First look at VMware vCenter 5 appliance setup and management console

Posted by on July 15, 2011 in vCenter Server, VMware | 7 comments

I thought that I would not dwell on all of the licensing craziness and wanted to start writing about some of the cool new stuff that VMware announced. In this post I will cover the install and setup of the new vCenter 5 server appliance from VMware.

The vCenter appliance is exactly that a Virtual Appliance built and maintained by VMware. It is based on SLES 11 linux and now offers an option to IT shops that are not bound to Windows. From my point it looks like VMware is continuing to build it’s management tools with no need for Windows or at least the option of choosing your OS that the tool will run on. This is something that I’ve heard complaints about for years and will certainly make some people very happy.

The install of the appliance is very straight forward just like most virtual appliances are. You must first download the package from VMware which is just shy of 4GB in size. The package is a OVF so the next step was to deploy the OVF and power it on afterward.

Once the appliance boots if you open up a console to the VM you will see a screen like the one below. The device will grab an IP from DHCP if its available. Once you have an IP you can open up a browser and point it to https://appliance_IP_address:5480.

Once you browser connects to the appliance you will be presented with the screen below. This screen is the management console for the appliance. This is where you can enter in settings that control the appliance its self and not virtual machines. I will cover the web console in a separate post. The default login for the appliance is listed below.

User – root

Password – vmware

Once you log in to the appliance you will be presented with a screen shown below. This gives you some basic information about the appliance. You can see from the screen shot that this appliance has already been connected to an Oracle DB hosted on a separate server. The appliance supports Oracle and DB2 databases currently, which allows you to be totally Microsoft free. You can also stop/start the vCenter from this screen.

 The next step in setting up the appliance would be to point it to the database. In this step you can see the details of the Oracle DB that we are using in the lab.

 The next screen shown below is the Settings section that shows you the default Ports that the appliance uses and allows you to make changes. You can also select the inventory size for the vCenter Appliance, this is based on how many virtual machines it will manage. There are RAM recommendations listed based upon the inventory size that you select. The appliance comes built with 8GB RAM and 2 vCPUs.

The Administration section is pretty straight forward. You can change the admin password and Enable or Disable SSH access to the appliance.

The last section under the vCenter Server area is the storage section. This allows you to store log files off on a NFS share rather than withing the appliance.

 In the image below you are now looking at the Services menu which allows you to control services like Syslog, NetDump and Autodeploy that run on the appliance. I did not take screen shots of each sub menu to keep this from getting too long. This screen allows you to start and stop the services and the individual sub menus allow you to change the IP ports that they function on.

Next up is the Authentication section. This allows you to setup NIS or Active Director based logins. From the image below you can see we have already setup the appliance for AD logins.

From the Active Directory sub menu you can point the appliance to the AD domain that you wish to use for authentication. All you need is the Domain name and an Admin user and password. The setup was very easy the only thing is that you must restart the appliance before you will be able to login with AD credentials. As a note once setup I was able to log into this console without a reboot, but connecting to manage VMs required the reboot before it would work.

The Network section is up next which is also very simple. You can manually provide all network related configuration settings from this section.

The System menu does not have many options that you can see from the image below. It shows you some appliance version information and host name. There is a sub menu to set the Time Zone. The main function here is the ability to Reboot or Shutdown the appliance with the buttons on the right.

The image below shows the update section that appears to allow you to setup automatic updates of the appliance. There is not a lot of details around this area yet so I will continue to watch.

The last menu section of the appliance is the upgrade area. Now from first look I figured this would be a way to apply a version upgrade to the appliance. But from further looking it appears to be a way to link a source and destination vCenter appliance. And then import the configuration in the destination one. I’m guessing that you could download the latest version of the appliance and then import your configuration over. If someone has more details around this drop me a comment below.

 

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

7 Comments

  1. Hi.
    Installing vcenter 5 from OVF, deploys and powers on in under 10 minutes. However, the VM console shows:

    Enter runlevel:

    Tried putting in 3 or 5 but the console stops responding after that. I do not see the six choices presented in this article.

    Any ideas.

  2. Figured out the issue, the vCenter system disk was corrupted during download. A simple MD5 check confirmed it. Downloading a new file fixed the issue.

  3. I downloaded the ovf + 2 other VMDK file.  Gathered everything (all 3 files) into one folder.  Logged into vsphere client on one of the ESXi5 server.  Deployed OVF file.  Completed successfully.  When, I try to power on the vcenter server appliance, I get this “ERROR – NO OPERATING SYSTEM” “OPERATING SYSTEM NOT FOUND”  What the hell is this error message.  When, I checked edit settings, there is 2 vmdk hard disk + 8gb mem + 1 nic (connected to vmxnet).  No clue what is wrong.  I have deployed ovf files many times – first time seeing this kind of error.  Hope somebody can shed some light on this error.  I am clueless…..

    • I would sugguest you re-download the disk files and try to deploy again. I think I saw someone else have a similar issue.

  4. Hi,

    How can i have two different network with 2 cards in my vCSA?

    Thanks

  5. Can we have two NIC cards on the VCA appliance 5.1?

  6. Not sure if its possible to edit the settings on this virtual appliance. You would have to deploy one and try. I don’t have one in the lab right not to work with. If you are able to add one you should check with VMware to see if they would support it, unless this is just a lab exercise.

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