There have been some recent questions about upgrading to the latest version of VMware Tools in vSphere 5.1 and the benefits it may bring with future upgrades of VMware Tools. Historically, VMware Tools upgrades has always required an operating system reboot as new device drivers and kernel modules will not go into effect until the next reboot. For Windows operating systems, you could “suppress” a reboot by specifying an advanced installer option. For UNIX/Linux operating systems, the new device drivers and kernel modules will be staged when you upgrade VMware Tools, but will only be activated upon the next reboot. In both case, you can continue to run your virtual machine in a partially upgraded state for a limited amount of time until your next maintenance window, but it is recommended that you reboot as soon as possible.
A new NFS best practices white paper is now available. The paper looks at all aspects of using NFS in a vSphere environment. The paper was created with the assistance of our partners from EMC (Isilon), HDS & NetApp, and tries to find common agreement as to what are the best practices. It discusses networking configuration options, interoperability with other vSphere components and advanced settings. You can download the white paper from the VMware Technical Resources site here.
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With the introduction of Single Sign On in vCenter 5.1, it poses a change in behaviour for those of you using linked mode. This post will outline some of the considerations for why or why not to use linked mode with SSO and SRM in 5.1, and how to install SSO in multi-site mode in order to take advantage of linked mode.
Mostly linked mode is used by customers with Site Recovery Manager for purposes of visibility of both your protected and recovery sites including protection status and looking at the placeholders so you can see what is protected for recovery. Linked mode also gives easier license sharing between sites, so you can install the same SRM key at both sites and have automated transfer of per-VM usage between sites when migrating or failing-over between sites.
There have been a number of queries recently in relation to licensing of the VSA with the 5.1 release. The VSA has a number of different licensing models depending on how it was obtained. In many cases, if you check your vSphere licenses via the vCenter License Administration view, you might observe that the VSA asset is reported as not licensed, in evaluation or expired.
If your going to be in Las Vegas for the annual 2013 VMware Partner Exchange, why don’t you come and check out my sessions on vSphere 5.1 covering the vSphere web client and vCenter components like Single Sign-On
Thursday, Feb 28, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM CI1544 – vSphere Web Client – Technical Walkthrough With the release of vSphere 5.1 was a new primary client for the management of vSphere Solutions. With this session we will build competency in the adoption of the vSphere Web Client by highlighting the differences, easing the initial reaction to a Web Client and show you how to wow your customers with real world use cases
Thursday, Feb 28, 10:15 AM – 12:15 PM CI1545 – vSphere – Deployment Best Practices With the new technologies introduced with vSphere 5.1 many unanswered questions exist with designing and deploying the vSphere 5.1 environment. This session will share best practices learned from the field and provide common scenarios with recommended configurations of vCenter, Single Sign-On, Inventory Service and the web client that will future proof your customers environment. This session has now been extended to include Kyle Gleed (@VMwareESXi) discussing best practices on deploying and working with vSphere hosts (ESXi)
For those of you that don’t follow the security blog but do have questions on how to better secure your VMware infrastructure, on 11th of Feb 2013 we posted a draft copy of the new vSphere V5.1 Hardening Guide. There is some good discussion on what bits and pieces should be added going on over in that Community. I would encourage you to head on over there, review the guide and provide comments.
I’m re-posting the Security Blog announcement here as an FYI.
vSphere 5.1 Hardening Guide **DRAFT** now available
Hello? Is this thing on?
A brief intro for those that don’t know me and my new role. My name is Mike Foley. I’m a Sr. Technical Marketing Manager, working for Charu Chaubal in VMware’s Technical Marketing group. My primary role is that of technical marketing support for security of the core vSphere platform. I come from RSA, where I was their virtualization evangelist/go-to guy for many years. My personal blog is at http://yelof.com and I’m on Twitter as @mikefoley.
I would like to announce the **draft** release of the vSphere 5.1 Security Hardening Guide. This initial draft release has taken the 5.0 guide and updated it for 5.1. What it does NOT contain at this time is a complete review of functionality around the new 5.1 SSO capabilities. We are working on those parts and hope to have an updated draft very soon.
We’d love to hear your feedback, good and bad, on the contents of the guide. I would encourage you to post your reply in the Security and Compliance Communities forum but if you have more sensitive concerns, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VMware vCloud Director can now take advantage of Storage Profiles. This may not be new to you any more, but if you’ve had any trouble configuring them in order to have vCloud Director consume Storage Profiles, please read on. By default, the “*(Any)” Storage Profile is created and used, but what if you want to start doing some storage tiering within your Provider Virtual Datacenter (PvDC)? I’m going to walk you through how to configure and use the storage profiles from beginning to end. Yes, this includes from vCenter all the way through to placing a vApp on that Storage Profile within vCloud Director.
As always, you must have the appropriate licensing in order to enable and utilize Storage Profiles.
Now you understand what vCenter Single Sign-On (SSO) provides, as you start to design or upgrade to your vSphere 5.1 environment, particular attention needs to be given in the planning stages around the placement and configuration of the SSO server. This will always be the first component to be installed; regardless of fresh install or upgrading from a previous version. The SSO server can be deployed in a number of configurations and I will explain these options and too why you may use each option.
During the installation process you will be presented with the below screen which is a key decision on which deployment method of SSO you would like to deploy. It is very important that you have planned your SSO deployment as changing this configuration later is possible but not an easy achievement. Continue reading →
In my last blog I talked about how the extended VMware Tools support provided by VMware helps facilitate vSphere upgrades. In this blog I want to discuss how the extended virtual hardware support also helps with upgrades and call your attention to an important distinction between the two.
Like with VMware Tools, VMware provides extended support for older virtual hardware versions. That is to say that newer ESXi hosts can run virtual machines with an older virtual hardware version. For example, vSphere 5.1 supports VMs running virtual hardware versions, 4, 7, 8 and 9. However, it is important to note that virtual machines running newer virtual hardware versions cannot run on older versions of ESXi. For example, a virtual machine running virtual hardware 9 cannot run on an ESXi 5.0 host. The following table highlights the virtual hardware version support for vSphere 4.0 and above.