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This past Friday, VMware announced the availability of VMware Heartbeat 6.3 Update 1.  The release notes list several new features, such as:

  • Enhanced passive server management capabilities — A new deployment option allows the passive server to be managed directly and monitored or patched remotely from a centralized solution; this includes receiving file level antivirus updates. This option is only available for:
    • vCenter 4.0 U1 and its updates, 4.1 and its updates
    • Remote SQL Server 2005, 2008 only
  • Secure Client Server Communications — vCenter Server Heartbeat now provides secure client server communications with SSL Encryption using a 2048-bit key.
  • Support for View Composer — This release of VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat now provides support for View Composer v2.5

Out of these, the new deployment method should be of great interest!  In previous versions, a clone was used to maintain connectivity during a outage.  This clone, however, had to be hidden from the network to prevent name/IP conflicts.  We had several customers provide feedback that because of this, the management, monitoring, and patching of the second node was largely a manual process prone to error. Additionally, if the domain was not configured correctly, then there have been reports of individual nodes being kicked off the domain.

Although this architecture will still be supported in this version, this update addresses those concerns with a simple post-installation process that renames and places each node into a domain so that they have a unique hostname and IP address and appear as two separate systems.  vCenter continues to be referenced by the original installation name and/or public IP.  The public IP is simply automatically added or removed to a node depending on if the node is active or passive.  This allows management, monitoring, and patching of both nodes as one can utilize the hostnames and IPs dedicated to the individual nodes and not through the public IP.

The update can be downloaded immediately from here.