How to create configurations and use workspaces in VMware Lab Manager
This post is to help people new to VMware Lab Manager and not for the experts. If you are looking for details on how to use some of the base features in Lab Manager.
You can access the Management Console from the following link. You will see a login screen like the one listed below. Use the user name and password that was entered during the install or if you have setup LDAP/AD integration to login into the console.
Now that you have logged into the console you will be greeted with the Welcome screen. This will give you some details about what you have created in VMware Lab Manager over time.
You will notice on the left side of the console there is a Menu in an explorer like structure. This will allow you to easily navigate around the console.
How to create new Virtual Machines
When creating and working with existing virtual machines you will find them located in the Workspace area of Lab Manager. A workspace is the area that hold Configurations which is a method to group virtual machines together. A configuration can have 1 virtual machine or many.
There are many reasons why using separate configurations is beneficial to keeping the environment organized. I would suggest that each application team creates a configuration for their team at minimum, this will allow them to control the settings on their virtual machines. At times you may need to create new configurations for short term projects, this will allow you to dispose of the setup once its completed.
Each separate configuration has some settings that can be applied to it that won’t affect others. You are also able to shut down and undeploy your configuration when not using it. This will then free up the computing resources for use by others.
The first step in creating a new configuration is to click the New Configuration button from the Workspace area. You can see from the image below that we are in the Workspace area from the left menu and the button for New Configuration is at the top.
Step 2 in creating the new Configuration. You will be presented with a screen like the one shown below. There are a few fields that you need to fill out and make choices on.
First is the name field at the top, this is the name of your Configuration only. So it should relate to what or who is going to be using the Virtual Machines within it. The next field is the Description this allows you to expand more with notes on what this configuration is used for.
The next couple of choices are for Deployment and Storage Lease times. These settings set how long the configuration will be around for, there are options from 1 hour to never expires. If you choose a selection other than never here the Lab Manager system will automatically dispose of your configuration when the time runs out. This is a good choice if you know that your need is short term and you do not need to hold onto the Virtual Machines once you are done, there is always the option to extend the time or manually delete them also. This will help to keep the environment clean and prevent wasting resources.
The VM Fencing Policy will be explained in a separate section as it’s an advanced feature.
The section at the bottom is where you are choosing how your virtual machine(s) will be created and what they will be named.
You can see from the image below that you are allowed to add from one to many VM (virtual machines) to your configuration. By default one will be added upon creating the New Configuration, but by click the Add VM button pointed out in the image you can add extra VM’s to the configuration.
The first field is the Source selection, this is where you will choose the operating system of the VM that you are creating. By click the down arrow on the filed you will be presented with the available Operating System templates.
The next field is the Name filed and this will be the Server Name of the VM created. This server name will be reflected in the Console and it will also be applied as the Windows server name.
The Network filed is listing the Lab Manager private network that the VM will be connected to. The IP address mode shows that the VM will be assigned a static IP address from a Pool.
The Full Clone option is not selected by default. This should remain as the default unless someone has instructed you to select it. If you opt to use a Full Clone it will consume more disk space in the Lab Manager Environment and allow for fewer VM’s to be created. Once the VM is deleted the space would be returned and be available again.
Ok at this point we have made our selections for the VM’s and assigned them the names. We now need to confirm your selections and click the OK button at the bottom to start the creation of your Configuration and virtual machines.
Now that you clicked OK you are returned back to the Workspace area and you can see that your configuration is being created. From the image below you can see the circle icon that runs while the system is doing work and the status field shows what work is in progress.
From the image below you can now see that your Configuration was created but shows and Undeployed. This means that the Virtual Machines cannot be powered on yet. So we must deploy the configuration in the next step.
In this step we will deploy the configuration and from the image below you can see that we get a menu of functions by moving the mouse over top of the Configuration name that you wish to work with. There are 2 Deploy options listed and they are explained below.
Deploy – This method will allow you to change some settings and is explained on the next page.
Deploy with defaults – This method will automatically deploy the configuration with the selections that you selected when the configuration was created. This is a sage method and can be used normally.
The screen below is showing the options available after we selected to deploy the Configuration.
Network Connectivity Section:
The option to Fence Virtual Machines is explained in a later part of this document. It allows for you to provide a firewall type Fence around your configuration to keep it from communicating with other VM’s inside of Lab Manager.
The option for select resources allows you to select a container within Lab Manager that can separate compute resources. At this time there is just once Resource Pool so the default select is OK.
You are able to change the Deployment Lease time here or leave it to match was you previously set it to be.
The section for Power on Virtual Machines gives you a couple of more options. The first one might be helpful if your creating a large configuration with several VM’s. You will be able to later set a boot order to control which VM boots up first. The other option is just choosing if you want the VM’s to be powered on after they are deployed.
Now that you are Deploying your configuration you will see a screen like the one below. It shows you that its working and the Status shows Deploying. Once it finishes you will see an image like the 2nd on this page.
Your configuration now shows that it’s Deployed and you can see from the image below that the Thumbnail images of the VM’s are changed. This reflects that the VM’s were powered on and are booting up. Each VM will boot up and will have a customization script applied to it and will then reboot and be ready for use. The script applies the Windows name and IP address to the VM. This last step takes about 5 minutes to complete.
At this step I have waited for the VM’s to complete their reboots and they are ready and waiting at the sign on screens. You can see from the Thumbnails that they are waiting at the login screens also. The image below shows us looking at our configuration from the Workspace screen. By placing your mouse over the configuration name it gives us a list of options that you can see in the image below. Note these choices affect all VM’s in the configuration.
Open – Opens the configuration and shows more details about VM’s
History – Will show changes to the configuration over time
View Consoles – Will open up Windows consoles for all VM’s in the configuration
Suspend – Places the VM’s in a suspended mode.
Reset – Will reset VM’s (good to use if they become unresponsive)
Snapshot – Will be explained more in later documentation
Shut Down – Will gracefully shutdown the virtual machines
Power Off – This will forcibly power off the virtual machines
Undeploy Save State – Will power off and undeploy the configuration and save memory state of the virtual machines.
Undeploy Discard State – Will power off and discard anything that was running at the time. Any data on the disk remains intact.
Clone – Will make an exact copy of the configuration to use separately
Library Options – Will be explained in later documentation
Properties – Allows you to adjust or view settings about the Configuration
In the view below we have opened the Configuration that we created. This view now shows some more detail about each VM that running. We can see VM names, Status, IP address and Template which will tell you what OS it’s running.
If you place your mouse over the VM Name you will get a list of options that can be performed. These are similar to the ones from the previous section, except these will only be performed on the VM that you selected.
Since we want to begin working with our VM we will choose View Console selection. This will open up a session and allow us to work with our VM.
From the screen below you can see that we now have a console session open and can interact with our VM. By hovering over the VM name at the top as shown below we get many of the same options again, to control power and reset.
Most important there is a option for CTRL + ALT + Delete which is required to login to Windows VM’s. Once you make a selection move your mouse into the counsel area and click this will switch focus to that area and your mouse and keyboard functions will affect the VM. You can release the focus from the VM by pressing the CTRL + ALT keys and you will be back controlling the console and your computer. This is always displayed at the bottom of the window when in console screens.
In this last picture we have returned to the view of our configuration. Along the top there are tabs that show our VM’s Networks, Configuration Diagram and History. We covered the history earlier. So we are going to focus on the Configuration Diagram tab.
This shows us a view that represents each VM and its network cards and shows how they are all connected. With JukeBox we primarily just use one private network so it’s not that confusing. But if you have a need to use the Fencing that we spoke about earlier this view may help you visualize your configuration.
About Brian Suhr
Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design