February 4th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

Configuring the ESXi management interface via the Direct Console User Interface (DCUI) is the first step, post installation, needed to make your ESXi host accessible (unless of course it obtains an address via DHCP). Once the management interface is setup and working you can then log into the server from the host based client or use tools such as PowerCLI to manage and configure the host.  In fact, since the basic features of ESXi are free, you could start virtualizing with just 1 host and the management interface configured.

virtualize-all-the-thingsOnce the install is complete and you have restarted your server, you will be at the DCUI.

  • Press the F2 button on your keyboard and enter the password you set during installation (see, no copy and paste here which is why I start with something easy).

esxi-6-dcui

  • Use the arrow key to “Configure Management Network” and press enter
  • Select “Network Adapters” and hit enter; here you can choose which network interfaces you want configured as a vmkernel adapter to support management traffic.  In this example only have 1 NIC but you may  have many in a production environment (you can very easily run  small workload traffic over 1 interface, but you won’t have redundancy)

esxi-6-select-network-adapters

  • Depending on your network configuration, you may need to go into “VLAN (optional)” to set your VLAN ID for this interface if you require all traffic to be tagged (for example in a UCS environment).  For simple configurations, this step is probably not needed.
  • Next, use the arrow keys to go to “IP Configuration” and press enter.  You can set either a dynamic or static IP address.  If you go the dynamic route via a DHCP server I’d suggest using a reservation so your IP address is consistent.  Using DHCP here also adds some considerations for availability.  For example if your DHCP server is not available, your host won’t get an IP address.
  • If you use IPv6, select “IPv6 Configuration” and configure as needed.
  • Now, go to “DNS Configuration” and press enter.  Here you define your DNS servers as well as your host name.  If you opted for DHCP, these will be provided otherwise enter these as appropriate and make sure you host name matches the DNS record you created.
  • Once finished, hit the ESC key.  Here you will be prompted to restart the management network (unless you didn’t make any changes, which if you are using DHCP is certainly possible)

esxi-6-restart-management-network

If you have not already done so, create the appropriate DNS records for your host(s). You should now be able to access the Welcome page and download the Windows client. You could also connect to the host using PowerCLI at this point.

esxi-6-download-client

The basics are now in place for you to start creating virtual machines!

Back to basics – Configuring the ESXi management interface via DCUI

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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

1-esxi-6-install-welcome

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

2-esxi-6-install-select-disk

  • 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)

3-esxi-6-install-password

  • Press F11 to start the installation

4-esxi-6-install-f11-install

  • 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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January 21st, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

Today Ravello has announced a new version of their platform. I first met Ravello at VMworld and was impressed with what they were building. Ravello, in my opinion, makes it easy to explore public cloud solutions and get comfortable with a range of technologies out side the traditional virtualization admin world – specifically I am looking at them as I continue my journey in learning DevOps methodologies and tools.

With their new release, Ravello is also close to being able to run ESXi as a virtual machine on AWS – for lab enthusiast this means no more expensive home lab equipment. Fire up your AWS hosted ESXi virtual machines and run your lab for as long as you need and power it off when you’re done.

Ravello also provides you the ability to run native ESXi virtual machines on AWS, I can think of several situations where I could have leveraged this functionality for disaster recovery and/or disaster recovery testing.

Full press release after the break…

Official Press Release:

Ravello Systems, Inc. today announced that it has released a major version of its nested virtualization technology, HVX, which wraps complex application environments in self­contained capsules that can run on any cloud. Founded in 2011 by the team that created the KVM hypervisor, Ravello is driving a fundamental increase in pace for companies by instantly cloud enabling any application.

Delivered as a service, Ravello is a breakthrough offering that enables entire application environments with existing VMware or KVM virtual machines and complex networking, to be deployed on any cloud, without any changes. In addition to seamless cloud usage, Ravello has enabled enterprises to reduce provisioning time for complex application environments from months to minutes. Ravello’s cloud­based smart labs enable enterprises to accelerate their development, test, training, sales and support processes. With the new major release today, Ravello has further enhanced all components of its technology:

1. HVX: nested hypervisor ­ the nested hypervisor now includes nested^2 functionality through support for virtualization extensions such as Intel VT and AMD SVM. This means, in addition to running unmodified VMware or KVM virtual machines on public clouds, Ravello can also run third­party hypervisors such as KVM today and soon ESXi on top of AWS or Google cloud. This enables hardware­less hypervisor labs and OpenStack labs in the public cloud.

2. HVX: overlay networking and storage ­ the overlay networking technology now includes full support for VLANs as well as mirror ports on top of AWS or Google Cloud. When combined with the unique ability to support broadcast and multicast in public clouds, the new networking functionality enables applications to have full layer 2 access and use the cloud just like the data center.

3. Management ­ the Ravello management UI has undergone a complete refresh. It now has a new look and feel, with improved user experience and a unified private library that serves as a repository of all resources such as VMs, application blueprints, disk Ravello Systems went into a successful public beta in February 2013 and launched the product globally in August 2013. Since then Ravello’s technology has been adopted by a wide variety of companies ranging from the Fortune 500 to mid­size and smaller companies.

Ravello (@ravellosystems) releases next evolution of nested virtualization

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November 21st, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

In order to use vSphere templates in vRealize Automation / vCloud Automation Center and Application Services / Application Director there is a bit of preparation you need to do, especially if you want to use Application Services.  There are guest agents for both vRealize Automation and Application Services so lets get started.  A quick assumption here, you already have a linux virtual machine installed with VMware Tools.  I am going to cheat a bit here and use the e1000 NIC, if you want to use the VMXNET3 adapter see my post on how to install VMware Tools…which needs Perl…which needs network access…which needs Perl!  Let’s get started with the specifics on configuring your Linux VM; I have a CentOS virtual machine called vxprt-centos-tmp that is powered on and ready to configure.  Log in via the VMRC or SSH to get started:

Note that as of Application Services 6.1, you cannot use CentOS7 – at the very least the guest agent will not install, I have not tested beyond the agent installation so certain functionality may work.  The support matrix has more details on supported operating systems.

  • For linux, this is bundled into an installer
  • Logged in as root run wget http://192.168.6.22/tools/preparevCACTemplate.sh – replace with your server name as necessary (I’ve not configured all network settings for this VM)
    • If wget is not installed, run yum install wget
  • Type ls – notice preparevCACTemplate.sh is grey
  • Now run chmod +x ./preparevCACTemplate.sh
  • Type ls again, notice now its green; +x added execute permission on the script
  • Now run the script;  ./preparevCACTemplate.sh – the vCloud Automation Center Agent Installer will start
VMware vCloud Automation Center / vRealize Automation Application Services linux agent installer

VMware vCloud Automation Center / vRealize Automation Application Services linux agent installer

  • Enter the following information in the wizard:
    • vCloud Automation Center Manager Service Server:  192.168.6.20
    • vCloud Automation Center IaaS Server:  192.168.6.21
    • Application Services Server:  192.168.6.22
    • Check certificates:  n
    • Download timeout:  Just press enter
    • Download and install Java:  y
    • When prompted click Y to install

The installer will download all of the necessary components and place them in the correct location; a nice step forward from vCloud Automation Center and Application Director 6.0.   You should receive a message that the Installation Complete Successfully and Ready to capture as a template… however there is still one more step we actually need to do – remove the 70-persistent-net.rules file.  This file keeps track of MAC addresses and it will change every time we clone the template.  By removing it, it will recreate the file on first boot.

  • Type cd /etc/udev/rules.d
  • Type rm 70-persistent-net.rules
  • Type y
  • Type shutdown now -h to shutdown the virtual machine
  • Return to the vSphere Web Client
  • Right click on the powered off virtual machine and select All vCenter Actions >> Convert to Template

We should now be ready to add the vSphere template as a Blueprint in vRealize Automation Center

Preparing vSphere Templates – vRealize Automation Series Part 13

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November 20th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

We are cruising right along here in our vRealize Automation / vCloud Automation Center setup.  So far we have everything installed, permissions assigned, a vCenter endpoint added and fabric group created with the cluster from our vCenter server.  Now its time to setup business groups.  Business groups are just a logical group of users, this may be done per department, per project or per external customer.  We can publish catalog items to business groups, so when planning your business groups think of the things certain groups may or may not need.  For example you may want a business group for your QA department that only has access to builds that are currently being tested so they do not chose the wrong version to deploy, or not want finance see HRs catalog items.   Consider helpdesk users, you may want to publish certain catalog items for them to do certain tasks like create AD users and groups through vCenter Orchestrator workflows or PowerShell scripts – the possibilities are seemingly endless.

Remember when I said installing it was the easy part – wasn’t kidding – all the work for vRealize Autoamtion / vCloud Automation Center comes in the application configuration.

A couple of things before we get started with business groups however; lets create some users in our AD to mimic end users and if you recall from my last post we also need to create a machine prefix as it is a required field to create the business group – no defined prefix, no savie business group.

  • Log into your DC and create several users; as a Walking Dead fan I used Rick, Carl, Tyreese and Daryl as my users.  All of these users were added to a group called vraGeorgia which will be assigned to my business group.  Create a 2nd group and set of users; in my case I went Star Wars related.

The fabric administrator creates machine, in the last post I assigned this role to the iaasadmin user, if you are still logged in from the last post you will need to log out and back in again to have the new permissions assigned.  Once logged in click on the Infrastructure tab >> Blueprints.  Recall from a previous post that the user with the IaaS admin role only had an menu item under Blueprints called Instance Types, now there are several – take a moment to look at each, when you are ready click on Machine Prefixes.

vRealize Automation / vCloud Automation Center Fabic Admin Blueprint menu

vRealize Automation / vCloud Automation Center Fabic Admin Blueprint menu

  • Click on New Machine Prefix
  • Fill in the prefix name, number of digits and next number.  For example Dead, 2, 1 would create the first prefix as dead01 because my prefix is dead, I’ve added 2 digits to that and set the next number to 1.  If, for example, I set it to zombie, 3 and 75 my next prefix created would be zombie075.
  • When finished, click the green circle with the check mark.  I have created two prefixes, dead for my vraGeorgia group and boom for vraAlderaan
vRealize Automation / vCloud Automation Center New Machine Prefix

vRealize Automation / vCloud Automation Center New Machine Prefix

  • Now that both machine prefixes are saved, log out of vRealize Automation / vCloud Automation Center and log in as tenantadmin
  • To create a business group, click on the Infrastructure tab >> Groups >> Business Groups (I feel like it would make more sense for this to be under administration, but its not so..)
  • Click on New Business Group and fill in the information, if you are using the same names as me, this is what it should look like when finished.  Use the ellipse to select the machine prefixes we just created and the magnifying glass icon to search for the names and groups.
  • In vCloud Automation Center 6, there was a bug that would not allow you to search for AD groups, I am sad to see this is still present in 6.1; according to the documentation groups should be accepted here.  Type the group name in below the search box, its not very obvious but will work

 

vRealize Automation / vCloud Automation Center Create Business Group

vRealize Automation / vCloud Automation Center Create Business Group

  • When finished, click the OK button and repeat for your second group

Here we are – business groups and prefixes created, next up – creating reservations for our business groups.

Adding Business Groups – vRealize Automation Series Part 10

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