pyVmomi 6.0.0, vSphere 6.0 and SSL

VMware released a new version of pyVmomi to better integrate with vSphere 6.0. This release introduces a change on the creation of an SSL connection. After struggling with some issues on this change, I wanted to write something down for future reference.

On the GitHub documentation it says pyVmomi 6.0.0 supports python 2.7, but it would be more accurate to say pyVmomi 6.0.0 supports python 2.7.9+, as in python 2.7.9 the ssl.SSLContext object has been introduced. This object allows you to specify a verification mode and a SSL Protocol. This object is needed if you want to connect correctly to the vSphere API.

You can check your python version with  python --version

Workaround for python versions below 2.7.9

To get everything working in python versions below 2.7.9, the easiest way is to downgrade pyvmomi to To achieve this, do the following:

This will downgrade your pyvmomi to a workable version. This version also doesn’t force SSL certificate verification, so your code can be very simple:

Working with untrusted SSL connections with pyVmomi 6.0.0 and python 2.7.9+

If you want to connect to a vSphere 6.0 API without certificate verification using pyVmomi 6.0.0 and python 2.7.9+, you will have to create a new SSLContext which disables the certificate verification. Using pyVmomi’s  SmartConnect() , there is now a new attribute you can pass, called  sslContext . Below is an example on how to achieve this.

Support for both versions

If you write scripts which can run on different python and pyVmomi versions and you want to keep supporting both, you could do so by looking at the following example:

I have updated all my pyVmomi scripts on my GitHub repository to start working with both version with the above fix.



Upgrading vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 to 6.0 using CLI

Upgrading vCenter Server Appliance 5.5 to 6.0 using CLI

In 6.0 the standard installation and upgrade of the vCenter Server Appliance has changed to an ISO which you can mount in Windows. This ISO provides a web interface. This interfaces asks you to install the Client Integration Plugin 6.0, after which you can use the web interface to install or upgrade your vCenter Server Appliance.

Of course, this gives us Unix users another hurdle to overcome with installing the vSphere environment. Also, the Client Integration Plugin has some issues working with the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox. Lastly, hardly anybody likes using a web interface for this kind of installations.

Luckily, VMware has been kind enough to provide us with a CLI installer as well! I’ve seen a couple of blog posts about using the CLI installer to install a new VCSA, but not as much about upgrading an existing VCSA. So i decided to do a little write-up providing some examples.

Overview of the upgrade

The tool will use a json template file containing all the information to perform the upgrade. It uses the information to first deploy a new VCSA VM on a target host. This new VCSA VM is provisioned with a temporary network. It will then migrate all the data from the existing VCSA to the new one. Once this is done, it will shut down the existing VCSA and reconfigure the network on the new VCSA to take all the settings from the old VCSA.

JSON template

Below is an example of a JSON template file that can be used to upgrade a 5.5 VCSA to a 6.0 VCSA. There are more templates inside the ISO (folder vcsa-cli-installer/templates) which you can use, but i’ve noticed some issues with these templates missing important sections.

Of course I kept some values to the default, but i’m sure you can figure out what to change where. There are a couple of important mentions I would like to mention:

  • username and password in your > vc.vcsa section have to be the SSO administrator user and password (default user = administrator@vsphere.local, default pass = vmware)
  • target.vcsa > appliance > name value is the name the VM will get, this has to be unique in your environment, so it can not be the same as your current VCSA, it has no impact on the hostname
  • target.vcsa > sso > site-name value is just for your SSO, it has to be filled in, but just do something simple (‘First-Default-Site’ should be fine)
  • target.vcsa > This is just temporary for during the upgrade/migration. After the migration, all the network sections are taken from the old VCSA.
  • target.vcsa > esx : This is the info of the ESXi where you want to place the new VCSA VM, can be the same as the source, can be a different one. Just make sure the info is correct (if confused with the POD43 file: my local datastores have been named the same as the ESXi IP, to easily differentiate.)

Running the CLI installer

I will run this installer directly from the ISO mounted on  /mnt/vcsa  on a Linux machine.

I would first suggest to do a dry run, you can do so with the following command:

This command will verify the configuration and all the connectivity. It will return a list of warnings and errors. Some of the more common warnings and errors you might encounter:

  • Warnings about Postgresql password that will be the same as the root password of the new VCSA, this can be safely ignored.
  • Warnings about port 22, this can also be safely ignored, just make sure the old and new VCSA’s can communicate through SSH
  • Errors about SSO and certificates: This will prevent any upgrade, so this is something you will have to look at. Most of the time it’s an indication that your certificates were generated with a different hostname or IP than currently used. You can rectify this by going to the 5.5 VCSA’s administration web interface check that the hostname, IP and DNS settings are all correct and regenerate the certificates if needed (this requires a reboot).

After you fixed any errors, you can run the command without the  --verify-only option:

This will start the upgrade and migration, just follow along with what is happening, you get some good info on the progress. It can take a while to finish (half an hour to an hour, easily. If you have a slow connection between the machine you are running the command and the appliances & esxi’s, it might take longer for the data transfers)

Nuage Networks releases its Virtual Service Platform SDK

Nuage Networks releases its Virtual Service Platform SDK

About five months ago, I decided to make a big change in my professional career and join Nuage Networks (a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent) as a New Product Introduction Engineer. In the past four months, I realised that this might have been one of the best decisions i made in my life. I’ve been working with extremely intelligent and hard working people who are all very friendly and understanding of the new guy. I learned a lot, and still have a whole lot more to learn!

On thursday, Nuage Networks CEO Sunil Khandekar announced the release of the VSPK or Virtual Service Platform SDK at Network Field Day 10. This SDK allows anybody to access the full Nuage Virtual Service Platform using Python.

As it stands, the Nuage VSP already had a rich set of management tools, including a great web interface and an OpenStack integration. This however opens the doors to a completely new set of possibilities. It makes it easy to integrate your own Cloud Management System with Nuage VSP, or build your toolset to automate certain tasks in your datacenter, or write your own reporting tool which gathers information, or …

Take a look at the great documentation and the examples!

(And no, i had nothing to do with this, these are all those intelligent and hard working people I was talking about earlier ;)) improvements & improvements &

For a project i needed a couple of tools, so i improved my script and created a new script: setting advanced configuration parameters

The script is improved so you are able to set advanced configuration parameters of the created VMs, this can be used if you have other tools that need some metadata or configuration.

To accomplish this, you have to use the CSV feature. The fields in the CSV have been changed slightly in comparison with the previous version:

Fields indicated with <> are mandatory, fields indicated with [] can be left empty.

For a full documentation, you can visit the GitHub repository.

For some testing i needed a script which would be able to vMotion a set of VMs randomly to a set of Hosts. This script does exactly that.

The script accepts a file which contains the names of the VMs to move, one per line:

It also accepts a file which contains the names of the Hosts to randomly move to, one per line:

In the default way of working, it will continue to vMotion the VMs to a random host over and over again. For example: if you use the files above with the command:

It will start moving the first VM to one of the two hosts, wait 30 seconds and do the same for the second VM, and so on. Once it moved the fourth VM, it will start again with the first one.

There are more options which provide extra functionality:

  • Option to move each VM only once
  • Option to work in threads
  • Option to decrease the interval

The full documentation can be found on the GitHub page and an overview of the options can be found below: CSV import and MAC customization CSV import and MAC customization

After a very busy year, I finally came around to improving my pyVmomi script. I have added a minor improvement, being able to disable SSL certificate warnings, and two major improvements: CSV import and MAC customization

CSV Import

There is a new command line flag, -C, which allows you to specify a CSV file. This CSV file provides with the necessary information to clone the template into a VM for each line. The fields in the CSV should be:

  • VM Name (mandatory)
  • Resource Pool (can be empty)
  • Folder (can be empty)
  • MAC address (can be empty)
  • Post-processing script (can be empty)

A line should look like this:

If one of the fields is empty, but the command line flag is provided, the value from the command line is used. For instance, if you started the script with the following command line:

and used the following CSV:

What would happen is:

  • VM01 is created in the Resource Pool ‘Testing’, in the folder ‘Tools’ and the post-processing script ‘/tmp/’ will run
  • VM02 is created in the Resource Pool ‘Development’, in the folder ‘Linux’ and the post-processing script ‘/tmp/’ will run

So, the command line values are only used if no values in the CSV are provided.

Mac customization

In the CSV, you can provide a MAC address for each VM. This MAC address will be assigned to the first NIC the script finds on the new VM before powering it on (if that is not disabled).

Two warnings:

  • It is your responsibility to provide MAC addresses that are not in use on your network
  • The order in which the NICs are presented to the script when there are more than one, is not always the same. In all my tests it seems it will provide the first one that has been added as the first, but i can not guarantee that.


As always, you can find the script on my GitHub page

For more documentation:

And just for good measure, the full description of all flags as presented by the -h flag: