VMware vSphere 5.1 Cookbook

By Abhilash G B
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  1. Upgrading to vSphere 5.1

About this book

Amidst all the recent competition from Citrix and Microsoft, VMware’s vSphere product line is still the most feature rich and futuristic product in the virtualization industry. Knowing how to install and configure vSphere components is important to give yourself a head start towards virtualization using VMware.

If you want to quickly grasp the installation and configuration procedures, especially by using the new vSphere 5.1 web client, this book is for you.

VMware vSphere 5.1 Cookbook will take you through all the steps required to accomplish a task with minimal reading required. Most of the tasks are accompanied with relevant screenshots with an intention to provide a visual guidance as well.

The book has many useful recipes that will help you progress through the installation of VMware ESXi 5.1 and vCenter Server 5.1. You will learn to use Auto Deploy and Image Profiles to deploy stateless/stateful ESXi servers, configure failover protection for virtual machines using vSphere HA, configure automated load balancing using vSphere DRS and DPM.


Finally, the book guides you through upgrading or patching ESXi servers using VMware Update Manager and also deploying and configuring vSphere Management Assistant (VMA) to be able to run scripts to manage the ESXi servers.

Publication date:
July 2013
Publisher
Packt
Pages
466
ISBN
9781849684026

 

Chapter 1. Upgrading to vSphere 5.1

In this chapter we will cover the following:

  • Carrying out pre-upgrade checks before performing a vCenter upgrade

  • Performing an in-place upgrade of vCenter Server

  • Creating a table space for SSO on a SQL instance

  • Creating DB users for the SSO database

  • Upgrading a 32-bit vCenter Server to vCenter 5.1

  • Upgrading to ESXi 5.1

  • Installing vSphere Web Client

  • Upgrading VMware Tools

  • Upgrading the virtual machine hardware

 

Introduction


In this chapter, we will focus on the steps required to upgrade your ESX servers to ESXi 5.1 and the vCenter Server to vCenter 5.1. If you are trying to rebuild or set up a new vSphere 5.1 environment then you should refer to Chapter 2, Performing a Fresh Installation of vSphere 5.1.

Always the rule of thumb is to upgrade the vCenter Server first, followed by the ESX server.

The upgrade is a three-step process:

  1. Upgrade the vCenter Server to 5.1.

  2. Upgrade the ESX/ESXi servers to 5.1.

  3. Upgrade VMware Tools and then the virtual machine hardware.

It is recommended that you check the VMware Compatibility Guide web page for changes in the supportability of your current hardware. The hardware components may sometimes need a firmware upgrade to work as expected when used with a newer release of vSphere.

The VMware Compatibility Guide web page is available at www.vmware.com/go/hcl.

Upgrading the vCenter Server

VMware vCenter 5.1 is 64-bit; so the process of upgrading the vCenter Server to version 5.1 can be different, depending on whether you are already running your current vCenter on a 64-bit operating system or a 32-bit operating system.

There are two methods of upgrading your current vCenter to vCenter 5.1:

  • The in-place upgrade method

  • Migrating vCenter data using the vSphere Data Migration tool

The in-place upgrade is done by running the vCenter 5.1 installer on the machine where you have the existing vCenter Server, provided it is 64-bit. It is called in-place, because you are just letting the installer do the upgrade by automatically preserving the settings of the existing vCenter Sever. This procedure is discussed in the Performing an in-place upgrade of vCenter Server recipe.

If your existing vCenter is running on a 32-bit operating system, then you cannot install vCenter 5.1 on the same machine because it is a 64-bit application. You will need a machine running a 64-bit version of Windows. This is when you can choose to migrate the current vCenter data, using the vSphere Data Migration tool, from the 32-bit machine to a 64-bit machine where you intend to install vCenter 5.1. To learn how this is done, read the Upgrading a 32-Bit vCenter Server to vCenter 5.1 recipe.

Upgrading the ESXi server

Unlike the vCenter Server, the process of upgrading the ESXi server to version 5.1 is pretty straightforward. It is important that you upgrade the vCenter Server prior to upgrading the ESXi servers. There are different methods to upgrade the ESX server to ESXi 5.1. Refer to the Upgrading to ESXi 5.1 recipe for more information on how the upgrade is done using the ESXi 5.1 installation DVD. References for other methods can be found in the same chapter.

vSphere Web Client

Starting with vSphere 5.1, VMware has introduced a Web Client component that can be used to manage the vSphere environment. Although, I will be using vSphere Web Client for most of the tasks in the chapters, you could still use the vSphere Client to perform the same tasks. But there are certain tasks that can only be done using the vSphere Client. For example, the VMware Update Manager plugin is not available for the vSphere Web Client. Having said that, VMware will be moving all of the vSphere management GUIs to the Web Client in the upcoming versions of vSphere. So it would be good to get used to the vSphere Web Client interface. For instructions on how to install the vSphere Web Client component, refer to the Installing vSphere Web Client recipe.

 

Carrying out pre-upgrade checks before performing a vCenter upgrade


Although running the installation wizard to upgrade the vCenter Server is a straightforward process, there are a few pre-upgrade steps that have to be performed so that you can finish the upgrade process without any issues.

How to do it...

The following are the steps that you have to perform before doing the upgrade:

  1. Check the ESX server compatibility.

  2. Run Host Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker.

  3. Check database compatibility.

  4. Back up the SSL certificates.

  5. Enable the SSL certificate verification.

  6. Uninstall non-default software and its corresponding vCenter plugins.

Checking the ESX server compatibility

This check is very critical, make sure that this is tagged as a mandatory step in your upgrade action plan.

It is again a best practice to check the VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes web page for verification:

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/sim/interop_matrix.php

vCenter Server 5.1 can be used to manage ESX/ESXi 4.x and ESX 5.0.

Note

Note that ESX/ESXi 3.5 or earlier versions cannot be managed using vCenter 5.1.

Running VMware vCenter Host Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker

The VMware vCenter Host Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker feature is run to generate a report showing issues detected on the ESX servers, which in turn would prevent a successful upgrade of the vCenter Host Agent software on the ESXi servers. The component is listed under the Utilities section of the vCenter Server's installer home screen. The following are the steps to run the pre-upgrade checker:

  1. Click on Install to start the installation wizard. It will start downloading data from VMware's online repository to update its reference database.

  2. Once the database is upgraded, it will bring up the VMware vCenter Host Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker wizard. Click on Next to continue.

  3. On the next screen, select the DSN value corresponding to the vCenter Server, choose the appropriate credentials, and Click on Next.

  4. Once the connection to the vCenter Server has been successfully authenticated, then you will be prompted to choose preferred Scan Mode. There are two scan modes:

    • Standard Mode: This will scan all the ESX hosts managed by the vCenter

    • Custom Mode: This will let you choose the ESX hosts that you would like to scan

    I have chosen the Custom Mode radio button. Click on Next to continue.

  5. Select the ESX servers for a pre-upgrade check and click on Next.

  6. On the next screen, click on Run precheck to run the tests on the selected hosts. Then click on Next.

  7. On the next screen, if the ESX hosts has passed the check, then the Last Checked Status value will be Pass.

If any of the hosts failed the pre-check, then the issues reported should be addressed before you retry the upgrade.

Checking database compatibility

It is important that you verify whether the vCenter database in use is compatible with vCenter Server 5.

It is recommended to use the VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes page for verification. Also, refer to the table 4-6 in the Supported Database Upgrades section at page 51 in the vSphere 5.1 Upgrade guide for a complete list of supported database upgrades, available at the following link:

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-51/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-51-upgrade-guide.pdf

Tip

The vCenter installation cannot be rolled back. So if the database is modified during a failed vCenter server installation, there is no going back. Thus, it is a good practice to back up the vCenter database before executing the installer. And, if you have vCenter installed on a VM, then you can back up the entire VM as well.

Backing up the SSL certificates

Make sure that you back up the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates from the folder:

  • On Windows 2003: %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter\SSL

  • On Windows Vista or 2008 Server: %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\VMWare\VMware VirtualCenter\SSL

Enabling SSL certificate verification

By enabling SSL certificate verification, the vCenter Server will verify the validity of the SSL certificates of the ESX servers, when establishing SSL connections with them.

It can be enabled at the vCenter Server by navigating to Administration | vCenter Server Settings | SSL Settings, and selecting the vCenter requires verified host SSL certificates checkbox.

Uninstalling the non-default software and plugins

Since older versions of vCenter plugins will not be compatible with vCenter 5.1, it is recommended that you uninstall the non-default software and its corresponding plugins installed on the vCenter Server machine using Add/Remove Programs prior to the upgrade.

The non-default software and plugins include:

  • vCenter Update Manager

  • vCenter Converter

  • vCenter Guided Consolidation

These plugins can be installed and re-enabled once their corresponding software versions are upgraded.

 

Performing an in-place upgrade of vCenter Server


An in-place upgrade can be performed only if the previous version of vCenter is already running on a 64-bit machine. If the previous version of vCenter is running on a 32-bit machine then you should migrate the vCenter Server's data using the vSphere Data Migration tool.

Only three releases of vCenter Server are eligible for an in-place upgrade:

  • vCenter Server 4.0, if installed on a 64-bit machine

  • vCenter Server 4.1

  • vCenter 5.0

Here is a list of supported 64-bit operating systems vCenter 5.1 can be installed on:

  • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2

  • Windows Server 2003 R2

  • Windows 2008 Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2

  • Windows 2008 R2

  • Windows 2008 R2 Service Pack 1

Note

Starting with vCenter 5.0, Microsoft® Windows XP is no longer supported to host a vCenter Server. Hence, vCenter 5.1 also doesn't support it.

With vCenter 5.1, we now have more than one component involved in the vCenter Server configuration:

  • vCenter Single Sign On

  • vCenter Inventory Service

  • vCenter Server

vCenter Server and the vCenter Single Sign On component's hardware requirements are as follows:

  • Intel/AMD x64 with multiple logical cores clocked at minimum 2 GHz each

  • A minimum of 3 GB memory and 2 GB disk space

  • A network adapter with a minimum speed of 1 Gbps

The vCenter Inventory Service component's hardware requirements are as follows:

  • Intel/AMD x64 with multiple logical cores clocked at a minimum 2 GHz each

  • A minimum of 3 GB memory

  • 60 GB disk space for medium- to large-sized inventories

  • A network adapter with a minimum speed of 1 Gbps

Tip

If the vCenter Single Sign On, Inventory Service, and vCenter Server components are installed on the same machine, then the recommended memory is 10 GB.

The vCenter Server installation bundle can be downloaded from VMware vSphere's downloads page, available at the following link:

https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/info/slug/datacenter_cloud_infrastructure/vmware_vsphere/5_1

The download item will be listed as VMware vCenter Server 5.1.0 and modules, which is available in both ISO and ZIP archives.

Once done, run the AutoRun.exe file, which should bring up the VMware vCenter installer's home screen.

How to do it...

In this section, I will show you how to perform an in-place upgrade of the vCenter Server. This process requires a downtime of the vCenter Server but the VMs hosted on the ESX server will continue to run. It is important that you read the Carrying out pre-upgrade checks before performing a vCenter upgrade recipe, before you proceed:

  1. At the vCenter installation home screen, select vCenter Server Simple Install and click on the Install button to start the installation wizard.

  2. At the InstallShield vCenter Single Sign On wizard screen, click on Next to continue.

  3. At the End User License Agreement screen, select I accept the terms in the license agreement and click on Next.

  4. Provide a new password for the Single Sign On (SSO) administrator account [email protected] and click on Next.

  5. On the next screen, you will be prompted to either install a SQL 2008 R2 Express instance on the same machine or use an already existing supported database. Generally, in case of an upgrade you will already have an existing database server and all you would need to do is run the SQL script to create a database.

  6. If you choose Install a local Microsoft SQL Server R2 Express Instance then supply a new password for the sa user and click on Next.

  7. If you choose Use an existing supported database, then you will have to create a table space for the SSO database by running the SQL script suggested by the installer.

    For instructions on creating a table space refer to the Creating a table space for SSO on a SQL Instance recipe. Once the table space has been created, click on Next to continue.

  8. Next on the Database Information screen, provide the values, so that Single Sign On can create a JDBC connection to the SSO database.

    The database information includes: the database type (Mssql, Oracle, and DB2), the database name RSA, the database server's IP address, and the authentication credentials. The JDBC connection should be authenticated using the security login credentials RSA_USER and RSA_DBA, which are created using the SQL scripts provided by VMware. For instructions on how to manually create the DB users, refer to the Creating DB users for the SSO database recipe.

    You also have an option to specify the JDBC connection URL yourself, by enabling the I will enter the JDBC URL myself checkbox. But you don't really have to go that route, because the installer will generate the JDBC connection URL based on the information you provide.

  9. Once the database information has been supplied, click on Next to continue.

    Note

    In case the connection to the database fails, refer VMware KnowledgeBase article 2039092 to enable static port for the database instance.

  10. Provide the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the machine where the installer is being executed. Make sure that the host record at the DNS server has a corresponding reverse DNS entry, else the installation will not succeed. Click on Next to continue.

  11. You will now be prompted to choose an administrator user for the Security Support Provider Interface service (SSPI) account. I have used the default selection Use network service account and click on Next to continue.

    Note

    For more details on what SSPI is, please refer to the following wiki URL:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_Support_Provider_Interface

  12. Modify the destination folder (install location) of the vCenter Simple Install if required by hitting the Change button. Click on Next to continue.

  13. The next screen displays the HTTPS port number that will be used by SSO. Modify only if required. The default port is 7444. Click on Next to continue.

  14. On the Ready to Install wizard screen, click on Install to begin the installation.

  15. Once done it will automatically start the vCenter Inventory Service installer and will prompt you whether to Do not overwrite. Leave my existing database in place, or Replace my existing database with an empty one with regard to the inventory service database.

    Since we are performing an upgrade, we generally do not intend to replace (overwrite) any of the databases. Hence, we will choose Do not overwrite. Leave my existing database in place and click on Next to continue.

  16. On the next screen, click on Install to begin installation of the VMware vCenter Inventory Service.

  17. Once done, it will automatically start the vCenter Server installer and prompt for a license key. Enter a license key if available or just click on Next to install in evaluation mode:

  18. On the next screen it will detect the already available DSN information. Click on Next to continue.

    It will throw a warning if it detects an incompatible plugin/extension. Click on OK.

  19. On the next screen, choose Upgrade the existing vCenter Server database and click on Next to continue.

  20. Since we have already backed up the SSL folder, select the checkbox acknowledging the same.

  21. On the next screen, choose an intended vCenter Agent upgrade method. For the sake of this example, we will choose Automatic.

  22. On the next screen, the installer prompts for the password of the detected administrator user. In this example, vcadmin is a domain user who has been added to the machine's local "Administrators" group.

  23. Enter the password for the user and click on Next to continue.

  24. The next screen will show the ports that will be in use. Change it only if a change is necessary for your environment; otherwise leave the settings at their defaults.

    On the same screen you could also choose to increase the number of ephemeral ports. Ephemeral ports are ports on the dvSwitch to which the VMs connect, without any binding. Choosing to increase the number of available ephemeral ports will not set a total count on the number of ports configured. The count will be set to zero and you will be allowed to connect as many VMs as possible, with the total number of the ports on the dvSwitch being the limit.

    In this example, we will leave it unchecked. Click on Next to continue.

  25. On the next screen, we will have to choose the planned inventory size, which will in turn determine the vCenter Server's JVM memory requirement.

  26. Select the inventory size and click on Next to continue.

  27. On the next screen, click on Install to begin vCenter Server installation.

Once the installation is complete you should get a message informing successful completion and the server needs to reboot to fully complete the installation.

How it works...

A simple install will set up components in the following order:

  • vCenter Single Sign On

  • vCenter Inventory Service

  • vCenter Server

If these components need to be installed separately, it is recommended that you follow the same order of installation as followed during the simple install.

Single Sign On, once installed, can be used with other vCenter installations in the vSphere environment. Meaning you wouldn't need more than one instance of Single Sign On server. A newly deployed vCenter can be connected to the same authentication server (Single Sign On server).

Unlike the previous upgrades wherein both the local and Active Directory users needed to be registered to the vCenter prior to the upgrade, an upgrade to 5.1 doesn't have this prerequisite.

There's more...

If vCenter's Single Sign On is being installed on a machine that is already added to a domain and is logged in using a domain user with administrator rights on the local machine then the Single Sign On install process will discover the domain and add that as an identity source.

An identity source can be of the following types:

  • Active Directory

  • Open LDAP

  • The name of the local operating system identity source will be:

    • localOS if Linux

    • hostname of the machine if Windows

  • System

    • The default being System-Domain

If the machine is not added to the domain then you could add the domain as an identity source after the installation is complete.

It is possible to add a local operating system identity source to the SSO server. The local operating system identity source will hold the local users on the machine where SSO is installed. For instance, if SSO is installed on a machine other than the one on which vCenter Server is installed, then the local identity source will hold the users from SSO machine and not the vCenter Server.

 

Creating a table space for SSO on a SQL instance


During the installation of Single Sign On, if you choose to use an existing supported database then you would have to manually create a table space for the SSO server's database.

By creating a table space, we are not creating a database schema (logical structure of the database). Instead, we are just creating storage locations of the database's primary and secondary data files and its transaction logfile.

In this recipe, I will show you the steps required to create a table space on an existing SQL Server database instance.

How to do it...

The following procedure will help you create a table space for the SSO server's database:

  1. Copy the rsaIMSLiteMSSQLSetupTablespaces.sql script from the vCenter installation DVD to the database server. The location of the file is as follows:

    CD/DVD ROM :\Single Sign On\DBScripts\SSOServer\schema\mssql

  2. At the database server machine, start the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and make sure that you are connected to the correct database server instance.

  3. Drag-and-drop the rsaIMSLiteMSSQLSetupTablespaces.sql file to the SQL Server Management Studio.

  4. Enter the hard disk location(s) for the database's primary data file (RSA_DATA.mdf), secondary data file (RSA_INDEX.ndf), and the transaction logfile (translog.ldf).

    Although the location(s) you specify is in a local location format, the files are created on the actual database server machine and not on the machine running the SQL Server Management Studio. In this example, I have used the location C:\SSO; you need to make sure that the SSO folder is already created on the database server's C:\.

    Here is how the script would look after specifying the location for the files:

  5. Click on Execute to run the script on the database server instance.

How it works...

Once the query has executed successfully, there will be a database RSA listed under databases in the SQL Server Management Studio's inventory.

On the database server you will see three files created under the specified directory:

If you see three files (RSA_DATA.mdf, RSA_INDEX.mdf, and translog.ldf) at the specified location on the database server, then you have successfully created the table space for SSO.

 

Creating DB users for the SSO database


During the installation of the Single Sign On component, once the table space has been created, the installer would need a database username and password to generate a JDBC connection URL.

This user has to be manually created using the SQL script, rsaIMSLiteMSSQLSetupUsers.sql, available on the vCenter's installation DVD.

How to do it...

The following steps will help you create a DB user using the SQL script rsaIMSLiteMSSQLSetupUsers.sql:

  1. Copy the rsaIMSLiteMSSQLSetupUsers.sql script from the vCenter's installation DVD to the database server. The location of the file is as follows:

    CD/DVD ROM :\Single Sign On\DBScripts\SSOServer\schema\mssql

  2. On the database server machine, start the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and make sure that you are connected to the correct database server instance.

  3. Drag-and-drop the rsaIMSLiteMSSQLSetupUsers.sql file to the SQL Server Management Studio.

  4. Enter new passwords for the RSA_DBA and RSA_USER users.

    Here is how the script would look after the passwords have been supplied:

  5. Click on Execute to run the script on the database server instance.

How it works...

On a successful execution of the query, it creates two security login accounts, RSA_DBA and RSA_USER. It also creates two security users, dbo and RSA_USER, for the RSA database. The dbo user is mapped to the RSA_DBA login and RSA_USER will be mapped to the RSA_USER login.

 

Upgrading a 32-bit vCenter Server to vCenter 5.1


An in-place upgrade is not possible if the vCenter Server that you are trying to upgrade is installed on a 32-bit machine. This is because vCenter Server 5.1 is a 64-bit application. All the vCenter versions prior to vCenter 4.1.x were 32-bit, with vCenter 4.0 being an exception because it could be installed either on a 32-bit or a 64-bit machine.

For an upgrade to vCenter 5.0, we had an option to use the Data Migration tool. Unfortunately, vCenter 5.1 does not support the use of it. You can work around this limitation by using the Data Migration tool to migrate the data first to a 64-bit Windows machine, then install vCenter 5.0 on it, and finally perform an in-place upgrade to vCenter 5.1.

The Data Migration tool can be used to migrate data from the following versions of vCenter:

  • Virtual Center 2.6 Update 6 or later

  • vCenter Server 4.0 and its updated releases

The Data Migration tool is not supported for migrating vCenter 4.1 configurations or databases, because vCenter 4.1 is 64-bit; hence, it would be already installed on a 64-bit machine. It is only used to migrate vCenter data from a 32-bit machine.

The Data Migration tool can migrate the following configuration settings:

  • Port settings for HTTP and HTTPS

  • Port settings for vCenter Heartbeat and vCenter Web Services

  • LDAP data

  • Port settings for LDAP and LDAP SSL ports

  • SSL certificates from the SSL folder

  • License data

  • Database data, for SQL Express database only

    Note

    The Data Migration tool can only be used to migrate a SQL Express database. A non-SQL express database should be backed up manually.

How to do it...

Migrating the vCenter data and database is a two-step procedure:

  1. Back up the setting from the 32-bit vCenter Server.

  2. Restore the settings on to the new 64-bit machine.

Backing up the settings from a 32-bit vCenter Server

The following steps are required to back up the settings on the 32-bit vCenter Server using the Data Migration tool:

  1. Stop the vCenter Server service.

  2. Extract the contents of the ZIP file, datamigration.zip, available on the vCenter installer ISO/ZIP/DVD to a hard disk location on the same machine. The datamigration.zip file can located under the datamigration folder on root the vCenter installer ISO/ZIP/DVD. The location for the file can be as follows:

    DVD/CDROM:\datamigration\datamigration.zip

    The following screenshot shows the contents of the datamigration.zip file once it is extracted:

  3. Once the datamigration.zip archive is extracted, use the Windows command line and navigate to the datamigration folder; then run the backup.bat batch file to initiate the backup process.

    For example, if the ZIP archive was extracted to C:\, then at the command line, change to the C:\Datamigation directory, type backup.bat and hit Enter.

Restoring the configuration on the new machine

Now that you have backed up the needed data, it needs to be transferred to the intended destination machine (64-bit):

  1. Once the backup.bat file is finished with its job, it will dump all the backed up data to the ./data/vc/ folder. To initiate a restore, copy the entire datamigration folder to the 64-bit machine.

  2. Make sure that you have the vCenter Server's installation DVD in the DVD drive or the ISO mounted to the VM (if the destination vCenter Server is virtual machine).

  3. Navigate to the datamigration folder using the Windows command prompt, and run the install.bat batch script.

How it works...

In this section, I will explain how the backup.bat and install.bat batch scripts work, when run on the 32-bit source and the 64-bit destination machines respectively.

What happens when you run the backup.bat batch script on the 32-bit vCenter Server?

When you run this script on the machine running the 32-bit vCenter Server, it will first check the vCenter Server's version and the database's compatibility with the Data Migration tool, and then backs up the configuration setting files. Subsequently, it will upgrade the database schema to Version 5. This is a four-step process:

  1. The original database is backed up.

  2. The database schema is upgraded to Version 5.0.

  3. The upgraded database is backed up.

  4. Restore the original database from the backup that was taken earlier.

It will also try to detect the version of VMware Update Manager installed. If it encounters a version that is not supported then it would let you know that the Update Manager's version prerequisite is not met and it will seek your confirmation to continue with the backup. Such a backup will not include the Update Manager data. It does the same if it does not detect the presence of Update Manager.

Next, the backup script will start backing up the vCenter data (configuration files) and then the database.

The backed-up information will be stored at the DataMigration\Data\vc location, as shown in the following screenshot:

What happens when you run the install.bat batch script on the 64-bit Windows machine where you intend to install vCenter 5.1?

On invoking the migration installer script install.bat, it would access the data from the datamigration directory and start verifying it.

If the machine has a different system name when compared to the source machine, then it will indicate the same and will seek your confirmation to continue. In such cases, once the installation is complete, you will have to modify the <url> tag in the XML file to supply a new system name and re-enable the plugins in the vCenter Plugin Manager. The location of the XML file is as follows:

c:\Program files\VMware\Infrastructure\VirtualCenter Server\extensions\plugin-name

Once the data migration has been successfully verified it will call the vCenter Server installer with the backed-up installation data configuration.

 

Upgrading to ESXi 5.1


After vCenter Server is upgraded to 5.1, the next step is to upgrade the ESX servers to Version 5.1. There are five different methods to upgrade the ESX server:

  • Use VMware Update Manager

  • Use the ESXi installation CD/DVD

  • Scripted upgrade

  • Use the vSphere Auto Deploy server

  • Use the esxcli commands

Note

Note that the esxupdate and vihostupdate utilities are not supported for ESXi 5.1 upgrades.

Although there are different methods, I will be discussing the method using the ESXi Installer ISO or disk in this chapter. For information on how to perform a host upgrade using the Update Manager read Chapter 12, Upgrading and Patching using VMware Update Manager.

And for information on using the vSphere Auto Deploy server read Chapter 3, vSphere Auto Deploy, and Chapter 4, ESXi Image Builder.

Before you decide to upgrade the ESX server to Version 5.1, it is recommended that you verify whether the host hardware is compatible with ESX 5.1. Use the VMware Compatibility Guide web page to verify (www.vmware.com/go/hcl).

Similar to the vCenter upgrade, the ESX upgrade also requires a few pre-checks:

  • The server hardware should support 64-bit and Intel VT (Virtualization Technology) should be enabled in the BIOS.

  • The upgrade requires 50 MB of free space on the local VMFS volume.

  • It is recommended to disconnect the SAN LUNs hosting VMFS volumes prior to the upgrade. This is to prevent the possibility of you unintentionally selecting one of the SAN LUNs for ESX installation. This recommendation, however, made more sense with the older versions of ESX server. With the newer versions, the installer will categorize the storage devices detected as local or remote. So the chance that you might choose a remote SAN volume is reduced.

  • Make sure that the server's hardware clock in the BIOS is set to UTC.

How to do it...

  1. Boot the ESX server with the ESXi 5.1 CD/DVD, choose the ESXi standard installer, and press Enter.

  2. This will load the ESXi 5.1 installer and take you to the installer's welcome screen prompting for a confirmation. Press Enter to continue.

  3. The next screen will prompt you to accept the EULA. Press F11 to accept and continue. It will then scan for devices and prompt for a storage device selection:

  4. Select Local or Remote (if booted from SAN) disk and press F1 to verify the details of the selected disk.

  5. Hit on OK and then press Enter to continue. Because the machine already has an older version of ESX running, the installer will detect the same and will by default suggest an upgrade.

  6. Since we are doing an upgrade, select the first option to upgrade ESXi and preserve the VMFS datastore.

  7. The installer then will prompt you to confirm the upgrade. Press F11 to confirm and initiate the upgrade.

  8. The installer now will begin the upgrade and proceed to completion.

  9. Once the upgrade is complete, press Enter to reboot the server.

This upgrades the ESX server to ESXi 5.1.

How it works...

During the installation, the installer will detect the presence of an existing installation and provide the following options:

  • Upgrade ESX, preserve VMFS datastore

  • Install ESXi, preserve VMFS datastore

  • Install ESXi, overwrite VMFS datastore

If you were upgrading an ESX/ESXi 4.x server instead of 5.x, and if it had custom VIBs that are not included in the installer ISO, then the Upgrade ESX, preserve VMFS datastore option will be replaced by Force Migrate ESX, preserve VMFS datastore.

Unless you choose to overwrite the VMFS datastore, you are not forming a VMFS 5 volume. The Install ESXi, preserve VMFS datastore option will also retain the VMFS 3 filesystem structure.

You will also receive a warning message listing the custom VIBs.

This is not the case when you migrate from ESXi 5.0, because the custom VIB will also be migrated.

Install ESXi, preserve VMFS datastore will do a fresh install of the ESXi 5.1 server but will retain the data in the VMFS datastore.

Install ESXi, overwrite VMFS datastore will do a fresh install of ESXi 5.1 and will also overwrite the contents of the VMFS volume.

The following is a list of configuration files that will be migrated:

  • /etc/sfcb/sfcb.cfg

  • /var/lib/sfcb/registration/repository/root/interop/*

  • /etc/ntp.conf

  • /etc/ntp.drift

  • /etc/ntp.keys

  • /etc/syslog.conf (This is migrated only for ESXi)

  • /etc/security/access.conf

  • /etc/sysconfig/network (vswifs are converted to vmknics)

  • /etc/sysconfig/static-routes

  • /etc/sysconfig/static-routes-ipv6

  • /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/route-$device

  • /etc/nsswitch.conf

  • /etc/krb.conf

  • /etc/krb.realms

  • /etc/krb5.conf

  • /etc/krb5.acl

  • /etc/krb5.keytab

  • /etc/krb5.log

  • /etc/krb5.mkey

  • /etc/pam.d/* (Partially migrated)

  • /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf (Migrated to /etc/vmware/snmp.xml)

  • /etc/motd (Migrated, appends a note mentioning that it was upgraded to ESX 5.1)

  • /etc/vmware/vmiscsid/*

  • /etc/vmware/esx.conf

  • /etc/vmware/hostd/*

  • /etc/vmware/vmauth/authentication.conf

  • /etc/hosts

  • /etc/resolv.conf

  • /etc/fstab (Only NFS entries will be migrated)

  • /etc/passwd (Only root password will be saved)

  • /etc/shadow

 

Installing vSphere Web Client


In this recipe, I will discuss the steps required to install vSphere Web Client.

The vSphere Web Client is an independent server component that is installed and then accessed via the web browser. It is independent because, unlike the older web client or the vSphere Client based on C#, you no longer have to connect the client to the vCenter Server. It connects to its own server and this server component is installed from the vSphere 5.1 installation's welcome screen.

The vSphere Web Client will let you add multiple vCenter Servers to its web-based GUI. Although, I will be using vSphere Web Client for most of the tasks in the chapters, you could still use the vSphere Client based on C# to perform the same tasks. Having said that, there are certain tasks that can only be done using the vSphere Client. For example, the VMware Update Manager plugin is not available for the vSphere Web Client.

How to do it...

  1. At the VMware vCenter 5.1 installer home screen, select VMware vSphere Web Client and click on Install to bring up the vSphere Web Client Installation wizard. Click on Next to continue.

  2. Accept the EULA and click on Next to continue.

  3. On the next screen, you can choose to change the installation location if necessary and click on Next to continue.

  4. The next screen will show you the ports that will be used by the vSphere Web Client. You can change them if required and click on Next to continue.

  5. On the next screen, supply the SSO administrator password and click on Next to continue. Do not modify the value in the Lookup Service URL field:

  6. On the next screen, click on Install to begin the installation.

  7. Once the installation is complete, click on Finish to exit the installation wizard.

There's more...

The following syntax and URL will help you to connect to the vSphere Web Client server:

  • Syntax: https://<IP address or FQDN of the server where vSphere Web Client is installed>/vsphere-client

  • Example: https://192.168.193.50:9443/vsphere-client/

 

Upgrading VMware Tools


Once the server has been upgraded to ESXi 5.1, you can now start running virtual machines on the server. But not everything has been migrated to Version 5.1 yet. VMware Tools running inside the virtual machines need to be upgraded as well.

VMware Tools include the following:

  • VMware device drivers for the virtual machine hardware

  • VMware Tools control panel

  • VMware balloon driver (memctl)

VMware Tools are available in specific type of ISOs (guest-operating type) packed with the ESX server. For Linux, they are also available as VMware Operating Specific Packages (OSPs) for download from the following repository URL:

http://packages.vmware.com/tools

In this recipe, we will learn how to upgrade the VMware Tools on the virtual machines.

How to do it...

The VMware Tools upgrade can be either done using vSphere Web Client or the vSphere Client. I will show you how to perform the task using the vSphere Web Client:

Note

The virtual machine requires a reboot for a successful completion of the VMware Tools upgrade. So, plan for a scheduled downtime to perform this task on the production virtual machines.

  1. Connect to the vCenter Server using the Web Client.

  2. Navigate to the VMs and Templates Inventory view.

  3. Locate the VM and make sure it is powered-on and running.

  4. Right-click on the VM and navigate to All vCenter Actions | Guest OS | Install/Upgrade VMware Tools.

  5. Choose the Automatic Upgrade option and then click on Upgrade to initiate the upgrade.

How it works...

The Automatic Upgrade option requires no user interaction. It will:

  • Automatically uninstall the older version of VMware Tools

  • Install the new version from the ISO that gets mounted

  • Reboot the guest operating system (GOS) to finish the tools upgrade

To verify whether the tools upgrade is successfully completed, log on to the guest operating system then right-click on the system tray icon for VMware Tools, and click on About VMware Tools, which should show you the version of the VMware Tools.

On clicking the About VMware Tools menu item, it should bring up a dialog box showing the tools' version.

You can also check the virtual machine's tools version by navigating to vCenter Servers | Clusters | Related Objects | Virtual Machines. This will list all the virtual machines and its VMware Tools version status. The VMware Tools version status column is not enabled by default, you will have to enable it manually.

There's more...

Since we generally upgrade the virtual machine hardware or VMware Tools after a host upgrade, you will have to perform the upgrade on many virtual machines. Following the procedure we learned so far when dealing with hundreds of VM is always a tedious task. Fortunately we have an alternative method:

  1. Once you are at the vSphere Web Client interface for vCenter, select the datacenter/cluster for the VMs and navigate to the Related Objects tab.

  2. On the Related Objects tab, select the Virtual Machines subtab.

  3. Highlight all or the needed VMs from the list and click on the Actions gear icon to navigate to the Compatibility and the Tools upgrade menu item.

  4. Since you have multiple VMs selected, which may be running on different version of ESX server, you will get an option to choose between the compatible versions of the virtual machine hardware and the number of virtual machines to which the changes will be applied.

 

Upgrading the virtual machine hardware


Once VMware Tools have been upgraded, you can then upgrade the virtual hardware for the virtual machines. The virtual hardware will determine the BIOS/EFI used, CPU and memory maximums for the virtual machine, and other features. The virtual hardware version released with ESX 5.1 is 9. In this recipe, I will discuss the steps required to upgrade the virtual machine hardware. Once you upgrade the virtual hardware version to the current, you cannot downgrade it. If you have a multi-version ESX cluster, then make sure that the VM version (virtual hardware version) is at a level supported by all the participating hosts in the cluster. Also, for the upgrade to complete, the virtual machine requires a downtime.

How to do it...

The virtual hardware upgrade can be either done using vSphere Web Client or the vSphere Client. I will show you how to perform the task using the vSphere Web Client:

  1. Connect to the vCenter Server using the Web Client.

  2. Navigate to the VMs and Templates Inventory view.

  3. Locate the VM and power off if you intend to perform the upgrade now.

  4. Right-click on the VM and navigate to All vCenter Actions | Compatibility | Upgrade VM Compatibility.

  5. Click on Yes in the conformation prompt.

  6. On the Configure VM Compatibility dialog box, select the ESX version you had upgraded the server to and click on OK to finish reconfiguring the VM.

How it works...

We cannot finish the virtual hardware upgrade while the virtual machine is powered on. Hence, we need to power off the virtual machine for an immediate upgrade. If you have a large number of virtual machines, then you can schedule the virtual hardware upgrade to happen during the next reboot of the virtual machine.

Click on Yes to confirm scheduling an upgrade and then select an appropriate version. Click on OK to schedule the upgrade.

About the Author

  • Abhilash G B

    Abhilash G B is a virtualization specialist, author, and a VMware vExpert (2014-2019). His primary focus is in the areas of data center virtualization and cloud computing. He has been in the IT industry for more than a decade and has been working on VMware products and technologies since the beginning of 2007. He holds several VMware certifications, including VCIX6-DCV, VCAP-DCA/DCD, VCP-DCV, VCP-Cloud, and VCP-NV. He is also the author of six other publications.

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