Monthly Archives: June 2015

Patching vCenter Server Appliance 6 (VCSA)

The biggest thing I miss from the v5.x release of the vCenter Server Appliance was the VMware Appliance  Management Interface (VAMI).  I first realised it was missing in VCSA 6 when I needed to modify NTP settings.  What I liked about the VAMI was that it could auto check and install patches.  With it now removed we’re back to a manual check and apply process 🙁

So to get started… The easiest way to check what build you are on is in the vSphere Web Client.  Navigate to vCenter Inventory Lists -> vCenter Servers and click on your VC.

Windows 8.1 Pro - VMware Workstation-000174

Once you know what build you are on head over to Product Patches at https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/patch#search

Select VC as the product and 6.0.0 as the version.  Note the releases.  One will be for the Windows version and one for the Appliance.  Windows versions still require downloading the full product to update.  While the Appliance gets away with a smaller yet still relatively large 1 GB patch file.  Both releases, though, can still apply minor patches individually.

https___my.vmware.com_group_vmware_patch#search-000175

Download the 1 GB ISO file (or whatever is current at the time).  Mount the ISO to the vCenter Appliance VM as you normally would with any ISO file.

vcsa_patch-000176

Now login to a console session on the Appliance and run the following command

software-packages install --iso --acceptEulas

vcsa_patch-000177

The --acceptEulas is optional.  If you choose to leave it out you will have to scroll through the VMware End User License Agreement and type yes to accept.

Command> software-packages install --iso
[2015-06-13T12:21:59.164] : Staging software update packages from ISO
[2015-06-13T12:21:59.164] : ISO mounted successfully
[2015-06-13 12:21:59,076] : Running pre-stage script…..
[2015-06-13T12:22:00.164] : Verifying staging area
[2015-06-13T12:22:00.164] : Validating software update payload
[2015-06-13T12:22:00.164] : Validation successful
VMWARE END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT

Do you accept the terms and conditions? [yes/no] yes

This process will now automatically Stage the patches to the VC and proceed to immediately install.  During this process management to the VC will be lost.  So keep this in mind for your users.

Once complete you will receive a message that a Reboot is required to complete the installation.  According to VMware doco this is an optional step.  That said, after my upgrade completed, I still had no management connectivity via the Web Client or C# client and so ran shutdown reboot -r and proceeded to reboot the appliance.

[2015-06-13T12:29:53.164] : Packages upgraded successfully, Reboot is required to complete the installation.
Command> shutdown reboot -r “I have been patched”

Additional Commands (optional)

If you want to see the last patches that were applied run the below command

Command> software-packages list --history
[2015-06-13T12:54:03.164] :
‘Name’ ‘Install Date’
VC-6.0.0a-Appliance-FP 2015-06-13 12:29:52

References

VMware reference doco
Patching the vCenter Server Appliance

 

 

Enable SSH on vCenter Server Appliance 6 (VCSA)

If you’re running the Appliance version of vCenter 6 at some stage you may want console access via SSH.  When you install VCSA 6 for the first time you have the option during installation to enable SSH.  Depending on your security stance you may have left SSH off and now you want it on.

There are a few different methods for enabling SSH on VCSA.  The below two methods both use the web client.

Method 1.
Directly enabling SSH in the Web Client.

This method is probably the easiest and quickest way.  The settings just happen to be in a non-intuitive location.

On the Home screen of the Web Client select Administration -> System Configuration

enable_ssh-000182

Select Nodes and right click on your vCenter server.

enable_ssh-000179

Select Edit Settings

enable_ssh-000181

Select the Checkbox Enable SSH login

enable_ssh-000180

Click OK.

You should now be able to SSH to the vCenter name or IP.

 

Method 2.
Enabling SSH via the Remote Console.

Navigate to your vCenter Appliance VM.  Click on Launch Remote Console.

enable_ssh-000184

Press ALT + F1 to get a login TTY session and login as root

enable_ssh-000183

Run the below commands to enable SSH.  ssh.get shows the current status.  ssh.set allows you to change the state of SSH.  Use ‘false’ instead of true to disable SSH.

Command> ssh.get
Enabled: False
Command> ssh.set --enabled true
Command> ssh.get
Enabled: True
Command>

The above methods takes effect immediately, no need to reboot.  When disabling SSH, current sessions stay active and don’t end.  So if someone has an open SSH session they won’t be kicked out until they logoff or their session times out.

References

VMware vCenter 6 Documentation
Edit Access Settings to the vCenter Server Appliance