Category Archives: Tutorials

Zerto 4.5 – Installing DR between vCenters

Weeks ago I reviewed Zerto in its previous version.
The new one brings many new features that I’ll explain during this post.
I’ll begin it installing in my vCenter Lab, and connecting it to another vCenter. In a later post, I’ll consider connecting to my Org in Cloud (it’s a vCloud Director Org).

First of all, I’ll prepare a Windows Server: you can use 2008R2 or 2012, important is the language – some bugs were discovered with other languages. Remember: it CANNOT be the same server where vCenter is installed.

I’ll download the bundle, made of the application plus the .NET 4.5. If not already installed, setup will ask for it.

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Here is the folder containing the 2 files:

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and this is the warning you’ll receive if .NET 4.5 isn’t present – offering you to install it automatically:

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In some cases (like mine) you could face the following error during .NET installation:

2016-04-09_151447

it means that you need to update Windows via WSUS. It could take much, much time, so maybe you have time for a beer in the while 😉

After udates, I proceed again to install:

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Since .NET updated, the system will require a reboot:

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and it will continue automatically the install process, with related warnings:

After accepting the usual EUL Agreement, it will check for the API version:

During installation you’ll be asked to install the Zerto Storage Controller too – it’s safe, you can allow it:

And now you can open the browser at URL: kttps://<zvmIPorName>:9669/zvm

Maybe you’ll have to wait for a couple of minutes to start services. You’ll be promped for the license number, and you’ll get the login page:

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This is the dashboard:

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Now, it’s time to install the VRAs on every ESXì. The Virtual Replication Appliances are small VMs that will execute the replication, attaching disks for every VM protected, and using them when a failover (test or live) will be performed.

In the following images I already installed 3 out of 4 VRAs, so it will be shown the last one. In the section “Setup” you’ll find the list of installed VRAs and the ESXis. You’ll see that the last one is missing. Clicking on “New VRA” a pop up will appear, asking for some VRA’s detail.

progress is shown below, by “Running tasks”, successfully completed:

2016-04-11_122431

Well, the system is ready to be paired to another vCenter, or to an org in vCloud Director, or to an Hyper-V system or, lastly, to an AWS environment. In this case, we’ll pair it to another vCenter. From tab “Sites”, let’s choose “Pair”, inserting, in the pop up, the address of the remote ZVM – if a FW in the middle, you should permit 9081/TCP (at least).

Bingo! Sites are paired. From now ahead, you’ll create all the needed VPGs and so on.

In a new post I’ll show how to connect to vCloud Director org.

 

 

Virtual SAN 6.2 – Deduplication And Compression Deep Dive

Virtual SAN 6.2 – Deduplication And Compression deep dive

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Virtual SAN 6.2 introduced several highly anticipated product features and in this blog, we’ll focus on some of the coolest ones: Dedupe & Compression. These features were requested by VMware customers and I am glad that we listened to the customer. When talking about Dedupe and Compression, one first needs to determine why an organization would want to use Dedupe & Compression and what these features actually do. One of the many reasons for using Dedupe and Compression is to lower TCO for customers. Customers benefit from space efficiency as the Virtual SAN cluster will not utilize as much storage as it would if it was not using Dedupe and Compression, hence saving dollars. It is also important to note that Dedupe and Compression are supported on All Flash Virtual SAN configurations only.

What are Dedupe and Compression?

The basics of deduplication can be seen in the figure below. What happens is that blocks of data stay in the cache tier while they are being accessed regularly, but once this trend stops, the deduplication engine checks to see if the block of data that is in the cache tier has already been stored on the capacity tier. Therefore only storing unique chunks of data.

Pic 1

So imagine if a customer has lots of VM’s sharing a datastore and these VM’s keep using the same block of data due to a certain file being written too often. Each time a duplicate copy of data is stored, space is wasted. These blocks of data should only be stored once to ensure data is stored efficiently. The Deduplication and Compression operation happens during the destage from the cache tier to the capacity tier.

In case you are wondering how all these blocks of data are tracked, hashing is used. Hashing is the process of creating a short fixed-length data string from a large block of data. The hash identifies the data chunk and is used in the deduplication process to determine if the chunk has been stored before or not.

Together with Deduplication, Compression is enabled at the cluster level. It will not be enabled using Storage Policy Based Management. The default block size for dedupe will be 4k. For each unique 4k block, compression will only be performed if the output block size will be smaller than the fixed compression block size. The goal is to get this 4k block compressed to a size of 2k as seen below. A compressed block will be allocated and tracked in translation maps.

2

Enabling Dedupe & Compression

To enable Dedupe and Compression is not rocket science by any means. Simply go to the Virtual SAN Cluster and enable it from the Edit Virtual SAN Settings screen. Once dedupe has been enabled, all hosts and disk groups in the cluster will participate in deduplication. In this discussion, dedupe domains will be the same as a disk group; therefore, all redundant copies of data in the disk group will be reduced to a single copy, however redundant copies across disk groups will not be deduped. So the space efficiency is limited to the disk group. This means that all components that are in a disk group will share one single copy if multiple components are using the same block.

Dedupe can be enabled and disabled on a live cluster, however there are some implications to doing this. Turning on dedupe means going through all disk groups in the cluster and evacuating all of the data and reformatting the disk group. After this, Virtual SAN will perform dedupe on the disk groups.

So it’s a rolling upgrade. It’s important to remember that dedup and compression are coupled, therefore, once you enable deduplication you are also enabling compression as seen below.

3

IO Intensity

Dedupe is an IO intensive operation. In a non-dedupe world, data is written from tier 1 to tier 2, however with dedupe, things remain the same for the first part. With this in mind, more operations are inherently performed during destaging. IO will go through an additional dedupe path. This will happen regardless of the data being dedupe friendly or not.

Read – When performing a read, extra reads need to be sent to the capacity SSD in order to find the logical addresses and therefore find the physical capacity (SSD) address

Write – During destage, extra writes are required to the Translation Map and to the Hash Map tables. The translation map and hash map tables are used to reduce overheads. So this needs to be accounted for that this overhead is incurred and that a 4k block size is being used.

4

Dedupe Ratio

When looking in the Summary screen for the Datastore, different capacities and dedupe ratios can be viewed. Logical capacity is a new term. It is the capacity footprint seen if Dedupe and Compression are not turned on. So in the example below, the Physical used is 10G and the dedupe ratio is 3.2. Therefore logical capacity is 32G

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Summary

In summary Dedupe and Compression are fantastic features that are going to be very useful to customers that have all flash configurations, it will reduce their TCO, and from a technical stand point, it is very simple to implement. Customers do not really need to learn anything new so there is no ramp-up on the technology from a learning perspective.

(Courtesy of VMware vSphere Blog)


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Introducing VMware User Environment Manager Configuration Templates

Introducing VMware User Environment Manager Configuration Templates

Introducing VMware User Environment Manager Configuration Templates

by Raymond Wiesemann, product line engineer, R&D, VMware End-User Computing

Last week, we launched VMware User Environment Manager 9.0 (UEM), with many new features that will help deliver a truly stateless desktop and eliminate the need for point products.

UEM 9.0 provides the following new features and enhancements:

  1. Smart Policies: Enable administrators to contextually and dynamically manage client settings based on various conditions
  2. App Authorization: The ability for administrators to authorize or block any application based on a rich set of conditional policies
  3. Seamless application personalization and configuration across both native and virtualized applications (including VMware ThinApp and other application virtualization vendors)
  4. User data management enhancements

You can read more about these great new features in this blog post from Aaron Black, senior product line manager, VMware End-User Computing.

Closer Look at VMware User Environment Manager (UEM)

UEM works with configuration files to save user and app settings for every user. This means only the personal settings for a user are saved and not all kinds of other data, which can cause slow log-in times and profile corruption.

Although it is not difficult to create these configuration files using the built-in templates or with the VMware User Environment Application Profiler, we do receive requests for more UEM profile templates.

So today, I am pleased to announce the availability of what we are referring to as “UEM templates.” Built in collaboration with the UEM R&D product engineers and the Technical Enablement Team, these templates give IT the ability to save the settings they want for an application, helping deliver faster user log-in times and a superior workspace experience.

How Do I Use These Templates

1.  First, go to the UEM Templates site, where you can choose from a repository of several templates that are already available. As soon you download the UEM configuration files necessary for your environment, you’ll need to unzip these files and copy the templates to the location where you keep your other UEM Configuration files

This location can easily be found; just go to your UEM management console and push the “configure” button.uem configuration vmware

2.  Browse to this UEM Configuration share, and copy the unzipped files to a folder under the General folder, shown in the screenshot below as “Applications.”
uem configuration files download copy vmware3.  After you copy the UEM Configuration files, you can go back to the UEM management console and push the “Refresh Tree” button. The downloaded UEM configuration files will then show up in the folder where you copied them.

uem configuration settings vmware directflex4.  That’s it! From now on, settings will be saved for your users when they log off their session or when they close an application, if DirectFlex is enabled.

We are excited to bring this to our customers and partners and, as always, welcome your feedback. Please leave us your comments below, or reach out on Twitter @VMwareHorizon @raymond_himself. And don’t forget to share your own User Environment Templates.


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VSPHERE 6 – vSphere Replication Upgrade

VSPHERE 6 – vSphere Replication Upgrade

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Things are looking good after upgrading vCenter at both of my home labs to version 6.0. The process I followed for this was outlined in my previous post here.

However since upgrading vCenter to 6.0, I have lost my ability to monitor and configure my vSphere Replication workflows. Per the VMware product compatibility matrix athttps://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2109760, I know that my current build of vSphere Replication is going to need to also be upgraded in order to return functionality.

vSphere Replication between my two home labs is a primary concern for me. The site hosting this blog is actually a VM running in one of my home labs, front ended by NSX, running in a Linux guest OS via an NGINX instance. For disaster recovery, the bits are kept in sync with a remote lab via vSphere Replication. I want to ensure replication is up to date, so vSphere Replication will be the next component to receive the upgrade.

LAB ENVIRONMENT

As a reminder, my lab components are in the below matrix. Items in RED remain to be upgraded.

PRODUCT Current Version Current Build Future Version Future Build
vCenter Server 5.5u2d 2442329 6.0u1b 3343019
Update Manager 5.5u2d 2061929 6.0u1 2945804
ESXi 5.5u2 2638301 6.0 Express Patch 5 3568940
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 5.5.3.2 2945833 7.0 3310032
vSphere Replication Appliance 5.8.0.2 2613527 6.1 3051487
NSX 6.2.0 2986609 6.2.0 2986609

VSPHERE REPLICATION UPGRADE

This should be a pretty short post. As is the case with most of the self-contained appliances from VMware, the upgrade procedure is stupid simple.

There is no external database to back up in my lab. The appliance is running on the embedded database, as I only have a handful of replications configured for the solution.

In the past I have pulled minor version updates to the Replication appliance straight from the appliance’s management web UI. To access this feature, simply log in to the appliance at http://vsphere-replication-appliance:5480 as root, leveraging the credentials that were setup for the original installation.

Once authenticated, navigate to the Update -> Status tab and run “Check Updates”.

Unfortunately, the jump from major version 5 to 6 is not available via the system web update utility.

Per the upgrade documentation at http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-replication-61/topic/com.vmware.vsphere.replication-admin.doc/GUID-30083484-FB13-485E-AEC9-0695EADB7B3D.html, we need to download and mount the ISO to the appliance and run the upgrade from there. Log into my.vmware.com and pull the ISO down to a system from which the file can be mapped as a bootable CDROM to the appliance. For my lab, I am going to the latest 6.1 build at the time of this writing, which is build 3051487.

Once downloaded, map the ISO to the CDROM of the vSphere Replication Appliance. Then log into the web management page of the appliance at https://vsphere-replication-appliance:5480 and navigate to the Settings area of the Update tab. Change the update repository to the local CDROM, and save the settings.

Navigate back to the Status area, and select “Check Updates”. Apply the update to version 6.1.

The update procedure will run through its installation – there is no progress bar for this procedure. You may end up staring at the web page and application console wondering what is going on, like I did.

A little bit of patience is necessary – it took about 15 minutes on my appliance before the web page finally told me to reboot to complete.

Go ahead and reboot the appliance from the System tab.

I always prefer to watch the console of the appliance during these reboots, as often times issues or failed service starts are indicated during while the init scripts run.

The reboot should take place without issue. Once the system is sitting at login prompt, log back into the web management UI and verify the current version number.

Fantastic. Next we need to navigate over to the VR tab and re-register the appliance with the appropriate vCenter. Select the Configuration section of the VR tab.

Re-enter SSO admin credentials, and save the settings in order to re-register the appliance.

The LookUp Service SSL cert will need to be accepted.

The appliance should then show a running state with the existing configuration in place.

WEB CLIENT RECONFIGURATION

Following the re-registration of the appliance to vCenter, I found that a restart of the Web Client service on the vCenter server was necessary in order to get the appliance plugin to show up again in the web client.

Once the restart was performed, the vSphere Replication icon was finally available again. However I now encountered the following issue in the Web Client:

There weren’t many details given for what the configuration item could be. Hovering the mouse over the error in the web client actually revealed a mouse over informing me that the NTP service was not running in the vSphere Replication appliance.

This was an odd issue that took me a lot of time to find a solution to. Simply starting/restarting NTPD on the SUSE appliance would not suffice. I ended up locating the following KBhttps://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2126965 on the issue which is what fixed the configuration. After following the steps in this KB, my appliance was finally healthy per the Web Client!!

Now, complete the above steps on the partner site.

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Once the other side is also upgraded to 6.1, re-configure the pairing of sites within the web client.

Awesome! Navigating over to the Monitor tab for vSphere Replication shows my existing replications are healthy.

(Courtesy of Mistwire)


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VSPHERE 6 – ESXi Upgrade

VSPHERE 6 – ESXi Upgrade

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At this point in my home lab, I have got vCenter, Update Manager, and vSphere Replication all upgraded to vSphere 6. Finally, it’s time for the upgrade of ESXi!

Having the hosts up to 6.0u1 is necessary for all of the really cool things that are part of vSphere 6, including vSAN 6.1 and the cross vCenter functionality of NSX 6.2.

I am going to be upgrading a Dell R410 in this post, from ESXi 5.5u2 to ESXi 6.0 Express Patch 5. Unfortunately, Dell’s site does not supply an OEM rolled ISO of vSphere 6.0 for the 11th generation Dell hardware. Sadly, it looks like 5.5 will be the last supported VMware revision from Dell on the 11thgeneration server set.

Luckily, the upgrade process to 6.0 leaves any custom VIBs, including 3rd party drivers that may already be in place on a previous 5.x version install. I have already had success prior to this post upgrading a Dell R210 to 6.0 by applying the vanilla VMware ESXi 6.0 image on top of the OEM 5.5 installation, so I am hoping for the same success here with the R410. If I can get another few years of use out of the 11thgens in my lab on the latest VMware rev, I will be a very happy admin J

Of course, I am sure this would be an un-supported configuration from both Dell and VMware’s perspectives, but for my home lab this isn’t a concern for me.

LAB ENVIRONMENT

As a reminder, my lab components are in the below matrix. Items in RED remain to be upgraded.

PRODUCT Current Version Current Build Future Version Future Build
vCenter Server 5.5u2d 2442329 6.0u1b 3343019
Update Manager 5.5u2d 2061929 6.0u1 2945804
ESXi 5.5u2 2638301 6.0 Express Patch 5 3568940
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 5.5.3.2 2945833 7.0 3310032
vSphere Replication Appliance 5.8.0.2 2613527 6.1 3051487
NSX 6.2.0 2986609 6.2.0 2986609

ESXi UPGRADE TO 6.0

Log into my.vmware.com and pull the ISO down for 6.0u1b (latest release at time of this post). Place the download on a system that will be able to run the web client, so that we can upload the ISO into vSphere Update Manager and create a baseline for the host upgrade.

Update Manager Client has finally made its way into the Web Client in vSphere 6.0, so log in and navigate to Update Manager.

Select the name of the registered VUM server in the left hand navigator, and then the tab for “ESXi Images”. Select “Import ESXi image…”


Browse to the ESXi ISO and import.


Once the upload finishes, the image will be imported into VUM.

VUM will verify the integrity and accept the import.

Navigate to the “Hosts Baselines” tab, and add a new baseline.

Enter a name for the baseline, and select type “Host Upgrade”.

Select the imported baseline, and proceed.

Complete the wizard to complete the baseline.

Select the cluster view and navigate to the Update Manager tab. Select “Attach Baseline”.

Attach the newly created upgrade baseline to the cluster.


Scan the cluster to determine upgrade and patch requirements.

For this cluster, I have actually already upgraded my host “ESX4”, and is therefore showing as compliant. “ESX” remains at 5.5u2, and shows as non-compliant. Let’s go ahead and remediate in order to get this host upgraded to 6.0u1b as well.

Ensure the host Upgrade Baseline is selected.

Confirm host selection.

Accept the license agreement.

I already know I am using a non-Dell ISO for the vSphere 6.0 upgrade, and therefore want to definitely know of any issues the installer has with existing devices. I recommend leaving the “Ignore warnings” selection UN-selected.

Run the upgrade immediately.

Select any host remediation options that may apply to your specific environment.

Select any remediation offers that apply to your environment. I usually add the selection for both disabling HA, as well as migrating powered off systems to other hosts.

Finally accept the selections to complete the wizard and kick off the upgrade process!

At this point, the host will enter maintenance mode and reboot as the upgrade and subsequent patches are applied. Progress can be monitored in the Tasks tab of the web client. The entire process for me against my Dell r410 took about 30 minutes across two reboots (one for the upgrade, a second for the patches).

At the completion of the upgrade process, a quick check of the host software version actually shows us at build 3620759. Looks like the most recent set of patches that were included from the “Critical” and “Non-Critical” patch baselines are for 6.0u2.

Sure enough, upon checking the VMware build release matrix athttps://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1014508, I see that 6.0u2 was released just a few days back. Awesome.

Re-scan the host once more to ensure no additional patches on top of the 6.0u2 release are outstanding.

Done! I have migrated machines back over to the upgraded host, and everything is working as expected.

A quick check of the NSX host health shows everything is good post upgrade as well.

CONCLUSION

As a final step, you will need to apply new ESXi licenses to the upgraded hosts. The upgraded 6.0 hosts will come with a fresh 60 day eval license, as the old 5.5 licenses no longer apply. Log into the my.vmware.com licensing portal and upgrade the existing 5.5 licenses, and re-apply to the upgraded hosts before the 60 days is up.

My lab is getting there. I was very excited to see that 6.0u2 was pulled down to this host during the upgrade in this blog – this means that the newest vSAN 6.2 features are going to be available to play with! Time to go back and upgrade the other hosts from 6.0u1b to 6.0u2, and also look at getting vCenter up to the latest 6.0 release as well.

Progress never stops!

(Courtesy of Mistwire)


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VSPHERE 6 – vCenter Upgrade

VSPHERE 6 – vCenter Upgrade

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I had the opportunity last week to take part in a VMware sponsored Social Lab on VSAN 6.1 (HOL 1608). These are essentially instructor led Hand on Labs, with an appointed SME from VMware present to give some back ground material on the subject matter, as well as answer any questions during the lab. I haven’t had much time lately to dedicate to the many HOLs that I intended to take following VMworld 2015, so jumped at the opportunity to attend this as I have been meaning to look more closely at VSAN.

The event was awesome, and certainly wetted my appetite to start playing with VSAN in the home lab. Which lead to the immediate need to address my long put off upgrade to vSphere 6.0….

I have been on 5.5U2 in the home lab since forever. The main driver behind this is that my day job uses 5.5 in production, therefore having the lab at the same version has made sense for experimentation purposes. I have been itching to move the lab to 6.0 since day 1 of GA, and with my new desire to bang the hell out of VSAN in this environment (as well as the cross vCenter NSX capabilities), I can wait no more. J

I have numerous components at this stage in my labs, all of which represent a tangle of dependencies to contend with during this upgrade. Let’s see what breaks.

LAB ENVIRONMENT

I am going to be upgrading all components in my home lab to the latest build numbers associated with vSphere 6.0u1. This is going to include the following products:

PRODUCT Current Version Current Build Future Version Future Build
vCenter Server 5.5u2d 2442329 6.0u1b 3343019
Update Manager 5.5u2d 2061929 6.0u1 2945804
ESXi 5.5u2 2638301 6.0 Express Patch 5 3568940
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 5.5.3.2 2945833 7.0 3310032
vSphere Replication Appliance 5.8.0.2 2613527 6.1 3051487
NSX 6.2.0 2986609 6.2.0 2986609

The only piece not being upgraded here is NSX, because this is already at the latest version 6.2 in my lab.

VMware has an update sequence matrix for 6.0 currently athttps://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2109760 . I intend to do a separate blog for each of the items above, roughly in the order listed at this link.

First up is of course vCenter.

VCENTER 6.0 UPGRADE

As is the case before any upgrade, be sure to first backup the vCenter database and snapshot/backup the vCenter system in case things go south. Once this is taken care of we are clear to proceed.

Download the ISO from my.vmware.com, and extract it to a folder that is accessible by the vCenter system. Run the autorun installer as administrator, and select “Install” for vCenter Server for Windows to begin the upgrade.

The first part of the upgrade analyzes the current environment, and determines whether you are upgrading from a simple install (SSO, Inventory Service, Web Client, and vCenter Server all on same system) or an advanced install (components spread out across different systems). Depending on the current environment, the installer will make a determination for you on how the new Platform Services Controller will be laid out. In a nutshell, a 5.x simple install equates to the 6.0 installer putting an embedded PSC on the same system as vCenter, where as if your pre 6.0 environment has SSO on a different machine, the 6.0 installer assumes the PSC should be external.

There are some repercussions to not having an external PSC that will rear its head when we look at setting up the vastly improved Enhanced Link Mode in a later post, but for now the installer is going to shove an embedded PSC down my throat since I am indeed coming from a 5.5 simple install.

Move through the licensing nonsense.

Enter existing administrator credentials.

VMware seems to be going with PostgreSQL in all of their appliances and embedded solutions now, and vSphere 6.0 is no different. The installer warns that it will be migrating data from the embedded SQL Express into a new Postgres installation.

Confirm network ports.

The official installation documentation for hard space requirements is here:

The installer does a pre-check for available space and will warn if there isn’t enough. If the pre-check passes, we are asked to confirm directory target information. I have decided to store both the data for the vSphere application, as well as the scratch space for the database migration, on my E: drive as I have plenty of space here.

Confirm settings and the upgrade begins.

After verifying the install packages on the media, the process first exports all the current 5.5 data to the scratch space.

Previous version components are then removed. This process took a while on my lab environment, around 30 minutes.

The installation of all the new components will then take place. There are a lot of new components in 6.0! Although the Platform Services Controller and vCenter Server are two very distinct areas of the vSphere 6.0 installation, for an embedded installation the installer does not break out the components belonging to these two separate product areas during installation. All components get laid down in this one installation step.

Once the components are installed, the installer will begin starting the various services.

Once components are installed and started successfully (about 40 minutes on my setup for this stage to complete), the next step is for the installer to import all of the exported 5.5 data into the new PostgreSQL database. Services are shut back down to accommodate this process.

Add on components should all be brought forward into the new installation. I was very happy to see my Orchestrator workflows being incorporated into the new version!

The process warns us to update settings related to Auto Deploy. If using auto deploy, be sure perform the configuration changes indicated.

Finally, the installer will remove backup files and complete! The entire process for me took about 80 minutes. Of course this is a lab environment with a very small population of guests/hosts under management, but still not a bad upgrade time.

The completion screen gives some information relating to some post installation tasks, including re-applying license keys and cleaning up the migration folder.

Cool. 6.0 continues the move towards exclusive use of the Web Client, with VUM functionality finally added. The installer is inviting us to log in at this time to the Web Client, so let’s go ahead and test the new installation and begin seeing which add on components are broken.

First thing to do is install the new client integration plugin. This plugin is necessary for advanced web client functionality such as guest console access, datastore file access, as well as windows client pass through authentication.

Once installed, re-launch your browser of choice. Be sure to select “Launch Application” when asked. I tested the 6.0 plugin on Chrome version 48 and had no issues.

WHAT’S BUSTED?

I have already visited the product compatibility matrix located athttps://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/sim/interop_matrix.php, and have the expectation that out of my product matrix below, everything in RED should be broken at this point until I upgrade that specific component in this lab environment:

PRODUCT Current Version Current Build Future Version Future Build
vCenter Server 5.5u2d 2442329 6.0u1b 3343019
Update Manager 5.5u2d 2061929 6.0u1 2945804
ESXi 5.5u2 2638301 6.0 Express Patch 5 3568940
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 5.5.3.2 2945833 7.0 3310032
vSphere Replication Appliance 5.8.0.2 2613527 6.1 3051487
NSX 6.2.0 2986609 6.2.0 2986609

A quick check shows that indeed my ESXi 5.5 hosts as well as all NSX 6.2 components are fully manageable from within the upgraded vCenter system.

While ESXi compatibility was fully expected, I was pleased to see that the NSX components required absolutely nothing to be done following the upgrade. No refreshes or restarts of NSX Manager needed – all my components were fully accessible in the web client on the first login post upgrade.

Update Manager, vRealize Orchestrator, and vSphere Replication are all not working post upgrade and are going to need to be upgraded next.

I will cover the upgrade of these components in follow up posts, however VUM is an easy target and is part of the vCenter installation media, so let’s go ahead and quickly address this one right now.

UPDATE MANAGER

Update Manager is indeed missing from where it should be located on the new Web Client, in the monitoring section.

This is an easy fix and is included on the vCenter media that we used for our upgrade, so let’s quickly get this addressed. Extract and run the installer ISO on the system currently running your VUM installation, and launch the VUM installer.

The process will detect the existing install, and prompt for upgrade.

Accept the License Agreement and begin the upgrade.

Advance through the wizard.

The upgrade will pre-populate the settings for vCenter authentication. Re-add the credentials.

Confirm ODBC information and advance the wizard.

One final check that we indeed want to upgrade our DB.

Confirm network ports and the listening IP address the service should bind to.

Start the installation.

The installer will ask to stop VUM if the old 5.5 service is still running. It will then unregister the VUM plugin, upgrade the product, and re-register with vCenter. The process should run without issue.

Once complete we can log back in to our Web Client and should see VUM working. Yay! A working VUM will definitely be necessary for us to upgrade ESXi in a future post.

VSPHERE CLIENT

Even though the Web Client has improved by leaps and bound with this release, I still find myself working day to day with at least a couple instances of the .NET client open on my extended screens in conjunction with the Web Client. Certain actions still feel so much more efficient to me on the phat client.

You can upgrade the .NET client from the installation media as well.


They seem to have removed the upgrade/install exe from the splash page of the vCenter itself athttp://vcenter-ip:80. Regardless, it still makes sense to have this tool available on any workstation that will be used for day to day maintenance of the environment, so I highly recommend this gets installed wherever needed.

Be sure to also re-download and install the 6.0 VUM plugin after getting the client connected back to vCenter.

CONCLUSION

My lab has been LONG overdue for the vSphere 6.0 upgrade, and I am glad to finally start getting my components upgraded. The placement of the Platform Services Controller is a major design component of any production deployment, and we only glossed over the importance of this. Some of the more interesting things that can be done in 6.0 (NSX Universal Objects, Cross vCenter vMotion) require Enhanced Linked Mode, which in turn requires leveraging an externally shared PSC between sites.

I will be revisiting the PSC in detail in a follow up post where I will be breaking out the PSC in order to set up Enhanced Link Mode.

However, before I move onto the PSC re-design, I will need to get the remaining components (ESXi, Orchestrator, Replication) upgraded as well so that my lab is full 6.0. The two most exciting features of 6.0 to me are vSAN 6.1 and the cross site functionality of NSX 6.2, and both of these will require hypervisors at version 6.0.

Up next will be the vSphere Replication upgrade. Can’t wait.

(Courtesy of Mistwire)


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VMware Horizon 7 Has Been Released – Instant Clones, Blast Extreme ++

VMware Horizon 7 Has Been Released – Instant Clones, Blast Extreme ++

VMware Horizon 7 Has Been Released – Instant Clones, Blast Extreme ++

When few weeks back we reported on VMware Horizon 7 we did not know when this product will finally hit the GA state. It’s now! You can download Horizon 7 now. It’s a major release which allows scaling up to 10 Horizon PODs across 4 sites with up to 500 000 desktops. So VMware Horizon 7 Has Been Released – Instant Clones, Blast Extreme and more features are in.


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Virtual SAN 6.2 Automated Deployments with PowerCLI

Virtual SAN 6.2 Automated Deployments with PowerCLI

Virtual SAN 6.2 Automated Deployments with PowerCLI

This demonstration showcases the extensible deployment and configuration flexibility of VMware Virtual SAN through the use of command line interface tools such as PowerCLI by automating the creation of all of the necessary artifacts required to successfully prepared and form an 8 node all-flash VMware Virtual cluster with a single PowerCLI script.


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vSphere 6 Update 2 – Whats In It for Service Providers

vSphere 6 Update 2 – Whats In It for Service Providers

vSphere 6 Update 2 – Whats In It for Service…

It’s been just over a week since VMware released vSphere 6 Update 2 and I thought I would go through some of the key features and fixes that are included in the latest versions of vCenter and ESXi. As usual I generally keep an eye out for improvements that relate back to Service Providers who use vSphere as the foundation of their Managed or Infrastructure as as Service offerings.


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Build a custom automated ESXi installer image

Build a custom automated ESXi installer image

by Matt Bradford

If you’re like me, you’ve probably performed more manual ESXi installs than you care to admit. It’s not just the installation of the hypervisor, but the installation of the drivers and other bundles that can easily eat into your busy day. Not to mention if you try to image many hosts at the same time there’s a good likelihood that you’ll miss something that will come back and haunt you later.

One of the benefits of working with a great vendor is that they’re usually willing to ship your hosts pre-imaged and built to your spec. In order to make my vendor’s lives easier I wanted an ISO that would install ESXi to our spec without intervention. I needed to build a custom automated ESXi installer image. It may sound complicated but it’s pretty simple and the best thing is it doesn’t take long. Your first time may take 30 minutes, but once you have everything together you will be able to create the ISO in about five. Here’s how you do it…

Download the ESXi Offline Bundle. You can use the generic or vendor provided image.

download_offline_bundle'

 

Download the driver and other offline bundles you want to pack into your image. Copy everything to a folder. (Note that offline bundles may be inside the zip file you download.)

copy_offline_bundles_to_folder

 

Open PowerCLI and add the ESXi offline bundle.

Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\VMware-ESXi-5.5.0-Update3-3248547-HPE-550.9.4.5.7-Dec2015-depot.zip

add_esxi_offline_bundle

 

Add the driver offline bundles.

Add-EsxSoftwareDepot .\hpsa-5.5.0.106-offline_bundle-2734178.zip

add_driver_bundles

We need to get the name of the image by entering…

Get-EsxImageProfile | Select Name

In this case our image name is HPE-ESXi-5.5.0-Update3-550.9.4.5.7.

get-esximagteprofile

We’ll take the name of the profile from the previous step and create a new image with it.

New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile HPE-ESXi-5.5.0-Update3-550.9.4.5.7 -Name ESXi-5.5-VMSpot-Customized

By default the acceptance level will be Partner Supported. More info available here.

New-EsxImageProfile

Export the image to an ISO by typing…

Export-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile ESXi-5.5-VMSpot-Customized -ExportToIso -Filepath .\ESXi-5.5.0.VMSpot.iso

Export-To-Iso

Launch WinISO and open the ISO.

WinISO_OpenISO

Create a file called KS_CUST.CFG and add the following…

# Accept the VMware End User License Agreement
vmaccepteula
# Set the root password for the DCUI
rootpw VMwareR0cks!
# The install media is in the CD-ROM drive
installorupgrade --firstdisk --overwritevmfs
# Set the network to DHCP on the first network adapter
network --bootproto=dhcp --device=vmnic0
# reboots the host after the scripted installation is completed
Reboot

Create_KS_CUST_CFG

Copy BOOT.CFG from the ISO and change the kernelopt line as such…

kernelopt=runweasel ks=cdrom:/KS_CUST.CFG

modify_boot_cfg_one_line

Add the KS_CUST.CFG file to the root of the ISO and overwrite BOOT.CFG. Save the ISO.

Add_Files_To_Iso

Mount the ISO to your host and boot.

Mount_the_ISO

The installation process will now run without any manual intervention.

Boot_Menu

Loading_Custom_Installer

Reading_Installation_Script

It’s okay to ignore the DHCP warning. It will clear automatically after a few seconds.

DHCP_Warning

writing_first_boot_scripts

The installation is finished! The host will now reboot automatically!

system_finished_upgrading

(Courtesy of VMSpot)


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