VMware releases vSphere 5.5 Update 2 - What's new and how to update free ESXi

It looks like yesterday the whole IT Community was pretty much focused on the much anticipated Apple Live event, so you might have missed an important VMware announcement: vSphere 5.5 Update 2 was released. Besides the usual bug fixes there was one important new functionality added that will make a lot of VMware Admins happy, especially those who do not like the new Web Client.

Before going into some details here are the relevant links to downloads and release notes:

Between VMworlds 2014 ... See you in Barcelona?

Unless you have been living under a rock during the last two weeks you will know that VMworld 2014 US took place in San Francisco. I have not been there, but enjoyed the summer vacation with my family in a rural area of Germany with very poor mobile network coverage. Anyway the constant never-ending stream of VMworld news and buzz could not completely elude my attention ...

Again, this was a great conference with exciting announcements - No worries, I will not repeat here what the crowd of well-known virtualization bloggers has already shouted out. But I am somewhat concerned that there is no more good news left for the yet upcoming VMworld 2014 Europe conference in Barcelona (Oct 14th to 16th) that I will be happy to attend again.

Do you need disk encryption for hosted VMs?

Nowadays disk encryption is a common practice with mobile personal devices, because it prevents unauthorized access to sensitive data when such a device is lost or stolen. I was also aware of the virtual machine encryption capabilities that are built into the VMware Personal Desktop products (Workstation and Fusion) although I never used them ..., but - until recently - I never thought about encrypting a VM that runs on a hosted hypervisor in a data center.

Then this happened:

Useful PowerCLI scripts for storage migrations with RDMs

I'm currently supporting a large VMware Storage migration project affecting MS Exchange 2010 server VMs that use lots of Raw Device Mappings (RDM) for mailbox storage. This was a good opportunity to further improve my Powershell / PowerCLI skills - I wrote some scripts to gather the data needed in a friendly format, and I thought it would be a good idea to share them here.

Sponsor news 02/2014

This is the second edition of my 2014 random blog sponsor news. This time we get greener - I'm glad to welcome a new sponsor, and that is ...

CPU microcode update needed to fix VM crashes with certain Intel Xeon E5/E7 v2 processors

In their recently released KB2073791 article VMware describes an issue that affects ESXi 5.x installations on hosts with an Intel E5 v2 series processor: VMs running Windows 2008 R2 or Solaris 10 (64bit) experience random blue screens resp. kernel crashes.

The root cause is a known bug in the CPU microcode of the mentioned processors. It leads to incorrect memory page translations when the EPT (Extended Page Tables) feature of the CPU is enabled and is mentioned as Erratum CA135 in an Intel specification update of the E5 v2 CPU family. EPT is an important CPU virtualization feature and helps to offload the VM memory address translation to the CPU which can significantly increase a VM's performance. So this bug is rather critical! How can it be fixed?

New ESXi 5.5 patch fixes NFS bug and another serious OpenSSL bug!

Yesterday VMware finally released a fix for the nasty NFS bug that was introduced with ESXi 5.5 Update 1. Customers who were waiting to update to U1 because of this bug can now safely update their hosts and will also get protection from the OpenSSL Heartbleed bug.

But there is another reason why you should update your ESXi 5.5 hosts with this patch very soon - even if you are not affected by the NFS bug and have already applied the Heartbleed fix!