TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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Upgrading from vSphere 4.1 to vSphere 5

Yep the time has yet again come round that the bi yearly mass upgrade of all of my VMware environments needs upgrading to the latest version. Thankfully this upgrade process hasn’t been too difficult but seeing as so many people said they found my posting all about the upgrading of my environments from 4 to 4.1 helpful I thought I’d keep the idea going and do one for my upgrading to 5 and give people some hints on things that slowed me down and things to plan for before doing the upgrade

  • First is the upgrade notes, I would recommend reading through this and following it step by step and using it as a reference guide as it really does flag up all the things you need to think about and know before during and after the upgrade.
  • Second is the Licencing. If you haven’t upgraded your licencing then i would recommend going to the licencing page where you can get all the answers to your licencing questions and concerns.
  • Next is the checklist to make sure you have planned for everything and you won’t get any nasty surprises
  • Make sure you run the vCentre Host Agent Pre-Upgrade Checker to make sure all your hosts are compatible
  • The upgrade follows the same steps as previous upgrades with:
    • Upgrade the vCentre Server: I already have my vCentre on x64 etc so there was no need for major changes this time if you do need to follow the steps then I covered them in my upgrade from 4 to 4.1 posting)
    • Upgrade your VMware Update manager Server: This was straightforward to do and is really helpful to do prior to the upgrading of your hosts, as there are already two patches for ESXi 5.
    • Upgrade your hosts to ESXi 5: This can be done in numerous ways, the one major snag I hit was that 80% of my hosts needed their BIOS updated to the latest version to be able to run ESXi 5. Not sure when they added this as ESXi 5 beta worked on them so they must have changed something last minute before GA but I wrote about all my steps in my posting PSOD while trying to install vSphere ESXi5 on a Dell PowerEdge 1950 and OMSA 6.5 installation. As the title states there is also a currently unsupported version of OMSA for ESXi 5 (OMSA 6.5) which I would highly recommend installing prior to upgrading your host and the new variable to allow you to connect to the host via the Dell Management Console (DMC). Also don’t forget to verify your hosts so that HA is enabled, i spent a bit of time scratching my head wondering why the HA agents were failing on my hosts until i remembered the step to verify them, Administration->vCentre Server Settings-> SSL –> verify the hosts in the bottom box clip_image001
    • Upgrade your Virtual Machines: This also follows the same steps of update all the vmtools on your virtual machines, then upgrade the hardware version to version 8 on all of them. If you have machines you don’t want to take down then it’s not a train smash as vSphere 5.0 fully supports running virtual machines with VMware Tools version 4.x as well as versions hardware versions 4 and 7. So you’ll have plenty of time to plan for that outage upgrade window to do the work at a later date.
    • Upgrade your Datastores : Personally, I’m waiting this out as we change datastores relatively often so when the time comes to make a change I’m going to upgrade them to VMFS 5. The steps to do it are really simple and vSphere supports VMFS 3 up so you can take your time upgrading your datastores, although obviously, the new VMFS does have all the new features and capabilities so don’t wait too long.
  • There are two videos created by VMware detailing how to upgrade you hosts to ESXi 5 with the installer and with VUM which are really great to watch before you do the upgrades and give you the peace of mind you’re doing it correctly.
  • Also there is the VMware upgrade community which is a great place to see problems people have had and the fixes they found for them if you hit any problems or if you just want to have a look and see if there is anything that may apply to you and will save you having the same problem

That’s my list and how I’ve done my upgrades. Apart from the need to have a large number of my hosts on the latest BIOS revision, the process was fairly simple in my opinion.

Gregg


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All Things Virtual 17

 

As you can imagine the virtual community is still abuzz after all the news of VMworld US. So obviously All Things Virtual 17 is heavily weighted to this news and the additional information coming out after it.

First are number of blogs that are still coming out about VMware vCloud Director, with all the talk of everything moving to the cloud the release of the product has caught the attention of a lot of people. So because of this everyone remotely related to this field for example everyone in virtualisation are now trying to get their knowledge up to scratch on the product in preparation for their boss asking if the product can be deployed,how it all works and when will it be ready in the company. Hany Michael has done an amazing job of listing all the videos related to VCD on his blog here. it is quite staggering how many videos are already out for a product only fully released just over a week ago. Hany is also very well known for his Visio diagrams of any kind of processes in the VMware field (one of the reasons I’m sure that he was snatched up by VMware) and has done a very detailed and brilliant diagram all about The VMware vCloud Director Cell Architecture. Have a look through some of his diagrams and then you’ll understand why he’s well known for them. Aaron Delp has also done a very extensive link directory of all the links for VCD here. I’ve still got a large amount of the links and videos to get through but the lists from both Hany and Aaron are extremely helpful.

Kendick Coleman and David Davis did a session at VMworld all about Free vSphere Tools. I’m looking forward to being able to view the session once it’s published on the VMworld website and if Kendrick can organise a flight and a hotel being able to attend it at VMworld Europe(if you want to sponsor him he’d be more than happy to hear from you via his site). He did a posting all about the session on his website as well as some serious name dropping about the rest of his activities and who he met each day :). If you haven’t seen his free tools page have a look here, it’s got some amazing tools on it. David Davis also did a posting all about a survey he is doing all about the session and how he obviously wants you opinions to help him and hopefully Kendrick better their presentation and know what people like. CompuerWorld have also done a nice posting of Eight great virtual appliances for VMware, free for the downloading.

One of the big open sessions of the week at VMworld was the Storage Super Heavyweight Challenge with Adam Carter from HP, Eric Schott from Dell, Vaughn Stewart from NetApp, and Chad Sakac from EMC. If you ever read or follow either Chad or Vaughn’s blogs you would know there is a very healthy competition and debate between Chad and Vaughn which I feel can only be a good thing as long as there is no FUD throwing. So this was a great way for the general public of VMworld to put questions to the panellists in a controlled manner. Chad blogged about it and put up the video here. As to only be fair and as to not be labelled biased(even though I am referring you to the video in the blog) Vaughn also blogged about it with the same video here. It’s a really interesting video and I feel everyone gave fair and precise answers and hopefully this healthy style of questioning can happen again next year.

As of this morning VMware View 4.5 is now GA. You can download it from the VMware site here. If you are like me and haven’t been able to get your knowledge fully up to scratch on the product then as posted today by Mike Laverick(yes the same one who features in the storage heavyweights video) you can get his VMware View 4.5 Guide – Author’s Edition for a small donation to UNICEF. So get donating and downloading and as Mike says “When the full version is ready you will be welcome to contact me with your proof-of-purchase, and I will send you a private link where you can download the full PDF version at no additional charge”.

Scott Vessey has posted about the exclusive VCAP-DCA exam release date here detailing that the exam will be available from September 13th 2010. I’ve personally started to build up my home lab for my preparations for this exam but looking through the blueprint I think it will only be next year by the time I’m possibly ready to attempt the exam( which is quite exciting as I enjoy having to really push myself to gain knowledge to try pass a certification)

Scott Lowe has posted all the vSphere4.1 links he was planning to use for his latest instalment of Mastering VMware vSphere which was sadly not picked up by the publishers. A great bit of resources if you are planning to write your VCP4 exam soon or if you need to update your knowledge like myself on the new values and features of vSphere 4.1.

If you live in the south east of England like myself or are really keen to travel down to the south east then the announcement of the next London VMware user Group (VMUG) on Thursday the 28th of October will be of interest to you. Already Gabrie van Zanten of GabesVirtualWorld fame will be presenting.

Last is something I’m really proud of which is that all three of my blogs summarising the news from each of the main days of VMworld: All things Vmworld: Day 0, Day 1 and Day 2 all made it onto the main page of the VMworld 2010 Buzz page and was re-tweeted numerous times by a number of the top people in the industry. I know it’s nothing insane but I’m really proud of it especially seeing as I only started blogging properly in January this year. Mine is the third in the list below :) Also the exposure has increased my number of views substantially :)

image

Gregg (@greggrobertson5)


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All Things Virtual 16

As you would expect the virtualisation communities are abuzz with talk of VMworld US starting next week in San Francisco. I’m going to be watching with a very keen eye to all the news and tweets from fellow virtualisation experts(not that I am an expert) about the event as most of the information that will be coming out of the US event will most likely be repeated and re-covered at the one in Copenhagen(of which i am attending :) ). Hopefully I can learn what the best sessions were and make time to try get to as many of them as possible if they are replicated at VMworld Europe.Ed Grigson of vexperienced.co.uk posted a very interesting article about how VMworld Europe is shorter,costs more and has a staggering amount less unique sessions. Thankfully as Ed mentions the sessions from VMworld San Francisco should be online by mid September so if you have registered to attend either of them you will be able to see all the sessions online at VMworld.com.Also the VMworld 2009 sessions and labs are now open for public viewing. I have heard that if sessions go well at VMworld US then they will be asked to present at VMworld Europe. Don’t hold me to this as it is just what i heard but it does make sense and will hopefully bring some of the top unique sessions.

Whilst most of the news is about VMworld there has been a large amount of news not directly related to VMworld.

  • As mentioned by Eric Sloof on his blog,the VCAP4-DCD Exam Blueprint Guide has become available for those who are keen to get the ball rolling on their studies for the certification. I’ve personally started building up my home lab for my preparations and learning for the VCAP-DCA exam. A friend of mine asked me if i knew what exams VMware recommend for the VCAP examinations and funnily enough i had received an email from VMware telling me exactly this. Here is what they recommend:VCAP-DCA Preparation Courses

    VCAP-DCD Preparation Course

  • Also a big congratulations to Eric Sloof(@esloof) on being awarded as the best freelance VCI of the quarter.  Eric’s blog is always a great source for any kind of VMware related course or news and is a blog i would recommend adding to your RSS feeds.
  • Talking of the courses to prepare you for the VCAP exams i asked the same question on twitter to see what people recommended and Jonathon Medd(@jonathanmedd ) pointed out his belief that there would be no need for the PowerCLI course due to himself,Alan Renouf, Arnim van Lieshout and Glenn Sizemore currently writing a PowerCLI book that should teach you everything you should need to know to be able to utilise PowerCLI in the environment. As Alan says in his blog posting the book will be be written by “4 vExperts and a MVP” so you know it is going to be a brilliant resource. Jonathon has told me to stay tuned for news of it’s release.
  • Talking of books the much anticipated HA and DRS Deepdive by Frank Denneman( @frankdenneman)  and Duncan Epping ( @DuncanYB ) is due to be released very soon. These guys are two of the top guys in the industry and for anyone that has tried to read through the whole of Duncan HA deepdive posting will know he is the perfect person to write about the topic. This book is on my list already to buy and I will be keeping a keen eye on it’s release.
  • As you would expect there have already been a few videos and a page dedicated to all the new about VMworld. Due to lack of time I haven’t had the time to look through them yet so here they are as they are on my “to do” list:
  • Greg Stuart (@gregwstuart) has posted all about a competition where you can win the “Ultimate vSphere Library”, with titles from Scott Lowe (@scott_lowe), Eric Siebert (@ericsiebert) and David Davis of trainsignal fame ( @davidmdavis) to name but a few of the things you will win if you are the winner. So get following and good luck :)
  • Mike Laverick (@Mike_Laverick) at RTFM-ED.co.uk is also running a competition to win the trainsignal (@TrainSignal) VMware vSphere Pro Volume 2 video series.- find out the details at www.rtfm-ed.co.uk.
  • Eric Sloof has also posted a nice little posting with two slide decks by Iwan Rahabok who works as a Senior Systems Consultant at VMware all about the differences between vSphere 4.1 and 4.0. I always love finding these kinds of things especially when you have to try provide reasons why “upgrading to the latest version of x is a good idea because of these advantages…”
  • A big congratulations and thank you to Stefan Jagger for the passing of his VCP4 exam and for mentioning and linking to my VCP4 resources pages. always nice to get a bit of traffic from different blogs :)
  • Frank Denneman has posted all about the VCDX application form and how it should be filled out correctly so that your application is accepted and has the correct amount of information in it. I’ve added this one to my VCDX list for future reference when I am ready to put in my application
  • While on the VMware communities this morning seeing if i could help answer any questions I came across an unusual thread where someone asked for the 10 most common issues in VMware with the steps to fix these problems. True to form a few people replied and i thought their answers were actually quite interesting.  Especially  the one by Petri all about the ten best ways to increase performance for your VMware environment. Also the top ten KB articles at the time is a great page I’ve added to my favourites to frequent to try keep up to date on the latest problems and solutions happening with VMware products.
  • Last but not least is a posting by Maish Saidel-Keesing all about him creating a VERY useful Google spreadsheet of all the VMworld sessions and the information about them. This is going to come in handy for sure especially when I’m sure I’ll arrive at a session at VMworld Copenhagen and it’s full already and i have to find another sessions to attend.

Well that’s everything that has caught my attention for the past few weeks since the last All Things Virtual. As I’ve said numerous times I’m on twitter at @greggrobertson5 if you want to follow me/ask me questions/give feedback/abuse me :)

Also any comments are welcome

Gregg


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All things virtual 14

Unless you have been under a rock ,you will know the biggest news recently in the virtualisation arena, which has filled most of the top blog posters blogs is the release of vSphere 4.1. For all the news and latest features ,I posted a blog posting last week all about the best resources to get yourself up to speed here this should cover it all for you and most of the blogs are constantly being updated. There no real point to say anything more seeing as the people i linked to have done and currently still are doing such great jobs covering it all

Duncan Epping posted a very interesting article all about the the changes to the snapshot “delete all” mechanism. I still think they should change it to Commit All but it is a very good change that should allow better and faster committing of the data to the virtual machine.

Chad Sakac aka VirtualGeek has posted all about thin provisioning and if you should do it in vsphere and or the disk array and the reasoning to his recommendations as well as a brief lesson on the differing formats of virtual disks and what theses choices will mean for you and your storage utilisation.

David Davis of Trainsignal fame posted a very interesting video all about the new feature in vSphere 4.1 ,Windows Active Directory Authentication-the ability for ESX/ESXi servers to “join” a Windows Active Directory (AD) domain. The video is really good as you would expect from David’s in depth expertise in creating technical videos. also have a look through the site as David has posted up some really good videos and has put up the first vChat with Simon Seagrave from Techead.

Chris Dearden has blogged all about the second volume of the Trainsignal vSphere Pro series. I actually have a set of these with my name on it at our main offices but haven’t been able to collect them due to work constraints, plain laziness in part and the person who has them for me being a very busy person himself. If these videos are anything like the first volume then i can’t wait to get my hands on them and better my knowledge especially as i plan to have assimilated as Chris said in his blog posting all the information into my head amongst many other resources before I attempt the vcap exam/s.

Cody Bunch has started his infamous Brown Bags for the VCAP-DCA exams and the first one is today/tonight(depending on your time zones) I’ve made a few of Cody’s brown bags before and they are brilliant for asking your fellow administrators questions about things and covering the topics you are required to know to pass. Cody also does brown bags for the VCP4 exams so i would HIGHLY recommend getting yourself registered for them and watching some of the past ones if you are writing soon or looking to sit the VCAP-DCA exam at some point like myself.

Well that’s it, I’m sure I’ve missed a few nuggets this past week but most of the news is obviously about 4.1 and I’ll leave that in the more capable hands of the people I mentioned in my blog posting.

If you’re interested in working for EMC Consulting like myself and being a part of this ever strengthening arm of EMC, then drop me a message via the blog and I’ll more than happily pass your information onto our recruitment people.

Some roles going at the moment are:

Senior Solutions Architect/Exchange

Senior Solutions Architect/VDI

DW Architect

FYI: all of EMC Counting’s hiring is done through direct contact. We don’t use recruitment consultants, so don’t waste your or my time if you are one.

Gregg Robertson


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All things virtual 13

 

Yes I decided to get rid of the roman numerals and go with the old trusty numbers from now on as I think it looks better and it’s more user friendly for the five people who read these posts :)

It’s been two weeks since the last All things virtual posting due to work constraints and my studying for my MCITP: Enterprise Administrator exam. Unfortunately the exam was cancelled unbeknownst to me so I’ve had to reschedule for a few weeks time (i know loads of people are going to think I just failed and don’t want to say it but I’d honestly say it if I had). Anyhow since it’s been two weeks since the last version there has been loads of really top class postings and information to have come up in the virtualisation arena.

Firstly as I said in my posting yesterday the second vBeers is happening TOMORROW,July the 1st. I was fortunate enough to have made it to the first one and it was awesome to meet and chat to loads of the guys I follow and chat to via twitter,their blogs(My blogroll holds my favourites) the VMware Community forums or in the VMware community roundtables. If you’re near the London area tomorrow evening I’d highly recommend going along.

Next is a brilliant posting by Duncan Epping of Yellow Bricks all about troubleshooting and recognising is a vm is swapping and if so how to work it out as it isn’t as simple as looking and seeing if the SWCUR value in esxtop is giving out values. As I stated in my blog posting a few weeks back I’m learning to use ESXTOP and better my skills in using this tool to manage my environments and be able to spot these kinds of things via this tool.

Eric Sloof blogged all about the release of the Maximum vSphere book. The book was written by Simon Seagrave of Techhead fame and Eric Siebert of vsphere-land.com fame. Simon wrote the chapters on ‘Performance in vSphere’ and ‘Building Your Own vSphere Lab’ and Eric wrote all the remaining chapters. John Troyer has also written the forward for the book. I haven’t personally read Eric’s VMware® VI3 Implementation and Administration book but these guys are top of the industry and their blogs are some of the best out there so you know the content is going to be amazing. Hopefully I can get my hands on a copy of this once it’s released.

As I blogged  almost a month ago now about the latest versions of vCentre and vSphere having been released, Update 2. Chad Sakac of Virtual Geek fame posted a brilliant write up all about the release also and has added some very helpful fixes to issues that may arise from updating to update 2. I’ve managed to update most of my home test environment to update 2 but unfortunately haven’t had the time to fully play with /break it yet. Talking of new versions William Lam of Virtually Ghetto fame has posted a very interesting posting all about the possible imminent release of vSphere 4.1. If rumours are true then this release will be the non COS release. Kind of crazy to put an update out then release a new version in my opinion especially for all of us that have to keep environments up to date whilst not breaking anything in the process. Jason Boche of Boche.net did a nice little posting all about how a simple Google search gives plenty of proof that the COS is going away.Duncan Epping also posted that DRS sub clusters are supposedly due tin the next version also.

A fair number of the guys and I’m friendly with and/or follow on twitter were fortunate enough to have been invited to take the VCAP-DCA beta exams over a week ago now . Jason Boche, William Lam and  Chris Dearden are a few that I noticed who blogged about it and from their comments and rants it sounds as if the exam is going to be a real test and that to pass this you are going to need to have used,played,configured and fully understand all the technologies and features that the vSphere family of products have to offer. Even though this means I’m probably going to end up spending innumerable hours playing around with my lab(which i kind of do out of nerdy fun already anyways) and also means that people can’t just learn answers to questions from cheat sites and post 500 out of 500 scores even though they misspell VMware and will hopefully also help me to increase my skills and knowledge which is what all exams/certifications should do for you.

One of the biggest banes of any VMware administrators life is the managing and controlling of snapshots especially if you allow them to be created by the users of the vm’s as i have to in our environment. I’ve posted before all about the great ways I use to ease the management and monitoring of VMware Snapshots. Last week Mike Bean posted a brilliant guest posting in the VMware communities blogs all about VMware snapshots and what they are meant for and what they are not meant for and how they are created and maintained. I’ve saved this one to my favourites as it’s got all the reasons you need to explain to a user in why they can’t have five snapshots on one vm and keep it for months on end.

Duncan Epping posted all about the new SIOC (Storage IO Control) feature due to released in most likely the next version of vSphere. I had seen this video before the posting as it was obviously all over twitter very quickly and I’m really excited and pleased that this feature is coming.

Last but not least a big congratulations to Simon Long in his announcement that he is joining VMware as a Senior Consultant. Wow if memory serves me right that takes him from being made redundant and looking for a role to being a VMware employee in 12 months!! Congrats Simon!

Gregg Robertson

 

 

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