Tag Archives: 5.5

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

First, I haven’t been ignoring my duties to this blog by not posting articles, the time at my job has kept me away from posting regularly scheduled articles but it hasn’t stopped me from producing some great topics for future articles, this being one of these.

ESXi5.5 Purple Screen of Death = Oh My!

In our quest to migrating our environment to ESXi 5.5 and View 5.3 we had to do some maintenance on some of our file servers, the quick and dirty was to build massive TB VMDK’s for robocopy jobs as we migrated to newer File Servers. Part of this process included kicking off Veeam backups of these temporary File Servers. During the course of the reverse incremental job (multiple rounds of robocopy!) we encountered some PSOD’s (purple screen of death) on the temporary cluster where the file servers were located.

Seeing as this was my first experience with a PSOD, yes I know I’m so lucky! I proceeded to establish a SR, support request, with VMware and Veeam. Then I began retracing my steps, trying to understand if it was a misconfiguration, something I didn’t enter correctly, etc. The cause of the host failures surprised me, considering it is such a big selling feature of ESXi5.5. What we discovered is that when you have a VMDK that is larger than 1.9TB, snapshots are in the SESparse format. There can be a memory heap issue related to ESXi5.5 that can cause host failure. So when we kicked off our Veeam Backups, Veeam uses the VMware Snapshot model for backups, the snapshot files were in the SESparse format and after 45 minutes the hosts failed.

The resolution from VMware was to reduce all VMDK’s to below the 1.9TB threshold and to wait patiently for the release of a upcoming patch to ESXi5.5 coming in July. Which brings me to my final thoughts, I have flashbacks of Jerry Springer: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should

One of the big selling points for me about ESXi5.5 was the support for larger than 2TB VMDK’s think of the possibilities that this could bring an organization: Large File Servers, Exchange Datastores, SQL Databases, etc. But why? Why would you want to subject yourself, your company to the risk of placing all of your important files on one big drive, why not spread that risk out across multiple stores, servers, etc. It flies in the face of KISS, keep it simple stupid, that my friend Brad Christian constantly reminds me of!

So going forward, tread cautiously with each new feature a software comes out with, it may be great on paper, but does it really fit for your organization, your initiatives, your systems?

Veeam B&R v7 Support for vSphere 5.5 is here!

Veeam_v7

Veeam has released Update 2 for Backup & Replication v7 today with full support for vSphere 5.5 and Hyper-V 2012 R2 (the first backup company to support both!), here is a breakdown of all the new and exciting features:

VMware

  • vSphere 5.5 support, including support for 62TB virtual disks and virtual hardware v10 virtual machines.
  • vCloud Director 5.5 support.
  • Support for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 as guest virtual machines (VMs).
  • Added ability to limit maximum amount of active VM snapshots per datastore to prevent it from being overfilled with snapshot deltas. The default value of 4 active snapshots can be controlled with MaxSnapshotsPerDatastore (REG_DWORD) registry key.

Microsoft

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and free Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 support, including support for Generation 2 virtual machines.
  • Support for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 as guest virtual machines (VMs)
  • Support for System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)
  • Support for the installation of Veeam Backup & Replication and its components on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1.

Built-in WAN acceleration

  • Increased data processing performance up to 50% with hard drive based cache, and up to 3 times with SSD based cache. Multi-core CPU on source WAN accelerator is recommended to take full advantage of the enhanced data processing engine.

Replication

  • Added ability for source and target proxy servers to reconnect and resume replication when network connection between source and target site drops for a short period of time.

Tape

  • Added support for a number of enterprise-class tape libraries with partitioning functionality that allows presenting multiple tape library partitions to the same host.
  • Import/export slot interaction has been redesigned to add support for a number of IBM and Oracle tape libraries.

Application-aware processing

  • Added ability for application-aware processing logic to detect passive Microsoft Exchange DAG database present on the VM, and process it accordingly.
  • Added support for Exchange CCR clusters.

User interface

  • User interface should now remember size and positions off the main window, as well as all panels and columns.

I am proud to say that we upgraded our Backup Environment this morning and everything is running great. Big thanks to Veeam and their Engineering Team for releasing this so fast!

Here is a link to the KB article for this Update.

vSphere 5.5 Upgrade – Walkthrough and Notes

Since the announcement of vSphere 5.5 at VMworld, I have been waiting for the day to upgrade our environment. That day has finally come. We decided to go with the Simple Install since there isn’t anything custom when we install vCenter.

We have Horizon View in our environment, so the first step was to shutdown all workstations, linked-clones, etc and disable provisioning to not create additional clones. We shutdown all servers except our Firewall, Exchange, Primary File Server and vCenter servers (Apps and DB’s). Now that we have our environment in a controlled state, we are ready to start the upgrade process.  So lets get to it!

Download the vCenter 5.5 Install Package for Windows from VMware, mount the ISO or extract the contents to a temp location and select autorun.exe

Slide0Select the Simple Install Option, review the upgrade process and click Install to start the upgrade of Single Sign-On.

Slide1

It has already detected the previous version, Click Next

Slide2

Accept the End User License Agreement, who really reads that stuff! Click Next

Slide3

Make sure that the FQDN, IP is accurate. vCenter Windows Server is joined to the Domain and Value is correct, Click Next

Slide4

It has detected the previous instance of SSO so it will migrate the existing information, Click Next

Slide5

Choose the local default domain account credentials for SSO, Click Next

Slide6

Confirm the Site Name, Click Next

Slide7

Choose the install location, Click Next

Slide8

Here is an overview of the choices we made, time to Install

Slide10

It will take a little bit of time to install, when it completes it will proceed to start installing vSphere Web Client components.

 Slide3

vSphere Web Client begins to install and register with SSO. Next up is the Inventory Service.

Slide1

Pretty simply choice, keep your existing inventory or stay up all night and rebuild it. We chose to get some sleep tonight! Click Next

Slide2

It’s ready to install the Inventory Services, Click Install

Slide5

Install the components and watch the progress bar. It will immediately go into vCenter Upgrade next.

Slide1

Click Next

Slide2

Enter License, Click Next Slide3 \

Enter your SQL Database credentials for vCenter Database, Click Next

Slide4

It prompts you that vSphere Update Manager isn’t compatible with 5.5 (we will upgrade that after we are done), Click OK

Slide5

Upgrade the existing vCenter database, check the box, Click Next

Slide6

Choose Automatic, Click Next

Slide7

Unless you want a Domain Account to auto login, choose a separate login account for the vCenter Service Account.

Slide8

Validate your ports, you have the option to increase the ephemeral ports. We didn’t increase them because we will not hit 2000+ VM’s before vSphere 6 comes out, Click Next

Slide9

Everybody has a different take on this option, we chose Large so that we don’t have to hit an artificial limit on JVM Memory issues, to each his own, Click Next

Slide10

Time to Install, Click Install

Slide11

The database upgrade took a while…

Slide13

Progress!!!

Slide15

vCenter has finished the upgrade process, are we done? Not just yet!

Time to install the Windows vSphere Client, just select the Client install option and click Install.

Slide0

Next through the options since there isn’t any customization to apply.

Slide5

vSphere Client is updated, to sign in!

So at this point we went to fire up vCenter Windows Client to start upgrading Update Manager but ran into an error where our AD accounts wouldn’t authenticate to vCenter. After a little research (Google!) we found this article from VMware. We have a AD Admin group nested into the Local Admin group, upgraded vCenter doesn’t like this.

It was an easy fix, log in using local admin to vSphere Web Client, go to vCenter permissions and add Domain Admin group (users to manage vCenter), then you are back in business. Now it’s time to upgrade vSphere Update Manager so we can start upgrading ESXi Hosts.

Slide1

Choose vSphere Update Manager and Click Install

Slide2

In the Installation has detected our existing version of Update Manager, Click OK

Slide3

Click Next

Slide4

Allow Update Manager to download baselines, patches and others after install, Click Next

Slide5

Verify your vCenter Information, remember that vCenter account we entered earlier? Time to enter it again, it will validate and Click Next

Slide6

SQL Connection Info, Click Next

Slide7

Choose Yes I want to upgrade my VUM Database!, Click Next

Slide8

Verify Port Settings, Click Next

Slide9

Click Install

Slide10

Watch the progress!

Slide11

Installation is complete time to fire up the vSphere Windows Client to install the plugin.

Slide12

Login using your credentials or use Windows Credentials. Notice the warning in the new version, you MUST use Windows VIC to manage Update Manager, Site Recovery Manager or an isolated Host.

Now we need to load vSphere Update Manager into our vSphere Client so navigate to Plug-ins > Manage Plug-ins

Slide13

Choose Download and Install under the Status Column, It will fire up the Client Install

Slide15

Click Next

Slide16

Accept the End User License Agreement, Click Next

Slide17

Click Install

Slide18

Watch the progress!

Slide19

Click Finish

Slide20

Now we see that vSphere Update Manager has been installed and is “Enabled” in vSphere Client, time to start upgrading hosts!

First we need to create a Baseline to see which hosts are out of compliance. So let’s start there.

From the Home view select Update Manager from Solutions and Applications

Slide1

Create a new Baseline

Slide2

Choose a Name and select Host Upgrade for your baseline type, Click Next

Slide3

Choose you ESXi Image, if you do not see the ESXi image in the list, go to Admin View > ESXi Images tab to import the ESXi 5.5 image, Click Next

Slide4

 

Verify your settings and Click Finish, now we can run our baseline again the hosts we want to upgrade. For now we are only upgrading our Production Server Hosts because we are waiting on Teradici to update the Firmware of the APEX 2800 PCoIP Offload Cards for vSphere 5.5

 

Final Thoughts

So we simulated almost everything before we did the upgrade in Production, aside from the Nested AD Group, we didn’t hit any snags. I hope this walk through has been beneficial. If you have any questions or comments please post them.

vSphere 5.5 Upgrade – Ready, Aim, Fire!

I was hoping to have my DFW VMUG User Conference Download article finished today but I am waiting on my slide decks to put the final pieces together. So look for that article in the next few days, spoiler alert: the User Conference was awesome!

I want to upgrade vSphere 5.5 all night long!

Tonight we will be upgrading our vCenter environment to 5.5. As our team was going through our checklist I ran across some good tidbits of information, a lot of which came from my previous post. The two biggest items so far have been the which order to upgrade the components and to make sure there would be any hiccups during the upgrade. The component upgrade process we are going to follow is based on KB Article 2057795. Here is the upgrade order I plan to take:

5.5 Upgrade

So far we are aware of one issue going into the upgrade, there is a Single Sign-On issue related to AD authentication when running SSO on Windows 2012, you can find the reference here. I’m glad we caught this because we were planning to migrate our vCenter server onto 2012. There is a fix, but will wait to do the OS upgrade for another night.

I will be following up with my notes on how the upgrade process went.

Wish me luck!

RTFM or KB’s – vSphere 5.5

So vSphere 5.5 is out and you are all pumped to get it loaded into your production environment. I know I am! There are a few important articles that you should check out before you start down the 5.5 road. Rick Blythe has compiled an awesome list for us to reference! Enjoy!

PS: Thanks Wayne Conrad for the link on Google+

Links inserted from: http://blogs.vmware.com/kb/2013/09/vsphere-5-5-is-here-kbs-you-need-to-know-about.html

The first grouping contains absolute ‘must know’ information, the second grouping gets a bit more into details.

Also not to be missed: