[vCMA updated 16-MAR-2011 to include SSL mode as default.]
It’s just a short, 270MB download separating you from managing your vCenter or licensed vSphere host from your mobile phone, Internet tablet or PC’s web browser. This simple virtual appliance performs all of the client API calls to vCenter and presents a web-based user interface that requires only basic HTML – perfect for mobile devices. It’s a bit quirky with DPM (as you’ll see later in the post) but it has a compelling feature list as well in this v1.0 fling from VMware.
The vCenter Mobile Access appliance is quick and easy to install. VMware provides these curt instructions to get you started:
- Extract the zip file to a temporary directory, for example c:\temp. The files contained in the zip file include :
- Launch the VI Client and log into your ESX box or vCenter instance.
- In the inventory view, select the menu File-> Virtual Appliance -> Import
- Select the option “Import from file” and browse to the OVF file, for example: c:\temp\vCenterMobileAccess-ovf\vCenterMobileAccess-188.8.131.52.ovf and follow the wizard next steps.
- In the “End User License Agreement” page, read the license agreement completely, click on the “Accept all license agreements”, and continue the steps.
- In the “Name and Location” page, provide the name for your virtual machine.
- Once the wizard completes, a virtual machine will be created. Select the virtual machine and power it on.
- Once it powers on, you can access the web application from your mobile device browser using the URL http:///vim.
Once connected, you will see the login screen where you can provide the vCenter or ESX IP address or name as well as username and password.
Installation of the virtual appliance is fairly straight forward, but there are a few “gotchas” to be encountered depending on your environment. For instance, if you do not run DHCP in your management or test network, you’re going to need to drop to the console for setup. Also, the default password is extremely weak, so changing it before testing or deployment is imperative. Also, there is an incompatibility in the latest version between the appliance management console (web) and Firefox, although this issue DOES NOT extend to the vCenter Mobile Access application proper.
Detailed vCMA Installation
Here’s a more expansive how-to that addresses some of these issues in deeper detail. To install VMware’s vCMA from the OVF package, I did the following:
- Extracted the zip file to a network share reachable from my workstation;
- Logged into vCenter with the VI Client;
- Selected the menu File -> Deploy OVF Template…
- Selected “Deploy from file:” and browsed to the “.ovf” file, selecting it (i.e. vCenterMobileAccess-184.108.40.206.ovf), then clicked “Next >”;
- Viewed the OVF Template Details, then clicked “Next >”;
- Product: vCenter Mobile Access
- Version: 220.127.116.11
- Vendor: VMware, Inc.
- Download Size: 291MB
- Size on disk: 2048MB
- Description: The vCenter Mobile Access allows administrators to manage their datacenter environments on-the-go via mobile devices.
- Read and accepted VMware’s Technology Preview License Agreement, then clicked “Next >”;
- Selected the default VM name, vCenter Mobile Access, and selected a datacenter and folder to place the VM into, then clicked “Next >”;
- Selected a cluster (or host) to house the VM, then clicked “Next >”;
- Selected a resource pool (optional), then clicked “Next >”;
- Selected a datastore to store the VM files, then clicked “Next >”;
- Selected the vNetwork to connect the VM’s “Network 1” interface to, then clicked “Next >”;
(note: this network must have access to vCenter which may require adjustments to a firewall setting depending on your environment.)
- Reviewed the deployment task summary and then clicked “Finish” to deploy.
(note: wall-clock deployment time was under 3 minutes.)
- Finally, the deployment requester changed to “Completed Successfully” and I clicked ‘Close” to complete the process.
- Before powering-on the appliance, I disabled logging from the “Options” tab of the Virtual Machine Properties page by right-clicking on the VM, selecting “Edit settings…”, clicking the “Options” tab and selecting “General” from the “Advanced” section, then uncheck the “Enable logging” box.
- Next, I opened the console and powered-on the VM.
- Note: vCMA defaults to VMware hardware version 4. For systems with demonstrated compatibility issues with version 4 issues with vMA, or where using backup facilities that use changed block tracking, take this opportunity to upgrade to hardware version 7.
- Once the appliance has booted, you’ll need its IP address. The vCMA appliance is setup for DHCP: if no DHCP is found, it will self-assign an IP address until one is manually configured. To manually change the vCMA address, I did this:
- Opened the vCMA virtual console;
- Using down-arrow, selected “Configure Network” and hit the “enter” key;
- Selected “n” to disable DHCP;
- Entered the vCMA’s intended IP address (i.e. 192.168.100.100);
- Entered the vCMA’s netmask (i.e. 255.255.255.0);
- Entered the vCMA’s network gateway (i.e. 192.168.100.254);
- Entered the primary DNS server for the network (i.e. 192.168.100.15);
- Entered the secondary DNS server for the network (i.e. 192.168.200.15);
- Declined the proxy server configuration;
- Checked and confirmed the IP settings;
- Recorded the management URL from the console screen:
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