Friday, October 26, 2012

vSphere 5.x: License Error and Upgrade

Decided to write a post on this as I receive just too times the questions from different customers due to the confusion.

Say if you are using a free edition of the vSphere Hypervisor or you are on any purhcased editions of vSphere, and you like to licensed it or upgrade to the next edition.  Now you have the new license key what do you do?

This is the most asked question:
1. Do I need to reinstall the ESXi server applying a new license key?
Answer is No.  You just need to either go to the Hypervisor via the vSphere client, select the host and on the right under the Configuration Tab and choose Licensed Features.  Click on Edit and enter your serial key.  Alternative if  you have a vCenter, just select Home>Administration>Licensing and choose Manage vSphere Licenses.  The features of the edition you have purchased or licensed will be activated and shown.

2. Can vSphere 5.0 serial keys work in vSphere 5.1?
Answer is Yes.  All vSphere 5.0 keys will still work in all vSphere 5.x.  This has been the same for vSphere 4.0 on vSphere 4.1.  The keys should work on all level build but not a version build change.

3. The serial key is valid but not working.
I have also encounter this problem on entering vSphere 5.x keys into a vSphere 5.1 either via vCenter or direct to the ESXi server, you receive this error.
Notice the Product: Unlicensed was displayed.  Apparently this is a valid license.  So what have gone wrong this case?

Many customer receive their license in soft copy via their email attached as PDF, often users copy and paste from the PDF files and this is the problem.

In PDF, sometimes '0' are converted to 'O', '1' are to '|'.  This will results in invalid of serial key.
The best thing to do here is copy and paste the serial key to a notepad in Windows or a text editor to see what characters are actually copied.  Second, change all the 'O' to '0'.  There are no 'O' in VMware serial keys they are all zeros.

Yet another operation problem solved.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Journey of Virtualization: Software Defined Datacenter

Recently I was asked by some customers who have not yet start virtualization.  They asked which technology should they choose?  Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware vSphere, Oracle VM, Citrix Zen or even Redhat KVM.

I would like to take this as a neutral perspective here.  Here I do not want to be bias against any technology but rather be open about it and to start at the base and looking towards the goals.

What is your reason that you are going to start virtualization?
Many wanted to do because they see people doing it and they believe it is cost saving.  Have you assess if this is really cost saving for yourself?  For one reason, if you are paying hosting of your server workload, would you really bother about if it is virtual or physical for the SLA you have paid for?

Once you have determine your reason on virtualization, next we talk about what do you want to achieve out of virtualization?
Many talk about TCO, ROI and really the cost savings.  Honestly all virtualization technology delivers the same so what so different.  All allows you to consolidate many to one physical box.

Next, after than the business benefits, what else are you looking for?
Most of them do not tell me much.  But one common reasons is efficiency.  They want to have ease of management.  This is crucial.  Why you might asked.  Simple, you do not want to start virtualization to benefit from it and end up more difficult to manage and you might just prefer the physical environment.  With complexity meaning service level been affected since it would not be so easy to do any recovery or troubleshooting so resulting in higher operation cost (OpEx) and with more people need to manage the environment.

After all this, we are all looking at something that can be cost effective, operation effective and ease of use which can drive you automation and not sacrificing or reversing what you have done in a physical environment.

It can make it as easy as treat it as if you are using a phone, and you need one app e.g. Angry bird.  You browse using your iPhone or Android phone to individual store, search for the app and download it.  Once payment is received or approved, the app started to download and install.  It is ready to use.

Imagine this if this is your datacenter, where your users get to choose what they need.  As long they pay for their requirements, the services in terms of workload and security, firewall, etc. will be provided.  Now imagine, your user get to provision their workload and once its ready, they are informed.  They start using their workload created.  This was all done by them.  No involvement of the infrastructure personnel who are busy managing the environment and running the day to day tasks and projects.

This is what we want and hope to have.  Is it really available?  The answer is yes.  It is and it can be achieved if these are all running and controlled by software.  This lead to the hot topic where Microsoft and VMware are calling Software Defined Datacenter (SDDC).

Imagine all your hardware, servers, storage, networks, security are all in your infrastructure.  However the definition of how it is assigned and who gets to use it etc are defined by software.  You scale whenever you want and need while the user just have to do is request and pay for their requirements as long the infrastructure can support this.

Now we know there is such a vision and solution.  Next we look at how this can value add to your environment?  First, it can save you on time to management what you are suppose to manage and leave the user to decide what they need on their own.  Secondly, we want integration.  Definitely we do not want something that needs multiple components and perform some complex integration that makes it even hard to manage which will defeat the first purpose.  Lastly, a framework you can work on and reach there.

Having said all the above,  take a deep thought.  Is this what you really want to do or is it just something too far away which you doubt would really happen.

Next if this is what you really wish to have, then look out for a solution that provide a framework for you to work on.  Not one that provides you with many components and ask you to piece all this together yourself.  That would be near impossible.

Lastly, the ability to manage this new environment.  The administrators are no longer just administrator.  They are looking at a data center where its gear towards a Cloud infrastructure where the characteristics are the same.  These administrators are moving towards Cloud Architect role where they see things in a higher perspective.  Not the the usual day by day operational administrators we used to see.

The mindset of our perspective need to change and embrace the new technology moving towards a new era.  We have to think of future and not stay just at the virtualization layer where features and functions are just comparison people or companies makes you to compare on.  We should be doing is looking at a longer and further journey of who and what can brings you there.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

vSphere 5.1: Error encounter adding host

I came across this incident which is really minor but can get you wasting time troubleshooting.  If you are currently running the free ESXi server and have also purchase a licensed copy, you may encounter this error when trying to add an ESXi host to the vCenter.

"The host is licensed with VMware vSphere Hypervisor. The license edition of vCenter Server does not support VMware vSphere 5 Hypervisor."

Let me explain this.

Prior to purchase a licensed vSphere edition, you would have entered the free license on the ESXi server to run a standalone ESXi server.  This license is also known as VMware vSphere 5 Hypervisor.  This is as show below.  It is limited to 32GB of physical memory with unlimited core or processor.

When adding this host to the vCenter, if you did not enter the vSphere license into the vCenter prior adding the free standalone ESXi server, you will NOT be prompted to change the license.

In this case, you will encounter the above error as the free VMware vSphere Hypervisor license is not allowed to be managed by a vCenter.  This is a hard restriction.

So what you should do after you have purchase a licensed copy of vSphere, you should first add the vSphere license into vCenter followed by adding the host.  During the Add Host wizard, you will be prompted to choose a license, this time you can select the licensed vSphere license as show below.

Yet another daily operations issue resolve!

VMware Certification: Recertification Changes

These few days there are many discussion regarding VMware Certification changes. If you are not aware here is a summary. Over the last two...