VMworld 2016: vCenter Performance

Session: INF8108

Teaser: 5.5 to 6.0 is 300% faster for vCenter operations From 6.0 to 6.5(?) is another 100% higher.

HTML5 vs. Flex client: Shows a chart with dramatically faster HtML5 performance over Flash client.

VCSA vs. windows – When you have a datacenter with heavy load the VCSA far out performs Windows vCenter.

Why move to multiple vCenters?

  • Concurrency
  • Business separation?
  • Geography
  • VDI vs. server workloads
  • Large inventory
  • If VC is 70% CPU or memory, split it

Future: External load balancer will be built-in when using multiple vCenter servers. No more external load balancer needed.

Multi-site

  • When? If latency is 40ms or greater between sites.

PSC Performance Considerations

  • Default size of 2 vCPU and 4GB is sufficient for a majority of customers

vCenter Server Performance Considerations

  • vCenter can accept 2000 concurrent sessions – hard limit
  • VPXD can handle 640 tasks before they get queued – another hard limit
  • Per-host and per-datastore limits: A host can perform up to 8 provisioning operations at once.
  • A datastore can perform up to 128 vMotions at once
  • A datastore can perform up to 8 storage vMotions at once
  • A 10Gb NIC allows a host to do 2x more vMotions than a 1Gb NIC
  • Latency between vCenter and hosts (ROBO) is not a huge issue.
  • Latency between vCenter and the database can impact performance (>10ms)

Impact of Changing Stats level on DB/network traffic

  • Changing between level 1 and level 2, there is a 4x increase in storage/network usage
  • Changing from level 2 to level 3 is another 2x increase

Database Performance

  • Occasional 3-4s query time is fine
  • 10s or more queries are BAD

Is something slow?

  • Check memory/heap size of vSphere-client process on vCenter
  • Memory/CPU of machine running web browser
  • Are plugins functioning?
  • Connection between browser and vCenter
  • vCenter CPU should not exceed 70% on average (spikes are perfectly normal)

If using Windows vCenter, use the SysInternals Process explorer to map Java processes to vCenter services

For VCSA use VIMtop to look at performance

If you increase VCSA memory, heap sizes will automatically be increased upon reboot.

 

VMworld 2016: What’s new with vSphere

Session: INF8375

What happened since VMworld 2015?

  • End of availability of C# client in next major release
  • HTML5 web client fling
  • 6.0 U2 – Q1 2016
  • Pricing and packaging changes – No more vSphere “enterprise” edition, or vSOM standard and enterprise.
  • End of sale of vSphere 5.0 and 5.1 (August 24, 2016)
  • Open source of PowerShell by Microsoft. Future PowerCLI for Mac/Linux.
  • Unix to Linux Migration

Tech Previews

  • vCenter Server Appliance migration tool from Windows vCenter
  • vCenter Install, Upgrade and Patching – Enhanced patching (VUM replacement)
  • vCenter High availability – RTO < 10 minutes (active/passive)
  • VM Level encryption – Encrypted VMDKs and configuration files
  • Automation – Predictive capability in DRS. Evolves DRS to use vRealize operations data.
  • Proactive HA – Detects potential host issues and evacuate host prior to failure.
  • Network aware DRS
  • HTML5 Client

New Friends Coming Online

  • vSphere Integrated Containers – Native docker interface, container management portal, container registry.
  • VMware Integrated Open Stack 3.0
  • Photon Platform – Web-scale enterprise container infrastructure. Scales to 1000s of nodes, 1Ms container

VMworld 2015: vCenter Server HA

Session INF4945

Why is vCenter HA important?

  • Primary administrative console
  • Critical component in end-to-end cloud provisioning
  • Foundation for VDI
  • Backup and DR solutions rely on vCenter
  • vCenter target availability is 99.99% from VMware’s design perspective (5 min a month)

 

Make every layer of the vCenter stack HA

  • vCenter DB
  • Host
  • SAN
  • Network
  • DC power and cooling

Reduce dependencies to improve nines

  • In moving from 5.1 and 5.5 to 6.0 you see a consolidation of vCenter services into VMs (e.g. just PSC and vCenter in 6.0)
  • vCenter 5.5 U3 supports SQL AAGs
  • vCenter 6.0 U1 supports SQL AAGs

Hardware/Host Failure protection: vSphere HA

  • Test tested solution
  • Protects against hardware failures
  • Some downtime for failover
  • Easy to setup and manage
  • DRS rules can be leveraged
  • High restart priority for vCenter components

Hardware/host failure protection: vSphere FT

  • Continuous availability with zero downtime and data loss
  • vCenter tested with FT for 4 vCPUs or less (only the ‘tiny’ and ‘small’ deployments fit)
  • About 20% overhead
  • Downtime during guest OS patching

Application failure protection: Watchdog

  • Watchdog monitors and protects vCenter applications
  • Automatically enabled on install on VCSA and Windows
  • On failure watchdog attempts to restart processes, if restart fails then VM is rebooted
  • Separate watchdog per vCenter server component

Application failure protection: Windows Server Failover clustering

  • Provides protection against OS level and application downtime
  • Provides protection for database
  • Some downtime during failure
  • Reduces downtime during OS patching
  • Tested with vCenter 5.5 and 6.0

Platform Services Controller HA

  • Two models: Embedded PSC or external PSC
  • PSC high availability in 6.0 requires a third party load balancer (removed in future vSphere versions)
  • Multiple PSC nodes in same site

vCenter Backup

  • Backup both embedded PSC and external PSC configurations
  • Recover from failures to vCenter node, PSC node or both
  • When vCenter node restored, it connects to PSC and reconciles the differences
  • When PSC node restored, it replicates from the other nodes
  • Uses VADP
  • Out-of-the box integration with VMware VDP

Tech Preview (vSphere 6.1?): Native HA

  • Native active-passive HA
  • Uses witness
  • No third party technology needed
  • Recover in minutes (target is 15 minutes), not hours
  • Protects against hardware, host and application failures
  • No shared storage required
  • 1-click automated HA setup
  • Fully integrated into the product
  • Out of box for the VCSA

VMworld 2015: vSphere 6.1 Upgrade & Deployment Pt. 1

Session INF4944

Goal: Deliver and enhanced customer experience for deploying and upgrading vCenter environments.

vCenter server 6.0 platforms: Windows and VCSA support the same scale and performance

Enhanced Linked mode is brand new in 6.0 and supported on Windows or VCSA. Policies and tags are now supported in Linked Mode.

Deployment Models

  • PSC is no longer just SSO, but adds certificates and licensing
  • PSC supports data replication
  • Embedded deployment: PSC and vCenter running on single VM
  • External PSC: vCenter and PSCs on separate VMs
  • vCSA is the recommended deployment package

vCenter Server Install

  • Both Windows and VCSA have similar simplified installs.
  • Supports GUI or scripted installs
  • Simple

vCenter Best Practices

  • Sizing
  • Windows OS and DB compatibility
  • Use FQDN
  • vCSA install target will support vCenter and ESXi in 6.0 U1
  • Time sync is important
  • DNS forward and reverse lookups
  • If using VDS use ephemeral port group
  • Ensure routing works

vCenter Server Upgrade

  • Multi-stage process: SSO/PSC, vCenter, ESXi, VMs, VMFS/VDS
  • Order is important KB2109760
  • Don’t forget about plug-ins, add-ons, VMFS, VDS, etc.
  • Approach upgrades with a holistic view of your infrastructure
  • vCSA upgrade is migration based and required temporary IP
  • Windows vCenter upgrade is in-place

Upgrade Paths

  • Windows Server – From 5.0 on up is supported. Prior to 4.0 you need to upgrade to 5.x.
  • vCSA upgrade from 5.1 later only

Upgrade best Practices

  • Sizing – 6.0 is larger.
  • Windows OS and DB compatibility
  • VCSA Oracle DB deprecation (use embedded DB)
  • Backup DB and VM prior to upgrade
  • Stick to recommended topologies
  • Time sync is very important
  • DB password issues: don’t use dash, question mark, underscore, left paren, equal, exclamation

Repointing from embedded deployment to external PSC – In 6.0 U1

  • First upgrade to 6.0 U1
  • Then deploy external PSC and replicate with embedded PSC
  • Repoint VC to the external PSC

vCSA Management UI (U1)

  • https://vcsa IP/:5480

PSC Management UI (U1)

  • https://PSC IP/psc

 

VMworld 2015: vCSA Best Practices

INF4528, William Lam, VMware

  • VCSA is on parity with Windows server in terms of scale and performance
  • VUM still requires a Windows server (future version will not)
  • FULL VUM capabilities in vSphere web client in 6.0 U1
  • Deployment types: Embedded (PSC and VC), or PSC as external
  • Multiple vCenters can point to one or more PSCs
  • PSCs can sit behind a load balancer for HA
  • The focus going forward for the vCenter is the VCSA platform
  • 6.0 U1 will allow you to repoint an embedded vCenter to an external PSC
  • VCSA installation is guided by a GUI or can be fully scripted.
  • vSphere 6.0 U1 will support both vCenter server and ESXi (greenfield) as deployment targets.
  • Ensure DNS is reachable from both client desktop and VCSA .
  • Ensure NTP/time is properly configured and in sync
  • “U” releases are now in-place upgrades.
  • Ensure SSL certificates match both hostname and IP address
  • VCSA upgrade: may want to consider pruning vCenter historical stats

VCSA Configuration

  • VCSA configuration via web client under “system configuration” tab
  • VAMI UI has returned in vSphere 6.0 U1 and is HTML5
  • PSC UI in vSphere 6.0 U1 in HTML5
  • Open browser to https//vc/psc
  • Authenticated via SSO
  • DCUI-type interface at VCSA console
  • Full command line is available
  • New to vSphere 6.0 U1 is a more scriptable appliancesh interface

VCSA Operations

  • Increase memory/CPU resources
  • Dynamic memory resize support
  • No longer require JVM tweaks
  • At boot time VCSA re-allocated memory
  • Increase disk capacity on live system.
  • VCSA has 11 VMDKs for different uses
  • Run a simple command line to expand within VCSA to use additional storage space
  • Patching and updates – Pulls updates from the internet. NEW: URL based patching is back.
  • Password expiration: VAMI UI or CLI. Root ages at 365 days.

VCSA Troubleshooting

  • Installation settings are stored in /etc/vmware/install-defaults
  • Native syslog support. Configurable in vSphere web client
  • Can forward vCenter logs via syslog
  • VIMTOP is like ESX top for vCenter
  • Support bundles  – can pull logs via GUI or CLI

VCSA Migration

  • Fling released for migration of Windows vCenter 5.5 to VCSA 5.5
  • Tech preview of an updated product to support 6.0. No ETA mentioned.

 

VMworld 2015: vCenter Appliance as First Choice

Session: INF5975

Transforming software delivery with software appliances

  • Accelerat
  • e time to value
  • Simplify software management
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Reduced total cost of ownership (TCO)

vCSA

  • Security hardened Suse OS (SLES 11 SP3)
  • vCenter server and vPostgreSQL DB in a single VM
  • Appliance shell and UI support for appliance configuration
  • vCenter 6.0 appliance is ‘enterprise ready’
  • Same scalability as Windows vCenter deployment
  • Full support for linked mode

Windows and appliance are nearly at same performance at medium and large inventories

vCSA Deployment Configurations

  • Embedded and external PSC deployment modes
  • PSC abstracts common services such as SSO, licensing, certs, etc.
  • Convert from embedded to external PSC mode in 6.0 U1 (repointing)
  • vCenter Windows to vCSA migration tool is available as a fling
  • Can upgrade from vCSA 5.1 and 5.5 to 6.0 (U1)

vCSA Configuration

  • Network settings – DNS, hostname, IP, etc.
  • Time zone and NTP
  • Enable/disable services
  • Security considerations: SSH, password expiration, AD domain, firewall, log files, SNMP, etc.
  • Do NOT install third party agents on vCSA

Backup/Restore

  • Backup both embedded PSC and external PSC configurations
  • Works with VADP
  • Supports third party backups like NetBackup and CommVault

High Availability

  • Use VMware HA – Time tested. Protects against host and hardware failure.
  • vCenter Server watchdog
  • Attempts to restart processes, and will restart the service or VM
  • Ensures application level availability

Monitoring

  • vCenter Server Appliance Management
  • Appliance GUI in 6.0 U1
  • Generate support bundles
  • Monitor appliance resources and vCenter services
  • Receive SNMP trap notifications

vCenter server appliance management – security

  • Manage SSO users and groups
  • Password policies and management
  • Built-in certificate store and out of box certificate management

Patching

  • Easily apply product and third party patches (OS, Postgres, JRE)
  • Connect directly to VMware update repository or create custom repository

vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 15: VCSA vCenter Install

If you are a VCSA (vCenter server appliance) convert, and wish to use the vCenter server appliance, this post is for you! It assumes you already have an external VCSA PSC setup, per Part 10. So this post will walk you through a similar deployment process, but this time install vCenter instead of a PSC. If you’ve deployed a Windows vCenter, then skip this post.

Blog Series

vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 1: Introduction
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 2: Platform Services Controller
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 3: Certificate Management
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 4: vCenter Upgrade Best Practices
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 5: ESXi Upgrade Best Practices
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 6: Install Windows PSC
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 7: Config SQL DBs
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 8: Toolkit Configuration
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 9: SSL Templates
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 10: Install VCSA PSC
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 11: VMCA as Subordinate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 12: PSC Machine Certificate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 13: Directory Services Certificate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 14: Windows vCenter Install
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 15: VCSA vCenter Install
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 16: User Solution Certificates

Permalink to this series: vexpert.me/Derek60
Permalink to my Toolkit script: vexpert.me/toolkit60

Deploy VCSA vCenter

1. Download the VCSA ISO (yes ISO, not OVA) and mount it on a Windows VM.

2. Open the root of the ISO and click on the vcsa-setup.html file.

3. Since I’m assuming a fresh install, click on Install.2015-03-29_19-42-354. Accept the license agreement and click Next.

5. Enter the FQDN or IP address of the ESXi server which you want the PSC deployed on. Enter the associated credentials. Click next and wait for the verification to complete. You may get a warning about an untrusted SSL certificate. Accept it.

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6. On your DNS server configure A and PTR records for the vCenter’s address. This is critical!

7. Enter the FQDN of your appliance, and a complex password. If your password is not complex enough it will warn you and provide the complexity requirements.

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8. Select “Install vCenter Server” on the next screen, since we will be using our external PSC.2015-04-24_19-39-009. Now enter the FQDN of your PSC, and the SSO password.

2015-04-24_19-40-4910. Up next is VCSA sizing. In my case I selected Tiny, since this is a small home lab.

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11. Here you get to select your database. SQL is NOT an option, due to the lack of a supported ODBC binary for Linux. I’ll use the built-in Database.

2015-04-24_19-44-4112. Up next is configuring all the network settings. This is pretty self explanatory. Do take note of the time sync options. In a production environment I would suggest syncing to a trusted NTP source and not the ESXi host. Although you should have ESXi configured to sync with a trusted source as well. Not shown in the screenshot is the ability to enable SSH. Since I’m in a lab environment, I enabled SSH.

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13. Review all of the settings to ensure they are 100% correct. Click Next, and sit back for the installation to complete.

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Summary

Deploying vCenter in the form of a VCSA is easy peasy! I really like the VCSA for its ease of deployment, and self-contained nature. Clearly VMware has put a lot of development time into the VCSA, and it shows. Now that vCenter is installed, it’s time to replace more SSL certificates. That’s coming up next in Part 16.

vSphere 6.0 Installation Pt. 14: Install Windows vCenter

Now that we are pretty far into this series, we can finally install our Windows vCenter. This will leverage our external PSC, for maximum scalability. Depending on your environment size, you may need to scale up the VM’s hardware specs for optimal performance. Consult VMware documentation for sizing guidance. In this exercise we will configure 2 vCPUs and 12GB of RAM, which is enough for a small environment.

If you would rather use the VCSA vCenter instead of a Windows vCenter, don’t fear, that will be coming up in a future blog installment. So if you don’t want a Windows vCenter, then hold on and soon enough I’ll have those instructions published.

Blog Series

vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 1: Introduction
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 2: Platform Services Controller
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 3: Certificate Management
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 4: vCenter Upgrade Best Practices
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 5: ESXi Upgrade Best Practices
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 6: Install Windows PSC
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 7: Config SQL DBs
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 8: Toolkit Configuration
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 9: SSL Templates
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 10: Install VCSA PSC
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 11: VMCA as Subordinate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 12: PSC Machine Certificate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 13: Directory Services Certificate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 14: Windows vCenter Install
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 15: VCSA vCenter Install

Permalink to this series: vexpert.me/Derek60
Permalink to my Toolkit script: vexpert.me/toolkit60

Provision vCenter VM

Before we install vCenter, we need to provision the vCenter VM. Per VMware recommendations the VM needs at least 8GB of RAM for an embedded installation.  Don’t skimp on memory as performance will likely take a beating, depending on the number of hosts and VMs you are managing. I’d recommend 12GB minimum. Also keep in mind:

  • At least 2 vCPUs (hard minimum)
  • At least 12GB of RAM (8GB hard minimum)
  • At least 70GB D drive (more with VUM)
  • Use VMXNET3 NIC
  • Use any virtual hardware version. I recommend v10 or v11.
  • Recommend Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Enable hot add of memory/CPU (optional)
  • Fully patched OS (important)
  • Verify time sync between PSC and vCenter VM

If you want to use the web client on the vCenter server with IE, then you must install the Desktop Experience feature. Why? That’s the only way to get Flash player in IE with Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. VMware really needs to dump the Flash interface and go HTML5. If you use a third party browser, make sure you get the very latest Flash player.

After you install the Desktop Experience make sure you patch it. Why? The stock Flash player version is not compatible with the web client and needs to be updated via Windows Update/WSUS/SCCM to the latest version.

10-8-2013 6-11-01 AM

If you will be using IE on the vCenter server you also need to turn off the IE enhanced security mode.

10-8-2013 5-40-17 PM

vCenter Install

When installing vCenter you have two primary options. The first is an embedded option, where it will install the PSC and all the vCenter components in one fell swoop. This is akin to the “Simple” install in vSphere 5.5. The second option lets you deploy the PSC separately from vCenter. If you only install the PSC, when you run the installer the next time you only have an uninstall option and can’t install the rest of the vCenter services. So for this install we will go ahead and do a full vCenter install, using the external PSC that we have previously installed. You can use either a Windows external PSC or a VCSA-based PSC for this. Choice is yours!

1. Launch the vSphere 6.0 autorun installer. On the main screen select vCenter Server for Windows.

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2. Accept the license agreement and pause on the Deployment Type screen. Select vCenter Server.

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3. On the System Network Name screen verify the FQDN is that of your local server. It should be. Click Next. You may get a warning about IPv6, which you can ignore if you aren’t using it.

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4. Next up you need to point the installer towards your PSC and enter the SSO password you used during the installation process.

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5. When you click next you may get a warning about a time differential. It’s off by just a minute or two I would not worry about it. I saw a warning about a 63 second time delta. After any time warnings you will then get a certificate validation prompt. At this point you will also get a certificate pop-up. Even if you replaced your VMCA and PSC machine SSL certificates, you will see an untrusted certificate here. This is because the VMware Directory Service certificate is used for this authentication. If you followed along in my blog and replaced the VMdir certificate, then it will show a trusted certificate.

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6. Next you need to select your vCenter service account. I always use a Windows service account, so I input those credentials here. I also made sure the service account was in the local administrator’s group on the vCenter server. It will also need the “Log on as a service” right. To do that launch the “Local Security Policy” editor, navigate to “Local Policies” then “User Rights Assignment”.

2015-03-24_8-12-17

2015-03-24_8-06-027. Now you need to configure your database. For anything but a small home lab you should use an external database. If you do opt for the internal database, in vSphere 6.0 it is now vPostgres and NOT SQL Express. In the previous blog series article we configured SQL using my vCenter toolkit script. So now select that DSN from the drop down.

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8. Next up are the default port numbers, which you shouldn’t change.

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9. Now you can change the directory installation paths if you wish. I just took the defaults.

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10. Now you can review your configuration and make sure that everything is good to go. Click Install.

Summary

With the external PSC already installed, doing the vCenter install is a piece of cake. If you are in a small lab, then you don’t even need to fuss with setting up an external database like SQL. For production instances I would always use a SQL or Oracle database. Its best to leave the default installation paths, as VMware instructions for certificate replacement use the default paths. I just don’t see any big reason to stray from the defaults here. KISS principle applies. If you have to choose between using SQL or Oracle for the back end, I would lean towards SQL. The VMware Fling to convert a Windows vCenter to the VCSA currently only works with SQL, so should you ever want to change your deployment model SQL makes it easier.

Next up is installing the VCSA vCenter, which you can find here.

vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 10: Install VCSA PSC

New to my vSphere installation series is using the pre-packaged vCenter appliance (VCSA). Now that the VCSA is on par with the Windows vCenter server, I suspect more and more people will migrate to the appliance. So to that end, let’s install an external PSC using the VCSA. If you are using a Windows-based external PSC, then you can skip this blog post and go directly to Part 11 (VMCA as subordinate) when that gets published.

Blog Series

vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 1: Introduction
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 2: Platform Services Controller
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 3: Certificate Management
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 4: vCenter Upgrade Best Practices
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 5: ESXi Upgrade Best Practices
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 6: Install Windows PSC
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 7: Config SQL DBs
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 8: Toolkit Configuration
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 9: SSL Templates
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 10: Install VCSA PSC
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 11: VMCA as Subordinate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 12: PSC Machine Certificate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 13: Directory Services Certificate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 14: Windows vCenter Install

Permalink to this series: vexpert.me/Derek60
Permalink to my Toolkit script: vexpert.me/toolkit60

Deploy VCSA PSC

1. Download the VCSA ISO (yes ISO, not OVA) and mount it on a Windows VM.

2. Open the root of the ISO and click on the vcsa-setup.html file.

3. Since I’m assuming a fresh install, click on Install.2015-03-29_19-42-354. Accept the license agreement and click Next.

5. Enter the FQDN or IP address of the ESXi server which you want the PSC deployed on. Enter the associated credentials. Click next and wait for the verification to complete. You may get a warning about an untrusted SSL certificate. Accept it.

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6. On your DNS server configure A and PTR records for the PSC’s address. This is critical!

7. Enter the FQDN of your appliance, and a complex password. If your password is not complex enough it will warn you and provide the complexity requirements.

2015-03-29_19-51-28a8. Next up, select the PSC option and click Next.

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9. Now we get to configure SSO. Yippee! Since I’m assuming a new install, I’ll create a new SSO domain, enter a complex password, and SSO site name. Remember that you should NOT set your SSO domain name to the same as your Windows domain. You could use a sub-domain, such as sso.contoso.local. I’m sticking with vSphere.local.

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10. The appliance is automatically sizes for 2 vCPUs and 2GB of RAM. Not bad for a PSC. Click Next.

11. Next up is datastore selection. In my home lab I have datastores on my QNAP and VSAN. I’ll go with VSAN here.

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12. Now you get to configure your network settings. Everything here is self-explanatory. I used the public NTP servers for accurate time, and also enabled SSH (lower down on the screen).

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13. On the summary screen review all of the details to ensure they are correct.

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14. Sit back for a few minutes and wait for your VCSA-based PSC to be installed!

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Summary

We walked through the manual process of deploying a VCSA-based PSC in your environment. The VMware wizard is very straight forward, and makes deploying the VCSA very easy. If you want to automate the deployment of the VCSA, check out William Lam’s awesome multi-part guide here. You can also check out an ‘official’ method of command line deployment here. Next up will be configuring the VMCA as a subordinate CA, which you can find here.

vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 7: Config SQL DBs

Now that we have the Windows PSC installed, it is time to prepare for installing vCenter. vCenter can support three database types: embedded vPostGres (supports up to 20 hosts and 2000 VMs), Microsoft SQL, and Oracle. SQL seems to be the most popular choice, so that’s what I’ll help you configure here. Now to be frank, nothing has really changed here in vSphere 6.0 for the SQL setup. But it does fully support SQL 2014, which is great. Note: VUM 6.0 does not seem to support SQL 2014. So check VMware docs to verify compatibility when you go to install. To find out if your particular SQL version is supported, you can check out the VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes. Be sure to select “Solution/Database interoperability” so you can view the supported Oracle and SQL databases. Double check VUM!

Do take note that VMware fully supports “legacy” SQL failover clusters for the vCenter database. This is distinctly different from AlwayOn Availability Groups, which are currently NOT supported. Nag your VMware TAM about AlwaysOn Availability Group support. I wrote an entire blog series about setting up a SQL 2012 failover cluster, which you can check out here. It’s nearly the same steps for SQL 2014.

Blog Series

vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 1: Introduction
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 2: Platform Services Controller
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 3: Certificate Management
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 4: vCenter Upgrade Best Practices
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 5: ESXi Upgrade Best Practices
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 6: Install Windows PSC
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 7: Config SQL DBs
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 8: Toolkit Configuration
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 9: SSL Templates
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 10: Install VCSA PSC
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 11: VMCA as Subordinate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 12: PSC Machine Certificate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 13: Directory Services Certificate
vSphere 6.0 Install Pt. 14: Windows vCenter Install

Permalink to this series: vexpert.me/Derek60
Permalink to my Toolkit script: vexpert.me/toolkit60

Create DB Files

VMware unfortunately does not provide a tool to automatically create your SQL database for you. So it’s up to you to size and configure the SQL databases prior to installing vCenter. You must also configure the proper DSN, and install the appropriate SQL client. Since VMware left these tasks up to the customer to do, I’ve included them in my vCenter toolkit to help expedite your installation process.

My vCenter toolkit script was very popular for 5.5 users, so I’ve updated the script for 6.0. Some of the SSL work isn’t quite done, so I’ll be releasing future updates to complete the SSL setup. But the current version does support the SQL DB creation, so let’s get to work.

1. Go to this permalink (here) and download my PowerShell script. To create the SQL databases you can run the script from anywhere. But for simplicity I’d suggest running it on what will be your vCenter server. Run the script, and you should see a menu similar to the screenshot below. Menus may change a little between releases.2015-04-05_8-27-11

2. On the main menu select Option 1 to open the SQL Database menu. Select the option to create the vCenter and VUM SQL database file (Option 1). You will then be prompted for a series of responses, to properly size the database and log files for both vCenter and VUM. The screenshot below shows all of the prompts, and example configuration.

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3. After the configuration file is written, copy it over to your SQL server and open it in SQL Studio. Modify the paths to the files as needed, then run the script. You should not have an errors, and two databases should now appear on your SQL server.

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4. During my vCenter testing I found that even though the service account was DBO on the two databases, the vCenter installer complained. So for installation purposes, I gave the service account temp ‘sysadmin’ permissions at the SQL level, as shown below.

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4. Back on the vCenter server run the Toolkit script again but this time we need to create the vCenter DSN. Select that option from the menu, option 2 in the version shown. Enter the required information, then download and install the SQL client as indicated.

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5.  Just to make sure the DSN will work, launch “odbcad32.exe”, click on System DSN, then find your vCenter DSN. Click on Configure, click Next through the whole wizard, then click on  Test Data Source. Verify success.

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6. If you are going to use VUM, then we need to repeat a similar process to create the DSN and test the connector. Using my Toolkit script, select option 3. Follow the prompts to create the DSN, then from the Windows start screen search for “data” and select the ODBC Data Sources (32-bit) option. Perform a DSN test and verify success. Again, verify with VMware which SQL version VUM 6.0 supports. VUM has not been updated in ages, and may NOT support SQL 2014.

Summary

We’ve now created both the vCenter and VUM databases in SQL, configured the ODBC connectors, and verified they work. The final step in getting vCenter up and running is actually installing vCenter using the databases we just created. But before we install vCenter, let’s configure my vCenter toolkit script and download our root CA public certificates, here in Part 8.

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