vSphere Upgrade Saga: VMware vCops 5 Enterprise

I have been using vCops Advanced since v1.0, but wanted to get more of an experience with vCops Enterprise. Specifically, the most recent GA version 5.  Installing all the different components of vCops Enterprise is not a task for the faint of heart and there are so many pre-requisites, that it becomes increasing more difficult to keep everything going.  The easiest component to install and configure was vCops 5, itself. With vCenter Infrastructure Navigator a close second, but VMware Configuration Manager, has even more dependencies and due to these, it is not so simple to install. Perhaps, this is why there is no trial available on VMware’s website. Even so, with good planning all these tools can be installed and made available.vCenter Operations Manager 5.0 

vCops 5.0 is installed quite easily by importing an OVA directly into vCenter. The result is a two VM vApp that is comprised of an Analytics VM and a UI VM. You can connect to the UI VM two distinct ways. The first is to use the https://<UI VM IP>/vcops-vsphere  URL or via the https://<UI VM IP>/vcops-custom URL. The vcops-vsphere URL is used by vCops Standard and Advanced, while the vcops-custom gives you access to the Enterprise and Enterprise+ features.

Once you connect vCops to vCenter (there is a first-run wizard for this), data is immediately available, but it will take at least 1 hour for 100VMs to retrieve capacity planning data, and at least two weeks (preferably 1 business cycle) to compute normalization values. The hardest part of fresh installs of vCops is waiting for the juicy data to become available so you can act upon it.

On a side note, unless you have LOTS of disk space, it may be better to install vCops as a thin provisioned set of virtual disks. Granted, for large deployments, where there is a huge amount of data, I would install this as a thick provisioned drive as the virtual disk utilization will grow quickly.

vCenter Infrastructure Navigator

VIN is a installed quite easily by importing an OVA directly into vCenter, however you must configure vCenter properly. First, ensure you have the vCenter 5 Web Client installed and connected to your vCenter server. Second, ensure you have set the vCenter Run Time Settings->Managed IP Address appropriately.  VIN integrates as a plugin into the vCenter Web Client and not the standard vCenter Client. In addition, it binds to the vCenter that imports it, not to any arbitrary vCenter. Which implies, that if you have a multi-vCenter environment, VIN must reside within each vCenter, unless those vCenters are in link-mode. This could be a drawback when consider in virtual-in-virtual cloud deployments.

vCenter Configuration Manager

vCM has the most requirements for installation. In fact, it installs as a series of applications and requires Windows 2008 as well as MSSQL 2008 R2 SP1 with SQL XML 3.0 SP3. So what does this mean? For me, it required me to upgrade my MSSQL 2008 installation to MSSQL 2008 R2 SP1 as well as burning yet another Windows 2008 license specifically for vCM as it requires IIS w/ASP which often implies use of ports already in use by other tools so a shared W2K8 R2 VM was not an option. This has not yet been implemented yet but I am moving in that direction. The first attempt to install failed, and I was told to wait for a new release, which has arrived. Now I will try once more and report back.

vCenter Operations Upgrades

Once vCops was installed installed everything worked well until I went to change my licenses. Then I hit a snag. If you change from a vCops Standard to a vCops Enterprise license, you are required to reboot the vCops vApp to effect the change, however going back from Enterprise to Standard requires you to unregister and register vCops. But this is not the real oddity. The true snag came when I was upgrading from v5.0.0 of vCops to v5.0.1. I had everything in place, vCops Enterprise licenses, the pak file, etc. The upgrade went well, but my screens were still showing no useful data (in other words I had grey icons everywhere on my VC Relationship on my Operations Dashboard (one I added as a customization) which shows the same information as vCops Standard. Even the vCops Standard view showed grey everywhere for icons.

The solution was to unregister vCops completely from vCenter including ALL license keys. Once this was completed, I reregistered vCops with vCenter THEN added back in the valid license keys. Now everything works as expected. What led me to what I consider a bizarre solution? I reinstalled vCops while the licenses were assigned and I was not able to login. So I assume, the license was locked to UUID and version of vCops. Simple enough solution. Could it have worked for the original issue, I think so.

Conclusion

I use vCops quite a bit as it has a displayed density of data that meets my needs. However, I also run other tools for other reasons, which is another discussion. vCops Enterprise adds quite a bit of extremely useful information. I just wish there was one central place to define what VMs an application consists and that central place could be used within vCops, APM, etc. Perhaps this is the direction VIN is going.

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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