Category Archives: Configuration Changes

Extending VMware VMDKs with System Partitions

hard-disk-drive
I have had to deal with extending System Partition VMDKs within our environment, but this can get tricky especially with 2003 Server and below.  Hope this helps…Note that Data drives can be extended without issue on 2012 and below.

2008 and above
1.  Open your VIC and edit the settings of the VM that you would like to modify.
Webeditsettings
2.  Change the system disk to the new size (Usually Hard disk 1).
Disk Change
3.   Log into your VM using the console or RDP.
4.  There are two ways to do the extend.  If it is 2008 R2 and above I usually do option 1.  2008 Standard and below I use option 2.

Option 1:
a.  Open Server Manager.
ServerManager
b.  Click Disk Management.
c.  Usually you will have to do a rescan to see the unallocated space.  Right click Disk Management and click Rescan Disks.
Rescandisks
d.  Right click the drive that you wish to expand (should show unallocated space) and click Extend Volume.
ExtendVolume
e.  Click OK on the Extend Volume Wizard and then again click OK on the Select Disks screen.  Now click Finish to complete the wizard.
f.  You should now see the drive is larger.

Option 2:
a.  Click Start –> Run and then type cmd.  Right click on the command prompt application and choose Run as Administrator.
runadmincmd
b.  Type diskpart.
diskpartsmall
c.  Type list volume.
diskpartlistvolume
d.  Select the system partition by typing select volume #.
diskpartselectvolume
e.  You should see an asterisk by the selected volume.  Type extend.
diskpartextend
f.  The drive should now be extended.  Type exit.

2003 Server and Below
1.   Have a 2008 R2 Helper machine that you will use to expand the drive.
2.  Power down the 2003 Server VM.
3.  Edit the settings and add space to the system partition.
Disk Change
4.  Power on the 2003 Server VM.
5.  Click Start –>All Programs –> Administrative Tools –> Computer Management.
ServerManager03
6.  Click Disk Management.  You should see the unallocated space, but if you do not then right click Disk Management and click Rescan Disks.   Just verify…don’t do anything with the space yet.
Rescandisks
7.  Shutdown the 2003 Server VM.
8.  Edit the 2003 Server VM within the VIC and note the location of the disk on the datastore.  Click remove on the drive that you would like extended by clicking on the X next to the hard disk.  DO NOT CHOOSE DELETE FILES FROM DATASTORE or REMOVE FROM VIRTUAL MACHINE AND DELETE FILES FROM DISK.  This is different wording depending on the Full VIC or the Web VIC.  Click OK.
RemoveDisk
diskremoved
9.  Now find your 2008 R2 helper VM within the VIC and then edit the settings.
10.  Where it says “New Device” choose Existing Hard Disk from the menu.  Click Add.
Addexistingdisk
11.  Using the information that you noted before, find the location of the 2003 Server disk that you removed before, select the disk, click OK.
choosevmdk
12.  Cick OK and this will mount the 2003 Server disk on your 2008 R2 helper VM.
13.  Log into the 2008 R2 helper VM with the console or RDP.
14. Click Start –> Run and then type cmd.  Right click on the command prompt application and choose Run as Administrator.
runadmincmd
15.  Type diskpart.
diskpartsmall
16.  Type list volume.
diskpartlistvolume
17.  Select the system partition by typing select volume #.
diskpartselectvolume
18.  You should see an asterisk by the selected volume.  Type extend.
diskpartextend
19.  The drive should now be extended.  Type exit.
20.  Go back into the VIC and edit the 2008 R2 helper VM.
21.  Click the X next to the Hard disk that you added earlier to this machine.  Again, DO NOT CHOOSE DELETE FILES FROM DATASTORE or REMOVE FROM VIRTUAL MACHINE AND DELETE FILES FROM DISK. 
RemoveDisk
diskremoved

22.  Edit the 2003 Server and then from the “New device” menu click Existing Hard Disk and then click Add.
Addexistingdisk
23.  Find the vmdk that you just extended then click OK.  Click again on the settings screen.
choosevmdk
24.  Power on the 2003 Server and you should see the additional space.  You might get a message indicating that a reboot is needed.  If requested, do the reboot.

Random Issues I Have Run Across
I did have an issue the other day with one our our 2008 Standard Servers.  When I went to extend the drive it gave me a weird error.  The parameter is incorrect.
DiskGrowParameterIncorrect

I give thanks to the Lord every day for the googles.  I found a great post by Jonathan Medd that gave the simple fix for this.  When you are in diskpart, select the volume # that you are extending and then use the command extend filesystem.

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Enable Copy and Paste Through the VMware Console

I was setting up a new host the other day and I received a call from one of my admins letting me know that they could not copy/paste within the console; but they can copy/paste in RDP.
nocopypast

This is a simple fix found in KB1026437.  You can make the change on an individual VM, but I think it is best to change it on the host (which applies to all VMs).  I really wish the default would have this enabled.

Open a Putty session…if you don’t have putty then get it here.
putty

1. Log into the ESXi host that you want to change.
2. Type vi /etc/vmware/config
3. Arrow down to the last line and type which stands for “insert”.
4. Add the lines:
         vmx.fullpath = “/bin/vmx”
         isolation.tools.copy.disable=”FALSE”
         isolation.tools.paste.disable=”FALSE”
5. Press the ESC key and then type :wq which stands for “write and quit”.
addlines

The next time each VM is power cycled it will enable the copy/paste functionality.  Keep in mind that if you ever upgrade this host to a new ESXi version that this setting will go back to the default of disabled and you will have to add this line again.

vSphere HA detected that host is in a different network partition than the master

Target: Host
Previous Status: Green
New Status: Red
Alarm Definition:
([Event alarm expression: vSphere HA agent on a host has an error; Status = Red] OR [Event alarm expression: vSphere HA detected a network isolated host; Status = Red] OR [Event alarm expression: vSphere HA detected a network-partitioned host; Status = Red] OR [Event alarm expression: vSphere HA detected a host failure; Status = Red] OR [Event alarm expression: Host has no port groups enabled for vSphere HA; Status = Red] OR [Event alarm expression: vSphere HA agent is healthy; Status = Green])
Event details:
vSphere HA detected that host (host) is in a different network partition than the master (Cluster) in Datacenter

I had been getting this message randomly over the last couple months on some of my datacenter hosts. These alerts didn’t seem to be causing any problems within the cluster, but I wanted to get to the bottom of this. I opened a ticket with VMware and uploaded the logs from both the host and vCenter, but they didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. On the second webex with VMware I noticed a couple strange things with the management network that might be the cause.

  1. The first thing I noticed was that the NICs were set for “Auto Negotiate”. I originally set up our environment on ESXi 4 before upgrading to ESXi 5.1. When I initially set this up I hard coded (KB1004089) these to 1000GB/Full. I am wondering if at some point during the upgraded that they defaulted back. On our switches it was set at 1000GB/Full so it is important that we set this on the host NICs to 1000GB/Full as well.
  2. The second thing that I noticed that in the Management network that I had the Load Balancing set to “Route based on IP hash”. The problem here is that for this to work correctly you need a port channel configured (I do not have this configured this way). This might be the cause of the HA problem if the traffic is going across these NICs is getting confused because of the Load Balancing configuration. I changed this to “Route based on the originating virtual port ID”, which makes the traffic go out on the port that it came in on. There is a good read found here…http://blogs.vmware.com/kb/2013/03/troubleshooting-network-teaming-problems-with-ip-hash.html.

This case is still ongoing with VMware and I should know in the next couple weeks if this solves my problem; my gut tells me it will.