Posted by: Eric Siebert
Eric Siebert, VI3, VirtualCenter, Virtualization, VMware ESX, VMware High Availability (VMware HA)
On Friday, VMware released the latest version of VirtualCenter, Update 3 (no update 3 for ESX yet). Unlike Update 2 (which contained some great new features), this version is mainly focused on fixing bugs. VMware administrators may be a little leery of installing this update after the time-bomb debacle that occurred several months ago with Update 2, but there are a few fixes (including many for HA) outlined below that make it worth installing.
- Permissions Can Be Configured for Individual Virtual Machines and Resource Pools in VI Client – Starting with this release, when the VMware Infrastructure Client is connected directly to a host running ESX Server 3.5 or higher, the Permissions tab is available for individual virtual machines and resource pools.
The first notable fix is for displaying a login password in clear-text. You may not think this is too big of a deal, but if someone were to be standing near you when this happened they could see your password (or at least the one you entered) displayed in clear-text.
- VMware VirtualCenter password might display in error window – This release resolves an issue where a user’s password can be displayed in clear text on the login screen. When logging into VirtualCenter Server 2.0 with Virtual Infrastructure Client 2.5, the user password might be displayed in a dialog box on the VI Client in clear text if the login fails. The dialog box alerting the user to the failed login might be hidden under other windows.
The next fix updates the JRE used on the VirtualCenter server to the latest version which is 5.0 Update 16 (1.5.0_16) which fixes some security issues.
- WebAccess component JRE updated to version 1.5.0_16 – The currently installed version of JRE depends on your patch deployment history. For more information about security issues fixed in version 1.5.0_16 and in earlier versions, see the JRE release notes at http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.5.0/ReleaseNotes.html.
An update to the Flex License Manager server is included. This update is not installed automatically when upgrading existing installations and must be installed separately.
- FLEX license server upgrade – This release of VirtualCenter upgrades the FLEX license server to version 10.8.6 in order to resolve known issues with previous releases of the license server and to provide enhance debugging capabilities. The new FLEX license-server is packaged with the VMware Infrastructure Management Installer. Fresh installations of the license server will use the new version but the license server will not be automatically upgraded when using the VMware Infrastructure Management Installer to upgrade an existing installation. To upgrade an existing license server installation, use the standalone installer (VMware-licenseserver.exe) that can be found in the /vpx folder of the installer directory structure.
This one caused some issues with HA because of a network compliance check that was introduced in Update 2. A new HA advanced setting has been added to bypass this check.
- HA network compliance check – During the configuration of HA in VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 2, the Task & Events tabs might display the following error message and recommendation: HA agent on in cluster in has an error Incompatible HA Network: Consider using the Advanced Cluster Settings das.allowNetwork to control network usage. Starting with VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 2, HA has an enhanced network compliance check to increase cluster reliability. This enhanced network compliance check helps to ensure correct cluster-wide heartbeat network paths. VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 3 allows you to bypass this check to prevent HA configuration problems. To bypass the check, add das.bypassNetworkVerification=yes to the HA advanced settings.
In addition to the fixes and updates to the Update Manager and Converter, plug-ins have been released. If you upgrade to Update 3 you must also update these plug-ins or they will no longer work.
- Plug-ins Updates – Previous versions of VMware Update Manager are not compatible with VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 3 and must be upgraded to VMware Update Manager 1.0 Update 3 during the installation process. This release of the VMware Infrastructure 3 software suite also includes the following: • An update to VMware Converter Enterprise. For more information, see the VMware Converter Enterprise Update 3 for VirtualCenter 2.5 Release Notes. • An update to VMware Update Manager. For more information, see the VMware Update Manager 1.0 Update 3 for VirtualCenter 2.5 Release Notes.
This one has caused a few people who upgraded to Update 2 some grief — thankfully VMware has quickly addressed it.
- In HA-DRS cluster, the enter maintenance mode task stalls and VMs do not migrate – In previous releases of VirtualCenter, virtual machines might not be automatically migrated off a host entering maintenance mode if there is not enough failover capacity in an HA-DRS cluster. The enter maintenance mode task stalls at 2% indefinitely and does not complete even if HA admission control was disabled. In this release, the issue has been resolved by allowing the evacuations if HA admission control is disabled. Note that admission control is enabled by default, see Implications of enabling or disabling VMware HA strict admission control when using DRS and VMware DPM (KB 1007006) for more information. Note that the task might also stall if the virtual machines cannot be evacuated for other reasons. And finally a minor one with not being able to delete HA advanced settings.
- Once HA advanced settings are created, they cannot be deleted – In previous releases advanced settings created on the Advanced Options page for an HA cluster cannot be deleted. Attempts to delete the advanced setting would result in an object reference error dialog box being displayed. This release resolves the issue and advanced settings can be deleted normally.
As always read the release notes before upgrading. This release may not have all the cool new features of the previous release but bug fixes, while not glamorous, are a necessary evil to ensure a stable product.