VMware vSphere 4.1 Update 1

I don’t know about you folks, but I’ve been waiting for vSphere 4.1 Update 1 for a while. So has my BCS support guy, Mike, since I keep opening up cases on things that are fixed in it. These last few weeks have seemed quite repetitive like that.

By the way, none of the problems I’ve reported are listed in the release notes, which reaffirms my thoughts on all software patches: lots of stuff gets fixed in each one, but very few things make it into the public documentation. VMware tends towards less information for releases, leaning more towards security fix information than functionality fixes. Certainly they’re not as bad as Apple, with their terse “fixes and performance updates” summaries. But I wouldn’t mind if they were more like IBM, listing hundreds and hundreds of APARs…

Anyhow, the update applied well in my test environment, and because of the vast number of security bulletins associated with this update I’m planning on deploying it in production soon. I haven’t tested the VMware Tools packages yet under Windows or Linux — there’s probably the usual complement of new showstopping bugs in them which will have my Windows guys in a murderous rage in a few weeks.[0] The host side of things looks pretty solid so far, though.

I’ve got just a couple of upgrade notes:

  • I always set my “vCenter” and “Management Web Services” services to delayed start, to give the database a chance to come up properly. The “Management Web Services” service got reset to the non-delayed Automatic, and didn’t come back up right. I always reboot after an upgrade to make sure everything starts properly, just in case something happens while I’m not in the office or available, and it was an easy catch because the vCenter client was missing a ton of plugins.
  • Jason Boche has a nice writeup on something I noted, too: the upgrade ZIP file confusion. In short, if you’re going from ESX(i) 4.1 to 4.1 U1 you don’t need the ZIP file, and it won’t import as an upgrade package. Use Update Manager 4.1 U1 to apply the update – it’ll download automatically with the other patches. It might be slow for a while, as everybody is getting the updates that way, automatically.

And a couple of side comments:

  • It’ll be interesting to see what comes of the use of TXT on the Intel 5600 and later CPUs. I think that’s got a lot of potential for system security, but it’ll be a few years before it’s widely in use. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing this enabled by default in the future.
  • RHEL 6 support isn’t new in Update 1, as is implied by everybody parroting the release notes. What is new is the ability to customize it during a clone. RHEL 6 has been a nice option since 4.1, since it can use paravirtualized network AND paravirtualized SCSI drivers. Those drivers ship from Red Hat as part of the stock kernel, which is a huge improvement because it means you can actually use the paravirtual SCSI adapter in production, without weird kernel module issues. I know personally that a lot of good work went into that by teams at VMware and Red Hat, and I appreciate it.


[0] I’m very pessimistic when it comes to the Tools, because they’ve been anything but rock solid. If there’s one thing I could get from VMware Santa Claus it’d be some QA done on them, and the CLI. And a new bicycle. And some NFR license keys. And a unicorn…

2 thoughts on “VMware vSphere 4.1 Update 1”

  1. We’ve just upgraded to vSphere 4.1, just after the Update 1 got released. Is there a documented procedure on how to upgrade the vCenter server/modules from 4.1 to 4.1U1?


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