Creating your first VM using vCloud technology

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by Daniel Langenhan | April 2013 | Enterprise Articles

This article by Daniel Langenhan, author of Instant VMware vCloud Starter [Instant] explains how we can create our first VM in vCloud using VMware vCloud Director.

We first have to get vCloud Director installed then we can start playing with it. Our first aim is obviously to deploy a VM inside our vCloud. To do that, we have to assign resources (CPU memory and disk) to vCD for consumption. In step 1 we will learn about all the different types of resources, and in steps 2 to 5, we will build them. Step 6 finally builds a vApp. Last but not least, I will give you some ideas about what to explore next.

(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)

Step 1 – Understanding vCloud resources

This step will introduce you to how resources work in vCloud Director. The following diagram shows how resources are managed in vCloud and how they work together. The diagram is simplified and doesn't show all the vCloud properties; however, it is sufficient to explain the resource design.

PvDC

A Provider Virtual Data Center (PvDC) represents a portion of all the virtual resources of a vSphere environment. It will take all the CPU and memory resources from a given resource pool or cluster and present them to the vCloud as consumable resources. A typical cluster or resource pool contains multiple datastores, storage profiles, and networks as well as multiple hosts. A PvDC will automatically gain access to these resources. It is basically the link between vSphere and the vCloud world.

Org

An organization (Org) is a container that holds users and groups and regulates their access to the vCloud resources. Users can be either locally created or imported from Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) or Active Directory (AD); however, groups can only be imported.

It is possible to assign different LDAP, e-mail, and notification settings to each organization. This is one of the most powerful features of vCloud Director. Its usage becomes clear if you think about a public cloud model. You could link different organizations into the different customers' LDAP/ AD and e-mail systems (assuming a VPN tunnel between vCloud and the customer network), extending the customer's sphere of influence into the cloud. If a customer doesn't have or doesn't want to use his / her own LDAP/AD, he / she could make use of the local user function.

OvDC

An Organizational Virtual Data Center (OvDC) is a mixture of an Org with a PvDC. The Org defines who can do what and the PvDC defines where it is happening. Each OvDC is assigned one of the three allocation models as well as storage profiles.

The three allocation models are designed to provide different methods of resource allocation. Let's first look at the difference between the models:

  • Reservation pool: This allocates a fixed amount of resources (in GHz and GB) from the PvDC to the OvDC. This model is good if the users want to define a per-VM resource allocation. Only this model enables the Resource Allocation tab in VMs.

  • Allocation pool: This is similar to reservation pool; however, you can also assign how many resources are guaranteed (reserved) for this OvDC. This model is good for overcommitting resources.

  • Pay-as-you-go (PAYG): This is similar to the allocation pool; however, recourses are only consumed if vApps/VMs are running. All other models reserve resources even if the OvDC doesn't contain any running VMs. This model is useful if the number of resources is unknown or fluctuating.

There are different settings that one can choose from for each model.

 

Allocation Pool

PAYG

Reservation Pool

CPU allocation (GHz)

Yes

Yes and unlimited

Yes

CPU resources guaranteed (percentage)

Yes

Yes

NA

vCPU max speed (GHz)

Yes

Yes

NA

Memory allocation (GB)

Yes

Yes and unlimited

Yes

Memory resources guaranteed (percentage)

Yes

Yes

NA

Maximum number of VMs (number or unlimited)

Yes

Yes

Yes

vApp

You might have encountered the name before in vCenter; however, the vApp of vCD and the vApp of vCenter are totally different beasts. vApps in vCenter are essentially resource pools with extras, such as a startup sequence. A vApp in vCD is a container that exists only in vCD. However, it can also contain isolated networks and allows the configuration of a start-and-stop sequence for its member VMs. In addition to all this, you can allow this vApp to be shared with other members of your organization.

VM

The most atomic part of a vCD is the VM. VMs live in vApps. Here you can configure all the settings you are familiar with from vSphere, and some more. You are able to add/update/delete vHardware as well as define guest customization.

Step 2 – Connecting vCenter to vCD

Let's start with the process of assigning resources to the vCloud. The first step is to assign a vCenter to this vCD installation. For future reference, one vCD installation can use multiple vCenters.

As a starting point for steps 2 to 5, we will use the home screen, as shown in the following screenshot:

  1. On the Home screen (or if you like, the welcome screen), click on the first link, Attach a vCenter.

  2. A pop up will ask you for the following details for your vCenter:

    • Host name or IP address: Enter the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) or IP address of your vCenter

    • Port number: Port 443 is the correct default port

    • User name and Password: Enter the username and password of an account that has administrator rights in vCenter

    • vCenter name: Give your vCenter a name with which you would like to identify it in vCloud

    • Description: A description isn't required; however, it doesn't hurt either

    • vSphere Web Client URL: Now enter the URL for the web vCenter client https://(FDQN or IP)/vsphere-client

  3. After vCD has accepted the information and contacted vCenter, we now need to enter all the details for the vShield installation (from the Step 2 – downloading vCloud Director subsection in the Installation section).

    • Enter the FQDN or IP address of the vShield VM

    • And if you didn't change the default password, you can log in with admin as ID and default as the password

  4. vCD contacts vShield and that's that.

You have now connected vCD to vCenter and are now able to use resources presented by this vCenter in your vCloud.

Step 3 – Creating a PvDC

Now we will create our first PvDC and assign resources to our vCloud.

  1. To create a new PvDC, you click on the second link, Create a Provider VDC (refer to the first image in the Step 2 – connecting vCenter to vCD subsection of the Quick start – creating your first VM section).

  2. Enter a name for the new PvCD. A good idea is to develop a naming standard for any item in vCenter and vCD. My PvDC will be called PvDC_myLab.

  3. Choose the highest supported virtual hardware version that your vCenter/ESXi supports. If you are running VMware 5.1, it is Version 9.

  4. In the next window, we choose the cluster or the resource pool that vCloud should use to create the PvDC. Please note that you need to create a resource pool before starting this wizard, or else it won't show up. For this example, I choose the cluster myCluster.

  5. In the next window, we are prompted to choose a storage profile. For the time being, just choose any and continue.

  6. Now vCD shows us all the ESXi hosts that belong to the cluster or the resource pool we selected. vCD will need to install some extra software on them and will need to connect directly to the ESXi hosts. That's why it is asking for the credentials of the ESXi hosts.

  7. Finish the wizard.

At the end of this wizard, vCD will put the ESXi into maintenance mode to install the extra software package. If you only have one ESXi host and it is also running vCD and vCenter, you will have to manually install the vCD software package (not in the scope of this book).

You have now successfully carved off a slice of resources to be used inside your vCloud.

Storage profiles

vSphere storage profiles are defined in vCenter. The idea is to group datastores together by their capabilities or by a user-defined label. For example, group datstores by their types (NFS, Fiber, SATA, or SSD), different RAID types, or by features that are provided, such as backup or replication.

Enterprises use storage profiles such as gold, silver, and bronze, depending on the speed of the disks (SATA or SSD) and on whether a datastore is backed up or replicated for DR purposes.

vCloud Director can assign different storage profiles to PvDCs and OvDCs. If an OvDC has multiple storage profiles assigned to it, you can choose a specific storage profile to be the default for this OvDC. Also, when you create a vApp in this OvDC, you can choose the storage profile with which you want to store the vApp.

Step 4 – Creating an Org

And now we will create an organization (Org).

  1. On the Home panel, click on the fifth link, Create a new organization (refer to the first image in the Step 2 – connecting vCenter to vCD subsection of the Quick start – creating your first VM section).

  2. Give the Org a name, for example, MyOrg and the organization's full name.

  3. In the next window, choose the first option, Do not use LDAP.

  4. Next, we could add a local user but we won't. So let's just click on Next.

  5. Our first Org should be able to share. So click on Allow publishing…, and then click on Next.

  6. We keep clicking on Next. The first Org will use the e-mail and notification settings of vCD.

  7. Now we need to configure the leases. You can just click on Next, or if you like, set all leases to unlimited.

  8. The last window shows us all the settings we have selected, and by clicking on Finish, our first organization will be created.

System Org

You have actually created a second Org as the first Org is called system and was created when we installed vCD. If you look at your home screen, you will see that there is a small tab that says System. The system Org is the mother of all Orgs. It's where other Orgs, PvDCs, OvDCs, and basically all settings are defined in vCloud Director. The system organization can only be accessed by vCloud system administrators.

Step 5 – Creating an OvDC

Now that we have our first Org, we can proceed with assigning resources to it for consumption. To do that, we need to create an Organization Virtual Data Center (OvDC).

  1. On the Home Screen, we click on the sixth link, Allocate resources to an organization.

  2. First we have to select the Org to which we want to assign the resources. As we only have one Org, the choice is easy.

  3. Next, we are asked which PvDC we want to take the resources from. Again, we only have one PvDC, so we choose that one. Note that the screen shows you what percentage of various resources of this PvDC are already committed and which networks are associated with this PvDC. Don't be alarmed that no networks are showing; we haven't configured any yet.

  4. Next we choose the allocation model. We have discussed the details of all the three models earlier: allocation pool, pay-as-you-go, and reservation pool.

  5. Choose Pay-as-you-go and click on Next. Have a look at the settings and click on Next.

  6. The next window lets you define which storage profile you would like to use for this OvDC. If you don't have a storage profile configured (as I do in my lab), just select any and click on the Add button.

    • Enable Thin Provisioning to save on storage. This setting is the same as the normal thin provisioning in vSpere.

    • Enable Fast Provisioning. This setting will use vCloud-linked clones (explained later).

  7. This window lets us configure the network resources for the organization. As we haven't configured any networking yet, just click on Next. We will discuss the network options in the next section about networks.

  8. We don't want to create an edge gateway so we leave the setting as it is and click Next. Again, more information about this is to follow in the next section.

  9. Finally, we will give this OvDC a name and finish the creation. I normally add a little descriptor in the name to say what allocation model I used, for example, res, payg, or allo.

We have now successfully assigned memory, CPU, and storage to be consumed by our organization.

Linked clones

Linked clones save an enormous amount of storage space. When a VM is created from a template, a full clone of the template is created. When linked clones are used, only the changes to the VM are written to disk. As an example, we have a VM with 40 GB storage capacity (ignore thin provisioning for this example). A full clone would need another 40 GB of disk space. If linked clones are used, only a few MB will be used. As more changes are made to the cloned VM, it will demand more storage (up to the maximum of 40 GB). If this reminds you of the way snapshots work in vSphere, that's because that is what is actually used in the background.

vCloud linked clones are not the same technology as VMware View linked clones; they are a more advanced version of the VMware Lab Manager linked clones.

Step 6 – Creating a vApp

Now that we have resources within our organization, we can create a vAPP and the VM inside it.

vApps are created inside organizations, so we first need to access the organization that was created in the Step 4 – creating an Org subsection of the Quick start – creating your first VM section.

  1. Click on the Manage & Monitor tab and double-click on the Organizations menu item.

  2. Now double-click on the organization we created in the Step 4 – creating an Org subsection of the Quick start – creating your first VM section. You will see that a new tab is opened with the name of the new Org. You are now on the home screen of this Org.

  3. We will take the easy road here. Click on Build New vApp.

  4. Give your first vApp a name (for example, MyFirstVapp), a description, and if you like, explore the settings of the leases.

  5. After you click on Next, we are asked to choose a template. As we currently don't have one, we click on New Virtual Machine in the left-hand side menu of the screen. We will learn about templates in the Top features you need to know about section.

  6. A pop up will appear and we will then select all the settings we would expect when creating a new VM, such as name and hostname, CPU, memory, OS type and version, hard disk, and network. Note that if you are using virtual ESXi servers in your lab, you may be limited to 32-bit VMs only.

  7. After clicking on OK, we will find ourselves back at the previous screen. However, our VM should now show up in the lower table. Click on Next.

  8. We can now choose in which OvDC and in what storage profile we will deploy the vApp. The choices should be very limited at the moment, so just click on Next.

  9. Next, we are asked to choose a network. As we don't have one, we just click on Next.

  10. Another window will open; click on Next. Normally, we could define a fencing here.

  11. At last, we see a summary of all the settings, and clicking on Finish will create our first vApp.

After the vApp is created, you can power it on and have a closer look.

  1. Click on the play button to power the vApp on.

  2. Wait for a few seconds, and then click on the black screen of the VM. A console pop up should come up and show you the BIOS of the booting VM. If that's not happening, check your browser security settings.

That's it! You have installed vCD, and you've configured your resources and created your first vApp.

Summary

This article explained how we could create VM in vCloud technology.

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Instant VMware vCloud Starter [Instant] A practical, hands-on guide to get started with VMware vCloud with this book and ebook.
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About the Author :


Daniel Langenhan

Daniel Langenhan is a client-focused Virtualization Expert with more than 18 years of international industry experience.

His skills span the breadth of virtualization, ranging from architecture, design, and implementation for large multitier enterprise client systems to delivering captivating education and training sessions in security technologies and practices to diverse audiences.

In addition to this, he possesses an extensive knowledge and experience in process management, enterprise-level storage, Linux, and Solaris operating systems.

Utilizing his extensive knowledge, experience, and skills, he has a proven track record of successful integration of virtualization into different business areas, while minimizing cost and maximizing reliability and effectiveness of the solutions for his clients.

He has gained his experience with major Australian and international vendors and clients. Daniel's consulting company is well established with strong industry ties in many verticals, for example, finance, telecommunications, and print. His consulting business also provided services to VMware International.

Daniel is the author of Instant VMware vCloud Starter, Packt Publishing and VMware View Security Essentials, Packt Publishing.

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