rpowermt – PowerPath/VE licensing

Installing PowerPath/VE onto an ESX host turns out to be rather easy.

Licensing it is slightly more fiddly than I would have hoped, but possibly shouldn’t have expected any less…

  • Support > Software Downloads and Licensing > License Management
  • Licensing D-Q – PowerPath
  • View your licences – View entitlements
  • Leave everything blank, click Search Entitlements
  • Find the line that lists the PowerPath VE licences, mine turn out to have defaulted to Unserved (i.e. you allocate one per ESX host via Powerlink Licensing, rather than a served licenced which requires you to run a FlexLM licence server – I don’t care as I only have four hosts to licence at the moment!)
  • Click Options – Activate
  • Click Start Activation Process
  • SSH into the ESX host, su – to root and run the following to get the System UUID
    esxcfg-info -y | grep "System UUID"
    collect the long GUID string
  • Back in Powerlink Licensing, click Add a Machine, put in the name of your host (I used just the name, not the FQDN) and click Save. In the Qty box enter 1. Put the long GUID into the ESX Unique System ID box, click Next.
  • Put in your email address, click Finish. You’ll be emailed with the .lic file or you can click Save to File.
  • Pick a machine that can talk to the ESX server’s service console, install the rpowermt tools, the installer I have is called EMCPower.RTOOLS.Net32.5.4.SP2.b299.exe. I used the vCenter server, but it could be your management PC or anything else you like.
  • Once the tools are installed, open a command prompt and register the host:
    rpowermt setup add_host host=<your host fqdn> username=root
  • You’ll be prompted first for a lockbox passphrase, this is to create a secure (uses RSA CST – Common Security Toolkit) file to store the usernames, passwords and IP addresses of the hosts to be licenced. The password needs to contain uppercase, lowercase, numeric and non-alphanumeric characters, and be at least eight characters long. It’s stored by default in C:\Users\<your-username>\Documents\EMC\PowerPath\rpowermt
  • Next you’ll be prompted for the server (i.e. ESX host) password for the account you specified
  • Once that’s done you can check the host has been registered by using
    rpowermt setup list_hosts
    and you should see listed the IP address of the host you just added.
  • From a command prompt you can use
    rpowermt host=<ip address> version
    and will probably get a message back saying “Warning: Licence not installed.”
  • If you get nothing back at all for several minutes, and then get any of the following:
    ERROR: Host not found.
    ERROR: PowerPath Not Found
    then, on your host’s service console, use
    esxupdate query
    and if you have this installed:
    ESX410-201104401-SG          2011-07-25T16:03:32 Updates VMkernel, VMX, CIM
    then you need to install an update. The bug is referenced by VMware support as PR#717377 – it’s a known problem, per EMC Primus ID emc268965: “VMware bug.  The issue is with versioning and sharing of lib-vmksysinfo. This has been corrected by removing static links and creating a shared library to avoid MD5 mismatch and the resulting core or sfcbd.”
    VMware support referred me to KB article 2000604, which doesn’t actually mention PR717377 as one of the issues fixed, but anyway… It tells you to install ESX410-201107401-BG, but to get hold of it you have to download ESX410-201107001 which includes a load of other stuff too. ESX410-201107401-BG is marked as “critical”. To install you can use VUM or stick it on an FTP server and use esxupdate (as per my method of installing PowerPath).
    rpowermt now seems to be returning more sensible responses, though it takes a good few seconds before you get anything back from it.
  • Note that the above bug can affect any of the following rpowermt commands – two of them worked for me once, but most failed with the multi-minute timeout followed by an error.
  • So, to register PowerPath on the host you issue:
    rpowermt register host=esx.host.fqdn
    and should get the response:
    PowerPath license is registered.
  • Hurrah!
  • Note that if you’ve installed the EMC VSI stuff onto the machine you run vSphere client on, then if you install the PowerPath/VE RTOOLS onto the same machine you’ll get PowerPath integration in your vSphere client.

With regards to the bug, Pawel at EMC support is hopefully going to update their support information as a result of the above, so you’ll be provided with the VMware KB article directly, thus avoiding any more people than necessary having to use VMware’s atrocious “talk to the computer” phone support routing/screening/”go away and use our website” system…!

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