It has been a while since my last post, (just had too much going on) but I have been putting it off for way too long and I finally upgraded my vRA lab to 7.5. Here are my notes.
My distributed enterprise vRA 7.4 environment consists of the following components:
- vRA VIP
- vRA IaaS Manager VIP
- 2 x Windows vRA IaaS Manager Service servers
- vRA IaaS Web VIP
- 2 x Windows vRA IaaS Web servers
- 2 x Windows vRA DEM + Agent servers
- vRO VIP
- 2 x external vRO appliances
- External SQL database for vRA and vRO
- Running SovLabs extensibility software
There are 2 options available to get to the desired state with either an in-place upgrade of your existing vRA environment or to build out a new greenfield vRA and migrate your data over (VMware calls this a side-by-side upgrade).
If you are currently running 6.2.0 – 6.2.4 or 7.0.x, or have vCloud Director or vCloud Air endpoints you have to migrate!
Always before upgrading, make sure you have successful backups of all your nodes and while you’re at it also take snapshots of all the servers and backup your vRA and vRO database! You can never be too careful, ever! The upgrade steps for vRA are the same as what I have blogged about here. For this exercise, I am performing an in-place upgrade of vRA from 7.4 to 7.5, so please review the documentation if you upgrading from 6.2.5.
- Also, verify that all appliances and servers that are part of your deployment meet the system requirements for vRA 7.5 and also consult the VMware Product Interoperability Matrix about compatibility with other VMware products.
- I also have SovLabs plugins installed so make sure to upgrade SovLabs to a vRA 7.5 compatible version. At the time of the post, I upgraded to 2018.3.1. Upgrade steps for SovLabs can be found here.
vRealize Suite LifeCycle Manager (vRSLM) has now been around for a while and if you are a vRealize or vCloud Suite license holder this is definitely a product that should be part of our VMware portfolio. I am a bit backward because in my last post is showed how to upgrade your vRA environment using vRSLM and only now will I show how to actually install vRA which actually just comes out of necessity because one of my colleagues accidentally delete all my lab servers 🙂
For this post, I am using the latest vRSLM 1.3 and will be deploying a distributed vRA 7.4.
- jvra01 – vRA appliance with embedded vRO (recommended design to use embedded instead of external vRO since 7.3)
- jvra02 – vRA appliance with embedded vRO
- jvraweb01 – vRA IaaS Web
- jvraweb02 – vRA IaaS Web
- jvramgr01 – vRA IaaS Manager
- jvramgr02- vRA IaaS Manager
Since vSSLM automates and simplifies the deployment of your VMware SDDC stack, most of your time will be spent on prerequisites, so let’s start with that.
- Manually deploy 4 x vRA Iaas Windows Servers in your vCenter Server environment.
- Make sure they are added to the domain and DNS and NTP is working.
- Disable UAC on all Windows servers. Make sure to reboot if you have to disable this.
- Make sure that IPv6 is disabled on all Windows servers
- Add the windows service account as part of User Rights Assignment under Local Security Policies for Log on as a Service and Log on as a batch job on all windows machines.
- Verify the minimum resource requirements is set on all Windows servers. Set to at least 8GB.
- SQL Database
- Make sure the domain user has added the SQL server to the domain
- Make sure the domain user is added as part of the SQL DB user Logins list with the sysadmin privilege
- Load Balancer
- Make sure that the second member of each pool in the vRealize Automation load balancer is disabled.
There are also some scripts available to download to verify the prerequisites when you run the precheck for the creation of the vRA environment so this can be done later as well.
- Ensure that the vRSLCM appliance has correct FQDN configured
- Command for correcting the hostname is “/opt/vmware/share/vami/vami_set_hostname <hostname>”
- After setting the correct hostname, verify by using the command “hostname -f” or from 1.3 version of LCM, we can also verify from the settings page.
- Under vRSLM settings:
- Register with My VMware to access licenses, download Product Binaries, and consume Marketplace content.
- Download the vRealize Automation 7.4.0 product
- If you already have the OVA downloaded then you can import it under the Product binaries tab.
- Verify that you have vRealize Automation binaries status as completed.
- If you using a self-signed certificated in your environment (not recommended), then create a self-signed wildcard certificate for vRealize Suite product deployments.
- Best is to generate a single SAN certificate with all the product or management virtual host names or a wildcard certificate and provide this certificate when you create the environment for the first time. This ensures support for post provisioning actions such as Add Products and Scale Out.
- Configure NTP Servers for deploying products in environments
- Under Data Centers
- Create a Data Center with an associated location.
- Add the vCenter Server where the vRA environment will be deployed to.
- Make sure the data collection is successful.
As with most of my other blog posts, I am just providing a step by step guide for quick reference. Please refer to the documentation here for detailed information and please read the vRealize Automation 7.4 Release Notes known issues section which is updated regularly and helps you to be better prepare for the upgrade.
My environment consists of a distributed vRealize Automation running version 7.2 with an external clustered vRealize Orchestrator, which I am upgrading and not migrating to 7.4 Build 8182598. This will be a similar process if you have vRA 7.1 and greater. If you have an older version, refer to VMware’s documentation here.
The in-place upgrade process for the distributed vRA environment happens in 3 stages in the following order:
- vRealize Automation appliances
- IaaS Web server
- vRealize Orchestrator
Pre-requisites before we start:
- Make sure all VMware products are compatible with vRA’s current and new release by consulting the Product Interoperability Matrix.
- Verify enough storage space on servers
- At least 5GB on IaaS, SQL and Model Manager
At least 5 GB on the root partition of vRA appliance
5 GB on the /storage/db partition for the master vRA appliance
5 GB on the root partition for each replica virtual appliance
- Verify that MSDTC is enabled on all vRA and associated SQL servers.
- Check that the service “Distributed Transaction Coordinator” is running.
- The primary IaaS Website node (Model Manager data is installed) must have JAVA SE Runtime Environment 8, 64 bits, update 161 or later installed, and also verify JAVA_HOME environment variable is set correctly after the upgrade.
- If using embedded Postgres DB in a distributed vRA environment
- On master vRA node, navigate to /var/vmware/vpostgres/current/pgdata/
- Close any opened files in the pgdata directory and remove any files with a .swp suffix
- Verify the correct ownership of all files in this directories: postgres:users
- In a distributed vRA environment, change Postgres synchronous replication to async.
- Click .
- Click Async Mode and wait until the action completes.
- Verify that all nodes in the Sync State column display Async status
- I have only a master and replica so I am already async but just FYI
- In vRA tenants verify the following
- Make sure that no custom properties have spaces in the names.
- All saved and in-progress requests have finished successfully
Additional requirements before we start:
VMware’s vRealize Suite of Products are great, and each provides a lot of features and capabilities, and VMware has been working hard on integration between the products. However, these products are very much standalone with no cohesion between them from a lifecycle management perspective. This creates a lot of management overhead to install, upgrade, configure and manage all these products, as well the additional solution extensions.
In comes vRealize Suite LifeCycle Manager (vRSLCM) which is a relatively new product and is available to all customers with a vRealize Suite license. It automates the installation, configuration, and upgrading of the following products:
- vRealize Automation
- vRealize Operations Managers
- vRealize Log Insight
- vRealize Business for Cloud
In this blog, I am going to provide the steps on how to import an existing distributed Enterprise vRA 7.2 environment and perform the upgrade to 7.4 using vRSLCM 1.2.
Let’s start off with the initial creation of the environment, which does require a lot of information up front, but once you create or import products into the environment at a later time, it will make use of this stored environment information.
- Log in to your vRSLCM
- Select Create Environments
- Enter Environment Data
- Data Center (this you should have created during the initial configuration of your vRSLCM environment)
- Environment Type
- Environment Name
- Administrator email
- Default root password
- Click Next
- Create Environment
- Check the box for vRealize Automation
- Since we already have an environment that we need to import, select the import Radio button.
- Click Next
- Scroll down to bottom.
- Check the box to accept the terms and conditions.
- Either pick a vRealize Suite license which will populate from your my.vmware.com account, or enter one manually.
- Click Next
- Infrastructure Details (This information is used if you deploy new products)
- Select vCenter Server where your vRealize Suite products reside in.
- Select Cluster
- Select Network
- Select Datastore
- Select preferred Disk format for product deployments.
- Click Next
- Network (This information is used if you deploy new products)
- Enter default gateway of the network where your vRealize Suite products are deployed or will be deployed too.
- Enter Domain Name
- Enter search path
- Enter DNS
- Enter Netmask
- Click Next
- Certificates (I import a wildcard certificate or you can use multi-domain certificate would be a good choice to simplify the process)
- Click Next to use the self-signed generated certificate or click the import certificate button to add existing wildcard or SAN certificate.
- Click Next
- Import (Since we selected import we now get ask questions about our existing environment)
- Enter vRA root password
- Enter vRA Default Administrator password
- Enter Tenant User name.
- Selecting the “administrator” user works just fine here.
- Enter vRA Primary Node FQDN
Enter IaaS Username.
- I used the domain service account assigned to all IaaS servers
- Default vRA Tenant name is select “vsphere.local”
- Enter vRA Tenant password
- Enter IaaS Password for the domain account.
- Select vCenter Server from the drop-down where the vRA server is running on.
- Click Next
- Review summary
- Click Download configuration to save the JSON file for later use.
- Click Submit
- This will run for a while to configure the environment and import vRA
- If it fails, you have a couple of options
- Review the requests
- Under actions select retry and verify the information that you have entered.
- Delete the environment and start over (1.2 provides the ability to specify if you also want to delete the VMs when you delete a fully configured environment, definitely not recommended to do so in most cases!)
- If you want to pause the import, you can always come back later and resume\
- Verify the vRA product environment
- Select Environment tab on the left side
- Select View details of the newly created environment
- Verify that all the information of your distributed vRA environment is accurate. vRSLCM collects all your VIP names, vRA-, IaaS- and Database Servers as well as where each component resides.
I just recently got back from a productive VMware Partner Empower Conference and since then I have been trying make some time to grind through the installing and upgrades of 10 new product releases. (Sorry I am a bit behind in getting this blog post publish) Yes, you heard correct 10! I do hope VMware in the future consider staggering the product release as well as align the product compatibility.
Here is a list of new product updates available:
- vRealize Automation 7.4.0 Release Notes Download
- vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 7.4.0 Release Notes Download
- vRealize Code Stream 2.4 Release Notes Download
- vRealize Business for Cloud 7.4.0 Release Notes Download
- vRealize Operations Manager 6.7.0 Release Notes Download
- vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager 1.2 Release Notes Download
- vRealize Log Insight 4.6.0 Release Notes Download
- vCenter Server 6.7 Release Notes Download
- vSphere ESXi 6.7 Release Notes Download
- vSphere Replication 8.1 Release Notes Download
Now let’s see the awesomeness that each of the new products brings.
vRealize Automation 7.4.0
- Custom Request Forms Designer has been vastly improved!
- Deployment of Blueprint from an OVF on AVA. sweet!
- Improvement in the handling items in an in-progress state. This was a big pet peeve of mine which has finally been addressed!
- Message board portlet security has been enhanced with a whitelist for URLs
- Multitenancy in vRealize Orchestrator is great since now we do not have to deploy multi vRO environments for different tenants.
vRealize Orchestrator Appliance 7.4.0
- Multitenancy in vRO, need we say more! Allows for full isolation of content items and execution and no more need to deploy separate vRO environment for tenants.
- Web-based Clarity UI update with new monitoring dashboards for workflow runs and metrics to monitor and troubleshoot workflow runs including centralized log views.
vRealize Code Stream 2.4
- General defect fixes and improvements.
vRealize Business for Cloud 7.4.0
- If you are running vRBC 6.x.x a direct upgrade is not possible and you must first upgrade to 7.3.1!
- If you upgrade to 7.4.0, any vRealize Automation VMs that are deleted in the current month before the upgrade will be missing in the current months vRA Report. There is currently no fix and the workaround is to download the vRA Report before you upgrade. KB 2151835
- Enhancements to the VMC on AWS assessment with FTT and Erasure coding.
- Pricing and Chargeback capabilities enhancements
- For vCloud Director, storage policy driven pricing is now available.
- For vCD, you can define T-Shirt sizes for Pay-as-you-go VMs. This is cool and I wish we can get this in vRA as well for Component Profile!
- Apply differential rate for vCPU and Memory, that is beyond the guaranteed resources
- Apply daily pricing of OS license consumption
- Network pricing enhancements
- vCloud Director usage and charge details through report API
- Security enhancements
I do not think that enough people are aware of this Fling, and that is really unfortunate.
First I want to take a step back and provide some history as to how this came about. As most of you know, there is no easy way to live migrate a VM between different vCenter Servers that are not in Enhanced linked mode, which connects multiple vCenter Server systems together by using one or more Platform Services Controllers.
Some methods I have used in the past:
- Host migration to target vCenter Server:
- Remove the managed ESXi host from the source vCenter and add it to the target vCenter and then perform a regular vMotion. This method, however, comes with a lot of caveats for instance in order to remove the ESXi hosts all the ports groups needs to be on Standard Switches so this requires a migration from VDS to VSS. Additional information available here
- Enhanced linked mode
- Setup enhanced linked mode between vCenter servers and perform a vMotion or Storage vMotion between the vCenter Servers, but this solution is not ideal when the source vCenter Server will get decommissioned. There is a way using supported workflows to remove ELM but is not supported by VMware so there is that! Good article by William about splitting vCenter Servers in ELM here.
- Hybrid Cloud Extention (HCX)
- HCX is another option that I am very excited about trying in near future which provides vMotion, Bulk Migration, WAN optimization and automated VPN with Strong Encryption. I have tested the tool for migration between on-prem and VMC on AWS and all I can say it is a game changer. Some more on that later in the year…
So getting back to why we are here! With not having the ability to vMotion between 2 non-ELM vCenter Servers, William Lam took it upon himself to write a script using the vSphere API with PowerCLI that finally provides the sorely missed capability to vMotion a VM between 2 vCenter Servers that are in different domains! So naturally, the evolution of making the script easier to consume is to provide a nice looking GUI with a fling!
Here you can find the Fling written by Vishal Gupta and William Lam. Props to both for all the time and effort to provide such a value-added feature.
Version 2.0 has been released which brings some great new enhancements, especially the top 3 listed below.
- Added support to select individual host as the placement target
- Added support for migrating VMs with shared datastore
- Added clone functionality in addition to relocate
- Added resource summary details for placement targets
- Added a prompt to verify site thumbprint during SSL verification
- Added a link to refresh VM list in the inventory view
- Updated REST APIs to add operation type parameter
To run the fling you need => vCenter Server 6.0 and => Java Runtime 1.8.
To start the fling open a command prompt and type the following:
- # java -jar xvm-2.0.jar
- this will start the fling on port 8080 on the localhost.
- If you want to change the port because it is in use, add the following flag:
- Connect to your localhost with port specified
- Select the Register tab and register to your source and target vCenters servers.
- Select the Migration tab, provide information start the migration.
- Watch the magic happen…
vRNI can be a great tool in your networking and security operations arsenal, with loads of features to support your physical, virtual and cloud environments.
There is already a lot of great material available for vRNI but here are just some of the primary use-cases:
- Plan Application security and migration
- Micro-segmentation planning with automatic firewall rules recommendations.
- Manage and Scale NSX
- Multiple NSX Managers with proactive detection of misconfiguration errors
- Optimize and Troubleshoot Virtual and Physical networks
- Optimize application performs by removing bottlenecks
- Audit network and security changes over time.
Also, the vRNI feature walkthrough page of VMware is excellent for an introduction
So back to why we are here! When you have a hybrid cloud strategy and have to move applications to the cloud you definitely want to know a couple of things:
- Which VMs are sitting idle or are over-provisioned on resources?
- vRealize Operations (vROps) should be your go-to tool to identify all these VMs
- How much will cost to place my VMs into any of Cloud Solutions available out there, including VMC on AWS?
- vRealize Business for Cloud should be your go-to tool to provide pricing for different cloud-based solutions on a selected VM/application.
- If you have multi-tiered applications, do you know the dependencies between the VMs and on which port/s they communicate with?
- There are a lot of tools available that can provide application dependency mappings, but for this exercise, we are just looking at vRealize Network Insight (vRNI).
Let’s look at the steps to create an application dependency mapping, which is very similar to the steps you will use to create your micro-segmentation firewall rules.
- Step 1: Select the initial VM that you have identified for the application.
- Using VRNI powerful search capabilities, type the query “VM where name = ‘vmname.’
- For the duration, if you have collected information for a while, then select maybe the last 7 days as your time frame
- Click Search
- The VM can be selected in different ways like:
- Path and Topology -> VM
- Entities -> VM
- This will show information about the VM, click on the VM name.
- Click on Flows in the toolbar
- Review the VM Flows – Allowed and VM Flows – Denied
- This shows all the flows to and from the selected VM
- Click on the 3 vertical dots and select “Export as CSV.”
- This exported document provides columns for all source and destination VMs that are connecting to your selected VM. Use this to start your application dependency mapping by creating an application in vRBC.
- Select Entities -> Applications
- Click Add Application
- Enter Application Name
- Enter Tiers and conditions to identify the VM or IP address
- Add the VMs that you have identified as Source and Destination VMs in the flows.
- You can also add more conditions to fine tune the VM select and also add additional Tiers.
- Select Analyze Flows
- Click Save
- Step 2: Select the application, and add any additionally identified entities as the first hop.
- Select Security -> Applications
- Under scope drop-down select Application
- Select Application name created in step 1
- For Duration you can select anything but 7 days would be good to cover all different connectivity scenarios that might occur.
- Click Analyze
- On the Micro-segmentation view
- Under “Group By” select VM
- Under “Also show groups for” select All
- Under Flow, Types select “All allowed flows.”
- This will provide you with a presentation of how your application VMs are talking with one another
- However, more importantly, you will see “other entities,” in grey boxes, which is what we are really interested in:
- You can also filter based the groups to show all the entities associated with the groups below
- If you select virtual, you will be presented with a list of all the VMs that communicate to the applications, and have not yet been identified.
- Again you export the CSV.
- Review these VM’s and add them to the application.
- If you select physical, you will be presented with a list of IP addresses for all the physical servers are you connecting too in your environment.
- Review these VM’s and add the physical IP address to your application.
- Shared Virtual
- If you select Shared Virtual, you will be presented with a list of VMs that are connected to all the VMs in your application.
- Review these VM’s and add them to the application.
- If you select Internet, you will be presented with a list of public IP addresses that your application is connecting too.
- Review these public IP addresses and take note of them
- Step 3: Manually create your application dependency mapping
- If you really want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes then repeat step 2.
- This will provide additional virtual, physical, shared and internet entities, based on the updated application.
- Unfortunately is no way in vRNI to show a network connectivity diagram of the application like you were able to see in VIN so you would have to create your own Visio, making use of the flow diagram or exported CSVs to identify individual connectivity.
This is my own method and not sure if right or wrong, but if anyone has figured out a different or better way, please let me know!