With the release of vSphere 6.5 there is really no reason anymore to stick with the old school Windows vCenter; finally the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) has become a first class citizen and the preferred implementation solution for the most important vSphere infrastructure compnent. This was already made clear by VMware when in 2016 they released a tool to easily migrate a Windows vCenter 5.5 to VCSA 6.0 U2 and with vSphere 6.5 the migration from an older Windows vCenter server is one of the officially supported upgrade paths.

Although not new – it was inherited from v 6.0 – one of the best features of the VCSA 6.5 is it’s ease of upgrade. I tested it myself in the homelab taking advantage of the first maintenance release (6.5a) which was released last week bringing support to NSX 6.3.

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ds713_smallI have recently purchased a Synology DS713+ unit as I needed a reliable storage solution for my new “all physical” vSphere Home Lab. Synology has a great reputation for quality, features and performances and it is one of the manufacturers of choice among home labbers. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that the DS7123+ comes with full VAAI capabilities at a reasonable price (I was able to find it for less than 400 Euros without disks).

I will spare you all the fancy stuff about the unboxing, the initial configuration and the detailed (and indeed impressive) features list and I will go straight to the point: I will show you how I managed to correctly set up a fully VAAI backed iSCSI DataStore for my ESXi 5.5 U1 hosts, after some trial and error: unfortunately the Synology documentation is a bit lacking on this topic and it took me a few attempts before I succeeded to do it correctly.

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