I passed the VCAP-DCD exam on Tuesday! That test was beating- 4 hours is a long time for an exam. The test is covered by an NDA, so I can’t go into much detail about it, but if you are planning on taking it, be sure to check out the APAC vBrownbag sessions.
Here is the perm-link for resources on passing it.
Yesterday we had a great inaugral Regional Conference at the Dallas/Fort Worth VMware Users Group (#DFWVMUG). My favorite session by far was on Razor, a really badass open-source project by Nick Weaver (@lynxbat on twitter).
Razor is a bare-metal deployment tool, but it is so much more than that. I used to be a fan of stateless ESX using boot-from-SAN. Then I became a fan of Auto-Deploy. Now that all seems like too much work! Razor and PXE will make it all so simple!
One of the biggest bummers about VMware licensing is no Auto-deploy or Host profiles for Enterprise and lower licenses. That is a whole lot less painful now, especially since the smaller shops that can’t afford Enterprise Plus licensing need consistency more than bigger shops with more staff.
Watch a great video of Nick explaining what Razor can do.
There is a great how-to over at Virtually Ghetto on enabling Nested ESXi on 5.1
There is also a great program called NEE over at VMware Labs, which I am lucky enough to have access to because I recently attended a training class, right before VMworld.
Nested ESXi is the strange act of running an ESXi VM on ESXi. You can also do it with Workstation, I recommend using Autolab is you are going that route.
Update: Make sure to enter some text into the spreadsheet to make the fields populate.
This is a spreadsheet that automates almost all aspects of a VMware View deployment using Powershell and Concatenate. I built it mainly out of a desire to avoid using the Flash GUI that comes with View. It is slow and it makes me want to scream when I’m halfway through a 20-click wizard and I realize I need to look something up.
Be sure to keep this after using it- it doubles as your documentation. It is also everything you need to rebuild in a DR situation after restoring your templates and View servers.
It assumes you have deployed the View Infrastructure, have built some templates and taken snap shots. Look at each workbook left to right. Fill out the variables for you environment in the yellow fields, and use the grey fields to make scripts. A further refinement would making a mail merge to spit all this into batch files for you. Copying and pasting into PowerGUI suffices for me.
For each pool name entered, this will nest a Global AD Group into a Domain Local Group, add a space separated list of users to the Global Group, create an OU under a defined VDI OU, create a Resource Pool in vCenter, compose a Pool and then entitle the Global Group to the Pool. This is set to create Floating Linked-Clone Automated Pools. If you wish to change this, feel free to edit this:
=IF(ISBLANK(‘Pool Sizing’!B9),””,CONCATENATE(“get-composerdomain | Add-AutomaticLinkedClonePool -pool_id “””, ‘Pool Sizing’!B9,””” –displayName “””,’Pool Sizing’!C9, “”” -namePrefix “””,’Pool Sizing’!G9,””” -resourcePoolPath “”/”,Datacenter,”/host/”,Cluster,”/Resources/”,’View Object Names’!C9,””” -parentVMPath “”/”,Datacenter,”/vm/”,BaseImages,”/”,’View Object Names’!D9,””” -parentSnapshotPath “”/”,’Pool Sizing’!F9,””” -datastorespecs “”[Moderate,replica]/”,Datacenter,”/host/”,Cluster,”/”,B9,”;[Moderate,OS,data]/”,Datacenter,”/host/”,Cluster,”/”,C9,””” -persistence “”Nonpersistent”””,” -organizationalUnit “”ou=”,’View Object Names’!E9,”,”,DesktopBaseOu,””” -minimumcount “””,’Pool Sizing’!H9,””” -maximumcount “””,’Pool Sizing’!I9,””” -headroomCount “””,’Pool Sizing’!J9,””” -refreshpolicytype “”Never”””,” -deletepolicy “”RefreshOnUse”””,” -powerpolicy “”AlwaysOn”””,” -vmFolderPath “”/”,Datacenter,”/vm”””))
Just make the GPOs for each Pool and you are set. Don’t create more than a Pool or two at a time, this will crater your environment if run too much at once.
Download the spreadsheet: vHipsterViewDeploymentTemplate
N.B. You have to start entering values to make code appear.
Be sure to consult the documentation if you need to modify anything.
This is a quick and dirty spreadsheet that concatenates together the commands to quickly deploy a bunch of VMs without clicking the GUI. All it takes Powershell, PowerCli and optionally PowerGUI. This is a method that will pound out dozens if not hundreds of clones, but it will not do anything fancy beyond cloning a VM, applying a customization specification and bring a bunch of servers up. You still need to IP the server, join to domain, etc.
This is an ideal solution when your boss gives you a spreadsheet with a ton of server names that needs to be deployed a week ago.
There are much more elegant ways to this, especially if you take the time to learn Orchestrator. I highly recommend Cody Bunch’s book Automating vSphere with VMware vCenter Orchestrator if you want to learn this free product that comes with vCenter.
Use with caution! Make sure you vary Hosts and Datastores!
N.B. You have to start entering values to make code appear.
Have you ever needed to add two lines of text together, over and over, like a list of server names and the fully qualified domain name? This can have an endless number of uses for the lazy admin. I never liked writing scripts that read a list of variables from a text file. Its much faster and easier to use a bunch of one-liners in a batch file.
An easy way to do this is with Excel. Take two strings and cat, or concatenate, them together. Here is a diagram so that the Network Engineers reading this can keep up:
Using Excel, it would look like this:
This simple method can be used incredibly complex commands, and are an ideal springboard for Powershell. Not only is this a powerful tool for automating deployments- you can keep the spreadsheet and label it “Documentation”.
I will be following up with some examples of how to automate VMware and VDI deployments using this method.