VSPHERE 6 – vSphere Replication Upgrade

VSPHERE 6 – vSphere Replication Upgrade

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Things are looking good after upgrading vCenter at both of my home labs to version 6.0. The process I followed for this was outlined in my previous post here.

However since upgrading vCenter to 6.0, I have lost my ability to monitor and configure my vSphere Replication workflows. Per the VMware product compatibility matrix athttps://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2109760, I know that my current build of vSphere Replication is going to need to also be upgraded in order to return functionality.

vSphere Replication between my two home labs is a primary concern for me. The site hosting this blog is actually a VM running in one of my home labs, front ended by NSX, running in a Linux guest OS via an NGINX instance. For disaster recovery, the bits are kept in sync with a remote lab via vSphere Replication. I want to ensure replication is up to date, so vSphere Replication will be the next component to receive the upgrade.

LAB ENVIRONMENT

As a reminder, my lab components are in the below matrix. Items in RED remain to be upgraded.

PRODUCT Current Version Current Build Future Version Future Build
vCenter Server 5.5u2d 2442329 6.0u1b 3343019
Update Manager 5.5u2d 2061929 6.0u1 2945804
ESXi 5.5u2 2638301 6.0 Express Patch 5 3568940
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 5.5.3.2 2945833 7.0 3310032
vSphere Replication Appliance 5.8.0.2 2613527 6.1 3051487
NSX 6.2.0 2986609 6.2.0 2986609

VSPHERE REPLICATION UPGRADE

This should be a pretty short post. As is the case with most of the self-contained appliances from VMware, the upgrade procedure is stupid simple.

There is no external database to back up in my lab. The appliance is running on the embedded database, as I only have a handful of replications configured for the solution.

In the past I have pulled minor version updates to the Replication appliance straight from the appliance’s management web UI. To access this feature, simply log in to the appliance at http://vsphere-replication-appliance:5480 as root, leveraging the credentials that were setup for the original installation.

Once authenticated, navigate to the Update -> Status tab and run “Check Updates”.

Unfortunately, the jump from major version 5 to 6 is not available via the system web update utility.

Per the upgrade documentation at http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-replication-61/topic/com.vmware.vsphere.replication-admin.doc/GUID-30083484-FB13-485E-AEC9-0695EADB7B3D.html, we need to download and mount the ISO to the appliance and run the upgrade from there. Log into my.vmware.com and pull the ISO down to a system from which the file can be mapped as a bootable CDROM to the appliance. For my lab, I am going to the latest 6.1 build at the time of this writing, which is build 3051487.

Once downloaded, map the ISO to the CDROM of the vSphere Replication Appliance. Then log into the web management page of the appliance at https://vsphere-replication-appliance:5480 and navigate to the Settings area of the Update tab. Change the update repository to the local CDROM, and save the settings.

Navigate back to the Status area, and select “Check Updates”. Apply the update to version 6.1.

The update procedure will run through its installation – there is no progress bar for this procedure. You may end up staring at the web page and application console wondering what is going on, like I did.

A little bit of patience is necessary – it took about 15 minutes on my appliance before the web page finally told me to reboot to complete.

Go ahead and reboot the appliance from the System tab.

I always prefer to watch the console of the appliance during these reboots, as often times issues or failed service starts are indicated during while the init scripts run.

The reboot should take place without issue. Once the system is sitting at login prompt, log back into the web management UI and verify the current version number.

Fantastic. Next we need to navigate over to the VR tab and re-register the appliance with the appropriate vCenter. Select the Configuration section of the VR tab.

Re-enter SSO admin credentials, and save the settings in order to re-register the appliance.

The LookUp Service SSL cert will need to be accepted.

The appliance should then show a running state with the existing configuration in place.

WEB CLIENT RECONFIGURATION

Following the re-registration of the appliance to vCenter, I found that a restart of the Web Client service on the vCenter server was necessary in order to get the appliance plugin to show up again in the web client.

Once the restart was performed, the vSphere Replication icon was finally available again. However I now encountered the following issue in the Web Client:

There weren’t many details given for what the configuration item could be. Hovering the mouse over the error in the web client actually revealed a mouse over informing me that the NTP service was not running in the vSphere Replication appliance.

This was an odd issue that took me a lot of time to find a solution to. Simply starting/restarting NTPD on the SUSE appliance would not suffice. I ended up locating the following KBhttps://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2126965 on the issue which is what fixed the configuration. After following the steps in this KB, my appliance was finally healthy per the Web Client!!

Now, complete the above steps on the partner site.

***************************

Once the other side is also upgraded to 6.1, re-configure the pairing of sites within the web client.

Awesome! Navigating over to the Monitor tab for vSphere Replication shows my existing replications are healthy.

(Courtesy of Mistwire)


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VSPHERE 6 – ESXi Upgrade

VSPHERE 6 – ESXi Upgrade

By 

At this point in my home lab, I have got vCenter, Update Manager, and vSphere Replication all upgraded to vSphere 6. Finally, it’s time for the upgrade of ESXi!

Having the hosts up to 6.0u1 is necessary for all of the really cool things that are part of vSphere 6, including vSAN 6.1 and the cross vCenter functionality of NSX 6.2.

I am going to be upgrading a Dell R410 in this post, from ESXi 5.5u2 to ESXi 6.0 Express Patch 5. Unfortunately, Dell’s site does not supply an OEM rolled ISO of vSphere 6.0 for the 11th generation Dell hardware. Sadly, it looks like 5.5 will be the last supported VMware revision from Dell on the 11thgeneration server set.

Luckily, the upgrade process to 6.0 leaves any custom VIBs, including 3rd party drivers that may already be in place on a previous 5.x version install. I have already had success prior to this post upgrading a Dell R210 to 6.0 by applying the vanilla VMware ESXi 6.0 image on top of the OEM 5.5 installation, so I am hoping for the same success here with the R410. If I can get another few years of use out of the 11thgens in my lab on the latest VMware rev, I will be a very happy admin J

Of course, I am sure this would be an un-supported configuration from both Dell and VMware’s perspectives, but for my home lab this isn’t a concern for me.

LAB ENVIRONMENT

As a reminder, my lab components are in the below matrix. Items in RED remain to be upgraded.

PRODUCT Current Version Current Build Future Version Future Build
vCenter Server 5.5u2d 2442329 6.0u1b 3343019
Update Manager 5.5u2d 2061929 6.0u1 2945804
ESXi 5.5u2 2638301 6.0 Express Patch 5 3568940
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 5.5.3.2 2945833 7.0 3310032
vSphere Replication Appliance 5.8.0.2 2613527 6.1 3051487
NSX 6.2.0 2986609 6.2.0 2986609

ESXi UPGRADE TO 6.0

Log into my.vmware.com and pull the ISO down for 6.0u1b (latest release at time of this post). Place the download on a system that will be able to run the web client, so that we can upload the ISO into vSphere Update Manager and create a baseline for the host upgrade.

Update Manager Client has finally made its way into the Web Client in vSphere 6.0, so log in and navigate to Update Manager.

Select the name of the registered VUM server in the left hand navigator, and then the tab for “ESXi Images”. Select “Import ESXi image…”


Browse to the ESXi ISO and import.


Once the upload finishes, the image will be imported into VUM.

VUM will verify the integrity and accept the import.

Navigate to the “Hosts Baselines” tab, and add a new baseline.

Enter a name for the baseline, and select type “Host Upgrade”.

Select the imported baseline, and proceed.

Complete the wizard to complete the baseline.

Select the cluster view and navigate to the Update Manager tab. Select “Attach Baseline”.

Attach the newly created upgrade baseline to the cluster.


Scan the cluster to determine upgrade and patch requirements.

For this cluster, I have actually already upgraded my host “ESX4”, and is therefore showing as compliant. “ESX” remains at 5.5u2, and shows as non-compliant. Let’s go ahead and remediate in order to get this host upgraded to 6.0u1b as well.

Ensure the host Upgrade Baseline is selected.

Confirm host selection.

Accept the license agreement.

I already know I am using a non-Dell ISO for the vSphere 6.0 upgrade, and therefore want to definitely know of any issues the installer has with existing devices. I recommend leaving the “Ignore warnings” selection UN-selected.

Run the upgrade immediately.

Select any host remediation options that may apply to your specific environment.

Select any remediation offers that apply to your environment. I usually add the selection for both disabling HA, as well as migrating powered off systems to other hosts.

Finally accept the selections to complete the wizard and kick off the upgrade process!

At this point, the host will enter maintenance mode and reboot as the upgrade and subsequent patches are applied. Progress can be monitored in the Tasks tab of the web client. The entire process for me against my Dell r410 took about 30 minutes across two reboots (one for the upgrade, a second for the patches).

At the completion of the upgrade process, a quick check of the host software version actually shows us at build 3620759. Looks like the most recent set of patches that were included from the “Critical” and “Non-Critical” patch baselines are for 6.0u2.

Sure enough, upon checking the VMware build release matrix athttps://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1014508, I see that 6.0u2 was released just a few days back. Awesome.

Re-scan the host once more to ensure no additional patches on top of the 6.0u2 release are outstanding.

Done! I have migrated machines back over to the upgraded host, and everything is working as expected.

A quick check of the NSX host health shows everything is good post upgrade as well.

CONCLUSION

As a final step, you will need to apply new ESXi licenses to the upgraded hosts. The upgraded 6.0 hosts will come with a fresh 60 day eval license, as the old 5.5 licenses no longer apply. Log into the my.vmware.com licensing portal and upgrade the existing 5.5 licenses, and re-apply to the upgraded hosts before the 60 days is up.

My lab is getting there. I was very excited to see that 6.0u2 was pulled down to this host during the upgrade in this blog – this means that the newest vSAN 6.2 features are going to be available to play with! Time to go back and upgrade the other hosts from 6.0u1b to 6.0u2, and also look at getting vCenter up to the latest 6.0 release as well.

Progress never stops!

(Courtesy of Mistwire)


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VSPHERE 6 – vCenter Upgrade

VSPHERE 6 – vCenter Upgrade

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I had the opportunity last week to take part in a VMware sponsored Social Lab on VSAN 6.1 (HOL 1608). These are essentially instructor led Hand on Labs, with an appointed SME from VMware present to give some back ground material on the subject matter, as well as answer any questions during the lab. I haven’t had much time lately to dedicate to the many HOLs that I intended to take following VMworld 2015, so jumped at the opportunity to attend this as I have been meaning to look more closely at VSAN.

The event was awesome, and certainly wetted my appetite to start playing with VSAN in the home lab. Which lead to the immediate need to address my long put off upgrade to vSphere 6.0….

I have been on 5.5U2 in the home lab since forever. The main driver behind this is that my day job uses 5.5 in production, therefore having the lab at the same version has made sense for experimentation purposes. I have been itching to move the lab to 6.0 since day 1 of GA, and with my new desire to bang the hell out of VSAN in this environment (as well as the cross vCenter NSX capabilities), I can wait no more. J

I have numerous components at this stage in my labs, all of which represent a tangle of dependencies to contend with during this upgrade. Let’s see what breaks.

LAB ENVIRONMENT

I am going to be upgrading all components in my home lab to the latest build numbers associated with vSphere 6.0u1. This is going to include the following products:

PRODUCT Current Version Current Build Future Version Future Build
vCenter Server 5.5u2d 2442329 6.0u1b 3343019
Update Manager 5.5u2d 2061929 6.0u1 2945804
ESXi 5.5u2 2638301 6.0 Express Patch 5 3568940
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 5.5.3.2 2945833 7.0 3310032
vSphere Replication Appliance 5.8.0.2 2613527 6.1 3051487
NSX 6.2.0 2986609 6.2.0 2986609

The only piece not being upgraded here is NSX, because this is already at the latest version 6.2 in my lab.

VMware has an update sequence matrix for 6.0 currently athttps://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2109760 . I intend to do a separate blog for each of the items above, roughly in the order listed at this link.

First up is of course vCenter.

VCENTER 6.0 UPGRADE

As is the case before any upgrade, be sure to first backup the vCenter database and snapshot/backup the vCenter system in case things go south. Once this is taken care of we are clear to proceed.

Download the ISO from my.vmware.com, and extract it to a folder that is accessible by the vCenter system. Run the autorun installer as administrator, and select “Install” for vCenter Server for Windows to begin the upgrade.

The first part of the upgrade analyzes the current environment, and determines whether you are upgrading from a simple install (SSO, Inventory Service, Web Client, and vCenter Server all on same system) or an advanced install (components spread out across different systems). Depending on the current environment, the installer will make a determination for you on how the new Platform Services Controller will be laid out. In a nutshell, a 5.x simple install equates to the 6.0 installer putting an embedded PSC on the same system as vCenter, where as if your pre 6.0 environment has SSO on a different machine, the 6.0 installer assumes the PSC should be external.

There are some repercussions to not having an external PSC that will rear its head when we look at setting up the vastly improved Enhanced Link Mode in a later post, but for now the installer is going to shove an embedded PSC down my throat since I am indeed coming from a 5.5 simple install.

Move through the licensing nonsense.

Enter existing administrator credentials.

VMware seems to be going with PostgreSQL in all of their appliances and embedded solutions now, and vSphere 6.0 is no different. The installer warns that it will be migrating data from the embedded SQL Express into a new Postgres installation.

Confirm network ports.

The official installation documentation for hard space requirements is here:

The installer does a pre-check for available space and will warn if there isn’t enough. If the pre-check passes, we are asked to confirm directory target information. I have decided to store both the data for the vSphere application, as well as the scratch space for the database migration, on my E: drive as I have plenty of space here.

Confirm settings and the upgrade begins.

After verifying the install packages on the media, the process first exports all the current 5.5 data to the scratch space.

Previous version components are then removed. This process took a while on my lab environment, around 30 minutes.

The installation of all the new components will then take place. There are a lot of new components in 6.0! Although the Platform Services Controller and vCenter Server are two very distinct areas of the vSphere 6.0 installation, for an embedded installation the installer does not break out the components belonging to these two separate product areas during installation. All components get laid down in this one installation step.

Once the components are installed, the installer will begin starting the various services.

Once components are installed and started successfully (about 40 minutes on my setup for this stage to complete), the next step is for the installer to import all of the exported 5.5 data into the new PostgreSQL database. Services are shut back down to accommodate this process.

Add on components should all be brought forward into the new installation. I was very happy to see my Orchestrator workflows being incorporated into the new version!

The process warns us to update settings related to Auto Deploy. If using auto deploy, be sure perform the configuration changes indicated.

Finally, the installer will remove backup files and complete! The entire process for me took about 80 minutes. Of course this is a lab environment with a very small population of guests/hosts under management, but still not a bad upgrade time.

The completion screen gives some information relating to some post installation tasks, including re-applying license keys and cleaning up the migration folder.

Cool. 6.0 continues the move towards exclusive use of the Web Client, with VUM functionality finally added. The installer is inviting us to log in at this time to the Web Client, so let’s go ahead and test the new installation and begin seeing which add on components are broken.

First thing to do is install the new client integration plugin. This plugin is necessary for advanced web client functionality such as guest console access, datastore file access, as well as windows client pass through authentication.

Once installed, re-launch your browser of choice. Be sure to select “Launch Application” when asked. I tested the 6.0 plugin on Chrome version 48 and had no issues.

WHAT’S BUSTED?

I have already visited the product compatibility matrix located athttps://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/sim/interop_matrix.php, and have the expectation that out of my product matrix below, everything in RED should be broken at this point until I upgrade that specific component in this lab environment:

PRODUCT Current Version Current Build Future Version Future Build
vCenter Server 5.5u2d 2442329 6.0u1b 3343019
Update Manager 5.5u2d 2061929 6.0u1 2945804
ESXi 5.5u2 2638301 6.0 Express Patch 5 3568940
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 5.5.3.2 2945833 7.0 3310032
vSphere Replication Appliance 5.8.0.2 2613527 6.1 3051487
NSX 6.2.0 2986609 6.2.0 2986609

A quick check shows that indeed my ESXi 5.5 hosts as well as all NSX 6.2 components are fully manageable from within the upgraded vCenter system.

While ESXi compatibility was fully expected, I was pleased to see that the NSX components required absolutely nothing to be done following the upgrade. No refreshes or restarts of NSX Manager needed – all my components were fully accessible in the web client on the first login post upgrade.

Update Manager, vRealize Orchestrator, and vSphere Replication are all not working post upgrade and are going to need to be upgraded next.

I will cover the upgrade of these components in follow up posts, however VUM is an easy target and is part of the vCenter installation media, so let’s go ahead and quickly address this one right now.

UPDATE MANAGER

Update Manager is indeed missing from where it should be located on the new Web Client, in the monitoring section.

This is an easy fix and is included on the vCenter media that we used for our upgrade, so let’s quickly get this addressed. Extract and run the installer ISO on the system currently running your VUM installation, and launch the VUM installer.

The process will detect the existing install, and prompt for upgrade.

Accept the License Agreement and begin the upgrade.

Advance through the wizard.

The upgrade will pre-populate the settings for vCenter authentication. Re-add the credentials.

Confirm ODBC information and advance the wizard.

One final check that we indeed want to upgrade our DB.

Confirm network ports and the listening IP address the service should bind to.

Start the installation.

The installer will ask to stop VUM if the old 5.5 service is still running. It will then unregister the VUM plugin, upgrade the product, and re-register with vCenter. The process should run without issue.

Once complete we can log back in to our Web Client and should see VUM working. Yay! A working VUM will definitely be necessary for us to upgrade ESXi in a future post.

VSPHERE CLIENT

Even though the Web Client has improved by leaps and bound with this release, I still find myself working day to day with at least a couple instances of the .NET client open on my extended screens in conjunction with the Web Client. Certain actions still feel so much more efficient to me on the phat client.

You can upgrade the .NET client from the installation media as well.


They seem to have removed the upgrade/install exe from the splash page of the vCenter itself athttp://vcenter-ip:80. Regardless, it still makes sense to have this tool available on any workstation that will be used for day to day maintenance of the environment, so I highly recommend this gets installed wherever needed.

Be sure to also re-download and install the 6.0 VUM plugin after getting the client connected back to vCenter.

CONCLUSION

My lab has been LONG overdue for the vSphere 6.0 upgrade, and I am glad to finally start getting my components upgraded. The placement of the Platform Services Controller is a major design component of any production deployment, and we only glossed over the importance of this. Some of the more interesting things that can be done in 6.0 (NSX Universal Objects, Cross vCenter vMotion) require Enhanced Linked Mode, which in turn requires leveraging an externally shared PSC between sites.

I will be revisiting the PSC in detail in a follow up post where I will be breaking out the PSC in order to set up Enhanced Link Mode.

However, before I move onto the PSC re-design, I will need to get the remaining components (ESXi, Orchestrator, Replication) upgraded as well so that my lab is full 6.0. The two most exciting features of 6.0 to me are vSAN 6.1 and the cross site functionality of NSX 6.2, and both of these will require hypervisors at version 6.0.

Up next will be the vSphere Replication upgrade. Can’t wait.

(Courtesy of Mistwire)


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Compare and Contrast – VSAN and VVols

Compare and Contrast – VSAN and VVols (via CormacHogan.com)

Compare and Contrast – VSAN and VVols

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to meet with a number of VMware customers in both Singapore and in the UAE. Most of the sessions were enablement and education type sessions, where there was a lot of white-boarding of VSAN (VMware’s hyper-converged infrastructure product) and Virtual Volumes (VVols – Software Defined Storage or SDS for the storage arrays). This wasn’t a sales session; I’m not in sales. The objective of these sessions was simply to educate. I guess when you are immersed in this stuff 24×7, it easy to fall into the trap of believing that everyone is well versed in this technology, and that’s simply not the case.


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Unable to power on VM in vCenter server 6

Unable to power on VM in vCenter server 6

By Alex Hunt

Today while working in my home lab I faced one weird issue. I deployed a new machine from ovf template and after deployment I was not able to power on the VM. It was failing with error

A general system error occurred: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it

err-1

I was scratching my head that what could be wrong with the virtual machine as the deployment from ovf went smooth without any issues.

On googling for the error I came to know that vCenter workflow manager serviceshould be running else most common operations will fail. I quickly checked my vCenter services and found that service was stopped. It was set to manual and service never came back online after last reboot of my vCenter Server.

err-2

Once service was restarted there was no issues with VM power on.

err-3

err-4


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VMware Validated Designs Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

VMware Validated Designs Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

VMware Validated Designs Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

In this video, Ryan Johnson demonstrates the failover of the Software-Defined Data Center management, automation and operations solutions – distributed deployments of vRealize Automation, vRealize Orchestrator and vRealize Operations – between regions in the IT Automation Cloud validated design. Follow Ryan Johnson on Twitter as @tenthirtyam on on our podcast at vmware.com/go/podcast. Learn more at vmware.com/go/vvd or follow updates on Twitter @VMwareSDDC – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -…Read More


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Virtually Speaking Podcast Episode 6 – SRM 6.1

Virtually Speaking Podcast Episode 6 – SRM 6.1

Virtually Speaking Podcast Episode 6 – SRM 6.1

Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is one of the most mature products in the VMware portfolio. It was first released in 2008 and, at one point in time, it was the second highest selling VMware product behind vSphere. Seriously. The reason for this resounding success is that SRM is a solution that embodies the value proposition of virtualization, providing automation and flexibility – automation to migrate or recover applications at scale, and flexibility to manage any vSphere virtualized application, using almost any type of storage infrastructure. This week on the Virtually Speaking Podcast Pete and John bring in Site Recovery Manager Subject Matter Expert GS Khalsa to walk us through SRM 6.1 and vSphere Replication.


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Call for papers open for VMworld 2016

Call for papers open for VMworld 2016!

Call for papers open for VMworld 2016

It may seem like VMworld 2015 (both San Francisco and Barcelona) was just yesterday, but the reality is that we are already actively preparing for the next one: VMworld 2016. There are couple of changes: 1) the America’s one will take place in Las Vegas; and 2) call for papers is open much sooner this year, don’t miss it!


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VMware Horizon 7 Has Been Released – Instant Clones, Blast Extreme ++

VMware Horizon 7 Has Been Released – Instant Clones, Blast Extreme ++

VMware Horizon 7 Has Been Released – Instant Clones, Blast Extreme ++

When few weeks back we reported on VMware Horizon 7 we did not know when this product will finally hit the GA state. It’s now! You can download Horizon 7 now. It’s a major release which allows scaling up to 10 Horizon PODs across 4 sites with up to 500 000 desktops. So VMware Horizon 7 Has Been Released – Instant Clones, Blast Extreme and more features are in.


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