More and more frequently I get asked about support for configuring LVM(Logical Volumes) in Linux guests provisioned by vCAC. The short answer is the guest agent by default will partition a disk as a standard Linux partition. However because the guest agent allows us to execute scripts we can overcome this and configure LVM volumes within the guest. In this article I’m going to to walk you through just how to do that.
Using the Linux Guest Agent to config LVM
- To begin we need a working vCAC environment that can provision Linux VM’s with a working Linux Guest Agent. You can find information on all the needed topics to install and configure vCAC 6 here.
- Next we need a script that we will use to setup the LVM inside the guest Linux operating system. Below I have a very basic script for this example. This script assumed only one additional hard disk will be added to the VM. Any additional disks will not be included in the LVM.
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Configuring Linux Logical Volumes (LVM) using the vCAC 6.0 Linux Guest Agent”
That big ole title pretty much says it all. In this article I’m going to walk through how to deploy RHEL (Centos) Linux onto a Physical HP Server over the iLo interface using Kickstart. When provisioning to Physical servers such as an HP Proliant DL360 there are two methods built into vCAC. One is the use of PXE boot, and the other is via the iLo interface.
There are pro and cons to both PXE and remote mounting an ISO over the iLo interface. PXE has the obvious cons of the network requirements, having a PXE server available and if you want true flexibility you will need to do a little custom work. ISO mount over iLo tend to be a bit slower due to the over head of remote mounting a ISO and the speed of the iLo interface. In this article I will be covering remote mounting an ISO over iLo, but I will be covering PXE is a later article.
What do we need
To start we need the Physical HP server to be racked and cabled up. It’s iLo interface should be configured and licensed, the network interfaces should be cabled in and the switches should be configured for the appropriate Vlans etc. The drives in the server should also be initialized. vCAC will not create any raid groups etc for you, you must do this manually. My examples also requires a web server that can be utilized to store the needed files on the network.
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center vCAC 6.0 – Using Linux Kickstart to Provision to Physical HP Server over iLo”
A common extension requested for vCloud Automation Center is the ability to pre-create computer account objects in Active Directory in a specific Organizational Unit, and also to decommission the accounts in different ways along with the virtual machine. Without a custom workflow, you can have the computer join the domain during the customization phase, but this will only create the computer account in the default Computers container. Also, while there is an out-of-the box AD machine cleanup plugin which can be enabled, it will likely never support the multi-tenancy introduced in vCAC 6.0. vCO does not support it today either, but it is more likely to gain support in the near future.
This solution implements these functions using vCenter Orchestrator and its plugins for vCAC and Active Directory.
The rest of this article contains instructions on installing and configuring the vCAC AD Computer Account Management Extension. This extension allows administrators to model very specific OU structures for their AD machine accounts using vCAC custom properties, and supports dynamic OU Distinguished Name building based on combinations of properties derived from different areas of vCAC (compute resources, reservations, groups, blueprints, etc.).
This extension is Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – Active Directory Computer Account Management Extension”
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
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2 – Virtual Machine LifeCycle Demystified”
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.
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2 – Installing the 5.2 Guest Agent on Linux”
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:
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2 – Installing the 5.2 Guest Agent on Windows”
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.
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC – Workflow and Script to Change CPU’s to Cores”
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.
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2 is offically GA and available for download!”
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.
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Using the vCAC Test Agent”
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“.
Continue reading “vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Automating the vCAC installation”