Fix: NetApp DataFabric Manager Certificate has expired

Following the upgrade of DFM from version 5.2.0 to 5.2.1 I started to see a warning in the onCommand Management console that the NetApp DataFabric Manager had expired and to create a new one.


Surprisingly the cert had expired ages ago but neither I nor anyone else noticed. The first step in fixing the issue was to check the SSL service details to find the expiry date of the current certificate. To find this open a command prompt and run the command:

dfm ssl service detail

If the cert is not valid after the current date, or in my case after Dec 9 2015 then a new one needs to be created.


The steps to create a new certificate are:

dfm ssl server setup
KeySize: 2048
Country Name: AU (or whatever two letter country code suites your needs)
State or Province: <insert your state name>
Locality Name: <insert your city>
Organization Name: <insert company name>
Common Name: <insert FQDN of your DFM server>
Email Address: <insert your address>

Once the cert has been created you’ll be prompted to restart the http services.


Once you restart the services you can acknowledge the alert in onCommand Manager and the alert will be gone

Fix: Cannot run upgrade script on host, ESXi 5.5 

During a recent upgrade I found that one of the ESXi hosts just would not update using Update Manager. The error I was seeing was “Cannot run upgrade script on host”.

After a bit of searching I found this article which related to ESXi 5.1 upgrade to 5.5 but the steps worked well to fix the issue I was seeing.

In order to fix the issue I performed the following steps:

Step 1: Disable HA for the cluster

Disable Cluster HA

Step 2: Go to vCenter Networking. Select the distributed vswitch and then select the hosts tab. From here, right-click on the host you need to reboot and select Remove from vSphere Distributed Switch

Remove Distributed Switch

Click Yes to remove the host from the switch.

Confirm vDS Removal

Step 3: Remove the host from the cluster

Remove ESXi host from cluster

Step 4: Enter the host into maintenance mode and then choose to reboot.

Enter Maintenance Mode
Step 5: Connect via SSH to the ESXi host and run the following commands to uninstall the FDM agent:

cp /opt/vmware/uninstallers/ /tmp
chmod +x /tmp/

SSH Host FDM Uninstaller
Step 6: Reboot the host

Reboot the host
Step 7: Add the ESXi host back to the cluster

rejoin host to cluster step 1

rejoin host to cluster step 2

rejoin host to cluster step 3

rejoin host to cluster step 4
Step 8: Re-add the host to the Distributed vSwitch. Go to Networking -> select the distributed vswitch. Right-click and select Manage Hosts.

Manage vDS

Select the host

Select Host

Select vnics for Uplinks to be managed by the switch

Manage vDS uplinks

Step 9: Turn vSphere HA back on for the cluster the host resides on.

Turn on vSphere HA

Step 10: Run the upgrade again from Update Manager and this time it will work.


How To: Upgrade to ESXi 5.5 Update 3b on Cisco UCS

ESXi upgrade preparation

With Cisco UCS you really need to make sure that your ESXi hosts are running the correct driver version. If you’re running NFS or FCoE storage into your ESXi hosts as either datastores or RDM disks then it’s critical that you have the right fnic and enic drivers. Even if you use the Cisco Custom image for ESXi upgrades the enic and fnic drivers may not be correct according to the compatibility matrix. I’ve had this issue in the past and I saw intermittent NFS datastores going offline for a Dev ESXi host and the resolution was to upgrade the enic driver which handles ethernet storage connectivity.

The best place to go is to VMware’s compatibility site for IO drivers which comes under the System/Servers. To find out which drivers you currently have you will need to check on the driver versions on the ESXi hosts. This can be done by following KB1027206. Using the values for the Vendor ID, Device ID, Sub-Vendor ID and Sub-Device ID it’s possible to pinpoint the interoperability with your respective hardware. In my case I have both VIC1340 and VIC1240 in the mix so I had to go through the process twice. Primarily you’ll be using the ‘ethtool -i’ command to find the driver version.

e.g. You can check the UCS VIC 1240 for FCoE CNAs on ESXi 5.5 Update 3 here

In this image you can see the version of enic drivers I’m running, doesn’t match the firmware version that will be installed as part of the Cisco Custom ISO image. This shows that the enic driver version will need to be upgraded as part of the process.


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Fix: vCenter failure to upgrade – unable to configure log browser windows service

During a recent upgrade from vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2d to vCenter Server 5.5 Update 3b it kept failing at the web client upgrade. After successfully upgrading Single-Sign On I proceeded with the upgrade of vSphere Web Client. I got the following error during the installation:

Error 29702 unable to configure log browser windows service please check vminst.log in system temporary folder for details

The update to 5.5 3b caused disk capacity to fill up and make the installation process unable to finish the upgrade. The SSO install worked but the WebClient fails with error 29702. The primary issue was that over 40GB of space on C drive was taken up with SSO upgrade. I searched for fixes and found the following link but before carrying out the task of removing the Java Components and re-installing again I wanted to check with support on the procedure.

The steps I followed to fix the issue were:

Step 1: Go to Control Panel, select VMware vCenter Server – Java Components and select uninstall

vmware java component unistall

Step 2: Click ok to confirm the uninstall

vmware java component unistall step 2

Step 3: Click Yes to confirm reboot

java component uninstall step 3

Step 4: Following the reboot you can then begin the upgrade process once again and this time it will succeeed. Run the vCenter installer and from Custom Install select vCenter Single Sign-On. Click Next.

vcenter upgrade step 1

Step 5: Click Install

vcenter upgrade step 3

Step 6: The single sign-on components will begin to install, including components such as OpenSSL

vcenter upgrade step 3

One of the key components being installed is VMware JRE.

vcenter upgrade step 4 vmware JRE

Step 7: If you get prompted to close some applications select “Close the applications and attempt to restart them”. Click Ok.

vcenter upgrade step 5

Click ok to the prompt to close apps automatically

vcenter upgrade step 6

Step 8: Click Finish to complete the Single Sign-On upgrade

vcenter upgrade step 7

Step 9: Click on vCenter Web Client to begin the next stage of the upgrade

vmware upgrade step 8

Step 10: Click Yes to continue

vmware upgrade step 9

Step 11: Click Accept License agreement and click Next

vmware license agreement

Step 12: Click Install to begin the web client installation

vsphere web client install

Step 13: Click Finish to complete the installation

vsphere web client installation completion

Once you click Finish click Ok on the dialog to advise that the services will take a few minutes to restart

vsphere web client installation completion 1

Step 14: Select vCenter Inventory Service and click Install

vcenter inventory service upgrade step 1

Step 15: Click Yes for Inventory Service install

vcenter inventory service upgrade step 2

Step 16: Click Next to continue the installation process

vcenter inventory service upgrade step 3

Step 17: Click Accept License agreement and click Next

vcenter inventory service upgrade step 4

Step 18: Click Install for inventory service

vcenter inventory service upgrade step 5

Step 19: Click Finish on completion

vcenter inventory service upgrade step 6

Step 20: Install vCenter Server

vcenter server upgrade step 1

Step 21: Click Ok to continue

vcenter server upgrade step 2

Step 22: Click Next to continue

vcenter server upgrade step 3

Step 23: Click to accept the license and click Next

vcenter server upgrade step 4

Step 24: Enter the database user login credentials, VC_User

vcenter server upgrade step 5

Step 25: Click Install at the Customer Experience Improvement Program

vcenter server upgrade step 6

Step 26: Click Finish to complete the installation

vcenter inventory service upgrade step 6


Fix: Cisco B200 M4 – FlexFlash – FFCH_Error_old_firmware_Running_error

During a recent upgrade of Cisco B200 M4 blades I got the following error:


I really wasn’t sure what was causing the issue but it turned out to be a known bug for M4 blades. More details can be found over on Cisco BugSearch Note: You’ll need a Cisco Login to access the site. Basically the issue affects B200 M4 blades upgraded to 2.2(4) or higher.

The workaround is actually quite easy and just needs to have the FlexFlash Controller reset. This can be done using the below steps:

Step 1: Select Equipment -> Chassis # -> Server # -> Inventory -> Storage -> Reset FlexFlash Controller


Step 2: Click Yes to reset the FlexFlash controller


Step 3: Click Ok on reset notification



Fix: Cisco UCS B200 M4 Activation Failed

During a recent upgrade I ran into a problem with activation of B200 M4 blade. This was following the infrastructure firmware upgrade and the next step was to upgrade the server firmware. However, before upgrading the server firmware I got the error from the B200 M4 blades showing the following error:

Activation failed and Activate Status Set to Failed

This turned out to be due to the B200 M4 blades shipping with version 7.0 of the board controller firmware. On investigation with Cisco I found that it’s a known bug – CSCuu78484

You can follow the commands to change the base board. You can find more information on that from the Cisco forums but the commands you need are below:

#scope server X/Y (chassis X blade Y)

#scope boardcontroller

#show image

#activate firmware version.0 force

>Select a lower version than current one


What I found was that since I was going to be upgrading the blade firmware version anyway there was no point in dropping the server firmware back and instead proceed with the upgrade which fixed the issue.

I spoke with TAC and they advised that the error could be ignored and I could proceed with the UCS upgrade. The full details of the upgrade can be found in another post.


How To: Cisco UCS Firmware Upgrade 2.2 to 3.1 with Auto-Install

Recently I had to upgrade our ESXi hosts from Update 2 to Update 3 due to security patch requirements. This requirement stretches across two separate physical environments, one running IBM blades and the other running on Cisco UCS blade chassis in a Flexpod configuration. The upgrade paths for both are slightly different, and they also run on different vCenter platforms. Both of these also have different upgrade paths as one is running VMware SRM and is in linked mode. I’m not going to discuss the IBM upgrades but I did need to upgrade the firmware of the Infrastructure and Servers for Cisco UCSM.

Before you being any upgrade process I highly recommend reading the release notes to make sure that a) an upgrade path exists from your current version, b) you become aware of any known issues in the new version and c) the features you want exist in the new version

UCS Upgrade Prep Work

Check the UCS Release Guides

Check the release notes to make sure all the components and modules are supported. The release notes for UCS Manager can be found on their site. The link is listed further below in the documents section.

Some of the things to check within the release notes are:
* Resolved Caveats


  • UCS Version Upgrade patch


  • UCS Infrastructure Hardware compatibility


  • Minimum software version for UCS Blade servers


Open a Pre-Emptive Support Call

I opened a call with Cisco TAC to investigate the discrepancy in the firmware versions. The advice was to downgrade the B200 M4 server firmware down to 4.0 (1). However, as I was planning on upgrading anyway I’ve now confirmed that the best option is to upgrade to the planned 3.1 version. As part of this upgrade I will also upgrade all the ESXi hosts on that site the same day. There is a second UCS domain on another site that will be upgraded on another date.


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Cisco Data Center User Group Melbourne First Meetup

Last night we hosted the first Cisco Data Center User Group in Melbourne. It was a successful night with a great turn out and excellent interaction and networking between everyone that attended. Everyone was enthusiastic and willing to take part and really mate it a fantastic night.

The user group was formed with the intention to create a space where IT professionals can come together in a relaxed environment to network, have a drink and learn about data center technology. We wanted to have an interactive and social atmosphere and thanks to everyone that attended and took part because that’s exactly what was achieved.

Cisco DCUG Melbourne Members photo

One of the things that I liked most about the meetup was the attendance of people from other community groups. Craig Waters (@cswaters1) from the VMware VMUG community, Brett Johnson (@brettjohnson008) from the vBrownBag community and one of the presenters, Will Robinson, from the NetAppATeam. The support from other communities is great and we really appreciate it.

The night itself began with an introduction from Derek Hennessy (@derekhennessy) and Chris Partsenidis (@cpartsenidis) on how the user group idea was formed. A shout out went to Lauren Friedman (@lauren) from Cisco for her help and support for getting the user group off the ground. We swiftly moved onto the first speaker of the night, Chris Gascoigne (@chrisgascoigne).


Chris is a Technical Architect for Cisco ANZ with the Data Center team and has a focus on ACI, Nexus 9000, Automation/Orchestration and DevOps. Chris ran through a few slides on how network engineers can leverage tools such as Puppet, Ansible and Chef to implement the DevOps framework. He then ran through a demo of how to manage a Nexus 9000 switch from a bash shell and deploy Puppet configurations to a switch. Chris also emphasised the need to provide version control, code review and deployment into production. There were a number of questions from the audience as everyone tried to imagine using such tools within their own infrastructure environments. Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of Chris’ slidedeck to make available. A special mention goes out to Chris Partsenidis for performing the important task of being a microphone stand through Chris Gascoigne’s demo.

Following Chris’ presentation we took a break and let everyone digest the content and the food as well as order up another drink for the next session. Will Robinson (@oznetnerd) is a Senior Engineer with a focus on networking and storage and a wealth of experience. Will also has a mighty home lab setup and he gave everyone a run through on using GNS3 within his home lab. He really hit home on rethinking the physical and the logical implementations of networks and gave an example of a complex network he’d designed within GNS3. Everyone was really engaged in Wills presentation and it was like a quick fire buzzer round at a quiz following his presentation. He even managed to jokingly make reference to a layer 8 issue for someone using GNS3

GNS3 Connectivity

I’ve uploaded the slidedecks from the night and in the future we hope to capture the presentations on video and make them available as an archive following the events themselves. All in all it was a great night and we believe we have now started to develop a new community. If you’re interested in learning about technology, having a drink and some grub, and meeting other IT professionals and networking then we’re really looking forward to seeing you at the next meeting on Tuesday July 5th.

P.S. Thanks to Chris for the photo of the attendees


Cisco Data Centre User Group – Melbourne

cisco next gen data center user group

Next month we’re starting a new user group for Cisco Data Center in Melbourne. This user group is being run by Cisco Champions, myself and Chris Partsenidis. Chris and I met up after the recent Cisco Live in Melbourne and got chatting about how there’s no real community around Cisco technology so we reached out to Lauren Friedman (@lauren). Lauren was super helpful and has supported the creation of Cisco Data Center User Group. This is something that Lauren is working on from a global perspective and we’re delighted to be laying the groundwork in Australia.

This user group is centered around Cisco Next-Generation Data Centers and is for anyone that uses Cisco technology or that of the extended ecosystem. Our meetup is a fantastic opportunity to get to know others in the community over some snacks and beers in a relaxed and social environment. While the group is supported by Cisco, don’t expect sales pitches. We’ll focus on enabling a local community for Cisco Data Center users to share experiences, network and to learn more about both technology and careers. We openly invite submissions for topics and presentations from any members.

Some of the topics we’re looking to cover in the coming months are:

  • Cisco HyperFlex
  • DevOps
  • Cisco Nexus Switching
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Data Center Storage
  • CCNA DC and beyond
  • Cisco ACI and Nexus 9000
  • Operations and Data Center Management
  • HomeLab setup
  • Exam Preparation and certification
  • Automation and Orchestration
  • We’re open to requests from the community for topics of interest

The user group will catch up on the first Tuesday of every month at The Crafty Squire at 127 Russell Street in Melbourne CBD. We’ll be located upstairs in Porter Place. Our first meeting will run be Tuesday June 7th and all meetings will take place between 5:30 and 7:30PM.

Crafty Squire Porter Place

More details about the regular meet ups can be found over at Cisco Data Center User Group page on This page will be updated regularly with the meeting agendas and speakers. We look forward to seeing you there, please don’t be shy and come along to say hello. Welcome to the community.


vMotion to vNotions

vNotions Logo LargeThose that frequent the site regularly will have noticed quite a few changes recently. I’ve migrated the blog from to a hosted wordpress site and the name has also changed from virtualnotions to vNotions. I wanted to get more control of the site and be able to develop it over time into something else as it continues to grow and develop. is excellent as a free resource but I wanted to be able to customise more.

I really wasn’t sure what the best hosting solution would be as there are a number of options. There’s managed, managed hosted, virtual private server (VPS) and also the option of running wordpress in AWS. I turned to twitter to see if anyone had any recommendations for hosting wordpress. The first reply came from Mike Andrews (@trekintech) and I have to thank him for the recommendation. I had a look at a number of different providers and settled on DigitalOcean which was put forward by Mike. DigitalOcean have a strong community forum and supporting documentation so it was very easy to get everything set up. Each VPS in DigitalOcean is called a droplet and it’s very quick to deploy a new server instance. I stumbled across which allows quick deployment of apps on DigitalOcean VPS instances. ServerPilot takes a lot of hassle with setting up new apps and given that it’s also got a free option it’s very appealing. It also deployed WordPress using the Nginx engine so it’s considerably faster than just the LAMP stack with Apache. For quick reference check out this guide for installing wordpress on ubuntu and also this one one installing wordpress on DigitalOcean. There’s also a good guide on setting up wordpress on DigitalOcean over at MyBloggingThing. It was a straightforward process to set up a new instance of wordpress and migrate the content from the old site to the new site. Once the site was migrated and fully operational I enabled CDN using CloudFlare to improve speed accessing the site from disperse graphical locations. All in all, it was a relatively painless process.

Right now I’m tidying up the posts on the site to clear out any old posts that are no longer relevant. I’d like to thank Mike Andrews for his feedback that set the ball rolling. For anyone thinking of checking out DigitalOcean I’d definitely recommend jumping right in. The support team at DigitalOcean were also top class and replied very quickly to an issue I had (self-inflicted I might add). vNotions has vMotioned from VirtualNotions.