Sunday, July 28, 2013

Revealing hidden bnx2 driver version bnx2-2.2.3m.v41.2


Recently for an issue I was troubleshooting, tried to look for this Broadcom NIC driver used by 5709 series on vSphere 4.x/5.x.

By looking at the HCL site I found that the latest version is bnx2-2.2.3m.v41.2 which is compatible for Broadcom NetXtreme II Network Adapters. (NX-II BCM5706/BCM5708/BCM5709/BCM5716 10/100/1000/2500Mbps).

So I went to the driver download site and tried to find the same but no luck with the Filter facility either.

Then I just use Google'd the driver version and to my surprise the same version is built into Driver Version 1.76.54.v41.1.

Here is the Version Details:

"Driver CD includes drivers cnic-1.76.59.v41.1, bnx2-2.2.3m.v41.2, bnx2x-1.76.54.v41.1, and bnx2i-2.76.56.v41.2. Customers using this driver CD should update all four drivers included. Bnx2 driver supports NX-II BCM5706/BCM5708/BCM5709/BCM5716 10/100/1000/2500Mbps and bnx2x driver supports NX-II BCM57710/BCM57711/BCM57711E/BCM57712/BCM57712MF/BCM57800/BCM57800MF/BCM57810/BCM57810MF/BCM57840/BCM57840MF 10/100/1000/2500/10000Mbps. This driver CD is also certified for iSCSI Offload and iSCSI boot."

And below is the download link for the same driver:

Now you can just imagine how it got into a different version but the driver version 2.2.3m.v41.2 is in fact included in the above link for 1.76.54.v41.1.

If you solve the mystery then leave the comment please !!

Enjoy updating the driver on your Broadcom 1G NICs ;-)

Share and Care !!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Simulating HA/FDM Failover on vSphere

While working on cases I got this question so many times before so thought to just write few words about it.

How to simulate HA/FDM in vSphere environment and check the functionality of HA/FDM and other settings or the VMs.

Based on the version of vSphere you are running you can simulate HA/FDM in few ways.

1st Method

For  4.x environment where you are running HA based on AAM and have two redundant NICs for the Management Network vmkernel (if ESXi) /Service Console (if ESX) then you can just track down the uplink switch ports and issue the command manually on the switch to shut down the corrsponding port or just plug out the cable on the back of the physical ESX/ESXi host which will disconnect the Management Network/Service Console of the host.

2nd Method

For 5.x it uses FDM where not only Network Heartbeat used but also the Storage Heartbeat is used before the Cluster declares the Host as Isolated and work on the Isolation Response set.

In our example we have only Two ESX/ESXi hosts with two Uplinks configured and using only one Shared Datastore.

So first you need to configure at the Cluster level to set the datastore heartbeat to None. No datastore is used for Storage Heartbeat.

Now for the Management Network you can either remove the cable from the back of the ESXi host or shut down the uplink switch Port/s.

Once the Network got disconnected, the HA Cluster will wait for the default settings and then once the time out is over it will declare the host as isolated. and work on the Isolation Response configured for the VMs (Default is Leave VMs power on) and probably restart the VMs on the other surviving host. Now we are not getting in to the details about the resources available or capacity to hold the VMs.

3rd Method

To disconnect the network is an option while the host keep running so if you have the ability you can actually shut down the Host by powering off physically or by using any 3rd party KVM, DRAC, iLO, RAS alike utilities.

4th Method

Now this last method may/may not work which is involving unloading the modules of Network Driver and Storage Driver but indepth knowledge is required to find and unload/load them. Depending on the components used and the version/s of ESX/ESXi, the command/s may vary.

If you feel any information required to be added/modified then please leave the comment and I will update the post.

Thanks for your time.

Share and Care !!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Reverse tracking dvPortGroup of VDS on ESXi

Recently I was engaged in a discussion where for one VM, esxtop shows Dropped Packets under %DRPRX column.

In this case the VM has 4 virtual Network Interfaces configured so how to track down which interface was dropping packets. Please have a look at the esxtop output below.

Run esxtop
Press "n" (for Networking)
Look for the VM in Question (here the name is replaced with VMName to protect the innocent :-) )

As you can see the column above, the %DRPRX column shows 5 packets dropped on the receiving interface.

Now the VM is configured with 4 different vNIC dvPortGroups so how would you find out which interface is dropping packets or which dvPortGroup is having the issue.

Note: The following command needs to be used under the supervision of VMware Technical Support only so please use it at your own risk in non-Production Environment.

Now use the following command and note down the information

/usr/lib/vmware/bin/net-dvs  | lesscom.vmware.common.port.connectid = 207541228
com.vmware.common.port.portgroupid = dvportgroup-54112com.vmware.etherswitch.port.vlan = 44
com.vmware.common.port.volatile.status = inUse linkUp blocked portID=220334

The above command was used on a particular version of ESXi so the path to net-dvs may vary depending on the version in use.

So its using dvportgroup-54112 and VLAN 44.

Now use the same command again and drill down to dvportgroup 54112 and look for the pgmap section:

/usr/lib/vmware/bin/net-dvs | less
global properties:
dvportgroup-54112 <-> dvPortGroup4

Now as you can see here the particular dvporgroup ID is mapped to dvPortgroup4 so now you can go back to vSphere Client and check the settings on the VM and see which vNIC is tied up with dvPortGroup4 or you can go to Inventory - Networking and under the VDS you can see the names of the dvPortGroup/s and find out the VM by clicking on that particular dvpg and on the right pane click on the Virtual Machines Tab.

Another way to confirm the same is by using the MOB (Managed Object Browser)


Hopefully this will make your life easy !!

Please share !!

Cheers !

Monday, July 15, 2013

VCDX Sponsorship - A cool idea !!

Hi VCDX Aspirants,

If you are not aware about this but recently Nutanix has offered Sponsorship to anyone who is going for VCDX or in process of attaining VCDX.

The exact criteria is described here:

"We are looking for someone who has successfully completed all of the prerequisite exam requirements for VCDX and is ready to submit a Nutanix-based design for their VCDX defense. The lucky chosen candidate will receive as much preparation support as needed and have all submission fees paid for by Nutanix. Let us help you achieve your ultimate goal of becoming a member of the exclusive VCDX community."

And the benefits are:

The chosen candidate will receive:
• A VCDX bootcamp to prepare the candidate for the VCDX defense
• The VCDX submission fees paid for by Nutanix
• Travel and lodging for the VCDX defense

Now looking at this trend, wondering tomorrow or in near future all the big players e.g. EMC, NetApp, IBM, HP etc. will come up with an offering like this, which would give a candidate a chance/motivation to include the components in their design and get benefits of such offerings.

Now this is just my assumption here but it is something which can be done and the company will get more visibility in the community by promoting the VCDX process as a whole which is Elite and Unique in itself.

People are becoming more innovative day by day so not sure what kind of other offers they may started getting from such organizations or even from their employer, which eventually boost the morale of a person to go for such valuable status being a "VCDX".

Good Luck to those who entered in this offer from Nutanix and love to see more of such offers from others in the community.

Share and care !!

Cheers !! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

VMware LogInsight - FREE

Today on Twitter I find out that as a Promotion this Fantastic Tool is available for FREE.

Now looking at the features its very very impressive and @lamw has blogged about it already on how to change the configuration and also @smflanders has blogged about it with various features too.

Now look at the main key capabilities of LogInsight:

VMware™ vCenter Log Insight™ delivers automated log management through log analytics, aggregation and search, enabling operational intelligence and deep visibility across all tiers of the IT infrastructure.
Key Capabilities:
  • Collect, analyze and search all types of log data in one place.
  • Get comprehensive visibility across logs from vSphere, operating systems, applications, storage arrays and network devices.
  • Deploy the virtual appliance and be productive in minutes with an easy-to-use and intuitive user interface. There is no need to learn a new search language to get started.
  • Get more out of your VMware environment with the built-in content pack optimized for vSphere.
  • Integrate vCenter Log Insight with vCenter Operations Manager to monitor and manage all your datacenter operations across virtual, physical and hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Anyway you can get this tool for FREE and for more details you can visit the Blog post by clicking the link below.


Now there are other tools available such as Spluk, LogAlyze etc. etc. so I suggest to give this a try and you wont be disappointed as there are lot of efforts put in by the people at VMware.

Please help spreading the word.

Share and care !!

Cheers !!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What is the Maximum MTU size for Jumbo Frames??

Recently on Twitter I had this discussion with Michael Webster @vcdxnz001, Patrick Carmichael  @VMCarmichael and Josh Odgers @Josh_odgers  about the Jumbo Frames topic which was just came out of the TCP/UDP joke.

And the answer is Yes, this one is easy "Its 9000".

Most likely people will give this answer when asked the question on Jumbo Frames.

Now  some might go little deeper and keeping in mind the over head and other "surcharge" by VMware vmkernel they may say 8972 to be precise. 

That is also a valid answer but not close to the information received from Intel.

Other vendors might have different opinions so worth to investigate/research with them ;-)

Now read this extract from the same article:

"The maximum MTU setting for jumbo frames is 16110. This value coincides with the maximum Jumbo Frames size of 16128."

Broadcom and other vendors might have different supportability on the MTU size used with Jumbo Frames.

vSphere supports only 9000. People are using mostly 1500 MTU as there are blogs out there which says there is no performance gain in using MTU of 9000 or if there is, its very marginal gain.

So hopefully demystifying the myth (in terms of Eric Sloof @esloof) here about maximum size of MTU available.

Care and share !!