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:
An installation using HTML 5 installer with a vCenter Server target is supported.
An upgrade using HTML 5 installer with a vCenter Server target is not supported.
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…
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.
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.
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.
Many of you have now kicked the tires with vSphere 5.5 either in your home lab or on some servers at work and you’re anxious to get all the new goodies running in your production environment. Perhaps some of you early adopters are already running in full production, but we’re guessing many of you are just contemplating your major upgrade now.
VMware’s Tech Support staff tend to see a surge during the month of March in number of calls to support. But guess what? Many of the issues we’re anticipating are already resolved, and we’ve been busy compiling and documenting solutions to common problems that you can handle yourself.
Those of you installing or upgrading your vSphere hosts, and vCenter Server instances to version 5.5 will find the following KB articles and Support Insider posts of great interest.
While VMware highly recommends the deployment of all vCenter Server components into a single virtual machine (excluding the vCenter Server database), large enterprise customers running multiple vCenter Server instances within a single physical location can simplify the vCenter Single Sign-On architecture and management by reducing the footprint and required resources and specify a dedicated vCenter Single Sign-On environment for all local resources in each physical location.
For vSphere 5.5 the VMware recommendation is to centralize vCenter Single Sign-On when you have 8 or more vCenter Server instances in a given location (this is a soft recommendation).
Centralized vCenter Single Sign-On Architecture
Figure 1: A Centralized vCenter Single Sign-On Server environment
There can be increased risk when centralizing a vCenter Single Sign-On server (to why it is not recommended for smaller environments) due to the increased number of components affected if the vCenter Single-Sign-On server was to become unavailable, in short all vCenter Server components of all vCenter Servers registered will incur authentication loss (when compared to just the single vCenter Server instance when installed locally) and so availability of the vCenter Single Sign-On centralized server(s) is highly recommended. Continue reading →
One question that we often get from customers is how to load balance SSO. While we do have documentation and support for setting up Apache to load balance SSO many customers already own a load balancer or do not wish to use Apache. Continue reading →