Virtualization

multi-clone.py improvements & random-vmotion.py

multi-clone.py improvements & random-vmotion.py

For a project i needed a couple of tools, so i improved my multi-clone.py script and created a new script: random-vmotion.py

multi-clone.py: setting advanced configuration parameters

The multi-clone.py script is improved so you are able to set advanced configuration parameters of the created VMs, this can be used if you have other tools that need some metadata or configuration.

To accomplish this, you have to use the CSV feature. The fields in the CSV have been changed slightly in comparison with the previous version:

Fields indicated with <> are mandatory, fields indicated with [] can be left empty.

For a full documentation, you can visit the GitHub repository.

random-vmotion.py

For some testing i needed a script which would be able to vMotion a set of VMs randomly to a set of Hosts. This script does exactly that.

The script accepts a file which contains the names of the VMs to move, one per line:

It also accepts a file which contains the names of the Hosts to randomly move to, one per line:

In the default way of working, it will continue to vMotion the VMs to a random host over and over again. For example: if you use the files above with the command:

It will start moving the first VM to one of the two hosts, wait 30 seconds and do the same for the second VM, and so on. Once it moved the fourth VM, it will start again with the first one.

There are more options which provide extra functionality:

  • Option to move each VM only once
  • Option to work in threads
  • Option to decrease the interval

The full documentation can be found on the GitHub page and an overview of the options can be found below:

 

multi-clone.py: CSV import and MAC customization

multi-clone.py: CSV import and MAC customization

After a very busy year, I finally came around to improving my multi-clone.py pyVmomi script. I have added a minor improvement, being able to disable SSL certificate warnings, and two major improvements: CSV import and MAC customization

CSV Import

There is a new command line flag, -C, which allows you to specify a CSV file. This CSV file provides multi-clone.py with the necessary information to clone the template into a VM for each line. The fields in the CSV should be:

  • VM Name (mandatory)
  • Resource Pool (can be empty)
  • Folder (can be empty)
  • MAC address (can be empty)
  • Post-processing script (can be empty)

A line should look like this:

If one of the fields is empty, but the command line flag is provided, the value from the command line is used. For instance, if you started the script with the following command line:

and used the following CSV:

What would happen is:

  • VM01 is created in the Resource Pool ‘Testing’, in the folder ‘Tools’ and the post-processing script ‘/tmp/tools.sh’ will run
  • VM02 is created in the Resource Pool ‘Development’, in the folder ‘Linux’ and the post-processing script ‘/tmp/script.sh’ will run

So, the command line values are only used if no values in the CSV are provided.

Mac customization

In the CSV, you can provide a MAC address for each VM. This MAC address will be assigned to the first NIC the script finds on the new VM before powering it on (if that is not disabled).

Two warnings:

  • It is your responsibility to provide MAC addresses that are not in use on your network
  • The order in which the NICs are presented to the script when there are more than one, is not always the same. In all my tests it seems it will provide the first one that has been added as the first, but i can not guarantee that.

Overview

As always, you can find the script on my GitHub pagehttps://github.com/pdellaert/vSphere-Python/blob/master/multi-clone.py

For more documentation: https://github.com/pdellaert/vSphere-Python/blob/master/docs/multi-clone.md

And just for good measure, the full description of all flags as presented by the -h flag:

 

multi-clone.py: Multi-threaded cloning of a template to multiple VMs

multi-clone.py: Multi-threaded cloning of a template to multiple VMs

In december, VMware released pyVmomi, a Python SDK for the vSphere API. In the past I have created a script to clone virtual machines using pySphere. This script has helped me (and others, if the mails I received were any indication), but i haven’t updated or improved it in a while.

So I decided this was a good moment to revisit the script and recreate it completely using pyVmomi. And not just recreate it, but improve a lot on it as well. The result is an all new multi-clone.py script which allows for the following list of capabilities:

  • Deploy a specified amount of virtual machines
  • Deploy in a specified folder
  • Deploy in a specified resource pool
  • Specify if the cloned virtual machines need to be powered on
  • Print out information of the main network interface (mac and ip, either IPv4 or IPv6)
  • Run a post-processing script with 3 parameters (virtual machine name, mac and ip)
  • Print logging to a log file or stdout
  • Do this in a threaded way

Threads

The previous version only allowed a sequential way of working, which meant the clone task had to complete, network information gathered and post-processing finished before the next deployment could start. Combined with pySphere, which could be rather slow in gathering information, made the old script slow and sluggish.

Using pyVmomi improved the speed of the script from the start, it’s a lot quicker in gathering information and executing commands. By adding the possibility to use threads, the speed is improved even more, altho this will depend on the IOPS of your datastore.

If the you specify the amount of threads, both the creation of the virtual machines and gathering the mac and ip information are threaded separately. To explain how this works, an example works best:

Imagine you want to create 4 virtual machines from a template and you specify the amount of threads to 2. At start, two clone tasks will start at about the same time. When a clone task is done, another is started. While this third clone task is started in a new thread (to replace the thread that finished), a first information gathering (mac,ip) and post-processing thread is started for the clone task that has finished. This all runs at the same time, so at this point two clone tasks are running, each in a thread, and one information gathering and post-processing thread is running. Once the second clone task is finished, two clone tasks threads are running and two information gathering and post-processing threads are running. If the two information gathering and post-processing threads aren’t finished when the two final clone tasks finish, two new information gathering and post-processing threads are put in the queue, but not started as only two threads can be running in that pool.

Deciding how many threads is the best for your case, will require a bit of experimenting and greatly depends on the IOPS of your datastore. The clone tasks takes the most time because it needs to copy the virtual disks to the newly created virtual machine.

Remember that vCenter, by default, will place any clone tasks in queue if more than 8 are started. So setting the amount of threads above 8 won’t really help, altho you are always able to do so.

Usage

Here is the output of the -h option, which provides an overview of the possible arguments and what they do:

Issues and feature requests

Feel free to use the Github issue tracker of the repository to post issues and feature requests.

Documentation

You can find all the documentation on GitHub.

multi-clone.py minimal user permissions

multi-clone.py minimal user permissions

Half a year ago, I posted about a Python script I created using PySphere, called multi-clone.py. I used this script to quickly deploy multiple vm’s from the same template and do some post-processing. This allowed me to easily setup a lab environment to test any sort of cluster tool, configuration management tool, …

This tool has been picked up by some other people. I’m happy to see my work is useful to others. This also meant that I got the occasional question about it.

Last week someone came to me with an issue, he got strange error messages. At first I thought it might have been a version mismatch as the original script was developed using PySphere 0.1.7, and he was using PySphere 0.1.8. After a quick update on my end and testing it with PySphere 0.1.8, everything worked fine. I had the same vSphere version, the same PySphere version and I did the same command as he did. Sadly, I couldn’t reproduce the error.

At this point, all I could think of was a permissions error. So we tested if the user could create a template with the exact same information, using the web-client. It seemed he couldn’t.

All this got me thinking about the minimal security permissions a user needed to run my script in a vSphere environment. So I tested a few permission setups and came up with a minimal permissions list. I added this to the Github repository readme file, but decided to post it here as well.

All permissions are only necessary on their appropriate item. For instance: datastore permissions are only necessary for the datastores on which the template and VMs will be located (or cluster if a Storage DRS cluster), so you can limit access to only a certain set of datastores.

Minimal permissions necessary to run multi-clone.py and all it’s features

  • Datastore
    • Allocate space
  • Network
    • Assign Network
  • Resource
    • Apply recommendation
    • Assign virtual machine to resource pool
  • Scheduled task
    • Create tasks
    • Run task
  • Virtual Machine
    • Configuration
      • Add new disk
    • Interaction
      • Power on
    • Inventory
      • Create from existing
    • Provisioning
      • Clone virtual machine (*)
      • Deploy from template

(*) This is in case you want to use the script to clone an actual VM instead of a VM template

vCenter 5.5 Server Appliance quirks

vCenter 5.5 Server Appliance quirks

Last week I upgraded my whole vSphere 5.1 environment to 5.5 and migrated to the vCenter 5.5 Server Appliance (VSA). Overall, I’m happy with this migration as the appliance gives me everything i need and the new web client works amazingly well, both with Mac OS X and Windows.

But there are a few quirks and small issues with it. Nothing to serious, and as i understand it, the VMware engineers are looking into it, but for those who are experiencing these issues, I wanted to provide a bit of explanation on how to fix them.

Quick stats on hostname is not up to date

20131003_vcenter_quick.stats.error

The first issue I noticed, was a message that kept appearing in the web client when I was looking at the summary of my hosts. At first I thought that there was a DNS or connection issue, but i was capable of managing my hosts, so that was all good.

Starting to investigate the issue on internet, I noticed a few people reporting this issue, and apparently VMware already posted a KB article (KB 2061008) on it.

Let’s go to the simple steps on how to fix this on the VSA:

  1. Make sure SSH is enabled in your VSA admin panel:
    20131003_vsa_ssh
  2. SSH to the VSA with user root and use the root password from the admin panel
  3. Copy the /etc/vmware-vpx/vpxd.cfg file to a save location, you will keep this as a backup
  4. Open the /etc/vmware-vpx/vpxd.cfg file with an editor
  5. Locate the </vpxd> tag
  6. Add the following text above that tag:
  7. It should more or less look like this:
    20131003_vpxd_config
  8. Save the file
  9. Restart your VSA, the easiest way is just to reboot it using the admin panel, or using the reboot command.

If you ever update the VSA, check the release notes, if this bug is fixed, you might want to remove these config values again.

Unable to connect to HTML5 VM Console

After a reboot of my VSA, I was unable to open the HTML5 VM Console from the web client. I got “Could not connect to x.x.x.x:7331”, the service seemed down. VMware is aware of this issue and a KB article (KB 2060604) is available.

The cause of this issue is a missing environment variable (VMWARE_JAVA_HOME). To make VSA aware of this variable, you can follow these steps:

  1. Make sure SSH is enabled in your VSA admin panel (see screenshot in step 1 of the issue above)
  2. SSH to the VSA with user root and the root password from the admin panel
  3. Open the /usr/lib/vmware-vsphere-client/server/wrapper/conf/wrapper.conf file with an editor
  4. Locate the Environment Variables part
  5. Add the following text to the list of environment variables:
  6. It should look more or less like this:
    20131003_vsa_wrapper
  7. Save the file
  8. Restart the vSphere Web client using:

That should fix the issue and the HTML5 VM Console should work fine!