TheSaffaGeek

My ramblings about all things technical


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Deploying an Isolated Update Manager Download Service Architecture

During a recent customer engagement for a Virtual Infrastructure build out I was tasked with deploying an Isolated/Air Gap Update Manager Download Service architecture. If you do not know what an isolated Update Manager Download Service is then read this article first before carrying on. I came across a few hurdles during this deployment and so i waned to create a quick reference of what I followed for my future reference and to hopefully help anyone who gets the problems I was getting during the setup

  1. For this setup, I got a service account created that would be used for the installation of VUM and the UMDS.
  2. For my setup I setup VUM and UMDs on their own dedicated servers as you obviously have to do as the UMDS has to be in the DMZ.
  3. For the installation of UMDS I followed the following steps from the vSphere 5 Documentation Center.
  4. Next I installed VUM following the steps detailed from this vSphere 5 Documentation Center article.
    1. Note: The first hurdle I hit in this installation was that the SQL Client for SQL 2012 doesn’t work for the ODBC connections so I had to install the SQL 2008 Client from here for it to show the ODBC configuration when I went through each of the installations.
  5. Next was the configuration of UMDS and I followed this vSphere 5 Documentation Center article.
  6. Next was the creation of the IIS server for the UMDS so that VUM can contact and download the patches. I followed this vSphere 5 Documentation Center article.
  7. Next was the exporting of the downloaded patches to the UMDS folder under the IIS website (for mine I did a virtual directory to a folder on my data drive so that the c drive was not filled up with patches.)
    1. Note: For the exporting, I kept getting an error as detailed in this VMware Communities discussion I created. As detailed in the discussion the problem was I had to set the folder location as my default export store by running vmware-umds -S –default-export-store <your path to the UMDS folder>.
    2. Then you can export the patches to the folder location by running: vmware-umds –E <your path to the UMDS folder>.
  8. Now you can go into your vCenter and setup the UMDS as your shared repository location by pointing to the IIS website you created for the UMDS folder

clip_image001

    1. Note: For the downloading of the patches I kept getting a failure where the downloading patches task would get stuck at 50% for a few minutes and then fail stating “Cannot download patch definitions” as shown below.

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2. The problem here was that the service account running the VUM service on the VUM server did not have full permissions to the folder. After reapplying the patches the downloading of the patches worked clip_image003

After going through all of the above steps, my air gap Update Manager Download Service was now setup clip_image004[1]

I hope that this saves someone the headaches I had along the way

Gregg


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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