vRA 6 distributed setup problems
Jun14

vRA 6 distributed setup problems

This week I’m at the SDDC consulting training at the VMware EMEA HQ in Staines. There is a really full program with presentations and labs about the VMware SDDC portfolio. Products that will be covered in the training are:

  • vRealize Automation
  • vRealize Orchestrator
  • VMware NSX
  • VMware SRM

But the most important focus this week is the integration between all VMware products and 3th party products like InfoBlox and Service Now.

We started yesterday with the installation of a distributed vRealize Automation 6 environment. After clicking thru 281 pages of instruction the installation was finished. Some people in the class had problems with the lab base environment because of time out errors. The reason was a slow network connection not just slow but really really slow…

Dropped Packages

The lab environment consists of virtualized ESXi hosts and is using NSX for the networking part. In NSX there is some bug (or should I say undocumented feature ;-)) that cause lots of packet drops when using virtualized ESXi hosts and NSX. The solution to work around is to create DRS rules to keep some of the VMs (the ones you are working on) together on a virtualized ESXi host so all network traffic is kept locally. I think it’s also possible you experience the same slow connection if you are doing the VMware Hands On Labs because the setup is probably the same.

Strange names

Today when booting up my lab again I had the issue that the infrastructure tab had a strange name. The name was changed in:  com.vmware.csp.component.iaas.proxy.provider@csp.places.iaas.label instead of just Infrastructure. All underlying tabs had the same problems. If you know where to click everything is still working, but it doesn’t feel good.

vRA6-comvmwarecspcomponent

The solution to this problem is to just reboot some nodes of the vRA installation. But wait, which of the 10 servers do need a reboot? The answer is nearly all of them. The boot order for the complete stack is:

  1. Microsoft SQL Database server
  2. Identity appliance
  3. vRealize appliance 1
  4. vRealize appliance 2
  5. IAAS webserver 1 & 2 (vRealize webportal and ModelManagerData services)
  6. Application server 1 ( primary IAAS Manager and the DEM Orchestrator Server services)
  7. Application server 2 (secondary IAAS Manager and the DEM Orchestrator Server services)
  8. Proxy server 1 & 2 (DEM worker and Proxy Agent server services)

Rebooting from step 3 will resolve this issue. First shutdown all services in the reverse order and when you are at the vRealize appliance 1 just reboot this one. Wait till the VAMI is showing up in the console and then (and not earlier!) start the next one of the list. If the server is a Windows server give it some extra time to boot up all services.

If everything is restarted then you will see the normally names and tabs.

Infrastructure tab

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NLVMUG 2016 impression
Mar30

NLVMUG 2016 impression

This is a cross post from my Metis IT blogpost, which you can find here.

VMUG01This year, The anual NLVMUG UserCon was on March 17, 2016 in the city of Den Bosch. Last year was my first time at the NLVMUG and this year I was one of the speakers. Together with my colleague Ronald van Vugt we presented “De kracht van de blueprint”, translated to English “The power of the blueprint”. Our presentation was scheduled at 11.30 right after the first coffee break.

The day started with a keynote presentation of Kit Colbert from VMware about Cloud-Native Apps. His presentation began with an example of John Deere, the tractor company, who formerly sold only tractors but now also collects and analyze data from all their equipment. VMUG02With this data analitics they can advise the farmer about the way they can optimize their equipment and land. Companies like John Deere need a co
mpletely different kind of apps, architecture
and how they develop and maintain applications. In his presentation he showed how VMware can support these new apps and how the VMware platform can support this. For these new apps VMware has developed the vSphere Integrated Containter architecture and the VMware Photon platform.

After the keynote it was time for us to do some last preparations for the presentation. We checked the VPN connection for the live demo, all demo steps and the presentation script. In the coffee break, just before our presentation we had enough time to setup our equipment and test the microphone. Then it was time for the presentation!
VMUG03The main subject of our presentation was vRealize Automation and the way you can automate your application environment. In the first part of the
presentation we introduced the product and the functionalities. After the background information it was time to start with our live demo. In the demo we showed how you can automate the deployment of a two tier WordPress application with vRA and VMware NSX. Live on stage we composed the application environment, with all network services, relations and policies. After the demo there was some time for questions. If you are interested in our presentation and demo you can download the presentation including screenshots of the demo steps here.

VMUG04In the afternoon there was a second keynote of Jay Marshall from Google about the Google Cloud Platform. He showed how Google has grown from search engine to a big player in the cloud market. He also showed the
partnership between VMware and Google to create a hybrid cloud. After this keynote I attended to some other presentations about vSAN and vRealize Automation and vRealize Orchestration. After the last presentation it was time for the reception and the prize drawing of the sponsors. After the price drawing the day was over.

I look back at a great event and an awesome new presentation experience. It was fun to be on stage to share our knowledge at the biggest VMUG in the world. I want to thanks the NLVMUG organization for all their hard work and I hope to meet you next year.

Attachment: NLVMUG 2016 handouts PDF

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Upgrading vRealize Automation 7 to 7.0.1
Mar29

Upgrading vRealize Automation 7 to 7.0.1

This is a cross post from my Metis IT blogpost, which you can find here.

Last week VMware released a new version of vRealize Automation (vRA), version 7.0.1. In this version most of the version 7.0.0 bugs and issues are resolved. In the release notes you can find the list of all resolved issues. In this blog I will guide you through the upgrade process.

It is possible to upgrade to this new version from any supported vRealize Automation 6.2.x version and the latest 7.0 version. In this blog I will focus on an upgrade from version 7.0.0 to version 7.0.1. If you still use an earlier version of vRA you have to upgrade frist to version 6.2.x. The environment we will upgrade is a minimum deployment based on version 7.0.0.

The following steps are required for a successful upgrade of vRealize Automation.

  1. Backup your current installation
  2. Shut down vRealize Automation Windows services on your IAAS server
  3. Configure hardware resources
  4. Download and install upgrades to the vRA appliance
  5. Download and install updates for IAAS
  6. Post Upgrade Tasks

Backup your current installation

Before you start  the upgrade it is important to backup some components of the existing installation. If something goes wrong you can always go back to the current version.

Configuration file backup

First start with a backup of the vRA configuration files. This file can be backupped with the following steps:

  1. Login with ssh on the vRA appliance
  2. Make a copy of the following directories:
    • /etc/vcac/
    • /etc/vco/
    • /etc/apache2/
    • /etc/rabbitmq/

First create a directory backup.

mkdir /etc/backupconf

Copy now all directories to this folder:

cp -R /etc/vcac/ /etc/backupconf/

Perform these steps for each folder.

Database backup

Make a SQL backup of the vRA IAAS database. For the integrated postgres database it is enough to snapshot the complete vRA appliance.

  1. Login to the database server
  2. Open the MSSQL Management Console and login
  3. Click left on the vRA database and choose Tasks and choose Backup Up…
  4. Choose the location for the backup and click on OK.
  5. Wait for the completion of the backup.

 

Screenshots of the tenant configuration and users

If something goes wrong with the upgrade it could be possible that this configuration information is changed. For safety it is recommended to capture this information.

  1. Login as administrator to the vRA interface
  2. Make a Screenshot of your tenantsafb1
  3. And the Local Users of the tenantafb2
  4. And the Administratorsafb3

Backup any files you have customized

The vRA upgrade will possibly delete or modify all customized files. If you want to keep this files please backup them. In our environment we don’t use any customized files.

Create snapshot of the IAAS server

To take a snapshot of the IAAS server is the last step in the upgrade process.

  1. Shutdown the IAAS server and the vRA appliance in the correct order.
    1. Login to vCenter
    2. First select the IAAS VM and select shutdown guest. If the shutdown is complete select the vRA appliance and choose again for shutdown guest.
  2. Right-click on the IAAS VM and select Snapshots and Take Snapshot. Fill in the name of the snapshot and click on OK.
  3. Power On the IAAS VM

Disable the IAAS services

  1. Login on the IAAS server, open msc and stop the following services:
    1. All VMware vCloud Automation agents
    2. All VMware DEM workers
    3. All DEM orchestrator
    4. VMware vCloud Automation Center Service

afb4

Configure hardware resources of the vRA appliance

For the upgrade it is  necessary to extend the existing disks of the vRA appliance. But before we do this, create a copy of the existing vRA appliance.

  1. Right-click on the vRA appliance, select Clone and Clone to Virtual Machine
  2. Give the VM a unique name and select the resources for the new VM and click on Finish.
  3. Wait for completion.
  4. Right-click on the original VM and select Edit Settings.
  5. Extend the first disks (1) to 50GB and click OK.afb5
  6. Create a snapshot of the VM. Select the VM, click on Snapshots and click Take Snapshot.
  7. Wait for the snapshot.
  8. Power on the vRA VM.
  9. Wait for the machine to start
  10. SSH to the vRA VM and login with the root
  11. Execute the following commands to stop all vRA services:

Service vcac-server stop

Service vco-server stop

Service vpostgres stop

  1. Extend the Linux file system with the following commands:

Unmount swap table:
Swapoff –a

Delete existing partitions and create a 44GB root and 6GB swap partition. This command and the next command return an error about the kernel that is still active at this point. After a reboot at step 13 all changes will be active:
(echo d; echo 2; echo d; echo 1; echo n; echo p; echo ; echo ; echo ‘+44G’; echo n; echo p; echo ; echo ; echo ; echo w; echo p; echo q) | fdisk /dev/sda

Change the swap partition type:

(echo t; echo 2; echo 82; echo w; echo p; echo q) | fdisk /dev/sda

 Set disk 1 bootable:

(echo a; echo 1; echo w; echo p; echo q) | fdisk /dev/sda

 Register partition changes and format the new swap partition:

Partprobe

Mkswap /dev/sda2

Mount the swap partition:

Swapon –a

  1. Reboot the vRA partition
  2. When the appliance is started again login with SSH and resize the partiation table:

Resize2fs /dev/sda1

  1. Check the resize with command df -h

Install the vRA update

  1. Login on the management interface: https://vRAhostname:5480
  2. Click on the Services tab and check the services. All services should be registered except the iaas-service.

If everything is checked, click on the update tab. If not all services are running and you are using a proxy server, check this Vmware article: https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2144067

  1. Click on Check Updates. The new update will be displayed.afb6
  2. Click now on Install update and Click OK.
  3. The follow the installation you can check the following log files: /opt/vmware/var/log/vami/updatecli.log

/opt/vmware/var/log/vami/vami.log

/var/log/vmware/horizon/horizon.log

The most useful information can be found in the vami.log and updatecli.log. In these log files you can see the download progress and information about the upgrade status.

Use tail –f /opt/vmware/var/log/vami/* to show all log files

  1. Wait untill the update is finished.afb7
  2. If the upgrade is finished, reboot the appliance. Click on the System tab and click on

Upgrading the IAAS server components

The next step in this process is to upgrade the IAAS components. The IAAS installer will also upgrade the MSSQL database. In earlier upgrade processes it was needed to separately upgrade the database. To start the IAAS upgrade, follow the following steps:

  1. Open your favorite webbrowser and go to: https://vRAhostname:5480/installer
  2. Click the IAAS installer Save the prompted file. (Do not change the filename!)
  3. Open the installer and follow the wizard.
  4. Accept the license agreement and click on Next.
  5. Provide the Appliance Login Information. Click on Next.

afb8

  1. Choose for Upgrade. Click on Next.
  2. Provide the correct Service Account for the component services and the authentication information of the SQL server. Click on Next.
  3. Accept the certificate of the SSO Default Tenant and provide the SSO Administrator Credentials. Click on Next.
  4. Click now on Upgrade to start the upgrade.afb9
  5. Click on Next and finish to complete the IAAS upgrade.

Post upgrade tasks

After the IAAS upgrade first check the correct operation of the vRA appliance. Click on the infrastructure tab and click on endpoint. Verify the endpoint overview is correct. Next try to request a blueprint and check if everything will finish successful.

If everything is correct, the last step is the upgrade of the vRA agents on the OS templates. The new agents also contain some bug fixes. In our environment we use CentOS and Windows Operating Systems. We will first start with the upgrade of the CentOS agent followed by the Windows Agent.

CentOS agent

  1. Convert the CentOS template to a VM and boot the VM.
  2. Download the prepare_vra_template.sh script from the following location: https://vRAhostname.local:5480/service/software/download/prepare_vra_template.sh
  3. Allow execution of the script with:

chmod +x prepare_vra_template.sh

  1. Execute the script: ./prepare_vra_template.sh.
  2. Follow the wizard and provide the correct information. I choose for vSphere, no certificate check and the install Java.
  3. Wait for completion and shutdown the VM.
  4. Convert the VM back to a template.

Windows Agent

For the upgrade of the Windows Agent we will use the script made by Gary Coburn. He developed a script that will install all the needed components and the vRA agent on Windows. Thanks to my colleague Ronald van Vugt for this modification on this script because of newer java version. The original script is based on vRA version 7.0.0 which included version jre-1.8.0-66. The java version included in version 7.0.1 is newer, so a modification to the script is required.

  1. Download the original script from here or here. And open the script and search for the following line:
    $url=”https://” + $vRAurl + “:5480/service/software/download/jre-1.8.0_66-win64.zip”
  1. This line must be edited to:
    $url=”https://” + $vRAurl + “:5480/service/software/download/jre-1.8.0_72-win64.zip”
  1. If the script is edited run the script with the following parameters:

./prepare_vra_template.ps1 vra-hostname iaas-hostnamePasswordofDarwinUser

  1. The script will sometimes ask for confirmation.
  2. Wait till the installation is complete.
  3. Shutdown the VM and convert it again to a template.

Verify the installation

Now request some of your blueprints to verify the correct operation of the vRA appliance, IAAS server and the guest agents. If everything is OK, then it is time to delete the snapshots of the vRA appliance and IAAS server.

  1. Select the VM, choose for snapshots and Manage Snapshots
  2. Delete the snapshot you have made before installation.
  3. Do this for both VMs

Conclusion

Before executing this upgrade in a production environment it is recommended to plan the upgrade and verify that all dependencies will work after the upgrade. Also plan enough time for this upgrade, so you have the time to check and verify the installation.

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