Swiss German VMUG – Kickoff Meeting

Today we had our Swiss German VMUG kickoff meeting. The committee members were hosted at VMware Switzerland HQ in Zurich. Many thanks to you guys! It’s always a pleasure to be there!

But we weren’t just there to drink coffee and have a nice afternoon. We did some serious work. We discussed many different topics, ranging from our community goals over events to the next steps to keep the ball rolling. The main target we had today was to have a roadmap and an agenda for our very first event. And we’ve got it! So we can now move on with the next steps of planning our very first event. We will target a date somewhere in June this year at a location with hopefully enough space to host a good amount of people. Don’t forget about catering, and of course interesting topics and great speakers!

Let’s talk about history

The Swiss German VMUG was not very active the last few months and years. When i registered at vmug.com to search for a local user group i found out that there is a VMUG in my region, but it’s not very active, no events nor discussions were there. Last year at VMworld Barcelona i had some good chats with people, VMUG leaders and co-leaders about many VMUG (and for sure VMware) related things. They all encouraged me to become a VMUG leader.

I had many nights with less sleep, thinking about this. How would it be to be a leader? What areas of responsibility are there coming ùp to me? How will people react to this? So i contacted the VMUG HQ and asked how to become a leader. This was not a short-term thing. It took some weeks, having some phone calls, writing mails, doing trainings. And now we brought back new life to our local VMware user group!

Swiss German VMUG on social media

To make sure you don’t miss any bits and bytes we invite you to register on our Swiss German VMUG community site if you’re interested to become a member of our user group (and if you’re located in the German speaking part of Switzerland, which would make sense). We’re also present on Twitter and Facebook! We thank you for a follow, and don’t hesitate to spread the word 😉

VMware Workstation – Unable to connect to the MKS: Login incorrect

Today i ran into the problem that i wasn’t able to connect to my vCenter via VMware Workstation. If you’re working in your homelab it’s probably helpful sometimes to have access to a VM console without to connect to an ESXi host, a vCenter Web Client or even via RDP to some management client. You can easily connect to your vCenter with VMware Workstation. I wrote a short article about how to save the login credentials in VMware Workstation.

The error message i’ve had was:

Unable to connect to the MKS: Login (username / password) incorrect

mks

I’m pretty sure that this wasn’t the case. I’ve tried it with the @vsphere.local admin and also with my domain administrator. But no success.

When i searched for a solution i’ve found many hints and tips. Let me show you what i’ve found and what was my solution at the end.

Check the ESXi firewall

Next step is to make sure that the ESXi firewall isn’t blocking communication. Make sure the following incoming ports are open: 443, 902, 903

I checked that, all ok. But i still got this error message. The only port i didn’t see on the firewall port list was 903. And i wasn’t able to open this port. But i knew that this wasn’t the issue when i connected my vCenter to my VMware Workstation the last time.

Edit a config file on your ESXi host

Well, i’m not sure if that’s the way to go. Thinking about possible updates etc. some configuration files might get overwritten. But i checked it anyway. It’s in my lab and when something goes wrong or does not work, i can fix it and learn something.

You can use Putty / SSH and vi to edit this file, or go comfortable with WinSCP. Connect to your ESXi host and locate the config file at /etc/vmware/config.

Add the line vmauthd.server.alwaysProxy = „TRUE“

I’m also not sure if a restart is necessary, i did a restart, but it didn’t work either.

Use another port for authentication

You can try to edit the config.ini file in VMware Workstation, located at „C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware Workstation\config.ini„.

Change the line authd.client.port = „903“ to authd.client.port = „902“. After that restart the „VMware Authorization Service“ and you should be fine.

That did the trick on my system, i was able to connect to my VMs through VMware Workstation.

Hint: if you’re working with Notepad++ (highly recommended!) then you’re able to save the file after granting administrative access (you see what i mean when you try to save the file). If you’re working with another text editor, you should start this text editor as administrator (just right click => run as administrator). Otherwise you probably won’t be able to save the changes.

How to download vSphere software with VMware Software Manager

The VMware Software Manager is a very helpful tool if you want to download your VMware vSphere, vCloud or vRealize software packages. It is also very helpful to keep your VMware software repository up to date. All you need is your VMware login and the installer package. Let me introduce this software to you.

Download

Visit this website to download the VMware Software Manager (login / registration required). It’s an 18 megabyte MSI package. So big deal.

You have to accept the End User License Agreement to download the software:

Installation

  1. Double click the MSI package to start the setup process.

    Click Next.

    Software Manager

  2. Accept the EULA and click Next.

    EULA

  3. Choose the installation folder (just let the standard is also fine).

    Choose the depot location; either a local drive, an external disk or even a UNC path is possible.

    Click Next to continue.

    Basic Settings

  4. When all things are set, click Install to continue.

    Ready

  5. You can check the box to open Download Service web application.

    Click Finish to close the setup assistant.

    Completed

Now after installation we can move on with the further configuration. When you checked the box to open the web application, then you’re ready. Otherwise look on your desktop for the icon to start the web application manually.

Accessing VMware Software Manager

  1. When you start the web application you’ll see the login screen.

    Use your My VMware login (or one of the other two possibilities) to login.

    Click Connect to login.

    Login

  2. Now Software Manager reads the VMware software depot for the first time. This can take some time…

    Reading VMware depot

  3. After reading the VMware software Depot you’ll see the main software dashboard.

    When you click the arrow (>) on the right side of a product you can see more details.

    This is also the way how to find the download button.

    Dashobard

Conclusion

As mentioned above the VMWare Software Manager is a great tool to download various VMware software all around data center virtualization and automation. If you have a VMware software repository in your company it’s also a good way to keep that repository up to date. The software itself does not run as a service, you have to start it manually.

Veeam – Probably not well known features: VeeamZIP

update

This second post will continue with the small series of blog posts. This series will talk about some probably not well know features of Veeam Backup & Replication.

Usually you’ve got your infrastructure set up, your Veeam backup server up and running, and your daily backup and replication jobs are working fine. And then, all of a sudden, the manager arrives at your desk (or calls you by phone, I leave it to your imagination…) and would like you to decommission an old virtual machine. You don’t need this machine anymore. But the management (and probably you too) are not sure, so just kill and delete this VM isn’t an option. I think this is pretty common in various companies. Getting rid of old and already replaced virtual machines frees up costly hardware ressources (CPU, Ram, Disk). One of the most reason to not kill a VM is that people aren’t sure if it’s still in use, if there are still people working with it. Like, for example, and old account program or something the like.

But let’s go back to your infrastructure. You’ve set up a nice running system, which is some terabyte in total size. You can now tell the manager that you have to postpone the decommission of this virtual machine because you have to configure a special backup job.

Or you go the easy way and tell your boss that backup and archival of this particular VM is just a matter of minutes. And afterwards this virtual machine can be retired in dignity.

But why? And how? Let me tell you this with just one word. VeeamZIP.

What is VeeamZIP?

Let’s quote again from the Veeam helpcenter:

You can quickly back up running and powered off VMs with VeeamZIP. Creating a VeeamZIP file can be helpful if you want create an ad-hoc backup for VMs, archive VMs before decommissioning and so on. You can create a VeeamZIP file for one or more VMs.

Another great feature! Just a quick backup of a VM, running or not, for ad-hoc backup or archive purpose in case you want to decommission this VM. Nice!

And this is really easy to be done. Let me show you how you do this. I assume you already opened your Veeam console.

  1. Click on „Virtual Machines“ in the menu on the left hand side.
  2. Expand your Infrastructure and look for the VM you wan’t to do a quick backup.
  3. Right-click this VM and choose „VeeamZIP…“

You’re done. That is it.

If you click on „VeeamZIP…“ (the second from above) you will be asked were you’d like to save the file. You can save the zip file to a Veeam repository or chose to save it on a local or shared folder.

veeamzip

Hint: If you click the first position „VeeamZIP to C:\Backup“ then it’s pretty clear were this zip file will be stored. Make sure that there is enough free space…

If you’d like to encrypt the backup (for whatever reason; just keep the key / password save!) you can do that too. Click on „More >>“ and you’ll get some more options to configure:

Now you can easily decommission old and unused VMs without worries, and thus free up costly ressources in your infrastructure.

Read the other post from this series to:

Veeam – Probably not well know features: Quick Backup

Veeam – Probably not well known features: VeeamZIP

Veeam – Probably not well known features: Quick Backup

update

With this post i’d like to start with a small series of blog posts. This series will talk about some probably not well know features of Veeam Backup & Replication.

Usually you’ve got your infrastructure set up, your Veeam backup server up and running, and your daily backup and replication jobs are working fine. And then, all of a sudden, the manager arrives at your desk (or calls you by phone, I leave it to your imagination…) and would like you to install a patch from software development. I think this is pretty common in various companies. Installing patches for your software (doesn’t matter if it’s a Microsoft Exchange server or your internal Apache web server with your intranet running on it) is not only necessary to get the latest features and bug fixes, but it’s also a matter of security to get security flaws patched.

But let’s go back to your infrastructure. You’ve set up a nice running system, which is some terabyte in total size. You can now tell the manager that you have to postpone the patch installation because it’s not possible to get a backup in a reasonable time. Even with incremental backup.

Or you go the easy way and tell your boss that backup of this particular VM is just a matter of minutes. And if there goes anything wrong, we won’t lose as much data as possible.

But why? And how? Let me tell you this with just three words. Veeam Quick Backup.

What is Veeam Quick Backup?

Let’s quote from Veeam helpcenter:

Quick backup lets you perform on-demand incremental backup for VMs. You can use quick backup if you want to produce an additional restore point for one or more VMs in a backup job and do not want to configure a new job or modify the existing one.

Isn’t that great? Just have an additional restore point, which means an additional backup state, of your specific VM, and this without to configure an additional backup job. Nice!

And it is really that easy. Let me show you how you do this. I assume you already opened your Veeam console.

  1. Click on „Virtual Machines“ in the menu on the left hand side.
  2. Expand your Infrastructure and look for the VM you wan’t to do a quick backup.
  3. Right-click this VM and choose „Quick backup“.

You’re done. That is it.

quick backup

There will be only a small notification that Quick backup started now for this particular VM:

quick backup started

But… Yes there’s a „but“. You can use Quick backup only for a VM, when this VM is already protected by an existing backup job. As mentioned in the helpcenter quote above, for a Quick backup there is no need to create an additional backup job. That’s because Veeam Backup & Replication does a check if the VM is already protected, and then triggers this job, but only to backup the specified VM.

Read the other post from this series to:

Veeam – Probably not well know features: Quick Backup

Veeam – Probably not well known features: VeeamZIP