April 23rd, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

*Disclaimer: I am an EMC employee, this post was not sponsored or in any way required by my employer, it is my experience getting to know this particular product.**

In my last ViPR SRM post, I introduced you to some of the features if you were not already aware of them. In this post, I will look at installing ViPR SRM 6.5.2. I downloaded ViPR SRM from support.emc.com; while I am an EMC employee, I logged into the support site with my personal email account to download the files. Once logged in, search for ViPR SRM and click on the downloads menu, as I mentioned I will be going with the vApp option versus a binary installation.


Once downloaded, extract the content of the zip file – you’ll have 2 OVF’s. One is the 4 VM vApp I mentioned in my last post, the other, a 1VM vApp useful for lab and evaluation purposes. Given I have limited resources in my home lab, I will be deploying the 1 VM vApp.


Important note here, you will need to deploy the OVF to vCenter, not a stand-alone ESXi host as some of the OVF properties will not be exposed properly, causing the deployment to fail.

Follow the OVF deployment wizard, when prompted select the All-In-One configuration:


By default, the VM deploys with 4 vCPU – adjust according to your lab, I have set mine to 2, 16GB RAM and removed the reservation (performance here would not be ideal obviously, but this is for lab purposes only). Once the OVF has been deployed, you should be able to log into http://:58080/APG. Login as admin/change me to access ViPR SRM.



By default, you are in the “User” interface, if you click on “Administration” in the upper right corner, you will go to the administration screen. Go ahead and click on Administration >> Centralized Management (on the left nav menu) >> License Management (also on the left nav menu). As you can see you have a 30 day trial license to test out ViPR SRM.


Close the license window/tab. Notice where the “Administration” menu was, you now see a “User Interface” menu, this will (like the administration link did) take you to the User interface (where you initially landed when you logged in.

In the next post, I will look at connecting ViPR SRM to vCenter and, in my case, XtremIO.

Installing ViPR SRM

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February 9th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

Generally, installing virtual appliances has been pretty straight forward – import an OVA and enter the necessary details in the deployment wizard, or access the virtual appliances management interface (such as those typically on port 5480 from VMware). However, as of the Release Candidate for VMware vSphere 6.0, the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) installation takes a much different approach than what you’ve been used to.

A few vCenter Server Appliance prerequisites

First, it should be noted that you can only install the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) from Windows. I was first turned onto the VCSA because I was at an all OSX/Linux shop so it made sense to use something we were accustomed to using already. For now, you’ll need a Windows box to at least get the appliance deployed;  then you can punt (please note also this is based on Release Candidate (RC) code and could change in the final release).

You CAN deploy the VCSA 6.0 to both ESXi 5.5 or 6.0 host. If you currently have a 5.5 environment you can deploy the VCSA without upgrading your hosts, but if you did not take  the plunge into 5.5 you’ll have to bring at least one host online running 5.5. or 6.0.

Finally, before getting started, you MUST create DNS records before running the installer. I was struggling with the new installer because I’ve just been used to doing my DNS records after I deployed the VCSA, but before running the setup through the management interface. However with a little help from Emad Younis (@Emad_Younis) I was able to point me in the right direction. With 6.0 all of the configuration is done from the initial setup wizard. When it’s finished installing, vCenter is ready to run.

The installation wizard will NOT give you an error if this does not exist, instead it will fail during the installation!

As you can see here I have my forward and reverse DNS records ready to go on .9


Installing the vCenter Server Appliance

As with the older versions of the VCSA, it all starts with a download; however in this case you will be downloading an ISO image. Once the ISO image is downloaded either mount the ISO on your Windows box or extract the ISOs into a folder (as seen here).


Now that you have access to the files, drill down into the vcsa folder, there you will find the VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0. Install this application on your Windows box (double click, Next, Accept/Next, Next, Install, Finish). Once the plugin finishes installing, back up one folder level and open the index file. As you can see here I am on Windows Server 2012, thus at least IE10 however opening the index in IE10 gives me a warning that I need to upgrade to at least IE10 or 11, so yea I’m going with Chrome. As with any plugin, you must enable it in Chrome. Click on the puzzle piece with the red x, then click Always allow and refresh the page and click the Allow button.


You should now see the vCenter icon along with a large Install button, click on it. You will get a UI very similar to what you would get deploying a virtual appliance.

vmware-vcsa-6 -installer

1.  After carefully reading the license agreement, printing it for your records, and having it signed by an attorney, click the I accept… check box and click Next.

2.  Now you can chose to deploy to your target server. Specify your ESXi host (5.5 or above!), username and password – now click Next.

If you are using self signed/untrusted certificates click Yes when prompted.

3.  The next step is to name your appliance. In my case, like I have created in DNS, my appliance name will be vxprt-vc02.vxprt.local. Click Next

4.  On the deployment type you can chose to install an embedded Platform Services Controller (which includes Single Sign-On in vSphere 6.0), just the the PSC, or just vCenter. You can have multiple Platform Services Controllers, and they can be different types. For example you could do a stand-alone PSC and have an embedded one with the VCSA. When the installer says “embedded” it really just means the components will be installed on the same virtual appliance as vCenter. I’ll be doing embedded here. Click Next

5.  Chose whether you have an existing SSO domain or you will be creating a new one. I will do this install as a greenfield type deployment, so select Configure Single Sign-On. Now enter the administrator password, and domain. To stay consistent with what I know about SSO, I’ll enter vsphere.local here. Click Next.

VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) step 5 - configure SSO

VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) step 5 – configure SSO

6.  Select the appliance size that supports your environment, including the new “tiny” deployment for up to 20 hosts. Click Next

7.  Select the datastore you will to install to, and whether to THIN PROVISION the vmdk (no VMware, I’m not calling it “Thin Disk Mode” – THIN PROVISION!). Click Next

8.  If you’re an Oracle shop, you have a choice on step 8, otherwise just click Next.

9.  Chose a network (this will be based on the host you deployed to), and how to assign IP information including the host name – This MUST match DNS. I’ll select static as that is what I would want to do for this type of server. Finally enter the NTP server and click next (I’ve also enabled SSH so I can connect directly to the virtual machine.

VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) installation - Network Settings

VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) installation – Network Settings

10.  Review the settings you’ve enter, make sure your IP information and host name are all correct and click Finish. The installation of vCenter and the VCSA will start. You’ll even see it installing packages, that’s right this is a ground up build, not just a bunch of packages pre-installed on a virtual machine!

VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) installation process

VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) installation process

Once the installation is complete, you can connect to https://fqdn/vsphere-client (no more 9443! One less question on the VCP6 I guess :) ).

vmware-vcsa-6-installation-completeLog in as the [email protected] you configured during the installation.


So far on the release candidate I’ve had trouble deploying to a port group on a VDS (it gives errors almost immediately) even though it appears as a valid port group on the network settings page. It would be nice if VMware added more validation on the various steps to ensure there will be no errors during the installation. If you do run into an error, you need to re-run the installation wizard.

Installing the VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.0 VCSA

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February 3rd, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

**Please note that the installation steps here and requirements are based on beta and release versions of ESXi 6.**

Installing VMware ESXi 6 is just as straight forward as ever, of course you’ll want to make sure your hardware is on the VMware HCL and you meet the necessary system requirements:

  • 64-bit x86 processor with VT-x or AMD-V enabled in the BIOS
  • NX/XD enabled in the BIOS
  • Dual-core/dual processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 1GB of local storage

Of course those are minimums and you won’t get much virtualized with those specs, but alas that is likely fine for lab and testing purposes.  For the installation, I typically suggest USB or SD card.  This saves your physical disks, either locally or in a boot from SAN configuration free for VM related IO.  If you have local disks and flash based drives in your system, you can enable VSAN for example to provide shared storage in from the local storage in your hosts. There are other requirements for VSAN that I’ll touch on in another post (or check out yellow-bricks or cormachogan.com/)

The local storage is the bare minimum required. With only 1GB there are a few extra steps after the installation to define a location for log storage but its a simple step. If you want storage for log files as part of your boot media, you will need at least 5.2GB. When you reach the root password step, usually I start with something easy to type so when I log into the console interface (DCUI) after the installation and add the hosts to vCenter I’m not “infomercial bumbling” for the password. Later I can then rip a PowerCLI script through the environment to change to a more complex password.

Burn the ISO do a CD or mount it in your remote console (e.g UCS, iLO, DRAC or vSphere/Workstation/Fusion for your nested home lab) and power on the computer.

The ISO will launch into the installer:

  • Press Enter to start the installation wizard


  • Press F11 to accept the EULA
  • Select the disk you wish to install ESXi on to and press enter


  • Select the keyboard layout and press enter
  • Enter your root password and press enter (at this point I tend to use something easy to type, just make sure to change later if you follow this)


  • Press F11 to start the installation


  • Remove the installation media and press enter to reboot

Once you have restarted, you will be at the Direct Console User Interface, aka the DCUI. That is it, installing ESXi, assuming you have the prereqs in place is quite straight forward, configuration on the other hand – well that depends on your environment and your business requirements. If you are installing ESXi in your lab as a nested virtual machine you may also want to consider VMware Tools for ESXi.

Back to basics – Installing VMware ESXi 6

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November 29th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

It’s been almost a year since I last looked at CloudBolt Software, and unfortunately other projects took me away from taking a deeper look at them at that time.  After taking a day off from blogging and having wrapped up my vRealize Automation and Application Services series I thought I’d have another look, especially now having hands on with vRealize Automation to compare it to.

Before you get started, be sure to get your license key squared away as you will need that to proceed.   You can get a license key by calling (703) 665 1060 or by emailing [email protected]

CloudBolt, as you’d expect comes as an OVF to deploy in vCenter or VMware Workstation, there are no OVF properties that are exposed in vCenter so the deployment process would be the same in either scenario.

  • Deploy the OVF, this is a simple process since you are not setting anything during the setup
  • While the VM is deploying, create your DNS records in AD
  • Log in as root/cloudbolt; the CloudBOlt C2 Server Setup UI will open
  • Set each of the options according to your network, then chose the Run option to configure CloudBolt.  Here is what mine looks like before selecting run
CloudBolt setup screen

CloudBolt setup screen

  • If you deploy the VMware Workstation, ensure your VM nic is set according to your desired configuration – NAT or Bridged
  • Now, navigate to the IP address / FQDN of the server
  • You will need a CloudBolt license key to continue; click on the Browse button to select your license file then click Upload License
  • You will now be at the login screen, log in as admin / admin
  • Accept the EULA and click Next
  • Select your “resource handler” – in my case VMware vCenter (you can select others later if needed)
CloudBolt Resource Handler Selection

CloudBolt Resource Handler Selection

  • Provide the IP address of your vCenter server along with a username and password, typically I’d create an administrative user specific for CloudBolt such as svc_vc_cb_bind so it could be identified.
  • CloudBolt will identify your environment; give a name to your  vCenter server, select your default datastore and which cluster to import
  • Select which networks you want to be available for provisioning.  This would be somewhat similar to selecting the port groups in the vCAC reservation – in my case I’ll select my vm port group (you can select more than one here)
  • Select which templates you want to import
  • Create a Cloud Bolt admin user, this is a local user account not tied to AD or LDAP services (all fields are required)
  • Finally fill in SMTP information or just click Finish then click Start Using CloudBolt

The initial CloudBolt setup is done after that easy wizard, a few additional steps you will need to perform before turning this over to users that we will look at in future posts:

  • Create new users or configure LDAP for your users to log in (Admin >> Users or Admin >> LDAP Authentication Settings >> New LDAP Utility)
  • Create new groups (Groups >> Add a Group)
  • Add portal (Admin >> CloudBolt Portals)
  • Add a provisioning engine or confiugration manager  (currently supports Puppet, Chef, Docker, Cobbler and HP Automation)
  • Create a Service Catalog for users to access

Setting up the CloudBolt Appliance

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November 25th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

I’ll admit, Git is a completely foreign language to me but it is something I am going to need to learn.  In an attempt to do that, I am going to take something I sort of know how to do manually-ish – install Ansible, but this time install it via git.  Once this is wrapped up I am going to catch up on Matthew Brender’s Git #vBrownBag which he did as part of the DevOps series.  Hopefully this post, if nothing else, can help you get Ansible setup and running.  Now Ansible is fairly well documented, but like most open source projects I find they assume a bit to much in their documentation to get you completely up and running.  For example you might have trouble following getting everything needed to install by following their directions.

To start, you’ll need a linux box to use, I have a CentOS 6.4 setup already so I will be using that.  To get started, we will need git and Python on our linux box – pretty easy to do (When prompted, press y to install the various packages needed):

yum install git

Ansible also requires Python, so now to install Python

yum install python python-setuptools

Almost there, just a few more things Ansible needs get up and running.  Since python-setuptools is installed you can setup pip using a python tool called easy_install, then pip to install the others

sudo easy_install pip

Now that pip is installed (there is no yum package I could find for this)

sudo pip install paramiko PyYAML Jinja2 httplib2

Now that Python is installed we can move on to installing Ansible.  This is where we will start to use git, from / run

git clone git://github.com/ansible/ansible.git --recursive

With Ansible now cloned, its time to setup the environment which Ansible was nice enough to provide a script for; cd to /ansible and run:

source ./hacking/env-setup

By default, Ansible will look for an inventory file in /etc/ansible/hosts but the clone process or env-setup does not create that for us so;

mkdir /etc/ansible && touch /etc/ansible/hosts && echo "" > /etc/ansible/hosts

Now we have a host file which is where we will store all the systems we want to manage with Ansible and added our localhost IP to the file.  Next up you should be able to run a command, the documentation suggests

ansible all -m ping --ask-pass

But as you can see we are still missing something, a package called sshpass


We need just a couple more packages to complete this test example assuming you are on a clean install of CentOS

yum install wget
wget http://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/6/x86_64/sshpass-1.05-1.el6.x86_64.rpm
rpm -Uvh sshpass-1.05-1.el6.x86_64.rpm


ssh -l root

Accept the certificate, enter the password for your root user and log out

NOW…..we have success

Ansible working test

Ansible working test

Now that we have Ansible setup and working, it’s time to go back and review the #vBrownBag Jeff Geerling (@geerlingguy) did on it to take it to the next level. My next goal is to create a simple inventory file to perform tasks on multiple systems.

Installing Ansible via Git

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