ESX Maintenance Tasks
Posted by Joseph Quintero on 08 February 2018 08:50 AM



Daily VMware maintenance tasks
I carry out the following maintenance tasks on a daily basis:

Look around vCenter/VirtualCenter. I check out any tasks that haven't been completed, glance at the ESX host performance and get a feel for how everything is working. When you are familiar with how the systems perform on an average day, it's easier to isolate problems. And believe me, problems will emerge at some point -- no matter how well your system is tuned. This process is similar to knowing your resting heart rate, and periodically checking it on a treadmill or bike.

Weekly VMware maintenance tasks

Each week, I perform the following activity:

  • Back up vCenter/VirtualCenter database. My infrastructure does not change often, so I perform weekly database dumps and full backups of my management server. If your infrastructure is more dynamic, you should do these tasks more frequently. It cannot be emphasized enough: In case you need to rebuild, have good database backups.

Monthly VMware maintenance tasks
I carry out the following maintenance chores each month:

  • Clean up storage. If there are any unnecessary snapshots, it's a good idea to get rid of them. If you are unsure whether you have old snapshots, you can find them with VMware's SiteSurvey.
  • Revisit support agreements. Are your support agreements up to date? Is it time to start writing purchase orders to make sure you have proper help?
  • Envision future improvements. So far, the focus has been on keeping the environment functioning. Take a step back, close your eyes and just think about what you would like the environment to do, instead of the other way around. How can it make your business better? Map out a way to get there. It sounds like daydreaming, but it may be some of your most productive time all day.

Step 1: Regular scheduled meeting (in person, conference call) with the main operations team members. I do not advocate including every business system owner in this as it should not be their input that is required to prevent any issues.

Step 2: Provide a Scheduled Maintenance Plan Window: This is basically a plan which is open to all that provides a regular window where operations can maintain the system. While we all strive for 4 or 5 9's we need to make sure our business system users are aware of the importance of maintaining their system which may require some downtime. Of course there are ways to minimize this which are beyond the scope of this blog post.

Step 3: Daily/Weekly/Monthly preventative maintenance plan: This is a simple list of tasks. The list needs to provide the task, who owns it (group), when it is done, and how to do it. I always recommend both automated and manual steps if possible for every task, and most important is a way to check that the task was completed successfully.

Step 5: Check the vendor's Knoweldge base, patch update: As part of the ongoing weekly meetings that you schedule and the preventative maintenance schedule that you have prepared one of your tasks should be to check the vendor's offical knowledge base or patch update site. It is important to evaluate these articles and patches in terms of their potential impact if they are applicable. I recommend a simple check of the itrems and then evaluate the impact of either doing or not doing the task on your environment.

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