vCenter Server

vSAN – Working with the vSAN HCL Database

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The vSAN HCL DB is a local file enabling vCenter Server to validate your vSAN hardware deployment.   This local DB file contains information around the supported products on the VMware compatibility guides. Part of the vSAN Health checks is validating the age of the vSAN HCL DB file.  The initial release of the health feature ships with a copy of the vSAN HCL DB, which was current when released. This copy of the database will become outdated over time. The file can be updated via an internet connection or through manual download (See KB’s below). However, if the HCL DB file is not updated and is 90 days past you will see a warning and at 180 days past you’ll receive an error. These alerts in no way will affect your vSAN cluster as they are merely non-impactful alarms.

You can find this check by clicking on your vSAN Cluster > Monitor > Virtual SAN > Health and then expand Hardware compatibility (See the PIC below). Under Hardware compatibility, you will see various checks that validate your installation.   The ‘vSAN HCL DB up to date’ is the check that will alarm when needed.

You might be thinking –

“I validated my vSAN deployment against the HCL & VCL’s when it was initially built, so why do I need to recheck it over and over?” There are a few good reasons why this validation is important. First off – New firmware and drivers are validated on a routine basis, keeping on top of these will help to ensure your vSAN cluster is able to work optimally and is less problematic. Second – Just because a component was listed on the VGC, doesn’t necessarily mean it will stay on the VGC. Allowing vSAN to self-check itself not only will save you time but will identify any potential issues.

“My vSAN cluster doesn’t have an internet connection and I am pretty good about keeping up to date on the VGC. Do I really need these checks, and if not how can I disable them” Frist off I would not recommend disablement but there may be a need for this. It could be very true that your company does a good job of manually checking the VCG but automating these check would only help your efforts and would be more efficient. However, there are some deployments where automated checks may not be desirable. For those cases follow this guidance to disable: Cluster > Manage > Virtual SAN > General > Internet Connectivity > Disable Auto HCL update

For more information around the vSAN HCL DB, including how to disable and update, please see the following KB’s

In this PIC I’m showing where you can locate the vSAN HCL DB Check status.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 5.14.57 PM

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

What new in vSphere 6.5

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Hey folks — This great video came my way today.  Watch Kevin Steil, (Southeast VMware Technical Account Manager (TAM) Team Lead) talk about HOL-1710-SDC-3 – vSphere with Operations Management: Product Deep Dive which introduces the cool, new features coming in vSphere 6.5.

P2V GOLD – Remove all Windows Non-Present devices at once via GUI and CLI!

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Issue >> If you’ve done any type of Windows P2V (Physical 2 Virtual) then you’d know all about the value in removing non-present or ghosted devices. Normally non-present devices are harmless but from time to time they can cause you an issue or two. P2V best practice is to remove non-present devices enabling a pristine OS. The issue with removing non-present devices is the time to complete the task. Currently, you have to go to command line, enter a few commands, and then manually remove each non-present device from device manager. If you have to remove 200+ non-present devices that could take several hours to complete. Until now…

Solution >> I located 3 great tools that remove all the non-present devices at once — Device Clean up Tool GUI based, Device Clean up Tool CLI based, and Ghostbuster GUI based. All the links are below.

Other Notes >> Personally, I used the Device Cleanup Tool GUI and I was able to remove 213 devices from my recent P2V. Not only did it clean up my OS but it also fixed a pesky USB issue I was having.

Device Cleanup Tool V0.5 – removes non-present devices from the Windows device management

Device Cleanup CMD

GhostBuster

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

ESXi Host NIC failure and the Web client vSwitch orange line doesn’t move? — The results are Shocking!

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Okay, the title was a bit dramatic, but it got your attention. Now keeping with my quest to deliver no-nonsense blog articles here is what the orange line means…

Question 1 – What is the function of the orange line when selecting a vmnic, port group, or vSwitch while viewing them in the Web client network settings?

The orange line is showing you the teaming order for the pNICs or vmnics based on their vSwitch or port group teaming policy. In this screenshot, the policy is Active / Active for both vmnic0 and 1.

The orange line will not move to the other pNIC’s unless they are marked as “active” in the teaming policy. “Active in the teaming policy” vs. “which pNIC is passing traffic” are two different things. The orange line is not a representation of the latter, “pNIC passing traffic”.

 

Question 2 – How can I tell which pNIC is currently passing traffic?

The Web or Thick client vSwitch display (aka the orange line) doesn’t display the pNIC which is currently passing network traffic. You need to use ESXTOP to determine the active pNIC.

Simply go into ESXTOP, Press N, find your vSwitch and it will lead you to the pNIC currently being used to pass traffic.

 

Question 3 – I had a pNIC failure why isn’t the Web client moving the orange line to the standby NIC?

Again… the orange line ONLY points to the Active pNIC in the teaming policy. In this screenshot below, the teaming policy is setup for vmnic3 as Active and vmnic2 as stand by.

Even though vmnic3 is down, traffic should be flowing through vmnic2. Use ESXTOP to determine this (See Question 2)

 

 

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

vCenter Server 6 Host Profiles — ‘Update Profile From Reference Host’ is now ‘Copy Settings from Host’ with the WebClient

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Question – For Host Profiles where did the ‘Update Profile From Reference Host’ and ‘Change Reference Host’ move to in the WebClient?

FAQ around this…

Where did it move to with the Webclient? >> ‘Update Profile From Reference Host’ and ‘Change Reference Host’ have been combined under one item ‘Copy Setting from Host’

Where do I start? >> Simply right click on your host profile, choose ‘Copy Settings from host’.

How do I update the current profile? >> When the window appears for ‘Copy Settings from Host’ your current “reference” host should be selected. Simply press ‘OK’ to update the profile or Press Cancel to not update.

How do I change the reference host? >> When the window appears for ‘Copy Settings from Host’ choose your new host for the settings to be extracted from aka your “new reference host” Simply press ‘OK’ to update the profile.

For more information, See the VCenter Server 6 Host Profiles Guide under ‘Copy Settings from Host’

https://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-60/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-60-host-profiles-guide.pdf

 

If you like my ‘no-nonsense’ blog articles that get straight to the point… then post a comment or let me know… Else, I’ll start writing boring blog content.

Supported features for VMware virtual machine compatibility

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Here is one of my most favorite VMware KB articles.

Supported features for virtual machine compatibility

Hardware

ESXi 6.0 and later

ESXi 5.5 and later

ESXi 5.1 and later

ESXi 5.0 and later

ESX/ESXi 4.x and later 

Hardware version

11

10

9

8

7

Maximum memory (GB)

4080

1011

1011

1011

255

Maximum number of logical
processors

128

64

64

32

8

Maximum number of cores (virtual CPUs) per socket

128

64

64

32

8

Maximum SCSI adapters

4

4

4

4

4

Bus Logic adapters

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

LSI Logic adapters

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

LSI-Logic SAS adapters

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SATA adapters

Yes*

Yes*

No

No

No

VMware Paravirtual controllers

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Virtual SCSI disk

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SCSI passthrough

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

SCSI hot plug support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

IDE nodes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Virtual IDE disk

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Virtual IDE CDROMs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

IDE hot plug support

No

No

No

No

No

Maximum NICs

10

10

10

10

10

PCNet32

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

VMXNet

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

VMXNet2

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

VMXNet3

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

E1000

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

E1000e

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

USB 1.x and 2.0

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

USB 3.0

Yes**

Yes**

Yes**

Yes**

No

Maximum video memory (MB)

512

512

512

128

128

SVGA displays

10

10

10

10

10

SVGA 3D hardware acceleration

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

VMCI

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

PCI passthrough

16

6

6

6

6

PCI hot plug support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Nested HV support

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

vPMC support

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Serial ports

32

4

4

4

4

Parallel ports

3

3

3

3

3

Floppy devices

2

2

2

2

2

Guest OS support

91

91

91

91

78

Cannot install vCenter Server Appliance 6 Error “No apps are installed to open this type of link”

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A requirement for the installation of VCSA 6.0 is installing the Client Integration Plug-in. Normally, this can be done during the time you install the VCSA.   However, during a recent installation, I got the error “No apps are installed to open this type of link”

My first thought was there was a browser compatibility issue with IE11 and the installer, so I tried Firefox and Chome but I got the same results.  Next was a quick reboot, still same error.

Finally, I tried installing  “VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0” manually and then running the VCSA installer.  What do you know it installed without issue.

Simple fix on this one — Manually, install the “VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0” first and then run the VCSA installer.

 

You can find the “VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0” in the ‘vcsa’ folder in the VCSA ISO.

 

 

vCenter Operations Manager 5.8.2 Assigning a Licensing Key

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One of the items I noticed hanging up many users is how to assign a license key for vCenter Operations Manager (vCOPS). In this blog I’m going to review the basic steps around this.

After the installing vCOPS most users logon to the vCOPS Admin page and they notice the ‘License Status’ is listed as ‘Licensed’. This is the first item that trips up most. However if you notice directly above License Status the ‘License Mode’ is listed as ‘Foundation’. The foundation licensing mode is basically the “free” version of vCOPS. Foundation will allow you to do some of the functions of vCOPS for free. Follow this URL to compare different vCOPS versions and Eric Sloof does a great short video here outlining the basic functions.

Now the question becomes — How do I enable my vCOPS license key? VMware KB 2017464 does a great job to enable the key but it leaves the pre-step of key entry and to use the Web Client to complete this task.

Here are the steps to enter and enable your vCOPS License Key via the Web Client

Start at the Home Screen within the Web Client > Licensing Icon > Licenses > Ensure ‘License Keys’ tab is selected and then choose the Green Plus mark to add your key.

Once completed choose the ‘Solutions’ tab > Right Click on your key > ‘Assign License Key’ > then choose the license key you want to apply.

Finally logon to the vCOPS Admin page and ensure the key has updated.

Note – if you are already logged into this page you may have refresh or login again for the status to update.

 

Free Training for VMware Products

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This comprehensive list of training links came my way the other day and it was too good I just had to share it.

It’s the work of the former Omaha VMUG leader turned VMware TAM Jodi S (Twitter @rytalws)

 

Foundational Topics

URL

DataCenter

  

VMware DataCenter Virtualization Fundamentals

http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrreg/courses.cfm?ui=www_edu&a=one&id_subject=47866

Introduction to Virtualization and VMware Hypervisor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvXn2QiL3gs

VMware vSphere Strategy: The Foundation of Your DataCenter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIB8DUPRbgA

An overview of vCloud Suite

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKlFRCNVCbU&list=PL9MeVsU0uG67FCDj0U_V-4WIQ2vbgQbJB

ESXI Foundation

  

Featured VMware Documentation Sets

https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/

vSphere Hypervisor – Installation & Configuration

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere-hypervisor

vSphere Hypervisor -vSphere Client Installation

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere-hypervisor

vSphere Hypervisor – Configuring VM Hardware

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere-hypervisor

VMware vSphere: What’s New Fundamentals [V5.5]

http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrreg/courses.cfm?ui=www_edu&a=one&id_subject=51301

VMware vSphere 5.5 What’s New!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-_PPJnPllo

VMware vSphere: VM Management – Web Client Overview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCVqq1dRwNA

VMware vSphere: VM Management – Cloning/Templates

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eN5iiQSCBw

VMware vSphere: VM Management – Migration vMotion

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH0he0nz8Mg

VMware vSphere: VM Management – HA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPm8Fmhxasc

VMware vSphere: VM Management – DRS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=US0bGHtiISc

VMware vSphere: VM Management – Storage Profiles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mawQTuTw4I

Local Management Tools Overview

http://vmwarelearning.com/9ti/local-management-tools-overview/

How to Install and Configure VMware ESXI 5.5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVv5K8RItYc

VMware vSphere: Installation – ESXI 5

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-VsThbQyXw&list=PLGey3gSYvwCBkH01wSlg8wd4Aye9f58HT

vSphere 5.5 Installation, Administration and Training course

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYt7OntyPqA

Build your own VMware vSphere ESXi 5.5 Datacenter, starting with one PC

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQfTuAdLfYw

HOL-SDC-1304 – vSphere Performance Optimization

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

HOL-SDC-1310 – vSphere and vSOM 101

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

HOL-SDC-1319 – Tech Preview: VMware NSX for Multi-Hypervisor Environments

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

Networking

  

VMware Virtual Networking Concepts

https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/virtual_networking_concepts.pdf

vSphere Networking

http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/features-network

vSphere Distributed Switch

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fxdz2aoVOw&list=PLGey3gSYvwCBkH01wSlg8wd4Aye9f58HT

VMware Network Virtualization Fundamentals

http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrreg/courses.cfm?ui=www_edu&a=one&id_subject=52533

Network I/O Control

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7utuL4uAsdc

VMware vCloud Networking and Security

http://vmwarelearning.com/vcloud_net_sec/

VMware NSX Product Page

http://www.vmware.com/products/nsx/

VMware NSX Blog

http://blogs.vmware.com/networkvirtualization/

HOL-SDC-1302 – vSphere Distributed Switch A to Z

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

HOL-SDC-1303 – VMware NSX Network Virtualization Platform

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

HOL-SDC-1319 – Tech Preview: VMware NSX for Multi-Hypervisor Environments

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

Storage

  

Introduction to Storage

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-55/index.jsp#com.vmware.vsphere.storage.doc/GUID-F602EB17-8D24-400A-9B05-196CEA66464F.html

VMware vSphere: Storage – Thick & Thin Provisioning

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8FoEl6CeYo

VMware Storage Virtualization

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_Bpuwx5BbY

Enable vSphere HA and Storage DRS for VMware vSphere

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQJZNwuq15Y

VMware Storage Profiles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mawQTuTw4I

VMware Storage I/O Control

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTKdKhmP5KE

VMWorld Session: STO1545-Architecting Storage DRS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPN5H8iwYpk

How to identify and Solve Storage I/O Latency Issues

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5T44OVDoms

vSphere 5 Storage DRS IO Load Balancing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhaaNCC-GeY

VMware Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55p3ZD9l54o

HOL-SDC-1308-Virtual SAN (vSAN) and Virtual Storage Solutions

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

Security

  

Security of the VMware vSphere Hypervisor

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/vmw-wp-secrty-vsphr-hyprvsr-uslet-101.pdf

VMware Security Development Lifecycle

http://www.vmware.com/security/sdl.html

VMware Security Response Center

http://www.vmware.com/security/vsrc.html

VMware Security Advisories

http://www.vmware.com/security/advisories/

VMware Hardening Guides

http://www.vmware.com/security/hardening-guides.html

Operations Management

  

VMware vCenter Operations Manager Documentation

https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vcops-pubs.html

VMware vCenter Operations – Introduction Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-DJuTiqKag

VMware vCenter Operations Manager Fundamentals [V5.6]

http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrreg/courses.cfm?ui=www_edu&a=one&id_subject=42954

VMware vCenter Operations Training Videos

http://vmwarelearning.com/vcenter/

HOL-SDC-1301-Applied Cloud Operations

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

HOL-SDC-1304 – vSphere Performance Optimization

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

HOL-SDC-1301-Applied Cloud Operations

http://labs.hol.vmware.com/

Certification –

  

Certification – VMware Cloud Fundamentals

http://www.vmware.com/certification

Certification – VMware DataCenter Virtualization – VCP5-DCV – Blueprint

http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrReg/plan.cfm?plan=45082&ui=www_cert

VMware VCP-DCV 5.1 Exam Preparation

http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrreg/courses.cfm?ui=www_edu&a=one&id_subject=46281

 

It’s my easy button for you this week.  You all probably already have something but I didn’t… 

In addition, here is a 5.5 Feature URL listing which provides information on each 5.5 feature.. Enjoy!

 

vSphere ESXi Hypervisor Enhancements

URL

 

Hot-Pluggable SSD PCI Express (PCIe) Devices

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-50/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.vmware.vsphere.vm_admin.doc_50%2FGUID-285BB774-CE69-4477-9011-598FEF1E9ACB.html

Support for Reliable Memory Technology

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/VMW-WP-vSPHR-5.5-PLTFRM.pdf

Enhancements for CPU C-States

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/VMW-WP-vSPHR-5.5-PLTFRM.pdf

Virtual Machine Enhancements

   

Virtual Machine Compatibility with VMware ESXi 5.5

   

Expanded vGPU Support

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere/VMware-vSphere-Platform-Whats-New.pdf

Graphic Acceleration for Linux Guests

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere/VMware-vSphere-Platform-Whats-New.pdf

VMware vCenter Server Enhancements

   

VMware vCenter Single Sign-On

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2034918

VMware vSphere Web Client

http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2012/11/which-vsphere-client-should-i-use-and-when.html

VMware vCenter Server Appliance

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-55/index.jsp#com.vmware.vsphere.vcenterhost.doc/GUID-0B9988FF-5FB6-4656-9C58-EE3617B57E90.html?resultof=%2522%2576%2543%2565%256e%2574%2565%2572%2522%2520%2522%2576%2563%2565%256e%2574%2565%2572%2522%2520%2522%2553%2565%2572%2576%2565%2572%2522%2520%2522%2573%2565%2572%2576%2565%2572%2522%2520%2522%2541%2570%2570%256c%2569%2561%256e%2563%2565%2522%2520%2522%2561%2570%2570%256c%2569%2561%256e%2563%2522%2520

vSphere App HA

https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/appha-pubs.html

vSphere HA and VMware vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (vSphere DRS)

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-55/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-esxi-vcenter-server-55-availability-guide.pdf

Virtual Machine–Virtual Machine Affinity Rules Enhancements

http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2013/09/04/vsphere-5-5-nuggets-high-availability-enhancement/

vSphere Big Data Extensions

https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vsphere-big-data-extensions-pubs.html

vSphere Storage Enhancements

   

Support for 62TB VMDK

   

MSCS Updates

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2052238

16GB E2E support

   

PDL AutoRemove

https://www.vmware.com/support/pubs/vsphere-big-data-extensions-pubs.html

vSphere Replication Interoperability

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&externalId=2005776&sliceId=1&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1&dialogID=235212479&stateId=1%200%20235220597

vSphere Replication Multi-Point-in-Time Snapshot Retention

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-55/topic/com.vmware.ICbase/PDF/vsphere-replication-55-admin.pdf

vSphere Flash Read Cache

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vSphere_55_Flash_Read_Cache_Whats_New_WP.pdf

vSphere Networking Enhancements

   

Link Aggregation Control Protocol Enhancements

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2034277

Traffic Filtering

http://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-55/topic/com.vmware.vsphere.networking.doc/GUID-DC14D8EE-110B-4321-8BF6-51C259971CF1.html

Quality of Service Tagging

https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/VMware-Whats-New-in-VMware-vSphere-Networking.pdf

Quality of Service Tagging

http://virtualizationreview.com/articles/2013/10/30/how-to-vsphere-5-5-network-qos.aspx

SR-IOV Enhancements

https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/VMware-Whats-New-in-VMware-vSphere-Networking.pdf

Enhanced Host-Level Packet Capture

https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/VMware-Whats-New-in-VMware-vSphere-Networking.pdf

40GB NIC support

https://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/VMware-Whats-New-in-VMware-vSphere-Networking.pdf

 

Patches? Patches? We don’t need no stinkin’ Patches

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Recently I reviewed some of the patching techniqus around ESXi and vCenter Server.

The question I wanted to know more about was – How are products (vCenter and ESX(i) patched (4.0 and above)?  

What I found was “it depends” J but I remember them this way…

Note – Before I apply ANY patch or update I always check the HCL, check with my hardware vendor, and read the release notes as most patches contain prerequisites.

 

vCenter Server is simple, I remember it this way “Patches? Patches? We don’t need no stinkin’ Patches…”

ESXi — Can be a bit more complicated…  It’s more like this — “I’d like the pie heated and I don’t want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side, and I’d like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it, if not then no ice cream just whipped cream but only if it’s real; if it’s out of the can then nothing.”

 

Here is a bit more depth –

vCenter Server (VC) Windows Edition –

VC 4.x, 5.0 and 5.1 – There are no patches vCenter Server only full updates packages which contain all the content. AKA – Patches are included in the each releases.

VC 5.5 – No patches for VC just updates but there are patches for tcServer and JRE.  These patches will be released on an as needed basis.

It’s pretty simple, if you want to patch your vCenter Server then just install an Update, but do your
homework
first.

 

ESXi —

First off Patches are not exactly cumulative and depending on how you update ESXi the Build numbers and sub-components can be off.

Trying to simplify this… it’s not a cut and dry method but here is what I found…

In most cases (not all) it seems to come down to two ways of updating your host. Ask yourself this:

1.     Do you want ESXi to report the more accurate Build Number and have all the underlying sub-components (Virt Hardware, Tools, etc) up to date?

2.     OR is it more important to just have a specific Patch installed?

 

If Yes to “more accurate Build Number” then this is suggested…

Update ESXi to the latest Update, then apply the latest Patch.

This should ensure the sub-components contained within are updated uniformly and the build number should report properly.

Accurate Build Number Example – You are at ESXi 4.1U1, update it to ESXi 4.1U3 first, then Apply Patch 9

The result should yield an ESXi server and subcomponents fully up to date

 

If Yes to “more important to just have a specific Patch” Simple answer is just apply that patch

However depending on your current level of ESXi the patch may not contain all the updated sub-components.

It will contain the Patches and Security updates documented in its KB or release notes.

 

Specific Patch Example – You are at ESXi 4.1U1, Just Apply Patch 9

The result should yield an ESXi Server with Patch 9 and the sub-components may not be updated, it depends on the patch

This may also change the build number to reflect an unexpected result, meaning it may not look like the build number for ESXi 4.1U1 or Patch 9, it may be somewhere in between.

 

Last Monkey Wrench in this mix… Express Patches with ESXi

This is the exception to the statements above and add a couple of new rules…

Express Patches typically fix only a very specific function, and they are typically are NOT cumulative.

 

Monkey Wrench Example – You are at ESXi 4.1U1 let’s say Express Patch 3 (EP) is the latest patch level.

To fully update ESXi and Sub-components you should update to ESXi 4.1U3 first, apply the Patches and only EP’s just below EP3, then apply EP3

If you only want the EP then just apply EP3

 

Hopefully this makes sense and after reading this thread I’ll bet you never look at ESXi patching the same way J

 

One last item here is a great url around build numbers…

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1014508