vRO: Missing Line Breaks in SOAP Request

While working in vRealize Orchestrator with an external SOAP based system I was having issues with line breaks being removed from text sent across as part of a reasonably large SOAP request containing multiple items.

Say we have the following text strings and want to pass them into the SOAP request with line breaks in-between each one:


text1 = 'This is text1';
text2 = 'This is text2';
text3 = 'This is text3';

textToSend = '\n' + text1 + '\n' + text2 + '\n' + text3;

Place that code into a scriptable task in a workflow, output textToSend to the vRO SystemLog and you will observe the text with line breaks in them, placing each one onto its own line:

LineBreak01

However, when textToSend is sent through to the SOAP request, the line breaks have been removed and the text appears in the interface all on one line, displaying it like so:

LineBreak02

Turns out in this instance the SOAP request would support HTML tags for the text, so using ‘<br />’ instead of ‘\n’ would give the line break.


text1 = 'This is text1';
text2 = 'This is text2';
text3 = 'This is text3';

textToSend = '<br />' + text1 + '<br />' + text2 + '<br />' + text3;

The SystemLog now looks like this:

LineBreak03b

However, we don’t really care what it looks like in there, the important thing is how it translates through in the SOAP request. It is now displayed as desired:

LineBreak04

This also means that any HTML formatting tag could potentially be used if say the text needed to be made Bold or a different size.

 

 

vRO, an External SQL Database, and the case of the Missing Plugins

After setting up a fresh deployment of the vRO 5.5.2.1 appliance and configuring it to use an external SQL database I noticed that many of the default plugins appeared to be missing in the Workflow library folder:

(there should be a lot more than listed here)

MissingPlugins01

Logging into the vRO configuration page  showed the below list of plugins (and more going off the screen) appeared to exist and be installed correctly.

MissingPlugins01b

 

Having mostly worked with Windows based vRO servers before and not seen this issue I got a few clues from this blogpost and this communities post  which suggests it appears to be a bug relating to configuring vRO to work with a different database.

The workaround is to navigate to the Troubleshooting section of the configuration page and select Reset current version

MissingPlugins02

All being well you will receive the below green message:

MissingPlugins03

I then restarted the vRO appliance, logged back in with the vRO client and lo and behold all of the plugins were then present.

MissingPlugins04

I checked this against a default deployment of the vRO appliance with the embedded database and the issue is not present.

PowerCLITools Community Module: Now on GitHub

Over the last few years I have built up a number of functions to use alongside the out of the box functionality in PowerCLI. I’ve posted some of the content before on this blog, but have at last got round to publishing all of the content that I am able to share, in a module available on GitHub – I’ve named it the PowerCLITools Community Module in the hope that some others might want to contribute content to it or improve what I have already put together.

octobiwan

This took a fair amount of effort since it is not possible for me to share everything that I have as part of my locally stored version of this toolkit. Some of it was developed by others I was working on projects with (and are not as necessarily so keen to share certain parts of their work) and some can’t be shared for commercial reasons. However, I found some time recently to split out everything that could be shared into a new module and also updated some of the code – typically to add some nice features in PowerShell v3 and later which weren’t available when a lot of the code was developed during PowerShell v2 days.

Since the content has been developed over a few years, consistency and standardisation of approach may not be 100% there. A quick look back over them showed some looking a bit dated – I have spent a bit of time tidying them up, but part of the reason for sharing them  was to take feedback and some prompting on where they could be improved. If I left them until I thought they were just right I’d probably never end up publishing them. So your feedback is the impetus I need to go and improve them :-)

A lot of the functions are there to fill in gaps in cmdlet coverage with PowerCLI and there are a few which I made more for convenience where I have bundled together a few existing cmdlets into one function. These don’t particularly add a lot of value, but maybe demonstrate how you can tighten up your scripts a bit

Pre-Requisites

Ensure that VMware PowerCLI is installed. Functions have been tested against v5.8 R1.

Installation

1) Download all files comprising the PowerCLITools module. Ensure the files are unblocked and unzip them.
2) Create a folder for the module in your module folder path, e.g. C:\Users\username\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Modules\PowerCLITools
3) Place the module files in the above folder

So it should look something like this:

PowerCLIToolsModule01
Usage

The below command will make all of the functions in the module available


Import-Module PowerCLITools

To see a list of available functions:


Get-Command -Module PowerCLITools

Add-vCenterLicense
Get-ClusterAverageCpuMemory
Get-CurrentVIServer
Get-SnapshotCreator
Get-vCenterLicense
Get-VMCreationDate
Get-VMDiskData
Get-VMHostAlarm
Get-VMHostDumpCollector
Get-VMHostiSCSIBinding
Get-VMHostLicense
Get-VMHostNetworkAdapterCDP
Get-VMHostSyslogConfig
Get-VMIPAddressFromNetwork
Get-VMSCSIID
Install-vSphereClient
Install-vSpherePowerCLI
New-vCenterPermission
New-vCenterRole
New-VMFromSnapshot
Remove-vCenterLicense
Set-VMHostDumpCollector
Set-VMHostiSCSIBinding
Set-VMHostLicense
Set-VMHostSyslogConfig
Set-VMHostToCurrentDateandTime
Test-VIServerConnection
Update-ESXiSSL
Update-VMNotesWithOwner
Update-VMScsiDeviceOrder

Nested Modules

You will note that each function is itself a nested module of the PowerCLITools module. In this blog post I describe why I make my modules like this.

VI Properties

If you take a look inside the PowerCLITools.Initialise.ps1 file you’ll notice a number of VI Properties. Some of these are required by some of the functions in the module and some are just there for my convenience and make using my PowerCLI session simpler. You can add and remove VI Properties as to your own personal preference, but watch out that some are actually needed.  You can find out more about VI Properties here.

 Feedback

I really hope people find these functions useful. I have a number of ideas on where some can be improved, but please provide your own feedback as it’ll be the nudge I need to actually go and make the changes :-)

Get-Task: ID Parameter is Case Sensitive

There aren’t many occasions when you trip up in PowerShell because of something being case sensitive, it generally doesn’t happen since most things are typically not like that. I was working with the PowerCLI cmdlet Get-Task and in particular the ID parameter to do something like:


Get-Task -Id 'task-task-2035'

I had originally found the ID via:


Get-Task | Format-Table Name,ID -AutoSize

However, I received the error that no tasks of that ID were found :

Get-Task : 24/02/2015 20:51:57 Get-Task The identifier task-task-2035 resulted in no objects.
At line:1 char:1
+ Get-Task -Id task-task-2035
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
+ CategoryInfo : ObjectNotFound: (:) [Get-Task], VimException
+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : Client20_OutputTracker_ReportNotFoundLocators_LocatorNotProduced,VMware.VimAutomation.ViCore.Cmdlets.Commands.GetTask

Turned out that making the task ID match the exact case worked:


Get-Task -Id 'Task-task-2035'

Apparently the IDs are case sensitive by design :-)

One to watch out for anyway…..

PowerCLI is now a Module!

We’ve been waiting for this a long time, but with the 6.0 release PowerCLI is now available as a module. Microsoft changed the way itself and third-parties should deliver PowerShell functionality back in PowerShell version 2 by offering modules. Previously in PowerShell version 1 additional functionality was available via snap-ins.

It’s not fully there yet, but some of the functionality is now available in a module. 6.0 will be a hybrid release, with the rest to follow later.

Notice how the Core functionality is in both lists since this is a hybrid release.


Get-Module *vmware* -Listavailable

PowerCLIModule01


Get-PSSnapin *vmware* -Registered

PowerCLIModule02

I believe there was significant effort in making this leap, so many thanks to Mr Renouf and his team :-)

Issue with Nested ESXi and Multiple VMkernel Ports

While working with Nested ESXi in my lab, I had an issue where I could communicate with the IP address on vmk0, but after adding multiple additional VMkernel Ports could not communicate with any of the additional IP addresses. It’s a simple network for testing, everything on the same subnet and no VLANs involved.

I hadn’t done too much reading on the subject before, other than knowing I needed to implement Promiscuous Mode for the Port Group on the physical ESXi servers. It seemed strange that I could communicate with one of the addresses, but not the rest. I tracked down the following posts, but both suggested that only Promiscuous Mode need be enabled.

http://blog.paulregan.co.uk/2013/04/nested-esxi-install-second-vmkernel.html

http://vinf.net/2009/06/12/vsphere-esxi-as-a-vm-vmkernel-traffic-not-working/

I was running a Distributed Switch on the physical ESXi servers, so I tested moving one of the VMkernel ports to a Standard Switch with Promiscuous Mode enabled on the Port Group. It worked fine there, so was naturally curious why.

This communitites posting showed that Forged Transmits also needed to be enabled. The difference between the Standard and Distributed switches is that Forged Transmits is Accepted by default on a Standard switch

NestedESXiVMkernel01

and Rejected by default on a Distributed switch

NestedESXiVMkernel02

hence my experience above.

For more information check out these two posts from William Lam and Chris Wahl who are about two years ahead of me on this ;-)

http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2013/11/why-is-promiscuous-mode-forged.html

http://wahlnetwork.com/2013/04/29/how-the-vmware-forged-transmits-security-policy-works/

 

London VMUG January 2015

The first London VMUG of 2015 is almost upon us and as usual looks like a great line up of activities. My employer Xtravirt is sponsoring the labs and have a tech-preview of some software that you may be interested to check out. Plus one of my colleagues Michael Poore will be talking about a real world automation project.

VMUG

Make sure you register and get along to the event.

Rooms Capital A Capital B Central Room
0830 - 0945 EVENT REGISTRATION
1000 - 1015 Welcome
1015 - 1100 Frank Denneman, PernixData & James Leavers, Cloudhelix - FVP
Software in a real-world environment
1100 - 1145 vFactor Lightning Talks - Philip Coakes, Alec Dunn, Dave Simpson, Gareth Edwards, Chris Porter
1145 - 1215 Break in Thames Suite
1215 - 1300 Robbie Jerrom, VMware - What is Docker and Where Does VMware VMware GSS Xtravirt Lab -
Fit? SONAR Tech
Preview - an easyto-use SaaS service providing on-
demand vSphere
automated analytics and reporting
1300 - 1400 Lunch
1400 - 1450 Simplivity - Stuart Gilks, Making Sense of Converged Infrastructure Unitrends - Ian Jones, Datacentre Failover
1500 - 1550 Phil Monk, VMware, Bringing Andy Jenkins, VMware - Cloud Xtravirt Lab -
SDDC to Life - A Real World Native @ VMware - Give your developers & ops teams SONAR Tech
Deployment with Michael Poore everything they want without Preview - an easyto-use SaaS service providing on-
losing control demand vSphere
automated analytics and reporting
1550 - 1600 Break in Thames Suite
1600 - 1650 VMware GSS Dave Hill, VMware - 5 Starting Points for Cloud Adoption Xtravirt Lab -
SONAR Tech
Preview - an easyto-use SaaS service providing on-
demand vSphere
automated analytics and reporting
1700 - 1715 C l o s e
1715vBeers - Pavilion End – sponsored by 10ZIG

How To Make Use Of Functions in PowerShell

Over the last few weeks I’ve had a number of comments on posts essentially asking the same question: “How do I use the functions that you publish on your blog?”. So I thought it worth making a post to refer people to, rather than trying to respond in kind to each comment. There are a number of ways it can be done depending on your requirements and they are listed below.

First of all, let’s create a simple function to use for testing:


function Get-TimesResult {

Param ([int]$a,[int]$b)

$c = $a * $b

Write-Output $c
}

1) Paste Into Existing PowerShell Session

If you are working interactively in the console then the function can be copy / pasted into that session and is then available for the duration of that session. I find this easier to do via the PowerShell ISE than the standard console.

Copy the function into the script pane:

Functions01

Click the Green Run Script button or hit F5 and the code will appear in the console pane:

Functions02

The function is now available for use and if using the ISE will appear interactively when you start typing the name:

Functions03

Functions04

 

2) PowerShell Profile

If the function is something that you wish to use regularly in your interactive PowerShell sessions then you can place the function in your PowerShell Profile and it will be available every time you open your PowerShell console.

If you are unsure what a PowerShell profile is or how to use one, there is some good info here. A quick way to create one is:


New-Item -Path $profile -ItemType File -Force

Once you have created a PowerShell profile, place the function in the profile and save and close. Now every time you open your PowerShell console the function will be available.

Functions05

3) Directly In A Script

If you wish to use the function in a script, place the function in the script above the sections where you need to use it. Typically this will be towards the top. The plus side of doing it this way is everything is contained in one file, a negative is that if you have a number of functions then readability of the script is reduced since there may be a long way to scroll down before anything of significance starts to happen.

Functions06

4) Called From Another Script

One method I have seen quite often in the wild (and I’m not a particular fan of, point 5 is a much better approach) is to store all regularly used functions in a script file and dot source the functions script file in the script where you need to use one or more of the functions.

Functions script file Tools.ps1:

Functions07

Get-Results script file calling Tools.ps1:

Note the dot and a space before the reference to the Tools.ps1 file


. C:\Users\jmedd\Documents\WindowsPowerShell\Scratch\Tools.ps1

Get-TimesResult -a 6 -b 8

Functions08

 

5) Stored in a Module

Using a PowerShell module is a more advanced and significantly more structured and powerful method of achieving what was done in 4). If you haven’t used PowerShell modules before I wrote an introduction to PowerShell modules a while back which you can find here.

Essentially they are a method to package up your reusable functions and make them available in a manner similar to how other teams in Microsoft and third-parties produce suites of PowerShell cmdlets for consumption.

For this example I have created a Tools module to use, which essentially is the same content as the Tools.ps1 file, but stored in a *.psm1 file (Tools.psm1) in the Modules\Tools folder on my workstation.

Note: the name of the *.psm1 file should match that of the folder. Its possible to create a more enhanced module than taking this approach using a Module Manifest, but we don’t need that for the purposes of this post. It’s described further in the previously mentioned article.

Functions09

Now we can use the *-Module PowerShell cmdlets to work with our content.

To observe the module we can use Get-Module:


Get-Module Tools -ListAvailable

Functions10

To use the functions contained in  the module we can use Import-Module


Import-Module Tools

Get-TimesResult -a 6 -b 8

 

Functions11

Note: Since PowerShell v3 automatic cmdlet discovery and module loading has been supported. (You can find out more about it here) Consequently, you don’t actually need to use Import-Module to get access to the functions as long as you place the Module in the correct location. However, it would be a good practice to add the Import-Module line to your script, so that another user is aware of where you are getting the functionality from.

Presenting a Password Confirmation Form in vCO / vRO

Requirement:

Present a vCO / vRO form which contains two password entry fields using SecureStrings and a field which displays whether the two entered passwords match.

Using an if statement to test whether two SecureStrings are equal will fail even if the text entered is identical. As mentioned in this communities post, in a workflow it is possible to take the SecureStrings into a scriptable task and output them as Strings. However, in the presentation of the workflow this method is not possible.

Solution:

Create an action which converts a SecureString to a String. Call that action from another action that is used to display whether the two entered passwords match. Here are the details of how I did it.

Create an action secureStringToString


outputText = text;

return outputText

PasswordForm01

 

Create an action testPasswords

 


var passwordTest1 = System.getModule("com.jm-test").secureStringToString(password1);
var passwordTest2 = System.getModule("com.jm-test").secureStringToString(password2);

if (passwordTest1 == passwordTest2){

return "Matching Passwords"
}
else {

return "Non-Matching Passwords"
}

PasswordForm02

Create a workflow with the following inputs:

PasswordForm03

Set the presentation for the first three inputs to be mandatory and the displayConfirmation input to use the testPasswords action:

username mandatory

PasswordForm04

displayConfirmation Data binding

PasswordForm05

displayConfirmation Data binding testPasswords action

PasswordForm06

Run the workflow and observe the text changes in displayConfirmation dependent on the passwords matching:

PasswordForm07

 

PasswordForm08

I’d be interested to hear if anyone has a better way to do this because I reckon there might be one :-)

Enabling NFS VAAI Support in Synology 5.1

Synology enabled VAAI support for NFS in version 5.1 of their DSM software. In order to take advantage of this technology from ESXi hosts we need to do two things:

  • Upgrade DSM to at least version 5.1-5004 (2014/11/06)
  • Install the Synology NFS Plug-in for VMware VAAI

DSM

DSM can be upgraded from within the Control Panel application. Head to the Update & Restore section, check for and install updates. This will likely require a reboot so ensure anything or anyone using it is shutdown or notified.

NFSNAAI07

 

ESXi

Prior to installing the NFS plugin my two NFS datastores don’t have the Hardware Acceleration support.

NFSNAAI02

 

From the 5.1-5004 Release Notes:

VMware VAAI NAS
Added NFS support for two primitives: Full File Clone and Reserve Space.
Please note that you should install the Synology NFS Plug-in for VMware VAAI and read the instructions in README.txt to make sure installation is successful.

Once the plugin has been downloaded it is possible to use either VMware Update Manager or esxcli to install the vib. For the purposes of my home lab without Update Manager I’m going to show you the esxcli way.

Upload the vib to a datastore all hosts can access, then the command to install the vib is:

esxcli software vib install -v /path to vib/esx-nfsplugin.vib

Once installed, the ESXi host will require a reboot

NFSNAAI04

After the reboot you can check all was successful by running:

esxcli software vib list | grep nfs

NFSNAAI05

and examining the NFS datastores

NFSNAAI06