VMware would like to hear from you. Please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/R8BK8PG and fill out the survey and get your voice heard.
One of the most frequent asks when using vCAC is, “How do I deploy machines using my company’s hostnaming standards automatically using vCAC?” Since the out-of-the box hostnaming only provides a way to do prefix-suffix, the answer to this question usually is that it will require customization.
This solution is intended to provide a way to implement this functionality by using a small, highly versatile custom extension which can handle 95% of use cases without writing custom code.
The rest of this article contains instructions on installing and configuring the vCAC Custom Hostnaming Extension. This extension allows administrators to model very specific custom hostnaming schemes for their vCAC virtual machines, multi-machine services, and vCloud Director vApps using vCAC custom properties, with dynamic creation of stock machine prefixes and index tracking for each unique hostname combination.
This extension is [Read more...]
vCAC has what is referred to as the “Master Workflow” which makes up the Virtual Machine Lifecycle. The Master workflow is the top level workflow states that a virtual machine will go through, throughout it’s life. These workflow states tie pretty closely to the Workflow stubs that are shipped with the designer, but they are not a direct match to them. I often see confusion around the workflow states and the workflow stubs. I’m hoping to clear up the confusion around this and help everyone understand the difference between them.
Master WorkFlow States
The vCAC Master workflow states are as follows:
- Request State
- Approval State
- Provision State
- Manage State
- Expired State
- Decommissioned State
The Linux Guest agent has not changed much since 5.1. You will notice most everything except the agent version remains basically the same as my article on executing scripts with the 5.1 Linux Guest agent.
Linux Guest Agent
The Linux guest agent has a number of feature benefits that you receive if you utilize it. The Linux guest agent is a small agent that acts very similarly to the vCAC proxy agents. When it is installed you give it the name or IP address of the vCAC server. This allows it to check in with the server when it loads on a newly provisioned machine and determine if there is anything it needs to do. If the vCAC server has work for it to do it send the instructions and the agent executes the instructions on the local guest operating system. The guest agent comes with a number of pre-built scripts and functions, but also allows you to execute your own scripts. Some of the features available with the Linux Guest Agent are:
- Disk Operations – Partition, Format, and mount disk that is added to the machine.
- Execute Scripts – Execute scripts after the machine is provisioned.
- Network Operations – Configure setting for additional network interfaces added to the machine.
So I have been getting a lot of questions regarding the vCAC 5.2 Guest Agents. In vCAC 5.2 the guest agents have changed and there are a few bugs in the Windows Installation. Good new for those of you who had upgraded from vCAC 5.1, you don’t need to scramble to move form the 5.1 guest agent, to the vCAC 5.2 guest agent. The vCAC 5.1 guest agent will still work as usual as long as you had it configured for SSL. The big driver for the change to the Windows agent is Windows Server 2012. The previous vCAC 5.1 agent will not work with Windows Server 2012 so if you are planning on using 2012, you will need to use the 5.2 guest agent.
Installing the vCAC 5.2 Windows Agent
You have two options for using the vCAC guest agent. You can pre-install the agent in your templates, or if you want to keep your templates clean you can install the agent as part of the Sysprep customization by using customization specifications. For information on auto deploying the guest agent see the following post:
I have seen a rise in questions regarding vCAC 5.x and integration with XenDesktop. This article is not a step by step on how to configure integration with XenDesktop, but information on capabilities and use cases for integration.
Supported XenDesktop Versions:
- XenDesktop 4.0 (Only VMware Hypervisor and vCAC VDI agent must be installed on a 32-bit host.)
- XenDesktop 5.0 (SP1 (Supported on VMware and XenServer)
- XenDesktop 5.5 (Supported on VMware and XenServer)
During a POC something was brought to my attention that I haven’t heard anyone ask for before, but it seems like a very useful and valid need. The ask was to be able to set CPU Cores during provisioning rather than CPU’s. Operating Systems and other apps license by sockets, not cores so instead of having 8 CPU Sockets with 1 core, why not have 1 CPU Socket with 8 Cores. So I decided to build a solution that would solve this and change the CPU Sockets to Cores.
Now I prefer to do as much as I can in the design center and with the WorkFlow stubs because then they will work for everyone without the need for the CDK so taking that into consideration here is what I have built.
I am executing my script at the MachineProvisioned state of the virtual machines lifecycle. This can mean different things based on the provisioning type that is selected. If we are talking about cloning then it means that the clone has finished, vCAC hardware customization has taken place, Customization Specification has executed, any operation performed by the guest agent are complete and the VM for all intents is complete.Using the WFStubMachineProvisioned workflow however I can perform additional operations before the machine is handed off to the owner. In this case I’m using the workflow stub to execute a powershell script named SocketsToCores.
vCAC 5.2 was officially released yesterday and made available publicly on the VMware website located here. Although it’s available on customers that have licenses for the product can access the download. Currently there is no public trial available.
New features in vCAC 5.2
- Enhanced vCloud Director Integration – Support for Pay as you go, Reservations of partial oVDC’s, Individual management of VM’s within a vApp, and management of existing vApps.
- Support for KVM – KVM support is adopted through the use of RedHat Enterprise Virtualization Manager 3.1 and supports provisioning of machines and management capabilities for the provisioned managed VM’s.
- vCloud Networking and Security (vCNS) – Supports provisioning of machines into existing VXLAN’s, Security Groups, as well as load balancers.
- Customizable Reclamation Workflows – This is an enhancement to vCAC’s reclamation workflows which were previously very static and not customizable. In this release you now have the ability to customize a new lease length and the wait time before enforcing the new lease period.
- SRM Compatibility – Notice the word compatibility. vCAC will not discover both the primary and recovery VM and allow management of only the primary. So no real functional support for SRM, but it is at least now compatible and able to function in SRM environment.
- Windows 2012 Managed Guest OS – vCAC 5.2 now offers support for Windows 2012 as a guest operating system.
- Lot’s of bug fixes – If you read the release notes located here, you will see there are about 5 pages of resolved issues.
If you have installed the vSphere Proxy agent when connecting vCAC to vCenter you may have seen the option to select the “Test Agent”. The test agent is extremely useful if you are developing custom workflows, modifying workflow stubs in the designer, or just don’t have enough resources to test against.
How does the test agent work?
It’s pretty simple once you install the test agent you can create a fictitious host. You can then create reservations from your fictitious host. The test agent is designed so that when a requested machine is deployed against a reservation that is backed by fictitious host it steps through the machine lifecycle with a successful response for each state. So essentially it makes vCAC think the machine was provisioned and customized etc. This allows you to still execute your custom workflows and if they fail, it will throw back a failure, but you don’t have to worry about waiting for a machine to clone.
Wow this one is currently a really hot topic. I must have been asked how to automate the installation of vCAC 50 or more times in the last week and I can’t even count over the last month, so here it is. As I’m sure everyone has learned there area a number of components to vCAC. When installing from the command line you will need to install each of them independently. What you will see in this post may be a bit confusing and it’s understandable as I’m merely sharing the commands without much explanation. I plan to go through my step by step tutorials and inject the options to the relevant steps in them. Hopefully I will find time to round back to this article and put much more time into explaining each option. For now I hope this helps anyone trying to do an automated installation.
Each of the examples is for performing an https install, however can change from https to http if you like. I should also point out in the vCAC 5.2 release this is much more simplified and much less complex. Please post any questions you have regarding this topic in the forum under the thread “vCAC Automated Installation Questions“.