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vSphere 5.5 is Available for Download

by on September 26, 2013

vSphere 5.5 is available for download from the VMware web site as of 9/22/13. There is a 14 MB documentation bundle of pdfs also available for review in addition to an updated edoc site: VMware vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center.

An upgrade warning on the download site states “vCenter Server upgrade to 5.5 may fail When upgrading from vSphere 5.1 to 5.5, the vCenter Single Sign-On upgrade may fail. This issue affects some vCenter Server 5.1 systems running with default certificates that are upgrading to vCenter Server 5.5 under certain specific conditions. To resolve this issue, before upgrading, review KB 2060511.” The Knowledge Base article provides settings to check and change for the upgrade to continue. Default certificates with IP addresses instead of FQDN are affected.

Before upgrading, please ensure that all hardware and product compatibility lists are checked. Also please check the upgrade pdf as the requirements are changed in several locations.  For example they are recommending 8 GB RAM minimum on an ESXi host.

The SSO architecture has also changed. The following is from the VMware vSphere Upgrade vSphere 5.5 pdf and describes the new components and their functionality:

STS (Security Token Service) – STS certificates enable a user who has logged on through vCenter Single Sign-On to use any vCenter service that vCenter Single Sign-On supports without authenticating to each one. The STS service issues Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) tokens. These security tokens represent the identity of a user in one of the identity source types supported by vCenter Single Sign-On.

Administration server The administration server allows users with administrator privileges to vCenter Single Sign-On to configure the vCenter Single Sign-On server and manage users and groups from the vSphere Web Client. Initially, only the user administrator@vsphere.local has these privileges.

vCenter Lookup Service vCenter Lookup Service contains topology information about the vSphere infrastructure, enabling vSphere components to connect to each other securely. Unless you are using Simple Install, you are prompted for the Lookup Service URL when you install other vSphere components. For example, the Inventory Service and the vCenter Server installers ask for the Lookup Service URL and then contact the Lookup Service to find vCenter Single Sign-On. After installation, the Inventory Service and vCenter Server system are registered in vCenter Lookup Service so other vSphere components, like the vSphere Web Client, can find them.

VMware Directory Service Directory service associated with the vsphere.local domain. This service is a multi-tenanted, multi-mastered directory service that makes an LDAP directory available on port 11711. In multisite mode, an update of VMware Directory Service content in one VMware Directory Service instance results in the automatic update of the VMware Directory Service instances associated with all other vCenter Single Sign-On nodes.

The upgrade guide presents recommendations for HA of vCenter and SSO for review to ensure availability of both as one cannot log into vCenter without SSO.

Gotham Technology Group can assist with upgrade preparation with our new vSphere Upgrade Assessment service offering. Please contact your account manager or Gotham at 201-474-2000 to speak with one of us about planning your upgrade.

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