Many of you know that I am a huge fan of VIN (vSphere Infrastructure Navigator) and the value it can bring to vSphere administrators and their organizations. With the latest release of VIN 2.0, there are even more exciting features and integration with both the vSphere and vCenter Operations Manager platforms. However, one of the prerequisites for using the latest version of VIN 2.0 is that you will need to be running a vSphere Web Client 5.1 Server which can be a challenge for customers still on vSphere 5.0.
There was a question raised internally awhile back ago on whether it would be possible to have VIN 2.0 function with a vCenter Server 5.0? In the VIN 2.0 release notes, there is a statement that seems to indicate this is possible:
The user interface of the vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 2.0 virtual appliance that is deployed on vCenter Server 5.0 can only be viewed from the vSphere Web Client 5.1
A feature that may not be very well known with the release of vSphere 5.1 is that the vSphere Web Client Server also supports vCenter Server 5.0 which must be manually added through the vSphere Web Client admin application. This means that vSphere administrators not only benefit from all the new feature enhancements of the new vSphere Web Client but will would also be able to get a single view of their entire vSphere 5.x infrastructure.
Given all this information, I suspect this should work and I had an idea on how I could implement this. Since VIN 2.0 can only be used from a 5.1 version of the vSphere Web Client, we can simply deploy a VCSA 5.1 (vCenter Server Appliance) and configure it to point to our vCenter Server 5.0 environment. This will then allow us to use VIN 2.0 with our vCenter Server 5.0 environment while still maintaining our vCenter Server 5.0 environment.
Note: Though I have opted to use the VCSA as that is the simplest method IMHO, you are not required to. The only requirement is access to a vSphere 5.1 Web Client Server which you can also install on a separate Windows server.
Here is a quick diagram of what this would look like:
For some background here is what the environment looks like:
- VCSA 5.0 managing ESXi 5.0 hosts with running VMs
- VCSA 5.1 (configured, but no inventory)
- VIN 2.0 deployed onto the ESXi 5.0 hosts being managed by the vCenter Server 5.0
Here are the steps to get this working:
Step 1 - Deploy the VCSA 5.1 and configure the system as you would normally. We will only be using the vSphere Web Client from this VCSA.
Step 2 - Register your vCenter Server 5.0 environment using the admin app in the vSphere Web Client. If you are using the VCSA 5.1, you will need to follow the instructions here.
Step 3 - Deploy VIN 2.0 into the vCenter Server 5.0 environment if you have not already.
Step 4 - Open a browser and connect to the VCSA's 5.1 vSphere Web Client. The URL should be https://[VC-IP]:9443/vsphere-client and provide the vCloud Suite License key which is required to license VIN 2.0
Step 5 - Enable discovery for the vCenter Server 5.0 under the "Infrastructure Navigator" tab on the left hand side of the vSphere Web Client.
Step 6 - Once the initial discovery has completed, you should now be able to see VIN information displayed for your virtual machines.
So there you have it! VIN 2.0 functioning with a vCenter Server 5.0 environment with a bit of help from the 5.1 version of the VCSA. You will still be able to connect to the vCenter Server 5.0 environment using either the vSphere C# Client and even the 5.0 vSphere Web Client. Though with so many new features in the new vSphere Web Client, this a great way to start getting comfortable with the new interface and enjoy all the benefits from VIN.