VMware vSphere 6.7 & 6.5 update 2 – Resources

Just over a fortnight ago VMware released their latest version of vSphere and vSAN – 6.7…. unfortunately for me, I was neck-deep in a tender response and was in Paris for a number of days for a meeting – so spent most of my travels looking at a small mobile phone screen trying to read up on what’s new… (mental note: time for a new phone with a bigger screen – must be getting old as my eyesight isn’t as good as it was).

When I finally got back online and started thinking about what to write about, I realised that the net was already inundated with bloggers writing about “What’s new in vSphere 6.7”. I quickly realised that I didn’t just want to regurgitate the same thing as a lot of the ‘newer’ bloggers were doing, so I decided to spend some time pulling together all the good resources that I have read over the last few weeks and write a blog about where people should go to learn about vSphere/vCenter and vSAN 6.7.

Note: This blog article has actually been in draft mode for 2 weeks as I’ve been waiting for the vSphere 6.7 lightboards to be re-released by VMware marketing – if you didn’t already know, it was posted onto VMware’s YouTube channel a week before launch and then quickly disappeared!! I’ve been waiting for them to turn up again before posting this article but for some reason they haven’t re-appeared (makes me wonder if marketing deleted the only copy they had of the lightboards… lol).
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/04/09/vsphere_6_7_vids_vanish/

 

The Knowledge Journey

The most obvious place to start your knowledge journey is none other than VMware’s own vSphere Blog and Virtual Blocks blog, the best blogs are:
https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2018/04/introducing-vmware-vsphere-6-7.html
https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2018/04/introducing-vcenter-server-6-7.html
https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2018/04/17/whats-new-vmware-vsan-6-7/

These were the first blog posts I read to understand what new features were in the latest release, and they’re very good summaries.

As always, Duncan Epping was one of the first to release his articles on “What’s new” and they were very concise articles going over some of the more interesting features:
http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2018/04/17/whats-new-vsan-6-7/
http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2018/04/17/vsphere-6-7-announced/

I then started reading around the other products released as well:
What’s New with SRM and vSphere Replication 8.1 – https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2018/04/17/srm-vr-81-whats-new/
What’s New in vRealize Automation 7.4 – https://blogs.vmware.com/management/2018/03/whats-new-vrealize-automation-7-4.html

If you want a deep-dive into all things vSphere/vCenter, then head over to Emad Younis’s blog: http://emadyounis.com.

For a deeper-dive into all things related to security, head over to Mike Foley’s blog: https://www.yelof.com.

All finally, there’s the vSphere Blog: https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/launch

 

KB article on Update sequence for vSphere 6.7 and compatible products – https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/53710
KB article on Important information before upgrading to vSphere 6.7 – https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/53704
Blog article on upgrading vCenter Appliance from 6.5 to 6.7 – https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2018/05/upgrading-vcenter-server-appliance-6-5-6-7.html

Note: Upgrades from vCenter Server 6.0 and later to vCenter Server 6.7 is supported. To upgrade from vCenter Server 5.0, 5.1 or 5.5, you must first upgrade the vCenter Server instance to version 6.0 or later releases, and then upgrade to vCenter Server 6.7.

These products are not compatible with vSphere 6.7 at this time:

  • VMware NSX
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO)
  • VMware vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC)

 

Some YouTube videos:
vSAN 6.7 Technical Overview Video – https://youtu.be/Ss5KWAtGvXo
vSAN 6.7 What’s New Technical – https://youtu.be/YzurWX5m4m8
Faster Host Upgrades to vSphere 6.7 – https://youtu.be/8fqE5zsnkTQ

So here’s a list of all new product releases:

  • vSphere ESXi & vCenter Server 6.7
  • vSAN 6.7
  • vSphere Replication 8.1
  • Site Recovery Manager 8.1
  • vRealize Operations Manager 6.7
  • vRealize Automation 7.4.0
  • vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 7.4.0
  • vRealize Log Insight 4.6.0
  • vRealize Business for Cloud 7.4.0
  • vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager 1.2
  • vRealize Code Stream 2.4
  • NSX SD-WAN Edge by VeloCloud 3.2.0
  • Horizon 7.4.1 Enterprise

Finally here’s list of all the documentations:

 

It’s worth noting that last week VMware also released vSphere 6.5 update 2 which back-ports a few of the new features in 6.7 into 6.5. For more information point your browsers here: https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2018/05/vsphere-6-5-update-2-now-available.html

Additional updates:

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Upgrading to SRM 5.8 and vSphere Replication Appliance 5.8

There were new versions released earlier this month for a number of VMware products, and one of the things I like to do is keep my demo environment up to date! =)

Upon upgrading SRM from 5.5 to 5.8 and vRA from 5.5 to 5.8 (I’m using vSphere replication with SRM in my demo environment), I noticed that the usual process of upgrading the vRA from the admin page doesn’t work if you point it at the online repository!
srm2

From the Release Notes, it turns out that the downloadable ISO image is the only means of upgrading from vRA 5.5.x or 5.6 to 5.8!
You’re not able to use VUM or the VAMI (Virtual Appliance Management Interface – the vRA admin page) to do the upgrade! =(

So what you have to do is download the full vRA ISO image, mount the ISO to the vRA and then change the update repository to use CD-ROM updates:
srm3
srm4

 

NOTE: Ensure you follow the VMware Upgrade method to the DOT…….!!
The first update went wrong as I mounted the ISO file from my desktop to the vRA via the vSphere Client, and when it updated and rebooted it lost the connection to vCenter and I didn’t have the option to re-register the vRA…. >_<”
I pretty much had to delete the vRA and install a brand new one and I’m still none the wiser as to what went wrong during the upgrade!!

vRA Upgrade Procedure

  1. Download the vRA 5.8 ISO image and copy the ISO file to a datastore that is accessible from the vCenter Server where your vRA is currently deployed.
  2. In Web Client, right-click the vSphere Replication virtual machine and select Edit Settings.
  3. In Virtual Hardware, select CD/DVD Drive > Datastore ISO File.
  4. Navigate to the ISO image in the datastore.
  5. For File Type, select ISO Image and click OK.
  6. Check the box to connect at power on and follow the prompts to add the CD/DVD Drive to the vSphere Replication virtual machine.
  7. Restart the vSphere Replication virtual machine.
  8. In a Web browser, log in to the virtual appliance management interface (VAMI).
    If you are updating vSphere Replication 5.1+, go to https://vr_appliance_address:5480.
  9. Click the Update tab.
  10. Click Settings and select Use CDROM Updates, then click Save Settings.
  11. Click Status and click Check Updates.
    The appliance version appears in the list of available updates.
  12. Click Install Updates and click OK.
  13. After the updates install, click the System tab and click Reboot to complete the upgrade.
  14. Log out of the vSphere Web Client, clear the browser cache, and log in again to see the upgraded appliance.

 

Once you’ve upgraded the vRA to 5.8, you can now go ahead and upgrade your SRM server to 5.8…… simply run the SRM installer and follow the installation wizard!

Note: if you didn’t upgrade the vRA before trying to upgrade the SRM server, when the installer prompts to connect to the vCenter Server, you will get the following error:
srm1

 

BIG WARNING HERE: As soon as you upgrade your SRM to 5.8, you can only manage it via the Web Client…..!!!
And it is completely re-written……. took me a while to work out where all the settings were located!
Same with vRA 5.8, you can’t set replication within the old vSphere client.

Note: I still have no idea where the SRM alarms are set……. ¬_¬”

 

PS: One of the cool things about vRA 5.8 is the ability to replicated to the cloud! =)

 

Edit (15/10/14) – The alarms for SRM can be found under the alarms of the vCenter Server that you connected the SRM server to:
In web-client, select vCenter the vCenter Server and under the “Manage” tab, you will find a tab called “Alarm Definitions”. This is where all the SRM alarms are located. =)

srm alarms

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.
SRM1

2. Choose where you wish to install the new version of SRM.
SRM2

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).
SRM4

5. Accept the SSL certificate warning.
SRM5

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.
SRM6

7. Select the type of authentication to be used (in my case I’m letting SRM auto-generate a self-signed certificate).
SRM7

8. Enter the Organisation and OU in order for SRM to generate the certificate.
SRM8

9. Enter an administrator’s email address in order to obtain SRM generated alerts.
SRM9

10. The installer will pick up the ODBC connection and request you to enter the existing SRM DB user information.
SRM10

11. Select Use existing database, choosing the other option will wipe everything from your existing SRM deployment!
SRM11

12. Click Install to kick off the upgrade.
SRM12

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.
SRM13

14. Once complete. Fire up vSphere Client and install the new plug-in via Plugins->Manage Plug-ins
SRM14

 

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.
vra1

2. Click on Status and it should display any update files it has found in the mounted ISO image. Click Install Updates.
 vra2

3. Once update is complete, you will need to reboot the vRA…. don’t forget to unmount the ISO image…..
vra3 

 

Voila….. it’s as easy as that!