vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.2 – Installing the 5.2 Guest Agent on Linux

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.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Custom Property Overrides

In my article Custom Properties Demystified I reference a chart I put together that defines the override order of custom properties based on where they are defined. The document is available in the downloads section. This document is a list of my findings based on testing I performed.

While delivering a vCAC 5.1 training class today I shared the document with my class and one of the attendees was kind enough to look over the chart and determine a definitive override order based on the data. This is great as I never took the time to review the data to determine a definitive override order. So here you go.
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Custom Property of the Day #1 – Operating System

Property of the day is a new series I’m starting where I will cover a different custom property each day. This is the first property of the day check back each day for a new property.

POTD #1 Operating System
vCAC version: 5.1
Property Name
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 5.1 – Configure Static IP Address Support

vCAC has a feature that can be enabled to provide support for Static IP address assignments of provisioned workloads. This Static IP Address feature allows you to create “Network Profiles” that you assign to your networks from which it assigns IP addresses to machines that are provisioned on to the network. vCAC handles IP address allocation in the following way:

  1. When a machine request is submitted it get placed on the appropriate reservation that is assigned to the group that can support the request.
  2. Once placed on the reservation it get’s assigned to a network. If the network has a “Network Profile” assigned to it the machine will receive the next available IP Address form the “Network Profile. If not no address will be assigned.
  3. As pat of the machine provisioning process you can execute “VMware Customization Specs” that perform the sysprep operation on the provisioned machine. When an IP address is assigned from a “Network Profile” vCAC instructs vCenter to override the customization spec with the IP information assigned to the machine. (When using VMware cloning either customization specifications” or the “vCAC Guest Agent” is required for static IP address assignments.)

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VMware SDK and Visual Studio 2008

I went to install the VMware SDK for vSphere 4.0 on to my desktop running Windows 7 64-bit, Visual Studio 2008, and .Net 3.5 SP1 and discovered the SDK setup is not friendly with these versions.  According to VMware you need Visual Studio 2005 and .Net 2.0 if you want to run the SDK.

So like most of you reading this I turned to my trusted adviser…google to find the answer I was looking for.  Much to my disappointment after 5 minutes of searching around I didn’t find any instant gratification for my problem so I decided to just go ahead and figure it out on my own.

It turned out to be a relatively easy task once I discovered what was causing my issues.  There are two windows cmd scripts that need to be edited to point to the proper locations of your installations.  I have included the modified cmd files in our downloads section for those of you that would like them.  These files are built to support my specific configuration but they are very easily edited to support your configuration.

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VMware Workstation 7, VMware Player and Microsoft Virtual PC

A little over a week ago,  I was pleasantly surprised by an email from VMware announcing the  release of VMware Workstation 7. Since I actively participated in the beta, they gave me a free license key for the new version. That’s reason enough to love it in itself! But, to be honest, I have been using VMware Workstation for quite some time now. I vaguely remember Y2K testing with it back when is was an IT pup. Since I got the fresh copy, I decided to completely redo my laptop with a fresh install of Winders 7 and all of my handy convenience programs (Office, TortoiseSVN,  TweetDeck, FeedDemon, Firefox, Pandora, etc.). Since Winders 7 and IE8 have some compatability issues with some things, I decided to create a hybrid of what I did when I ran Ubuntu as the host OS. Since I was making things fresh, I created a Winders 2003 template then spawned a VM to host all of my favorite tools for VMware. I will most likely create spawns of the template for other things, like SAN tools. This gives me modules to do the job of the day and portability in case the host crashes.

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VMware Workstation Release Candidate Available Now

VMware Workstation 7 RC is available now. A while back, I posted about how to disable debug mode and quickly made it private because I was under NDA. Well, as of October 2nd, it is in RC and available to the public.

Since I changed jobs, I am back to a Winders laptop as my primary host. Its very convenient to spark up an Ubuntu VM to allow me the *NIX native commands I use when working with ESX Servers, like scp and ssh. I know I can do it with things like Putty, but I am more comfortable using Linux for these tasks. It makes editing bash and kickstart scripts a little easier too. It seems that Microsoft has made an OS that sucks less than Vista (Winders 7), but many of the simple .Net tools, like the vSphere Client, won’t work without stoopid tricks. So, I also have a stripped down XP VM that I keep updated with all of the kewl tools, like the VMware Clients, PowerCLI, vSphere CLI, The VESI, Converter, Capacity Planner, RVTools and the Host Update Utility. I actually created the VM back when Ubuntu was my primary laptop OS and it is nice to have the ability(and security) to take a snapshot before upgrading any of the tools or programs that I use. Someone once said that it adds extra layers when I am trying to do my job. But think about this: If my laptop takes a nosedive, regardless of the OS, I can just jump on any machine – even a netbook – and run the VM using VMware Player from a USB Stick.

Some interesting notes about Workstation 7 RC:

  • Ability to create a VM that will run ESX 3.5 or ESX 4
    • This was “allowed” in WS 6.5, but you had to manually edit the .vmx to make it work. Now you can tell the wizard that the guest OS is ESX Server.
    • Great for testing scripts, etc.
    • Seems to support all Enterprise Plus features except Fault Tolerance
  • Better Network Configuration GUI for Winders hosts
    • The are using the Virtual Network Editor GUI that we have used on Linux hosts for a while.
    • Seems that Winders hosts will only allow a single NAT network. I always had three or four on my Linux hosts.
  • Better ALSA sound support for Linux hosts
    • No sound output conflicts
  • Driverless printing via ThinPrint
    • Very convenient!

They don’t say how long it will be in RC status and I would speculate that pricing will be similar to WS 6.x pricing. What are you waiting for? Go git some!

How-To: Disable Debug Mode in Workstation 7.0 Beta

OK… I know the wonks at VMware will frown upon this one, but someone posted a similar hack for WS 6.5 beta, so here it is for WS 7.0 beta. I finally got around to installing the beta code this morning and immediately saw a performance issue. VMware Workstation Beta runs in debug mode by default. It can seriously slow down your VMs. If you are playing with vSphere and ESX/ESXi 4.0 inside a VM, it is horribly slow once you get to the VM inside of the VM. This is actually part of the testing VMware would like you to perform while using the beta.

For Linux, you will find the files in /usr/lib/vmware/bin. For Winders, they are probably somewhere in %PROGRAMS%. I usually stick to Linux for my host.

Basically, perform the following to disable debug mode. Shut down VMware first!

sudo mv /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmx-debug /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmx-debug.old
sudo cp /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmx /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmx-debug
The Result After Renaming the Files
Click on the Image for a Larger View

Now, you have tricked the apploader to use the standard build. I would assume you will have similar results with Winders. Just add “.exe” onto the end of the referenced files names. Easy huh?


This is neither supported nor recommended by VMware. If you have any issues with the beta version and wish to post to the forums or file and SR, you MUST revert back to debug mode and reproduce the error or VMware may not help you. This is a beta TEST. VMware will want debug info to check any suspected bugs before releasing it GA.