Upgrading to vSphere – The Saga Starts

I have been trying to upgrade from VMware VI3 to VMware vSphere 4, but it is not as simple as that. First you have to upgrade VMware vCenter then upgrade ESX 3 to ESX 4. That all sounds wonderful, but I have one little issue. I am running VMware vCenter with MS SQL 2000, which is no longer supported.

So first I need to upgrade to MS SQL 2005 or 2008, but since I have to perform a pretty major SQL upgrade, I might as well go for the whole 9 yards and move my VMware vCenter server to Microsoft Windows 2008 R2. This decision however causes many other items to need an upgrade. Mainly some infrastructure items like my Samba Domain Controller so that it can accept Windows 2008 R2 domain members.

My first thought was to upgrade my Linux DC from Fedora 6 to CentOS 5.3 using the CentOS/Fedora Directory Server (DS) and the latest version of Samba, unfortunately, the latest version of Samba would not install without a recompile as it does not come pre-built for CentOS 5.3. Alas this led to a frustrating day or so, as I tried to get Samba to work with the DS which may have worked if I had known about the Samba option:

ldap ssl = Off

This option would have let me hook to LDAP without using SSL, which may be insecure but since they were running on the same host, it would be sufficient for my needs and allow me to add SSL later on. My lack of knowledge of this option lead me down a frustrating path.

Several weeks later, I once more had time, but also had to reinstall my laptop, choosing to go to Windows 7 led me to the same problems of joining the Samba DC. I spent a few moments installing Samba 3.4.2 on Fedora 11 x86_64 which lead to a major failure in Samba (unless you were running the x86 version). Since Samba 3.4.2 x86 works and I could compile this on Fedora 6, I went that route instead of upgrading the OS and everything. My Samba DC was thereby upgraded from 3.0.x to 3.4.2 running within a x86 (non-64 bit) VM. However, I also had to make two changes to Windows 7 to get the laptop part of the domain. Reference the samba site for those necessary changes.

These two finds (upgrade my Fedora 6 Samba DC from 3.0.x to 3.4.2 and the changes to make to Windows 7) allowed me to join my new VMware vCenter VM running Microsoft 2008 R2 to the same domain.

One decision to upgrade to MS SQL 2008 on Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 lead me to a search for the solution to how to join the new virtual machine to my Samba Domain Controller. Why not run a Windows DC? Because I have been running a Samba DC for over 10 years now and wished to keep my infrastructure from a radical change.

Now I believe I am ready to install VMware vCenter 4, migrate my databases from MS SQL 2000, and complete my migration to VMware vSphere 4. Much later I will consider moving my Samba DC from Fedora 6 to CentOS or more likely the latest version of Fedora but first they need to solve the x86_64 bug within Samba.

Edward Haletky

Edward L. Haletky, aka Texiwill, is an author, analyst, developer, technologist, and business owner. Edward owns AstroArch Consulting, Inc., providing virtualization, security, network consulting and development and TVP Strategy where he is also an Analyst. Edward is the Moderator and Host of the Virtualization Security Podcast as well as a guru and moderator for the VMware Communities Forums, providing answers to security and configuration questions. Edward is working on new books on Virtualization.

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