XenServer 6.0 – Import/Export OVF

We had received several OVF from a vendor who exported their VM’s from VMWare and we needed to import them into our XenServer 6.0 environment. After learning that this functionality is now built into Citrix XenServer and no longer needing XenConverter we were excited. However our initial test to import failed. After re-reading the documentation and searching several forums, nothing appeared to resolve the problem – the import would start and several seconds later it would fail.

So we imported the images into our VMWare environment to ensure the OVF’s were good, and even exported them again just to make sure the OVF files themselves were not the issue.

We then tried to export a XenServer VM via OVF and it failed as well. However we could import and export VXA files without issues. Okay, so we have it narrowed down. A bit more research brought us to this Citrix Blog about TransferVM

http://blogs.citrix.com/2010/12/09/diagnosing-xenserver-appliance-wizard-failures/

We attempted this but it said that the package as already installed.

We then contact Citrix who said to try: Nagivating to /opt/xensource/packages/files/transfer-vm and then running the uninstall-transfer-vm.sh

However that didn’t work, it prompted for a UUID but it didn’t document anything about the UUID

We brought this back to our test environment and it worked fine, we uninstalled and then installed and our OVF imports work properly. The difference between the test environment and production is that production is in a pool, whereas the test is standalone.

I have tried to find documentation on which UUID it is looking for but at this point I’ve tried it with the pool, host, and sr UUIDs to no avail. I might have to resort to cycling hosts out of the pool into standalone mode and reinstalling the transfer-vm component and then rejoining the pool.

SBS RWW ActiveX Control Error

A problem discovered by another technician for a client which  points to a possible problem with clients which use RWW to connect to their desktop computer at the office who are running Windows XP SP-3 with IE8 installed. The symptom is that when they click to see a list of computers that they can connect to, they see:

“This portion of the Remote Web Workplace requires the Microsoft
Remote Desktop ActiveX Control. Your browser’s security settings may
be preventing you from downloading ActiveX controls. Adjust these
settings and try to connect again.”

Be sure to check the following:

  • IE Compatibility Mode is enabled for the RWW site
  • The site is on the “trusted site” list
  • From the command line, type “regsvr32 mstscax.dll” to re-register the control

XenServer Virtual Disks

Unlike VMWare (ESX/ESXi), Citrix’ XenServer presents virtual hard drives over an IDE interface which is limited to 4 devices (two primary, and two slave devices), and since you also have an optical media (DVD) present, then you are limited to only 3 physical drives presented to your virtual host within Xen.

However, according to the documentation, the maximum number of disks which can be added to a Microsoft Windows VM is 7 physical drives. However, without reading the details on how to accomplish this, you will find that you can actually only add 3 physical drives from XenCenter.

To increase this, you will need to first boot the Virtual Server and install the Xen Tools, and reboot so that XenCenter detects the correct toolset is installed. At this point you will be permitted to add a second set of 4 physical drives, which will be available within Disk Management immediately. Of course you will need to go through the customary partitioning and formatting of the virtual drive.

You need to be aware of this issue as booting a migrated system without all the necessary drives attached MAY cause issues.  In some cases it COULD even prevent the server from booting.

Microsoft SBS – RWW on XP SP-3 with IE8 Installed

Wow, what a short title full of abbreviations! A problem discovered by another technician points to a possible problem with clients which use RWW to connect to their desktop computer at the office who are running Windows XP SP-3 with IE8 installed. The symptom is that when they click to see a list of computers that they can connect to, they see: 

This portion of the Remote Web Workplace requires the Microsoft Remote Desktop ActiveX Control. Your browser’s security settings may be preventing you from downloading ActiveX controls. Adjust these settings and try to connect again.
 

Be sure to check the following: 

  • IE Compatibility Mode is enabled for the RWW site
  • The site is on the “trusted site” list

 

mstscax.dll” to re-register the controlregsvr32From the command line, type ”

 

 

Equallogic iSCSI Connectivity with Dell Switches

Whe using a Dell Power Connect switch to access an Equallogic SAN with iSCSI, here are some quick tips:

  1. You must use the most recent version of the firmware. The older firmware had a flow control problem which could create major performance issues. If you have a Dell Switch and an iSCSI SAN please insure the firmware is on the most recent version.
  2. As with all iSCSI you’ll get the best performance by using Flow Control and Jumbo Frames, flow control being by far the most important (Flow control is required while jumbo frames are recommended).
  3. On the Dell switches with an EqualLogic SAN they recommend turning off the iSCSI optimization.

 

 

Blackberry Enterprise Server, error 0x8004011d

When launching the BES manager, you must be doing so from the BESAdmin user account, and not from any domain administrator account, otherwise you will receive an error about connecting to MAPI. If you see this error, back out and make sure you’re logged on as the BESAdmin (which is a local and domain user, non-admin). This is a “feature” of how Microsoft Exchange 2003/2007 operates, and is not a Blackberry ‘bug’….  You will also see the following error in the application event log: Failed to open default message store, result=0x8004011d

Happy troubleshooting

Blackberry Troubleshooting

I have been addressing more blackberry problems recently (and as a Blackberry user myself for several years), here is some common problems and tips for troubleshooting:

1)      Anytime there is a problem with e-mail on a Blackberry, have the user first check their internet service by surfing the internet. Most users will notice e-mail isn’t working before they notice any other data related service. Also note that text messaging uses the voice circuit, while e-mail and internet uses the data circuit. It is possible for one to work and not the other. This is a common problem is when a user roams out of the data coverage area for a length of time, and the blackberry sometimes has a problem detecting that it is back in data coverage.

2)      If the internet is not working, have them power cycle the device by removing the battery. Frequently the “soft power down” from within the phone is not enough to reset the antenna and redetect the data circuit.

3)      If the internet is still down, and they are in an area that usually works then have them contact their service provider.

4)      If they are using a Blackberry server, and you’ve confirmed that the internet is working, then check the exchange and blackberry services

5)      If they are using a IMAP for their e-mail, and you’ve confirmed that the internet is working, then you may need to re-register or “validate” the e-mail account (typically through a provider web portal). This happens when the mail server at the phone provider, which uses IMAP to connect to the users mail server and passes those messages along to the phone, looses connection for any length of time. (This can happen even if the mail server is 100% available – I have this problem with Sprint about 1-3 times per year).

Good luck!

Microsoft SBS Wizard Troubleshooting

3d human with a red exclamation markToday I have resolved my fourth SBS Wizard related problem this year. The symptoms are the same on both SBS 2003 and SBS 2008 – when attempting to use the Wizards to create a user or computer, the wizard works all the way until the last step and then fails with an error.

The problem in all four cases this year have been because someone treated an SBS server like a Windows Standard Server. And the reality is that while it is based upon standard server, it really is not. There have been major tweaks and adjustments to permit it to work the way it does. Among them is various restrictions on changes to Active Directory. Basically, unless you understand exactly how the SBS Wizards leverage Active Directory, it is best not to do anything through the standard Active Director Users and Computers console. The Wizards require that users, computer and other data are placed in very specific Organization Units, with very specific names. Renaming OUs or moving users into a more “logical” place will prevent the wizards from working properly.

The people who get themselves into too much trouble are often IT consultants who think they know better – but really don’t. The reason is that a newbie administrator will actually read the documentation that comes with SBS and/or pickup a great reference book, which all say the same thing — use the wizards for absolutely everything, don’t make any changes to Active Directory outside of a wizard. The only exception being would be documentation which specifically takes SBS into account. A Microsoft Technet page will specifically call out that it works with SBS; if it just mentions Standard Server, beware! Remember that SBS is made for oranizations of 75 users or less, and in these environments, rarely will you need a complex OU scheme.

In all four cases this year, it has been because someone has renamed or deleted the default SBS OUs which are created automatically. A quick rename of the OUs back to what they were origionally named, will resolve your problems. That’s it, no big changes, registry adjustments, etc. Simply put the OUs back to where they were automatically created and you should be all set.

Remember, SBS 2003/2008 is not Standard Server, nor is it Exchange Standard — it is a (for lack of better terms) hacked version of Server Standard and Exchange Standard – they are ment to be managed nearly 100% by the wizard and SBS consoles.

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