How to upgrade Windows vCenter 5.5 to the 6.5 Appliance

In this blog post I will be upgrading (migrating) a Windows vCenter 5.5 deployment to a vCenter Server 6.5 Appliance. VMware vSphere 6.5 finally went general availability on November 15th 2016 (Read GA announcement here). There are many new features and changes in 6.5. The first noticeable change is the thick C# vSphere client is not available with the introduction of the HTML5 vSphere client. Another feature addition is the VCSA now has VMware Update Manager fully integrated. No need for an additional Windows Server to run VUM!

To read more about vSphere 6.5 check out the followings resources:

Before you Start:

  • The migration supports going from 5.5 and 6.0 on Windows to the VCSA 6.5 appliance
  • You will need workstation not counting your Windows vCenter server (in case its physical)
  • Ensure you have the SSO password of your Windows vCenter deployment
  • If you are going to deploy the VCSA on a ESXi server make sure it has a Standard Switch port group that can talk on the same IP as your existing vCenter
  • Take a snapshot of your Windows vCenter VM before the upgrade
  • Rename your Windows vCenter VM with a -old at the end. When you deploy the VCSA you can use the original name
  • If your Windows vCenter is named after the installed version (Example: VCENTER55.virtuallyboring.com) take a look at the last paragraph in VMware KB 2040354 (Blog post about this coming soon!)
  • Ensure your backup solution and vCenter plugins are compatibility with vCenter 6.5

The migration is a two stage process. The first stage consist of the deployment of the VCSA. The second stage is the migration of the Windows vCenter data to the newly deployed VCSA.

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Let’s get started!

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Enable SSH Service on ESXi hosts using PowerShell

I found myself wanting to enable the SSH service on my ESXi hosts. I could use Host Profiles to enable it but I decided to PowerShell script it! To enable SSH there are three parts to it:

You will need to start the SSH service and set it to Start and Stop with Host:

manually-start-ssh-service

And you will need to suppress the SSH is enabled warning message:

esxi-hosts-ssh-warning

This script does all of the above to an entire cluster. Let’s see it in action!

######################################################################
# Start SSH Service, change Startup Policy, and Suppress SSH Warning #
######################################################################
 
#Variables
$vCenter = "LABVC01.virtuallyboring.com"
$Cluster = "Nested ESXi Cluster"
 
### Start of Script
# Load VMware Cmdlet and connect to vCenter
Add-PSSnapin vmware.vimautomation.core
connect-viserver -server $vCenter
 
$VMHost = Get-Cluster -Name $Cluster | Get-VMhost
 
# Start SSH Server on a Cluster
ForEach ($VMhost in $Cluster){
Write-Host -ForegroundColor GREEN "Starting SSH Service on " -NoNewline
Write-Host -ForegroundColor YELLOW "$VMhost"
Get-VMHost | Get-VMHostService | ? {($_.Key -eq "TSM-ssh") -and ($_.Running -eq $False)} | Start-VMHostService
}
 
# Change Startup Policy
ForEach ($VMhost in $Cluster){
Write-Host -ForegroundColor GREEN "Setting Startup Policy on " -NoNewline
Write-Host -ForegroundColor YELLOW "$VMhost"
Get-VMHost | Get-VMHostService | where { $_.key -eq "TSM-SSH" } | Set-VMHostService -Policy "On" -Confirm:$false -ea 1
}
 
# Surpress SSH Warning
ForEach ($VMhost in $Cluster){
Write-Host -ForegroundColor GREEN "Setting UserVar to supress Shell warning on " -NoNewline
Write-Host -ForegroundColor YELLOW "$VMhost"
Get-VMhost | Get-AdvancedSetting | Where {$_.Name -eq "UserVars.SuppressShellWarning"} | Set-AdvancedSetting -Value "1" -Confirm:$false
}
### End of Script

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How to Add ESXi Hosts to vCenter using PowerShell

There are quite a few clicks needed to add a host to vCenter. If you are deploying multiple hosts to your environment you have many clicks ahead. You should script it! This PowerShell script will make adding multiple hosts to vCenter easy!

Let’s see it in action!

#####################################################################
# Load VMware Plugins and connect to vCenter
#####################################################################

Add-PSSnapin vmware.vimautomation.core
## Enter your vCenter here
connect-viserver -server LABVC01.virtuallyboring.com

########################################################################
# Add Multiple Hosts to vCenter
######################################################################## 

# Variables
## You can use comma separated names or change to pull from a text file. Your pick.
$ESXiHosts = "ESXi01.virtuallyboring.com" , "ESXi02.virtuallyboring.com" , "ESXi03.virtuallyboring.com"
## Enter the name of a Data Center or Host Cluster
$ESXiLocation = "Nested ESXi Cluster"

# Start Script
$credentials = Get-Credential -UserName root -Message "Enter the ESXi root password"

Foreach ($ESXiHosts in $ESXiHosts) { 
 Add-VMHost -Name $ESXiHosts -Location $ESXiLocation -User $credentials.UserName -Password $credentials.GetNetworkCredential().Password -RunAsync -force
 Write-Host -ForegroundColor GREEN "Adding ESXi host $ESXiHosts to vCenter"
 } 
# End Script 

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vSphere Thick Client End of Life – A Look at the HTML 5 Client Fling

On May 18th VMware announced the end of the road for the C# vSphere Thick Client. The next version of vSphere the thick client will not be available. VMware has been building up to this moment and previously announced they wanted to move to a web based client to have maximum compatibility and mobility. The current versions of the vSphere thick client will remain supported (5.5, 6.0) until their end of life cycle. So what does the future look like for the vSphere Client? VMware will keep the existing Flash web client and introduce the HTML5 based vSphere Client. The Flash web client will remain so third party developers can migrate their plugins over to the long term HTML5 client.

The HTML 5 Web Client Fling is available to download and install. It gives a fantastic view of how VMware envisions the new HTML 5 client. There are quite a few limitations in the current form but VMware will have the kinks worked out before it becomes the primary client. Below is how to deploy the v1.6 HTML 5 Client Fling and link to a VCSA:

Full installation instructions can be found here

Deploying the OVA:

Once the OVA is downloaded from the Fling website, login to your vSphere Web Client, right click on the Data Center, then click Deploy OVF Template:

1 HTML Fling - Deploy OVA

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VMware Horizon View 7: Instant Clone Desktop Pool [Part 8]

In Part 8 of this Boring series I will be setting up an Instant Clone Desktop Pool. This is one of the coolest features announced of Horizon 7 in my opinion! You may have heard of Project Fargo (aka vmFork) announced during the keynote speech of VMworld 2014. This is the result of that project! Instant Clone gives you the ability to rapidly deploy VMs (children) from a already powered on and running VM (parent). The child clones share the memory and disk of the parent for Reads while Writes are placed in a delta disk. To read more about Instant Clone technology check out this VMware Blog post.

vBoring Blog Series:

  1. VMware Horizon View 7: Deployment and Installation
  2. VMware Horizon View 7: Apply SSL Certificates
  3. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Events Database
  4. VMware Horizon View 7: Add Microsoft RDS Farm
  5. VMware Horizon View 7: Setup Remote Access through Security Server
  6. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Master Desktop Template
  7. VMware Horizon View 7: Automated Desktop Pool
  8. VMware Horizon View 7: Instant Clone Desktop Pool

Creating the Instant Clone Template:

For a guide to setup your Master Template follow my previous post: https://www.virtuallyboring.com/vmware-horizon-view-7-create-master-desktop-template/

There are a few additional stipulations that needs to be met:

  • Windows 7 and Windows 10 are the only supported operating systems for Instant Cloning
  • Only VSAN and VMFS datastores are supported; NFS and local storage are not allowed
  • Ensure your template is VM Hardware Version 11
  • When installing the Horizon View Agent, ensure you enabled the VMware Horizon Instant Clone option:
    • Horizon View 7 - Agent Install

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VMware Horizon View 7: Automated Desktop Pool [Part 7]

Part 7 of the series we will be creating a Automated Desktop Pool using Full Desktops.

vBoring Blog Series:

  1. VMware Horizon View 7: Deployment and Installation
  2. VMware Horizon View 7: Apply SSL Certificates
  3. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Events Database
  4. VMware Horizon View 7: Add Microsoft RDS Farm
  5. VMware Horizon View 7: Setup Remote Access through Security Server
  6. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Master Desktop Template
  7. VMware Horizon View 7: Automated Desktop Pool
  8. VMware Horizon View 7: Instant Clone Desktop Pool

Create Automated Desktop Pool:

To create a desktop pool login to the View Administrator Console, drill down to Catalog-> Desktop Pools -> then click Add:

Horizon View 7 - 1 Add Desktop Pool

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VMware Horizon View 7: Create Master Desktop Template [Part 6]

Part 6 of the series we will be creating a ‘golden’ master desktop template to use for our View Desktop pools. I will be creating a Windows 10 template but you could use any Windows version you wish!

vBoring Blog Series:

  1. VMware Horizon View 7: Deployment and Installation
  2. VMware Horizon View 7: Apply SSL Certificates
  3. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Events Database
  4. VMware Horizon View 7: Add Microsoft RDS Farm
  5. VMware Horizon View 7: Setup Remote Access through Security Server
  6. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Master Desktop Template
  7. VMware Horizon View 7: Automated Desktop Pool
  8. VMware Horizon View 7: Instant Clone Desktop Pool

Virtual Hardware:

When creating the VM shell ensure you have the following set:

  • For best performance ensure VMXNET3 is used for Network
    • Horizon View - Template Adapter Type VMXNET 3
  • For best performance ensure Paravirtual is used as SCSI controller type
    • Horizon View - Template SCSI Type Paravirtual
  • Enabled Memory and CPU Hot Add
    • Horizon View 7 - Enable Memory and CPU Hot Add

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VMware Horizon View 7: Setup Remote Access through Security Server [Part 5]

Part 5 of the series will be configuring the environment so Horizon View can be accessed remotely. There are some ports that need to be opened up on your firewall to the Security Server. As every environment is different I will show how my environment looks so you can mirror it.

vBoring Blog Series:

  1. VMware Horizon View 7: Deployment and Installation
  2. VMware Horizon View 7: Apply SSL Certificates
  3. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Events Database
  4. VMware Horizon View 7: Add Microsoft RDS Farm
  5. VMware Horizon View 7: Setup Remote Access through Security Server
  6. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Master Desktop Template
  7. VMware Horizon View 7: Automated Desktop Pool
  8. VMware Horizon View 7: Instant Clone Desktop Pool

Firewall Rules:

You need to have ports 443 (HTTPS), 8443 (Blast for HTML access), and 4172 (PCoIP) open externally for your Security Server.

Firewall Ports for View Security Server

Note: If your Security Server is in the DMZ use this VMware KB to open additional ports from your Security Server to your core network: VMware KB 1027217 – VMware View ports and network connectivity requirements 

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VMware Horizon View 7: Add Microsoft RDS Farm [Part 4]

In part 4 of the series we will be adding a existing Microsoft Remote Desktop Services farm to Horizon View 7. This enables RDS application to be published out using Horizon View 7 taking advantage of the PCoIP protocol, View Management, and creates a single pane of glass to access applications and virtual desktops.

vBoring Blog Series:

  1. VMware Horizon View 7: Deployment and Installation
  2. VMware Horizon View 7: Apply SSL Certificates
  3. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Events Database
  4. VMware Horizon View 7: Add Microsoft RDS Farm
  5. VMware Horizon View 7: Setup Remote Access through Security Server
  6. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Master Desktop Template
  7. VMware Horizon View 7: Automated Desktop Pool
  8. VMware Horizon View 7: Instant Clone Desktop Pool

If you wish to deploy a Microsoft RDS environment check out my post: Setup Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012 R2

Remote Desktop Services Header

Add RDS Server to View 7 - 1 RDS Overview

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VMware Horizon View 7: Create Events Database [Part 3]

Part 3 of the series will be creating the Events database. Horizon View uses the events database as a repository to store logging information such as user connections. Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle database servers are supported. For my environment I will be using SQL Server 2014. This step can be skipped if you do not want to log these events.

vBoring Blog Series:

  1. VMware Horizon View 7: Deployment and Installation
  2. VMware Horizon View 7: Apply SSL Certificates
  3. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Events Database
  4. VMware Horizon View 7: Add Microsoft RDS Farm
  5. VMware Horizon View 7: Setup Remote Access through Security Server
  6. VMware Horizon View 7: Create Master Desktop Template
  7. VMware Horizon View 7: Automated Desktop Pool
  8. VMware Horizon View 7: Instant Clone Desktop Pool

Creating Events Database in SQL 2014:

First we need to create the database. Login to your SQL server, launch the SQL Server Management Studio, right click Database then click New Database:

Horizon View 7 - 1 Create New SQL Database

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