VMware vCenter Heartbeat End of Availability starting June 2

VMware vCenter Heartbeat is not available anymore for purchase starting June 2. All support and maintenance for the removed versions will be unaffected and will continue on per VMware Life Cycle policy through the published support period until September 19, 2018.

VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat is a software product (OEM of Neverfail) that protects vCenter Server against outages–from application, operating system, hardware and network failures to external events–regardless of whether vCenter Server is deployed on a physical or virtual machine.

vCenter Server Heartbeat creates a clone of both the vCenter Server and the SQL server database used by vCenter, and then keeps both the primary and secondary vCenter Servers in sync through continuous asynchronous replication. Administrators can use vCenter Server Heartbeat in a virtual configuration, physical configuration or a hybrid model.

The reason for the end of life is that VMware believes current available protections like VMware HA, vMotion and Storage vMotion ensure availability of managed resources.

I *guess* a couple of reasons to stop selling vCenter Heartbeat could be:

1. most customers are using vCenter running in a virtual machine. They are happy with HA
2. sales of vCenter Heartbeat are reducing because of point 1
3. vCenter Heartbeat is a complex product
4. vCenter Heartbeat was a pretty expensive solution not many customer were interested in.
5. It might give VMware too many support headaches because of upgrade issues vSphere 5.0 -> 5.5 combined with SSO.

6. As of vCenter Server 5.5 in vSphere 5.5, VMware introduced support for using Microsoft SQL Cluster Service for use as a back end database. See this KB for instructions.
7. VMware is working on a new way to protect vCenter Server

More information in the VMware blog here. Answers to frequently asked questions are here.

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Online firmware updates for HP ProLiant servers running VMware ESXi 5.0 and later

HP has silently introduced a new tool which is very handy to reduce downtime and manual labor when updating firmware on HP ProLiant  servers.

Until the release of VMware SmartComponents an administrator needed to shutdown a VMware host to update the firmware of the server. The method used the HP Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) ISO to update firmware. After the firmware was installed, ESXi could be booted again.

Not anymore using SmartComponents. A SmartComponent is a self-contained HP proprietary package that installs/updates firmware on HP servers and infrastructure. SmartComponents contain everything needed to install the firmware as well as the firmware itself.

These SmartComponents are only supported on an ESXi host running ESXi 5.0 or later.

SmartComponents can be used in two ways to update firmware without bringing down the HP server:

  1. using the vCenter Server with HP Insight Control for vCenter
  2. using the Tech Support Mode on the ESXi host

Prerequisites
To use these SmartComponents, either the indicated version of HP ESXi 5.0 custom image must be installed on the ESXi host, or the versions of HP Insight WBEM Providers and HP Agentless Management need to be installed on the ESXi host running ESXi 5.0 or newer.

Version 7.1.1 of Insight Control for vCenter
Version 5.25 or later of the HP ESXi 5.0 Custom image
Version 1.3.5 or later of the HP Insight WBEM Providers offline bundle
Version 9.2.5 or later of the HP Agentless Management offline bundle

Download the software here.

See the release notes of the December 2012 VMware SmartComponents for Insight Control for vCenter

Derek Seaman has some more information on his blog.

VMware vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager 1.0 available for download

VMware released the VMware vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager 1.0.
Using this add-on in vSphere Client plus a Windows Service running on the vCenter Server,  Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 Hyper-V servers can be managed using vCenter Server. In future releases Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V and support for other hypervisors will be added.

It provides the following benefits to your virtual environment:

  • An integrated platform for managing VMware and third-party hypervisors from a single interface.
  • A hypervisor choice for the different business units in your organization to accommodate their specific needs.
  • No single hypervisor vendor lock-in.

In October I blogged about the expected release of the Multi-Hypervisor manager. This plugin was announced at VMworld Europe.

The vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager module consists of a server component (a windows service) and a client component. The client component is a plug-in to the VMware vSphere Client. The vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager server is a Windows installable package, which deploys the VMware vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager service. After installing the vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager server component, you have to install the vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager plug-in for the vSphere Client.

Features of the 1.0 version are:

  • add\remove\connect\disconnect Hyper-V servers
  • view Hyper-V host configuration(processor, memory)
  • Power operations for host and VM
  • List VMs (per vCenter, per host)
  • Connect/disconnect DVD and Floppy drives
  • Edit VM settings (RAM, CPU, harddisk, network cards)
  • Provision new VMs on Hyper-V hosts
  • vCenter Integrated Authorization

A demo of the software can be seen here.

VMware vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager is available to all vCenter Standard Edition customers as a free download. vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager is not available with vCenter Essentials Editions.

This website shows the installation procedure (screendumps). The text is in Czech language but the screens are in english.

The release notes can be viewed here.

KB article Installing vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager plug-in best practices

vCenter Multi-Hypervisor Manager FAQ

VMware vCenter Server 5.1.0a released

At October 25 VMware released an updated version of vCenter Server. This version is 5.1.0a which has a number of bugfixes to the current 5.1 version.

Besides the full Windows installation of vCenter Server, also the vCenter Server Appliance is available in version 5.1.0a.

An overview of bugfixes is listed below.
The Release Notes can be found here.
Download the update here.

vExpert Maish Saidel-Keesing of blogsite Technodrone has a good review on the update which has been released only one month after the release of vSphere 5.1. Recommended read to understand what bugfixes are included.

Jim Millard wrote a blogpost on the upgrade process.

Bugfixes included in the update:

Upgrade and Installation

    • vCenter Server Services fail on startup after upgrade to vCenter Server 5.1After you upgrade to vCenter Server 5.1, the vCenter Server services fail to start up and generate vpxd dumps. This issue occurs if old certificates are removed during upgrade of vCenter Server or if you attempt to perform a fresh install of vCenter Server with an already upgraded vCenter Server 5.1 database.This issue is resolved in this release. If you have encountered this issue in the past, upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1.0a will resolve the issue.

    • Users unable to log in to vCenter Server after upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1After upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1, you might be unable to log in with the user or group administrator privileges provided by the vCenter Server installer during the upgrade process. This issue can occur if vCenter Server finds a vCenter Server Administrator user or group that can be authenticated against vCenter Single Sign On while searching the vCenter Server database.This issue is resolved in this release.

    • Invalid solution certificate. Certificate already expired. error message occurs when upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 and registering the vCenter Server instance to vCenter Single Sign On The vCenter Server installer does not allow upgrade if the certificate is invalid or already expired. To regenerate expired SSL certificates, see KB 1009092: Regenerating expired SSL certificates.This issue is resolved in this release.

    • vCenter Server takes an unusually long time to start and the vSphere Client might time out When a large number of permissions are assigned to objects in the vCenter Server inventory, the vCenter Server service does not start as quickly as expected as vCenter Server verifies that the users and groups exist in the identity source. Also, the connection to the vSphere Client might time out when you log in with Windows session credentials.
      The following messages appear in the vCenter Server logs while the service is starting:[SSO] [SsoAdminFacadeImpl] [FindGroup][UserDirectorySso] GetUserInfo (DOMAIN\ *USER OR GROUP*, true) res: DOMAIN\ *USER OR GROUP*[UserDirectorySso] NormalizeUserName (DOMAIN\ *USER OR GROUP*, false) re: DOMAIN\ *USER OR GROUP*This issue is resolved in this release.

    • Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 might fail with error 29107 even though the service or solution user is already registeredAttempts to upgrade vCenter Server 5.1 might fail with the following error message:Error 29107. The service or solution user is already registered. Check VM_ssoreg.log in system, temporary folder for details.This issue is resolved in this release.

    • Installing or upgrading vCenter Server 5.1 fails with the error: Could not contact Lookup ServicevCenter Simple Install might fail with the following error if the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) contains the string port during the installation:Error 29102 . Could not contact Lookup Service. Please check VM_ssoreg.log in system temporary folder for details.This issue is resolved in this release.

  • Installing vCenter Single Sign On fails with the error: Unable to create database users: Password validation failedWhen you attempt to install vCenter Single Sign On using an existing database or the bundled SQL Express database, the installation fails with the following error:Error 29114. Cannot connect to DBThis issue is resolved in this release.

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Storage Issues

    DevPR: 744019 DocPR: 825997

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Server Configuration

    DevPR: 781528 DocPR: 840741

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vCenter Server and vSphere Client

  • Unable to log in to the vSphere Web Client due to incorrect proxy settingsSlow network speeds caused by incorrect proxy settings might result in delay during the interaction between the vSphere Web Client, domain controller, and external vCenter Single Sign On. You might encounter the following issues due to this delay:
    • Attempts to log into the vSphere Web Client fail with the following error:
      The vSphere Web Client cannot connect to the vCenter Single Sign On server.
    • A delay in excess of 20 minutes to list all domain users
    • A delay in excess of 20 minutes to load the whole vCenter Server inventory after domain use login

    This issue is resolved with this release.

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Virtual Machine Management Issues

DevPR: 737576 DocPR: 791736

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VMware HA and Fault Tolerance Issues

DevPR: 814277 DocPR: 839148

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Guest Operating System Issues

DevPR: 780260 DocPR: 831610

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Performance Charts

DevPR: 639260 DocPR: 825851

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Licensing Issues

DevPR: 769620 DocPR: 831785

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Miscellaneous Issues

DocPR: 835093

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Localization

DevPR: 727342 DocPR: 827967

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OVF Customization

DevPR: 727342 DocPR: 827374

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Security

DevPR:941420 DocPR:945774

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vMotion and Storage vMotion

  • Unable to access the cross-host Storage vMotion feature from the vSphere Web Client with an Essentials Plus license If you start the migration wizard for a powered on virtual machine with an Essentials Plus license, the Change both host and datastoreoption in the migration wizard is disabled, and the following error message is displayed:Storage vMotion is not licensed on this host.To perform this migration without a license, power off the virtual machine.This issue is resolved in this release.

VMware vCenter Infrastructure Navigator version 1.1 released

VMware released version 1.1 of VMware vCenter Infrastructure Navigator.

VMware vCenterInfrastructure Navigator is an application awareness plug-in to vCenter Server, and provides continuous dependency mapping of applications. Infrastructure Navigator offers application context to the virtual infrastructure administrators to monitor and manage the virtual infrastructure inventory objects and actions. Administrators can use Infrastructure Navigator to understand the impact of change on the virtual environment in their application infrastructure. Infrastructure Navigator helps virtual infrastructure administrators perform the following tasks:

  • Make accurate first-level triage to help either eliminate the problem or associate the problem with the virtual infrastructure when business service users report problems.
  • Assess change impact. Manage and communicate virtual infrastructure issues for critical applications.
  • Understand the application and business impact of changes to the virtual infrastructure on applications.

The Open Source Licenses (OSL) file for the virtual appliance is available at /root/open_source_licenses.txt. You can retrieve the file by running the scp root@<appliance IP>:open_source_licenses.txt command.

Infrastructure Navigator is supported on vCenter Server 5.0 (build 455964 or later) with the vSphere Web Client (build 423753 or later). The supported ESX versions include ESX/ESXi 3.5 (build 425420), ESX/ESXi 4.0 (build 398348), ESX/ESXi 4.1 (build 433742), and all builds of ESXi 5.x.

More info at source.

Managing Hyper-V hosts from vCenter

Organizations using both VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V hosts for running virtual machines could either be using two management tools or they could manage both ESX and Hyper-V from System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008. Not anymore. VMware made available a tool which enables management of ESX and Hyper-V from the same vSphere client.

VMware has a very interesting concept called VMware Labs. On the VMware Labs website small applications can be found which are called flings. A fling is a short-term thing, not a serious relationship but a fun one.  Likewise, the tools that are offered here are intended to be played with and explored.

Eric Sloof of ntpro.nl reports on a very interesting fling called XVP Manager and Converter. Using this vCenter plugin Hyper-V hosts and the virtual machines running on it can be managed using the vSphere client. Also virtual machines running on Hyper-V can be converted to vSphere virtual machines.

VMware vCenter XVP Manager and Converter provides basic virtualization management capabilities for non-vSphere hypervisor platforms towards enabling centralized visibility and control across heterogeneous virtual infrastructures. It also simplifies and enables easy migrations of virtual machines from non-vSphere virtualization platforms to VMware vSphere.

Features

  • Management of the following Microsoft Hyper-V platforms:
    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (64-bit) with Hyper-V role enabled
    • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V role enabled
  • Familiar vCenter Server graphical user interface for navigating through and managing non-vSphere inventory
  • Ease of virtual machine migrations from non-vSphere hosts to vSphere inventory
  • Compatible with VMware vCenter Server 4.0 & 4.1
  • Scalable up to management of 50 non-vSphere hosts

More information including video’s and download can be found on the VMware Labs site.

iDatacenter (vCenter management on iPad) Released as Open Source

iDatacenter, a App for the iPad which can connect to vCenter of a ESX host to manage your virtual infrastructure has been released as open source  as per February 12. Also the price has been reduced to Euro 1,59

Read more on the site of the developer of iDatacenter.

VMware vSphere 4.1 Update 1 released with support for Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT)

At February 11 VMware Released Update 1 for vSphere 4.1. It contains security and bug fixes and supports additional guest operating systems and supports additional databases for vCenter.

Updates are on ESX and ESXI, vCenter Server, vCenter Update Manager and vCenter Orchestrator. Rick Scherer of vmwaretips.com has more information.

Ome interesting new feature is support for  Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT), available in ESXi only. ESXi 4.1 Update 1 supports trusted boot using Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT). This boot option can protect ESXi in some cases where system binaries have been corrupted or tampered with.

TXT allows an ESXi host to measure all components in the boot path from BIOS to ESXi and stores the measurements on a device known as the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) on the server motherboard. Each component is loaded and measures the next component in the boot chain to establish a chain of trust. ESXi can securely communicate these TPM measurements to vCenter Server. Certain third-party software might offer the ability to use these measurements for auditing, compliance, and management.
 
You can use TPM with third-party solutions to provide policy-based protection against the following threats against an ESXi image:
  • Corruption of the stored image
  • Certain kinds of tampering
  • Unexpected or unauthorized updates or changes

 This technology is currently available on Intel Xeon processor 5600 series servers and will be available on future versions of Intel processor servers.

Read more on this on the VMware KB.

VMware vCloud Connector video

VMware annouced at Partner Exchange 2011 the release of the new product called vCloud Connector. Using this free vCenter Server plugin expected to be released before end of Q1 2011 organizations are able to copy virtual machines between their private cloud to the public cloud and back. This enables hybrid cloud.

Two experts of BlueLock, a USA based providerof cloud hosting  explain in their weeklyWhiteboard Wednesday  video session about the features of vCloud Connector. Also a live demo is given.

Required VMware vCenter Converter ports

While doing a conversion using vCenter Converter of servers in different network segments you will run into issues about firewall ports. This knowledgebase article of VMware explains all the ports that are used by Converter. 

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1010056

Course: Next Generation VMware Infrastructure: What’s New

For VMware partners only: VMware training centers worldwide are delivering a two-day course on the new generation VMware Infrastructure whats new also known as vSphere.

The training can be done online as well, but not 24hours/7 days per week. Fixed dates and time only!

The training has 6 modules

Module 1: Introducing the Next Generation of VI
Highlights Next Generation enhancements by component and reviews upgrade tools and strategies.

Module 2: Infrastructure Administration
Presents new features that support better infrastructure monitoring and reduce the time it takes to provision ESX/ESXi hosts and virtual machines.

Module 3: Networking
Discusses networking enhancements that simplify configuration, extend support, and improve performance.

Module 4: Storage
Introduces new storage features that reduce storage costs, streamline management, and optimize performance.

Module 5: Resource Management
Reviews vMotion. compatibility enhancements, new VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler monitoring and management tools, and extended VMware DPM support.

Module 6: Business Continuity
Presents VMware High Availability enhancements and introduces VMware Fault Tolerance and vStorage APIs for data recovery.

Costs are in 495 euro for instructur led training and US$ 747.5  for the online training.

Details on VMware Partner Central http://mylearn1.vmware.com/mgrreg/courses.cfm?ui=sso&a=one&id_subject=9822

Maintenance Mode stuck at 2%

This issue comes up once in a while, when a hosts is put into maintenance mode and some or none of the virtual machines are migrated of the host and the Maintenance Mode task stays at 2%.

There can be various reasons for this, so I decided to sum up all possibilities that can prevent a VM from vmotioning automatically to another host :

  • A VM is attached to an internal only network or virtual switch not available on another ESX server. Check spellings of vSwitches and which network VM is using.
  • VMtools is still installing on a VM.  Complete the installation. 
  • A VM is stored on a datastore local to that ESX host. The VM needs to be on a centralized datastore (SAN etc) that is available to another or all ESX hosts.
  • A CD/Floppy is still attached to VM. Remove the CD or Floppy.
  • DRS had been configured for partially automated and recommendations had been generated. Apply all the the recommendations.

DC07 What’s new in vCenter Server

VMware is moving away from managing the hardware to managing applications. The next release of vCenter (release data not mentioned, will be somewhere in 2009) will have a new GUI. GUI will be dashboard style with icons. vMotion will now be executed using the GUI instead of command line like it is now. (or freeware tools).

The most published new option of vCenter is the linked mode. By using linked mode the VI client can connect to more than one vCenter Server. This can be usefull for situations in which one vCenter Server is not sufficient. (because organization has more ESX hosts than vCenter can manage, or because of geographical reasons, or DR reasons (Site Recovery Manager needs two vCenter Servers)

vCenter will have more alarms and more monitoring of events. New actions are for example putting a ESX host in maintenance mode when the temperature of the servers becomes too high.

Reports on the usage of storage are added. Performance monitoring will be much better for instance by being able to monitor CPU and internal memory in the same window.

vCenter Server can manage more ESX hosts (300 now) and more virtual machines (3000). Also a DRS/HA cluster can have 64 nodes.

vCenter Server Heartbeat

As an important add-on to vCenter Server, the new heartbeat product vCenter Server Heartbeat addresses a key enterprise customer requirement – ensuring high availability for vCenter Server itself, monitoring and protecting VMware’s management platform against network, hardware, OS and application issues. By fully protecting the infrastructure, it helps eliminate barriers to deployment of Tier 1 critical applications on VMware by providing high availability for the entire infrastructure.

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