22 February 2012

Getting started with VMware vCentre Server Appliance

When building temporary or smaller VMware environements it can be a great time and money saver to deploy a vCentre Server Appliance as opposed to a full blown Windows based vCentre Server.  Here the short guide to get going:

Download the required files

Browse to http://www.vmware.com/support/product-support/vsphere/index.html
Log in with your VMware account or create one

Select the Licenses & Download Section
Expand the "Download Management server" section

You will need to download three files and save the in the same location.

  • VMware vCenter Server 5.0 Appliance - OVF File
    (to download the files right click the download butting and "save as" with a .ovf extention
  • VMware vCenter Server 5.0 Appliance - System Disk  - vmdk (4GB)
  • VMware vCenter Server 5.0 Appliance - Data Disk - vmdk (40MB)

Deploy the files to an ESX host
Connect to the host wit the vSphere client

  • File - Deploy OVF template
  • Specify the path of the ovf file you downloaded
  • Select a data store for the vca
  • Complete the wizard

The files will now be imported to the ESX host.  Once done you can continue on.

The quickstart guide
Start up the VM and connect to the console

The first thing you would want to do it to get the machine on the network so you can administer it through the web interface.

Select Configure network and follow the walk through to get the device connected.

Once finished you will be returned to the initial blue screen. I will now step through the details in the quickstart guide.

Step 1 : Connect to the web interface.

  • Open your browse and connect to https://specifiedip:5480
  • log in with the default credentials
  • Username: root
  • Password:  vmware

Step 2: Accept the EULA

Step 3:  Connect to the database section
Here you will now have to choose either to use the embedded (DB2) or Oracle database type.

For most of us this will always be embedded.  There is a limitation here though.  The embedded database only support a maximum of 5 hosts and 50 VMs

Step 4:  Enter the database connection information

  • Select embedded
  • Click save settings and wait for it to finish
  • Click test settings and wait

If all succeeds you should get the green "Operation was successful"

Step 5:  Select the status section

Step 6:  Start the vCentre

The status should now be "Running"

You should now be able to connect to the vCentre with the vSphere client.

Getting a vCentre Server Appliance up and running is fairly painless.  Compare to a Windows Based vCentre Server deployment it does however have with some limitations that larger deployments will encounter.

  • No Update Manager
  • No Linked-Mode
  • No support for the VSA (vSphere Storage Appliance)
  • Only support for Oracle as the external database
  • Embedded database, DB2, only supports 5 hosts and 50 VMs
  • No support for vCenter Heartbeat

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