VMware Support Alert – Implementing CA signed SSL certificates with vSphere 5.1

In our effort to provide our viewers with up to the minute information on VMware related news and topics, we’re posting the following Special Alert direct from VMware Support Insider.

SSLOne of the most common things we see in VMware Global Support Services (GSS), regardless of product, version, or customer, is the need to implement custom certificates. This could be for a number of reasons:

  • Security
  • To get rid of the warning when you first login
  • You like a challenge

Whatever the case may be, in vSphere 5.1, the process has changed due to the addition of vCenter Single Sign On (SSO), which adds complexity to the procedure. This is because the majority of services register themselves to SSO. As a result of changing the certificates, the services also need to be re-registered.

As a result of repeated question from customers coming in on this, we gathered our Professional Services, Engineering, and Technical Writers to develop the following Resolution Path to guide you through the various steps through to completion (you can read more about resolution path articles here).

Resolution Path Article:

Child articles in the resolution path are:

Note: It is recommended that you follow the articles in the sequence provided as many steps are dependent on each other.

We have also created an article with the steps for vCenter Server Appliance 5.1:

Finally, we have updated these vSphere 5.0 articles thanks to feedback received on them:

Note: The vCenter Service fails to start up issue is now resolved in vCenter Server 5.1.0a. For more details, refer to KB article:
vCenter Server Services hang on startup after upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 (2035623).

We hope that this helps everyone through their SSL implementation. If you find any errors or anomalies, there’s a feedback form at the bottom of every article. We will be keeping an active eye on your feedback!

Created on October 31, 2012 by Rick Scherer

Posted under Alert, Security, vCenter, vSphere.

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vSphere 5 Video Series – VMware vSphere 5.0 Auto Deploy

Happy Holidays! This video is a continuation of my vSphere 5 Video Series, in this video I cover how to properly leverage VMware vSphere 5.0 Auto Deploy to automatically deploy ESXi hosts in your infrastructure. Auto Deploy is a new feature found in the Enterprise Plus edition of vSphere 5, it allows administrators to deploy stateless images that are deployed via gPXE directly to the RAM of the host. That’s right, ESXi hosts do not require a local HDD/USB/SDCARD to operate as they can simply download their image and configuration (via Host Profile) into RAM and automatically be placed in their correct vCenter Server datacenter/cluster or folder.

As shown above, PowerCLI is used to create an ESXi Image Profile, this image includes the base ESXi installation as well as any additional drivers, third-party integration or plug-in that you would like to include. That Image Profile is then attached to a Deployment Rule that is also created within PowerCLI. The deployment rule dictates what Image Profile is to be used, what host(s) are tied to the deployment rule and some other configuration specifics such as, which Host Profile to attach after the host has been added to vCenter as well as which vCenter DC/Cluster/Folder to add the host to. For example, you can leverage the same Image Profile but have different Deployment Rules based on DRS Cluster.

For those of you that would like to know a little more about how Auto Deploy functions under the covers, there are basically five core components when it comes to Auto Deploy. There is the actual Auto Deploy server (1) which is essentially a web server that pushes an ESXi Image Profile to the server, this is driven by the Rules Engine (2) which is accessed/configured via PowerCLI along with the Image Builder. There is a requirement for a TFTP Server (3) which will store the gPXE bootloader (4) and push it to potential ESXi hosts that are led to it by a DHCP Server (5). Once gPXE is booted it is notified to grab the ESXi Image and Configuration from the Auto Deploy server.

In the video I cover everything that is needed for Auto Deploy to work, including to installation of vCenter Server and the associated Auto Deploy service as well as PowerCLI and creation of the Image Profile and Deployment Rule. By the end of the video you should have a firm understanding of how to leverage Auto Deploy in your environment to its full potential. I even include steps on how to slipstream third party vendor packages into your ESXi Image Profile, including; EMC PowerPath/VE, the VMware vCloud Director agent and the VMware Fault Domain Manager agent (vmware-fdm) which is required for VMware HA to properly function.

For reference, the EMC PowerPath/VE 5.7 vibs can be downloaded from EMC Powerlink, the VMware vCloud Director agent can be copied from your vCloud Director server from the /opt/vmware/vcloud-director/agent folder and the vmware-fdm agent can be grabbed directly from the vCenter Server by adding http://<vcenter-server>/vSphere-HA-depot as an esxsoftwaredepot in PowerCLI.

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Created on December 27, 2011 by Rick Scherer

Posted under vCenter, vSphere.

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vSphere 5 Video Series – Install vCenter 5.0 in Around 5 Minutes

In this video we’re going to cover the installation, configuration and usage of the VMware vCenter 5.0 Server Appliance (vCSA). The vCSA is a brand new production ready Virtual Appliance that allows you to stand up vCenter Server in literally a few minutes. Once you watch the video you’re going to be like, “Hey Rick, that was more than 5 minutes!”.  For that I do apologize, but when you do watch it you will realize we’re doing a lot more than just installing vCenter 5.0.

First a little disclaimer. vCSA is not for everyone, but in my opinion it should definitely be looked at and should be leveraged wherever it can. vCSA is obviously the direction of where the vCenter Server product is going and hopefully relatively soon it should be at par with its Windows based big brother.

So, why isn’t it for everyone?

As of right now it does not have support for integration with VMware Update Manager (VUM), VMware vCenter Linked-Mode, VMware vSphere Storage Appliance (vSA), VMware vCenter Heartbeat and VMware View Composer. Another concern you may have is that it’s embedded database option (based on DB2) is limited to 5 Hosts and 50 Virtual Machines. Think of the embedded option to be similar to the SQL Express Option in vCenter Server for Windows, great for POC, Demo, Test and extremely small SMB situations, but not practical for production. The final nail in the coffin might be that it only supports Oracle to offer external DB functionality.

Some of those constraints are not going to be avoidable, for example if you require more than 1,000 hosts or 10,000 powered on virtual machines you’re obviously going to need Linked-Mode and the Windows based vCenter Server. If you’re looking to deploy a VDI solution based on VMware View, you’re going to need the Windows based vCenter Server as well. But, if you’re like the majority of VMware vSphere customers, have less than 1,000 hosts, are confident in VMware DRS and HA to protect your vCSA and are OK with the fact that you need Oracle for the external database (which you can virtualize as well)….the vCSA might be for you!

One last thing I wanted to comment on was VMware Update Manager, in my opinion the lack of VUM support for the vCSA might not be that big of an issue, and here’s why; With the introduction of vSphere 5.0, VMware also introduced a few new features, Auto Deploy and Image Builder. These features tied together with Host Profiles truly enable the concept of stateless ESXi. My thought is, if you need to update your ESXi host, simply update the Auto Deploy rule and reboot the machine. Upon the next boot it will automatically be updated and configured properly.  Obviously VUM does a lot more than just ESXi patching, but again, for the majority of vSphere customers they’d be just fine with Auto Deploy.

So have a view of this video to see just how easy it is. I have sped up some portions of the video, specifically the loading of the vSphere Client as well as the deployment of the vCSA OVF template. Also, I suggest watching the video in full-screen mode by clicking the icon on the bottom right of the video. If for whatever reason the video isn’t displaying, you can also use the following link to view; http://youtu.be/o2f1b1vYSis

Created on October 13, 2011 by Rick Scherer

Posted under vCenter, vSphere.

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vmware 2011 Mega Launch

It is 9am Pacific Time on Tuesday, July 12th 2011 and I sure hope you’re tuned into the vmware Mega Launch so greatly titled “Raising the Bar, Part V”. If you’re not watching the live broadcast, stop right here and tune into it by clicking this link, then come back and read this post.

Spoiler alert… reading beyond this point talks about amazing updates and new features from vmware!

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Created on July 12, 2011 by Rick Scherer

Posted under Cloud, Security, SRM, Storage, vCenter, VMware HA, vSphere.

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Thinapped vSphere Client

The VMware Labs team released a little gem of something that I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. Taking the full install of the vSphere Client and creating a ThinApp package out of it…that’s right, the entire application in one small and easy to use executable file. The details on the flings page says it best…

Run vSphere client 4.1 in a snap. No install, just download the EXE and double-click. Place the ThinApped vSphere client on any network share and it will automatically stream to any Windows PC with no installation, agents, drivers, or specialized servers required. Carry ThinApped vSphere client and your customization on USB stick and now your vSphere client is available on the GO!

Download it for yourself from here today!

Created on April 11, 2011 by Rick Scherer

Posted under vCenter, vSphere.

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VMware vCenter XVP Manager

vmware Labs has released vCenter XVP Manager and Converter, their first stab into management of non-VMware virtualized environments. vCenter XVP Manager allows you to use the vSphere Client to manage Hyper-V Server 2008 hosts and their associated virtual machines, it also allows you to easily migrate those Hyper-V based virtual machines into VMware virtual machines.

The installation is pretty simple, you first install a server piece that could very well be installed on your vCenter Server, then you install a XVP Manager Plug-in into your vSphere Client which is done via the vSphere Client Plug-in Manager.

This product is currently only listed as a vmware Labs Fling, which means that it is not guaranteed that it will continue beyond it’s 1.0 Technical Preview status, but if people like it and push vmware for this type of functionality we may very well see it embedded within the core vCenter Server product.

For more information and to download vmware vCenter XVP Manager check out the vmware Labs website.

Created on February 26, 2011 by Rick Scherer

Posted under Hyper-V, vCenter.

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VMware vSphere 4.1 is Available!

Just about an hour ago VMware lifted the NDA on VMware vSphere 4.1 and made available all of the information on this latest release as well as the bits for download available to the public.

I will be covering a more in-depth review on this latest release really soon but I did want my readers to know that the bits are available for download from the VMware website.


The upgrade to ESX(i) 4.1 should be relatively easy by using traditional update methods such as VMware Update Manager (VUM).  However, the upgrade to vCenter Server 4.1 is more of a migration since it will only support a full 64-bit environment. Still don’t fret, a vCenter server migration is pretty simple just make sure you have a FULL backup of your vCenter Server database.

Also a little FYI….rumor has it that this will be the final build containing a full ESX install (Service Console). Today might be a good day to start planning that migration to ESXi.

Created on July 13, 2010 by Rick Scherer

Posted under vCenter, vSphere.

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VMware vCenter Server 4.0 Update 2

VMware has just dropped the second major update bundle (Update 2) for their flagship virtualization management product, VMware vCenter server.  This update addresses a number of issues found since the release of Update 1 as well as a number of improvements, such as:

Guest Operating System Customization Improvements: vCenter Server now supports customization of the following guest operating systems:

  • Windows XP Professional SP2 (x64) serviced by Windows Server 2003 SP2
  • SLES 11 (x32 and x64)
  • SLES 10 SP3 (x32 and x64)
  • RHEL 5.5 Server Platform (x32 and x64)
  • RHEL 5.4 Server Platform (x32 and x64)
  • RHEL 4.8 Server Platform (x32 and 64)
  • Debian 5.0 (x32 and x64)
  • Debian 5.0 R1 (x32 and x64)
  • Debian 5.0 R2 (x32 and x64)

Here are some of the key issues that are resolved in this update;

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Created on June 10, 2010 by Rick Scherer

Posted under vCenter, vSphere.

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vMotion over Distance support with EMC VPLEX Metro

Last month at EMC World we released a storage virtualization product unlike any other. EMC VPLEX not only virtualizes back-end storage from other vendors it also allows shared storage to be presented active/active over long distances. This capability makes it possible for long distance vMotion and brings a new technical term to disaster planning, Disaster Avoidance.

Imagine you’re planning a datacenter shutdown due to a power outage or building maintenance, or perhaps that wildfire is making its way to your office location. Now you have the flexibility to be able to avoid major downtime by simply swinging your workloads to an off-site datacenter.

VMware has taken notice and has officially released a KB article detailing out full support for long distance vMotion with the EMC VPLEX product. More information on this KB article can be found at http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1021215. Perhaps you want to know more about VPLEX or even see a demo of it in action? Chad Sakac posted a great breakdown of how it works along with some videos on his website, check it out now.

Created on June 8, 2010 by Rick Scherer

Posted under Backup & Recovery, Storage, vCenter, vSphere.

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VMware Releases VI3 Update 5

Sometime yesterday ESX(i) Update 5 finally hit VMware Update Manager, about 2 days after the official announcement and release on the VMware website. This announcement includes updates for ESX, ESXi and vCenter Server. In addition to Update 5 being released there were about 20 additional updates made available for ESX(i), including 16 which were marked as critical.

The following information provides highlights of some of the enhancements available in this release of VMware ESX Server, this information can be found in the VMware ESX(i) 3.5 U5 Release Notes:

Enablement of Intel Xeon Processor 3400 Series– Support for the Intel Xeon processor 3400 series has been added. Support includes Enhanced VMotion capabilities. For additional information on previous processor families supported by Enhanced VMotion, see Enhanced VMotion Compatibility (EVC) processor support (KB 1003212).

Driver Update for Broadcom bnx2 Network Controller– The driver for bnx2 controllers has been upgraded to version 1.6.9. This driver supports bootcode upgrade on bnx2 chipsets and requires bmapilnx and lnxfwnx2tools upgrade from Broadcom. This driver also adds support for Network Controller – Sideband Interface (NC-SI) for SOL (serial over LAN) applicable to Broadcom NetXtreme 5709 and 5716 chipsets.

Driver Update for LSI SCSI and SAS Controllers – The driver for LSI SCSI and SAS controllers is updated to version 2.06.74. This version of the driver is required to provide a better support for shared SAS environments.

Newly Supported Guest Operating Systems – Support for the following guest operating systems has been added specifically for this release:

For more complete information about supported guests included in this release, see the VMware Compatibility Guide: http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=software.

  • Windows 7 Enterprise (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 7 Ultimate (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 7 Professional (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 2008 R2 Standard Edition (64-bit)
  • Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition (64-bit)
  • Windows 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition (64-bit)
  • Windows 2008 R2 Web Server (64-bit)
  • Ubuntu Desktop 9.04 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Ubuntu Server 9.04 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Newly Supported Management Agents – See VMware ESX Server Supported Hardware Lifecycle Management Agents for current information on supported management agents.

Newly Supported Network Cards –This release of ESX Server supports HP NC375T (NetXen) PCI Express Quad Port Gigabit Server Adapter.

Newly Supported SATA Controllers – This release of ESX Server supports the Intel Ibex Peak SATA AHCI controller.

In addition to the enhancements found in ESX(i) 3.5 U5, there is also one lonely enhancement made to vCenter Server 2.5 U5:

Support for High Consolidation in VMware HA Clusters– VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 5 includes significant performance and scalability improvements to VMware HA. Use VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 5 for environments with more than 35 virtual machines per host in an HA cluster.
For information on the ESX Server host settings required for this scalability improvement, see ESX Server host settings required for environments with up to 80 virtual machines per host in an HA Cluster (KB 1012002).

Updating your ESX servers can and should be done with VMware Update Manager. To upgrade your vCenter Server installation you’ll need to download the installation ISO or ZIP from the VMware website and perform an in-place upgrade. Be sure to create a backup of your vCenter Server database then follow the steps in the Installation Guide.

Created on December 6, 2009 by Rick Scherer

Posted under ESX 3.5 Tips, ESXi 3.5 Tips, vCenter.

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