Tag Archives: vCenter

New Fling: vSphere HTML5 Web Client

New Fling: vSphere HTML5 Web Client

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VMware first introduced the vSphere Web Client with the release of vSphere 5.0. The vSphere Web Client would be the future management tool replacing the vSphere client aka “Legacy, Thick or C# Client”. This would be become more evident over time with each release of vSphere. New features could only be managed through the vSphere Web Client. While the concept of a browser based client is a step in the right direction, the dependency of flash was not. Keep in mind the decision to use flash was made when it was the standard for web applications, times and standards have changed. With that change it has taken some time to work on replatforming the vSphere Web Client. This always leads to the question, when will we see a HTML5 version of the Web Client? I’m happy to announce the wait is over!

The first step towards making a HTML5 Web Client a reality is the vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling. This release of the Fling will focus primary on VM management, with more updates coming.  Here is a list of the features and operations available in this first release:

  • VM power operations
  • VM Edit Settings (simple CPU, Memory, Disk changes)
  • VM Console
  • VM and Host Summary pages
  • VM Migration (only to a Host)
  • Clone to Template/ VM
  • Create VM on a Host (limited)
  • Additional monitoring views: Performance charts, Tasks, Event
  • Global Views: Recent tasks, Alarms (view only)
  • Integrated Feedback Tool

HTMl5 Client

The vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling is a standalone appliance that can be deployed in your existing or new vSphere 6.0 environments. It supports both the vCenter Server Appliance or vCenter for Windows. The Fling does not make any changes to your existing vCenter or Platform Service Controller components. Nor does it affect any operations, such as the use of the current vSphere Web Client, as it is meant to run side by side.

HTML5 Client

One of the most import features in my opinion is the feedback tool. Located in the upper right hand corner, Smiley as I like to call him is your chance to provide valuable input back to the engineering team and help shape the future of the product. If you would like to be kept up to date with the latest vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling news fill out the the following form and stay tuned for more to come.

Take the vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling for a test drive and most importantly provide feedback. It took six months or so for the Embedded Host Client (EHC) Fling to be a feature rich product now included in vSphere 6.0 U2.  The same could happen with the vSphere HTML5 Web Client Fling, this is your client, help shape its future :)

(Courtesy of Emad Younis)


VMware Social Media Advocacy

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)


VMware Social Media Advocacy

Working with the VMware vCenter Server Appliance

Working with the VMware vCenter Server Appliance

While working with the VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) the last couple of years I came across several bits and pieces of information that I collected which, I think, are useful for working with the VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) and combined them in this blog post.

VMware vCenter Server provides a centralized platform for managing your VMware vSphere environments through a single pane of glass. The VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) is a preconfigured Linux-based virtual appliance that can be deployed simply as a Virtual Machine. This VM is optimized for running vCenter Server and the associated services on Linux.

Highlighted in this VMware vCenter Server Appliance blogpost:

  • Change the Password and Password Expiration Settings of the Root User
  • Enabling SSH, Local Access and Bash shell
  • Unlocking a locked out Root account
  • Updating or patching the VCSA
  • VCSA startup stages after reboot
  • WinSCP to vCenter Server Appliance

 

Change the Password and Password Expiration Settings of the Root User

When you deploy the vCenter Server Appliance, you set the initial password of the root user, which expires after 365 days by default. For security reasons, you can change the root password, as well as the password expiration settings. In version 5.5 and 6.0 of the VCSA the root password expires in 90 days, with the updated version by default the root password will expire in 365 days. You can login to the VMware Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) with a web browser on the following address:

Important: If there is no VAMI page showing up on port 5480 you are probably running VCSA version 6.0, because VMware removed the VAMI from vCenter Server 6.0. This issue can be resolved by updating the VCSA to Update 1 or later. For the necessary steps on upgrading please check the paragraph about Updating or patching the VCSA.

  1. Login with Root and the root-password.

VCSA_VAMI_LOGIN

  1. Go to Administration in the left panel

VCSA_VAMI_Administration

  1. In the right panel you can Change the Root Password
  2. In the panel below you can adjust the Password Expiry Settings

 


Enabling SSH, Local Access and Bash shell

After installing the VCSA local access and SSH access will be disabled. If you need to install plugins in the VCSA like the NexentaConnect for VSAN you will need SSH access to adjust some local settings and add the package for the plugin. You have multiple ways to activate Local Access and SSH possibilities.

Option 1: Through the VMware Appliance Management Interface

  • Login to the VAMI
  • Go to Access in the left pane
  • Check the two boxes enabling ssh login and bash shell

VCSA_VAMI_BASH

Option 2: Through the vSphere Web Client

  • Login to the vSphere Web Client
  • Go to Administration > System Configuration > Right-Click the correct VCSA node > Edit settings

VCSA_WEB_EDIT

  • Adjust accordingly how you would like it to behave

VCSA_WEB_ACCESS

 


Unlocking a locked out Root account

If the root account is not accessible through the console, the secure shell, and the Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI) (vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 and 6.0 Update 1+), the root account has been inactivated due to password expiration. To reactivate the root account, the vCenter Server appliance must be rebooted and the kernel option modified in the GRUB bootloader to obtain a root shell.

First of all you have to edit the settings of the VCSA to delay the boot sequence through the vSphere Client. Make sure you know on which ESX host the VCSA runs before you shut it down. The time between when you power on the virtual machine and when it exits the BIOS or EFI and launches the guest operating system software is short. You can change the boot delay or force the virtual machine to enter the BIOS or EFI setup screen after power on.

Delaying the boot operation is useful for changing BIOS or EFI settings such as the boot order. For example, you can change the BIOS or EFI settings to force a virtual machine to boot from a CD-ROM.

Procedure:

  1. In the vSphere Client inventory, right-click the virtual machine and select Edit Settings.
  2. Click the Options tab and under Advanced select Boot Options.
  3. In the Power on Boot Delay panel, select the time in milliseconds to delay the boot operation.
  4. (Optional) Select whether to force entry into the BIOS or EFI setup screen the next time the virtual machine boots.
  5. (Optional) Select whether to try to reboot after a boot failure.
  6. Click OK to save your changes.
  7. Power-On the VCSA

To reactivate the root account:

  • When the GRUB bootloader appears, press the spacebar to disable autoboot
  • Type p to access the appliance boot options
  • Enter the GRUB password

Note: If the vCenter Server appliance was deployed without editing the root password in the Virtual Appliance Management Interface (VAMI), the default GRUB password is vmware. If the vCenter Server appliance root password was reset using the VAMI, then the GRUB password is the password last set in the VAMI for the root account.

Use the arrow keys to highlight VMware vCenter Server Appliance and type e to edit the boot settings

  • Scroll to the second line displaying the kernel boot parameters
  • Type e to edit the boot command
  • Append init=/bin/bash to the kernel boot options
  • Press Enter. The GRUB menu reappears
  • Type b to start the boot process. The system boots to a shell
  • Reset the root password by running the passwd root command
  • Restart the appliance by running the reboot command

 


Updating or patching the VCSA

Depending on which VCSA version you are running you have two options to update the VCSA.

Option 1 – Updating or Patching the VCSA through a SSH connection

  • Download VCSA update from the following location:
  • Upload the ISO to a Datastore
  • Attach the downloaded ISO to the VCSA virtual machine (Do not forget to check the connected box)
  • SSH to the VCSA

    ssh root@vcsa_hostname

  • Run the following commands

To stage the ISO

software-packages stage –iso

Run through the EULA (with ENTER) and answer with yes. To see the staged content

software-packages list –staged

To install the staged rpms

software-packages install –staged

VCSA_CONSOLE_UPDATEINSTALL

After patching is successful use the following command to reboot the VCSA

Shutdown reboot –r Update_to_last_patches

VCSA_CONSOLE_SHUTDOWN

Option 2 – Updating or Patching the VCSA through the VAMI

You can also update the VCSA throught the VAMI web interface when you are running a version of VCSA which has a active/available VAMI

  • Login to the VAMI Web Interface through port 5480

    https://appliance-IP-address-or-FQDN:5480

  • Go to Update in the left panel and than in the right panel to Check Updates

VCSA_VAMI_UPDATE

You have the choice to use a CDROM or download it through a URL.

 


VCSA startup stages after reboot

The VCSA goes through different stages while booting, it has five visible stages:

  • You can connect to the IP address/FQDN of the VCSA

VCSA_WebStartScreen

  • Error message 503 when trying to connect to the vSphere Web Client

503 Service Unavailable (Failed to connect to endpoint: [N7Vmacore4Http16LocalServiceSpecE:0x7f809c7187b0] _serverNamespace = /vsphere-client _isRedirect = false _port = 9090)

  • You will see a Blanc screen while trying to connect to the vSphere Web Client
  • The vSphere Client web server is initializing message is visible

VCSA_Starting_Step4_Init

  • You can login through the vSphere Web Client Login Screen  (Do not forget the administrator@vsphere.local instead of root)

VCSA_Login_vSphereWebClient

Now the VCSA is fully booted and operational.

 


WinSCP to vCenter Server Appliance

When trying to connect WinSCP to the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) you will get an error message and you can not connect to upload or retrieve files from the VCSA. When you copy files using WinSCP, part of the operation happens on the target Linux system. The default Appliance Shell cannot be the remote partner of WinSCP. You must enable the Bash shell on the appliance, you can do that through the VAMI as described in the paragraph about Enabling SSH, Local Access and Bash shell. You can also do it by

  • Login to the VCSA through a SSH connection
  • Provide the the username root and the root password when prompted
  • Inserted the following commands:

Than go to the Bash shell

shell

In the bash shell switch from default shell to Bash

chsh -s /bin/bash root

Now you can use WinSCP to place or get files on the VCSA

To return the Bash shell to the Appliance shell use

chsh -s /bin/appliancesh root

When using Linux to place or retrieve files you can use PSCP.

By Edwin Weijdema


VMware Advocacy