I happen to have a pair of Emulex OneConnect UCNAs in the home lab for various testing purposes, and don’t like to spend a lot of hassle keeping them updated with the latest firmware. As an expansion on my previous post covering how to update the BIOS of my Supermicro whitebox servers, this post will go deeper into managing my home lab. Specifically, we’ll cover the installation and configuration of the Emulex OneCommand Manager (OCM), which is a great (free) tool for taking care of your Unified Converged Network Adapter (UCNA) cards in your work or home lab servers, along with how to tweak the vSphere Web Client to allow use of the OCM plugin.
OneCommand Manager Installation
To get started, you’ll need to install the OneCommand Manager for VMware vCenter Software Plug-in (OCM), which is available for vSphere 4.0 through 5.1, on a Windows Server somewhere in your environment. At the time of this writing, the latest version of the OCM 1.5.11 and I’m installing it on a Windows Server 2008 R2 server.
Installation is rather straight forward. Run the executable and follow the prompts. Note that when you reach the Server Details step you need to supply the FQDN of the server you are installing OCM on, not your vCenter Server name. Make sure you have a DNS A record for the server – I also have a reverse record out of habit. Example config below.
At this point the installation will kick off and the service will start. Sit back and enjoy a tasty beverage. Once completed, you will be prompted to launch the registration utility like thus. I would suggest clicking Yes. 🙂
Now you’re at the step where you’ll need your vCenter Server information. This really boils down to the vCenter FQDN, along with a user account that can install a plugin. Enter your details and click the Register button.
Don’t worry if you lose the page that opened. OCM drops a shortcut on your server’s desktop that will get you back to the registration screen to either register or unregister the plugin. As a tip, the URL is https://your.server.name/elxvcplugin/
If successful, a popup box will appear stating as such. Installation of OCM is now complete! Make sure to click “Finish” on the application that is hidden behind the web page.
Emulex CIM Provider Installation
The hosts now need the ability to report back to the OCM. This is accomplished by installing CIM providers for Emulex.
Never heard of a CIM? It stands for Common Information Model – a way for entities to talk to one another.
At the time of this writing, the latest Emulex CIM provider is 126.96.36.199 – make sure to grab the package. The easiest way to get this package out is to leverage vCenter Update Manager (VUM). To do this, extract the contents of the CIM provider ZIP file and find the offline_bundle file, shown below.
Click on over to the VUM Administration item in vSphere, click on the Patch Repository tab, and then click Import Patches. Browse to the location of the offline_bundle file and upload.
The results should look like the screen below. Click Finish.
The CIM provider will automatically be caught by the “Non-Critical Host Patches (Predefined)” rule in VUM. As long as you have that attached to your cluster or host, it will be installed when you remediate the hosts. Otherwise, you’ll need to create a custom baseline and include the Emulex CIM provider inside of it.
Note: I’d recommend making your custom baseline a Host Extension type. Here’s an example video of how to create a baseline in VUM.
OneCommand Manager in the vSphere Web Client
Now that OCM and the CIM providers are installed, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. By default, the OCM plugin works with the legacy vSphere Client (also known as the Thick Client or C# Client). As an example, here’s a screenshot from my lab showing each host’s UCNA details for both the FCoE and NIC adapters, along with the driver name, version, and firmware.
If you want similar functionality from the vSphere Web Client (also known as the “Next Generation” Client), that’s possible!
Preparing the vSphere Web Client
First, log into the server that hosts the vSphere Web Client service. For most shops, this will most likely be the vCenter Server itself. Stop the service entitled “VMware vSphere Web Client”
Locate the webclient.properties file, which is located at C:\ProgramData\VMware\vSphere Web Client\ by default. Edit the file with Notepad and add this line:
scriptPlugin.enabled = true
Save the file and start the VMware vSphere Web Client service. It may take a few minutes for the vSphere Web Client to once again become available, depending on your harwdare.
Using OCM in the vSphere Web Client
Log in to the vSphere Web Client and navigate to Administration > Solutions > Plug-In Management. Make sure that the Emulex plugin is visible and Enabled. If it is not, right click on the plugin and select Enable.
You can now head on over to your Cluster view to manage or monitor the Emulex UCNAs. The plugin is available under the “Classic Solutions” tab. In my case, you see two options underneath Classic Solutions – Zerto and Emulex OneCommand. If you do not have multiple plugins like I do, you won’t see a choice – it will just default to the Emulex plugin.