vCenter Server update planner at work

I’d like to point your attention to a new and useful feature which was introduced with vSphere 7 update 2. It is easily being overlooked in the abundance of new features, but it does a very good job in the prior to a vCenter update.

A requirement for the Update Planner is participation in the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).

The first sign of a new vCenter update is a notification banner at the top of vSphere Client.

Clicking on “View Updates” will take you directly to the Update Planner. This can also be found in the menu. To do this, select the vCenter in the Hosts & Clusters view and select “Updates” > vCenter Server > Update Planner in the menu bar at the top right.

All currently available updates are being displayed. In the case shown below, the vCenter is already at 7.0 Update 2, so only one possible update is listed. If several possible updates are available, the Update Planner can check the compatibility against all of them. To do this, select the radio button of the desired update (red box).

Once an update is selected, the action field “Generate Report” turns blue and shows the two possible sub-items “Interoperability” and “Pre-Update Checks“.

Interoperabilty Checks

The Interoperability Check verifies not only the ESXi hosts but also the compatibility with other VMware products registered in vCenter.

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Joining VCSA to Active Directory

Joining Active Directory with vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) has been simplified with every generation of VCSA.

I will show the workflow how to connect a VCSA 6.7 to an Active Directory source. The process differs a little, depending whether you’re using the HTML5-Client or the Web-Client (Flash).

Requirements

  • VCSA hostname has to be FQDN and may not be an IP address.
  • You need to login with a member of systemconfiguration admins, which administrator@vsphere.local is by default.

Workflow

The workflow is divided into three steps

  • Join VCSA to ADS
  • Reboot
  • Add ADS as identity source

Continue reading “Joining VCSA to Active Directory”

Why you should replicate your vCenter Appliance

In the old days of virtualization a vCenter used to be a nice-to-have commodity. But these times are long gone (at least from an IT point of view). In today’s datacenter many services and applications rely heavily on vCenter. Some of the most common use-cases are VDI-environments, cluster balancing mechanisms like DRS or Storage-DRS and even backup software needs vCenter.

The last one is a crucial point. It’s good to have your vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) backed up regularly and most of you and your customers will likely do so. But think of what would happen if you’d loose your vCenter for like 10 minutes or even an hour.

It’s not just important to have a backup of it – you also need to return to operation fast and minimize your Recovery-Time-Objective (RTO). Continue reading “Why you should replicate your vCenter Appliance”