New iSCSI server – but where’s my old VMFS volume – its Missing!

My existing iSCSI setup wasn’t delivering the I/O I expected so I went about upgrading both my eSATA array controller so I could RAID 10 across the 8 drives I have in my external drive enclosure (rather than the 4 the previous controller would allow) and in addition to that built a new Windows 2008 physical server to drive the I/O (rather than running it off my old Windows XP instance). To do this meant I had to offload all my existing VMFS data to another location temporarily to allow me to recreate the RAID. This was done using a number of external USB HDDs attached to the old iSCSI target server and passing them through as iSCSI targets to VMware. The VMs were then sVMotioned between iSCSI datastores until the external enclosure was free!

I installed Starwind (my iSCSI target software of choice) on the new server and hooked up the USB HDDs. I then proceeded to reconfigure it to represent these iSCSI HDDs to VMware.

I rescanned the iSCSI adapter but to my surprise couldn’t see the VMFS volume – only the LUN itself. Having worked with resignaturing in the past, I realised that the volume must still be there lurking in the background, it was merely being masked by VMware because it believed it was a snapshot because it was previously presented to the host under a different iSCSI IQN.

So without further ado, I ssh’d over to the TSM and ran the following command to confirm my thoughts:-

esxcfg-volume -l

The output produced the following:

VMFS3 UUID/label: 49d22e2e-996a0dea-b555-001f2960aed8/USB_VMFS_01
Can mount: Yes
Can resignature: Yes
Extent name: naa.60a98000503349394f3450667a744245:1 range: 0 – 397023 (MB)

Good news for me – the old named VMFS volume was still visible.  

So, to re-add this back into the Storage view so that I could Storage vMotion the VMs back to my new 8 disk RAID setup, I ran the following command

esxcfg-volume -M USB_VMFS_01

(you can specify -m if you only wish to mount it once. -M mounts the drive persistently).

Tada! VMFS volumes all present and correct.

I’m now seeing a HUGE performance gain from using the 8 disks and I’m going to try my hardest to push the limits of the 1GB iSCSI connection before I consider adding a second NIC for Round Robin on both the VMware hosts and iSCSI target server.

vSphere 4.1 U1 – available!

Today I awoke to discover that vSphere 4.1 U1 is now available for download. The details of the announcement were pretty straight forward:

* Support for up to 160 logical processors
* Inclusion of additional drivers
* Enablement of Intel Trusted Execution Technology (ESXi only)
* Additional guest operating system support
* Bug and security fixes

VMware vCenter
* Additional guest operating system customization support
* Additional vCenter Server database support
* Bug and security fixes

VMware vCenter Update Manager
* The VMware vCenter Update Manager Utility to help users
reconfigure the setup of Update Manager.
* Bug and security fixes.

VMware vCenter Orchestrator
* Bug Fixes

=== VMware ESX ===

=== VMware ESXi ===

=== VMware vCenter ===

=== VMware vSphere 4.1 Update 1 is available for download ===

I’ll be taking a deeper look at the associated fixes and will get this into the lab asap to determine whether there are any noticeable updates worth reporting back!

adding logged on username to the Computer Description

How useful is this! If you ever need to know who is currently/was the last person to logon to a specific computer in the domain, configuring the following script to run against the chosen OU will append the persons logon name into the description field.

Credit for this goes out to HendrikWiese for this information.

First connect to your DC (Domain Controller / Active Directory Server)

1. Open Active Directory Users and Computers (ADUC)
2. Right Click your “” and click “Properties”
3. Select the “Security Tab” and click “Advanced” button
4. Click “Add” and then type “Authenticated Users” and click “OK”
5. No on the “Apply to:” drop down box locate and select “Descendant Computer objects”
6. Now in the Permissions window select the Allow check box for “Write all properties”
7. Click “OK”, “OK” and “OK” again.

1. Click start > run and type: notepad
2. Click “OK”
3. Now copy and paste the following code:

Set objSysInfo = CreateObject("ADSystemInfo") 

Set objUser = GetObject("LDAP://" & objSysInfo.UserName) 
Set objComputer = GetObject("LDAP://" & objSysInfo.ComputerName) 

strMessage = objUser.CN & " logged in at " & objComputer.CN & " " & Now & "." 

'objUser.Description = strMessage 

objComputer.Description = strMessage 

4. Now save this file to your desktop as AddUserDescriptionToAD.vbs
5. And that concludes the script

1. Open “Group Policy Manager” – Start > Administrative Tools > Group Policy Management
2. Expand “Forest:”
3. Expand “Domains”
4. Expand “”
5. Right click “Group Policy Objects” and select “New”
6. In the “Name” field type: User Configuration: Add Username to Computer Description
7. And click “OK”
8. Now under the “Group Policy Objects” locate the new GPO that was created “User Configuration: Add Username to Computer Description”
9. Right click the policy and click “Edit”
10. In the “Group Policy Management Editor” expand “User Configuration”
11. Expand “Policies”
12. Expand “Windows Settings”
13. And select “Scripts(Logon/Logoff)”
14. In the right pane double click “Logon”
15. Now click on “Show Files” (This will open the directory where you will need to copy the script AddUserDescriptionToAD.vbs)
16. So go to your Desktop and copy the “AddUserDescriptionToAD.vbs” script and paste it in the location that opened after click the “Show Files” button
17. Now go back to the “Logon Properties” window and click the “Add…” button
18. Now click the “Browse” button and double click the “AddUserDescriptionToAD.vbs” file.
19. Click “OK” and click “OK” again.
20. Close the “Group Policy Management Editor”

Next we will need to apply this policy to everyone.

APPLY NEW GPO (Group Policy Object) to All Users
1. On your “Group Policy Management” window
2. Ensure that you have expanded the “ > Domains >”
3. Now right click on “” and click “Link an Existing GPO…”
4. From the “Group Policy objects” list select the new Policy “User Configuration: Add Username to Computer Description” and click “OK”

but skip to today..

and you’ll probably find the blog a little more interesting.

The whole purpose of this blog is really to provide myself with a way of referencing all those niggly little things you uncover as you make your way through daily life as an IT Contractor. Many of the articles may indeed be other peoples findings so I’ll reference those where necessary, but others are as a result of many hours of meddling and working with different products and vendors in a bid to find solutions to ongoing problems.

How it all started..

I owe a lot of where I am today to my parents and indeed my other half who have all supported me throughout my obsession with computers.

Since the arrival of our very first family computer back in the 80’s, the magical “BBC B” with its all singing dancing tape deck and a myriad of Cassettes was where it all began.

BBC B Computer
My first computer!

The possibilities and indeed my interest in it for anything other than games was to be expected at a ripe ‘ol age of about 6, but I remember vividly spending hours playing Rocket Raid, Arcadians, Philosophers Quest, and Overdrive to name a few