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12.03.2014
Would you or someone else please comment upon whether this Linux appliance presently only does Virtual Center or whether it also includes Update Manager (either now or in the future)??
I find it a little odd that you have VMware with really smart engineers and developers putting out all these products that are lean, mean, and innovative, — then with Virtual Center they use the most bloated, contorted, and slow technologies to do anything.
John, I appreciate you taking the time to share your perspective — I will pass it on to some of the leadership at VMware. What if the database was also distributed as part of the appliance and it happened to be Oracle, but did not require esoteric configuration or maintenance?
If you somehow encapsulate the database it will make it easier, sure, but I dont think that’s the problem. You can satisfy the first group of people any number of different ways, including simply making virtualcenter less expensive, but I believe that you must pay more attention to the second group.
See, Oracle, no matter how you deploy it more often than not has a cost involved to this second group of people. While we *do* run Oracle (among other DBs), we would prefer to decouple vctr from EVERYTHING else (hence the desire to have an appliance) Whatever DB solution, I’d prefer to see it embedded in the appliance, installed automagically and isolated from the rest of our environment. FYI Key leaders in the vCenter R&D group have been made aware of the various comments on this article.
MySQL uses less RAM, less disk space, it’s easy to install, configure and to do maintain. Right now having vCenter on Windows forces me to have a Windows Server box, and just because it’s cheaper than Oracle, a MS SQL Server. Hope you can have a great Linux version of vCenter with MySQL support, or some other embedded database that does not have the restrictions of Oracle XE. I think you should keep your products MS free, support them for the tons of clients you have that run on MS, but try to avoid throwing more business to MS and for that matter to Oracle, that is also trying to get into the virtualization market. With Hyper-V coming along there is going to be a serious push from Microsoft into the space currently occupied firmly by VMware. From what I’m seeing of the management solution – why would a shop with a solid windows staff use VMware over hyper-V ?
All of that being said I dont understand why VMware regressed 10 years and made all of its management applications desktop based. It would be really nice to have support for PostgreSQL (although we could live with MySQL ). After watching the way that Oracle treated the Open Source community and associated projects. Do you have a link for both the documentation and where I can start funneling admins for training? I am enthused about regaining the security in my infrastructure and look forward to putting this to the test for evaluation and feasibility of full scale deployment. The views and opinions published on this site belong to Eric Gray and are not approved or endorsed by his employer, VMware, Inc. Configure a DRS VM-Host rule that places all vCenter infrastructure on the same Management host, this way you will only need one vSphere Client connection during the upgrade.
You know what you are doing and have the ability to make changes to vCenter, Active Directory, DNS, etc. You have a fully functioning vSphere environment with virtual machines running.  No Physical vCenter servers. Roll-back – original vSphere infrastructure is a “snapshot restore” away if the upgrade process fails. You have an AD “vCenter” OU which has a “optimised” Group Policy configured specifically for vCenter. Create the DRS VM-Host rule that binds the vCenter Management Layer to a single Host in your Management Cluster. Open the Console to your Web Client, Inventory and Web Client servers and gracefully shutdown the VMs. Change the IP Address of the VM to another IP in the same subnet.  The original IP will be assigned to the Win2012 R2 server, which means you may not have to change a lot of firewall rules. After the necessary reboots, login to the Database server and run the “SQL Server Management Studio”.  Login as “sa” with the relevant password.
Browse to the “Database” folder and record the name of the vCenter Database configured, this will be required later.  Verify that “vpxuser” exists in the “Permissions” option under Database “Properties”.
Check that the Windows Server 2012 R2 ISO image is connected to the CDROM of the vCenter Virtual Machine. Power-On the VM and wait for the Windows Server 2012 R2 installation screen to appear.  Select “Next”.
Access the “Server Manager” interface (it should start automatically after login) and configure the following OS settings.
Change the computer name to that of the original vCenter 5.1 server and add to Active Directory.


Press “Select a server from the server pool”, make sure the “Windows Server 2012? OS is highlighted and select “Next”. Press “Specify an alternate source path” and define the “Path” as “D:\sources\sxs” and press “OK”. Enter the name “VCENTERDB”, the description “VCENTERDB” and then select the name of the vCenter Database server (SQL Server 2008 R2) configured earlier from the “Server” list.  Press “Next”.
Select “With SQL Server authentication using a login ID and password assigned by the user”, use the “vpxuser” and password and press “Next”. Create a vSphere “Baseline” Snapshot.  This will be used for roll-back if the vCenter installation is corrupted in any way during Part 3. Make sure the vCenter 5.5 Update 1 ISO image has been mounted to the CDROM of the Windows Server 2012 R2 Virtual Machine. Open the console of the new vCenter VM running Windows Server 2012 R2 and login with the AD “vCenter” service account. Select “vCenter Single Sign-On for your first vCenter Server” is selected and press “Next”. Open the Services application and verify that the VMware “Certificate”, “Directory”, “Identity Management”, “Kdc” and “Security Token” services are installed and running. Open the Services application and verify that the VMware “vSphere Web Client” service is installed and running. Open the Services application and verify that the VMware “vCenter Inventory” service is installed and running.
Skip the “Licence key” and press “Next”.  The licence key is already stored in the SQL Server Database.
Select “Use an existing supported database” and select “VCENTERDB (MS SQL)” from the DSN list.  Then press “Next”. Enter the Active Directory username or group that will be configured as an administrator of vCenter.  Select “Next”.
Open the Services application and verify that the VMware “VirtualCenter Server” service is installed and running.
On your Desktop close all consoles and disconnect the vSphere Client from the Management host. Take a vSphere Snapshot of the vCenter and Database servers.  This provides a roll-back if any part of the Cloud Management re-integration process fails.
Re-integration procedures for reconnecting your Cloud Management infrastructure with vCenter 5.5.
Delete all remaining distributed vCenter 5.1 VMs (vSphere Web Client, Inventory Service, SSO). RDP or open the console to the vCenter SQL Server and run the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio. Select the “Security” folder and then the “Logins” sub-folder and select “vpxuser”.  Right mouse click and press the “Properties” option. Then tick the “db_owner” role in the “Database role membership” window and make sure the “Default Schema” is set to “dbo”. Select the “System DSN” tab and then press “Add”.  Note the existing 64bit DSN for the vCenter DB already configured in Part 2. Scroll down to the bottom and select the “SQL Server Native Client 10.0? driver and then press “Finish”.
Enter the name “VUMDB”, the description “VUMDB” and then select the name of the vCenter Database server (SQL Server 2008 R2) configured earlier from the “Server” list.  Press “Next”.
Locate the vCenter appliance OVF template file that you downloaded in step 1 above, then Click Next. Select Thin Provision for the Datastore that the VMware vCenter OVF Template Virtual Machine Will Use. Watch the progress bar as it deploys the vCenter appliance template into a virtual machine.
Power up the vCenter appliance virtual machine that you just deployed, then launch the virtual console. Wait until the vCenter virtual appliance boots, then follow the instructions that it lists.  The basic idea is to browse to the URL given and complete the installation there. Using your browser, browse to the VMware vCenter Server Appliance that you deployed in step 1 and booted in step 2 above. At this point, you are ready to use the vCenter appliance, but I would suggest to make at least two changes:  Change the root password, and set a static IP address. Launch your vSphere client, and login using the root password that you likely set above in step 4. After logging in, I would add the physical esxi hosts that we will manage with this VMware vCenter Server Appliance.
I have been using VMware vCenter Server Appliances consistently for the last 2 years and have loved the simplicity of having the opportunity of having it in a virtual machine and eliminating the need for another Microsoft Windows Server license.


Jeff has 20 years of professional IT experience, having done nearly everything in his roles of IT consultant, Systems Integrator, Systems Engineer, CNOC Engineer, Systems Administrator, Network Systems Administrator, and IT Director. With nearly every resource a business uses these days being served through a browser, every application is now a URL. I mentioned in another article (Speed Up Your Webpage with Varnish) some of the benefits of Varnish Cache. I will tell you this much: The people that are eager to see vCenter for Linux are not the same people eager to use Oracle regardless of whether or not there is a money-saving path to take.
These are the people that by choice or by force have to deal with bringing another alien application into their environment. I have it on good authority that every Oracle license ships with this little bottle of red stuff that makes the gorilla invisible when you drink it, but there are lots of people who haven’t had the pleasure.
In the case of an appliance I’m sure it is a lot easier to deal with an embedded MySQL server than an Oracle one. Before this we did not have any windows servers in our environment, so you gave MS one more customer. We are also an entirely Linux shop with our solitary Windows install running vCenter and SQL Server. It provides excellent caching and proxying which can provide a nice performance boost for your website. Every problem I have with VirtualCenter is this hit-and-miss affair of bad log files and restarting services hoping that all the shaking will knock the gears back into place. And databases are very expensive applications to deal with when you are talking about policy frameworks and compliance and certification and all of that. This can be fairly easy to accomplish if you utilize Web technologies and an opensource database.
It is a pain in the neck that you are forced to pay for thousands of dollars for a SQL Server license, when we could be using MySQL on Linux or even Oracle 11g on Linux. However, if you need more hosts and VMs, there is an option to use a dedicated Oracle database. At our company, we have all these little bits and pieces of policy to deal specifically with our virtualcenter server because it’s sitting out there all alone talking to its lonely MS SQL Server database. At that time the management can be performed from any Web enabled (and theoretically console) device regardless of platform.
Nothing VMware is doing is so special that it cant be cross-platform, and if the code is that jacked up I probably dont want it anyway. MySQL has been leveraged into LAMP beyond imagination and drives many websites and projects. Microsoft SQL Server it’s currently not supported, but who knows, maybe in the future. What I want to do is to throw out all of that specific policy and configuration management and backup headache and handle it like we handle every other linux app on the face of the earth. First, a Reverse Lookup Zone is needed, so if you don’t have one, go ahead and create it. Once that was taking care of, go in your Forward Lookup Zone and create an A record that points to the IP that you are going to set for the vCSA later on. Click Add Host.Now go ahead and download the appliance because the next step is to import it in the vSphere Client inventory. Since there is no vCenter infrastructure build yet, to only way to import the virtual appliance right now is by using the vSphere Client. Open a browser and type the IP address or FQDN of one of your ESXi servers then click the Download vSphere Client link (internet connection is needed).After the download completes, install the vSphere Client console package then launch it. Since vCenter is a resource intensive application it is not recommended to use a thin provision format in a production environment.
It will be great to have a DHCP server running on the same network as the vCSA is, because it will make the configuration easier and more intuitive since you can use a GUI. If the VM can’t find a DHCP server a big red error message will be displayed on top of the screen saying that no network was detected. Log in with user root and password vmware.As soon as you log in, a configuration wizard will pop-up.
Accept the EULA then click Cancel because there are other settings that need to be done before continuing the wizard, and the first one is to change the default appliance password.
Once the new password was provided click the Submit button to save the changes, then log out and log back in to verify that the new password works.



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