Vmware VCenter Virtual Appliance – Death to Windows.. I think.

6a00d8341c77ee53ef01630028e663970dI am, and have always been, a Linux/Unix Administrator, until VMware forced me to learn a bit of Windows.

This, above all, has been the very WORST part about Vmware. Just to run Virtual Center, I had to BUY Windows, I had to Install Windows, and I had to try to learn Windows.  Oh, and then I had to slap some sort of virus protection on it, and figure out how to patch it. And then worst of all try to authenciate to it, as I am not administering Active Directory. No, I use Openldap, as any Linux/Unix admin would.

Then on top of that I needed Windows to even run the VCenter Client and Connect to my VCenter Server.  Well hell, I don't run Windows, not even on my desktop, not even on my laptop… not at home and not in the office. Its been this way for 5 years and VMware, is not going to make me change this.

Now, flash forward to VSphere 5.1, and low and behold, what is this. A real, fully functioning, web client for VCenter. Ok now we are getting somewhere. Now, I have not had a ton of experience with it, but my first impressions are pretty good. Its flashy, its fast, and it appears to be fully functioning.

To further make my day, the Vmware VCenter Appliance is now no longer beta (this is probably old news to most). For those who are not in the know, its Linux (albeit Suse).  So I am downloading it now and am going to give it a spin. How fully functioning is it… I have no idea. Do I need a database somewhere or does it have one built in? I do know it can connect to oracle, which is really neat, but not as neat as postgres or mysql. Also, how awesome would it be if I could configure the thing to use Openldap for auth?

Dunno all the answers yet, but I should have more insight on the topic soon, so stand by.

 

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Xenserver: How To Create A Custom Kickstart Template via the CLI

100-Frankenstein-Smiley-Free-Halloween-Vector-Clipart-IllustrationIf you are reading this post, then you should know that I have been spending a lot of time as of late trying to learn XenServer, and I am doing my best to get Xenserver to do my evil bidding.

When I first took a look at XenServer I was dissapointed to find that you cannot PXE boot a VM unless you use the "Other Install Media" Template. However, when you use this template you are not building a fully paravirtualized vm, and you loose some functionality on your vm (like hot adding a virtual disk).

So lets say you want to kickstart a Centos 5 64-bit vm. Traditionally in XenServer,  you need to create a new vm based on the "Centos 5 (64-bit)" template and then point your vm to your kickstart media and ks config file. Being that this is a manual process, and I am trying to automate building virtual machines, I started searching for a better way to make Xenserver do what I wanted… I think I may have accomplished my goal.

So the first thing I did was create a new vm via cli. This step spits out a UUID for your new vm.

#xe vm-install template=CentOS\ 5\ \(64-bit\) new-name-label=Centos5.4_Kickstart

Now setup your boot params to point your new vm to your kickstart config file

#xe vm-param-set uuid=0415bc6c-6129-9bc2-26d7-e15625cf85a1 PV-args="ks=http://<my_kickstart_server>/kickstart/ks/centos5-u4_x86_64.cfg ksdevice=eth0"

Then tell your new vm where to find its install DVD.

#xe vm-param-set uuid=6aaf7e10-59e4-9895-9c7b-6eee32eab9f1 other-config:install-repository=http://<my_kickstart_server>/centos5-u4-x86_64/disc1/

Now figure out the UUID of your Kickstart VLAN

#xe network-list

Create a VIF (virtual interface) on your kickstart vlan.

#xe vif-create vm-uuid=0415bc6c-6129-9bc2-26d7-e15625cf85a1 network-uuid=f5a61f5b-f17c-ac40-0995-c41c3a5a3ea3 device=0

Now on the next step i cheated – I used XenCenter to quick create a vm based on my new template.

Now when I create a new vm from this template, it startes to kickstart on boot. My next steps are to create multiple templates, each based on my different kickstart images/configs. Then figure out how to set their ips and hostnames.

Hopefully that post is coming soon.