VMware ecosystem gets bigger

#VMware ecosystem gets bigger, Michael Dell committed to independence

VMware ecosystem gets bigger

“We intend for VMware to remain an independent public company. Further, we believe it is very important to maintain VMware’s successful business model supporting an open and independent ecosystem. We do not plan to do anything proprietary with VMware as regards Dell or EMC, nor place any limitations on VMware’s ability to partner with any other company.”


VMware Advocacy

By aptones Posted in VMware

Upgrading vCenter Server from 5.5 to 6.0u1

Now that VMworld Europe is over I’ve had more time to sit down and look at MTI‘s Solution Centre and decided that I’d take the opportunity to upgrade my company’s primary demo environment to vSphere 6.0. Previously I had held off doing an upgrade because we run a PernixData demo environment on our main ESXi cluster and were waiting for the new FVP to be released. Now that it has (FVP 3.0), there was no reason to stick to an outdated environment!

So like most guys who don’t RTFM….. I delved straight in and mounted the vCenter ISO to kick off the upgrade – the first thing it does is run a pre-upgrade check.
vc1

Unfortunately for my environment, the pre-upgrade check flagged up an unsupported database version…..
vc2

Turns out the lowest version of Microsoft SQL Server supported is 2008 R2 SP1 and the version I deployed years ago was 2008 R2 RTM (no SPs).

To verify the SQL Server version, compatibility level, and edition you can execute a simple SQL query:

  1. Open the SQL Server Management Studio and connect to the SQL Server that vCenter Server database resides on.
  2. Run the this query on the vCenter Server database to verify the version, level and edition:
    SELECT SERVERPROPERTY(‘productversion’), SERVERPROPERTY (‘productlevel’), SERVERPROPERTY (‘edition’)
    vc2a

To find out what SQL server build you have, pop along to this great website: http://www.sqlsecurity.com/faqs-1/sql-server-versions/2008-r2

The Database Interoperability Matrix for VMware can be found here: http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/sim/interop_matrix.php

So if you’re in the same position as me, you pretty much have one of two options:

  1. Do a fresh install and lose all your historical data and other configurations from vCenter.
  2. Do a database migration to a supported DB.

Fortunately for me, you can easily migrate from SQL Server 2008 to 2012 – and again you have two options on how to do this:

  1. Do an in-place upgrade where the SQL Server is upgraded where it’s currently installed
  2. Do a database migration where the old SQL DB is migrated onto a new SQL Server environment.

In my case I decided the second option would be the best option as I also wanted to upgrade the OS to Windows Server 2012. There are a number of migration options available to you, but for me the easiest option was to do a backup of the old database and restore it onto the new database!

I won’t go into how to deploy SQL Server 2012, as there are loads of tutorials online so here’s the process I did to backup and restore my DB:

Note: In order to transfer the backed up database file from the old SQL Server 2008 R2 VM to the new SQL Server 2012 R2 VM I simply added a new vDisk to the 2008 VM, backed up the DB onto that vDisk, then attached it to the 2012 VM.
You will also need to know the user account assigned to the VCDB.

  1. Before backing up the vCenter Database, ensure the vCenter Server Services are stopped.
  2. Backup the vCenter Database from within SQL Server Management Studios: Right-click the DB, select Tasks and Back Up.
    vc3
  3. Create a Full Backup and choose the destination (in my case a new disk which I will disconnect and add to the new SQL VM).
    vc4
  4. Once backup is complete, remove the vDisk from the VM, ensuring you choose the “Remove from virtual machine” option, DO NOT CHOOSE THE “… and delete files from disk”.
    vc5
  5. On the new SQL VM, create a new vDisk and select “Use an existing virtual disk”.
    vc5a
  6. Browse to the datastore containing the old SQL VM and select the vmdk file relating to the vDisk with the database backups.
    vc6
  7. Once mounted, open a console to the new SQL VM and check the DB backup files are there. Open up SQL Server Management Studio and right-click Database and select Restore Database.
    vc6a
  8. Verify options are correct and restore.
    Restoring a database automatically creates the database files that are needed by the restoring database. By default, the files that are created by SQL Server during the restoration process use the same names and paths as the backup files from the original database on the source computer.
    Optionally, when restoring the database, you can specify the device mapping, file names, or path for the restoring database.
    vc7 vc8
    vc9
  9. When a database is restored on another system, the SQL Server login or Microsoft Windows user who initiates the restore operation becomes the owner of the new database automatically.
    Once the DB has been restored, there are a number of additional configurations required, one of which is to recreate the DB security users and SQL Agent Jobs.
  10. Create a new Login to SQL Server 2012 making sure the new login matches the old one from SQL Server 2008. Assign the VCDB as the default DB and ensure the new user is the VCDB owner.
    vc10vc12vc11
  11. Finally change the DB compatibility level from 2008 to 2012. This allows the usage of the new SQL Server 2012 features. The following script can be used to automate the change (rather than going into each database property):
    USE [master]
    GO
    ALTER DATABASE [mydatabase] SET COMPATIBILITY_LEVEL = 110
    where [mydatabase] is the database to change the compatibility level
  12. Re-create all the SQL Server Agent jobs, for a complete list of the jobs that should be present, see:
    http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2033096
  13. Configure Microsoft SQL Server TCP/IP for JDBC and create a 64bit ODBC DSN.
    vc13vc14
  14. Once the DB has been restored, you can remove the vDisk that was attached with the backup files.
  15. Complete the vCenter Server 6.0 installation (I won’t go through the process here). For the demo environment, we used an Embedded PSC Deployment and when prompted we chose the DSN to the migrated VCDB and chose to use the data on this DB rather than re-initialising the DB.
    vc15

VMworld Europe 2015 – Very Short Round Up

This year I didn’t have the opportunity to ‘live blog’ VMworld each day, and that was mainly down to 2 things:

  1. The need for sleep due to sleep deprivation caused by becoming a parent for the first time (my baby daughter was 2 weeks old when I left for Barcelona, so a lot of sleep was caught up – and yes, my wife did give me permission to attend VMworld….)
  2. This year my company – MTI Technology – invited a number of clients out to VMworld, so I had to do a bit of entertaining whilst out in Barcelona.

Looking back at VMworld Europe, I realised that I didn’t actually learn as much as I did in previous years…. probably because I spent quite a bit of time reading up on the announcements from VMworld US and actually blogged about it all previously.

All the technical breakout sessions I attended on VSAN/NSX/vCloud Air/VIC/Photon Platform/EVO SDDC were just repeats of sessions from the US that I had access to, so my attendance was just to make sure I didn’t miss out on anything when I wrote my VMworld update.

So whilst this may seem a bit of a lazy blog, I realised that I would just be repeating myself if I blogged about VMworld Europe.

So apologies if any of you have been waiting for my blog updates!

 

On another note, Faithless were AWESOME at the VMworld Party! MILES better than Simple Minds….. and probably better than Neon Trees and Alabama Shakes who closed VMworld US! =P

20151014_214003 20151014_214338 20151014_214352

 

VMworld 2015 Europe Party – Weds 14th Oct

VMworld’s Party will be held in Hall 6.0 from 7pm-10pm….. it’s always a shame that the party stops at 10pm!!

DJ’s A-Rock and Shaydakiss, join forces with Videogirl to kick off the night with music and video that will get the party started.

Then at 8pm, Faithless takes the stage to round out a night of unbeatable music and entertainment!

Looking forward to it!

VMworld 2015 Update

Recently I was asked to write a comment for SearchVMware’s Advisory Council September topic, which was about VMworld 2015 US and what was announced:
http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/feature/vSphere-integrated-containers-and-other-updates-excite-at-VMworld-2015

With VMworld 2015 Europe just around the corner, I decided that such a short comment wouldn’t do the US convention much justice, as such I decided to continue and expand on all the announcements and releases made.

The theme this year is “Ready for Any” an interesting tagline which I guess tries to emphasise how VMware have positioned themselves as a company with a portfolio that can accommodate anyone and anything….. Any Application, Any Device, Any Cloud! The whole theme brought together their existing key pillars in Hybrid Cloud, EUC, SDDC and wrapped in their new BU – Cloud Native Apps.

There was a big emphasis on DevOps this year and VMware were very keen to show the tools that they are making available to help with Continuous Delivery. Project Photon (a lightweight, container-optimised linux distribution) and Lightwave (an authentication and certificate management system for containers) were announced earlier in the year alongside other tech previews such as Project Bonneville (containerising/packaging apps into vSphere). At VMworld they announced the evolution of these projects into two new product tech previews:

  • vSphere Integrated Containers – based on Project Bonneville, Project Photon (aka Photon OS) and Project Fargo (aka Instant Clone). vSphere Integrated Containers allows containerised applications to run seamlessly alongside existing VMware infrastructure – VIC isolates and starts up each container in a VM which uses the underlying resource management features of vSphere – and so can be deployed, managed and secured with a customers existing VMware tools.
  • VMware Photon Platform – Photon Platform is the evolution of Project Photon which is designed for DevOps teams planning on building a computing capacity solely for Cloud-native Apps. Two new components called Photon Controller and Photon Machine make up the Photon Platform. The former which will serve as a control plane for linux container-based deployments. The latter is a purpose-built platform optimised for container deployment, it contains a cutback ESX kernel (or ESX Microvisor) that provides common elements from ESXi and integrates Photon OS as the base OS layer for the container.

These two products now give IT more choice when considering DevOps – VIC allows IT to extend the existing infrastructure to accommodate container-based applications alongside traditional apps, and Photon Platform allows IT to build a complete computing platform solely for containers and cloud-native apps.

The other major announcement was the new name for EVO:RACK – EVO SDDC. Announced as a Tech Preview last year, it’s now ready to start shipping in early 2016 (Dell, VCE, Quanta are the initial partners). EVO SDDC is a complete software suite that simplifies the deployment of a whole datacentre (in a rack).  The goal of EVO SDDC is to simplify the time and effort it takes to architect, procure, deploy and manage the software and hardware infrastructure of an SDDC at data center scale. EVO SDDC Manager provides a highly automated process for deploying and configuring the hardware, the VMware software stack, managing the solution, and handling all updates and patches.

It sounds like a great solution for large Enterprise customers (or ISPs), but whether it will be commercially viable for T2 Enterprise or the mid-market will squarely rest on the entry price point! (Hopefully the reception will be better than it’s baby sister – EVO:RAIL).

One big announcement that seemed to excite everyone is the tech preview of Project Skyscraper – with the main features being Cross Cloud vMotion (seamlessly migrating running VMs between on-premise and vCloud Air) and Content Library sync (synchronising on-premise VM templates, vApps, ISOs with the content catalog in vCloud Air).
Imagine the possibilities this opens up! The ability to extend your datacentre seamlessly to the public cloud without any reconfiguration and even whilst the VMs are all still running! End Users no longer need to size for peak utilisation (like end of month reporting), rather they can easily burst out to the cloud and pay for what they consume! This is what the market has been waiting for – live migration to cloud (and back).

VMware Project A2 was announced as a Tech Preview to offer a mobile-centric approach to delivering and managing applications and devices for Windows 10 – using AirWatch Enterprise Mobile Management and AppVolumes application delivery. This integrated solution will enable customers to accelerate their adoption of Windows 10 with mobile-like management for their devices and applications.

Apart from those 4 announcements made during the General Sessions, the rest were minor product updates:

VSAN 6.1 included some great new features! VSAN Stretched Cluster allows the ability to create a stretched cluster between two or more geographically separated sites using the fault domain concept introduced in 6.0. End-users can now protect their VMs across sites with their VSAN 6.1 cluster. VSAN for ROBO provides end-users the ability to deploy a 2-node VSAN at ROBO sites, using your main DC as the witness site. VSAN replication with vSphere Replication has been enhanced with the RPO now lowered from 15mins to 5mins, giving you the option to create a stretched cluster providing sync replication and then using vSphere replication for async to another site. Support for SMP FT and new Flash technology has also been introduced, as well as greater vROPs integration.

It’s a shame that dedupe was not included in 6.1 (currently it’s in beta alongside Erasure coding)

NSX 6.2 was released prior to VMworld, of the new features the ones linked to Cross vCenter NSX are the most interesting – allowing network services to be deployed across multiple vCenters. Universal Logical Switch (ULS) allows the creation of logical switches that can span multiple vCenters. Firewall policies assigned to VMs can now be moved across hosts belonging to different vCenters. NSX are also expanding their partner.

There are many enhancements in SRM 6.1 like the integration with NSX and policy driven protection. However, the most interesting feature is the support for Stretched Storage – the fact that customers with EMC VPLEX/HDS VSP/IBM SVC can now use SRM to automate the failover from Site A to Site B. It’s a great feature that now includes the ability to use vMotion to move VMs from Site A to Site B.

The announcement of SRM Air brings DR automation to vCloud Air DR – something that has been missing since vCloud Air DR launched last year. SRM Air protects and recovers large groups of VMs using centralised recovery plans, and allows you to conduct non-disruptive recovery plan testing.

VMware Horizon 6.2 will deliver better scalability and availability to virtual desktops, including the support for the new generation of NVIDIA GRID cards (vGPU 2.0). Additional functionality with RDS Apps including updates to the Cloud Pod Architecture.

There were addition product updates to VMware Integrated OpenStack (v2.0), vSphere APIs for IO Filtering (VAIO) as well as Project Capstone and Project Enzo – but we could be here all day talking about new updates so I’ll leave these for now since I barely touch these products in my current role! =)