vCenter Server Appliance Migration fails at 50%: shutting down source machine

I love the vCenter Server Appliance. The migration works pretty well. Still from time to time I stumble across minor problems (which until now were always quite easy to workaround/fix).

One of this migration ‘issues’ I was faced with recently at a customers site.

We migrated a vCenter against an ESXi host which was using a distributed switch and the corresponding portgroup as a target network.

Since we add the virtual network adapter directly on the ESXi host to the distributed switch we need to have an ephemeral portgroup (otherwise only the vCenter could add the VMs network adapter to this portgroup).

The general process of the migration look like the following.

  • Deploy a new and empty vCenter Server appliance and connect it to the network
  • A temporary IP-address is given to this vCenter Server appliance
  • All relevant data of the source windows based vCenter Server is exported and transferrred over the network to the new vCenter Server appliance
  • When the whole data-set is transferred, shutdown the original vCenter and give the new vCSA the network identity of the original vCenter

Unfortunately the last step was not working properly. After a certain amount of time (and coffee) the migration process has stuck at 50% – Shutting down source machine

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Migration of the #Horizon View Composer to another machine (including a database migration from Oracle / Microsoft)

Within the vSphere world we have currently one goal regarding our vCenter. Migrate it from a Windows based installation to the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA).

The doing of this migration is pretty straight forward and works pretty well (e.g. here). But since we will shutdown the original vCenter VM based on Windows afterwards we need to make sure how to deal with applications that were running besides the vCenter.

We need to migrate them as well. Especially in case of the Horizon View Composer we need to do some proper planning, otherwise our linked-clones (which require the composer) cannot be created and maintained anymore (refresh, rebalance, recompose (R-R-R) operations).

Doing that migration is quite straight-forward. But we need to do some specific and not very well known tasks before we can do all of the steps.

Goal: Migrate the vCenter to the vCSA and get rid of all currently used Oracle Databases within the VMware vSphere & Horizon environment.

  1. Define a Maintenance windows and make sure no further Horizon View maintenance operations takes place (R-R-R).
  2. Backup the Horizon Composer Database with the included View backup mechanism.
  3. Create Windows Server for the Composer (compvm)
  4. Create a Database for the Composer and the corresponding ODBC connection.
  5. Restore the Backup on the compvm
  6. Repoint Horizon within the View Admin to the new Composer
  7. Test Maintenance Operations
  8. Clean up old databases.

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#vBeers Munich – Post #VMworld edition 26th October 2017

###UPDATE: 26th October it is

The majority has decided. We will meet on the 26th October at around 6PM. Please enter your / any name in the doodle so that I can make a proper reservation.



After the success of the first #vBeers I have organized in Munich, I want to meet up with friends & community geeks who are interested in virtualization & beer/drinks.

Since I moderate from time to time the (famous) #beer2b in the center of Munich, I realized that a lot of useful input/information/thinking can come up as soon as you talk to other people in the field in a relaxed atmosphere. This will be the second edition of #vBeers in Munich. We had a group of 10-12 people at our first gathering. Let’s see if we can keep up with the number.

Since VMworld US and VMworld Europe has been passed and we worked out most of the news, I am pretty sure we will find great topics for further discussions.



WHEN26th October (Vote here). Please use your name/ email so that I can do a proper reservation.

WHERE? Augustiner Keller (Arnulfstr. 52, 80335 München)

Löwenbräu Keller (Nymphenburger Str 2 – München) – 18:30

IMPORTANT: If you want to come it would be great if you sign yourself up in the doodle mentioned so I can make sure we have enough space/seats for our meet-up.

Sponsored? Nope ;-( (BYOW – Bring your own wallet)

I deliver a NSX course to selected VMware Partner in Unterschleißheim. Therefore I hope to convince some of my participants to show up as well ;-)


Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 10.14.24




Lenzker’s #VMware #Horizon Guide (Implementation): Restrict Internet Access To Specific Users

Sometimes I really love the #vCommunity – Just kidding: I love them all of the time. I was confronted with a scenario where only certain users of a Horizon environment should be allowed to access their own Desktop via the Internet.

In general you have certain options to do some kind of restrictions:

  • Using Tags on the Connection Server and Create Desktop Pools that only allow the usage by Users coming from a tagged Connection Server
  • Using VMware vIDM (Identity Manager) and create conditonal access rules. This will work, but will also create some new overhead to implement vIDM in a high-available fashion.

Fortuneatly the EUC-Champion Slack Community came up with another idea I haven’t really heard about before (The feature was introduced with Horizon 7). Thx Sven and Joe for your help here.

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#VMworld 2017: Las Vegas in 198 seconds (Video) – Personal Insights

Some of you know that I like doing some movies of tech-events/VMworld  after I have visited it. It has only been a few days since a fantastic VMworld in Las Vegas has been finished.

Once again I met fantastic people to talk about current products and issues within the usage of technology. Fantastic sessions like the NSX community leader summit and the EUC Champion Meet-Up gave me an opportunity to meet even more brilliant people out there in the field.

Maybe this video can serve for some of you as a nice memory. So please take the short time and have a look ;-) I am looking forward to any kind of feedback.


I hope to see most of you again next year and if we haven’t met! It’s time to change that!

#VMworld US 2017: End User Computing / VDI, announcements and releases

During (and around) VMworld 2017 VMware has lifted many of their products to a new level to enable their customer a better and more agile software-defined datacenter than ever. Besides their datacenter portfolio VMware is pushing their vision of a digital workspace in the end-user computing field much further.

Horizon + Airwatch -> Workspace One try to combine all relevant subjects within the EUC field (Identities, Desktops, Applications, Devices, Policies, … ) within one single solution.

The following post summarize the EUC announcements within VMware’s current and upcoming products.

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#VMworld US 2017: Datacenter and Cloud products, announcements and releases

During (and around) the general session at VMworld 2017 (US) VMware has talked about their idea how the future infrastructure within a public and private cloud can be managed.

For friends of VMware ‘s existing products hoping for any kind of bigger announcement the general session might have been a little bit disappointing. VMware’s focus are cloud services and how to manage/operate the private & public cloud.

To make you aware of all kind of changes / new releases within the current product portfolio and the new I tried to summarize key elements of the new products or releases surrounding the #VMworld conference. If new products show up or will be announced over the next days I will keep it updated.

A summary about EUC products and announcement will be created on day 2 of #VMworld 2017.
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Lenzker’s #VMware #Horizon Guide (Implementation): Access Layer #NSX Load Balanced Unified Access Gateway

The following section shows you how to make use of VMware’s Unified Access Gateway (UAG) Appliance to give the enduser access into our virtual Desktop / Remote hosted Applications over an unsecure network like the Internet.

When we are creating this access we have multiple options.

  • Using a VPN to ‘tunnel’ into the secure cooperate network environment and connect further to the Horizon View environment.
  • Placing a Windows Server in the DMZ and installing/configuring the Horizon View Security Server and make it public accessible.
  • Placing the virtual Unified Access Gateway in the DMZ and installing/configuring the Horizon View Security Server and make it public accessible.

What is the / my recommendation nowadays? Go with the Unified Access Gateway. Why?

  1. It is a general opinion within Security experts that a Windows, even if it’s hardened, offers more attack potentials than a hardened minimal linux.
  2. Using the Windows based security server creates a 1:1 relationship between the Security Server and the Connection Server, therefore it takes away some access flexibility.
  3. The UAG is getting more and more features to integrate other solutions like specific Airwatch functionality
  4. You can make use of the UDP based Blast Extreme Protocol Adaptive Transport protocol that gives you a better remote/user experience even if you are connecting over a lossy network
  5. It is much easier to operate than the first Access Point versions VMware has made GA a few years ago ;-)

One important aspect of the UAG is that you need to know about the packet-flow between the Horizon Client and the Desktop. You will be dependant on the networking and security guys. Make sure you are able to clearly articulate the requirements and what is going to happen. If you can tell the flow, the other people will be able to help you much better.

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Lenzker’s #VMware #Horizon Guide (Implementation): Access Layer – Load Balanced Connection Server

In the following article I am going to tell you how easy it is to set up a load balanced Horizon View environment. But remember: Just because something is easy to install it is not necessarily easy to design. There are multiple design affecting factors I am going to discuss in my #design guide. There are many Installation Guidelines out there, so I will keep it quick and simple and try to give you some hints what to do or not to do.

What do I want to achieve or show to you in this blog post?

  • Creation Redundant Connection Server to access virtual Desktops
  • A redundant Load Balancer in front of it (#NSX ftw)
  • Internal Access only – I spent a lot of time with the Unified Access Gateway and show you in the second blog post about how to enable access over the Internet into your Horizon Homelab

Connection Server

The Connection Server is a core component within our Horizon View environment. It gives us the opportunity to create Desktop Pools out of Windows / Linux machines or Application Pools (based on Microsoft RDSH-Hosts) and entitle them to any Active Directory User in our environment. It offers us the following key functionality

  • Brokering between Endpoints (that have the Horizon Client installed) and a virtual Desktop / Remote Desktop Session Host (Application)
  • Authentication Handler (AD only or 2nd factor)
  • View Administration via web-based (Flash :-/ ) user interface
  • HTML5-Client to access the Desktops/Applications without the need of a client
  • Connection to the vCenter Server to create new VMs / Desktops

*taken from the Horizon Reference Architecture

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Lenzker’s #VMware #Horizon Guide (Design): Management & Virtualization Layer

This section within my VDI series is not just relevant for VDI environments. In the following I will cover many things that are relevant for regular vSphere (cloud-a-like) environments.

The Management & Virtualization Layer plays quite an important role within a VDI environment. Within EUC solutions we typically should focus on the User and the User experience. But before we can deliver a performant, reliable and available working environment we need to make sure the layer on the bottom is rock solid as well.

What is the purpose of this layer?

  • Hosting Instances of Virtual Desktops
  • Hosting Instances of Remote Desktop Session Hosts (RDSH)
  • Hosting Management components
    • Components for brokering between Endpoints (Desktop User) and the Virtual Desktops  Horizon View)
    • Components for Integrating with Virtualization Management (Horizon View & vCenter Server)
    • Delivering Applications into the Virtual Desktops (App Volumes)
    • Monitoring of the Environment (e.g. Icinga)
    • Operations Management (vRealize Operations Manager and Log Insight)
    • Management of the Virtual Machines (aka Desktops / RDSH Hosts) and the Hypervisor (vCenter Server)
    • Component for managing Security relevant components (NSX-Manager)

In my design guide I will write about general design decisions regarding the management & virtualization layer. In my implementation guide I will give you hints about the setup of the environment.

The goal of this post is to describe / discuss design implications, design decisions and characteristics for the following relevant Products within the core Layer in their most current release:

  • vSphere Layer
  • vCenter Server
  • NSX Manager
  • Horizon View Connection Server

Implementation Details can be found in the corresponding Implementation post I have created.

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