Comparing the Configuration of vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 and 6.0

Great White Paper here for those of you transitioning from 5.5 to 6.0 and want to know what the differences are:

For me the major difference is VMware have dropped the Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI), which makes sense as why would you want to manage your virtual environment from one browser url and administer your appliance from another! They’ve rolled all the configuration of the vCSA into the installation wizard, and also all the administrative aspects into the admin section of the Web Client.

I always found it a pain to fire up Web Client at https://<vCenter Server>:9443/vsphere-client and then the VAMI at http://<vCenter Server>:5480


VCP5 Delta Exam Extended Again……

I can’t believe after all the rush to get re-certified last year (original deadline was 30th Nov 2014) VMware are extending the deadline yet again…….

New deadline for taking the delta exam and re-certifying as a VCP5-DCV is now 8th May 2015.

Since my most popular blog entry was how to study for the Delta exam, you can find all the goodness on what to study for here.

At least they’re rewarding all the people who took the exam early by giving them a 65% discount on the VCP6 migration exam!! Yay…!

More info here:

Upgrading vCenter Server

Just a quick post today as I’ve had numerous clients call me recently regarding the same issue with upgrading their vCenter Server…..

If you’re upgrading from vCenter Server 5.5 to a later addition (like 5.5 update 1c), then if you mount the ISO and try to update vCenter using the “Simple Install”, the installer will probably display the following message:



This basically means that some of the components of the update may already be installed. To continue with the upgrade you’ll need to update the individual components under the “Custom Install” option.

… simples….. =)

VMworld 2013 Europe – Day 1 Round Up

So those of you who read my VMworld 2013 US round up will already have read about all the juicy bits that was announced in San Fran….. basically vSphere/vCloud 5.5…..

The keynote session by Pat Gelsinger pretty much repeated a lot of what was announced in the US, with a little bit of juicy extras (see below)…… Pat did a good job engaging the audience, the dialogue flowed and it certainly kept my attention on what was being announced!
I don’t know why, but I tend to find some of the speakers from the US more interesting than those from the UK….. Not sure if it’s the accent or the way they’re more animated, or maybe it’s the way they deliver their presentations…..? Anyways, if you’re a speaker and you find me falling asleep – it’s because you’re not interesting….. ;oP

First up was the announcement of VMware’s acquisition of Desktone!
I first read about Desktone after VMworld US as there were a lot of discussions regarding vCHS and possible Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offerings… rumours were awash about Desktone being a ‘good fit’ for VMware…… guess those rumours turned out to be true!

One of the key points about the Desktone acquisition is that it brings the added advantage for on-premise VDI customers to burst out into the cloud (like a vCHS provider) if they suddenly require the need to spin up more desktops then they have resources for. From what I could gather speaking to the people at the Desktone booth, they have a piece of software, very similar to vCloud connector, that manages the connection of on-premise and off-premise VDIs, including the ability to transfer between the two….. interesting!
And obviously to bean-counters, the idea of DaaS gives them the opportunity to move all the outlay from CAPEX into a more “easy-to-budget” OPEX…. afterall, you’ll know how much it would cost to spin up and consume a desktop in the cloud. It would also save time and money because it allows remote users to spin up desktops on any device (tablet, laptop, smartphone, thin clients, etc).

The next main announcement was that vCloud Hybrid Service was coming to Europe, with Sungard being the first vCHS provider. (No photo here because some bozo in front of me decided to stand up and block my shot).

Whilst we’re talking about Cloud, updates to some products were also announced to enhance Cloud Management: vCAC 6.0, vCOPs 5.8, vCenter Log Insight 1.5 and vITBM.

Next up was the announcement of the General Availability of VMware NSX!
Network has always been an issue with virtualisation, you spin up a VM in minutes yet always have to rely on some sort of configuration to be carried out on your physical network device….. NSX was launched to bring the Network layer into the virtualisation stack as a ‘Software Defined’ device.
Think of it as a Network Hypervisor….. what ESX did for Compute, NSX will do for Networks! NSX abstracts network operations and configurations from they underlying hardware into a distributed virtualisation layer. It will allow you to define switches, firewalls, loadbalancers, routers, plus other networking elements.
It’s vendor-agnostic…. supporting most hypervisors and physical network devices.
An interesting slide (and one I didn’t get a photo of) was the ability to define network policies that had the switch configuration, the firewall configuration and other network elements and then just simply ‘assign’ it to a VM…. bobs your uncle, your VM is now fully configured!

The slides below were from a technical breakout session that introduced NSX and delved into it a bit more then what was presented at the keynote session…. This slide shows the various components of NSX:

We then saw a list of partners that had already been engaged by VMware to work on integrating products with NSX.

What’s very interesting from the partner slides we saw was that Cisco was missing as a partner!! It’s quite obvious that the relationship between Cisco and VMware have gone off the boil again…… and I’ve heard a rumour that Cisco maybe announcing something big in the SDN arena sometime soon!

The last thing I’m going to talk about was the announcement of the GA of vDP 5.5 Advanced (vDP 5.5 std was announced at VMworld US).
The key items to note about this product is that it now integrates with both EMC Data Domain and EMC Avamar!

The integration with Data Domain allows you to use VDP as the front-end scheduler and back off to a Data Domain as the target. VDP will store all the Meta-data whilst DD stores all the backup data. This will be great as you’ll be backing off all your data onto a DD which means you will get global dedupe as your data is all in one location!

The following slide was very interesting as it shows you what targets you can use to replicate your vDP to:

Finally the last take-away point from the vDP advanced announcement was the fact that it will allow you to consider Backup-as-a-Service by replicating your backup from the vDP appliance to a service provider who may be running something like Avamar!IMG_0053

So hopefully that has rounded up the key points that I got out of Day 1’s general session and announcements!

To be honest, there’s probably a lot more I could waffle on about, but given it’s now 2am and I’ve had a very long day followed by a stint at the EMC party… I’m quite mentally exhausted!

I doubt there’ll be much for me to blog about for the remaining 2 days as I’ve gone over the key announcements in this post… and if I’m honest, the technical sessions I’ve booked myself onto are more for me to enhance my knowledge of existing products and solutions.

Time for bed……!

Upgrading vCenter Operations Manager to 5.7

So….. the penultimate piece of upgrade work planned for the DR environment is the upgrade of vCenter Operations Manager from 5.6 to 5.7.

The great thing about vCOPs is the ease of upgrading the appliance. Simply navigate to the administration page (https://vcops-ip/admin) and browse to the upgrade zip bundle! =)

1. Navigate to the admin page of vCenter Operations Manager and click on the Update tab. Click Browse and locate the vCOPs zipped upgrade bundle.

2. Wait for the file to unpack and upload.

3. Click Update to start the update process.vcops3

4. Click OK to proceed with the update.

5. Watch the update, or grab a cup of tea!
vcops5 vcops6

6. Once complete, reboot the appliance.

7. You may find that the registration of vCOPs to the linked vCenter Server will require updating. To do this browse to the Registration tab and click Update under vCenter Server Registration.

8. Enter the vCenter Server details and click Test Connection. If successful, click Apply.

9. Accept the security alert that moans about the SSL certificate not being trusted – this is the new SSL certificate that was generated when I upgraded my vCenter Server Appliance.

10. Reboot the appliance and Bob’s your uncle….. it should be up and running the latest version!


Simples…… *squeak*



Updating VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager to 5.5

So after updating my vCenter Server Appliance to 5.5, the next obvious choice was to update Site Recovery Manager and the vSphere Replication Appliance.

Note: the way I’m upgrading my demo environment is not according to best practice…. it’s merely a quick way to document and try out the upgrade process!

If you’re planning an upgrade of your production environment, then there is a recommended order for the upgrades:

  1. Upgrade vCenter Server on the protected site.
  2. Upgrade SRM Server on the protected site.
  3. Upgrade the storage replication adapters (SRA) on the protected site.
  4. Upgrade the vSphere Replication appliance on the protected site.
  5. Upgrade any additional vSphere Replication server instances on the protected site.
  6. Upgrade vCenter Server on the recovery site.
  7. Upgrade SRM Server on the recovery site.
  8. Upgrade the storage replication adapters (SRA) on the recovery site.
  9. Upgrade the vSphere Replication appliance on the recovery site.
  10. Upgrade any additional vSphere Replication server instances on the recovery site.
  11. Configure the connection between the SRM sites and vSphere Replication appliances.
  12. Verify that your protection groups and recovery plans are still valid.
  13. Upgrade ESXi Server on the recovery site.
  14. Upgrade ESXi Server on the protected site.
  15. Upgrade the virtual hardware and VMware Tools on the virtual machines on the ESXi hosts.

When you upgrade Site Recovery Manager, there’s no real need to do anything to your database as the upgrade preserves all information in the current SRM DB (so basically preserving your protection groups, inventory mappings and recovery plans, plan run history, etc).
However, if you’re not running 5.1 or later then you will need to create a 64bit ODBC system DSN (SRM 5.0.x used a 32bit ODBC DSN). Any deployment of SRM earlier than 5.0 will require a two-step upgrade, first to 5.0.x then to 5.5.
(Note: Don’t upgrade vCenter Server directly from 4.1.x to 5.5, as this will cause the upgrade of SRM to fail when moving from 4.1.x to 5.0.x… this is because SRM 5.0.x cannot connect to vCenter Server 5.5)

Fortunately I’m going to step through an upgrade from SRM 5.1, so my ODBC is already in place!

1. On the SRM server, start the installer.

2. Choose where you wish to install the new version of SRM.

3. Choose to install vSphere Replication if you’re using it (Which I am).SRM3

4. Enter the vCenter Server credentials (the installer will notice SRM is already installed and pick up the IP address of the vCenter Server).

5. Accept the SSL certificate warning.

6. Once the installer connects to your vCenter Server, it will identify that you already have a registered extension for SRM. Click Yes to overwrite the old extension.

7. Select the type of authentication to be used (in my case I’m letting SRM auto-generate a self-signed certificate).

8. Enter the Organisation and OU in order for SRM to generate the certificate.

9. Enter an administrator’s email address in order to obtain SRM generated alerts.

10. The installer will pick up the ODBC connection and request you to enter the existing SRM DB user information.

11. Select Use existing database, choosing the other option will wipe everything from your existing SRM deployment!

12. Click Install to kick off the upgrade.

13. Once installation is complete, you will need to upgrade the vSphere Client Plug-in for SRM. You will need to uninstall the old SRM plug-in from within Windows Control Panel->Programs.

14. Once complete. Fire up vSphere Client and install the new plug-in via Plugins->Manage Plug-ins


Job done…… now to upgrade the existing vSphere Replication Appliance…. You can upgrade the vRA either using vSphere Update Manager, via the online repository, or via an offline repository (like an ISO image).
Unfortunately like the VCA, I couldn’t find an 5.5 update using the online repository so had to mount the vRA 5.5 ISO image to the vRA and update via CDROM.

1. Log into the vRA management console (https://vra-IP:5480 or http://vra-IP:8080 if its vRA 5.0.x) and select the Update tab. Select Settings and then choose Use CDROM Updates and click Save Settings.

2. Click on Status and it should display any update files it has found in the mounted ISO image. Click Install Updates.

3. Once update is complete, you will need to reboot the vRA…. don’t forget to unmount the ISO image…..


Voila….. it’s as easy as that!

Upgrading vCenter Server Appliance to 5.5

Given that I’ve not touched vSphere 5.5 yet, I thought I would try and upgrade some of the VMware components within my company’s solution centre…. and the easiest component to upgrade first would be the VCA that I deployed to run as my test DR environment.

Anyways, so my old VCA was running 5.1a and I wanted to do an upgrade of it to 5.5.

Fired up a browser to the management page – http://vca-ip:5480 – and tried to do an update via the repository….. unfortunately there wasn’t an upgrade option available to go to 5.5 (only to upgrade to 5.1b)…… pants…..
So I navigated over to the VMware product download pages to try the get hold of the zip bundled update…. only to find there wasn’t one available… double pants….

So the only option I had was to deploy a brand new version of VCA and then go through the upgrade wizard from within the new VCA. Having never done this before, I thought it would be a messy process….. strangely enough it was very easy!

Although the issue about having to take this path is the requirement to have enough storage space for a second VCA and also another spare IP address which could be used temporarily until the upgrade wizard completes the sync of the old config. Fortunately I have DHCP running so the new VCA picked up an IP without me having to go into the console and configure the network! =)

1. After deploying the new VCA, the wizard allows you to select “Upgrade from previous version”. What this does is connect the new VCA to your old one, and pull over all the old configuration details (like Network)… it looks as if the wizard also pulls over stats and logs as post deployment I can still see all the old tasks and event.
(If this wizard doesn’t start, then click on the Summary tab and under Utilities launch the Setup Wizard)

2. In order to setup the connection between the two VCAs, you need to configure the SSL certs so that they trust each other. Copy the key from the new VCA.

3. Open up the management console of the old VCA, browse to the Upgrade tab and paste the new VCA key into the window and click “Import key and stop vCenter Server”. Once the import is successful, the old VCA will generate its own SSL key which you need to cut and paste into the new VCA.

4. Paste the key generated by the old VCA into the second field and click Next.vca04

5. The setup performs a check on the SSL certificate of the old VCA. If problems are found, the Setup wizard explains the problem and provides an option to generate a new self-signed certificate for the new VCA. Since I’m not using a CA-signed certificate, I’m quite happy to replace the old cert with a new self-signed one.

6. One of the big changes with SSO is the administrator account has changed. Whereas previously this was admin@System-Domain it now becomes administrator@vsphere.local.

7. Review the list of hosts managed by the old VCA and ensure you select the hosts you want to be managed by the new VCA.

8. Upgrade Checker will run automatically and generate a report with any errors it detects.vca08

9. Click Start and sit back, relax and count some chickens as you wait for the upgrade to complete. It took about 15mins for my upgrade to complete, but that could be due to the small environment being managed by the VCA.

Next up, an upgrade to SRM 5.5…….

VMware vSphere 5.5 launched

Typical Sod’s law…..
I’ve been eagerly waiting to get my hands on vSphere 5.5 ever since VMworld 2013 US – unfortunately I’m not one of the lucky ones who had Beta access or pre-launch access (like some of the more renown VMware bloggers) – and the week that I decide to head off on holiday to Northern Cyprus, VMware decide to release everything 5.5!!

I could say that I was having sleepless nights dreaming about installing all the goodness of the newly released products, but that would be lying…… instead I was enjoying the Sun, Sea and Sand! =)

I’ve already written about what was announced in VMworld 2013 and the new features in vSphere/vCloud 5.5, so won’t repeat myself….. have a look here if you missed that post:

Rather than regurgitate everything about vSphere 5.5 that every-man-and-his-blog has already done (whilst I was in Cyprus catching the sun), there’s a good blog by VMware which practically groups all the ‘need to know’ stuff in one handy webpage that I definitely recommend you bookmarking!

So as I complete this blog, I’m glad to say that all the new products have finished downloading….. let the fun begin! =)

I’ll leave you with one of my underwater pictures, goes to show there’s still plenty of fish in the sea! <groan>Image