One of the things that bugs me about vCenter (still) is that it is still very tied to the Windows operating system. You have to have Windows to set it up and trying to go about without Windows is still somewhat difficult. In my lab I’m trying to get away from doing Windows. I have xCAT installed to PXEboot UCS Blades to do what I want. Its great, and its automated. But when I installed 8 nodes to be ESXi hosts I quickly realized I needed vCenter to demonstrate this and use this as others would.
That requires vCenter. VMware has had the vCenter appliance out for a few years now. It runs on SLES and comes preconfigured. The only problem is installing it when you have no vCenter client because today those clients are only made for the Windows Operating system. How to get around this?
ovftool was the thing I found that did the job for me. I found the link by reading the ever prolific Virtual Ghetto post on deploying ovftool on ESXi. Since I had Linux, installing ovftool on the ESXi host wasn’t necessary for me. Instead I just installed it on my Linux server (with some trouble since it deploys this stub and you have to make sure you don’t modify the file).
I ran the command:
ovftool -ds=NFS1 VMware-vCenter-Server-Appliance-5.0.5201-1476389_OVF10.ova vi://root:password@node01
After that, I watched my DHCP server and saw that it gave the vCenter appliance the IP address of 172.20.200.1. Hopefully you have DHCP or you might be hosed.
Then after finding the docs, I intuitively opened my web browser to https://172.20.200.1:5480. (everyone knows that port number right?) I then logged in with user ‘root’ and password ‘vmware’ and started the auto setup. After changing the IP address and restarting the appliance I was pretty golden.
Once configured, log into the appliance at https://172.20.1.101:9443/vsphere-client/ and then be stoked that you have flash player already installed and that it works. Oh you didn’t have flash player installed on your linux server? That sucks, I didn’t either. Guess that’s another hoop we have to jump through. But wait, then you find that Flash 11.2.0 is the last Flash that has been released for Linux. Guess what? VMware requires Flash version 11.5. Nice.
At this point I just copied a Windows VM that I had laying around and started managing it from there. The moral of the story is that you can’t do a Windows free VMware environment. Sure, I could have done fancy scripting and managed it all remotely with some of their tools, but if I’m going to be doing all that, why should I pay for VMware? I’d be better off just doing straight native KVM. YMMV.