VMworld Barcelona 2014 – Blogger pass awarded and information and tips for a VMworld visit.

I have earlier received a notice from VMware in my mailbox: Congratulations! This email serves as an official notification that you have been awarded a blogger pass to VMworld 2014 Barcelona.

I’m pleased and honored to be awarded this blogger pass to VMworld Barcelona. Hotel and flight are already booked. And where to start, yes by blogging about VMworld Barcelona 2014 with some information and tips.

VMworld 2014

At VMworld Barcelona 2014 I will be doing session, meeting people, visit some vendors and I will be tweeting and blogging around to place (and yes also some party attending). I can say I am really looking forward to this, and I’m also looking forward to meeting the community.

You can also find me on the blogger list/page (http://www.vmworld.com/community/vmworldblogs/#feed?src=vmw_so_vex_pheld_277) and twitter (subscribe at https://twitter.com/VMworld/europe-contributors) lists.

Not registered yet, come and join the party!

VMworld Early bird (save 200 euro’s) has been over, but there are other savings. Other savings possibilities include VCP, VMUG Advantage and such.

What are you waiting for? Register here: http://www.vmworld.com/registration.jspa?src=vmw_so_vex_pheld_277.

Tips for a nice VMworld experience

  • Bring several sets comfy shoes and socks. One set on the event (for socks maybe a set extra) and one set for the parties.
  • Pack light during the day. Bags will get heavier when your tired and have collected lot’s of swag (useful or not). Maybe the first day pack even lighter as you probably receive the VMworld back pack on that day. Decide whether you need all your electrics appliances, select the ones needed. Don’t travel true the city screaming hey I’m from out of town and visiting a tech show (by letting your VMworld badge hang around your neck for example), this can increase attention from pickpockets or other sort of thievesGet some water bottles and snacks for during the day.
  • Don’t try to over schedule. Last year I scheduled a lot of session, all very nice and interesting. But this gives you almost no time to rewind and relax, talk to people (as other people also want to talk to them), eat and drink properly and write a blog post. Sessions are recorded so there is opportunity enough to watch/listen them back.
  • Use the schedule builder to plan and preregister for your sessions. Look at the content and find the sessions you really want to visit. Pro is that you don’t have to wait in line to be allowed to the session, pre-scheduled persons are allowed in first and places are filled with people waiting in line. The VMworld Europe Schedule Builder is not released until 15th August.
  • Do bring a net/notebook for blogging purposes (not too heavy). An iPad is fine for notes, but either have a proper keyboard setup with that, a proper blog app or bring your notebook.
  • Check the status of the WiFi of your hotel when blogging from your hotel. Do believe the experiences other guests left about the hotel. Last year my hotel had poor WiFi connection and poor WiFi speed (especially during the night, I wonder why…), no good to start a blog post in the evening (or night during insomnia). During the day there are a lot of locations to blog and hook to the VMworld WiFi (sometimes let’s you check in with the San Francisco settings in there ;-))
  • Exam scheduled at the event are at reduced prices (up to 75%). Great to pass some of  the roadmapped certifications you have. If this is a first time, please be aware that in all the hectic of an event, degraded body and mind condition, an exam at the event might not the best place to succeed especially when planned at the end of the event.
  • Be on time for sessions and don’t leave before QA is finished. It is not respectful to the speakers (only when you have a good reason, and nausea from a party the night before isn’t :-P).
  • It sometimes is beneficial to take a photo for a blog post or tweet. But slides of sessions are recorded and available afterwards. It can bug your fellow session participants (especially the ones right beside you) that don’t like you waiving your iPad in front of you to take a picture of every (and every) slide.
  • Use the provided Fira Metro shuttle bus service. There is a lot of walking during the day.
  • Last year I booked a hotel in the centre of Barcelona. Great for some taste of Barcelona and close to some parties, but a little far from the conference. It takes a 40-50 minutes to get from the hotel on the metro, train and bus. This is not always a problem, but when you have tired legs and feet it is not always fun to travel in busy public transport as you will not often get a seat. This year I booked a hotel half way between Fira and the city centre, cuts down on traveling and gives you the opportunity to visit Barcelona (and party). My hotel even offers a free bicycle service to use.
  • Don’t know if it going to be here this year, but previous years that was a T-10 1 zone sponsored (by Veeam) Metro card and available to be picked up at the information stand at the venue.

 Links to important information / pages (also for my own reference)

Party and gatherings

Next to a great event are parties to unwind and meet your peers in a nice social atmosphere. Via the http://www.vmworld.com/community/gatherings?src=vmw_so_vex_pheld_277 link you can view the events that are registered and setup. Currently Barcelona isn’t yet open. Of course there is the VMworld party on Wednesday 15th October from 20:00 at the VMworld Barcelona Fira venue. Other expected parties include VMUG party and several partner/companies will be having there own gatherings. Be sure to keep an eye on the social community and the gatherings link above.

 Got some information, tips and such that I’m leaving out, please leave a comment.

  • Looking forward to seeing you there!

Sources: vmworld.com

Migrating vCenter databases from SQL Express to SQL Server

When installing vCenter you will need a vCenter database, an Update Manager database and with vCenter prior to 5.5 also a SSO database (RSA). With the installation you have the option to point to an (existing) dedicated SQL Server, SQL Server on the same Windows host or use the bundled SQL Express with the installer. Depending on the requirements of the environment a design decision is made to which sort of database setup vCenter will communicate. I prefer to separate the database resources and services from the vCenter server and will often option for a dedicated SQL Server or SQL instance part of SQL mirror/cluster. But sometimes the size of the environment is small enough, and a dedicated SQL license is a constrain at the design/build phase, test/pilot grows into production (don’t!), in these situations SQL Express is `fine’. Fine and supported up to a vCenter inventory of max 5 hosts and or 50 VM’s. No.. your vCenter will not crash immediately after adding a sixth, seventh or whatever hosts but performance is degraded to a point that certain sub processes/services are not running within optimal limits. This can have unforeseen consequences to your environment, and this is not what is wanted in production.

This post will combine the migration of SSO, vCenter and Update Manager databases from SQL Express to SQL Server. Yes you are missing a database, vCenter Orchestrator should be migrated as well. Moving this database should be included when using, use the vCenter Orchestrator Configuration service to point to the destination database server (stop orchestrator server to move.) Unfortunately when using the vCenter simple installation with a bundled SQL Express this combination is not used very often or not at all (a shame).

The proces

Migrating SQL Express from the bundled to a full installation includes the following actions:

  • Assess your environment. What database names are used, what users and do you have the correct administration of users and passwords (see the SSO paragraph below for a way to find out the current RSA_DBA and RSA_USER passwords). Decide on whether you want to use the same users, or use new ones. Same goes for ports of destination SQL Server, Authentication mode used here etc. Always check the interoperability of vCenter with the database version. Do they support each other? Use SQL Authentication with the SSO database, vCenter supports Windows authentication (Best Practice) and SQL users.
  • Plan for some downtime of SSO, vCenter and Update Manager. As your moving services and databases from one server to another, the vCenter, SSO and Update Manager services must be stopped before and until the data is copied and configuration is changed, remain down. No VM workload is hit and remain running, and host can be managed via the standalone vSphere client during changes. That is, versions before 5.5 and hardware version 10.
  • Create back-ups of the to change files, registry keys and such before changing values.
  • Migrate the SSO database. This step is only for pre-5.5 versions as SSO in vCenter 5.5 does not use a database.
  • Migrate the vCenter database.
  • Migrate the Update Manager database. That is when Update Manager is installed on the same SQL Express instance. Normally you would see this combination when a SQL Express Windows vCenter server is used.

Migrating the database itself can be done via a SQL Backup and restore (overwrite), detach-copy-attach, or SQL Server Import/Database Copy Wizard. Prior to the database move the appropriate services must be stopped. When doing the copy in one task, stop the services as described in the following paragraphs. If you use the one go and backup or copy is finished stop the SQL Express (VIM_SQLEXP).


Not sure what your current RSA_USER/RSA_DBA passwords are. Go to the SSOServer\utils directory in an elevated prompt and run the following command:

ssocli manage-secrets -a listallkeys

Stop the vCenter Single Sign-On service. After the service is stopped backup and restore or copy the database files on the destination SQL Server. For SSO two SQL users are created by the installer, RSA_DBA and RSA_USER. RSA_DBA is only used when doing the installation, not needed for this migration. For operational purposes RSA_USER is used. Add the login/user to the destination SQL Server and set the password / required permissions if these where not saved.

Open an elevated command prompt and go to the SSOServer installation directory\utils directory. For example when installed on D:

SSO Directory

Run the following command: 

ssocli configure-riat -a configure-db –database-host newdbhost –database-port newdatabaseport –rsa-user RSA_USER –rsa-user-password password -m master_password

Replace the database hostname, database portnumber 1433 for standard SQL. Add the RSA-USER password and -m master password is the Admin@System-Domain password. rsa-user-password works only in combination with rsa-user option.

Open a text editor (also with elevated permissions if required). Open the following two files:

  • SSOServer\webapps\ims\web-inf\classes\jndi.properties

Check the values:

    • com.rsa.db.type=MSSQL.
    • com.rsa.db.instance=RSA. (or whatever your RSA instance dbname is)
    • com.rsa.db.msserverinstance= . Leave empty when using the default MSSQLSERVER instance on the destination server.
    • com.rsa.db.hostname=destinationSQL server.
    • com.rsa.db.port=1433.
    • Note: don’t mix up the com.rsa.instanceName. This is not the SQL Instance, but the SSO instance. This should not be changed.
  • SSOServer\webapps\lookupservice\WEB-INF\classes\config.properties

Check the values:

    • db.url=jdbc:jtds:sqlserver://;serverName=;portNumber=1433;databaseName=RSA. PortNumber has to be added here.
    • db.user=RSA_USER
    • db.pass=yourpassword
    • db.type=mssql
    • db.host=destination SQL server fqdn.

Change the lines appropriately to you environment. Save the files.

Start the vCenter Single Sign-On service.

vCenter System

Stop the vCenter services. Include all vCenter services except Update Manager, Orchestartor or SSO. After the service is stopped backup and restore or copy the database files on the destination SQL Server. Add the login/user to the destination SQL Server and set the password / required permissions if these where not saved. The user needs db_owner on the vCenter database and dbo on MSDB system database on the destination server.

Reconfigure the System DSN to use the destination SQL Server. Use the 64-bit ODBC Manager. When using a default installation of MSSQL server, the default MSSQLSERVER instance does not have to be filled in, connection to the SQL server hostname is enough. When using Windows credentials the ODBC is editted in the service account user. Change the default database to the VIM_VCDB or what ever name you gave it. Test the connection to be sure everything works.

ODBC vCenter

Update the ODBC connection in the registry:

  • Click Start > Run, type regedit, and click OK. The Registry Editor window opens.
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > VMware, Inc > VMware VirtualCenter.
  • Modify the key DbInstanceName and remove the current Value data. Do not delete this key.
  • Modify the key DbServerType and change the Value data from Bundled (the SQL Express) to Custom.
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > VMware, Inc > VMware VirtualCenter > DB.
  • Modify Key 4 and change the ODBC driver to the new driver if not changed check this value and leave intact.
  • Modify key 2 and add the vCenter Server SQL user, for example vcuser.

The password that is set (at key 3) is needed to be change, open an elevated command promp and run the following command:

<install drive>:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\VirtualCenter Server\vpxd.exe -p

Go to the SQL Server and recreate the SQL Jobs. Launch SQL Server Management Studio on the SQL Server and Navigate to SQL Server Agent. In the Jobs list create the following jobs:

Rollup Job SQL Job Filename
Event Task Cleanup vCenter Database job_cleanup_events_mssql.sql
Past Day stats rollup vCenter Database job_schedule1_mssql.sql
Past Month stats rollup vCenter Database job_schedule3_mssql.sql
Past Week stats rollup vCenter Database job_schedule2_mssql.sql
Process Performance Data vCenter Database job_dbm_performance_data_mssql.sql
Property Bulletin Daily Update vCenter Database job_property_bulletin_mssql.sql
Topn past day vCenter Database job_topn_past_day_mssql.sql
Topn past month vCenter Database job_topn_past_month_mssql.sql
Topn past week vCenter Database job_topn_past_week_mssql.sql
Topn past year vCenter Database job_topn_past_year_mssql.sql

Adding the jobs: browse to Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\VirtualCenter Server\sql or whever your install path is. Open the corresponding SQL file (Open > file). Select the vCenter database. Execute Query. And repeat for others.

When finding existing jobs, check that the corresponding SQL user in jobs is correct. Right click the Job, properties and check the user. And the database name is correct, if not recreate them.

Check the vcdb.properties file for the corresponding values. On Windows 2008R2 and higher this file is located in C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware VirtualCenter (check show and uncheck hide files and protected files in explorer). When using SQL authentication set the vcdb.properties file value url= ;integratedSecurity\= to False. When using Windows authentication set this value to true. the rest should match sqlserver://<destination server>\\SQL instance;databaseName=\dbname; dbtype=mssql.

It is important that the Windows user has the required permissions on the SQL database and the VMware VirtualCenter Management Webservices and VMware VirtualCenter service is set to run as this user.

Remove the depend on SQL Express in the vCenter services. Open regedit and goto HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\. Remove the SQL Express service value from the DependOnService Multi string in the vCenter services where set. Do not delete the value, just removing the VIM_SQLEXP from the data is enough. The other dependencies should remain intact. Start the vCenter services. Check the logs if everything starts up correctly.

Update Manager

Last one. Stop the vSphere Update Manager services. After the service is stopped backup and restore or copy the database files on the destination SQL Server. Add the login/user to the destination SQL Server and set the password / required permissions if these where not saved. The user needs db_owner on the Update Manager database and dbo on MSDB system database on the destination server.

Reconfigure the System DSN to use the destination SQL Server. Use the 32-bit ODBC Manager. On Windows 2008R this is located in the C:\Windows\SysWOW64\odbcad32.exe. On Windows 2012 you can select the 32-bit from the apps menu.
When using a default installation of MSSQL server, the default MSSQLSERVER instance does not have to be filled in, connection to the SQL server hostname is enough. When using Windows credentials the ODBC is editted in the service account user. Change the default database to the VIM_UMDB or what ever name you gave it. Test the connection to be sure everything works.

Next go to your installation directory of Update Manager, for example D:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\Update Manager\, and launch VMwareUpdateManagerUtility.exe (sometimes takes a while to start up). Login with an admin in vCenter (should have the user that installed and registered Update Manager to the vCenter in the user screen.
Click on database settings. Check the DSN name is the same you editted and tested. Type the SQL username and password twice. Click apply.

VMware Update Manager Update Manager database Settings

Start the vSphere Update Manager service.

After all changes be sure to check the vCenter Service Status if all is in green here. Some tracking or statistics roll up need the jobs to complete. This can take some time.

– Hopefully this helps you migrating from your SQL Express.

Sources: vmware.com.

Hey come out and play. Join the vSphere Beta Program

At June the 30th VMware announced the launch of the latest vSphere Beta Program. This program is now open for anyone to register and participate in the beta program. The Beta program used to be for just a select group, but with VSAN Beta VMware started to allow a wider group of participants. In my opinion this is good as the group of software testing participants is larger and the amount of feedback, learned lessons and experience will be greater. The community and it’s testers will make the product and it’s features even better. Hopefully more Beta’s will also be open to a larger group of participants.

A larger group will make it harder to keep information within the group and not publicly shared on for example the big bad Intarweb. As this Beta program seems open to everyone, it is still bound to NDA rules. Details are in the VMware Master Software Beta Test Agreement (MSBTA) and the program rules which you are required to accept before joining. After that share your comments, feedback and information in the private community that is offered with the program.

What can you expect from the vSphere Beta program?

When you register with a my VMware account, the participant can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software for his or hers environment. The vSphere Beta Program has no established end date. VMware strongly encourages participation and feedback in the first 4-6 weeks of the program (starting on June 30 2014). What are you waiting for? 

Some of the reasons to participate in the vSphere Beta Program are:

  • Receive access to the vSphere Beta products
  • Gain knowledge of and visibility into product roadmap before others.
  • Interact with the VMware vSphere Beta team, a chance to interact with engineers and such.
  • Provide direct input on product functionality, configuration, usability, and performance.
  • Provide feedback influencing future products, training, documentation, and services
  • Collaborate with other participants, learn about their use cases, and share advice and learned lessons of your own.

What is expected from the participants?

Provide VMware with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling VMware to better align the products with business needs.


Sign up and join the vSphere Beta Program today at: https://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/vsphere-beta.

– Go ahead, come out and play. Join the vSphere Beta program now!

Source: vmware.com