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vSphere Deployment: Configuring an HA Cluster in vCenter 6.5

vSphere Deployment is a 6 part series that will walk you through deploying and configuring the components of vSphere 6.5.

Part 1: vSphere Deployment: Deploying ESXi 6.5 to a Host
Part 2: vSphere Deployment: Deploying the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5
Part 3: vSphere Deployment: Configuring an HA Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 4: vSphere Deployment: Configuring Traditional Storage in vCenter 6.5
Part 5: vSphere Deployment: Configuring a Datastore Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 6: vSphere Deployment: Configuring vSphere Update Manager (VUM) in vCenter 6.5

vSphere HA clusters allow ESXi hosts to work together as a group and provide performance assurance and higher levels of availability for hosted virtual machines. Before we get into building vSphere HA clusters, let’s go over how vSphere HA works. vSphere HA provides high availability for virtual machines by pooling the virtual machines and the hosts they reside on into a cluster of ESXi hosts. Hosts in the cluster are actively monitored through a network and datastore heartbeating and if a failure occurs, the virtual machines on failed hosts are automatically restarted on alternate hosts.

Note the distinction between vSphere HA (High Availability) and vSphere FT (Fault Tolerance). vSphere FT allows for no service interruption, …

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vSphere Deployment: Deploying the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5

vSphere Deployment is a 6 part series that will walk you through deploying and configuring the components of vSphere 6.5.

Part 1: vSphere Deployment: Deploying ESXi 6.5 to a Host
Part 2: vSphere Deployment: Deploying the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5
Part 3: vSphere Deployment: Configuring an HA Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 4: vSphere Deployment: Configuring Traditional Storage in vCenter 6.5
Part 5: vSphere Deployment: Configuring a Datastore Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 6: vSphere Deployment: Configuring vSphere Update Manager (VUM) in vCenter 6.5

For those unfamiliar, VMware vCenter is a management suite for your VMware vSphere environment. It allows you to manage your VMware infrastructure from a single pane of glass. With vCenter 6.5 you can choose one of two ways to deploy the software:

  • Install the vCenter software on a Windows server (physical or virtual)
  • Deploy the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA)

Though VMware still allows you to deploy vCenter on a Windows server, we’re not going to cover that here. Not only is that installation fairly straight-forward being that it’s a Windows application, but 6.5 is the last version of vCenter that VMware will make available for Windows. Going forward you will have to deploy vCenter as a …

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vSphere Deployment: Deploying ESXi 6.5 to a Host

vSphere Deployment is a 6 part series that will walk you through deploying and configuring the components of vSphere 6.5.

Part 1: vSphere Deployment: Deploying ESXi 6.5 to a Host
Part 2: vSphere Deployment: Deploying the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5
Part 3: vSphere Deployment: Configuring an HA Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 4: vSphere Deployment: Configuring Traditional Storage in vCenter 6.5
Part 5: vSphere Deployment: Configuring a Datastore Cluster in vCenter 6.5
Part 6: vSphere Deployment: Configuring vSphere Update Manager (VUM) in vCenter 6.5

For those unfamiliar, VMware ESXi is VMwares purpose-built, bare metal hypervisor that installs directly onto a physical server.

There are a few requirements when deploying ESXi 6.5:

  1. You’ll need a host compatible with vSphere 6.5 (compatibility guide available here).
  2. You’ll need the ESXi 6.5 ISO image (available here). I also recommend that you check out the vendor-specific (Dell EMC, HPE) ESXi builds if you want to avoid installing drivers, etc.
  3. You’ll want to keep the vSphere Installation and Setup – VMware vSphere 6.5 documentation handy.
  4. Ensure that all shared storage is disconnected from the host when installing ESXi.

Step 1: Deploy ESXi to a Physical Machine

Once you have …

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VMware Configuration Maximums Tool

It’s finally happened! VMware has just made our lives a lot easier. If you manage a VMware environment, you have to know the configuration maximums for each VMware product and version in your environment. If you’re taking a VMware certification exam, you have to know the configuration maximums for each product and version in the blueprint for the exam you want to take.

Now, all of that information is readily available on the web, eliminating the need to search for the documentation you need and write everything out in your own spreadsheets. Check out the new VMware Configuration Maximum Tool here: https://configmax.vmware.com/

As of this writing, this tool contains the configuration maximums for vSphere 6.0, 6.5, and 6.5 Update 1. I’m sure more versions, and more products will be added to the tool in the future, so bookmark it!

This handy tool allows you to select your vSphere version, and then choose to display maximums only for the technology you choose. You can even compare the configuration maximums across different versions, which is really useful if you want to see what improvements and enhancements have been made that may lead to a small rearchitecture effort in your environment, or plan …

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Simplifying Veeam Backups Using VMware Tags

If you’re lazy like me, you hate having to open 26 different applications when you provision a new virtual machine. Lets eliminate the need to open one of those applications, Veeam.

Traditionally, when you provision a new virtual machine, you would open Veeam Backup & Replication Console and add that specific VM to one of the Backup Jobs you have configured. You’d have to make sure that you’ve correctly configured things like encryption, application-aware backups, exceptions and credentials for the VM you’ve provisioned.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I hate extra work. Here’s how you can solve this problem with a little bit of automation using VMware Tags and Veeam Backup & Replication.

Note: VMware Tags require vCenter version 5.1 and above. Reference

Step 1: Create Backup Tags in VMware vCenter
For my needs, I created quite a few VMware Tags. One for each of the Veeam Backup Jobs I needed, and a few to dynamically change the settings of the backup job for specific virtual machines. Here’s how they’re laid out:

  1. Create a new category for your backup tags called Backup. For this category, you should set Cardinality to Many tags per object, and you

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VMware vSphere 6.5 Upgrade eBook

Emad Younis is a Staff Technical Marketing Architect working in the Cloud Platform Business Unit, part of the R&D organization at VMware. His current focuses are the vCenter Server Appliance, vCenter Server Migrations, and VMware Cloud on AWS. He’s written tons of blogs, whitepapers and eBooks for VMware, including the eBook that this blog is about. For those of us who are migrating from older vSphere versions (like 5.5,  which is end of support in September) to vSphere 6.5, this eBook is a must have resource.

This free eBook was written to help guide VMware customers through every phase of the vSphere 6.5 upgrade process. It’s broken down into three phases:

Phase 1: Pre-upgrade – The work that you need to do before starting an upgrade.
Phase 2: Upgrade – Outlining the steps of the upgrade process and execution.
Phase 3: Post-Upgrade – Validating with business owners that everything went according to plan.

Each phase outlines minute details things that you should consider during the upgrade process, and also links to resources that will help make your upgrade a successful one. Included in the eBook are two common upgrade scenarios to help guide you through the upgrade process from …

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VMware Certification and You

VMware certification is a great way to boost your worth in the market. In addition to the employer recognition and compensation benefits you’ll get, VMware certifications come with a pretty big list of perks. You’ll get professional recognition of your technical knowledge and skills, greater opportunities for career advancement, official transcripts from VMware that you can link, VMware Digital Badges for your earned certifications, you’ll be granted use of the logos that come with your certification, you’ll get access to the exclusive VMware certification portal & logo merchandise store. If that wasn’t enough, you also get discounts from VMware Press (you can use this to purchase materials for higher certifications, or just books to keep you at the bleeding edge of VMware technologies and best practices), discounted admission to VMware events like VMworld, and invitation to beta exams and classes to help you stay current and certify at a discounted rate.

Getting started on a VMware certification track is easier than you might think. They’ve even provided this handy roadmap for each of the tracks offered. As of this writing, there are four certification tracks to choose from:

  1. Data Center Virtualization (DCV) – This is by far the most popular

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VMware Tagging and Why You Should Care

VMware Tags were introduced with vSphere 5.1, and replace the legacy Custom Attributes feature from earlier versions. Tags allow you to add valuable metadata to every object in your inventory, which makes them searchable and sortable by those tags. How can this be used, you ask? Well I’ll tell you how I use tags.

I use tags to control which backup a virtual machine is a part of, to control the settings that should be applied during the backup, to identify the priority of virtual machines for business continuity and disaster recovery purposes, to define the patch group the virtual machine is in, to identify server roles and installed applications, to create dynamic groups of machines in Turbonomic Operations Manager. One of the guys on my team even built a dynamic list of servers on our SharePoint site that allows us to see at a glance every server in our environment and filter it to find the information we need quickly.

What is a Category?
Categories allow you to group related tags together. When you define a category, you can also specify which object types its tags can be applied to and whether more than one tag in the category …

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