Setting timezone in Photon-OS

Many of VMware’s appliances are based on Photon OS. Sometimes these appliances aren’t using suitable timezones for your current location, which makes it difficult to match logs and results.

If that appliance has no GUI, you have to adjust it on the shell. Use SSH or the appliance’s console to login as ‘root’. To get a list of all available timezones issue the command below.

ls -lsa /usr/share/zoneinfo | more

Some timezones are divided into sub-zones. For example “Europe”.

ls -lsa /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe | more

We’re piping the results to the ‘more‘ command in order to achieve better readability. It’s optional. Once you’ve found your timezone, you can set it. In my example it’s “Europe/Berlin”.

Set Europe/Berlin timezone

Next we’ll create a symbolic link from localtime to “Europe/Berlin”.

ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/Europe/Berlin /etc/localtime

Finally we can check settings with the ‘date’ command. Date and Time is correct and also the timezone CEST.

VCSA 6.7 archive partition filling up

During a cluster routine check with RVtools I’ve seen a warning.

Warnings like this on a vCenter appliance let my alarm bells ring. Partitions filling up close to 100% are not a desirable condition. But let’s have a look into VAMI (vCenter Appliance Management Interface).

https://<vcsa_FQDN>:5480

Now that’s strange. Everything seems to be in a green state. It’s a VCSA 6.7 Update 2a (6.7.0.31000). Older versions did show a storage warning. “File system /storage/archive is low on storage space“. But this appliance seems to be happy. Let’s have a look at the shell, to see what’s really happening.

It looks like mount point /storage/archive is almost filled up.

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Backup NFS shares with RSYNC and Veeam

The poor man’s guide to backup old NetApp boxes

Veeam Backup and Replication has a deep integration into NetApp hardware since version 8. Yet there is still no NAS Backup Support for SMB and NFS Shares (v10 Feature or 9.5 Ux). The question arises how to back up NAS data from older NetApp boxes, when the ONTAP version is simply too old for Veeam integration and  you can’t utilize NDMP, NFS or SMB protocol for direct NAS backup?

I will outline a real-life scenario where a customer has an old Netapp (7+ years old) with single controller holding very important data (I will not comment on that). 🙂

How can we integrate these datasets into an existing Veeam infrastructure?

I’ve created a cheap and dirty(?) method how to synchronize the content of that old Netapp box with a Linux VM which can be easily backed up by Veeam. The content of the Netapp NFS share will be replicated into a Linux VM (1st copy), backed up to disk by Veeam (2nd copy) and archived to tape (3rd copy, 2nd media type) which is then kept in a fireproof safe (offsite). It was possible to fulfill the 3-2-1 rule (3 copies, 2 types of media, 1 copy offsite).

pro

  • no extra licenses
  • simple implementation
  • reliable and mature protocol
  • 3-2-1 rule
  • rock-solid

cons

  • needs extra space on VM storage
  • basic knowledge of Linux commands

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Increase root partition on VCSA

First aid if VCSA root partition turns out to be too small

I recent times I frequently see vCenter server appliances (VCSA), whose root partitions ran out of free space. As a result services are unable to start after reboot. There are some tricks to free some space on root but on the long run you should increase the partition size.

Sounds simple – but it’s quite tricky and a bit dangerous. Don’t try this at home! 😉

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