vCloud Automation Center 6.1 Upgrade (Step-by-Step)

As the long waiting vCAC 6.1 was released beginning of this week, I have decided to test the upgrade process in my home lab as many of my customers are getting ready to benefit of the new features and enahancements in this release. The good news for everyone that the process is straight forward, where the only challenge I had during the upgrade is satisfying the Java requirements. This post will take you in a step by step fashion of the vCAC 6.0.1 to vCAC 6.1 upgrade process.

Upgrading the vCAC Appliance

  1. Shutdown the services on the vCAC Appliance using the following commands:
    • service vco-server stop
    • chkconfig vco-server off
    • service vcac-server stop
  2. Stop the vCAC Appliance before upgrade
  3. Shutdown all the services on your IaaS Windows Server. Under Start => Administrative tools => Services. Make sure to shutdown:
    • All VMware vCloud Automation Center agents
    • All VMware DEM workers
    • VMware DEM orchestrator
    • VMware vCloud Automation Center Manager Service
  4. You can download the update by going to the vCAC Appliance and let it directly download the vCAC update from the internet (What I am going to do here). Else you can actually download an iso image or create your own web repo that you connect the appliance to for update.
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Learn Virtualization & VMware vSphere from Scratch

Few months back I got to speak to different friends of mine in the IT field, who were specialized in networking, storage, SAP, Database, Hardware and so on. I was surprised they had zero to little exposure to Virtualization although they are well versed into their field of expertise. They even held highest certifications in their fields like CCIE & the equivalent for the different specialty. This has kinda surprised me as working with Virtualization/Cloud Admins on daily basis, I had thought most IT professional by now are well versed with Virtualization. This has proved being far from the true, the more I speak to IT Professionals outside the Virtualization field.

Figuring out that many IT Professionals are still stuck in the past within the physical infrastructure, I decided to explore the cause and try to help improve the situation. Asking my friends about the cause of not catching up on Virtualization although they are aware its rapidly changing every IT field. I asked my networking friends if they are already aware that there is more virtual network ports than there is physical these days and they were surprised of that fact. I asked them what will they do when 90% of the network ports become virtual network ports and a part of a virtual switch.… Read More

Convert your vCAC Appliance to a vPostgres DB Appliance for vCAC Distributed install in 5 easy steps

VMware vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) 6.0 documentation and reference architecture recommends the utilization of an external instance of vPostgres when setting up a large/Medium distributed vCAC environment. However, since the release of vCAC 6.0 documentation, standalone vPostgres is EOA and no longer available as a standalone product. VMware has addressed that by allowing you to convert a vCAC 6.0 Appliance into a vPostgres Appliance for free. In fact, VMware has released a KB to demonstrate this, but that KB is highly focused on how to get replication setup for the vPostgres Appliance rather than on how to convert or use the vCAC Appliance in place of a vPostgres Appliance. KB2083563 is the article that show you how to use the vCAC Appliance in place of the vPostgres Appliance and how to setup replication for it. If you just need the simple steps of how to use the vCAC Appliance in place of the vPostgres Appliance and VMware HA is enough for your availability and you don’t require replication, then today is your lucky day as this article is going to show you how to achieve that in 3 easy steps (from now on in this article I will call the vCAC Appliance to be used as a vPostgres database vCAC vPostgres appliance):

  1.  Download vCAC 6 Appliance & Deploy it to be used as your vCAC vPostgres Appliance.
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Learn PowerShell From Scratch with Veeam

As IT around the globe has been tasked to deliver more with less resources has pushed admins to automate as many tasks as possible. The more tasks you can automate in your datacenter, the more efficient you can do your work and the less chances for error you will do with repeatable tasks. Most of the time you will find a great tool out there that help you to automate the task at hands, but there is always the case where you fact a task that you wish you can automate but there is no tool available to automate the task or the available tool in the market is out of budget. That does not mean you have to continue doing that tasks manually forever, but you will have to script it.

If you are not familiar with scripting or the task in hand that you are trying to automate is only can be done using PowerShell and you have not picked up PowerShell yet, then its your lucky day. Veeam has created a 3 video series with almost of 4 hours of play time to help you learn PowerShell. Did I mention yet its free? What are you waiting for!… Read More

How to configure vCAC not to delete VMs after deployment failure

I have a customer approach me asking of how we can stop vCAC from deleting VMs after deployment has failed for debugging purposes. The default behavior of vCAC is to delete the VM after deployment failure even if that failure was just caused by Guest customization failure or by the Guest Agent execution failure. The problem when a deployment fail due to a Guest Customization failure or by Guest Agent execution failure and the VM get delete as the deployment fail, you are left with no in guest logs to trace the cause of the problem which explain the need for stopping vCAC from deleting VMs after VMs deployment failure for debugging/troubleshooting.

Luckily vCAC Proxy Agent can be configured not to delete VMs after deployment failure and send it to VRMDeleted folder instead of deleting it and it can be deleted manually after you finish your debugging. If you think you need to stop vCAC from deleting VMs from vCenter after deployment failure for troubleshooting or any other reason, then below is how to do just that.

A system administrator can modify proxy agent configuration settings, such as provisioning machine credentials and deletion policy for virtualization platforms, after installation. The proxy agent utility can be used to modify the initial configurations that are encrypted in the agent configuration file.… Read More

vCenter Upgrade Error 28035. Setup failed to copy LDIFDE.EXE from System folder to ‘%windir%\ADAM’ folder

During the upgrade of vCenter I have faced the exact error that is documented in KB#2013675. The error was as follow:

————

Error 28035. Setup failed to copy LDIFDE.EXE from System folder to ‘%windir%\ADAM’ folder

———–

Below is an actual screenshot of the error:

vCenter upgrade error 28035 setup failed to copy LDIFDE

Further, in the vminst.log file, we found the following error:

———-

  • Unable to copy c:/Windows/ADAM/LDIFDE.EXE to C:/Windows/ADAM/LDIFDE.EXE

———

If you have read KB#2013675, then you will notice the above errors are an exact match of the errors documented in that KB. If so why, I am creating this post if a KB is out there that include the solution, because that solution alone which is shown below did not resolve my issue:

——- KB#2013675  Solution Start —-

To resolve this issue, manually install the Active Directory Lightweight Services Role for the server.
To manually install the Active Directory Lightweight Services Role for the server:
  1. Open the Server Manager for the server and click Add Role.
  2. Select the Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services option.
You should be able to install vCenter Server after the Role tasks complete

——- KB#2013675  Solution End —-

If the above solution does not work for you, just like was the case in our situation, then try the below solution after you apply the solution documented in the KB.… Read More

vCAC 6 Service Temporarily Unavailable

As I have deployed vCloud Automation Center 6.0.1 in my home lab on vSphere 5.5, the installation worked flawlessly as I have carried out the same installation several times in production for several customers before. vCAC seemed to work without any problem at all for few hours, then I started getting the following error every time I tried to access my vCAC Portal:

———————

Service Temporarily Unavailable 

The Server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

———————

Below is a screenshot of the actual error:

vCAC Service temporary unavailable

 

I was surprised to see the above error, and when checked the status of my vCAC Services under the services tab in the appliance management console of vCAC the pages was not loading although all the other tab were working just fine. I logged in through ssh to the vCAC Appliance and restarted the vCAC Service using the following command:

# service vcac-server restart

After restarting the vCAC Service and waiting for about 5 minutes, I have noticed that all the services of vCAC is now showing up on the service tab and right after that the vCAC portal started to function again. Initially I thought the service might hanged for some reason or so on, but after few hours the same issues came up, and I have noticed that I am getting the same problem repeatedly every few hours where my services stop again.… Read More

Upgrading vCenter with vCenter Heartbeat

I have went through the upgrade process of vCenter 5.0 to vCenter 5.1 which was protected by vCenter heartbeat(Please note same process apply for upgrade to 5.5 as well). The process end up being more of uninstalling and re-installing vCenter heartbeat rather than upgrade to avoid the undesired behavior of SSO lockdown that can be caused by the upgrade process of vCenter Hearbeat when SSO is hosted on the same VM as vCenter which was the case in my scenario. Let start by giving a summary of the upgrade process before going into a details:

a.  Uninstall vCenter Heartbeat 6.5 if installed
b.  Setup Single Sign On.
c.  Upgrade vCenter Server from to 5.0 to 5.1
d.  Upgrade Update Manager from 5.0 to 5.1
f. Install vCenter Heartbeat 6.6 (UAT & Prod).

below is the process  changes involved when upgrading vCenter that is protected by vCenter Heartbeat in more details:

1-      Preparation:

  • Make sure you have adequate backup. Maybe Image backup of your vCenter VMs?
  • Make sure to have license keys on hand.
  • Make sure All Windows Updates is disabled.
  • Write down all the IPs configurations.
  • Prepare a service account to use for heartbeat with local admin and vcenter admin privillage
  • Make sure to have a local administrator account on the machine that you know the password off.
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vCenter 5.5 Upgrade fails when installing Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package prerequisite with the error: Error Code 3010

While at a customer site and trying to upgrade their vCenter 5.0 to 5.5, every time we tried to run the installer it ran for a bit then gave us the follow error:

vCenter SSO Error 1722

Then the following errors appeared in a log files that was opened automatically in a notepad.

—————–  Error start —————–

Action 12:39:49: VM_InstallVCREDIST_x64. Configuring Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package (x64)…
Action start 12:39:49: VM_InstallVCREDIST_x64.
CustomAction VM_InstallVCREDIST_x64 returned actual error code 3010 (note this may not be 100% accurate if translation happened inside sandbox

MSI (c) (5C:E4) [12:40:32:470]: Note: 1: 1722 2: VM_InstallVCREDIST_x64 3: F:\ 4: D:\Single Sign-On\prerequisites\vcredist_x64.exe /s /v/qn
Error 1722. There is a problem with this Windows Installer package. A program run as part of the setup did not finish as expected. Contact your support personnel or package vendor. Action VM_InstallVCREDIST_x64, location: F:\, command: D:\Single Sign-On\prerequisites\vcredist_x64.exe /s /v/qn

MSI (c) (5C:E4) [12:42:05:103]: Product: vCenter Single Sign-On — Error 1722. There is a problem with this Windows Installer package. A program run as part of the setup did not finish as expected. Contact your support personnel or package vendor. Action VM_InstallVCREDIST_x64, location: F:\, command: D:\Single Sign-On\prerequisites\vcredist_x64.exe /s /v/qn

Action ended 12:42:05: VM_InstallVCREDIST_x64. Return value 3.
MSI (c) (5C:E4) [12:42:05:103]: Doing action: FatalError
Action 12:42:05: FatalError.Read More

vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 SSO Issues

While rebuilding my home lab to use the latest version of vCloud Automation Center, I have decided to rebuild it from scratch with the latest vCenter Server Appliance and ESXi. After deploying the vCenter Appliance 5.5c and going through the configuration, I wanted to join the appliance to my domain and allow users from my domain to authenticate.  While I was able to join the appliance to my domain and that seemed to work just fine as in the below screen shot, I was having a problem configuring SSO for native active directory. I kept getting the following error:  ” ‘alias’ value should not be empty ”

Alias Value should not be empty

The solution for this particular problem was easy, actually it was more of Ooops I have forget to restart the vCenter Appliance after joining the appliance to my domain. Actually it tell you to do so as in the below screenshot:

You actually need to restart the appliance after configuring AD

I wanted to document this, as I am positive there will be the case where others will miss this as well and try to fight this error and thought I will save them time. This is especially true that I have seen other posts on forums and blogs that claim rebooting after this step is not required although the documentation state so.… Read More

Unitrends Virtual Backup 8.0 Sneak Peek

I have participated in the Unitrends Virtual Backup 8.0 (formerly PHD Virtual Backup) beta program, and Unitrends has been kind enough to allow me to share my finding with you on my blog. Please note while the screenshots below still show PHDVirtual logo, I believe these will be replaced with the Unitrends logo in the official release.

I have downloaded the beta and the first thing that has impressed me is their new setup wizard. It is really slick to say the least, just for those in doubt, below is the screen shots of the setup wizard while trying to deploy it for the first time in my environment.

The below screenshot are an actual setup steps that I took from my lab environment and not from Unitrends website or documentation as I can see these setup wizard simulating many power point slides I have seen before for how descriptive they are. Well done Unitrends!

Unitrends Virtual Backup Wizard

This is the first screen I was welcomed with as soon I pointed my browser to the appliance. Yes, that was an instructional video that explain the PHD Virtual topology in a very quick manner and here is the video for those of you curious to see what that video was about.… Read More

VMware VCAP5-DCD fresh tips

Last Saturday, I have thought it is finally the time to attend the overdue VCAP5-DCD exam. After obtaining my VCDX4, I have decided to award my self some break of doing certification exams, which got me to push my VCAP5-DCD exam beyond what I originally anticipated. Last Monday, I looked at the availability of the next exam slot for VCAP5-DCD in a nearby test center and Saturday 21st of June was it. That meant on Saturday morning while people are cheering for their favorite team to score in the World Cup, I was scoring through my VCAP5-DCD. The good part, I have won my game and got the “You have Passed” message at the end of the exam.

vSphere VCAP Design

I thought I might share my experience on here and some tips of what to study.

Let me start with my VCAP5-DCD experience:

  1. This exam is a real marathon. I went to the exam with this being expected already from what I have read on other blogs. While 4 hours for 100 Questions sound like a lot of time, I had only 3 minutes left when I got to question 90. It is important to note, I was already running through questions as quickly as possible as I kinda expected it to be tight on time, but still were barely got to Q99 when the exam timed out.
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vCloud Automation Center and vCenter Appliance

Yesterday, I was asked twice if using our vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) with vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) is a viable option. As one of the two requests came from inside our VCDX family, It seems to be not a common knowledge, not when I get asked by another VCDX about it.  I thought this seems to be a good topic to address in a blog post, as the following questions seems to come often:

  • Does vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) 6 support vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA)?
  • Do your recommend using vCSA with vCAC?
  • What’s the added benefits of using vCSA  in my vCloud setup?
  • What extra limitations does using the vCenter Server Appliance with vCloud Automation Center impose to my environment?

I am sure you either had one of these questions on your mind or had been asked one of these at least once if you are working on a vCloud Automation Center setup. I will try to address these questions in this post.

Does vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) 6 support vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA)?

vCloud Automation Center and vCenter Appliance

I guess the image above gave the answer away, but for those of you who liked it spelled out, yes vCAC 6 support vCSA. Just make sure you check the vCenter interoperability matrix to ensure you are getting a supported version of the vCenter Server Appliance with the version of vCAC you are planning to install.… Read More

vCAC 6 Missing VM Actions

This problems seems to lately surface more than not when delivery a vCAC 6 Distributed installation. After you complete your vCloud Automation Center 6 installation without a hitch and you thought everything is working perfectly, you go to your Catalog Entitlements and try to assign Actions allowed and you notice that you have only few of what you really should have. The below screenshot provide a sample of which only actions I were able to entitle to my catalog items:

vCAC 6 missing VMs Actions

 

Before you jump to a conclusion that this the same problem you are having, please ensure that you have assigned the right permissions to your blueprint and entitlements to your Catalog item. For initial testing try to give all permissions to your blueprint as in the below screenshot:

 vCAC provide permissions on Blueprints

After providing the permissions on the vCAC Blueprint then you want to ensure your Catalog entitlements are set correctly. Go to Catalog action entitlements and check which Actions could you entitle to your Catalog item. If it look like the below screenshot then you are definitely having the same problem this article is trying to address as you should have much more actions that you can entitle to your Catalog Items.… Read More

Software Defined PBX

I remember the days when I used to live in an apartment building and when my analog home phone used to stop working due to a line problem, the first thing we used to suspect is one of my neighbor has missed up our building PBX wiring while fixing his phone line or installing a new phone line (more than likely, they did not mean to). I used to call the building maintenance and walk down with them to the PBX box and the fun begin when you try to identify which cable is my home phone line.

As that PBX grid grew, that wires spaghetti got out of hand. It got to a stage where it was almost impossible to add new lines or fix old ones without disturbing someone else phone line. The sad part, this PBX fun is not limited to old apartment buildings but many enterprises still depend on it.  If one of the below images remind you of how painful this sometime get, then keep reading as the solution might be Virtualization Again! And might be cheaper than you always thought.

PBX very hard to manageOld PBX System

 

As many companies has over grown their PBX system to unmanageable state, VoIP seems to be the natural choice to replace that old hard to manage PBX till companies look at the cost of switching to VoIP and complexity of traditional VoIP solutions they shy away and stick with what they have.… Read More

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