Tuesday, September 3, 2013

How to Configure Vcenter Server Heartbeat 6.5

Vcenter Server Heartbeat 6.5

The goal here was to configure Vcenter Server Heartbeat 6.5 using two virtual machines. They could be physical servers or a combination of physical and virtual. In this case, the two machines were virtual and were running 2k3 with sp2. The ip of the vcenter will be (the ip that runs only on the active vcenter server) and each vm will have two virtual network cards. The ips to use will be and .160 for the primary (administration) channel and and 60 for the vcenter secondary channnel. The secondary channel does not need dns or netbios over tcp/ip. The secondary vcenter will be a clone of the primary to start.The secondary vm will not be running initially. It is imperative that you create a network share called heartbeat under C: in the primary vcenter.These vcenter servers can't be domain controllers or dns servers. These machines need to belong to a domain prior to starting the configuration.

Warning: Read the entire pdf on how to configure the two nodes; in particular how to configure the virtual nics of both servers. The only issues I encountered were related to the configuration of the primary nic, since it has two ips (The management ip and the floating ip). TCP/IP Filtering was my nemesis.

How to Configure the Primary

01. Download the vcenter server heartbeat software and copy it to the desktop of the primary.
02. Double click on the installer icon.
03. Click on ok.
04. Click on Setup.
05. Select Install Vcenter Server Heartbeat.
06. Select Primary Server.
07. Agree to the license.
08. Do not add a license, use the evaluation grace period (60 days).
09. Select Lan Deployment (both machines in same network).
10. Specify that the secondary vcenter is a virtual machine.
11. Select primary vmware channel.
12. Add the ip for the primary server's ip.
13. Select ip for the secondary server's ip.
14. Click on nNext.
15. Select Primary Principal.
16. Click on add, put for the ip of the primary.
17. Click OK.
18. Click next.
19. Select for the ip of the secondary and click Ok.
20. You will get a warning about secondary not visible since it's powered off. Click no to proceed.
21. Rename the primary server to new-vcenter1 (not fully qualified).
22. Rename the secondary server to new-vcenter2 (not fully qualified).
23. Accept the default vcenter heartbeat port (52267).
24. Add administrator as user and add the administrator's password.
25. Specify the network share created on primary ahead of time \\localhost\heartbeat.
26. Click on next, finish and reboot primary server.
27. Change directories to C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\SSOServer\utils.
28. Run rsautil manage-secrets -a recover -m Vmware1! (the sso password I used) to refresh it.
29. Restart the SSO Service.
30. Restart the Vcenter Server Service.

Primary is now in place.

How to Configure the Secondary

01. With the web or vsphere client, disconnect all its nics from the network.
02. Power up the secondary.
03. Using Windows, set up the address with no gateway nor dns records.
04. Disable netbios over tcp/ip for that interface.
05. Set up the primary adapter with the address of, add the gateway and dns records.
06. Click on advance and add the adddress
07. Reconnect the nics with the web or vsphere client.
08. Install the Vcenter Server Heartbeat software.
09. Click on Setup.
10. Select install Vcenter Server Heartbeat and click on next.
11. Select Secondary and click on next.
12. Add the address of the network share folder \\\heartbeat.
13. Click on Next.
14. Select the Secondary Vmware Channel and click on next.
15. Select secondary principal and click on next.
16. Add VMWARE\administrator and provide the password for renaming purposes.
17. Reboot the node.

How to Configure Heartbeat

01. Go to the primary and click on the Manager Server icon.
02. Click on the "+" button.
03. Select "localhost".
04. Click on Applications, select Plugins.
05. Select VirtualCenterNFPlugin.dll and edit.
06. Enter the information administrator/vmware1!.
07. Got to Tasks under Application.
08. Click on User Accounts.
09. Click on Add.
10. Enter administrator and vmware1!.
11. Click on OK.
12. Edit the NFSetSPN.exe to run as vmware\administrator.
13. Do this for both the primary and secondary.

This capture shows both vcenter servers healthy and communicating.

How to Validate and Test

01. Go to C:\Program Files\VMware\Vcenter Server Heartbeat\R2\bin.
02. Run Nfavt.exe to emulate a failure.
03. Verify the automatic switchover.
04. Log into the vcenter server for testing purposes.

This is the script that will make the primary fail...

The auto-switch can be seen in the console. Once the switch completes, the second Vcenter Server
is active and running with the ip of

Here is a view from the former passive server. The secondary is now active and not replicating to the primary until such server has it's services restarted.

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