WTF!? - Powering on a virtual machine fails with the error: A general system error occurred

This can by far be one of the most frustrating error messages you will run across in a vSphere environment.  I was at a customer site yesterday and the customer ran across it while I was working through some other things.  He asked if I could fix it for him.  :) I immedieatly dove into the issue and started looking at the problem he was having and the error message was very generalized in nature.  "Powering on a virtual machine fails with the error: A general system error occurred"  I wasn't able to change any settings on the VM…

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The Cloud Orchestration Layer is Changing

With the recent purchases of a couple key companies within the cloud orchestration space I felt it was time to write about it.  The companies I am referring to are Cloupia, who was purchased by Cisco in December and Dynamic Ops, who was purchased by VMware in July.  In my opinion these companies had such a huge head start on where both of their parents were at the orchestration/cloud layer that there really wasn't a way for the parents to catch up without the purchases.  Thankfully they picked some bright stars to buy. We know that both Cloupia and…

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vSphere Replication and SRM Implementation Notes

I went through a vSphere Replication and Site Recovery Manager implementation this week and overall it went very well.  There are a few things that aren't really noted in the documentation that I wanted to get out there just in case anyone else runs into the speed bumps I did this week.  While I've implemented SRM with array based replication many times, this was my first go with vSphere Replication.   First, and most important, is to use the FQDN throughout the entire implementation of SRM, VRMS, and VRS.  While we used the FQDN for the vCenter server when we installed…

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Kemp Loadmaster: The Best Load Balancer You've Never Heard Of

I was contacted recently and asked to check out the latest virtual load balancer by Kemp Technologies and I have to say for the size of the package it sure packs some punch! The load balancer has all the features and functionality of the large scale "enterprise class" load balancers you've heard of but comes in an extremely small (30 MB) package.  It only requires 1GB of RAM so it is extremely efficient on system resources as well.  The architecture is what you would normally see in this type of solution, but for any noobs out there here…

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VCP 5 Study Guide Review

Fellow vExpert Brian Atkinson asked me to review his latest book VCP5 VMware Certified Professional on vSphere 5 Study Guide and I'm glad I agreed to do so.  What a great resource for future VCP 5 test takers to have available to them!  I wish I had had it when I was studying for my test a few months ago.  I highly recommend anyone planning to take exam VCP-510 to buy this book. Link to the book on Amazon is here: link It already has a couple 5 star reviews so I am not the only person impressed.  And don't…

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vSphere 5 Upgrade: PSOD for vSphere 4.1.0 Hosts

I had a customer get ambushed by this last week and wanted to put this out there so hopefully no one else will run into this huge problem.  There is a VMware KB article out regarding the issue, however none of the release notes or upgrade documentation has been updated to reflect the information in the KB article.  Bottom line: DON'T UPGRADE VCENTER TO V5 IF YOU ARE RUNNING VSPHERE 4.1.0 (NO UPDATES) ON YOUR HOSTS! The KB article can be found at the link here: clicky Most of us have read through the upgrade guide for vSphere…

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vCenter 5 Database Move: Update the tomcat DB pointer

Ran into a weird issue the other day and was totally perplexed.  I moved a vCenter database from one SQL server to another, as I have done numerous times before without issue, but this time something else cropped up.  The old SQL server kept receiveing login attempts from the vCenter server.  What?!?   My DSNs for vCenter and Update Manager had been changed to point at the new DB server.  All apps and plugins that query vCenter use these DSNs, WTF is going on? The "VMware VirtualCenter Management Webservices" service utilizes tomcat to connect…

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vSphere Customization Specification Manager Bug

I've been working at a client the past few weeks and one of my tasks was to begin the process of upgrading their infrastructure to vSphere 5.  As we all know, the first step is to upgrade vCenter.  So I walked through the upgrade across all three vCenter servers and everything seemed to be ok until we went to deploy a new VM using a customization specification that had been created previously under vCenter 4.1. During the customization process for the VM we received the infamous "Windows Setup encountered an internal error while loading…

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