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Tag Archives: vcenter appliance

What is vCenter Server Watchdog?

If you’ve done any research into the high-availability options available for vCenter Server 6.0, hopefully you have had a chance to read the VMware vCenter Server 6.0 Availability Guide written in collaboration with Technical Marketing and Global Support Services as well as KB 1024051. And you might have noticed particular sections that refer to the vCenter Server Watchdog. But what exactly is the vCenter Server Watchdog?

Enabled “out of the box” in 6.0, the vCenter Server Watchdog provides better availability by periodically verifying the status of vCenter Server.  It does this in two ways:

  1. The PID Watchdog monitors the processes running on vCenter Server
  • The API Watchdog uses the vSphere API to monitor the functionality of vCenter Server.

If any services fail, the Watchdog attempts to restart them. If it cannot restart the service because of a host failure, vSphere HA restarts the virtual machine running the service on a new host.

That’s sounds slick, right? Well, let’s dive in and take a look at each of these watchdogs in detail. Continue reading

Reconfiguring and Repointing Deployment Models in vCenter Server 6.0 Update 1

In my last blog post, we discussed some of the new features and capabilities found in vCenter Server 6.0 such as how you can quickly and easily update the vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 to Update 1.

Now, it’s time to focus our attention on a two key enhancements found in vCenter Server 6.0 Update 1 – both the appliance and Windows-based form factors:

  • Reconfigure – You can now reconfigure an embedded deployment node to an external deployment model, also known as MxN.reconfigure
  • Repoint – Simplified repointing of a management node in an external deployment model from one external Platform Services Controller to another external Platform Services Controller.
  • repoint

Why is this important?

The reconfiguration enhancement enables you to take an existing embedded deployment and transition it to a more optimal external deployment model – MxN.  There is also the simplified ability to repoint a management node to another Platform Services Controller which enables you to quickly recover from an external Platform Services Controller failure and to distribute load to alternate nodes that are in the same SSO domain.

Before moving forward with either the reconfigure or repoint operations, there is a key set of requirements that you need to meet.

Reconfiguration Requirements

  • The vCenter Server instance must be an embedded deployment model.
  • The target Platform Services Controller must be a replication partner of the existing embedded Platform Services Controller in the same SSO Domain.

Note: In vCenter Server 6.0 Update 1, we only support a single transition from embedded deployment to a external deployment (MxN) model for per SSO domain. See the Known Issues section of the Release Notes for additional details.

Repointing Requirements

  • The vCenter Server instance must be an external deployment model.
  • The target Platform Services Controller must be a replication partner of the existing external Platform Services Controller in the same SSO Domain.

We’ve introduced an update to cmsso-util in vCenter Server 6.0 Update 1. This utility can be found in:

  • VCSA: /bin/cmsso-util
  • Windows: <Drive>:\Program Files\VMware\vCenter Server\bin\cmsso-util

This utility automates the entire process by passing the new required namespace (either reconfigure or repoint) and its arguments.  For example, with the VCSA, the namespaces would be:

  • VCSA: /bin/cmsso-util reconfigure
  • VCSA: /bin/cmsso-util repoint

Okay, so, how do we do it? Well, let’s see both namespace options in action in the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA). Note that the cmsso-util namespaces and arguments are the same for a vCenter Server 6.0 Update 1 instance installed on Windows.

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Updating vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 to Update 1

Earlier this month, we released vSphere 6.0 Update 1. In this update we introduced some awesome new features for vCenter Server. Let’s take a look at some of these just below:

  • Installation and Upgrade using HTML 5 Installer for VCSA: The following installation and upgrade scenarios are now supported for vCenter Server Appliance using its HTML 5 installer:
    1. An installation using HTML 5 installer with a vCenter Server target is supported.
    2. An upgrade using HTML 5 installer with a vCenter Server target is not supported.
    3. An upgrade using command line with a vCenter Server target is supported.
  • Backup and Restore with External Platform Services Controller: vCenter Server deployments with an external PSC (also called MxN) have support for backup and restoration.
  • Appliance Management User Interface: An all new HTML5-based management interface for the appliance at https://<FQDN-or-IP>:5480. 
  • Platform Services Controller Interface: An all new HTML5-based management interface for the Platform Services Controller at https://<FQDN-or-IP>/psc/.  See my earlier blog on the Platform Services Controller Interface.
  • Interoperability: Virtual SAN and SMP-FT are interoperable.
  • Hybrid Cloud Manager: Hybrid Cloud Manager has been updated for vSphere, and can be accessed directly from the vSphere Web Client.
  • VCSA Authentication for Active Directory: VMware vCenter Server Virtual Appliance has been modified to only support AES256-CTS/AES128-CTS/RC4-HMAC encryption for Kerberos authentication between VCSA and Active Directory.
  • Support for SSLv3: Support for SSLv3 has been disabled by default.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program: The opt-in Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) provides VMware with information that enables VMware to improve the VMware products and services and to fix problems. When you choose to participate in CEIP, VMware will collect technical information listed below about your use of the VMware products and services in CEIP reports on a regular basis. This information does not personally identify you.

One additional feature that we introduced in vCenter Server 6.0 Update 1 is an in-place process for Updates in a major release (e.g. vCenter Server 6.0 to vCenter Server 6.0 Update 1) instead of the migration-based approach that was required in prior VCSA updates (e.g. vCenter Server 5.5 to vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1).

With these new capabilities — and, of course, resolved issues — there’s been a ton of interest in how to update the VCSA to 6.0 Update 1. So, let’s get started and look at the process…

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New Release: vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2d

Today VMware released an update to its vCenter Server management solution.

vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2d | 27 JAN 2015 | Build 2442329
vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2d Installation Package | 27 JAN 2015 | Build 2442328
vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 Update 2d | 27 JAN 2015 | Build 2442330

Please make sure to review the release notes and download from vmware.com

While this is a minor release it does resolve many issues previously experienced as summarized here:

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vCenter Server 5.5 Update 2 Released

Today VMware released Update 2 of its vSphere management solution, vCenter Server. In this release there are updates to the supported database versions and many resolved known issues.

What’s New

  • vCenter Server database support: vCenter Server now supports the following external databases:
    • Oracle 12c. Important: For pre-requisite requirements, see KB 2079443.
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1
    • Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • vCloud Hybrid Service: The vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) introduces a new container, Hybrid Cloud Service, on the vSphere Web Client home page. The Hybrid Cloud Service container contains the vCHS installer and the new vCloud Connector installer.
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program: The vSphere customer experience improvement program is introduced to collect configuration data for vSphere and transmit weekly to VMware for analysis in understanding the usage and improving the product. For more details, see the vSphere Documentation Center.

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vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b released

Today VMware released an update to its virtualization management solution, vCenter Server. The update brings several fixes as documented in the release notes which can be reviewed in full here.

The new versions are as follows:

  • vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b | 12 JUN 2014 | Build 1891313
  • vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1b Installation Package | 12 JUN 2014 | Build 1891310
  • vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 Update 1b | 12 JUN 2014 | Build 1891314
    downloaded now from vmware.com

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Which vCenter Server platform should I use – Appliance or Windows?

One of the most repetitive questions that I get asked is which version of vCenter Server should I be using. This obviously is based on the decision between using the vCenter Server appliance (VCSA) introduced with vSphere 5.0 or the trusted and proven vCenter Server on Windows.


It has been general knowledge that the vCenter Server appliance, since its introduction has lacked features to that of its Windows counterpart. With vSphere 5.5 the vCenter Server appliance has come a long way, it supports all solutions that integrate with vCenter Server (vCD, vCOPs, SRM, VUM etc) but is it production ready? I can confidently say yes but will it meet your requirements?
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vCenter Availability and Performance survey

As many of you know, I work very closely with VMware Product Management and Engineering and we are always looking for data points to support concepts and aid the development of future generations with our products. We have created a 3 page survey that covers Performance and Availability within vCenter Server environments.

Help us make our products better by spending a few minutes to complete, your participation is much appreciated.



vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1 Released

As hinted throughout most of the day, the vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1 has been publicly released this evening.

vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1 | 11 MAR 2014 | Build 1623101
vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1 Installation Package | 11 MAR 2014 | Build 1623099
vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 Update 1 | 11 MAR 2014 | Build 1624811

Whats New

  • vCloud® Hybrid Service™ vSphere® Client Plug-in, is now available in vSphere Web Client
  • vCenter Server is now supported on Windows Server 2012 R2
  • This release delivers a number of bug fixes

Full release notes can be found here

Download bits here

Now Available – VMware vSphere Mobile Watchlist

VMware vSphere Mobile Watchlist allows you to monitor the virtual machines you care about in your vSphere infrastructure remotely on your phone. Discover diagnostic information about any alerts on your VMs using VMware Knowledge Base Articles and the web. Remediate problems from your phone by using power operations or delegate the problem to someone on your team back at the datacenter.
IMPORTANT NOTE: A VMware vSphere installation (5.0 and above) is required to use VMware vSphere Mobile Watchlist. Access to your vSphere infrastructure may need a secure access method like VPN. Contact your IT department for further assistance.


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