Being a VMware Partner has its perks and EMPOWER is definitely one of them! In previous years we had PEX which was scheduled alongside VMworld, but attending the technical sessions the weekend before was tough and made for a very long week in Vegas Last year this returned to its original standalone schedule with a great location and provided a lot more content to technical partners.
2019 is no different, and definitely improved upon with the addition of Lisbon (Europe) and Singapore (Asia) conference locations. VMware has also done a great job of listening to partner feedback to make this a standout event with recently added sessions like:
- VMware’s Storage and Availability Vision and Strategy
- VMware’s Hybrid Cloud Vision and Strategy
- Partner VCDX Session: Customer Win with Hyper-Converged Infrastructure
- Partner VCDX Session: Customer Win – Architectural Considerations for SDDC Customer Wins
- Partner VCDX Session: Customer Win – Hybrid Cloud Use Cases
Here are some of the highlights that I think are worth mentioning and what you can provide to your manager as reasons for attending, other than this awesome letter of course.
- Exclusive access to the same content that is enabling the VMware field teams. All marketing fluff has been removed 😊
- Hands-on labs are available with first time access to brand new labs for VMC on AWS and PKS.
- Expert led Livefire workshops with technical content and training.
- Free VMware certification tests for all technical tracks, which can help your company achieve their competencies. Register for exam here.
- Separation between technical and sales roles with dedicated sales conference on last 2 days of event
- Interaction with experts showcasing the latest VMware products in the Demo Zone
- Networking with other like-minded partners
- Team building! In many cases your teams are spread out across the country and this a great way to get together for some team building activities.
Schedule Builder will be opened publicly to all registrants on Thursday, March 7th at 11AM PST.
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
- 2 x vRA appliances
- 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:
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
- For vCloud Director, storage policy driven pricing is now available.
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…