Unable to connect to VAMI after upgrading the vCSA

One of the plus points with upgrading your vCenter Server Appliance to 6.0 update 1 is the fact that VMware have re-introduced the Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI). This was one of my bug-bears with 6.0… how any sort of administration/configuration work required you to access the vCSA shell!

Recently after upgrading a customers vCSA from 6.0 to 6.0 update 1, we couldn’t access the VAMI to change the network and password policy settings. We rebooted the vCSA several times but still the VAMI was inaccessible, within Chrome we were getting the following error:

vami

I couldn’t work out why the VAMI services wasn’t coming online….. After several minutes of searching on Google, I came across the following VMware KB:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2132965

It turns out that there is a known bug with the VAMI web-service if you disable IPv6 within the vCSA console (which is what I had done as there was no requirement from the customer to use IPv6).

There is currently no resolution to this bug, and in order to solve the issue you have to edit the lighttpd configuration file.
(lighttpd is a light-weight open-source web server)

To workaround this issue set the server.use-ipv6 parameter to disable in the /etc/applmgmt/appliance/lighttpd.conf.
  1. Connect to the vCenter Appliance or Platform Service Controller Appliance through SSH or console.
  2. Run this command to enable access the Bash shell:
    shell.set –enabled true
  3. Type shell and press Enter.
  4. Open the lighttpd.conf file using a text editor:
    vi/etc/applmgmt/appliance/lighttpd.conf
    vami1
  5. Search for the entry server.use-ipv6=”enable”
  6. Change enable to disable.
    server.use-ipv6=”disable”
    vami2
  7. Start the VAMI service by running this command:
    service vami-lighttp start
  8. You should now be able to access the VAMI from a browser (https://vCSA_IP_address:5480 or https://vCSA_FQDN:5480).

VMware Labs re-write the Onyx tool for vSphere 6.0 Web Client

I’ve been a fan of Onyx since it was launched back in 2009/10 and was an avid user of it when I had to quickly learn how to write some automation scripts for a previous project.

For those of you who haven’t heard of this tool before, Project Onyx is a script recorder that sits between vSphere Client and vCenter Server and records what scripts were called whenever you did something within the C# Client…. it could output the scripts as raw SOAP messages, C#, and vCO (or vRO) JavaScript code.

To my joy, the clever guys at VMware Labs have now taken Onyx and created a new Fling that works with vSphere 6.0 Web Client:
https://labs.vmware.com/flings/onyx-for-the-web-client
http://blogs.vmware.com/PowerCLI/2015/07/new-fling-onyx-web-client.html

Onyx for the Web Client is a Fling that translates actions taken in the vSphere Web Client to PowerCLI.NET code. The resulting code can then be used to understand how VMware performs an action in the API and also better define functions.

Even better news is that it works for a Windows installed vCenter Server and the vCenter Server Appliance! =)

However, reading through the documentation, I noticed this huge warning in red:

WARNING: This fling replaces core Web Client files and may cause issues with stability and patching of future versions of the web client, please only continue with this installation if you are using a test or dev environment.

As such, I really strongly recommend that you only use this tool in your test environment as it could interfere with future patches/updates…. not to mention it could cause problems if you have to log a support call with VMware!

VMware vSphere ESXi and vCenter Server 6.0.0b Released

So the first minor release for vSphere ESXi 6.0 is out alongside the second minor release for vCenter Server 6.0.

https://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere6/doc/vsphere-vcenter-server-600b-release-notes.html
https://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere6/doc/vsphere-esxi-600b-release-notes.html

Looking through the release notes, I don’t think I’ve experienced any of those bugs that have been fixed – which is a good indication of a stable software release….. I’m guessing that the public beta of vSphere 6 actually ironed out a lot of bugs!

As always, read through the release notes prior to upgrading. =)

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:

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/products/vsphere/VMware-vsphere-60-vcenter-server-appliance-55-60-comparison.pdf

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

=)

VMware Online Technology Forum on Now!

VMware Online Technology Forum has started…. are you attending?

Live presentations on all the new goodies from VMware – vSphere 6, vRealize Automation/Operations, virtual SAN 6, App Volumes, vCloud Air, EVO:Rail…….

If you can’t attend today, then the content will be made available on demand from tomorrow (16th April):

Installing/Upgrading vCenter Server Appliance 6.0

I’ve been itching to deploy vSphere 6.0 GA for weeks now (since it was launched last month – wanted to replace my vSphere 6.0 Beta environment) but due to work commitments I’ve had to put this pet-project on the back-burner….. really hate when vendors release new toys at the end of quarter as it means I can’t get to play with it for a month or so!! >_<”

Installing and upgrading the vCSA 6.0 is significantly different than previous releases, it no longer gets distributed as an OVA which means you don’t use the OVF import in vSphere Client that we’re all so used to doing! Instead, vCSA 6.0 gets distributed as an ISO image – which is a bit weird for an appliance!

Hmm…. “So how do I deploy it?” is the most obvious question that most end-users will ask…. Well, you pretty much have to mount the ISO image onto your workstation/laptop/desktop/VM and then run the installation from the mounted drive…..

You may think that it’s a bit of a pain, but the installation process is quite simple and the wizard is very intuitive!

But why would VMware do away with the OVA package?!?
Well if I was to make an educated guess then this could be because they want to phase out the vSphere C# Client, and if you aren’t able to client onto your newly created host then how do you deploy an OVA?
For example, in a freshly installed ESXi host there’s no easy way to manage it without either a vSphere Client or a vCenter Server – at present you can’t open a web-client to the host in order to manage it (see below screenshot of the ESXi hosts’ landing page), so it makes sense to do away with the OVA deployment method and design it so you can mount the installation package for deployment of the vCSA without having to import the OVA via the soon-to-be-retired (maybe) vSphere client!
vcsa01

Now there’s two ways you can install vCSA 6.0 – Guided or Scripted. For ease of deployment, I’m going to discuss the Guided approach using the installation wizard. The Scripted approach is aimed at people who wish to automate the deployment of (several) vCSAs.

So before we get started, there are certain pre-requisites which must be completed prior to deploying the vCSA (in addition to what is listed in the documentation)

  1. Ensure that the hostname being assigned to the vCSA is in DNS, ideally both forward and reverse lookup. This will help with the installation process (I won’t go into the reasoning or what happens as several people have already posted online to mention the installation could fail if no DNS entry can be found).
  2. Ensure you install the Client Integration Plug-in before running the installation – the installer will not run without it installed! (This is both for fresh installs and upgrades!)
    vcsa02
  3. Do not input more than 1 DNS server (even though the installer prompts that you can). This will cause the installer to fail – as pointed out in the Release Notes.
  4. Ensure you enter the network settings correctly, as there is no pre-check function available and any errors will lead to firstboot errors – again, as pointed out in the Release Notes!
    Especially watch out for VLAN configuration errors, ensure the vCSA is on the correct VLAN and it’s routable to the machine you’re deploying from (as well as the ESXi host itself).

Right, now you’re ready to mount the ISO on your deployment device (my case – my Win 7 laptop) and start the installation process! In my case I’m using MagicDisc to mount the ISO.

First up, install the Client Integration Plug-In which is found in vcsa directory.
vcsa05 vcsa06

Next launch the setup via the vcsa-setup.html file:
vcsa04

This will open up a webpage which will prompt you to allow the client integration plug-in to run, the screens below are for Chrome (left) and IE (right):
vcsa07 vcsa08

Next hit the Install button:
vcsa09

Accept the EULA and enter the ESXi host information where you are going to deploy the vCSA, accept any certification warnings:
vcsa10 vcsa11

Enter the FQDN for the appliance and the new root password.
vcsa12

Next choose the deployment type. In my case I want to deploy the embedded PSC. I won’t go into the technicalities of what the PSC is, and the different deployment scenarios – if you wish to learn more than head along to Derek Seaman’s site which explains the PSC in more detail!
vcsa13vcsa14

Next enter the SSO password and domain details.
vcsa15

Select the appliance size based on your virtual environment (number of hosts and VMs)
vcsa16

Select the datastore you wish to deploy the appliance on
vcsa17

Choose whether to use the internal vPostgres DB or an external Oracle DB
vcsa18

Input the network configuration details, ensuring the FQDN is resolvable in DNS. Pay attention to the NTP server, especially if deploying/connecting to another PSC – if they’re out of sync, it could cause installation issues!
vcsa19

Review the configurations and click Finish to start the installation.
vcsa20

Once complete, the installation wizard will give you the details to connect to the web client, the URL will be https://fqdn/vsphere-client (no more port number required at the end of the url!!). Remember, if you’ve changed the SSO domain earlier, then the login user will be administrator@SSO-Domain
vcsa21 vcsa22

Now that the vCSA has been deployed, there is a new way of joining it to an Active Directory Domain, which will help you configure the Identity Sources for SSO. Log into the web client and then on the home page select System Configuration.
vcsa29

Under System Configuration, click Nodes and then select the vCenter Server and click the Manage tab.
vcsa25

Under Advanced, select Active Directory, and click Join. Type in the Active Directory details. Note: The User name must be in User Principle Name (UPN) format – eg joebloggs@acme.com.
vcsa26

Click OK to join the vCenter Server Appliance to the Active Directory domain. Now Right-click the node you edited and select Reboot to restart the appliance so that the changes are applied.
vcsa27

Now you can add in the domain as a SSO Identity Source as you would usually do. However, you can choose Active Directory (Integrated Windows Authentication) and it should populate the domain details and pick up the information from when you joined the vCSA to the domain.
vcsa28

For more information, point your browsers to the vCenter Server 6.0 Deployment Guide.

vSphere 6.0 Launched

So Tuesday was quite an eventful day….. not only did it snow in my neck of the woods (South West London) and cause chaos to road traffic – which meant I had to walk just over a mile to the station in freezing weather as the buses weren’t going anywhere – it was also the launch event for VMware vSphere 6.0 and also EMC’s EVO:RAIL offering – VSPEX Blue.
So lets start with a blog on vSphere 6.0 (VSPEX Blue to follow)……

I had previously blogged about all the goodies that were talked about at VMworld 2014 last October and on Tuesday, Pat Gelsinger and Ben Fathi announced the eagerly awaited 6.0 to the world! If you missed the event, then you can still register to view the video recording here: http://www.vmware.com/now.html

Whilst there was no date mentioned for GA, you can probably expect it to be available by the end of Q1 2015.

There are over 650 feature improvements with vSphere 6.0, and frankly I don’t even know more than 10% of what those improvements are!!
Anyways, here are what I think are the most important improvements:

vSphere 6.0

  • Increased maximum configs:
    • 128 vCPUs and 4TB of vRAM per VM
    • 64 hosts and 8000 VMs per cluster
    • 480 CPUs and 12TB of memory per host (need to find a manufacturer who can make such a beast first!!)
  • New VM hardware version – v11
  • The long awaited Virtual Volumes (which I talked about previously in my VMworld 2014 update post here) – doing away with LUNs and filesystems and allowing VMs to write their VMDKs straight to the storage array.

vCenter Server 6.0

  • Linked Mode now supported on the vCenter Server Appliance (so no reason you can’t kiss goodbye to that Windows installation!)
  • Content Library – organising ISO images, templates, vApps, etc. in one location
  • Improved security, user administration and task/event logging.
  • Long Distance vMotion – as long as the latency isn’t greater than 100ms
  • Cross vSwitch vMotion – must be on same L2 Network (so between vSS, or between vDS or from vSS to vDS, but not supported on vDS to vSS)
  • Cross vCenter vMotion – removing the previous boundary so now you can change compute, storage, network and vCenter!
  • vMotion of MSCS VMs using pRDMs
  • multi-vCPU Fault Tolerance – currently up to 4 vCPUs per VM and 8 vCPUs in FT per host
    • FT no longer requires a shared disk, which means your secondary FT copy could be residing on a different storage array.
    • FT is integrated with the VADP APIs allowing FT VMs to be backed up (snapshot)
  • Platform Services Controller (SSO on steroids) – which contains SSO, license manager, a certificate authority service and certificate store (which makes creation and provisioning of SSL certificates a bit easier). Deployed as a separate vApp with its own native replication (to other PSCs).
  • vSphere HA Component Protection (protects VMs against mis-configurations and connectivity problems)
  • NFS 4.1 support
  • Instant Clone (Project Fargo) Capability – this enables a running VM to be cloned such that the new VM is created identical to the original, which means you can get a new, running, booted up VM in less than a second.
  • Web Client performance has been improved (yay) with faster login times! Plus there have been some usability improvements which means tasks are completed faster, performance charts actually plot properly, the VM remote console offers better console access and security.
  • The classic C# vSphere client is still with us (they haven’t quite got rid of it yet… probably because of the VUM plugin and also the only way you can access ESXi hosts) and now lets you view the new VM hardware versions (v10 and 11) but to edit you need to use the Web Client.
  • vSphere Replication enhancements allowing compression of replication traffic, faster syncing but still the same 15min RPO
    • Ability to isolate vSphere Replication traffic onto its own network
  • vSphere Data Protection now includes all of the Advanced functionalities:
    • Up to 8TB of deduped data per VDP Appliance
    • Up to 800 VMs per VDP Appliance
    • Application level backup and restore of SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint
    • Replication to other VDP Appliances and EMC Avamar
    • Data Domain support (DD Boost)

Virtual SAN 6.0
(Obviously too good to be called 2.0)

  • All flash configurations – think ‘very’ cheap all-flash array!!
  • Fault Domain – which means you can plan your deployment to include several hosts in a domain (or even a whole rack)
  • Capacity planning – “What if scenarios”
  • Support for hardware-based check-summing/encryption
  • Virtual SAN Health Services plugin
  • Direct Attached JBODs for blade servers (only those on the HCL)
  • Greater scale
    • 64 hosts per cluster
    • 200 VMs per host
    • 62TB max VMDK size
    • New on-disk format enables fast cloning and snapshotting
    • 32 VM snapshots

PHEW……..

As you can see, that’s quite a hefty list of features – and it’s not even the complete list……. Anyways, like everyone else I’m itching to get my hands on the GA so that I can deploy it within MTI’s Solution Centre!

For more info pop along to: http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/