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Category Archives: vCloud Director

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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VMware Feature Walkthrough: Step-by-Step VMware How-to’s

If you are like me, VMworld 2014 in San Francisco left my brain on overload. With so many new product and services announcements, plus breakout sessions filled with technical information and demos in the expo floor booths, it’s hard not to feel like you are drinking from the proverbial fire hose.  Throw in a party or three, plus the pile of work waiting when you get home and all that great info you gathered starts to turn up with some CRC errors in your memory.
VMware Feature Walkthrough Home

Fortunately, VMware has a tool that you can use to refresh your memory on the VMware solutions and services that you explored at VMworld.  The VMware Feature Walkthrough site (http://featurewalkthrough.vmware.com) provides technical overviews and step-by-step guidance for installing, configuring and managing our solutions.  Each walkthrough includes screen shots with relevant steps highlighted and text explaining the process.

VMware vSOM Walkthrough

The Feature Walkthrough site is a great for stepping through a self-paced demo of a particular VMware product or feature.  We’ve made the site mobile friendly, so go ahead and open it on your tablet and take it into the data center to guide your proof-of-concept install of the products you saw or heard about during VMworld, or to simply refresh your memory on just where exactly that checkbox to enable a product feature is.  Use it to show your boss that cool feature you saw at VMworld, or to familiarize yourself with the basics of a product before you jump into a live Hands-on Lab environment.

We’re always adding new walkthroughs; the vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) series of Walkthroughs was recently refreshed, and NSX and Virtual SAN walkthroughs are now available. If there are any particular products or features that you want to see added to the site, feel free to drop me a note at featurewalkthrough@vmware.com or leave a comment below!

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.

https://www.tinyurl.com/VCPerf

 

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

Getting ready to upgrade production to vCenter Server 5.5? Make sure you’re using the correct deployment option

Over the last few months, many customers have been testing and familiarizing themselves with vSphere 5.5 however deployment into a production environment is usually stalled until the availability of the first update or service pack. As we are nearing the typical time frame of when such an update or service pack may become available, I wanted to share some findings that may affect your deployment selection of vCenter Single Sign-On when deploying or upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5

During the installation of vCenter Single Sign-On server you are asked on the deployment option of the vCenter Single Sign-On instance. Below is the intended use case for each deployment option.

SSO#0

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Updated VMware Mobile Knowledge Portal

The VMware Mobile Knowledge Portal iOS and Android app has recently been updated. It sports a great new look and feel and makes finding the information you need even easier by grouping it by area in our SDDC vision.

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PM Research: Managing Content with vCenter(s) – Quick Survey

As an admin in the data center, you have to

  1. Ensure that your VM templates are up to date
  2. Maintain a set of scripts for customizing the guest OS’s, installing custom applications, etc.,
  3. Share all of them across sites and vCenter instances.

Therefore, we at VMware are trying hard to provide you with a simple and efficient solution to manage your VM templates, scripts, ISO images, etc. – collectively called “Content”.

We now need your input to ensure that we understand your current infrastructure, methodologies, and core use cases so that we build the right set of features and for the right scale.

We have kept this survey really short (7 questions) and we’d appreciate you taking the time to provide us your feedback. Thank you!

Survey link: http://bit.ly/vSContentMgmt (updated link)

vCenter Server 5.5 – Simple vs Custom Installations

With the release of vSphere 5.5 now upon us, before jumping in and performing a fresh install or an upgrade I wanted to highlight the minor changes to the vCenter Server installer, specifically when to use the simple installer and when to use the individual custom install wizards.

With the new release, when you attach your ISO image you will be presented with the updated splash screen

Simple Install

Selecting this option which is now the default will give you an installation of the core components required for vCenter server with the default settings on too a single physical or virtual server. With vSphere 5.5 we have now added the vSphere Web Client into the mix to assist with setting up vCenter Single Sign-On if necessary. Simple Install will install the following core components in the required order specified.

Using the simple install, the components will be installed to the default C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure destination folder or upgrade the existing version in the installed location. If you have distributed components with vSphere 5.1, this will install all components locally when ran, installing any components anew if not present which may affect you permission and accessibility (ie new vCenter Single SIgn-On instance)

Use case:
You will use the Simple Install option if you are installing or upgrading a single vCenter server with all of its components local to each other (VMware recommendation).

NOTE: If you are intending to install or upgrade multiple vCenter servers (ie for Linked Mode) then you can use the Simple Install for the first vCenter server to setup the vCenter Single Sign-On security domain and then use the custom installation options for the additional vCenter servers.

Custom Installation

The custom install provides the individual installer for each vCenter component which allows for additional options during install or upgrade. Each installer must be ran in the correct order (shown above) and allows for the following use cases

  1. Distribute components across multiple servers
    (although supported, customers have shared that this does add complexity with management and availability options of vCenter server)
  2. Install into a specific destination folder
    (eg D:\VMware)
  3. Install more than one vCenter server(s) in too the same vCenter Single Sign-On security domain
    (ie for Linked Mode as multiple vCenter Single Sign-On security domains (eg: vsphere.local) is not recommended)

As always please reference the VMware vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center for up to date documentation as well as the VMware Compatibility Guide and VMware Product Interoperability Matrixes prior to commencing any install or upgrade procedure.

Allow me to introduce you to vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5

With the announcement at VMworld on the upcoming vSphere 5.5 release, one area that I have been greatly involved with (hence why I have been in stealth mode), has been the new and improved vCenter Single Sign-On. You may still say why do we need it? and why change something that wasn’t broke to begin with! but hang in there and let me highlight the changes and the benefits you will see as you begin to look at vCenter Server 5.5.

With the new release, this shows we heard you loud and clear! vCenter Single Sign-On 5.1 at release lacked some expected functionality (limited Active Directory integration), complex to manage (SSL Certificates) as well as lack of guidance on how to best deploy vCenter Single Sign-On. Not to knock the current version with vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1b which is now a very stable platform to build on and guidance available via a recent deployment whitepaper, vCenter Single Sign-On 5.5 builds on these challenges and now provides a rich and fully capable vSphere authentication experience with much of the complexity removed.

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A Summary of What’s New in vCloud Director 5.5

I recently posted a summary of the new features and capabilities available in vSphere 5.5 and I want to follow that with a summary of the new features and capabilities available in vCloud Director 5.5.

However, before we talk about what’s new in vCloud Director 5.5 I recommend you first read Mike Adams recent post discussing the new vCD product strategy that was announced at VMworld 2013.  This post has some important information that everyone working with vCloud Director should be aware of.

vCloud Director Convergence and Transition Plan – What’s the Scoop?

With that, I’m excited to announce these new vCloud Director features as there are some very cool new capabilities being introduced with the 5.5 release.  I want to stress that this list is just a summary.  For additional information be sure to check out the new VMware Mobile Knowledge Portal iPad app where you will find several recorded demos that show most of these features in action.  In addition there are also some nice click-through demos available online.  Both the Mobile Knowledge Portal app and click-through demos were created by VMware’s Technical Marketing Group and provide a wealth of information not just on vCloud Director but the entire vCloud Suite.  We’re actively working to add more content so even if you’ve played with it in the past, be sure to revisit and check out the recent additions.

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