Mastering VMware vSphere 6 - Available Now!

Today is the day that Mastering VMware vSphere 6 is finally available! There looks to be a small delay in the e-book availability (as usual with these things I'm told), so those that don't want to carry around 840 pages may have to wait a day or two more.

It's been around 12 months since I started writing this latest revision. While the product has gone through a number of changes since I started writing, now it's released I think it's one of the best releases that VMware have produced. Great job to all the R&D team at VMware who worked on this release.

Once again I would like to thank my co-author Grant Orchard and contributing author Josh Atwell. You guys did an amazing job. Thanks also to Scott Lowe for not only passing the series onto me with 5.5, but also for writing the forward in this edition. Finally, and most importantly, thanks to my wife. She puts up with many of my late nights and grumpy mornings so that you the reader can learn about vSphere.

Managing vCenter 6 and the PSC Services

Introduced with vSphere 6 is the Platform Services Controller, or PSC for short. Simply put, the PSC is a bunch of services that can reside embedded within a vCenter server, or can be external to the vCenter server. William outlined how to monitor vCenter and PSC services using VIMTOP on a vCSA, but in this article I'll outline what you can configure using the Web Client.

Administration -> System Configuration

Administration -> System Configuration

To manage the vCenter Server or PSC services, on the vSphere Web Client home screen navigate to Administration -> System Configuration. From here you have 2 options, Nodes or Services.

Nodes

From the Nodes selection, you have the ability to select any one of your vCenter or PSC instances that are joined to a single SSO domain. When installing either a vCenter or a PSC server you have the option to create a new or join an existing SSO domain. Once you join this domain you are enabling this instance to participate in "enhanced linked mode". Remember, linked mode now works in either the Linux based vCSA or Windows based installable vCenter server.

Node Summary

Node Service Health

Node Service Health

A node can either be a vCenter server, an external PSC or a vCenter Server with an Embedded PSC (the case for these screenshots). Once you have a node selected, the right hand section of the Web Client will show you the information about that Node.

The selected Node's summary page has some general information, such as IP, hostname, type (vCenter, PSC or both), health, uptime and the virtual machine on which the Node resides.

Node Workload

Node Workload

Also on the summary page is a Workload section. This outlines some of the virtual machine in-guest statistics, such as Storage, Memory, Swap and Load.

Finally on the summary tab is the Services Health and Health Messages. It buckets the services into the categories of Critical, Warning, Unknown, Good and Not Applicable. Clicking on each will list the services under each category.

On the Node's Monitor tab, you can start to see a little more detail about the Workload. Within this tab are for sub-tabs for Networking, Storage, Memory and CPU. Clicking on the workload statistics on the summary tab will bring you into the relevant sub-tab here for more details.

Getting to the Manage tab -> Settings sub-tab of a selected node, you will find a number of helpful tools. Firstly, if you're using the linux based appliance (and you should be!) there are Access settings that you can also configure on the VM's DCUI. From here you can enable Local login, SSH login or the Bash shell. Going one more step, you can now change the appliance (vCenter or PSC) name, DNS, IPv4 or IPv6 settings. Within this tab you can also configure the in-guest firewall rules to block or allow IPs per ethernet interface. Finally, this is also where you can join and leave an Active Directory domain. I will leave the the Certificate Authority sub-tab for another post.

Services

Going back to the top and selecting Services instead of Nodes will give you the visibility and settings for all services within your SSO domain. The following table outlines the available services with their default startup type for a vCenter Server with an embedded PSC and embedded Postgres database (AKA everything on one node):

Service Description Startup-type
Auto Deploy Supports network-based deployment of ESXi hosts. Manual
Content Library Service Enables sharing and management of VM templates and ISO images across vCenter instances Automatic
Data Service Universal query API to VMware CIS data Automatic
Hardware Health Service Collection and analysis of IPMI sensor metrics from hardware running ESXi Automatic
Inventory Service Enables search, list, query and extension of vCenter inventory information Automatic
License Service Provides licensing support for the vSphere environment Automatic
Transfer Service Enables movement of content like VM templates, scripts, ISO images across sites and vCenter instances Automatic
VMware ESX Agent Manager ESX Agent Manager (EAM) is the simple and fully-integrated way to deploy and monitor ESX Agent VMs and VIBs on ESX hosts. Automatic
VMware Message Bus Configuration Service VMware Message Bus Configuration Service Manual
VMware Open Virtualization Format Service Enables open virtualization format based provisioning of virtual machines via Content Library Automatic
VMware Performance Charts Service Provides Overview Performance Charts support for vSphere Web Client. Automatic
VMware Postgres Embedded VMware Postgres Relational Database Automatic
VMware Syslog Service Provides syslog support for VMware CIS services Automatic
VMware vCenter Server VMware vCenter Server Automatic
VMware vService Manager VMware vService Manager Automatic
VMware vSphere ESXi Dump Collector VMware vSphere ESXi Dump Collector enables support for collecting core dumps from remote hosts. Manual
VMware vSphere Profile-Driven Storage Service VMware vSphere Profile-Driven Storage Service Automatic
VMware vSphere Profile-Driven Storage Service vSphere Virtual Infrastructure Management Client Automatic
vAPI Endpoint Provides single point of access to vAPI services Automatic

Some of the services have a number of configurable settings behind them on the Manage tab, but others do not. Regardless, I would recommend that you only change these if absolutely necessary (advised to by VMware). The other thing shown is whether changing the setting will require a restart of that particular service.

Node Services: Start, Stop, Re-Start, Start-Up Type

Starting, stopping, restarting or changing a service's startup type is configured on a per-node basis. Selecting the Node you wish to configure the service on, then going to the Related-Objects tab will allow you to set these.

You should find managing the Linux (and Windows) vCenter instances a little easier now. There's certainly a lot more options to configure and a lot more visibility into what's going on.


Announcing Mastering VMware vSphere 6

Over the last 10 months, with my contributing authors, Grant Orchard and Josh Atwell, I have been working on an update to the Mastering VMware vSphere series. What does the updated book cover? Well, I tried to stick to the very well received "Scott Lowe Formula" from the previous Mastering vSphere 4 and 5 but at the same time continue to put my own take on things after the vSphere 5.5 revision. Scott Lowe has once again graciously written the forward for this book and I think his words summarize it well.

Mastering VMware vSphere 6 is more than just a new version of a well-respected tome, because Nick has done more than just refresh the material found within these pages. Yes, you’ll find in-depth coverage of new features in vSphere 6; that includes features like long-distance vMotion and cross-vCenter vMotion, a new version of VSAN, and the long-awaited SMP Fault Tolerance that will allow you to use VMware Fault Tolerance with up to 4 virtual CPUs. Yes, you’ll find coverage of NFS 4.1 support, Virtual Volumes, and a new version of Network I/O Control. Of course, there is so much more in vSphere 6 than just what I’ve mentioned here, but you’ll have to read the rest of the book to find out what else is included!
— Scott Lowe

Yesterday VMware announced that vSphere 6.0 will be made available by the end of March and I'd like to advise that Mastering VMware vSphere 6 is available for pre-order today and will be shipping or downloadable within days of the software being made available.