Going over the vSphere 5.1.0a Release Notes

Less than a month – that is all it took for VMware to release an update to vSphere 5.1.0.

A good thing? A bad thing – that I will leave for another post – in this one I will go over the release notes once more as I did last month in my post Read the vSphere 5.1 Release Notes!!

Here are my takeaways from the 5.1.0a Release Notes



  • This has changed since the last release notes. It was not there before. This will introduce additional overhead to the upgrade process


  • What changed since a month ago?
  • What is the reason for this recommendation to to do it step by step?



  • This was also not there a month ago – same point as above above the overhead with people with non-English locales.


  • What is the difference between performing from the command-line – than through the GUI. From what I see – there are no extra parameters being passed to the MSI package – so why the recommendation?



  • It is good to see that VMware have fixed some problems with the installation process before.


  • Was the release rushed out – so that these issues were not addressed before hand?
  • Why are the majority of these directly related to SSO? (more on that as well in another post)



  • This is a new issue.


  • I appreciate that VMware says that I have to enable short names on the volumes…. but wouldn’t it have been more productive in explaining how to do that?



  • This is a new issue.
  • Don’t use a Domain account for SSO installation. Again introduces overhead in the upgrade/installation.


  • What is Single Sign On 1.0 – is this the version that was released with 5.1? Have we not had enough of multiple versions of products causing complete and utter confusion?



  • This is a new issue.
  • Don’t use wonky characters in your passwords.


  • I wonder which poor sod has a 32 character password?

Web Client


  • This is a new issue.
  • You might need to reboot your vCenter


  • Would it not have been easier to force the reboot to solve these sort of issues?



  • This is a new issue.
  • Don’t try and be smart when re-installing – stay on the same path.



  • This is a new issue.
  • Additional manual step needed.


  • Why could this not be automated?

Windows Authentication


  • This is a new issue.
  • You will now have to use Local SQL authentication – this could be problem for a number of organizations


  • Why was this removed?
  • If local SQL authentication is not allowed in your environment – what are you going to do?



  • This is a new issue.
  • Not clear to me. Which GPO policy? The one that is applied to the vCenter Server? And if this is the appliance?  What then?
  • Regarding the 32 characters and the wonky characters – see above…



  • This is a new issue.


  • Are you kidding me? 
  • And if I have such a machine – how am I supposed to power it off? I would assume – resume then poweroff. If so why not explain this in the release notes. If I can’t power off a suspended machine – then what?



  • This is a new issue.
  • VMware mentioned that the upgrade should be done with the independent installer – as noted above – perhaps this is why?


  • Where is the list of user provided – and why on earth should any of these users be deleted. AN upgrade is supposed to keep the previous state and updated the software.
  • How am I supposed to get these users back?



  • This is a new issue.
  • Pretty straight forward and obvious. SSO is now a critical component of your VMware environment – you had better get used to this.



  • This is a new issue.
  • SSL certificates is a messy subject – it takes time, and is usually complicated to implement.


  • Is this only for the vCenter Service SSL certificate? What about the other components?
  • And since when is only one kind of key (PKCS#1) supported ?



  • This is a new issue.


  • English is the global language – but not the only one used. If you offer localized installations options then they should be supported the whole way down the chain.

Pointed to KB


  • This is an old issue – the only that changed was the pointer to the official KB on subject.

One last thing that I noticed – but not in the release notes

Update Manager


  • The upgrade of the ESXi hosts – cannot be done with Update manager.


  • Why the heck not? Isn’t that what Update Manager is for?


    vCloud Suite Upgrade – There is No Free Lunch

    As you should have heard by now vCloud Suite will be available as a free – well almost free.

    According to the VMware vCloud Suite Upgrade Promotion you have until December 15, 2012 at 11:59pm Pacific Time (PT) if you have purchased vSphere Enterprise or vSphere Enterprise Plus as of August 27th, 2012 and you have an active Support and Subscription agreement to upgrade to vCloud Standard Edition

    So for the Enterprise Plus customers this is a no-brainer … or is it???

    What many people do not understand is that from a CAPEX perspective you come out on top. But OPEX is where you will feel the hit - with your renewal of your support. Brian Knudston started to address this in his article.

    From the Support FAQ

    Q. Is Subscription and Support (SnS) required?
    A. For the “$0 upgrade” from vSphere Enterprise Plus to vCloud Suite Standard, the existing SnS contract will persist and no additional SnS is required at time of purchase and the new SnS rate will be charged at the next renewal When the upgrade is selected, the same level of support must be chosen for the upgrade that covered the original vSphere Enterprise Plus license. For example, if the vSphere Enterprise Plus was covered by VMware Basic Support, then the upgrade to vCloud Suite Standard must also have VMware Basic Support.

    Let’s put this into numbers for a minute. I have taken the list prices from the VMware site.

    List Prices

    (Of course not many people pay list price so your exact number will differ)

    Take the following example. My infrastructure has 50 vSphere Hosts (Dual socket) with Enterprise Plus edition. My SnS expires on December 31, 2012.

    $874 x 100 = $87,400 to renew my Support and Subscription for one year. Free Lunch?

    I decided to take VMware up on their generous offer and upgrade all my Enterprise Plus hosts to vCloud Standard for a huge amount of 0$.

    Sweet deal!! I now have vCloud Director which I can deploy in my Enterprise – and it did not cost me anything.

    Along comes January 1st, 2013 and I have to pay for my SnS renewal.
    Here is the math.

    $1,249 x 100 = $124,900 to renew my Support and Subscription for one year.
    Hey – my support costs just jumped by – yep… 43%.

    Is this worthwhile – I think that each and every organization will have to do the math for themselves. If your SnS is already paid up for the next 3 years then you might even save money. If you were already going to invest in vCloud director then it could be that will come out on top.

    There is no such a thing as a free lunch.


    Installing RVC on Ubuntu 12.04

    I was trying to install the Ruby vSphere Console (RVC) today on my Ubuntu machine running
    Precise Pangolin. I used William Lam’s post as a baseline for the installation – but since there are several differences with Ubuntu – I will post the steps here.

    1. Do not install Ruby from apt-get it will not work
    2. If you have already installed it the remove it
      sudo apt-get --purge remove ruby-rvm
    3. sudo curl -L get.rvm.io | bash -s stable
    4. sudo source /etc/profile
    5. sudo bash -s stable < <(curl -s https://raw.github.com/wayneeseguin/rvm/master/binscripts/rvm-installer )
    6. source /etc/profile.d/rvm.sh
    7. gedit ~/.bashrc and add the following line to the end
      [[ -s "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm" ]] && source "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm"
    8. source ~/.bashrc
    9. rvm install 1.9.3-p327 --with-openssl-dir=$rvm_path/usr
    10. gem install rvc
    11. gem install ffi

    Steps were taken from a mixture of these three sources



    I now have RVC working and am looking forward to using it more.



    TempPlanetV12N - My Daily Virtualization News Replacement

    For those of you who follow the PlanetV12N aggregation feed of anything and everything that is virtualization – you might have noticed that the feed has been stale for over 10 days.
    The reason being.. – well I do not really know – it usually is a problem with one of the feeds in the list – which causes the whole process to commit harakiri. It is extremely annoying. I know. I miss my daily fix of virtualization news. I really missed it during VMworld in Europe last week.
    So here was the chain of events (through my twitter stream) that led me to create my own list of all the blogs that are currently in the feed.

    The lack of having updates from PlanetV12N is really annoying. Eric Siebert has a feed of the top 50 blogs here - http://feeds.feedburner.com/PlanetVsphere-land – but as I stated tonight on Twitter:

    So I collected all the links on the PlanetV12N page – and have made a temporary aggregate feed that you all can follow, until John Troyer can get this mess fixed up.
    I think I got all of the blogs that were listed on the site (there were 314). I stripped out the Youtube channel links and all of those that were not working. This leaves 257 blogs that you can now get in one feed.
    Just to make things clear once more.
    • This is not the definitive list
    • This is temporary – until Planet V12N is fixed
    • I will not add / remove feeds from the list – so don’t ask.
    Please feel free to add TempPlanetV12N to RSS readers.


    Using Powershell to install PowerCLI

    I am currently preparing a deployment package architecture for a full vSphere environment and one of the requests was to include PowerCLI in the installation script.

    I was surprised that I could not find anything already mentioned on how to do this on Google.

    So here is the syntax:

    # Install PowerCLI
    Set-executionPolicy RemoteSigned -Confirm:$false -force
    Write-Host "Installing PowerCLI"
    $myargs = $myargs = '/q /s /w /L1033 /v" /qn '
    $exe = "C:\installs\VMware-PowerCLI-5.1.0-793510.exe"
    Start-process $exe $myargs –Wait
    Add-PSSnapin -Name VMware.VimAutomation.Core

    Line 2:
    Set the execution policy to RemoteSigned

    Line 4-5: Prepare the installation syntax

    Line 7: Add the PowerCLI Snapin

    Easy as that!


    You Can’t Use Onyx with the Web Client

    The Web Client will be VMware’s direction going forward. It was stressed more than once. There was even a slide from one the sessions to state that 5.1 will be the last windows based client – as I blogged about before here.

    If you stop for a moment to think about this it makes sense. VMware is looking to remove any kid of dependency on the Microsoft operating system. We have seen it with move to a direct of a center appliance and now with the new client. I am sure this will be a glorious day for all the Admins who have a Mac and up until now relied on a Windows VM running onyx.pngin Fusion to manage there vSphere environments. Gone now are those days.

    Onyx - remember the fling that VMware have to allow you "peak" into the API? This has proven to be a invaluable tool more than once, not only for me but for anyone who is trying to programmatically perform some kind of operation be it PowerCLI or now more popular – vOrchestrator.

    A multitude of posts can be found about the subject – here are just a small few:

    But new with the web client this will not be possible (at least not at the moment) until VMware releases an update or some other tool to provide this functionality. Which does become problematic, because there is no way to find the API calls that are now going through the new client. And since a sizeable amount of functionality is no longer available in the Windows client – it will not be so simple to find the correct calls.

    I can say that this update is coming - Luc Dekens actually raised this question in session GD26 with William Lam, and they are aware of this problem. When it will be released - I don't know.

    This does just show me that this is a perfect example of how things can become complicated, the larger and more intertwined a solution becomes. Who would have thought that Onyx would have become such a useful tool, and that the community would make such good use of it, to a point that they cannot do things without it. And it has to be modified or replaced to continue to support the community.

    The new client will make things a lot easier moving forward. It will be interesting to see how people find ways to extend the functionality of the the client. I think we will all be quite surprised.

    If anyone has an idea on how to get the API calls going through the new client – please feel free share them in the comments below.