VMware

Lab Manager 2.5.3 Release Notes

Notes on VMware Lab Manager 2.5.3, Build 666

Last Document Update: April 21, 2009

The release notes contain these topics:

For more information on the product, see the Lab Manager documentation web page and the VMware Knowledge Base (KB). To view Lab Manager KB articles, choose VMware Lab Manager in the Product menu and click Search.

What's New in This Release?

Lab Manager 2.5.3 adds resource management features and bug fixes: 

  • New: ESX Server 3.5 Update 4: Lab Manager 2.5.3 supports ESX Server 3.5 Update 4.
  • Added support for ESX Server 3.5 Update 3. Lab Manager 2.5.3 supports ESX Server 3.5 Update 3.
  • Added support for ESX 3.0.3. Lab Manager 2.5.3 supports ESX Server 3.0.3.
  • Added support for ESX 3.5 Update 2 managed servers. Lab Manager 2.5.3 supports ESX Server 3.5 and ESX Server 3.5 Update 2 Managed Servers or ESX Server 3.0.x Managed Servers. 
  • Added support for ESX 3.5 Update 1 managed servers. Lab Manager 2.5.3 supports ESX Server 3.5 and ESX Server 3.5 Update 1 Managed Servers or ESX Server 3.0.x Managed Servers. 
  • Enhanced email notification. Added ability for the administrator to send email alerts to users who have virtual machines registered on any given managed server to improve the ability to alert users prior to maintenance activities.
  • Library Export.  Library configurations can now be exported without having to check them out to the Workspace. 
  • Saved state management.   If "Allow administrators to discard saved state files" is checked in the Administrator Settings page, a new ‘Discard State’ mouse-over menu option will display in the appropriate mouseover menus.  The option will be greyed-out when the machine does not have saved state.  When chosen, the saved state files will be removed from the virtual machine. 
  • Revert point management.  The Virtual Machine View Storage Usage page has been updated to show revert point information and lets users delete revert points of configurations and templates that have a revert point. This can also be done in the Workspace and Library.
  • Consolidation improvements. Virtual machines can now be consolidated onto any storage server visible to a managed server attached to its storage server.
  • Configuration and machine naming defaults. Lab Manager will only populate defaults if Provide Default Configuration and Machine Names on the Settings page is enabled. This allows administrators to force users to enter machine and configuration names instead of allowing them to accept the system-generated defaults.
  • COW heap control. Lab Manager's deployment routines now detect COW heap on the ESX Server and will only deploy to the limit.  COW heap size can be set on the Administrator Settings page.
    For ESX Server versions 3.0.1, 3.0.2 and 3.0.3, the default COW disk values are 17 TB, and for ESX Server versions 3.5 and above, the value is 125 TB. The COW disk values can be configured from the
    Lab Manager Settings page by changing the COW Disk Limit per ESX host (TB) value under the COW Preferences section of the General tab.
  • 15 character naming limit. Lab Manager virtual machine names are limited to 15 characters, as SIDgen and sysprep installations fail if this limit is exceeded.
  • Support for upgrade from Lab Manager Versions 2.5, 2.5.1, and 2.5.2.

For more information on the new features, see the Online Help pages.

Requirements

For details on all requirements and procedures to set up the product, see the Lab Manager 2.5.1 Installation Guide. Make sure to review the hardware compatibility list for ESX Server 3.0.x and 3.5 at:

Lab Manager requires Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0. You must install .NET Framework 2.0, or .NET Framework 3.0 or 3.5, which both include .NET Framework 2.0.

Licenses

The following licenses are supported on ESX Server versions 3.0.x and 3.5:

  • ESX Server Evaluation
  • ESX Server Standard
  • ESX Server Enterprise

ESX Server Starter and ESX Server Foundation licenses are not supported.

Upgrading Lab Manager

You can upgrade to Lab Manager 2.5.3 from Lab Manager versions 2.5.2, 2.5.1 or 2.5.0.

NOTE: Upgrade from Lab Manager version 2.4 to version 2.5.3 is not supported, but you can upgrade from version 2.4 to versions 2.5 or 2.5.1 or 2.5.2, and then upgrade to version 2.5.3.

NOTE: You do not need to undeploy Lab Manager virtual machines in order to upgrade the Lab Manager server, but will need to undeploy them if you upgrade its ESX Server hosts from ESX Server version 3.0.x to 3.5.

To upgrade from Lab Manager 2.5.x to Lab Manager 2.5.3:

  1. Back up the Lab Manager database.
  2. Uninstall Lab Manager Server 2.5.x (program files only).
  3. Install Managed Server agent 2.5.3 on each Lab Manager Managed Server, using VMware-labmanager-agent-esx-2.5.3-<build number>.bin.
  4. Install Lab Manager Server 2.5.3, using VMware-labmanager-server-2.5.3-<build number>.exe.
  5. If a managed server is automatically disabled after upgrade, Lab Manager was not able to collect information about the virtual machines' disks.  This can be resolved by performing a "Redeploy All" on its virtual machines and manually re-enabling the server. 

See "Upgrading Lab Manager" in the Lab Manager 2.5.1 Installation Guide for more information.

Upgrading ESX Server

Use the following procedures to upgrade your Managed Servers from ESX 3.0.x to ESX Server 3.5. The upgrade process requires downtime for your virtual machines, so make sure to read through the entire process and plan your steps before you begin.

Preparing for the Upgrade

In order to upgrade your Managed Servers to ESX Server 3.5, you must be running Lab Manager 2.5.3 with ESX Server 3.0.x Managed Servers. If you are currently running Lab Manager 2.5.1 or earlier, you must first upgrade to Lab Manager 2.5.3 as described in the previous section.

VMware recommends that you back up your Lab Manager installation prior to upgrading. See "Backing Up and Restoring Lab Manager" for more information.

Before Upgrading ESX Server

If you want to ensure that Lab Manager saves the memory state of your virtual machines before you undeploy them, choose Preferences from the Lab Manager web console. Click the Defaults tab and choose Save Memory State.

  1. Undeploy all virtual machines from all Managed Servers.
    1. From the Lab Manager web console, choose Manage > Servers.
    2. Move the pointer over a Managed Server name and choose Disallow Deployments.
    3. Move the pointer over the same Managed Server name and choose Undeploy all VMs.
    4. Repeat these steps for each Managed Server.
  2. Remove all Managed Servers from Lab Manager Server.
    1. From the Lab Manager web console, choose Manage > Servers.
    2. Move the pointer over a Managed Server name and choose Remove.
    3. Repeat these steps for each Managed Server.

Upgrading ESX Server 3.0.x to ESX Server 3.5

To upgrade Lab Manager Managed Servers, use the procedures included in the VMware Infrastructure 3 Upgrade Guide. Some of the information included in that document is not relevant to Lab Manager. Use the following information, in conjunction with the Upgrade Guide, to upgrade ESX Server in a Lab Manager environment.

  • The backup and restore strategies described on page 16 cannot be used in the Lab Manager environment (with the exception of the VirtualCenter Backup section). Use the recommended Lab Manager backup strategies instead.
  • Upgrading from ESX Server 3.0.x to ESX Server 3.5 is considered a "minor" upgrade.
  • Lab Manager datastores already use the VMFS3 file system and do not need to be upgraded.
  • Lab Manager virtual machines already use the VMFS3 format and do not need to be upgraded.
  • Only in-place upgrades are supported with Lab Manager; not migration upgrades.
  • Of the four stages described on page 23 of the Upgrade Guide, you only need to complete stages 1 (if you are using VirtualCenter) and 2A. Stages 2B and 3 do not apply in a Lab Manager environment. Do not perform stage 4 at this time. Upgrading VMware Tools within virtual machines can be accomplished after the rest of this procedure is complete, and the virtual machines can be deployed and powered on using the Lab Manager console.
  • There are three ways to upgrade ESX Server. You can use: the graphical installer (see page 69), the text-based installer (see page 71), or esxupdate (see page 75).

Upgrading ESX Server 3.0.x to ESX Server 3.5 Update 1

Upgrading ESX Server software from ESX Server 3.0.x to ESX Server 3.5 Update 1 using a . zip file upgrade is not supported. Limitations in the esxupdate utility currently prevent such upgrades. To upgrade ESX Server software versions in the 3.0.x series using .zip upgrade files, first upgrade the software from version 3.0.x to 3.5 and then upgrade the version 3.5 installation to Update 1. See the knowledge base article ESX Server 3.5.0 Might Require Manual RPM Installation After Upgrading from ESX Server 3.0.1 or 3.0.2 before using this method to upgrade existing software installations. Upgrades using ISO-based installation methods, such as installing from a CD, are not affected by this limitation and will occur normally.

After Upgrading ESX Server

There a few final steps to complete the upgrade process:

  1. Run the Managed Server agent 2.5.3 installer (VMware-labmanager-agent-esx-2.5.3-<build number>.bin.) on each Managed Server.

    NOTE:You must perform this step, even though the Lab Manager 2.5.3 Managed Server agent was previously installed.
  2. Add the upgraded Managed Servers back to the Lab Manager Server.
    1. In the left pane, click Servers.
    2. Click Add Server.
    3. Enter the information for a Managed Server and click Next.
    4. Enter additional information about the Managed Server and click Add.
    5. Repeat these steps for each Managed Server.
  3. Redeploy virtual machines.

Known Issues and Bugs

Review these bugs:

Lab Manager agent installation on ESX Server 3.0.3

Lab Manager agent installation on ESX Server 3.0.3 displays the following benign error message:

The following non-fatal error(s) have been found:
Version check failed. Unsupported ESX version detected. Some or all features may not function. Please consult the documentation for supported ESX versions.
Ignore warnings and proceed with installation (y/n)? [n]

Workaround: Select "Y" to proceed with the installation without any issues.

VMware Update Manager and Lab Manager

VMware Lab Manager is not yet compatible with VMware Update Manager. Update Manager is a plug-in for VirtualCenter 2.5 that provides security monitoring and patching support for ESX Server hosts and virtual machines.

Accessing heterogeneous virtual machines

You should not access virtual machines created on ESX Server 3.0.x through ESX Server 3.5 or vice versa. Accessing such heterogeneous virtual machines through a shared storage, for example, might result in unexpected failures.

Media greater than 2GB in size

ESX Server 3.5 does not support the use of media greater than 2GB in size when served from a SMB media share. If you use the Insert Media command in Lab Manager and select an ISO image that is greater than 2GB and stored on an SMB storage server, Lab Manager does not mount the image and reports an error. To work around this issue, store ISO images that are greater than 2GB on NFS storage servers or use ESX Server 3.0.x Managed Servers.

LM Tools and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 templates

Lab Manager customizes virtual machines (IP address, machine name, security identifier (SID), and more) using LM Tools. Users can specify the default LM Tools SID mechanism in Settings > LM Tools, where they can choose SIDgen or Sysprep. The option you should choose can be affected by the mix of Windows Server 2003 32-bit and 64-bit templates in your Lab Manager environment.

  • Windows Server 2003 (32-bit templates only):
    You can choose either SID mechanism. If you choose Sysprep, copy the Windows Server 2003 (32-bit) Sysprep files to the appropriate Lab Manager directory (for example, C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware Lab Manager Server\Tools\LMTool\Sysprep\win2k3) before building the custom LM Tools ISO.
  • Windows Server 2003 (64-bit templates only):
    SIDgen does not support 64-bit operating systems, so in this case, you must use Sysprep. Copy the Windows Server 2003 (64-bit) Sysprep files to the appropriate Lab Manager directory before building the custom LM Tools ISO. Windows Server 2003 has different Sysprep files for 32-bit and 64-bit, so make sure to copy the correct files.
  • Windows Server 2003 (32-bit and 64-bit templates):
    In order to support 64-bit, you must use Sysprep. Copy the Windows Server 2003 (64-bit) Sysprep files to the appropriate Lab Manager directory before building the custom LM Tools ISO. Since the Windows Server 2003 (64-bit) Sysprep files will not work for Windows Server 2003 (32-bit), you must modify the SID mechanism for your Windows Server 2003 (32-bit) templates. In the Machine Template properties page, choose SIDgen for all Windows Server 2003 (32-bit) templates.

Configurations based on Microsoft 2003 and XP templates require manual logon

If you deploy configurations that use Windows 2003 and Windows XP guest operating systems, autologin does not work because of an issue with the LM Tools utility.

The workaround involves manually logging on to the system to allow LM Tools to operate properly.


DHCP IP address allocation on virtual machine running Windows NT 4.0 fails

If you base a configuration on a Windows NT 4.0 SP6 template published with a static IP setting, and you select the DHCP IP address allocation option for a virtual machine in that configuration, Windows NT keeps the static IP setting of the template rather than the DHCP setting of the virtual machine.


Lab Manager cannot recognize changes to the VMkernel network configuration

If you make a change to the VMkernel network, such as adding or removing the VMkernel, Lab Manager might take up to five minutes (the default refresh period configured in the Lab Manager Web console) to notice the change. Errors might occur if you attempt operations before the refresh period.

If you need Lab Manager to become alert to the change earlier than the refresh period, restart the VMware LM Monitor service.


Inserting .vfd floppy files into virtual machines running on ESX Server 3.0.2 or ESX Server 3.5

You cannot use the Insert Floppy command to insert a .vfd format floppy file from the Lab Manager media library into a virtual machine running on ESX Server 3.0.2 or 3.5. The workarounds are:

  • Rename the file using a .flp extension
  • Use a UNC path to point to the .vfd floppy (ESX Server 3.5 only)

Upgrading Lab Manager Server on a system with multiple NICs fails

If you upgrade Lab Manager Server on a machine with two or more NICS that have static IP addresses, the installer might generate error 1720.

The workaround is to disable all NICs not associated with the current Lab Manager installation. The only active NIC left on the system must be the one with the IP address used by Lab Manager