Upgrading your vCenter Server Appliance from version 5.0 to 5.1 – A Howto

VMGuru used to run on an “ESXi only” install with no extra management. It’s a single server in a data center in Amsterdam, so there never was a need for a vCenter Server. When the VMware Octopus Beta started in which we participated, the deployment of the Octopus appliance required a vCenter server. So, instead of installing a full blown SQL server, a Windows server  etc., we decided to use the vCenter appliance.

With the introduction of ESX 5.1, a new vCenter also was introduced. The functions in the new vCenter Server Appliance have improved much so an upgrade is the way to go. Now when I tried this in my home lab, it went south big time and I ended up throwing everything away and starting over with a brand new vCenter install. For our server in Amsterdam I decided to do the upgrade again to show that it can be done properly. Now, VMware has a how to procedure in their knowledge base, but it’s very compressed and skips a few small steps, so we decided to write it out including screenshots to make it more accessible to all the folks out there who like to upgrade their vCenter Appliance but don’t know how.


MigrationWiz: E-mail migration to the cloud

MigrationWizFor a recent customers I have been working on migrating e-mail from several completely separated e- mail infrastructures to one Office 365 environment. To achieve this the customer has chosen to use a product called MigrationWiz.

This product is offered as a web based service/cloud solution.

With MigrationWiz you setup a connection to both a source and destination. After setting up the connection(s) you can start the migration. MigrationWiz will download the data from a mailbox at the source to it’s own infrastructure and then upload it to the designated target mailbox. The picture below illustrates the process.


Human vMotion

This week our fellow blogger, Sander Martijn, felt he had to vMotion  to a new career opportunity. After working for Centric for 8 years, he has accepted a new challenge and signed a  contract at Nspyre in the Netherlands.

Sander, congratulations from the rest of the VMGuru.nl crew.

Although Sander is going to switch employers, he will continue blogging at VMGuru.nl.


How to: Upgrade to vSphere 5

On July 12th, VMware announced the release of vSphere 5.

With the release comes the challenge to upgrade your existing installation.

However, there are a few caveats:

  • vSphere 5 is the first version which comes in a ESXi version ONLY! ESXi 5 is available in an embedded or installable version. If you’re running ESX 3.x or 4.x you should do a clean installation. You can find more information here.;
  • VMware changed their licensing method. Familiarize yourself with this and check if you need to upgrade/extend your licenses. You can find more information here.

Because I run a VMware vSphere 4.1 environment, this is a upgrade from vSphere 4.1 to 5.

The upgrade is a straight forward five step process.


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How to: Upgrade to VMware View 4.5

With the release of VMware View 4.5 comes the challenge to upgrade your existing installation to this new version.

The upgrade is not that difficult but because I promised you all a ‘How to upgrade to VMware View 4.5‘ I will provide this service anyway.

Before you start first a few pointers:
1. make a back-up of the VMware View systems that you’re going to upgrade;
2. If some of your end users are using the Client with Offline Desktop, ask them to check in their View desktops;
3. when you have multiple connection servers and you are upgrading from 4.0 to 4.5, you need to disable the VMware View Connection Server service on all Connection servers. (Thanks Sven)
4. If you are using vSphere, you must have vSphere 4.0 Update 2 or vSphere 4.1. If you are using VMware Infrastructure, you must have VMware Infrastructure 3.5 Update 5 and VirtualCenter Server 2.5 Update 6.

Also check the official VMware View Upgrade Guide.


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Updating ESX hosts with FT enabled VM’s

Up until a week ago, I hadn’t had the pleasure to work a lot with vSphere. Now with a test environment at the customer site I was able to freely play a bit with vSphere. One of the features I was curious on trying was Fault Tolerance (FT). I just created a random VM and enabled FT on it which all went fine.

After FT was enabled on the VM we wanted to see how we could upgrade the ESX hosts in that cluster as the documentation states that FT only works on hosts with the same build number.


There is no such thing as a free lunch

XenServer Enterprise for free?

Anne Jan and I were asked last week ,while doing work at our companies  Headquarters, how we thought about Citrix giving away XenServer Enterprise for free and positions it as “XenServer a complete free Enterprise Virtual Infrastructure solution”. So I asked them what is considered “free” and what are the needs of the customer with a complete data center/enterprise virtual infrastructure?

The question arose because they wanted to know if they made the right choice for a very big company to choose VMware Infrastructure 3.5 Enterprise above  Citrix XenServer.

So looking at what customers answer me when I ask what their requirements are, are for me the best route to go, because customers are the only one who know their organization’s virtualization requirements.

Most given answers I get when I ask for the requirements are:


Needed ports and services for a P2V

While reading some documents from Anne Jan and Erik about migrations of physical machines by means of P2V I noticed there was information about the ports that are being used for this migration:

  • Physical machine to the converter server port 443
  • Converter server to physical machine ports 445 and 139
  • Converter server to vCenter server port 443

Troubleshooting Blackberries after P2V

bberry_8100Earlier this week Anne Jan and I migrated a physical server with P2V with Blackberry Entetrprise Server. After the migration we of course asked the client to test all the services and application on that server.

At that time all seemed just fine, but today the client comes running in telling us that the Blackberry service isn’t mailing attachments anymore. Everything else just worked fine.


Citrix tuning when running on VMware

After making a P2V of a couple of physical Citrix servers at a client, Anne Jan and I did some tuning for the best performance. Since the servers were on old hardware they now are already faster, but we wanted to get the most out of it. We first removed hardware drivers like Anne Jan’s article mentioned earlier. (more…)

Clean up before a P2V

Yesterday I made one of the mistakes I always warn my collegues about. I always tell them: “Make sure you know the situation before you change anything”. For some strange reason I made that mistake myself this time.

I just started a migration and got scared afterwards because the server gave all kinds of strange errors…