DailyHypervisor Forums are online.

We have just launched our DailyHypervisor Forum located at http://www.dailyhypervisor.com/forum. Stop by, contribute and be a part of our community. The DH Forum is intended to be for all things cloud. Currently we have forums created for vCAC, vCD, vCO, Cloud General, and Openstack. More forum categories will be coming based on demand. If you have a category you would like to see shoot us a note and let us know.

Our goal is to create a common place where anyone can come to learn, get help, share ideas, or just about anything that will help foster knowledge regarding cloud computing. Considering this very blog is the announcement of our forum you could image there isn’t a whole lot happening yet so what are you waiting for, be the first. Go ask a question, post an issue, share a thought and let’s get things rolling.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Installing the Workflow Designer

The VMware vCloud Automation Center Designer is a great tool that allows you to modify pre-built workflow stubs that are included with the designer. These workflow stubs allow you add custom machine menu items, call out to external systems at different states of the machines lifecycle including:

  • Machine Requested
  • Machine Provisioned
  • Machine Expired
  • Machine Destroyed
  • Machine Registered

These are very common machine lifecycle states to perform activities such as:

  • CMDB Integration
  • Help Desk Ticketing System Integration
  • Asset System Integration
  • IP Management System Integration
  • DNS Integration
  • and many many more…….

Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Installing the Workflow Designer”

vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Installing Self-Service Portal

vCAC comes with a self-service portal outside the standard portal. The self-service portal is included with the vCAC-51-Extensibiliy installation files. The reason it is included with the extensibility file sit that it is provided as an example of what you could build on your own. However it has quickly become the portal that everyone is using. To install the portal you need to download the VMware vCloud Automation Center 5.1 – Development Kit. In the kit their is an installation file named “DCAC-SelfService-Setup.exe” this is the installer for the Self-Service portal.

Installing the Self-Service Portal

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Executing Scripts with the Windows Guest Agent

There are a few components to executing scripts in a Windows Guest OS which I’m going to cover in this post. Those items are:

  • Windows Guest Agent
  • Custom Properties

Windows Guest Agent – UPDATED!

Note: Due to a bug in this version of the agent installer that prevents it from being properly removed from the guest machine I recommend you use the process I define in Automated Install of Windows Guest agent to install the agent. You can follow the article and automate the installation or perform the steps manually in your template to achieve the same result as outlined in this article, without the side affect of the agent staying resident on your deployed machines.

The Windows Guest Agent has a number of feature benefits that you receive if you utilize it. The Windows 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. Once the guest agent is finished performing the work assigned the last process it executes is to remove itself from the guest. The guest agent comes with a number of pre-built functions, but also allows you to execute your own scripts. Some of the features available with the Windows 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.
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Executing Scripts with the Windows Guest Agent”

vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Creating Custom Drop Down Menu’s

To create a custom drop down menu that can be presented to users at request time we will be leveraging the Property Dictionary. The Property Dictionary gives us the ability to enhance and further customize the request experience. The Property Dictionary allows us to:

  • Create Basic Drop Down Menu’s
  • Create Context Sensative Drop Down Menu’s
  • Create Drop Down Lists
  • Create Checkboxes
  • Create Date/Time inputs
  • Create Noteboxes, TextBoxes, Integer inputs, links, password inputs and more.

Property Dictionary

In this example we are going to create a basic drop down menu that allows a user to select the folder their machine should be placed in inside vCenter from a list of available locations.
 
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Creating Custom Drop Down Menu’s”

vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Using Custom Properties

In this example we are going to configure a few different types of custom properties. The properties we are going to configure are:

  • VMware.VirtualCenter.Folder – This property allows you to define the folder in vCenter that a virtual machine will be placed in. If the folder does no exists it will be created when a machine is crated to be placed in the folder.
  • Cost.Center – This is not a reserved custom property, it’s one we are going to make up to attach a cost center to the machine request.
  • Project.ID – This is not a reserved custom property, it’s one we are going to make up to attach a Project ID to the machine request. We are going to prompt the user to input this value as part of the request.
  • Plugin.ADMachine.Cleanup.X – There are actually a few properties associated with this. The AD Cleanup wizard is a set of properties that allows you to configure what action to take in AD when a machine is destroyed. In my example I’m going to remove the machine record, however you can also configure it to move the machine to a specific OU and not delete it’s record.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Reservations Demystified

I have written a few articles that show you how to configure “Reservations” in vCAC. In this article I’m going to dig in to some details around “Reservations”, how they work, and the additional options that are available for them.

What are Reservations?

Reservations are a way for Enterprise Administrators to provide a subset of resources to the users within the organization. When a reservation is created it is assigned to a specific Provisioning Group and only a single Provisioning Group. They are a construct within vCAC and are not related to “Resource Pools” in vCenter. They can however be mapped to one which we will discuss. There are (3) primary types of Reservations:

  • Virtual Reservations
  • Cloud Reservations
  • Physical Reservations

Virtual Reservations

Virtual Reservations are used to allocate resources for the following:

  • VMware vSphere
  • VMware vCloud Director
  • Hyper-V Hosts
  • Hyper-V managed by SCVMM
  • Xen Server

Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Reservations Demystified”

vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Connecting to vCenter

In my last post I covered how to connect vCAC to Amazon EC2 which I hope was useful for many it appears to have received a lot of attention.  In this post I’m going to walk you through how to connect vCAC to vCenter.  Be sure that you have completed the steps in the below posts before you connect to vCenter:

What were going to configure

In order to configure vSphere integration we are going to setup some additional components of vCAC as outlined below:

  1. Credentials -Credentials will be utilized by out endpoints to authenticate us to the infrastructure element managers that we are going to communicate with.
  2. End Point – Endpoints are how we manage connections from vCAC to other infrastructure elements in the environment. There are endpoints that allow us to communicate with EC2, vCenter, vCloud Director, vCenter Orchestrator, Hyper-V, NetApp Filers, as well as Physical Servers such as HP iLO, Dell iDrac, and Cisco UCS.
  3. Install the vSphere Proxy Agent – The vSphere proxy agent is like a DEM, only it has pre-programmed workflows that perform a specific function. In this case the function will be to communicate with vCenter. Proxy agents are a bit legacy and will hopefully be ported to the new DEM architecture in the future.
  4. Enterprise Group – Although we already created an Enterprise Group we are going to add vSphere Compute Resources to the group in this exercise. For more information on what Enterprise Groups are see my earlier article “vCloud Automation Center – Laying the foundation“.
  5. Reservations – A resource reservation is how we provide available resources to our provisioning groups. Resource Reservation are a one to one mapping to provisioning groups. Resource reservation will get created for any type of resources you want to make available to your groups. In this exercise we will be creating a virtual vSphere reservation.
  6. Global Blueprints – A Blueprint is really a service definition that details what the consumer can request and all the policies and configuration of that service. We will create a virtual blueprint that a consumer can request through the service catalog in this example. I will cover Blueprints in greater detail in another article.

Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Connecting to vCenter”

Home Lab capable of running just about anything you want

A few months ago I set out to build a home lab that I could use to run vSphere, vCD, View, vCAC, vCO, vCops, and all other grat management tools that VMware has as well as Hyper-V, XenServer, KVM, OpenStack, Citrix XenDesktop, XenPVS and just about anything else I could think of running.  Initially I built a server with the following specs:

The Power House

  • (1) ASUS KGPE-D16 Dual Socket AMD Motherboard
  • (2) AMD Opteron 6320 2.8GHz 8-Core Processors
  • 128GB Memory
  • 800W Corsair PowerSupply

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ESX vs. ESXi Which is Better? Revisited.

For over a year now, I have started off telling customers in Plan and Design engagements that they would be using ESXi unless we uncovered a compelling reason to NOT use it. The “which do I use” argument is still going strong. Our blog post “ESX vs. ESXi which is better?“  was posted in April and is still the most popular. It seems to be a struggle for many people to let go of the service console. VMware is trying to go in the direction of the thinner ESXi hypervisor. They are working to provide alternatives to using the service console.

VMware has provided a comparison of ESX vs. ESXi for version 3.5 for a while. Well, VMware posted a comparison for ESX vs. ESXi for version 4 last night. It’s a great reference.