use the mirror address suggested
  • Filesystem setup: Use an Entire Disk
    • Choose the disk to install to: /dev/sda 30.00G
    • Filesystem summary: Done
    • Confirm destructive action. Are you sure you want to continue: Continue

  • Profile setup: Fill in the following fields (remember the username and password)
    • Your name:
    • Your server’s name:
    • Pick a username:
    • Choose a password:
    • Confirm a password:
  • SSH Setup: Install OpenSSH server
    • Import SSH identity: No
  • Featured Server Snaps: Select none
  • The installation of Ubuntu begins
  • The installation is complete! Reboot the system

  • Remove the attached Ubuntu ISO from the VM and press enter
  • After the reboot it’s time to install Hass.io in the VM

The Open VM Tools is already installed  by default so there no need to install this package.

Install Hass.io

  • Because we installed OpenSSH we are using a SSH session for the Hass.io configuration.
  • Connect to the IP address of thje Ubuntu VM using SSH (i’m using putty) for the connection.
  • Packages requirements (link) for Hass.io:
    • apparmor-utils
    • apt-transport-https
    • avahi-daemon
    • ca-certificates
    • curl
    • dbus
    • jq
    • network-manager
    • socat
    • software-properties-common (already installed in Ubuntu 18.04)
    • As docker package Docker-CE must be installed.
  •  Use the following commands to install all the required packages and install Hass.io
sudo -i
add-apt-repository universe
apt-get update
apt-get install -y apparmor-utils apt-transport-https avahi-daemon ca-certificates curl dbus jq network-manager socat
curl -fsSL get.docker.com | sh
curl -sL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/home-assistant/hassio-installer/master/hassio_install.sh | bash -s
  • After the installation check if there are two containers running using the following command:
root@ha-01:~# docker ps
CONTAINER ID IMAGE COMMAND CREATED STATUS PORTS NAMES
8def326c0ce7 homeassistant/qemux86-64-homeassistant "/bin/entry.sh pytho…" About a minute ago Up About a minute homeassistant
47945d4fe0f4 homeassistant/amd64-hassio-supervisor "python3 -m hassio" 2 minutes ago Up 2 minutes hassio_supervisor
root@ha-01:~#
  • Connect to Hass.io: http://<IP address>:8123

Home Assistant Hass.io is now running as VM on VMware ESXi.

Monitor vSAN with ControlUp

One of the new enhancements of ControlUp 7.3 is vSAN monitoring support. ControlUp will detect the vSAN cluster(s), objects and displays real-time vSAN specific metrics and metadata. In this blog post I highlight the features of the new vSAN integration in ControlUp 7.3.

Installation

The vSAN cluster is automatically recognized by ControlUp when the following requirements are met:

  • PowerShell minimum Version 5.0
  • VMware PowerCLI 10.1.1.x
  • .NET framework version 4.5
  • vSAN Performance service should be turned on on the cluster
  • The user account configured for the hypervisor connection requires the “storage.View” permission.

Running ControlUp is easy, no installation is needed, simple execute a single executable (ControlUpConsole.exe). After starting ControlUp, add the vCenter server and the vSAN cluster(s) are automatically recognized. When clicking on the vSAN cluster you see real-time metadata and performance metrics.

Views

There are several preset views available with vSAN metrics such as:

  • vSAN Performance. Includes vSAN performance metrics such as IOPS, latency, cache and buffers.
  • vSAN Health. Includes the vSAN health checks
  • vSAN Host Network. Includes vSAN network I/O and packet loss metrics.

You can easily switch between predefined views in the “Colum Preset”. Here is an overview of vSAN metrics used by ControlUp:

Datastores: Name, Type, Capacity, Read/Write IOPS, Read/Write Rate, Read/Write Latency, Compression, Capacity Deduplication, Congestion, Outstanding IO, Disk Configuration, Total Used Capacity, Total Used – Physically Written, Total Used – VM Overreserved, Total Used – System Overhead, vSAN Free Capacity, vSAN Health, vSAN Cluster Health, vSAN Network Health, vSAN Physical Disk Health, vSAN Data Health, vSAN Limits Health, vSAN Hardware Compatibility Health, vSAN Performance Service Health, vSAN Build Recommendation, vSAN Online Health.
Datastores on Hosts: Name, Type, Capacity, Read/Write IOPS, Read/Write Rate, Read/Write Latency, Compression, Capacity Deduplication, Congestion, Outstanding IO, Local Client Cache Hit IOPS, Local Client Cache Hit Rate, vSAN Max Read Cache Read Latency, vSAN Max Write Buffer Write Latency, vSAN Max Read Cache Write Latency, vSAN Max Write Buffer Read Latency, vSAN Min Read Cache Hit Rate, vSAN Write Buffer Min Free Percentage, vSAN Host Network Inbound/Outbound I/O Throughput, vSAN Host Network Inbound/Outbound Packets Per Second, vSAN Host Network Inbound/Outbound Packet Loss Rate

When navigating you see all those metrics available on the vSAN cluster, vSAN datastores on hosts, virtual disks and vSAN Host network utilization views. You can easily drill down by double clicking from the vSAN datastore to the diskgroup(s) on each ESXi host and then drill down to the the virtual disk(s). From the virtual disk(s) you can drill down to the Windows process.

Example: Find the root cause of high IOPS load on the vSAN cluster.

In the following example we will identify a Windows process that is causing high IOPS stress on the vSAN cluster. We drill down from the vSAN cluster to the vSAN diskgroup of the ESXi host to the virtual disk to the process level in the VM to find the root cause of the high IOPS.

  • In the vSAN Performance view we see the stress level has changed and a high IOPS load.

  • In the IOPS we see that the threshold of 2000 is crossed. This threshold is default and can be adjusted. The Virtual Expert suggest to navigate to the “Datastore on Hosts (IOPS detailed View).

  • When double clicking on the “Datastore on Host” we see that “esxin04.lab.local” is generating the IOPS load.

  • The vSAN diskgroup of the “esxin04.lab.local” host has a virtual disk that belongs to the “ControlUp-vSAN-Test” VM that is causing the high IOPS load.

  • When double clicking on the virtual disk we go the the “Processes” view and see that “diskspd.exe” process is causing the high IOPS load.

  • Optional: Right click on the process and select kill to end the “diskspd.exe” process. This stops the IOPS load on the vSAN cluster.

This example shows how easy it is to identify what process is causing stress on the vSAN cluster.

Alerting and reporting

For alerting you can add triggers in ControlUp to notify you when something happens on the vSAN cluster such as a change in the stress level for a period of time.

When using the triggers you’re able to start investigating it right away when something happening on the vSAN cluster. All the vSAN data is transferred to ControlUp Insight for historical reporting and analytics. This is great for analyzing data and trends over time and can be very useful when investigate issues and understanding what is going on you’re environment.

Conclusion

ControlUp is easy to set-up and great for fast troubleshooting. In version 7.3 is vSAN support added. As shown in the this blog post with a couple of double clicks you’re able to perform a root cause analysis and find what process is causing the high IOPS on the vSAN.

There is a free trail available. Give it a try here: link