Deploy NetApp OnCommand Balance 4.2

OnCommand Balance is a virtual appliance deployed within vCenter that allows you to monitor the health of your VMware environment at the Virtual Machine, vCenter and Storage level. Having a single place that displays end-to-end performance allows you to spend less time troubleshooting performance issues and trying to correlate data and address potential issues in your environment.

I’ve been using OnCommand Balance (formerly OnCommand Insight Balance) for a few years now and it has saved countless hours finding issues in the environment. We’ve had historical data available to look at growth and performance trends, as well as increased demand on individual servers after code releases/updates. Having access to the information within the VMs (such as drive space filling up) also makes this an invaluable tool.

The following documentation will take you through the deployment process of the Virtual Appliance and initial setup. You will go through adding your vCenter hosts, storage controllers, creating saved credentials, connecting to Active Directory for authentication and provision a Windows proxy service for monitoring Windows Servers.

1. A user account with appropriate permissions to vCenter for OnCommand Balance to use
2. A domain account with permissions to access all monitored Windows machines (preferrably a Domain Admin account)
3. A separate Windows Server/VM that will be used as the Proxy service to monitor Windows machines
a. Must have latest version of Java 6 installed and User Account Control disabled
4. Username/password for the NetApps that will be monitored

1. Download the latest version of OnCommand Balance (4.2) for this writing from the NetApp website
2. Connect to the vSphere web interface, click on “vCenter”, “Hosts and Clusters”, expand the Datacenter, and click on the Cluster/Host that will host OnCommand Balance. Right click and choose “Deploy OVF Template”
3. Click “Local file” and then “Browse”
4. Locate the OnCommand Balance OVA and click “Open” then click “Next”
5. Review the details of the OVF then click “Next”
6. Accept the EULA then click “Next”
7. Give the appliance a name and choose the folder location of the appliance (if any) and click “Next”
8. Set the virtual disk format (I prefer Thin since one of the drives is 220GB) and choose the datastore. Click “Next”
9. Choose the appropriate network and then click “Next”
10. Review the settings then click “Finish”
11. After deployment completes, locate the appliance, right click and choose “Power On”
12. Open the console of the VM (Right-click and choose “Open Console”) where you’ll see this countdown to install VMware tools prior to configuring the Balance virtual appliance (If you miss your chance to do this at this point, I was unable to install VMware tools at all on the appliance)
13. Right-click on the VM, go to “All vCenter Actions”, then “Guest OS” and then click “Install VMware Tools”
14. After the VMware tools dialog box is displayed, click “Mount”
15. The Balance virtual appliance should recognize VMware tools ISO has been mounted and proceed with the installation
16. After VMware tools install completes, press “y” then enter to configure static Network connection for the management interface
17. Enter the following information:

a. Host name
b. Host IP address
c. Netmask
d. Gateway
e. Primary DNS address
f. Secondary DNS address
g. Search domains

18. Review the settings and then press “y” and enter if everything is correct
19. Default OnCommand Balance console login is netapp/netapp. Login to the console
20. After a few minutes (5-10) the web service will be up and running. Connect to the https://IPofAppliance/bp to begin configuration
21. Enter the name of your organization and click “Continue”
22. Choose if you want to participate in AutoSupport and click “Submit”
23. Enter the time zone, NTP Server address, the address of the primary Balance admin (preferably a distribution group), and the SMTP server address. Click “Continue” (You can choose to change the password at this time)
24. Sit around and wait a couple minutes…
25. A blank screen may appear during this time, but eventually should take you to the OnCommand Balance login page. Login with the default credentials of admin/password or whatever password was set in step 23.
26. Click the link for “Configure you storage arrays & appliances”
27. Choose the type of storage (NetApp FAS in this case), enter the management address for one of the nodes, Enter the name of the filer, enter the credentials (root in my case) and enter a nickname of these credentials as they can be modified later on during password changes. Click “Save”
28. Even though DNS is configured correctly, I usually receive this error about the other filer of this HA system not being resolvable. Click “Enter IP address instead” and then enter the IP of the other filer and click “Resolve”
29. Click the “Refresh” link on the right side of the page a few times until “Discovery Collection” status changes to “OK”
30. Click the “Add storage system” button to add additional storage arrays (Including the HA partners). Click on “Dashboard” then choose “Configure your vCenter Server”
31. Enter the FQDN/IP Address of the vCenter server. Click “Add new” next to Credentials to add the credentials for the vCenter server
32. Enter the username, password, and nickname for these credentials. Click “Next”
33. Choose what you want monitored (though I can’t imagine why you’d choose not to monitor everything) and click “Save”
34. Click the “refresh” link until “Discovery Collection” status changes to “OK”
35. Click “Add vCenter Server” button to add any additional vCenter servers. Otherwise, hover over “Discovery” and choose “Credentials”
36. To monitor the OS’s of your VMs and physical servers, you can add those credentials on this page. I’ll add domain admin credentials for monitoring my Windows domain VMs. Click “Add credentials” button
37. Choose the login method, login name (domain\username), password, nickname for the credentials, and a description. Click “Save”
38. Once added they will appear on this screen
39. Hover over “Discovery” and choose “Proxies”
40. A proxy is required to monitor the guest OS status of Windows VMs and Physical servers. This proxy runs on a windows server. Once you’ve determined (or built) the appropriate server for the proxy, enter it’s FQDN or IP address and click “Continue”. Much like the picture below says, UAC MUST be disabled. You’ll beat your head against the wall for hours trying to figure out why it fails without that.
41. Download and install the latest 32-bit Java 6 runtime on this proxy server. Then navigate to the link listed on that proxy VM to begin the installation
42. Once the Balance Proxy Installer screen appears, click “Next”
43. Locate the folder path for the 32-bit java install and click “Next”
44. Enter an admin account for the service to be run under. Check the box for “Start service immediately after install” and click “Next”
45. Select any additional components you might need for other vendors and click “Next”
46. Review the information and click “Install”
47. Click “Finish”
48. Back at the Balance web interface, click “Validate proxy setup” and if successful, click “Continue”
49. Hover over “Discovery” and click on “Servers”
50. Click the link on the right side for “Unmonitored Servers”
51. Click the link next the vCenter server for “# guests are not being monitored”
52. Check the box next to the VMs you wish to monitor, choose your Credentials from the dropdown box in the center and click “Monitor guest(s)”
53. Hover over “Admin” and choose “Configuration”
54. Click “Email”. In here you can set authentication for your SMTP server, choose the “From” address for Balance emails. Click “Enable alerts” and then check all the boxes for Critical, Warning, and all categories (I prefer as many alerts as I can get). Click “Update”
55. Click on “Active Directory” and click the check box for “Enable Active Directory”
56. Enter the IP/hostname of your AD server, enter the Distinguished name of the account used to search Active Directory, and enter the password for that account. Click “Test”
57. Once successful, enter the Distinguished Name of the of the OU for the user/group that will have access to login. Enter the Distinguished name of the Group that will be able to login. Enter “sAMAccount” for the search attribute. Click “Update”
58. Hover over “Admin” and click “Users”
59. Click “Add User”
60. Change “Authentication” to “Active Directory”. Enter the username and click “Lookup”. If successfully, configured, it should populate the e-mail address. Choose the appropriate user type (Admin or User) and click “Save”

You’re all setup and ready to let OnCommand Balance start collecting data in your environment. You start to receive some information within about 30 minutes, but after 3-5 days you start to get a better understanding of what is going on in your environment and have more useful metrics.

Tegile NFS Datastore Management in vCenter

As the primary VMware and storage admin, I try to minimize the number of tools I have to use to accomplish my tasks. When it comes to provisioning and managing volumes for VMware, I prefer to do it all from within the vSphere if possible. The VSC console for my NetApp filers has saved a lot of time over the years, but as we continue to explore our Tegile array we can see what their software has to offer.

My last post was about registering the Tegile plugin with vCenter to have this functionality available in the vSphere client. This post goes into the basic administration of NFS volumes from within the vSphere client.

1. Credentials to the Tegile web interface (default is admin/tegile)
2. Registered the Tegile plugin on your vCenter server. Click here for those steps.

1. Login to the vSphere thick client then click on “Home” and choose “Tegile Management” under “Solutions and Applications”
2. Proceed through any security warnings and login to the Tegile interface
3. On the left you’ll see a list of all the datastores on the Tegile that have been mounted on the ESXi hosts in this vCenter. Towards the bottom, click on “Add Datastore”
4. Enter the following information and click “Create”

a.Name: Name of the datastore
b. Type: Whether block or file based (SAN or NAS)
c. Protocol: NFS, iSCSI
d. Quota: Check this box to set a max size of the volume
e. ESX/ESXi Server (Version): Check the hosts that this datastore will be provisioned to
f. Pool: The disk pool for this datastore (if multiple are available)
g. Project: The project that this datastore will be associated with
h. Purpose: The type of workload hosted on this datastore (important for block size assignment)
i. Zebi Floating IP Address: The IP each ESXi host will connect to

5. Once the operation is complete, click “OK”
6. The new datastore has been created and mounted and appears in the list of Zebi datastores
7. Click the “More Details” button for the newly created datastore to see all the details of this volume
8. In order to resize this volume, click the “resize” button

a. Check the box for “New Share Quota” and enter the new size and press “Submit”

9. This view will refresh and the new size will be reflected
10. I have moved a virtual machine into this datastore to test the snapshot function with quiesce enabled. Click the “Snapshot” button for the datastore
11. Enter the name of the snapshot, change “Quiesce” to “on” and click “Create”
12. You’ll receive a message that snapshot creation has been triggered. Click “OK”

a. A new task will be created to snapshot all VMs that are in that datastore

13. Once the task to remove the virtual machine snapshot completes, click the “Refresh” button on the snapshot screen to see the new snapshot
14. To delete the snapshot, check the box to the snapshot and press the “Delete” button

a. Click “Yes” to confirm deletion
b. After this box disappears the snapshot is deleted

i. *UPDATED 10/9/14* There was a bug in version of the Zebi software that stopped the confirmation box was going away after the snapshot deletion completed. Clicking “No” would allow you to return to the snapshot list without any errors. In version this has been fixed and now the confirmation box disappears after the snapshot deletion completes.

Those are the basic functions you can perform from within the plugin. In a future release I would like to see the ability to create full snapshot schedules from the plugin. Since I am the one who is responsible for VMware and storage in our environment it’s simple for me to create the schedule on the web interface of the Tegile array, but that is not always the case. Another function I would like to see is mounting existing datastores on new hosts without having to go through the “Add Storage” process in vCenter for each host.

I’m confident the functionality will get there and I’ll continue to build my list of feature requests for the Tegile team.

Register vCenter Server on Tegile

After 7 years of NetApp administration and implementation I have started looking for a new storage vendor that can “do it all” like NetApp has been able to do. Protocol support is a big deal in each of the environments I’ve worked in, but performance (IOPs and low-latency) are 2 things my existing NetApps haven’t been able to provide. The idea of adding capacity just to add performance is an antiquated way of thinking and NetApp just hasn’t been able to keep up with the evolving storage market.

I am starting a short series on Tegile setup and administration. Tegile came to us a couple of months ago and has impressed us from the very first conversation and all throughout our sizing and implementation. The box is simple to setup and administer and its performance is crushing our current NetApp.

This guide walks you through connecting the Tegile array to your vCenter server, installing the NFS VAAI Plugin, and setting the Tegile recommended values on the ESXi hosts. Once this is completed, you’ll be able to provision new volumes, resize existing volumes, create VM-aware storage snapshots as well as view storage performance of your VMs all from within the vSphere client.

1. Admin credentials to the Tegile and vCenter server
2. Dedicated service account in vCenter (I created an account called “ZebiAdmin”)
3. Root password for the ESXi hosts (required to set recommended values)


1. Connect to the web interface of the storage array and login with Admin credentials

a. Default username: admin
b. Default password: tegile

2. Click on “Settings” then choose “App-Aware”
3. Click “Add vCenter/ESXi Host” towards the bottom
4. Enter the following information:

a. Host Name/IP address: Host name or IP of the vCenter server
b. Username: User account with admin access to vCenter
c. Password: Password for user account
d. Enable Quiesce: This needs to be checked if quiescing will be used at all (a VMware snapshot is taken during thestorage snapshot process for OS consistency). Can be toggled per snapshot job

5. Click “Test” to see if the connection is successful. If it is, the “Save” button will turn solid blue and can be clicked
6. Click “OK” to confirm enabling of quiesce on VMware
7. Once saved, click the green “Register” button to add the Tegile plugin to vCenter
8. Once the registration is successful, click “OK”
9. Login to the vSphere thick client (not the web client). Click the “Home” button then click on “Tegile Management” under “Solutions and Applications” (Click yes to proceed through any certificate warnings)
10. Login to the Tegile web interface (Likely the same username and password as in step 1)
11. In this interface you’ll see a list of Datastores on the Tegile that are mounted on your ESXi hosts as well as real-time stats of your array, datastores, and VMs.
12. Click on “ESX Settings”
13. Select all the ESXi hosts and then click the Green Arrow icon to install/upgrade the VAAI NFS plugin on these hosts
14. After the install completes (may take 2-3 minutes), click the “Configuration” button for each host
15. Login to the ESXi host (likely “root” credentials)

a. Click “Yes” to enable SSH on this host if it isn’t already enabled

16. NFS.MaxQueueDepth should be set to “32” and the rules for iSCSI and FC can be installed in this location. Click “Save” to enable these changes

17. After the NFS VAAI plugin has been installed and settings saved, reboot the host. Repeat for each host in vCenter.

a. The settings changes are immediate, but the NFS VAAI plugin requires a host reboot


The process is simple and straight forward. This same process on the NetApp requires the Virtual Storage Console plugin to be installed on a separate server and configured then registered on the vCenter side with much more configuration. Also, installing the NetApp NFS VAAI plugin on the hosts is done through vCenter Update Manager and has been downloaded separately from the NetApp support site. That being said, the Tegile solution is lacking some of the polish that NetApp provides. I would like to see recommended values of the ESXi hosts set all at once, as opposed to one host at a time. In addition, I’d like the Tegile to change NFS.MaxVolumes default value from 8 to something much higher like the NetApp (256).

vCenter Orchestrator Install and Config

I have wanted to get started with vCO for awhile now, but I have not had much of use for it. Justifying the time to deploy and learn a new tool when you don’t have a glaring need for it proves tricky, but recently I was able to carve out some time to learn. One of the biggest hurdles was finding step-by-step deployment guide that worked so I decided to document this process.

The following documentation is for installing the vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) Appliance v5.5.1 with an already deployed vCenter 5.5 server (vCSA in my case). The appliance allows you to run vCO without installing it on a dedicated Windows Server.

1. Search for VMware-vCO-Appliance and download the latest version (VMware-vCO-Appliance- for this writing)
2. Accept the license terms and save the file locally
3. Connect the vSphere client to your vCenter Server then choose File -> Deploy OVF Template
4. Click the “Browse” button, locate the .OVF downloaded previously and click “Open” then click “Next”
5. Review the template details and click “Next”
6. Accept the license agreement and click “Next”
7. Choose a name and location for this appliance and click “Next”
8. Choose a datastore for the appliance and click “Next”
9. Choose the appropriate disk format (I prefer thin provisioned) and click “Next”
10. Choose the appropriate Destination Network (VM Port Group) and click “Next”
11. Enter passwords for both the root user of the appliance and the password for the configuration interface (‘vmware’ is the username)

  • Enter the Hostname, gateway, DNS, IP and subnet mask for the appliance and click “Next”

12. Review the details of the configuration and then click “Finish”
13. Once the appliance has been deployed successfully, click “Close”

14. Right click on the appliance and choose “Open Console”
15. Click the Power button to turn on the VM
16. Boot to “VMware vCenter Orchestrator Appliance”
17. Note the URLs for each function
18. Open a web browser and connect to the URL for Orchestrator Configuration (Port 8283)
19. Login with the username “vmware” and the password entered for the vCO configuration during appliance deployment
20. Click on “Network”
21. Change the “IP address” to the IP used to access vCO and click “Apply changes” in the bottom right corner
22. Click the “SSL Trust Manager” tab, enter the IP or hostname of your vCenter server and click “Import”
23. Once the cert information is displayed, click the “import” link
24.Repeat this process again, this time importing the certificate for SSO. Enter the FQDN of the SSO server with port 7444 and click “Import” then “Import” again once the certificate details are displayed
25. Click on “Authentication” to configure user access

26. For this writing we will use the SSO Authentication method, so change Authentication mode to “SSO Authentication” and click “Advanced settings”
27. Enter the Token and Admin service URLs, the SSO admin username and passwords. Click “Register Orchestrator”

  • Token service URL: https://vCenterIPaddress:7444/ims/STSService
  • Admin service URL: https://vCenterIPaddress:7444/sso-adminserver/sdk
  • Admin user name: administrator@vsphere.local
  • Admin password: Password for admin account

28. Once registration completes, choose the vCO Admin – domain and group from the list (These are populated based on your SSO config). Click “Accept Orchestrator Configuration”
29. Click on “Startup Options”
30. Click “Restart the vCO configuration server”
31. Log back in once the server has finished restarting and click “Licenses”
32. Choose “Use vCenter Server license” and enter the host name of the vCenter server, port should be 443, path is /sdk, and for username and password I used the SSO admin. Click “Apply changes” towards the bottom right of the screen
33. Click on “vCenter Server (5.5.1)”
34. Click “New vCenter Server Host” and enter the hostname of the vCenter server, port is 443, path is /sdk, I chose “Session per user” and the username and password for the SSO admin account. Click “Apply changes”
35. Click on “Mail (5.5.1)”
36. Click the check box for “define default values” and enter in the following information and click “Apply changes”

  • SMTP host: The address for your mail server
  • SMTP Port: Usually 25
  • Username and password: If your mail server requires authentication
  • From name: Name that vCO emails will appear from
  • From address: Email address that vCO emails will appear from

37. Open a new browser window/tab and navigate to https://vCOIPaddress:8281/vco/client/client.jnlp to access the Java web client for vCO. Login as user that is a member of whatever group was chosen in step 27 as a vCO Admin

  • At first this did not work and kept reporting “No vCO license available” when I attempted to login. After restarting the service and configuration server through the web interface, I ended up restarting the vCO appliance within vCenter and then I was able to login without issue

38. At this point you’re all setup and ready to start creating workflows

NetApp VSC 4.2.1 Install on vCenter 5.5

I’m open to change, usually. New technology, new releases, new features, new options; I just like new. Though I do like new there is some “new” I struggle to get behind and that “new” is the vSphere Web Client. Even though it has been around awhile, with vSphere 5.5 there are things you have to use the web client for in order to administer your VMs (assuming they’re Harware Version 10). As a man not quite ready to make the leap to full-blown Web Client administration (and how can you since you still need the thick client to run Update Manager), I decided to install NetApp’s Virtual Storage Console 4.2.1 so I can continue to perform NetApp administration in the vSphere thick client.

As the primary VMware and NetApp engineer, having one place to create, mount, and resize volumes is a time saver. Plus the ability to create volume-level snapshots that quiesce the guest operating systems of your VMs provides a quick, point-in-time recovery time for your infrastructure. The steps below show how to install and configure the VSC 4.2.1 plugin in vSphere 5.5 connecting to an HA-pair of NetApps running ONTAP 8.1.2 in 7-mode.


1. A server that will run the VSC service (I usually install it on the Windows Server that hosts the vCenter Service or Update Manager as there are no port conflicts)
2. A domain account with “Administrator” rights to vCenter and local administrator on the Windows Server (this account will run the VSC service)
3. Credentials for the NetApps (I use ‘root’ for this, but a new user can be created on the NetApps with appropriate permissions)



1. Run VSC-4.2.1-win64.exe as administrator
2. Click “Next”
3. Read through the “Shared Credentials” notes, click “I Understand” then click “Next”
4. Check the box for “Backup and Recovery” (if licensed) and click “Next”
5. Set the installation directory (I prefer to install to a non-OS drive) and click “Next”
6. Note the URL and click the “Install” button
7. When the installation completes click “Finish” and you should have a browser pop-up to the URL above
8. On the browser page, continue through any security warnings
9. Choose the IP of the local service the plugin will use to communicate with vCenter (This is the IP of the server you are installing VSC to)

  • a. Enter the IP of the vCenter server
  • b. Enter a service account username and password (this should not be your own credentials)
  • c. Click “Register”
  • d. You should see this message below if successful

10. On the server, go to “Start”, “Administrative Tools”, and click on “Services”
11. Locate the “Virtual Storage Console for VMware vSphere Server” service, right click and choose “Properties”
12. Click the “Log On” tab then click “This account”

  • a. Enter the account username and password used to connect to vCenter then click “OK”
  • b. Click “OK” for the message about granting Log On As A Service rights
  • c. Click “OK” about not taking affect until the service is restarted

13. Right-click on the service and click “Restart”
14. Login to the vSphere thick client to the vCenter server

  • a. You should receive a Security Warning pop up, click the box to install the certificate and click “Ignore”

15. Click “Plug-ins” then “Manage Plug-ins” at the top
16. Locate the “Virtual Storage Console” plugin, right click it and click “Enable” then click “Close”

17. Click the “Home” button towards the top left then click “NetApp” under “Solutions and Applications”

  • a. If you receive a Security Alert click “Yes” to proceed

18. Right-click on one of the storage controllers listed at the top and click “Modify Credentials”
19. Enter the management IP address, username (likely root) and password (try with SSL, but if it doesn’t work try without SSL) and click “OK”

  • a. Click “OK” for the controller privileges summary
  • b. Repeat for any additional Storage Controllers
  • c. Once completed this is what you should see

20. Click on “Provisioning and Cloning” towards to the bottom left
21. Click the link for “Storage controllers” and click the “Refresh” link towards the top right
22. Right click on one of the controllers and click “Resources”
23. Move the NFS/iSCSI network interface(s) to the right column, move any volumes that VMware will manage to the right column and move any aggregates to the right column to be managed as well. Click “Save” (The 10.32.22.x network is for management of the NetApp while the 192.168.10.x network is a private, non-routable network for NFS traffic. All volumes should be mounted on that network.)

  • a. Repeat for any other controllers


*The original documentation I posted showed changing the role in vCenter for the “netappvsc” user to “VSC Administrator” instead of just “Administrator”. Turns out this breaks the Virtual Storage Console. When you attempt to mount or provision datastores, you receive the following error; “HTTP ERROR 403. Problem accessing /kamino/index.html. Reason: Forbidden”

At this point you are ready to manage your NetApp filers from the vSphere thick client. By right-clicking on your cluster in vCenter you can provision volumes to all the hosts in a cluster saving so much time of provisioning a new volume and then mounting it one host at time. Too bad you can mount a volume that’s already been created at the cluster level; it can only be done one host at a time.

Create vCenter 5.5 Upgrade Baseline

I have a preference to do brand new installs of ESXi for each new release. With new releases there are new options, new features, and caveats with existing functionality. This means the migration process takes longer, but it helps ensure that I’m applying current best practices each and every time instead of applying upgrades to a flawed design.

In some instances this isn’t a concern and we can use vCenter with Update Manager to upgrade hosts to the latest version of ESXi and preserve our current configuration (name, IP, storage, etc). I use this process when remotely upgrading Hosts in my colo facility without having console access to the physical servers.

This is a step by step guide to creating an upgrade baseline to upgrade an existing ESXi Host (5.0 for this writing) to 5.5 and begin the upgrade process on a Host.


1. Existing host running 5.0 or 5.1 connected to vCenter Server 5.5
2. vCenter Server 5.5 with Update Manager installed
3. Downloaded .ISO of ESXi 5.5


1. Using the vSphere thick client (not web client), connect to the vCenter server and click the “Home” button followed by “Update Manager” under “Solutions and Applications”
2. Click on “ESXi Images” tab
3. Click the link for “import ESXi Image” to wards the top right corner
4. Click “Browse” and locate the .ISO of ESXi, click “Open” then click “Next”

  • a. If you receive a security warning, click the check box to install the certificate and click “Ignore”
  • b. The ISO should upload. When completed click “Next”

5. Enter the name of this upgrade baseline identifying the version in the name or description then click “Finish”
6. Click the “Home” button followed by “Hosts and Clusters”
7. Click on the Host to be upgraded and then click the “Update Manager” tab
8. Click the “Attach” link towards the top right corner
9. Place a check in just the upgrade baseline created and then click “Attach”
10. Click the “Remediate” button towards the lower right corner

  • a. Confirm Upgrade baselines and the ESXi 5.5 baseline are selected then click “Next”
  • b. Accept the license agreement and click “Next”
  • c. Leave “Remove installed third-party software” unchecked and click “Next”
  • d. Leave the schedule as “Immediate” and click “Next”
  • e. Since this host is not in a cluster, choose “Power off virtual machines” and click “Next” (THIS WILL POWER OFF ANY VMS THAT ARE ON THAT HOST)
  • f. Click the “Finish” button

11. This process takes awhile and you’ll lose access to the server while it is remediating. If you have access to the console during this time, it is a good idea to have it open and watch the progress.

Once the upgrade is complete the Host will be available within vCenter and will be running ESXi 5.5. Once completed, make sure you double-check your settings (time, network, DNS) to ensure all your settings are still there. Also, take this time to attach your patches baseline and get the latest patches applied to this Host.

vCenter Server 5.5 Custom Install

In order to install the 4 components of vCenter (SSO, Web Client, Inventory Service, and vCenter Server) onto a secondary drive on the same Server, you must perform a “Custom Install”. This guide will walk you through the process of installing each of these components as well as SQL 2008 Express to the secondary drive of a Server. This can also be used to install the individual components on separate servers. In total, this is just over 100 steps to walk through so it will take some time.



1. Create a new virtual machine and add it to the domain
2. Add a second hard disk to install vCenter on
3. Add the update manager and vCenter service domain users as a local admins (vudatemanager, vmwareservice for this writing)
4. Mount the ISO for vCenter 5.5
5. Ensure User Account Control is turned off and the server has been rebooted (SQL will fail without this)



1. Open computer, right click on the VMware VIM disk and choose “Open”
2. Navigate to \redist\SQLEXPR and double click “SQLEXPR_x64_ENU”
3. After files are extracted, choose “New installation or add features to an existing installation”
4. Check the box to accept the license terms and click “Next”
5. Uncheck “SQL Server Replication” and change the share feature directories to the “D:\” drive and click “Next”
6. Name the Instance and change the instance root directory to the D:\ drive. Click “Next”
7. SQL Database Engine can run as Network Service, but I prefer using a named account. Click “Next”
8. Click on the “Data Directories” tab to ensure all directories are pointed at the secondary drive
9. Click on the “Account Provisioning” tab and change the authentication to “Mixed Mode”. Enter an “sa” password (save it immediately), then add any SQL Admins that are required and click “Next”
10. Click “Next” through Error Reporting screen
11. Click “Close” once the installation finishes
12. Click Start, then type “cmd”, right-click on cmd.exe and choose “Run as administrator”
13. Ensure your current path is “C:\Windows\system32” and type “sqlcmd.exe -S DEN-vCenter01\VCENTERSQLEXPR” (This is to connect to the instance named “VCENTERSQLEXPR” on the server “DEN-vCenter01” which is the server I am currently connected to)
14. Run the following commands pressing “enter” after each line (this will create the vCenter Database, add domain\vmwareservice as a use and db_owner, then add as user and db_owner of the msdb database)
USE [vCenterDB]
CREATE USER [domain\vmwareservice] FOR LOGIN [domain\vmwareservice]
EXEC sp_addrolemember 'db_owner', 'domain\vmwareservice'
USE msdb
CREATE USER [domain\vmwareservice] FOR LOGIN [domain\vmwareservice]
EXEC sp_addrolemember 'db_owner', 'domain\vmwareservice'

15. Type “exit” and then close CMD window
16. Login as the vCenter Service account which should be added as a local administrator
17. Go to start, administrative tools, and chooce “Data Source (ODBC)”
18. Click the “System DSN” tab and click “Add”
19. Choose “SQL Server Native Client 10.0” and click “Finish”
20. Enter a useful name, description and browse for the local Instance
21. Choose “With Integrated Windows authentication” and click “Next”
22. Change the default database to the newly created vCenterDB and click “Next”
23. Click “Finish”
24. Click “Test Data Source” to ensure connection then click “OK” and “OK”
(Running the vCenter Components install failed when logged in as the VMware Service account for me so the rest of these steps can be performed by another admin account for this server.)
25. Open computer and double-click on the VMware VIM disc
26. Click “vCenter Single Sign-On” under “Custom Install” and click “Install”
27. Click “Next” for vCenter Single Sign-On
28. Accept the license agreement and click “Next”
29. Review the SSO information and check the box for “Add [DOMAIN] as a Native Active Directory identity source” and click “Next”
30. Choose “vCenter Single Sign-On for your first vCenter Server” and click “Next”
31. Enter the password for the local account for SSO (this is not the domain admin or your own account, this is a local account to administer SSO in the event the domain is unavailable). Save the password immediately and click “Next”
32. Enter a site name (if needed) and click “Next”
33. Note the HTTPS port and click “Next”
34. Change the destination folder to the secondary drive (D: for this writing) and click “Next”
35. Review the options and click “Install”
36. Click “Finish” when it’s done installing
37. Now click on “vSphere Web Client” under “Custom Install” and click “Install”
38. Choose “English” and click “OK”
39. Click “Next”
40. Accept the license agreement and click “Next”
41. Change the install directory to the “D:\” drive and click “Next”
42. Note the web client ports and click “Next”
43. Enter the password for the administrator@vsphere.local account and click “Next”
44. Click “Yes” for the SSL fingerprint
45. Click “Install certificates” when you see the “Certificate Installation for Secure Connection”
46. Click “Install”
47. Click “Finish”
48. Click “OK” for this message about access time for the Web Client
49. Click on “vCenter Inventory Service” under “Custom Install” then click “Install”
50. Choose “English” and click “OK”
51. Click “Next” to begin the Inventory Service installation
52. Accept the license agreement and click “Next”
53. Change the install directory to the “D:\” drive and click “Next”
54. Ensure the FQDN is correct and click “Next”
55. Note the ports and click “Next”
56. Select the appropriate Inventory size and click “Next”
57. Enter the password for the administrator@vsphere.local account and click “Next”
58. Click “Yes” for the SSL fingerprint
59. Click “Install” to begin installation
60. Click “Finish” once the installation is complete
61. Click “vCenter Server” under “Custom Install” and then click “Install”
62. Choose “English” and click “OK”
63. Click “Next” to begin installation wizard
64. Accept the license agreement and click “Next”
65. Enter the license key (if available) and then click “Next”
66. Click “Use an existing supported database” and select the ODBC connection created earlier and click “Next”
67. Click “Next”
68. If the JDBC URL fails, restart the SQL Service (Administrative Tools -> Services and locate “SQL Server (InstanceName)”) on the local server and attempt the connection again
69. Enter your password to run the vCenter service (but we’ll change this after creation)
70. Select “Create a standalone VMware vCenter Server instance” and click “Next”
71. Note the provisioned ports and click “Next”
72. Select the appropriate inventory size and click “Next”
73. Enter the administrator@vsphere.local SSO password and click “Next”
74. Click “yes” for the SSL fingerprint
75. Click “Next” to register administrator@vsphere.local as an Administrator
76. Confirm the vCenter Inventory URL and click “Next”
77. Change the installation to the “D:\” drive and click “Next”
78. Click “Install”
79. Once installation completes, click “Finish”
80. Click Start, Administrative Tools, then choose “Services”
81. Locate “VMware VirtualCenter Server” service, right-click and choose “Properties”
82. Click on the “Log On” tab and then click on the “Browse” button
83. Change the “Location” to your domain then enter the name of the user account that will run the vCenter Service (vmwareservice for this writing) and click “OK”
84. Enter the password for this account and then click “OK”
85. Click “OK” to grant log on as a service rights then click “OK” about it not taking affect until a service restart
86. Locate the “VMware VirtualCenter Management Webservices” service and change it’s logon account to same account we just used for the VirtualCenter Server service (vmwareservice for this writing)
87. Right-click on “VMware VirtualCenter Server” service and choose “Restart”. You will be prompted that the “Vmware VirtualCenter Management Webservices” needs to be restarted as well. Click “Yes” for that prompt
88. After the services restart, open your browser and connect to https:// IPofvCenter:9443/vsphere-client and login as administrator@vsphere.local with the password assigned earlier
89. Once logged in, click on “Administrator” on the left pane
90. Click on “Users and Groups” under “Single Sign-On”
91. Click the “Groups” tab then click on”Administrators” under “Group Name”
92. Click the “Add Member” button under “Group Members”
93. Change the Domain to your domain, then search for the Active Directory user or group to be added as an Administrator. Click the user/group then click the “Add” button followed by “OK”
94. Click the “Home” button towards the top left corner
95. Click on “vCenter”
96. Click on “vCenter Servers”
97. Click on your vCenter server
98. Click the “Manage” tab followed by “Permissions”
99. Click the “Add Permission” button
100. Click the “Add” button towards the lower left then search for the Active Directory user/group to be added as a vCenter Administrator (ensure the Domain is set to your domain). Click the user/group, then click “Add” followed by “OK”
101. Changed “Assigned Role” to “Administrator” from the drop-down and then click “OK”


At this point your vCenter server is installed and configured with an Administrator account added for SSO as well as vCenter itself. To install the Update Manager service, click here to view the steps to install and configure. Your steps will differ as those instructions are for connecting to a mirrored database for Update Manager, but the rest of the steps are similar. You will just need to provision a database and grant the update manager user account db_owner to msdb and the Update Manager database. This can be done the same way as in step 14, just change the database name and the user name.

To complete the vCenter configuration (create a datacenter, add hosts), click here to open the step-by-step guide and scroll to step 44.

vCenter 5.5 Update Manager Install with SQL Mirroring

When I first started at my current job we were a company with a few standalone SQL Servers. There were development and production instances on both SQL 2005 and 2008. This isn’t a problem, but we lacked any kind of High Availability for these databases. One of the first projects I took on was creating a SQL 2012 Failover Cluster. The setup was relatively painless and it provided us the ability to patch SQL hosts without having to take down any of the applications that depending on it. The drawback was every time I did a cluster failover vCenter Update Manager would stop working and the service needed to be restarted. A minor annoyance, but something that always bothered me.

To alleviate this (and with available SQL licenses), I implemented a new SQL 2012 Mirrored instance and while I was building our brand new ESXi 5.5 environment it was the perfect time to move the vCenter Update Manager database to SQL mirroring. While I don’t have a blog post about how to setup SQL Mirroring (but I do have the process documented), this shows the process of provisioning the databases on the Principle and the Mirror and the commands to mirror the database with automatic failover (with a Witness server). In the future I hope to blog about the setup of SQL Mirroring.



  1. Have vCenter 5.5 already installed and running
  2. Download the ISO for vCenter 5.5 from VMware which will need to be mounted on the server that will host vCenter Update Manager (VUM).
  3. Have an additional Disk drive added to the destination server hosting Update manager because I prefer leaving the OS drive for the OS and all programs are installed on the secondary data disk.
  4. 3 Servers with SQL installed and configured for mirroring (Principle, Mirror, Witness).
  5. Install the 64-bit SQL 10 Native Client from the SQL 2008 install .ISO (sqlncli.msi) on the server hosting VUM.
  6. A domain user account to run the VUM service and connect to SQL (domain\vupdatemanager for this writing)


SQL Mirroring Configuration:

  1. Connect to the principle SQL server (SQLMir-01 for this writing)
  2. Expand Security and Logins. Right click “Logins” and click “New Login”
  3. Enter the login name for the Update Manager Active Directory account, choose “Windows Authentication”
    1. Change the “Default database” to “msdb” and click “OK”
    2. Click on “User Mapping” and place a check next to “msdb” then under “Database role membership” place a check next to “db_owner”
  4. Right click on “Databases” and choose “New Database”

    1. Enter the database name

      1. Click the “…” button next to “Owner” and browse for the login we just created, place a check mark for it and click “OK” and “OK”
    2. Click the “Options” link on the left side and ensure that Recovery Model is set to “Full” and Compatibility level is set to “SQL Server 2012 (110)” then click “OK”
  5. Right click on the newly created database and go to “Tasks” followed by “Back Up”

    1. Name the backup file and note the location of the backup file and click “OK”
    2. Navigate to that Location and copy the backup
    3. Paste this file on to the Mirror Server
  6. Connect to the Mirror SQL Server (SQLMir-02 for this writing) and create the Update Manager account just like in Step 3 on that server as well (Do not create the database)
  7. Right click on “Databases” and choose “Restore Database”

    1. Click “Device” for the source, then click the “…” button, click the “Add” button and it locate the .BAK file. Click on it and click “OK”, then “OK” again.
    2. Click the “Options” link on the left side and change “Recovery state” to “RESTORE WITH NORECOVERY” then click “OK”
  8. On the Mirror SQL server (SQLMir-02), click on “New Query” and run the following command: (This is creating the connection for the Mirror to allow mirroring from the Principle)

    1. ALTER DATABASE vCenterUpdateManager
      SET PARTNER = 'TCP://'
  9. Back on the primary SQL server, click on “New Query” and run the following commands:
    1. ALTER DATABASE vCenterUpdateManager
      SET PARTNER = 'TCP://'
      ALTER DATABASE vCenterUpdateManager
      SET WITNESS = 'TCP://'

The SQL Servers (Principle, Mirror, Witness) have multiple network connections (Production, Mirror, and Backup). A DNS entry was created for their Mirror network IPs to allow them to communicate over a non-routable network to minimize latency. Mirroring would work if I set the string to “TCP://” if a private network isn’t available.


vCenter Update Manager Install/Config:

  1. Login to the server as the user account that will connecting to vCenter/update manager database (domain\vupdatemanager for this writing)
  2. Create a 32bit ODBC connection to the SQL database
    a. Navigate to C:\Windows\SysWOW64 and open “odbcad32.exe”
    b. Click the “System DSN” tab then click the “Add” button
    c. Scroll to the bottom and choose “SQL Server Native Client 10.0” and click “Finish”
    d. Enter the name of the connection and find the SQL Server\Instance and click “Next”
    e. Choose “With Integrated Windows authentication” and click “Next”
    f. Change the default database to the Update Manager Database then set the Mirror Server as the SQL Server Name\Instance. Click “Next”
    g. Click “Finish” then click “Test Data Source”. If test is successful, click “OK” then “OK” again and again
  3. After the ISO has been mounted on the virtual machine, open “Computer” and open the CD
  4. If the installer doesn’t automatically open, locate the “autorun” application and double-click it.
  5. At the installer screen, choose “vSphere Update Manager” under the “VMware vCenter Support Tools” section. Then click “Install”
    a. Choose the appropriate language and click “OK”
    b. Click “Next” to begin the install process
    c. Accept the license agreement and click “Next”
    d. Leave the box for “Download updates from default sources” checked and click “Next”
    e. Enter the FQDN or IP of the vCenter server to be connected to as well as the username/password for the account you’re currently logged in as (I’ve made this account an Administrator in vCenter at the Datacenter level)
    f. Choose “Use an existing supported database” and then choose the DSN connection created in step 2 and click “Next”
    g. Click “Next” to confirm the database information and click “OK” to ignore the warning about Full recovery
    h. Choose the IP address and note the ports being used then click “Next”
    i. Change the Install directory from C: to D: and then click “Next”
    j. Click “Install”
    k. Click “Finish”
  6. After installation completes, press the Start button, Administrative Tools, then Services
    a. Locate the “VMware vSphere Update Manager Service”, right click and choose “Properties”
    b. Click the “Log On” tab and click the “This account” button then enter the login information for the domain account used for update manager then click “Apply”
    c. Click “OK” for the dialog box about granting log on as a service rights
    d. After the new service account has been applied, click the “General” tab then click the “Stop” button. Once the service has stopped, hit the “Start” button. Then click “OK”
  7. Open up the vSphere client (not the web interface) and login to the vCenter server
    a. Click the “Home” button
    b. Click the “Update Manager” button under “Solutions and Applications”
    c. Click on the “Baselines and Groups” tab
    d. Click the “Create” link towards the top right corner under “Compliance View”
    e. Select “Host Baseline Group” and give it a name (“All Patches” for this example). Click “Next”
    f. Click “Next” through “Upgrades” page
    g. Select both Critical and Non-critical patches and click “Next”
    h. Click “Next” through the “Extensions” page
    i. Review the settings and click “Finish”
  8. Click the “Home” button again then choose “Hosts and Clusters”
    a. (For this writing, we’ll attach the baseline group to the Datacenter, but I usually apply this at the cluster level)
    b. Click on the Datacenter then click on the “Update Manager” tab
    c. Click the “Attach” link towards the top right corner
    d. Under “Baseline Groups” choose the name of the Baseline group created and click “Attach”
    e. Once attached, all the Hosts will display under “All Groups and Independent Baselines”. Click the “scan” button towards the top right corner
    f. Click the “Scan” button on the pop up box
    g. Once scanning is completed, click the “Stage” button towards the bottom right corner
    h. Ensure both Critical and Non-critical patches are selected as well as the host and click “Next”
    i. Click “Next” after reviewing the patches to be applied
    j. Then click “Finish” (All patches that can be staged will be placed on the host, some that can’t be staged will be loaded once you choose “Remediate”)
    k. Once staged, click the “Remediate” button towards the bottom right corner
    l. Click the baseline group created earlier then click “Next”
    m. Review the patches and click “Next”
    n. Choose “Immediately” for the remediation time and click “Next”
    o. Choose your VM power state options (In a multi-host cluster choosing “Do Not Change VM Power State” will cause VMs to be vMotioned to another host when entering maintenance mode)
    p. Click Finish (This will cause the Host to enter maintenance mode, apply patches, and reboot if necessary)
  9. After the host finishes rebooting we’ll see the new build number

Applying baselines at the cluster level will help to ensure all your hosts are running the same builds/patches and help prevent version mismatch issues. I prefer to created one baseline for all my hosts that includes any required extensions. In my environment we run NetApp storage which requires a host component to take advantage of VAAI. By adding this into my required patching I make sure all my hosts are able to take advantage of this.

Install & Configure vCSA and vCenter 5.5

The steps below are to install and configure the vCenter Server Appliance, configure SSO to lookup users in a specific OU in Active Directory, add an Administrator, add your first host, and configure email server settings.


  1. Download the latest version of the vCenter Server Appliance ( for this writing) and place it some where that is accessible by the client hosting the vSphere client
  2. Have the vSphere Thick client installed
  3. Have a datastore created for the appliance (VM_Appliances for this writing)
  4. Identify the Fully Qualified Domain name and IP address of the server ahead of time


      1. Login to the vSphere client, choose File then Deploy OVF Template
      1. Click “Browse”, locate the OVF/OVA, and click “Open”, then click “Next”
      1. Click “Next” after reviewing the template details
      1. Name the vCSA, choose the inventory location, and click “Next”
      1. Choose the datastore and click “Next”
      1. Verify the datastore name and size and click “Next” (Size is not adjustable)
      1. Select the appropriate “Destination Network” and click “Next”
      1. Enter the following information and click “Next”
        1. Hostname = Name of Appliance
        1. Default Gateway = IP of the gateway of  the Destination Network
        1. DNS = IP of the DNS Server (Separate each DNS server with commas, though it didn’t seem to apply these settings)
        1. Network 1 IP Address = IP address of the vCenter Server Appliance
        1. Network 1 Netmark = Subnet mask of the Destination Network
      1. Verify the settings and click “Finish” to begin deployment of the vCSA
      1. Once deployment is finished, click “Close”
      1. Right click on the vCSA in the vSphere client and choose “Upgrade Virtual Hardware” then click “Yes” to upgrade the configuration
      1. Right click on the vCSA and choose “Open Console”
      1. Click the “Power On” button in the console
      1. Once the appliance has finished booting, open a browser and connect to the web interface (https:// ipaddress:5480)
      1. Click “Continue” to the security warning on your web browser
      2. Enter the default username and password for the vCSA (username: root, password: vmware)
      1. After login, accept the licensing agreement and click “Next” (this part may take awhile)
      1. Once you get to “Configure Options” press the “Cancel” button (After a few unsuccessful attempts to configure through the wizard, it is easier setting it up manually)
      1. At the home page of the vCSA admin page, click on the “Database” tab
      •  Change the “Database type” to “embedded” and click “Save Settings” (may take a minute or 2)
      1. Click on the “SSO” tab
        • Change the “SSO deployment type” to “embedded”
        • Set the admin password for the “administrator@vsphere.local” account (Save this information immediately!)
        • Click “Save Settings” (will take a few  minutes)
        • Once you see the message “Operation was successful” you can move on to the next step
      1. Click on the “Network” tab
        • Ensure the Hostname (must be a FQDN if adding to a domain), IPv4 gateway, preferred & alternate DNS servers, and IPv4 static IP addressing is set. If any entries is missing, add them now
        • Once saved, click on the “System” tab and click on “Reboot”
      1. Log back in (if necessary and continue with the next step)
      1. Click on “Authentication” tab
        • Check the box for “Active Directory Enabled”
        • Enter the domain name
        • Enter a domain admin account for “Administrative user” (Domain admin)
        • Enter the password for this account and click “Save Settings” (This will add the appliance to the domain)
      1. Click on the “Update” tab then click “Check Updates” to see if there are any available updates
        • Install any updates that are available
        • Click on “Settings” under “Update”
        • Choose “Automatic check for updates”
        • Set your frequency (usually once a week) and then click “Save Settings”
      1. Click on the “Admin” tab
        • Enter the current administrator password (default is “vmware”)
        • Enter the new administrator password and immediately save it (I use keepass for my passwords)
        • Click “Yes” for administrator password expiration
        • Enter the password validity time in days
        • Enter a group account for email expiration warning
        • Click “Submit”
      1. Once the settings are saved, click on “System” tab then choose “Reboot”
      1. Once the vCSA is back up, you should be able to login to the vSphere Web Client (https:// IPofvCSA:9443)
      2. Download and install the “Client Integration Plug-in”

        • You’ll need to close your current browser to complete installation. Reopen and enable the Plugins after revisiting the URL above
      1. Login using the username “administrator@vsphere.local” and the password setup in step 20
      1. Click on “Administration”
      1. Click on “Configuration”, then click the “Identity Sources” tab and press the “+” button
      1. Choose the following for setting up Active Directory Auth for a specific group using a service account
        • Choose “Active Directory as a LDAP Server”
        • Enter the name (Just a reference name)
        • Enter the Distinguished name of the OU where users will be located
        • Enter the Domain name
        • Enter the Domain alias
        • Enter the Distinguished name for groups (for us, it’s the same as for users)
        • Enter the primary server URL (Format: ldap:\\
        • Enter the secondary server URL (same format as above)
        • Username: A domain account in the OU above (do not use a users account, make it a service account)
        • Password: Password for domain account
        • Press “Test Connection” to ensure it all works and then click “OK”


      1. Under “Single Sign-On” on the left, click on “Users and Groups”
      1. Click the “Groups” tab, then click on “Administrators”
      1. Click the “Add Members” button
      1. Change the Domain to the Domain that was just added. Search for the Domain users/groups that need Administrator access, click on each one and click “Add” followed by “OK”
      1. Once the users have been added, click on the “Home” button towards the top left
      1. Click on “vCenter”
      1. Under “Inventory Lists”, click on “vCenter Servers”
      1. Click on the name of your vCenter Server
      1. Click the “Manage” tab, followed by the “Permissions” button
      1. Click the “+” button to add a new administrator.
        • When the “Add Permission” box appears, click the “Add” button at the bottom
        • Change the Domain to Domain added earlier
        • Search for the same users/groups added as vCSA admins, select each one and click “Add” followed by “OK” when completed
        • Under “Assigned Role” change from “No access” to “Administrator”. Ensure “Propogate to children” is selected and click “OK”
      1. Once Domain permissions have been assigned, sign out of the web interface as “administrator@vsphere.local” and login with domain credentials (domain\username)
      1. Once logged in as Domain account, click on “vCenter”
      1. If you see the number “1” next to “vCenter Servers” under “Inventory Lists” then permissions were assigned correctly.
      2. Click on vCenter Servers, then click on the vCenter server and click the “Manage” button in the middle pane
      1. Under the “Settings” tab click on “Advanced Settings”
      1. Locate the key “config.registry.key_managedIP” and if the Value is “–“,  click the “Edit” button towards the top right
      • Scroll down to that key and enter the IP address of the vCenter Server appliance and click “OK” (Without this entry, in the event of a DNS failure, the hosts will not be able to check in with the vCenter server and could become disconnected. Thanks to Virtual Barker for pointing this out)
      1. Click on on the “vCenter” link towards the top left
      1. Click on “Datacenters”
      1. Click the “Create a new datacenter” button
      1. Choose a name of the Datacenter (I usually use location), click on the vCenter server instance and click “OK”
      1. Click on “vCenter” towards the top left
      1. Click on “Hosts” under “Inventory Lists”
      1. Click the “Add a host” button
      1. Follow these steps to add a host to your newly created datacenter
        • Enter the fully qualified domain name of your host
        • Click on the destination datacenter and then click “Next”
        • Enter the username and password for the “root” account then click “Next” (Click “Yes” for the security alert)
        • Review the details of the Host then click “Next”
        • Assign a license key (if available) and click “Next”
        • Make sure “Enable lockdown mode” is unchecked and click “Next”
        • Click “Next” through “VM location” as we haven’t created a new tag yet
        • Click “Finish”
      1. Click on “vCenter” button towards the top left
        • Click on “vCenter Servers” under “Inventory Lists”
        • Click on the name of the vCenter server
        • Click the “Manage” tab
        • Under “vCenter Server Settings” on the General page, click the “Edit” button
        • Click the “Mail” link and enter your mail server address and the mail sender address and then click “OK”

At this point you are ready to start adding more hosts, creating clusters and deploying virtual machines. Before you are ready for production, ensure that you create alerts for monitoring VM and Host health such as CPU and memory usage, CPU ready latency, storage latency and VM snapshot size. I’ll address the common alerts I create in each new build in a later post.