Automating VM recovery with stand-alone vSphere Replication

With vSphere 5.1 VMware introduced the stand-alone vSphere Replication feature that enables you to continuously replicate Virtual Machines between different hosts using different storage. Formerly this feature was only available with SRM (Site Recovery Manager), this is why I call the SRM-less version "stand-alone" here, although this is not the official product name.

Stand-alone vSphere Replication is included with the vSphere Essentials Plus Kit, the Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus Editions. It requires at least one vCenter server and one vSphere Replication Appliance (vSRA) per vCenter and uses the new Web Client as a management GUI for configuring and managing replication and VM recovery. For more detailed information I recommend reading Ken Werneburg's excellent Introduction to VMware vSphere Replication white paper.

[Release] vCenter Server 5.1 Update 1a

Not long after VMware has published vSphere 5.1 Update 1 there is now Update 1a available, and all customers planning to move to vSphere 5.1 should grab and use this latest release:

What's new:

The SBHVL project - Part 4: Spanning a private network over multiple hosts

It's SBHVL time again! This acronym stands for "Small Budget Hosted Virtual Lab" and for a series of posts that I wrote about my vSphere lab that runs on a dedicated physical box at a hosting provider. Until now I covered the basic setup and networking, backup / DR and management / remote access.

How to install HP Offline bundles on non-HP hardware

HP offers customized installation ISOs for ESXi 5.x that include drivers for HP specific hardware, their Offline Bundles for hardware monitoring and useful tools like hpacucli for managing SmartArray adapters. However, you can only install HP branded ProLiant servers with these ISOs. If you try to install a non-HP/whitebox hardware with an HP Customized ISO you will run into this error:

Quickest way to update your standalone host to ESXi 5.1 U1

This is a sequel to my popular posts about How to update your (free / whitebox) ESXi server to ESXi 5.1 and the FAQ Are ESXi 5.x patches cumulative?. Since Update 1 was released I got several e-mails asking how to apply it and also saw this question raised in forums again. The process is the same as going from ESXi 5.0 to 5.1 GA, and it also applies to any other ESXi 5.x patch: