Installing ESX 4.1 and vCenter Server 4.1 best practices

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Oct 30, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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Installing ESX 4.1 and vCenter Server 4.1 best practices

Purpose

This article provides a quick reference to the information needed for a trouble
-
free inst
allation or
upgrade of ESX/ESXi 4.1 and vCenter Server 4.1.

Note
: Because each environment is different, many installation decisions require knowledge and
understanding beyond the scope of this article.

For more detailed information about

your installation
,
see the

vSphere 4.1
documentation
.


Resolution

Note
: Read the VMware vSphere 4.1
Release Notes

for kno
wn installation issues.

vCenter Server

To ensure a trouble
-
free installation of vCenter Server:

1.

Make sure your hardware and operating system requirements are compliant. The vCenter
Server 4.1 system can be a physical or a virtual machine.


Note
: For more i
nformation, see
ESX and vCenter Server Installation Guide

and
vSphere
Compatibility Matrix
. vCenter Serv
er 4.1 requires a 64 bit DSN to function properly.

o

Processor


Intel or AMD x86 processor with two or more logical cores, each with a
speed of

2GHz.

o

Memory


3GB RAM. RAM requirements may be higher if your database runs on the
same machine. VMware VirtualC
enter Management WebServices requires 128Mb to
1.5GB of memory which is allocated at startup.

o

Disk storage


2GB. Disk requirements may be higher if your database runs on the
same machine.

o

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express disk requirements. The bundled da
tabase
requires up to 2GB free disk space to decompress the installation archive.

o

Networking


1Gbit recommended.



2.

Make sure your database requirements and patch levels are compliant:


Note
: For more information, see
vSphere Compatibility Matrix

and
vCenter Server Database
Patch and Configuration Requirements
. To use an existing database, you need to provid
e a
64 bit system DSN which points to the vCenter Server database. You also need to ensure
that you have created a full backup of your database before proceeding.


In addition VMware
Update Manager 4.1 is still a 32 bit application, and will require a 32 b
it DSN to be created.

o

Microsoft SQL server Database Support:



Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express


Note
: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express is intended for use with small
deployments of up to 5 hosts and/or 50 virtual machines.





Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Stan
dard edition (SP1, SP2, SP3)



Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Standard edition (SP2, SP3) 64 bit



Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise edition (SP1, SP2, SP3)



Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Enterprise edition (SP2, SP3) 64 bit



Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition



Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition 64 bit



Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition



Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition 64 bit



o

Oracle Database Support:



Oracle 10g Standard edition (Release 2 [10.2.0.4])



Oracle 10g Enterprise edition
(Release 2 [10.2.0.4])



Oracle 10g Enterprise edition (Release 2 [10.2.0.4]) 64 bit



Oracle 11g Standard edition



Oracle 11g Enterprise edition



o

IBM DB2 9 Support:



IBM DB2 Express C



IBM DB2 Express Edition 9



IBM DB2 Workgroup Server Edition 9



IBM DB2 Enterpr
ise Server Edition 9


Note
: IBM DB2 database is only supported for vCenter Server. There is no
support for Update Manager or any plug
-
in that requires a database.



3.

Download and fill out the
vCente
r Server Installation Worksheet
.


Note
: For more information about the fields in this form, see the
Required Data for Installing
vCenter Server

section of the
ESX and vCenter Serve
r Installation Guide
.



4.

The vCenter Server install wizard gives you the option to use the Windows system account or
a user
-
specified account for the purpose of running vCenter Server.

A user
-
specified
account

enables the use of Windows authentication for
SQL Server.


If you choose this option:

o

The user
-
specified account must be an Administrator on the local machine and act as
part of the operating system and login as a service rights.

o

You must specify the account name as DomainName
\
Username in the vCenter
Server install wizard.

o

You must configure the SQL Server database to allow the domain account access to
SQL Server.



5.

Make sure your operating system meets these requirements:


Note
:

vCenter Server 4.1 does not

support

32 bit

host operating systems. For mo
re
information, see the
Operating System Compatibility for vSphere Client, vCenter Server, and
VMware vCenter Update Manager

section of the
vSphere Compatibility Matrix
.



o

Windows
XP Pro SP2 (SP2 required, 64 bit)

o

Windows Server 2003 (SP1 required, 64 bit)

o

Windows Server 2008 (64bit)



6.

vCenter Server 4.1 has these software pre
-
requisites:


Note
: For more information, see the vCenter Server Prerequisites section of the
ESX and
vCenter Server Installation Guide
.

o

Apache Tomcat (64 bit)

o

Java Runtime Environment JRE (64 bit)

o

Active Directory Application Management (ADAM)

o

Visual C++ 2005 Runtime Redistributable

o

.NE
T 3.0 SP1 or above (optional based on DB selection)



7.

These items are recommended or necessary for a successful installation:

o

You must have the installation DVD or download the installation ISO image.

o

Your hardware must meet the minimum hardware requiremen
ts. For more
information, see vCenter Server and vSphere Client Hardware Requirements.

o

Ensure you have the required ports open. For more information, see
vCenter Server
4.1 network port requirement
s (1022256)
.

o

If the machine on which you are installing vCenter Server has a previous version of
vCenter installed, you might want to upgrade instead of performing a fresh installation
of vCenter Server.

o

Make sure that the system you use for your vCenter
Server installation belongs to a
domain rather than a workgroup.

o

Ensure the system on which you are installing vCenter Server is not an Active
Directory domain controller.

o

It is critical that you have reliable DNS and Time services.

o

During the installation
, the connection between the machine and the domain
controller must be working.

o

There must be no Network Address Translation (NAT) between the vCenter Server
system and the hosts it manages.

o

The DNS name of the machine must match the actual computer name.

o

Log into the system using an account with local administrator rights. If joining another
vCenter Server in Linked Mode, the account must be a local Administrator on both
systems, can interact as part of

o

the operating system, and has rights to log on as a s
ervice.

o

The computer name cannot be more than 15 characters.

o

Assign a static IP address and host name to the Windows server that will host the
vCenter Server system. This IP address must have a valid (internal) DNS registration
that resolves properly from
all managed ESX hosts.



8.

Configure your database prior to the vCenter Server install, unless you are using default
Microsoft 2005 Express.


Note
: Schema creation scripts mentioned in the documentation for both Microsoft SQL and
Oracle are optional and inte
nded for experienced Database Administrators. The vCenter
Server installer performs the schema creation automatically if one does not already exist.

o

Microsoft SQL Database:



As the Database Administrator, use a script to create a local or remote
Microsoft S
QL Server Database. Optionally, the database can be created as
it was in vCenter 2.5 by using SQL Server Management Studio.



Configure a SQL Server ODBC Connection. W hen you install the vCenter
Server system, you can establish a connection with a SQL Serve
r database.



Configure Microsoft SQL Server TCP/IP for JDBC. If the Microsoft SQL
Server database has TCP/IP disabled and the dynamic ports are not set, the
JDBC connection remains closed. This causes the vCenter Server statistics
to malfunction.



o

Oracle D
atabase:



As the Database Administrator, use a script to create a local or remote
Oracle database.



Configure an Oracle Database User. If you plan to use an Oracle database
when you install vCenter Server, you must configure the database user.



Configure an O
racle Connection for Local Access or Configure an Oracle
Connection for Remote Access depending on where the database is located.



Connect to an Oracle Database locally.



o

DB2 Database:



Configure an IBM DB2 Database User and Group. If you plan to use an IBM

DB2 database when you install vCenter Server, you must configure the
database user and group.



Use a Script to Create a DB2 Database. When you use a DB2 database with
vCenter Server, the database must have certain buffer pools, table spaces,
and privileges
.



Use a Script to Create the DB2 Database Schema. This script, in conjunction
with the script that creates the DB2 database, enables you to have tighter
control over the parameters of your database.



Configure a Connection to a Local Database on Windows. Yo
u can configure
a DB2 database for vCenter Server either locally on the same Windows
machine as vCenter Server or remotely on a network
-
connected host.



Configure a Connection to a Remote Database on Linux, Unix or Windows.
You can configure a DB2 database
for vCenter Server either locally on the
same Windows machine as vCenter Server or remotely on a network
-
connected Windows, Linux, or Unix host.



9.

VMware recommends using a separate database for vCenter Server and vCenter Update
Manager.

10.

Run the vCenter Se
rver installer using the vCenter Server Installation Worksheet filled out in
step 3.


Update Manager

You can run the

Update Manager on any system that meets the minimum hardware requirements.
Minimum hardware requirements for Update Manager vary depending
on how the

Update Manager is
deployed. If the database is installed on the same machine as Update Manager, requirements for
memory size and processor speed are higher. To ensure acceptable performance, make sure that
you have the minimum



1.

Minimum hard
ware requirements are as follows:



Processor


Intel or AMD x86 processor with two or more logical cores, each with a speed of


2GHz.



Network


10/100 Mbps. (For best performance, use a Gigabit connection between Update
Manager and the ESX/ESXi)



Memory


2G
B RAM if Update Manager and vCenter Server are on different machines.



Memory


4GB RAM if Update Manager and vCenter Server are on the same machine.

Note:

Update Manager uses a SQL Server or Oracle database. You should use a dedicated database
for Update M
anager and

not

share it with the

database used with vCenter Server, and should back up
the database periodically.


Best practice is to have the database on the same computer as Update
Manager or on a computer in the local network.


Depending on the size of

your deployment, Update
Manager requires a minimum amount of free space per month for database usage.


For more
information about space requirements, see the
VMware vCenter Update Manager Sizing Estimator
.



2.


Update Manager works

with only

these operating systems:



Windows XP Pro SP2 (SP2 required, 64bit)



Windows Server 2003 (SP1 required, 64bit)



Windows Server 2008 (64 bit)

Note:

The Update Manager plu
g
-
in requires the vSphere Client, and works with the same operating
systems as the vSphere Client.



IMPORTANT

You can install Update Manager 4.1 only on a 64
-
bit machine.



3.


Update Manager has specific database requirements:

Note:


Update Mana
ger can handle small
-
scale environments using the bundled SQL Server 2005
Express. For environments with more than 5 hosts and 50 virtual machines, create either an Oracle or
a SQL Server database for Update Manager. For large scale environments, you shoul
d set up the
Update Manager database on a different computer other than the Update Manager server and the
vCenter Server database.



SQL Server 2005



SQL Server 2008



Oracle 10g



Oracle 11g

Note:

Update Manager 4.1 is compatible only with vCenter Server 4.1. Al
though multiple versions of
the Update Manager Client plug
-
in might coexist on the same computer, the Update Manager Client
plug
-
in of version 4.1 can be installed and enabled only on vSphere Client 4.1.


For more information
about the Update Manager compa
tibility with VirtualCenter Server, vCenter Server, VI Client, and
vSphere Client, see the
vSphere Compatibility Matrixes
.



4.


Required data priviledges to the database:

Note:

Be
fore you install or upgrade Update Manager, you must create a database and grant a
specific list of permissions to the database user. To run Update Manager you can use a set of
minimum privileges.



Oracle Database Support



Either assign the
DBA

rol
e, or grant the following set of privileges to the Update Manager
Oracle database user:



connect



execute on dbms_lock



create view



create procedure



create table



create sequence



create any sequence



create any table



create type



unlimited tablespace




Microsoft
SQL server Database Support:




Make sure that the database user has either a
sysadmin

server role or the
db_owner

fixed database role on the Update Manager database and the MSDB
database. Although the
db_owner

role is required for the upgrade, SQL jobs are
not
created as part of the Update Manager installation or upgrade.




5.


Database priviledges needed for using Update Manager:



Oracle




The minimum required privileges of the Oracle database user are the following:



create session




create any tab
le




drop any table






Microsoft SQL Server



o

The database user must have either a
sysadmin

server role or the
db_owner

fixed
database role on the Update Manager database and the MSDB database.


Note:


You can install or upgrade the Update Manager server on

64
-
bit operating systems. Even
though Update Manager runs on 64
-
bit operating systems, it is a 32
-
bit application and requires a 32
-
bit DSN.


The requirement for a 32
-
bit DSN applies to all supported databases. By default, any DSN
created on a 64
-
bit syst
em is a 64
-
bit DSN.



6.


Install the ODBC drivers.



For Microsoft SQL Server database servers, install the 64
-
bit database ODBC drivers on
your


Microsoft Windows system. When you install the 64
-
bit drivers, the 32
-
bit drivers are
installed automatically.




For Oracle database servers, install the 32
-
bit database ODBC drivers on your Microsoft
Windows system.




Run the 32
-
bit ODBC Administrator application, located at
[WindowsDir]
\
SysWOW64
\
odbcad32.exe
.




Use the application to create your DSN.


You will now h
ave a DSN that is compatible with the
Update Manager server. When the Update Manager installer prompts you for a DSN, you
should select the 32
-
bit DSN.


Note:

The Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express database package is installed and configured when
you selec
t Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express as your database during the VMware vCenter Update
Manager installation or upgrade.


No additional configuration is required.


ESX/ESXi

To ensure a trouble free installation of ESX/ESXi:

1.

Make sure your hardware is compli
ant on the
Hardware Compatibility Guide
. This includes:


o

System compatibility


o

I/O compatibility (Network and HBA cards)


o

Storage compatibility


o

Backup software compatibil
ity




2.

VMware ESX/ESXi 4.1 only installs and runs on servers with 64 bit x86 CPUs. 32 bit systems
are no longer supported.


3.

Make sure Intel VT is enabled in the host's BIOS.


4.

If you are installing ESX/ESXi on the local disks and if a fibre attached

SAN is
connected to
the ESX/ESXi host, detach the fibre before proceeding with the installation.

If you do
not

disconnect the

fibre, you may inadvertently choose

an HBA Adapter as the primary boot
partition, which may result in

the loss of

data on the LUNs attach
ed to the HBA Adapter.


Note
: Do not disable HBA cards in the BIOS.




5.

The /,
swap
, and all the optional partitions are stored on a virtual disk called
esxconsole
-
<UUID>.vmdk
. Set a size minimum of 8GB for this virtual disk.


Note
: For
/var/log
, VMware rec
ommends a separate partition to prevent unexpected disk
space constraints due to extensive logging.