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Upgrading from VDM 2.1 to View 3.x using a clustered setup (1007773)

Details

When VMware View is installed as a View cluster, upgrading View 3.x is slightly different from upgrading a standalone Connection Server. For example, upgrading a standalone VDM 2.1 Connection Server to View involves just following the wizard prompts of the installer binary on the Connection Server machine. This document assumes that you are familiar with this procedure.

Solution

One advantage of using a clustered setup is that it can be upgraded in production mode with no downtime for end users. The process involves upgrading one server at a time while other servers continue to broker connections to View desktops. However, when upgrading a clustered setup, it is important to upgrade the standard instance first and then the replica instances, because of the replication relations that exist between Active Directory Application Mode (ADAM) database instances.

The first server installed in a View cluster is called the standard instance. During installation of the standard instance, the ADAM database is installed and initialized with the View data schema. ADAM is a Microsoft LDAP database server that shares large portions of its code base with the Active Directory service in Windows Server. The ADAM instance is installed with the View Connection Server but appears as a separate program in the Control Panel.

After the standard instance, subsequent View Connection Servers are installed as replicas. During a replica installation, the ADAM database engine is installed. However, rather than initializing the database, the database engine enters into a replication relationship with the ADAM database on the standard server. This process is similar to installing primary and secondary domain controllers with Windows Active Directory domains. As with Active Directory, the first installed ADAM instance is assigned the role of “schema master.” Any changes to the ADAM data schema must be done on a schema master ADAM instance. When a change to the schema occurs, it is replicated to all connected ADAM instances. Because of this ADAM design, the View installer executes the data schema upgrade only when it runs on the standard instance, not on the replica instances.

During an upgrade, the database schema must be updated with the new View attributes. If a Replica Server is upgraded before the standard instance, the system malfunctions. In the View beta release, the installer does not prevent you from upgrading the replica instance first. This issue will be resolved for the General Availability release.
If the replica instance is upgraded first, the View log on the upgraded server shows multiple error messages similar to the following:

Could not populate message security data: javax.naming.directory.NoSuchAttributeException:
[LDAP: error code 16 - 00000057: LdapErr: DSID-0C090A8A, comment: Error in attribute
conversion operation, data 0, vece

The VI Client connected to the VirtualCenter shows the message Reconfiguring Virtual Machine for every desktop virtual machine that View knows about. In this situation, desktop connections cannot be brokered via the affected server. Upgrading the View Connection Server Standard instance and restarting all the connection servers clears the problem.

During the upgrade, changes to the ADAM data schema are made in an incremental manner so that servers still running VDM 2.1 can operate concurrently with the servers running View. This feature allows a live upgrade of the clustered View setups. During this process, you must exclude the server being upgraded from the load-balancing pool so that incoming client connections are redirected to other servers. Because a disconnected View Client connection could be reconnected through a different Connection Server with no end-user data loss and only a momentary interruption, this upgrade process is suitable for environments that require high availability for desktops.

VMware recommends using a mixed version setup only long enough to perform the live upgrade on all servers. The mixed-version setup should be used to evaluate new features, since the new features of View may not work as expected during this beta period. Also, after the ADAM schema is changed on the schema master, it cannot be reverted, unless all servers are restored from simultaneous backup.

In most cases, the schema master role remains with the standard instance of the connection server, which must be upgraded first. However, in some rare circumstances a different server may have to be upgraded first. For example, the standard instance may no longer be available because it has been retired due to hardware failure. In a case like this, you must transfer the schema master role to the ADAM instance on another operational View Connection Server and then upgrade this server. Tools are available from Microsoft for transferring the schema master role with replicated ADAM setups. An example can be found in the Microsoft Technet article that outlines how to identify or transfer the schema or master role.

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