Monday, September 29, 2014

Installing vCenter Orchestrator Plugin (EMC ViPR)

Plug-ins helps to connect vCenter Orchestrator to the external technologies and applications. It lets you automate the access, control and management. There are lots of plug-ins which comes along with the vCenter Orchestrator Appliance and 3rd-Party plug-ins could be installed to work with vCO. 

You may see those plugin by going to below address and click on plug-ins tab

You may add third party plugins from the same console. For example, when you have vCenter Operations Manager or Vmware Horizon Suite 6 in your environment and if you wish to automate and manage those products using vCenter Orchestrator then you just need to download the respective vCO plugin and update it. Those plugins comes with many default workflows to manage & automate several tasks. Also you may use the default workflows to further customize as per your requirement or create a completely new workflow. For more vCO plugin from different vendors like EMC, F5 Networks, Avenet, NetApp etc visit the below link and click on "vCO Plug-ins" tab

In this post I will show you how to install new plug-in in vCenter Orchestrator. I will download the EMC ViPR plugin from the above website. First step is to register yourself on this website with your company email

  1. Click on the "Try" button to download the plug-in. It will download the file with .dar extension (EMC-ViPR-vCO-Plugin-
  2. Now login to the vCenter Orchestrator configuration page by typing -
  1. Now Click on "Plugins" tab and click on browse icon to locate the downloaded plugin and then click on "Upload and Install".
  2. It might take couple of minutes to upload, wait till you get the "plug-in installed".
    It will show "will perform installation at next server startup".
  3. Click on"Startup Options" tab and restart the vCO server service.
  1. Now connect to your vCO using vCO client and click on Workflow Tab. You would see new EMC ViPR workflow library added with so many default workflows.

Similarly you may install any third party plug-ins to expand the capabilities of vCenter Orchestrator. I hope this post was help. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Installing and Configuring vCenter Orchestrator Appliance 5.5

The Orchestrator Appliance is a preconfigured Linux-based virtual machine optimized for running vCenter Orchestrator.

The Orchestrator Appliance package contains the following software:

1. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for VMware, 64-bit edition
2. PostgreSQL
3. OpenLDAP
4. Orchestrator 5.5

As we know vCenter Orchestrator installs silently with the vCenter Server installation in Windows Machine, this is just an alternative for that and could be deployed separately. There is no change in features or configuration maximums. The bundled database PostgreSQL and directory services OpenLDAP is very much suitable for small to medium environments and for bigger environments external database and supported directory services could be configured.   This appliance comes with 90 days evaluation license, which starts when you power on the appliance for the first time, later just import the vCenter Server license to continue using it. Below is the step by step demonstration to install and configure vCenter Server Orchestrator Appliance:

  1. Download VCO appliance and login to the vCenter server.
  1. Click on file and point the VCO applinace.
  1. Confirm OVF details and accept the  license agreement.
  1. Give a name and select the cluster and host.
  2. Select the appropriate Datastore.
  1. Setup the Password (root and configuration) and configure static network setting or leave blank if using DHCP.
  1. Confirm the settings and click on finish to start the deployment.
  2. After successful deployment, appliance shows this:
  3.  The default appliance user name is "root" and Password is "vmware".
  4. Open browser and enter the vCO IP or FQDN name and select the Orchestrator Configuration.
  5. Enter username "vmware" and password "configuration password" created during deploying in step# 6.
  6. Import vCenter Server SSL Certificate, Click on Network>>SSL Trust Manager, enter vCenter Server IP or FQDN and click on import.
  7. Similarly vCenter Server license could be imported by going to the "Licenses" tab. In my case I would continue using the evaluation license.
  8. Click on Plug-ins tab and select the Plug-ins which you need and click on "Apply Changes". Any new plug-in can be installed from the same location.
  9. Now click on Authentication tab, you may continue using LDAP or select "SSO Authentication" from the dropdown menu and enter the vCenter Server SSO details. For this SSO SSL needs to be imported, which can be done as mentioned in step # 12 by adding port number 7444, i.e., SSO_ip/FQDN:7444. After the successful configuration select "vsphere.local Administrators" for "vCO Admin - domain and group".

Important: If you want to use vCenter Orchestrator through the vSphere Web Client for managing vSphere inventory objects, you must configure Orchestrator to authenticate through vCenter Single Sign On.

  1. Click on the "vCenter Server" tab and enter the vCenter Server details to register.

This concludes the configuration of vCenter Orchestrator Appliance and for the rest of the configuration like external Database, customer SSL certification please  refer the below guide 

Now, you can download the vCenter Orchestrator Client or connect directly by going to the IP address of Orchestrator Appliance. The default username is "vcoadmin" and password is "vcoadmin". Hope this post was helpful.

Friday, September 12, 2014

All about VMware Standalone Converter

As we all know, VMware Standalone Converter is used to convert any Physical Machine to Vmware Virtual Machine on the go.  It gives lot of options during conversion where you can shrink the current hard drive, stop or disable the services after conversion, synchronize and lot more. I will try to cover most of the features in this post. This can be installed on Windows XP or later (32 or 64 bit), Windows 2003/2008 (32 & 64 bit) and Windows 2012 (64-bit). The latest version is Standalone Converter 5.5, first let me start with what all Vmware converter can convert

  1. Physical Machine running Windows, RHEL, SUSE, Ubuntu.
  2. Vmware Virtual Machine (.vmx), Vmware Consolidated Backup (.vmx)
[Vmware Infrastructure VM, Workstation, Fusion, Player or other Vmware Products or image]
  1. Microsoft Virtual PC or Virtual Server Virtual Machine (.vmc)
  2. Symantec LiveState Recovery Image (.sv2i)
  1. Acronis True Image Backup (.tib)
  1. StorageCraft ShadowStor (.spf)
  1. Parallels Virtualization Products (.pvs)
  2. Hyper-V Virtual Machine
  3. Redhat KVM Virtual Machines

The destination can be ESXi host or vCenter, the number of source disks is limited to 27 for ESX and to 23 for ESXi hosts, when destination is selected as vCenter.

Configuration Options During Conversion:

  1. Copy Type:
Shrink Hard Drive volumes, Thin or Thick Disk, Cluster size (4KB Default - Block Level) or even a new Virtual Disk can be added.

  1. Devices:
Memory, CPU and Disk Controller can be edited here.

  1. Networks:
VM networks can be edited here.

  1. Services:
Source machines and destination VM's services can be edited here.

  1. Advanced Options:

  1. Synchronization:
This is an amazing feature where you get the option to synchronize the data changes after conversion. You can keep on synchronizing till you get the time for switch over from physical to virtual. Important point here is to disable the option "Perform Final Synchronization". When you use this feature "synchronization", a snapshot is created to the converted virtual machine on vSphere.

Currently there are some limitation with synchronization as mentioned below but workarounds are always available

  1. You can perform only volume-based cloning on the block level for ReFS-formatted volumes (Windows 2012).
  2. Windows Server 2008 sources with FAT/FAT32 volume file system not supported, requires at least one NTFS formatted volume.
  3. Resizing cluster size or shrinking NTFS not supported.

  1. Post Conversion:
Options are self explanatory.

  1. Throttling:

CPU and Network bandwidth can be throttled for the task for resources.