Horizon View 5.3.1 is here with VSAN support!

Now that VSAN has become GA (General Availability) it makes sense that VMware will start pushing updates of it’s software offerings with VSAN support, Horizon View is no different!

What’s New in Horizon View 5.3.1

  • Requires vSphere 5.5.0 Update 1 or newer
  • Support for VSAN
  • 100 VM’s per Host using VSAN

Below is a list of links for all the vPieces to make your View VSAN environment come alive (some links require My VMware account to access):

vSphere and vCenter 5.5.0 Update 1

ESXi 5.5.0 Update 1

ESXi 5.5.0 Update 1 Readme

vSphere Client 5.5.0 Update 1

vCenter Server 5.5.0 Update 1 – Windows Instance

vCenter Server 5.5.0 Update 1 – Virtual Appliance

Horizon View 5.3.1 Feature Pack 1

Remote Experience Agent for 32-bit desktops

Remote Experience Agent for 64-bit desktops

HTML Access Web Portal installer

GPO bundle file

What’s Next?

I will be releasing my complete walkthrough of Horizon View 5.3 so stay tuned!

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Veeam ONE Monitor Free Edition Review

VeeamONEFree

As 2014 is about to start, December is always a time to have internal IT meetings on how to improve processes, workflows and responsiveness. This year our IT department experienced positives and negatives in those categories from power outages to unexpected server down times. The big takeaway from 2013 was being a more proactive team when it comes to our virtual system and resolving problems before they become downtime scenarios.

So as I set out to do research (read: Google) on proactive monitoring solutions for our virtual infrastructure I came across several good candidates like SolarWinds, Xangati, vCOPS and Veeam. I think money grows on trees, my bosses think otherwise so I decided to deploy VeeamONE Free Edition to see if it cut the mustard for what we wanted and if the free version is an actual solution or just a digital carrot dangling in front of the budget waiting to be purchased.

There are a few differences/limitations to the free version, I have highlighted them below, now that we have that covered let’s find out if VeeamONE is really free and usable.

Veeam ONE Monitor Free vs Paid

Installation

Installation was quite easy to stand up. Built out a VM with the necessary “hardware” requirements on a Windows 2008 R2 x64 box. Everything was pretty much next, next, next, except for a restriction we have on SQL creations, that was an easy fix. We simply ran the CREATE script that came packaged with the installer, ran it in SSMS and the database was created. Verified the default ports and linked VeeamONE to our primary vCenter server and assigned some users to the Users and Admin groups. Reboot once and everything came back up just fine.

Configuration

Configuration was a breeze, there are two types of roles, Admins and Users, biggest difference I can see is Users are limited to what changes can be altered to events where as Admins have higher control. Email notifications are limited to the canned responses in the Free edition but is sufficient for what we wanted. Setup your SMTP settings and go!  With notifications you can include known KB articles with a specific issue, this is a helpful step for your lower tier Help Desk guys if they don’t live on VMware’s KB site like I do! If you have a broader SNMP capture system, VeeamONE links up nicely. On to views and the dashboard.

Views and Dashboard

This is where I personally think VeeamONE shines, you have 3 views to choose from: Infrastructure, Business and Data Protection.  In the Free Edition, Data Protection is unavailable as it relates to Veeam Backup & Replication and Enterprise Manager for a higher level view of your environment as it relates to your data integrity, this is a view we would like, but completely understand why Veeam left it out of the free edition. The Infrastructure View is where I live, it gives me a complete breakdown of my vCenter environment separated by Datacenter, Clusters, Hosts, VM’s, Resources and Datastores. As referenced in the free vs. paid chart, some notifications are limited but it is still a ton of information to get you closer to resolution.

My favorite is the Dashboard view, we are a VDI shop at so I built out a Kiosk Mode VM that auto loads the VeeamONE Client in full screen mode (pictured above) that gives me a dedicated station in my office to turn around and focus on a specific problem or event. Lately we have been testing some VDI users on a certain Synology DS3612XS with SSD’s (article coming soon!), it’s been nice to see statistics on performance and be alerted if the datastore spikes with latency.

Conclusions

VeeamONE Free Edition is a great compliment to your vCenter environment and has helped up isolate issues that we weren’t even looking for. Veeam has done a great job giving a lot of functionality in a free edition, there are some limitations that will make us seriously consider the paid version (Management likes reports!). But with some knowledge in PowerShell and PowerCLI vCheck can help with this! We have only had it up and running for 2 weeks and I obsessively knock out all the events that come across my inbox from the notification system. It has made us think twice about issues before diving in. I would highly recommend standing up the free version in your environment, what do you have to lose but a little more pro-activeness and maybe a different view on your vCenter environment!

VeeamONE Monitor Free Edition Link

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!