Can you upgrade and Upsize your VCSA?

While brainstorming about one of our labs, the question was raised on whether you can upsize your VCSA while upgrading to a newer version. Specifically, from 6.5u2 to 6.7U1 (build 8815520 to 11726888). We wanted to upgrade to the latest version but we also believe we had outgrown the original VCSA size that we deployed. VMware has made this really simple. I did a quick test in my home lab, and that is what this post will be based on.

To start you obtain the VCSA .iso that you are going to upgrade to. After you download it, you go ahead and mount it. Just like you would with a normal install/upgrade, run the appropriate installer. For me it is the Windows one which is located under the \vcsa-ui-installer\win32 directory. The installer.exe launches the following window:

We chose the Upgrade icon here. The next screen lets you know this is a 2-stage process. How it will perform this is:

  1. It will deploy a new appliance that will be your new vCenter.
  2. All of your current data and configurations will be moved over from the old VCSA to the new.

After the copy process is complete it will power off the old VCSA but not delete it. Move to the next screen and accept the License Agreement. The third screen looks like this:

You need to put in the information of the source VCSA that you will be migrating from here. Once you click Connect To Source it will ask you for more info. Specifically, what is your source VCSA being hosted on. This could be a single host or it could be another vCenter.

You will be asked to accept the SSL Certificates. The next screen will ask you for where you are going to put the new appliance. This can be either a host or a vCenter instance.

Step 5 is setting up the target appliance VM. This is the new VCSA that you will be deploying. Specifically, what do you want to name it and what the root password is.

Step 6 is where we can change the size of the deployment. I had a tiny in the previous deployment and I decided that was too small. This time I want to go one step up to the “Small” size. You can see the deployment requirements listed below in a table.

Next step is configuring your network settings.

And the last screen to this stage is just to confirm all your settings. This will then deploy the appliance (during which you grab a nice glass of scotch and wait…preferably something nice like my Macallan 12yr)
Once that has been finished, you are off to Part 2 of the process: Moving your information over. The first screen you will be presented with (after running checks) is Select Upgrade Data. You will be given a list of the data you can move over and approximate number of scotches you will need for the wait. (Maybe that last part is made up, but hey you can find out anyway amirite?)

Since my environment that I am moving is relatively pristine, I don’t have much data to move. It is estimating 39 min but it actually took less time. You make your decision (seems pretty straightforward what kind of data you would be interested in) and move to the next screen which is whether you join VMware’s CEIP program or Customer Experience Program. The last screen before the operation kicks off is a quick summary and then a check box at the bottom asking you to make sure you were a decent sysadmin and backed up the source vCenter before you start this process. I personally did not on this, but like I said there was no data on it anyways. So we kick off the operation.

Clicking Finish gives you notification box that the source vCenter will be shutdown once this is complete. Acknowledge that and away we go!

Once completed successfully, you are given the prompt to enter into your new vCenter which I have done here and here is the brand new shiny.

I will also link the video here to the process. The video is about 15 min long (truncated from about 45 min total) Disclaimers include: There are many more things you will need to think about before doing this to a production environment. Among them are, will all the versions of VMware products I have work together. You can find that out by referencing here:

https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/sim/interop_matrix.php#interop
Interoperability Matrix for VMware products

You also need to make sure you can Upgrade from your current version to the selected version by going to the same page above but on the Upgrade Path

Another really important thing to consider is what order you need to upgrade your products. You can find that for 6.7 here.

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/53710
Update sequence for vSphere 6.7 and its compatible VMware products (53710)

VMworld 2018 post-summary

Wow, so there was a ton of activity that happened last week. VMworld 2018 US edition has now passed and was amazing. This particular one was pretty sweet for me as this marked a number of firsts for me. While I’ve been before, this is the first time I’ve played a role other than just visiting sessions and HOL’s. While that was enjoyable and a great learning experience, being able to experience the setup, breakdown and behind the scenes of what goes on for a company’s booth, was completely eye-opening. The sheer amount of work involved was completely exhausting. Not to mention the work continued after hours as well. There were parties, customer dinners, and planning sessions non-stop. I can’t even begin to say how much I enjoyed working with the Rubrik marketing team and also being able to socialize with all the great community that is always there at these events. But what actually went on? I will describe some of the activities I was able to be part of, but also some of the highlights that happened.

Saturday – I arrived mid-morning and was able to get to my hotel, through check-in, and back to the expo around 10:30-11am. This is where some of the work began for our team. I helped setup the servers and environment for the booth that would be used for demos. Other members of our team were already there and working hard before I even got there. The expo floor looks really weird at this point as there is not much put together and just lots of equipment and building blocks lying around. While the construction crew worked on the booth itself, we continued working on the demo environment until about 6ish (with the 2hr time change for me, ended up being a long day having started around 5am CST). We were well taken care of as most nights we had dinners already planned for us.

Sunday – We continued working on finishing the demo environment and worked on setting up the demo stations. The construction on the booth was nearing completion and things were really starting to take shape. As a side note, the team that worked on our booth did really considering I think our booth was one of the best-looking and ambitious ones there – no bias of course . Everything was ready to go when the expo floor opened up at 5pm for the Welcome Reception. The welcome reception went well and I was able to mill around a bit finding friends I haven’t seen for a while. After dinner I pretty much passed out.

Monday – This was another great day, lots of check in’s through the day back at the booth and seeing great friends and getting ready for that night. I had my first ever booth presentation at the Pure booth as well. Been a while since I’ve spoke in front of strangers in this capacity so it was a bit unnerving. In full disclosure, even when I was an Instructor at Dell, I still was a bundle of nerves. Always been a bit of an introvert but constantly working on trying to change that. What made it even more exciting was that I was allowed to raffle a couple of VIP passes to bypass the line getting into our party later that night. The presentation went well and was able to present Rubrik’s tech and how we integrate with Pure to about 50 attendees.

Moving on from there we had the big party that night. Run DMC and The Roots were the main attraction. Even the DJ music leading up to it was good. Everyone had a lot of fun and we ended up with about 1500+ attendees for the party. There were large lines waiting to get in so the employee bands came in handy.

Tuesday – Recovering from the night before was a little difficult but was able to get up and checked on demo machines to make sure everything was running smooth for the demos. Then I went to see more people I haven’t seen in forever. Evening was taken up with team meetings and other fun stuff.

Wednesday – Brought an end to the solutions expo. That meant we could start packing everything up. Which we did. We ended up needing to run over some to the next day, but we were able to get the majority of equipment turned off and organized for packing. Later that night I went to what started as a LAN party but ended up as a Cards Against Humanity. There may have been a few incidents that involved security being called .

Thursday – We finished up and then I was able to grab a flight out at 1.50pm and made it home around 9pm-ish. Ended up inside for the weekend as I caught some sort of flu or cold bug (yay planes and conferences) and still trying to get over it as I’m writing this. Some of the things I enjoyed as far as announcements:

Announcements:

20TH Anniversary for VMware!

Tattoos on Pat G./Sanjay P./Yanbing Li. – Though the permanence of some of them is questioned

vSphere 6.7 Update 1 – This is bringing a bunch of updates most notable Full Featured HTML5 client and vMotion and snapshot capabilities for vGPUs.

vSphere Platinum Edition – This new licensing includes AppDefense

New versions of vRealize Operations (7.0) and Automation (7.5)

Amazon RDS on vSphere – Relational DBs on VMware AWS. This will allow companies to run RDS and not have to worry about the management of it. Management can be done through a single, simple interface. You can also use it to create a hybrid setup between on-site and cloud enabling all sorts of use cases. SQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MariaDB will all be supported.

Amazon AWS expansion to Asia Pacific Region and Sydney – This marks that VMware’s presence extends to all major geographies.

Lower price of Entry for VMC on AWS – 3 Host min, license optimization for MS/Oracle apps. There is also a single host SDDC to test with and play around with. (This was intro’d a bit before VMworld.) You can specify host affinity for VMs and number of cores that an application requires.

VSAN on EBS – Scale from 15-35TB per host in increments of 5TB.

Accelerated live migration – VMware HCX now allows you to migrate just about any VM from on-premises to VMC

Project Dimension – Combines VMware Cloud Foundation (in HCI) with a Cloud Control Plane. So far this is looking like something like Azure Dev Stack, where VMware will take care of the hardware and software patching for the SDDC and the customer worries about apps at the customer site.

ESXi on 64-Bit ARM – details are still light.

These are not every single one of the announcements but the ones I most relate to.

My info was sourced from the following places and …. Being there.

https://www.vmware.com/radius/vmworld-2018-innovation/

https://www.cio.co.nz/article/645860/amazon-relational-database-service-on-vmware-launched-at-vmworld/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmoorhead/2018/09/04/aws-dell-arm-and-edge-announcements-dominate-vmworld-2018/#31ffd25536c4

Pre-Filled Credentials for vSphere 6.5+ Web/HTML5 client

So I can’t take really any credit for this blog post as the original work was all done by William Lam. I have my own homelab and also maintain a few labs at work that are hidden off in their own networks. This little trick comes in real handy. Mainly because I have quite a few environments to log into and it makes it simple when I don’t need to remember which domain they are under. The location of the file has changed under 6.5 and 6.7 so I just figured I would update his original post with the location in the new versions.

The file in question is unpentry.jsp that needs to be modified. In version 6.0 the file is located at  /usr/lib/vmware-sso/vmware-sts/webapps/websso/WEB-INF/views/unpentry.jsp. The new file is located at /usr/lib/vmware-sso/vmware-sts/webapps/ROOT/WEB-INF/views/unpentry.jsp.

When you use vi to open the file on the VCSA (assuming that’s what pretty much everyone is using these days) the area to be modified is the same. The lines should look like the following:

Obviously, the actual login info will match your environment. Once those are modified and saved, you will see the wonderful screen when pulling up your environment:

You may need to click on the fields for the Login button to light up, but hey….no more typing username and passwords in!

Thanks again to William for the info. Now if we could just get a skin creator/ theme engine for the HTML5 client………

VCIX-NV Objective 1.3 Configure and Manage Transport Zones

Covering Objective 1.3 now we will be covering the following topics

  • Create Transport Zones according to a deployment plan
  • Configure the control plane mode for a Transport Zone
  • Add clusters to Transport Zones
  • Remove clusters from Transport Zones

So, beginning with the first point, Create Transport Zones according to a deployment plan. What is a transport zone? Well simply, a transport zone is a virtual fence around the clusters that can talk to each other over NSX. If you want a cluster to be able to talk to other clusters that are on NSX, they must be included in the same transport zone. It is important to note that all VMs included in a cluster that is part of a transport zone will have access to that transport zone. Another thing to be careful of is that while a transport zone can span multiple VDSs, you should be sure that all the clusters that are on that VDS are included in the transport zone. You may run into situations where machines won’t be able to talk to each other otherwise if you have improper alignment.

Shown in the above example, you can see that even though you have the DVS Compute_DVS that spans across 2 clusters, since you add to a transport zone by cluster, it is possible to have just half of the clusters that make up that DVS on the transport zone. This leaves the hosts in Cluster A unable to talk to anyone on the NSX networks.

On to the next point. Configure the control plane mode for a Transport Zone. You can choose between three different control plane modes available.

  • Multicast
  • Unicast
  • Hybrid

These modes control how BUM (Broadcast, Unicast, Multicast) traffic is distributed and more.

Multicast replication mode depends on the underlaying architecture being a full Multicast implementation. The VTEPs on each host join a Multicast group so when BUM traffic is sent, they will receive it. The advantage of this is BUM traffic is only distributed to hosts that participate, possibly cutting the traffic down. Downsides of this are, IGMP, PIM, and Layer 3 Multicast routing are required at the hardware layer adding complexity to the original design.

Unicast replication mode, is everything multicast is not. More specifically, when a BUM packet is sent out, it is sent to every other host on the VXLAN segment. It will then pick a host on the other VXLAN segments and designate it a Unicast Tunnel End Point or UTEP and it will forward the frame to that and then the UTEP will forward it to all other hosts on its VXLAN segment. The advantages of this are not caring about the underlying hardware at all. This is a great thing from the decoupling from hardware standpoint, on the other hand the downside to it is, it uses a lot more bandwidth.

Hybrid replication mode is exactly that. Hybrid. It is a good mix between the above. Instead of needing all the things in multicast, only IGMP is used. Unicast is used between the VXLAN segments to avoid the need for PIM and Layer 3 routing, but internally on the VXLAN segment, IGMP is used and it cuts down on the bandwidth quite a bit. With Hybrid mode, instead of a UTEP being used between segments, it is now called a MTEP or Multicast Tunnel Endpoint.

Unicast is what is used most commonly on smaller networks and Hybrid in larger networks.

As far as adding and removing clusters from Transport Zones, you can do that a different times (adding). You can add when you initially create the transport zone, or you can do it afterwards. If you do it afterwards you will need to be in the Installation sub menu on the navigation menu on the left side of the screen. You then will need to click on the Transport Zones tab and then click on the transport zone you wish to expand. Then click on the Add Cluster icon, which looks like three little computers with a + symbol on the left side. Then select the clusters you wish to add. To remove a cluster, you need to be in the same place, but click on the Remove Clusters icon instead.

That’s the end of section 1. Next up. Section 2. Create and Manage VMware NSX Virtual Networks.

vRealize 6.5 Creating Views and Reports

Been working on some Monitoring and Logging stuff at work so decided to share a little bit more. Here is one of the videos I felt might help a few people. Now this is just a small portion of what can actually be done with vROps 6.5 and of course 6.6 but with the basics the sky is the limit.

Log Insight UI Walkthrough 4.3

For those that would rather watch a video otherwise, scroll past: 

 

Welcome to the walkthrough of the Log Insight UI

So, Log Insight is installed – what’s next? How do you use it? First, you’ll need to have an understanding of the UI and where everything is, in order to better utilize its capabilities.

After logon, Log Insight will present you with the last screen you had open. Or If this is a new installation it should be redirected to the dashboards page. Let’s start there.

At the top, you have the program name itself. It is clickable and acts as a refresh button. If you look at the html code for it, it just points back to the installation of itself.

Dashboards Overview

Next you have the dashboards button, this takes you to your dashboards. The dashboards page is a collection of widgets. What widgets are displayed is entirely dependent the content packs installed. Log Insight should be connected to vsphere at this point so at a minimum there will be the General and Vmware – vSphere dashboards. I have a few more installed since I have a Dell server with an iDrac or their remote access card installed, and I have a Synology in my environment.

If I click on the General item, it has a few dashboards underneath it.

I will click on the Overview item. In the Widget Pane in the center, you see a number of little squares. These are your widgets. These can be displayed a number of different ways, numerically, graphically, or it can be text if the widget is a query.

If we hover over a widget we see a small menu on the top right.

There are three items and from left to right, the first one will open up interactive analytics and show you the data on the widget in the actual logs. The second icon will show you information about what that widget is displaying. The final icon will clone that widget to another dashboard so that you can create a personal dashboard of widgets.

Up at the top of the widget pane there are filtering options available. These will apply to all the widgets underneath. A number of common filters are already provided but if those won’t work, you can add new ones. You can also restrict the time to a specific period for the widgets, which is handy when in a large environment with tons of logs.

Interactive Analytics Overview

Next at the top, we have the Interactive Analytics button. This page allows you to perform searches on the logs ingested. You can use expressions and addition criteria to filter the data.

There is a lot going on with this page. Starting at the top, there is a large bar chart. By default, this bar chart displays the count of all events seen over the last 5 minutes. All log entries in logs is seen as an “event” by Log Insight. Looking at the bar chart allows you to see the flow of logs as they are seen by Log Insight. This can be manipulated into showing other data however. The line right below the graph allows you to change what you are looking at and how.

You can also change how it displays it since bar charts may not always work best for the data you are trying to display. You can choose between columns, lines, area, bar, pie, bubble, gauge, table, and scalar charts and setup the axis to best suit you.

Some options may be greyed out, this is because the type of data that is currently being displayed can’t support that particular graph. Underneath, the actual log entries are displayed.

At the top is a search bar where you can type in terms or expressions. You can then refine those even further by adding filters using the ‘+ Add Filter’ button. When you create these filters, Log Insight will help you out by autocompleting names or other data found in the logs. Once you have created a query that gives you important data, you can save the query using the star button to create a favorite. This is part of the 4 button tool bar displayed at the end of the search bar.

You can use the dashboard icon (second icon) to send that query to either a personal dashboard or a shared dashboard. The alarm button (third button) allows you to create an alert from the current query or manage alerts in general. The final button allows you to share the query or export the results.

That log data itself can be shown a number of ways as well.

There are events, which show every line item as a separate event. There is field table which parses all the events out into a table with headers. There are event types, which will move like events into a group with a number at the beginning of the line, showing you how many instances of that event exist. The last item is Event Trends. This shows a comparison of an event and whether that event is now trending and becoming more frequent, staying static, or decreasing in frequency. It shows this by color coding at the front of the line. Green shows an increasing trend, red a decreasing.

Also of note is that you can color code the events to group like items together. At the beginning of the event line you will see a little gear icon. Click on that to pop up a menu to give you more options. You can track down more events like the one you are highlighting, exclude them, or colorize event types.

 

The Fields pane on the right, will allow you to see a graph that will give you information on how prevalent an item is to other like objects and to the overview chart.

Admin

Going back up to the top, you have two buttons left. One is “Admin” which allows you to see your role, email, and change your password. The second icon, which looks like 3 lines, is your administration and settings icon. This will allow you to change settings and configuration of Log Insight, and add Content Packs for products.

There is a lot more information to fully explain Log Insight and I highly recommend going to learn more about this powerful product from VMware’s Log Insight documentation page here, https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/log-insight-pubs.html

A small teaser….

Experimenting a bit with how I do some of my blogging. I am still going to use this site (obviously) but thought it would be nice if I could include a bit more video and demos. As kind of a teaser to that effect, I am putting a few teaser videos of demos up here I did for Log Insight. If you hate it or love it, then feel free to let me know. If you are ambivalent then I guess I won’t hear anything. 🙂