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.

http://servername/LabManager/

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.

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

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VMware Lab Manager Network Templates and Virtual Networks explained

If you are familiar with VMware Lab Manager then this won’t be breaking news for you, but if your just getting started or looking for more details. Then I hope this post will help clear up how Network Templates and Virtual Networks work inside of Lab Manager. The ability to create Virtual Networks can be very helpful if you are looking to keep your Lab Manager Workspace separate from others.

There are of course other ways to separate virtual machines within Lab Manager. The most talked about method would be to use network Fencing that is a feature on Lab Manager Physical networks. When using fencing you can hide your configuration behind a virtual router and have the option to allow no in/out bound connection. This works great but can confuse some of your lesser experienced users.

If you don’t have the need to communicate with any servers outside of your configuration then using a Lab Manager Network Template might be easier. If setup properly the Virtual Networks within VMware Lab Manager can make your life easier and allow the IT customers to perform their work without any hand holding. By definition the Network Templates are separate Virtual Networks that can only talk with Virtual Machines within the same configuration. It does not matter if you choose the same Network Template with matching IP scheme on a different configuration the VMs will not communicate to the other workspaces. This is by design and is a good and simple way to create a Sand Box to test in.

If you choose to use IP Static – Pool selection for your Network Template you will assign a block of IP’s and Lab Manager will hand them out to the virtual machines as they are deployed. The IP pool will start over for each different configuration that you deploy so if you have 10 workspaces with 5 VMs each you don’t need 50 IP’s all you really need is 5. Since each Workspace or Configuration starts over at the first address in the pool. This is normal since they are not able to communicate with the other workspaces.

Here is a sample definition of the Lab Managers User guide to sum up Virtual Networks.

Virtual networks are configuration local networks. They exist inside configurations and do not span configurations. Virtual machines connected to a virtual network cannot communicate with virtual machines connected to a different virtual network. Each virtual network that Lab Manager creates is unique and isolated from other virtual networks, even if the networks are based on the same network template.

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

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Lab Manager configurations are only deploying to one datastore

So I have to admit this is not something that I paid much attention to in the past. But I’m currently working on creating documentation for a customer and putting together a Run Book for them to use with Lab Manager 4. During this process of running through things in the end user mind set I noticed this limit and just wanted to write something down for future reference.

Hopefully you are fairly familiar with how VMware Lab Manager works and I don’t loose you. The limit that I will cover here is when you are creating a New Configuration in a Workspace within Lab Manager when you select a VM Template to use by default the Datastore that it will be created on is locked. The Datastore that it is locked onto is the one that the VM Template is sitting on. This is done for a reason, since by default when creating these new configurations the new VMs created form the Template will be a Linked Clone of the original. For a Linked Clone to work it must reside on the same Datastore as the master VM image.

As you are probably aware that use Linked Clones will save you a lot of disk space on your Datastores so if you do not have a valid reason to not use them I would suggest to leave it this way. Now the only thing that I see is depending on the size of your VMs and your Datastore you could eventually run out of space for this Template on a particular Datastore. To solve that issue you could expand the Datastore or Clone your Template to another Datastore and start creating Linked Clones from that one. If anyone else has run into this issue and has a better idea drop something in the comments.

I have pasted a couple of screen shots below showing what the screens will look like with the default Linked Clone method. And then the option to do a Full Clone which will copy the entire template to the new VM and end up using all of the space.

Here is a note that I found in a VMware KB article to help explain this behavior also.

In vCenter Lab Manager, the configuration files will only be accessible from the same host or datastore as the base template. For example, if you have a Virtual Machine 1 on DataStore1, all the configurations you create from Virtual Machine 1 will be created on DataStore1.

Default option using Linked Clones in Lab manager

Full Clone option in Lab Manager

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

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VMware vCloud Director upgrade or exchange program for Lab Manager customers

Yesterday while talking about the future of Lab Manager with our VMware rep I found out about a current VMware exchange program that is being offered. If you are a current customer of Lab Manager 4 I would assume you may qualify for vCloud Director licenses in this exchange program. The one gotcha that was explained is that you needed to purchase your Lab Manager before 9/1/2010 but that should not be an issue for most folks. Guessing that most groups would be taking a hard look at vCD before buying Lab Manager these days.

So how does this work out since Lab Manager was sold as normal per socket licenses and vCloud Director is now sold on the new VMware per VM licenses. It breaks down like this for each Lab Manager license you will get 20 per VM licenses of vCloud Director. So if you purchased 6 sockets of Lab Manager that would equal 120 Per VM licenses for vCD.

I personally could not find this promotion on the Partner portal so you should inquire with your VMware rep for details.

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

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VMware Lab Manager how to videos

Unless your lucky enough to user Lab Manager on a regular basis then your probably like must Admin’s. When talking with people everyone seems to have a solid idea of what Lab Manger can do but they have little experience in setting up and supporting a LM environment. The team over at VMware KB has created a few videos to showcase and explain some of the core features. You can view them from VMware KB1020915.

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

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VMware Lab Manager 4 is an awersome but complex product

I had never really had much time to delve into Lab Manager that deeply in the past. But since version 4 was released and a recent push to implement an environment for a client I have been getting a heavy dose lately. We are running a PoC with Lab Manager to house the Development servers for a large corporation.

The setup and design challenges with Lab Manager make ESX look easy. Sure it sits on top of ESX but the possibilities are endless for the number of configurations that you can establish within the environment. You can configure physical/virtual networks, templates, pools, workspaces and countless other items. All this and the ability to offer a self service option to users with different levels of permissions to restart VM’s and deploy or destroy VM’s.

I will be writing more blog posts on Lab Manager in the weeks to come that will go into more depth on specific features.

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

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