vSphere 6.5 Feature Preview: vCenter Server Appliance

The vCenter Server Appliance has come a long way from it’s first iteration way back with vSphere 5.0. A moment of silence for the VCSA 5.0 with embedded DB2 database.

With the vSphere 6.5 release, the vCenter Server Appliance not only gains 100% parity with it’s Windows counterpart, but actually now exceeds it with some exclusive features.

You can interpret the fact that the VCSA is now getting exclusive features however you want to.

Please don’t ask me “Is the Windows vCenter going away?” – because I honestly don’t know the answer.

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Handling vCenter Server Migration failure scenarios

If a migration fails or you wish to roll back a successful migration then the basic steps are as follows:

1 Shutdown the Appliance 6.0 that has resulted from the migration

2 Power on the original source Windows  5.5 machine

3. The Windows machine will have lost it’s trust with the Active Directory Domain so you may need to log into the Windows machine as a local Administrator and re-join the Active Directory Domain and reboot the Windows machine.

Note: This is because the resulting vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 will have overwritten the Windows vCenter computer account on the AD.

Important: If you have other solutions that have been upgrade for compatibility with vSphere 6.0 these may cease to work after the rollback and would need to be rolled back themselves. This includes ESXi 6.0 as this is not manageable from a vCenter Server 5.5. Also be careful that you do not have Virtual Machines running Hardware Version 11 as these VMs cannot run on ESXi 5.5 or older.

I’ll go into a little more detail on different typologies as the larger and more distributed the environment the more caution and planning is needed

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vCenter Server 5.5 Windows to Appliance 6.0 Migration

At long last the much anticipated vCenter Server Windows to Appliance Migration utility has arrived.

Download https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/details?downloadGroup=VC60U2M&productId=577&rPId=1240

Dubbed vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 U2m (no prize for guessing what the M stands for)

This first release allows you to migrate a Windows based vCenter Server 5.5 environment to a vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 U2 environment.

Important: You cannot perform a horizontal migration. i.e. You cannot migrate a Windows vCenter Server 6.0 to a vCenter Server 6.0 Appliance. It must be a migrate and upgrade.

Also you cannot change topology during a migration. i.e. A vCenter Server 5.5 with Embedded SSO will result in a vCenter Server 6.0 with Embedded PSC

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Automatically Configuring an F5 BIG-IP Load Balancer for PSC 6.0 HA

In this post I’ll explain how to deploy and configure an F5 Load Balancer for use with PSC 6.0 High Availability using a script to configure the F5. I got tired of manually configuring F5 Load Balancers for testing and lab building so I scripted the configuration and am sharing it here.

Disclaimer: The configuration of a 3rd Party Load Balancer is not supported by VMware. The 3rd party vendor should be engaged for support. The script in this post is not supported by VMware. Use at your own risk.

I used F5 BIG-IP v12 but have also tested on v11. Other versions may or may not work.

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Automating vCenter Server 5.5 repoint to a new SSO 5.5

As you might have already read my previous post on  Migrating from Embedded SSO to External PSC you probably know how tedious the vCenter Server 5.5 re-pointing process can be.

I’ve taken VMware’s KB2033620 a wrapped it all up in Windows Batch Script to largely automate the process.

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Reminder! End of General Support: vSphere 5.0 and 5.1

Just as a reminder, the end of general support (EOGS) for both vSphere 5.0 and vSphere 5.1 is approaching on August 24th 2016.

This, hopefully, isn’t news to anyone currently running these versions of vSphere as VMware maintains a comprehensive public list of products and their EOGS in the following PDF. VMware Lifecycle Product Matrix

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vSphere 6.0 Certificate Series

Updated: 12/09/2016

In this series I’m going to outline, step by step, how to replace your vSphere 6.0 certificates using  VMCA as a Subordinate CA and also exclusively using your own CA and not leveraging VMCA.

Replacing your vSphere 6.0 Certificates using VMCA as a Subordinate CA

NEW: Replacing your vSphere 6.0 Certificates using your own CA (no VMCA)

Replacing your vSphere 6.0 Certificates using a Hybrid model (Coming Soon)

Caution: Custom “vsphere.local” domains

I’m not a fan of using a custom SSO Domain name. There’s little to no reason for changing from “vsphere.local”. The ability to customise the SSO Domain name was introduced in vSphere 6.0.

Unless you have an iron-clad reason to change it, don’t.

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Expired vCenter Server 5.x Certificates

A common issue seen by VMware Support is when SSL certificates expire. In vCenter Server 5.1 and 5.5 recovering from expired certificates (without re-installing) requires a very specific set of instructions otherwise you may end up needing to re-install.

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