Home Lab, Skyline, Uncategorized

Registering Skyline Health Diagnostics vCenter Plugin

The number of tools available for proactive insight into your vSphere environment continue to expand. When someone nowadays says ‘Skyline’, well which component? I will begin by reviewing some of the various Skyline options and then will follow with the actual plugin-in installation.

Skyline Collector Appliance – On premise Photon appliances which runs in a customers private data center and responsible for the collection of data and logs to send to VMware Cloud. Click here to learn more

Skyline Advisor – VMware’s cloud offering in VMware’s Cloud. This is what ties into the Skyline Collector appliances referenced above.

Skyline Health Diagnostics – This is an appliance ran in your private datacenter to perform healthy checks against your vCenter appliance and vSphere environment. This is a handy tool to check for plugins, interoperability checks and upgrade preparedness.

Skyline Health Diagnostics vCenter Plugin – Appliance deployed which integrates with vSphere. This is a new feature starting in vCenter 8.0 U1 & later. Review the following VMware documentation. Registration of Plug-in from vSphere Client 8.0 U1 and onwards.

Integrated vSphere Skyline – Inside vSphere at vCenter >> Monitor >> Skyline Health or vSAN Cluster >> Monitor >> vSAN >> Skyline Health there are various checks within.

In the home lab I already have Skyline Health Diagnostics deployed, when logging into it, there is a section for a vCenter Plugin Registration.

Click ‘+’ and authenticate with SSO credentials to the vCenter.

Once you click ‘Submit’, go into vSphere and you will find the solution successfully installed, you should also see the following banner.

After you Refresh the browser, you should now have an interactive solution within vSphere and you can kick off health checks and diagnostics straight out of vSphere.


Quick Tip – vCenter Server (MOTD) Message of the Day – Communication is Key!

You’ve probably all heard it before; “communication is key”. This is one of those posts and quick tips, by leveraging the many tools IT organizations have to communicate change plans for any kind of planned or unplanned maintenance, your systems (not just vCenter) have internal users that rely on this. We have messages that are communicated via email, intranets, social media or even ITSM tools.

vCenter will display banner messages by default whenever there is an expiring license or account that is nearing expiration. You do have an option to create a customer MOTD.

From the inventory view with your vCenter selected >> Configure >> Message of the Day>> Click ‘Edit’ on the far right.

Populate the message you want to communicate

Click OK and you will find it now listed in the MOTD section

If you log out of vCenter and log back in, the following banner will appear.

There are no time settings when to expire, so it will require manually going in and clearing the message and saving.

Your internal customers should be thankful for being able to communicate changes.


Aria Operations (vROPs) can report how many Secure Boot enabled VMs you have

There was a recent Microsoft Windows Update released for Windows Server 2022, when applied to VMs that have Secure Boot enabled, on reboot the VM boots directly into the BIOS and never hits the OS bootloader.

This not only posed a challenge but there are environments that may have couple of hundred VMs to a few thousands. For those those customers that have entitlement to Aria Operations or Aria Operations Cloud (formerly vRealize Operations) customers can generate a inventory report of VMs that contain that value with a few customizations.

Before I get into the steps I have to give credit to Brock Peterson for showing me the ropes on this. Check out his personal blog BrockPeterson.com.

In this example I’m running vROps 8.10.2 on-prem. The first step will be to modify the existing Active policy. From the vROps homepage go to Configure >> Policies. From here you should see the name of the default policy that comes out the box when you install vROps. Also notice the ‘Status’ column and it’s labeled as ‘Active’

From here you have two options in how you want to get to the edit. For the first option you can edit the entire policy by clicking ‘Edit Policy’


If you know which part of the policy you want to modify, you can click on the individual setting from within the policy itself

We will select ‘Metrics and Properties’

Begin typing ‘Virtual Machine’ and select the first one that says ‘Virtual Machine’

The following Metrics and Properties relating to Virtual Machines will appear, you can drill down and find the desired setting or you can even use a filter option.

From Properties>>Configuration>>Security>> ‘EFI Secure Boot enabled’ by default is set to ‘Deactivated’, click on the drop-down menu and select ‘Activated’

Click ‘Save’ and exit out, you may want to wait 5-10 minutes for vSphere to perform a collection an scan of the objects.

The next step will be adding the newly activated property to a ‘View’ so that we can generate a report that contains that modified View.

Click on the ellipses to open a menu and select ‘Edit’

When the Edit View appears, you want to go to ‘2. Data’ section and in step 2 you can either perform a keyword search or drill down the options.

From there on Step 3 highlight the property and drag it into the existing View and place it in your desired location. I personally chose to have it come after ‘Hardware Version’

In the ‘Configuration’ section, the ‘Metric name’ is the default name, however you can choose to change it in the ‘Metric label’

Click ‘Update’

In the Preview Source you will see a sample of the report with your data already generated.

Now you can go to the ‘Reports’ section and find the ‘Inventory Report – Virtual Machines’ and run the report.

In the following example, this is a preview of the PDF version of the report. However you can export to CSV and help track those VMs and attend to any maintenance or troubleshooting.

Home Lab, Uncategorized

VMware vCenter 8 Upgrade Step-by-Step – Part 1 – vCenter Upgrade

First step will be to take a snapshot of the vCenter, if you are running Enhanced Linked Mode, ensure you power all vCenters off and take cold-snapshots from the Host UI.

Because the upgrade deploys a new vCenter appliance, we will be renaming our existing VM object from ‘vCenter’ to ‘vCenter_old’

Accessing good old fashioned ui-installer wizard, will be selecting ‘Upgrade’

This will be a various of steps, for Step 1. It will be ‘Deploy a vCenter’, this step is to begin the deployment of a new VCSA (vCenter Server Appliance)

After accepting EULA, the next step will be to ‘Connector to Source Appliance’ this would be the hostname of the VM (not the VM object name in vCenter)

I will then put in the landing vCenter I want to deploy the new appliance too.

For Step 5 you will select a Folder location for the VM, followed by Step 6 which is select a Compute Resource.

Step 7 will ask for the name of the new VM appliance and desired root password

For Step 8 you will select the deployment size of the new appliance. These in every environment will vary and always plan for anticipated future growth.

The next step will be to deploy a datastore, I will personally be deploying and will select a storage location, I will select storage and will enable ‘Thin Provisioning”

The next step to select the portgroup assigned to the desired network and a temporary IP address for the VCSA because at the end of the upgrade, all the network settings remain the same for the new appliance.

This is the final configuration for this part of the upgrade, it will be followed by confirmation and then waiting for installation to complete.

Once the installation is completed, you should receive the following confirmation, from here you can prompt, notice that you do have a temporary VAMI interface to the new vCenter in the event you have to do any troubleshooting. The installer should continue.

The beginning of the wizard should only prompt one option and that is the 2nd step. Click Continue.

These are the warnings that appeared in my environment, these should allow me to proceed

The next step is to select what information do you want copied over, I personally want to choose both, my environment is smaller. Click Next.

For the final steps, it will be the option to join CEIP followed by confirming you performed backup and then kicking off process.

During the process you will lose connectivity to your vCenter, you can always look for one of the hosts the vCenter is residing in and monitor from console.

And just like that…we upgraded to 8 successfully.

For future blogs I will try and dive into vSphere 8 features more in depth.


Installation of SDDC Health Monitoring Solution 8.10

Whether you are running VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) or standalone vRealize LifeCycle Manager instance managing your vRealize products, the following management pack for vRealize Operations will help give a health monitoring dashboard to your solutions. You can monitor capacity growth over time as well as certificate monitoring.

You can obtain the management pack couple of different ways. One way is through the VMware Marketplace, download the pack and upload to the vRSLCM via SCP.


Always check the Marketplace carefully for management pack versions, publisher and release notes.

The other method to access the Marketplace through the vRealize Lifecycle Manager

In the lab I downloaded the pack and uploaded it to the following location on the appliance

Once uploaded, jump into the vRSLCM appliance, you can see here in the Environment section it shows no information available for Health and the ‘i’ icon explains what we need to do.

From the vROps Environment, click ‘View Details’, once inside the vROps environment, click on the ellipses and you will a pre-built action to install the SDDC Management Pack.

Once prompted I placed /data/marketplace and click Discover, this found the file I downloaded and uploaded. Click Submit

The Request page updates to Successfully deployed

After about 15-20 minutes, you will find health is Green now.

What to do next? Check out the newly installed dashboards in vROps.