Jan 16

Configure Resource Pools for VMware vSphere (vSOM)

This video shows how to use the VMware vSphere web client to configure resource pools within a DRS cluster and how to add virtual machines to the resource pools using vSOM.

Rating: 5/5


Jan 04

Introduction to vCloud Architecture Toolkit for Service Providers

Introduction

VMware vCloud® Architecture Toolkit™ for Service Providers (vCAT-SP) is a set of reference documents that are designed to help VMware service provider partners within the VMware vCloud Air™ Network define, design, implement, and operate their VMware powered cloud platforms and services.

vCAT-SP is completely hardware vendor agnostic, although some vendors are mentioned in the implementation examples because the examples are based on implementations that VMware has performed with customers in the field.
The design guidelines and considerations highlighted in the vCAT-SP documentation are based on real world use cases and implementation experience gained from the field. The consumer (architect) will have the opportunity to choose design considerations that are important to the success of the cloud platform, and should consider interrelated design options holistically. For example, a requirement for higher performance might influence management and operations.

Overview

vCAT-SP has been developed so that each document can stand alone and provide guidance to the
architect on implementing a specific part of the solution. For example, the Architecting VMware NSX for Service Providers document can be used by a service provider who has already implemented a core cloud product based on VMware vSphere® or VMware vCloud Director®, understands how this component fits into a wider solution, and knows how to design based on required outcomes and use cases.

The vCAT-SP documentation is organized as follows:
General documents – Document map and introduction on how to consume and leverage vCAT-SP.
Service definition documents – Documents that enable the consumer to effectively define requirements for the cloud platform and determine what services to offer to their end users.
Architecture documents – Documents that highlight the logical design and operational considerations within a specific architectural domain.
Solution architecture example documents – Documents that provide solution architecture examples of a cloud platform.
Solutions and services examples – Documents that provide architecture guidance and implementation blueprints for value-add services and solutions that can be added to the core cloud platform.

The following diagram highlights the key solution areas to consider across each cloud service model and
the VMware products that align to those areas.

Solution Area to Technology Mapping

Figure 5. Solution Area to Technology Mapping

Download

Download a full Introduction to vCloud Architecture Toolkit for Service Providers Guide.


Oct 27

VMware Unified Access Gateway 5 of 5 – Scaling, Upgrades, Authentication, Troubleshooting

This video is fifth in a series of five covering the VMware Unified Access Gateway. This includes details on scaling, upgrading, authentication options, logs and some troubleshooting.

Rating: 5/5


Oct 27

VMware Unified Access Gateway 4 of 5 – Deploy with PowerShell

This video is fourth in a series of five covering the VMware Unified Access Gateway. It describes and demonstrates how to deploy using the PowerShell method.

Rating: 5/5


Oct 27

VMware Unified Access Gateway 3 of 5 – Deploy with vSphere OVF and Admin Console

This video is third in a series of five covering the VMware Unified Access Gateway. It describes and demonstrates how to deploy using the vSphere OVF method.

Rating: 5/5


Oct 27

VMware Unified Access Gateway 2 of 5 – Deployment Requirements and Options

This video is second in a series of five covering the VMware Unified Access Gateway. It includes details on deployment requirements and options.

Rating: 5/5


Oct 27

VMware Unified Access Gateway 1 of 5 – Overview and Use Cases

VMware Unified Access Gateway provides secure edge services to allow and access to defined resources that reside in the internal network. This allows authorized, external users to access internally located resources in a secure manner.

Rating: 5/5


Sep 29

Understanding the Impacts of Mixed-Version vCenter Server Deployments

Adam Eckerle posted September 29, 2017.

There are a few questions that come up quite often regarding vCenter Server upgrades and mixed-versions that we would like to address. In this blog post we will discuss and attempt to clarify the guidance in the vSphere Documentation for Upgrade or Migration Order and Mixed-Version Transitional Behavior for Multiple vCenter Server Instance Deployments. This doc breaks down what happens during the vCenter Server upgrade process and describes the impacts of having components – vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller (PSC), running at different versions during the upgrade window. For example, once you get some vCenter Server instances upgraded, say to 6.5 Update 1, you won’t be able to manage those upgraded instances from any 5.5 instances. While most of the functionality limitations manifest themselves when upgrading from 5.5 to 6.x, there could also be some quirks in environments running a mix of 6.0 and 6.5. There are a couple of additional questions that seem to arise from this doc so let’s see if we can address them.

The Upgrade Process

I’m not going to go through the entire process here, but it is important to understand the basics of how a vCenter Server upgrade works. Remember that there are two components to vCenter Server – the Platform Services Controller (PSC) which runs the vSphere (SSO) Domain and vCenter Server itself. For a vCenter Server upgrade, the vSphere Domain and all PSCs within it, must be upgraded first. Once that is complete, then the vCenter Servers can be upgraded. Obviously, if you have a standalone vCenter Server with an embedded PSC, this is a much simpler proposition. But, for those requiring external PSCs because of other requirements such as Enhanced Linked Mode, just remember the PSCs need to be upgraded first.

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Mixed-Version-Upgrade-Phases-1 Configuration


The other important point to make here is that upgrading by site is not supported. Looking at the above example, you can see there are two sites each with an external PSC and a vCenter Server. It is a common that a customer would like to upgrade an entire site, test, and then move onto the next site. Unfortunately, this is not supported and all PSCs within the vSphere Domain across all sites must be upgraded first.

Mixed-Version Support

Now, on to the questions mentioned earlier. The first question is, “Can I run vCenter Servers and Platform Services Controllers (PSCs) of different versions in my vSphere Domain?” The answer here is yes, but only during the time of an upgrade. VMware does not support running different versions of these components under normal operations within a vSphere Domain. The exact verbiage from the article is, “Mixed-version environments are not supported for production. Use these environments only during the period when an environment is in transition between vCenter Server versions.” So, do not plan on running different versions of vCenter Server and PSC in production on an ongoing basis.

The second question is then, “How long can I run in this mixed-version mode?” This question is a bit tougher to answer. There is no magic date or time bomb when things will just stop working. This is really more of a question of understanding the risks and knowing how problems may affect the environment should something go wrong while in this mixed-version state.

The Risks

An example of one such risk would be if you were upgrading to vSphere 6.5 from 5.5. Let’s say you had your vSphere Domain (i.e. PSCs) and one vCenter Server already upgraded leaving you with 1 or more vCenter Server 5.5 instances. Imagine that something happens leaving a vCenter Server 5.5 completely wiped out. You could restore that vCenter Server 5.5 instance and be back in production as long as you have a good, current backup. If the backup you need to restore from was taken prior to the start of the vSphere Domain upgrade, you would not be able to use it to restore. The reason for this is that the vCenter Server instance that you would be restoring is expecting a 5.5 vSphere Domain and the communication between that restored vCenter Server instance and the 6.5 PSC would not work. An alternative to this would be to rollback the entire vSphere Domain and any other vCenter Servers that were upgraded.

Another risk would be if we are unable to restore that instance because the backups were bad (it does happen) or you couldn’t accept the outcome of losing the data since that backup was taken. The result here is that you would be forced to rebuild that vCenter Server instance and re-attach all the hosts. This may not be desirable because this new vCenter Server instance would have a new UUID and all of the hosts, VMs, and other objects would also have new moref IDs. This means that any backup tools or monitoring software would see these as all net new objects and you would lose continuity of backups or monitoring. You also would have to rebuild the vCenter Server instance as 6.5 which also may not be desirable because you may have an application or other constraint that requires a specific version of vCenter Server. If you rebuild the instance as 6.5 you may break that application.

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Mixed-Version-Upgrade-with-Failure


Finally, let’s consider the possibility of having a PSC failure instead of losing a vCenter Server. What happens? Normally, you could easily repoint a vCenter Server instance to another external PSC within the same SSO Site. However, this would not be possible if the vCenter Server is not running the same version as the PSC you are attempting to repoint to. For example, if you had a vCenter Server 5.5 or 6.0 and they were pointing to a 6.5 PSC (because it has already been upgraded), if that PSC failed you would not be able to repoint that vCenter Server to another PSC. Remember that all PSCs must be upgraded first so all PSCs should be running 6.5 already. The only way to recover from this scenario is to restore or redeploy the failed PSC which may take longer than repointing.

Recommendations

So, give the above scenarios, what do we tell a customer who asks, “My upgrade plan spans multiple sites over multiple months. How should I plan my upgrade?” Here are our recommendations:

    1. Minimize the upgrade window
    2. Follow the upgrade documentation
    3. Take full backups before, during, and after the upgrade
    4. Check the interop matrices and test the upgrade first

The first recommendation is to minimize the upgrade window as much as possible. We understand that there’s only so much you can do here, but it is important to reduce the amount of time you’ll be running different versions of vCenter Server (and PSC) in the same vSphere Domain. The second recommendation is to, no matter how tempting to do otherwise, upgrade the entire vSphere Domain (SSO Instances and PSCs) first as is called out in the vSphere Documentation. It is not supported to upgrade everything in one site and then move onto the next. You must upgrade all SSO Instances and PSCs in the vSphere Domain, across ALL sites and locations, first. Third, make sure you have good backups every step of the way. While snapshots can be a path to a quick rollback, when dealing with SSO, PSCs, and vCenter Server they don’t always work. Taking a full backup ensures the ability to restore to a known clean state. Last, and certainly not least, do your interoperability testing and test the upgrade in a lab environment that represents your production environment as much as possible.

Emad has a great 3-part series on upgrades (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) so be sure to check it out prior to testing and beginning your upgrade. Also know and understand the risks and impacts of problems during the upgrade process. Finally, know how the upgrade process is going to affect all of the yet-to-be-upgraded parts of your environment and have good rollback and mitigation plans if any issues come up.

About the Author

Adam Eckerle manages the vSphere Technical Marketing team in the Cloud Platform Business Unit at VMware. This team is responsible for vSphere launch, enablement, and ongoing content generation for the VMware field, Partners, and Customers. In addition, Adam’s team is also focused on preparing Customers and Partners for vSphere upgrades through workshops, VMUGs, and other events.

Rating: 5/5


Sep 21

How to build a hybrid cloud based on VMware Cloud Foundation and vRealize Suite

Watch this “lightboard” video led by Ryan Johnson, Staff Technical Marketing Architect, on how to build a hybrid cloud based on VMware Cloud Foundation and vRealize Suite.

Rating: 5/5


Sep 20

VMware Cloud Foundation Network Overview

The VMware SDDC Manager allocates cloud capacity into workload domains. Each workload domain is backed by a vSphere cluster and is managed by its own vCenter Server instance. In each workload domain, a virtual distributed switch is created with multiple VLAN-backed port groups to logically segregate and isolate the different traffic types. VMware NSX is then deployed to provide virtual networking and advanced security services.

Rating: 5/5