VMware vSphere 6.5: Migration from Windows vCenter to vCenter Server Appliance

Following on from my previous posts (What’s New in vSphere 6.5 and VMware VCSA 6.5: Installation & Configuration), a major area for discussion (and excitement) is the VMware Migration Assistant which, should you wish, is able to easily migrate you away from the Windows-based vCenter Server to the Linux-based vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA).

There are pros and cons to the vCenter appliance of course, as well as a healthy number of supporters in each camp, but if you fancy shaving some licensing costs (Windows Server and SQL Server), would like to enjoy a faster vSphere experience (since 6.0), or would just like to be able to take a quick backup of vCenter without having to either snapshot both Windows and SQL Servers elements, or by utilising your backup product of choice to take a full image of your environment, you might just want to take VCSA for a spin.

This post will detail the migration process of a Windows-based vCenter 6.0.0 U2 to vCenter Server Appliance 6.5. (more…)

VMware vCNS 5.5.4 to NSX 6.2.5 Upgrade

I’m a fan of upgrades that ‘just work’, but rarely do they run without a few unforeseens jumping out at you. Reading the VMware Upgrading VMware vCNS 5.5.x to NSX 6.2.x (2144620), I was surprised to see just five upgrade areas. Five? Really?? As this is a business critical system (and one with the potential of being able to turn a long day into an even longer day were things to go awry), I was a little sceptical, however, the vCNS to NSX upgrade process really is that easy. (more…)

VMware Product Walkthroughs

A great new range of informational overviews is available via the VMware Product Walkthroughs website. Covering a range of product overviews (from vSphere 6.5vRealize Network Insight, and more), to the specifics of vSphere 6.5 Encrypted vMotionNSX VXLAN Configuration, Virtual SAN Fault Domains. Great on so many levels, enabling us to up-skill and dry-run new products, demonstrate solutions to management and technical teams, etc. (more…)

VMware vSphere: Locked Disks, Snapshot Consolidation Errors, and ‘msg.fileio.lock’

A reoccurring issue this one, and usually due to a failed backup. In my case, this was due to a failure of a Veeam Backup & Replication disk backup job which had, effectively, failed to remove it’s delta disks following a backup run. As a result, a number of virtual machines reported disk consolidation alerts and, due to the locked vmdks, I was unable to consolidate the snapshots or Storage vMotion the VM to a different datastore. A larger and slightly more pressing concern that arose (due to the size and amount of delta disks being held) meant the underlying datastore had blown it’s capacity, taking a number of VMs offline.

So, how do we identify a) the locked file, b) the source of the lock, and c) resolve the locked vmdks and consolidate the disks?

(more…)

Configure Azure Internal Load Balancer (ILB) Listener for SQL Always On Availability Groups

Some time towards the end of Q4 2015, I was tasked with re-designing an Azure environment which had initially be commissioned to host a custom web solution by an outsourced team. The original design lacked any real resilience or high availability, with the solution itself being, for the most part, a collection of single instance servers. For example, SQL offered no HA via clustering or AAGs; no load-balancing had been implemented on the frontends, etc.

After a number of website outages due to server failures and/or high traffic volumes resulting in application crawl, the organisation approached my team with a request of redesigning the infrastructure.

My design was simple; I would continue to utilise Azure’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for the medium-term, deploy multiple, load-balanced IIS front-ends (which would eventually host the Sitecore Content Delivery nodes), and a simple, two-node SQL Always-On Availability Group (AAG) back-end with witness server. (more…)

VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5: Installation & Configuration

Following the general release of VMware vSphere 6.5 last month (see my What’s New in VMware vSphere 6.5 post), I’ll be covering a number of technical run-throughs already in discussion throughout the virtual infrastructure community.

We’ll be starting with a fresh installation of the new and highly improved vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA), followed by a migration from the Windows-based vCenter Server 6.0; the latter task made all the easier thanks to the vSphere Migration Assistant. More on this to come. Lastly, I’ll be looking at a fresh installation of the Windows-based product, however, the experience throughout all of these installation/migration scenarios has been vastly improved. (more…)

Integrating Active Directory with VMware vSphere SSO

One item I see mentioned fairly often, either in relation to personal labs or production environments, is the integration of vSphere SSO with Active Directory. Configuring vSphere’s SSO/AD integration via LDAP is a simple process, more so thanks to vSphere 6.5. (more…)

What’s New in VMware vSphere 6.5

With the release of vSphere 6.5 back in October, VMware have finally been able to offer a true HTML 5-based experience via their new vSphere Client (something that has been on the cards for quite a number of years), and I must say, I’m rather (very) pleased. Add to this the fact that the older C# Client has been pushed even closer to the Decommission Bin due to the release of the new ESXi Embedded Host Client (more on this in a future post), things are looking very good indeed. (more…)

Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 – Installation & Configuration

One of the major upcoming projects this year will see the upgrade and possible redesign of our Exchange environment, and this will mean upgrading our current Exchange 2010 solution to Exchange 2013. With this comes a number of differences (the management GUI to name just one), and I aim to capture my initial thoughts of the product in this and upcoming posts. In future posts we’ll cover various topics including the creation of database availability groups (DAGs), load balancing, and general all round resilient goodness! (more…)

Testing Network Connectivity Between VMkernel Ports

Configuring VLANs within vSphere is a simple enough task, however, testing outgoing ICMP traffic between hosts is a must when you find yourself unable to communicate with another vmkernel port on another host. Using the vmkping command, we are able to test outgoing traffic on a specific vmkernel port, perfect for those attempting to troubleshoot connectivity issues on different subnets and/or vSwitches. (more…)

About

mbcs-logo-colourGareth Lewis is a highly skilled Infrastructure Architect and design authority with a love for all things infrastructure and network virtualisation (VMware), storage area networks, and data centre operations. Having over a decade of IT experience and a deep understanding of both technical and business knowledge, Gareth is able to design, develop, and deliver high-end and resilient technical solutions based on organisational requirements.

Data centre operations, private and public cloud, infrastructure and network virtualisation, and storage area networks; selection, implementation, development, and support of vendors and strategic partner relationships, and procurement of high quality hardware, software, and services.

Skills Include…

  • VMware vSphere design, implementation, and administration
  • VMware Horizon design, implementation, and administration
  • Veeam Backup and Replication design, implementation, and administration
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 design, implementation, and administration
  • Microsoft Exchange 2007/2010/2013 design, implementation, and administration, and migration
  • Microsoft Direct Access 2012
  • Microsoft Azure Infrastructure as a Service
  • Windows Server 2003/2008/2012/2016
  • Network Routing and Switching
  • Dell Server hardware, including both rack-mount and blade
  • FC and iSCSI SAN
  • Storage management including Pure Storage, Dell EqualLogic, Nexsan, Nimble, and Nexenta

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