Update sequence for vSphere 6.5 and its compatible VMware products

So VMware have now released a Knowledge Based Article that describes the upgrade path in which vSphere 6.5 and its compatible VMware products must be updated:

https://kb.vmware.com/kb/2147289

NOTE: At this time current versions of VMware NSX for vSphere, VMware Integrated OpenStack, vCloud Director for Service Providers, vRealize Automation and vRealize Infrastructure Navigator are not compatible with vSphere 6.5. Customers with these products are advised to upgrade to vSphere 6.5 when compatible versions become available.

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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).

Upgrading vCenter Server Appliance to 6.0 update 1

So now that VMware have released their latest updates, I thought it would be a good time to upgrade my demo environment. Whilst I’ve carried out numerous upgrades/patches on previous releases of the vCSA, I’ve not yet carried one out for the vCSA 6.0.

BTW, I’ve previously documented my vCSA upgrades, so pop along to these posts if you want more info:
Upgrading vCenter Server Appliance to 5.5
Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5.0a
Installing/Upgrading vCenter Server Appliance 6.0

One of the first things you will notice with the vCSA 6.0 is the lack of the Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) page – all configuration is now carried out via the Web Client! (Although this has been re-introduced with update 1, see further down this post).

For previous versions of the vCSA there were 2 upgrade/update processes:

  1. In-place update – If it was a minor update or patch (so staying within a major release, eg. 5.5 -> 5.5a), then this could be deployed via the VAMI under the upgrade tab.
  2. Migration update – If it was a major update (so moving from one major release to another, eg. 5.1 -> 5.5), then you would deploy the new vCSA and migrate the data from your old one.

In order to update or patch the vCSA 6.0 you will need to use the appliancesh command-line interface. There is a command called ‘software-packages’ which is used to update/patch the software on the VCSA.

One of the new features with vSphere 6.0 Update 1 is the ability to do an in-place update for major releases – accomplished by mounting the update ISO to your existing vCSA and performing the upgrade using the ‘software-packages’ command. This is a handy new feature that reduces the need to copy data between your old and new appliance which occurs with the migration update – obviously helping to reduce the overall downtime!
(Note: a vCSA 5.x to vCSA 6.0U1 upgrade still requires the migration approach as the vCSA has been re-architected!).

Another new feature is the reintroduction of the VAMI page (https:// <vCSA_FQDN> :5480), and the best thing about it is that VMware have now completely re-written it using HTML5…. Yay! =)
TBH, most of the features available on the VAMI page can be accessed by using the appliancesh CLI.
As part of the re-introduction of the VAMI page, you will be able to update the vCSA directly from the Update tab and configure it to point to VMware’s online repository to pull down the latest patch/update.

Anyways, I digress….. here are the instructions on how you go about upgrading the vCSA 6.0 to 6.0 update 1 (Remember, take a backup or snapshot your vCSA prior to upgrading!)

  1. If you have an external PSC, then the process is the same as upgrading the vCSA. However, upgrade your PSC first as that provides the authentication to your vCSA. Once the PSC has been upgraded, the vCSA can be next.
  2. Download the Upgrade ISO from the My VMware Portal. Select VC and 6.0.0 as the product. – the version of the ISO you want to download is the one labelled FP (Full Patch), rather than then one labelled TP (Third Party)
    vcsa1
  3. Mount the ISO to your vCSA using Web Client or vSphere Client (Don’t worry about the mounted ISO as during the installation process it will unmount the ISO after staging the install and before it shuts down the vCenter services).
  4. Log in to your vCSA either via SSH (using a program like Putty) or via the console from the client.
    Note: Be aware that if you log in via the client, you may lose connection when the installer stops the vCSA services (to continue re-log in via the client onto the host the vCSA resides on). You may have to enable SSH from within the vCSA DCUI:
    vcsa2
  5. Run the following command to stage and install the upgrade from the ISO:
    Software-packages install –iso –acceptEulas
    vcsa3
  6. Once the upgrade is completed, reboot the vCSA using the following command:
    Shutdown reboot –r “vCSA upgrade”
    (Note: In order to use the reboot command, a reason is required)
    vcsa4
  7. To check your vCSA has been upgraded, either open the console to the vCSA or access the new VAMI page using the root account:
    vcsa5 vcsa6

The whole upgrade process took me about 15mins to complete….. it’s quite a pain-free process (assuming you don’t run into any issues). =)

vSphere 6.0 update 1 and Virtual SAN 6.1 released (plus other goodies)

…. and so just a week after VMworld 2015 US, VMware have released vSphere 6.0 update 1 and a number of other product updates….. without ANY fanfare….. it was such a silent release that the first I heard about it was when all the community bloggers started posting up announcements!

Anyways, here are the products released today:

vSphere ESXi & vCenter Server 6.0 update 1 Download
vSphere ESXi 6.0 update 1 Release Notes
vCenter Server 6.0 update 1 Release Notes

Note: There has already been a KB released regarding the upgrade:
https://blogs.vmware.com/kb/2015/09/alert-important-information-before-upgrading-to-vsphere-6-0-update-1.html

In addition to vSphere and vCenter Server, all the other components of vSphere/vCenter received an update:
vSphere Update Manager 6.0 update 1
vSphere Replication 6.1

vSphere Data Protection 6.1
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 6.0.3

The good news is that VUM is now integrated into the Web Client!! =)

SRM got an update as well:
Site Recovery Manager 6.1 Download
Site Recovery Manager 6.1 Release Notes

This brings some cool stuff to SRM like:

  • Policy-based management – offering New protection groups using vSphere storage policies for protection of VMs.
  • Support for Auto-mapping of stretched NSX networks (using Universal Logical Switches).
  • Support for stretched storage (like EMC VPLEX), that now includes the ability to use vMotion to move VMs from Site A to Site B.

Although no news on whether Site Recovery Manager Air (for vCloud Air DR) has been launched yet….. =(

Most importantly is the launch of Virtual SAN 6.1:
Virtual SAN 6.1 Download
Virtual SAN 6.1 Release Notes

This new update now:

  • Supports stretched VSAN clusters that span two geographic locations to protect data from site failures or loss of network connection (using the feature of Fault Domains).
  • Support for 2 node ROBO configurations.
  • Enhanced Replication (RPO of 5mins with vSphere Replication)
  • Support for SMP-FT
  • New hardware options (such as support for the new flash devices: Intel NVMe, Diablo UltraDIMM)

Also loads of updates to the vRealize Suite of products:
vRealize Operations Manager 6.1.0 Download
vRealize Operations Manager 6.1.0 Release Notes
vRealize Log Insight 3.0 Download
vRealize Log Insight 3.0 Release Notes
vRealize Automation 6.2.3 Download
vRealize Automation 6.2.3 Release Notes
vRealize Code Stream 1.2.0 Download
vRealize Code Stream 1.2.0 Release Notes
vRealize Business Standard 6.2.3 & vRealize Business Advanced/Enterprise 8.2.3 Download
vRealize Business 6.2.3 Release Notes
vRealize Business Advanced/Enterprise 8.2.3 Release Notes

In addition, the new version of vCloud Director was released for Service Providers (no long available for end-users) which offers vSphere 6.0 and NSX 6.1.4 support, there are also some minor Org vDC template and vApp Enhancements.
VMware vCloud Director 8.0 for Service Providers Download
VMware vCloud Director 8.0 Release Notes

Horizon also got a minor update earlier this month:
Horizon 6 version 6.2 Download
Horizon 6 version 6.2 Release Notes

vSphere and vCenter Server 5.5 update 2 released

…. so instead of giving us all vSphere/vCenter Server 6.0, we’re treated to another update of 5.5…… =(

https://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere5/doc/vsphere-vcenter-server-55u2-release-notes.html
https://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere5/doc/vsphere-esxi-55u2-release-notes.html

Anyways, the new update now supports hosts with up to 6TB of RAM…. yes, that’s 6 terabytes!!! (I’ll be interested to find out if any of my clients will take advantage of this!!)

vCenter Server can now also support Oracle 12c, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 and Microsoft SQL Server 2014.

There’s also a new ‘container’ within the Web client home page that allows you to integrate with vCHS (or vCloud Air as it’s now called).

The other bit of big news if that the vSphere client no longer supports Windows XP or Vista…. which means those of you still running those archaic operating systems need to update!

All-in-all, not really much to write home about……. Come on VMware, release version 6.0 to the world!!! =)

vSphere & vCenter 5.1 update

Been a bit quiet lately as I’ve been snowed under with work and training courses….. >_<”

Anyways, some good news from VMware is that they’ve finally released an update to 5.1 that allows you to use Windows Server 2012 as the underlying OS for vCenter Server! Not to mention the support for SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 and 2012!

Yay…..

http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2013/04/vmware-vcenter-server-5-1-update-1-released.html