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How to run Vcenter 5.5 appliance on AWS using Ravello

We at Ravello have been working on some really cool technology for the last couple of months. We have implemented a CPU virtualization extension called VT-I for Intel or SVM for AMD in our HVX hypervisor. These extensions allow running other hypervisors such as KVM or VMware ESXi™ on top of Ravello in addition to running regular VMs.

In this blog we are going to walk through installing and configuring VMware vCenter™ 5.5 server on public cloud – extremely useful for running ESXi enabled virtual labs. We will go over how to create VMware vCenter image, and save it in your VM library to be able to add it in other Ravello applications later. Broadly speaking, we will undertake the following steps:

  1. Download the vCenter Server from VMware
  2. Upload vCenter Server appliance to Ravello
  3. Create vCenter Server VM in Ravello, and install using web
  4. Configure vCenter to run on Ravello
  5. Save vCenter to VM library

Prerequisite

A Ravello account. If you don’t already have one, you can start your free trial.

We recently held a webinar discussing how to build ESXi labs on AWS/ Google Cloud. Enjoy the webcast and slides…

AWS-ESXi

1. Download vCenter from VMware

  1. Download the vCenter Server 5.5 update 2d OVA file by clicking here. You will be required to login/register as a VMware user. The OVA file is ~2 GB and may take sometime to download.
  2. Untar/unzip the OVA to extract the contents. The contents have an OVF file and VMDK files, that we will need in the next step. Make sure the OVF and all VMDK files are in the same directory.

2. Upload vCenter to Ravello

Once we have the OVF file, the next step is to upload it to Ravello. Here are instructions on how to upload OVF to Ravello.

3. Create vCenter Server VM and install using web

1. Create an application in Ravello and give it a name. Do not use a BlueprintCreate Ravello Application
2. Drag and drop/add the vCenter Server appliance uploaded earlier to the VM LibraryvCenter Drag Drop
3. This will trigger a VM validation taking one through each of the tabs for the VM starting with the “General” tab. Here, one can change the name of the vCenter Server if desired.vCenter VM Name
4. Clicking Next takes one to the “System” tab. It is recommended to allocate 4 VCPUs to the appliance to improve performance.vCenter System configuration
5. Clicking Next takes one to Disk tab. No changes needed on this tab.vCenter disk tab
6. Clicking Next takes one to Network tab. No changes needed on this tab either.vCenter network tab
7. Clicking Next takes one to Services tab. No changes needed on this tab.vCenter services tab
8. Once the VM is validated, click ‘Publish’ and wait until the application is published (~5 mins).vCenter publishing
9. Open the console. A warning message “the profile does not allow you to run the products on this system” is displayed. Click ENTER to continue installationvCenter installation warning
10. Once you see this blue screen indicating that the appliance is ready for installation, proceed to the next step.vCenter appliance ready
11. Add the following in the “Services” tab for the vCenter Server appliance and update:

  • SSH (port 22)
  • HTTP (port 80)
  • HTTPS (port 443)
  • system web management (port 5480)
  • vCenter web management (port 9443)
  • Remote console access (port 7343)
vCenter server appliance update
12. Once update has finished, and the blue screen (Step 10) is visible on Ravello Console, pointing the browser to Public IP for the vCenter at port 5480 presented vCenter Server UI. Default login is “root” and password “vmware”vCenter login
13. Select the “Configure with default settings” option from the vCenter Server Setup Wizard. Here are detailed instructions on vCenter server installation. The installation process takes ~10 mins to complete.vCenter server setup

4. Configure vCenter to run on Ravello

  1. Login to the vCenter Server using UI (https://<publicIP>:5480)
    1. Go to “Admin” tab, select “Yes for “Certificate regeneration enabled”. Click “Submit” to save changes.
      vCenter admin tab
    2. Go to “Time” tab, and enable “NTP synchronization” radio button. Enter
      0.us.pool.ntp.org,1.us.pool.ntp.org,2.us.pool.ntp.org,3.us.pool.ntp.org” for NTP servers, and click “Save Settings”
      vCenter time tab
  2. Next, we will make some changes to prevent the warning message seen during boot (“the profile does not allow you to run the products on this system”).
    Login to the vCenter Server’s public IP using ssh –

    1. Run “vi /etc/init.d/boot.compliance
    2. Change line 47 – (add “-q”)
      1. From MSG=`/usr/bin/isCompliant`
      2. To MSG=`/usr/bin/isCompliant -q`
    3. Change line 48 – substitute (“0” instead of “$?”)
      1. From CODE=$?
      2. To CODE=0
    4. Save the changes you made in /etc/init.d/boot.compliance

5. Save vCenter to VM Library

Once the vCenter Server is installed and configured, it is recommended to save it to Ravello’s library for future usage. See instructions on saving the vCenter VM to Ravello’s library.

Release Notes

vCenter Server is a resource intensive service and usually not stopped in production environment. It takes ~10 minutes for the vCenter Server and all the relevant services to be back up again after a reboot.

VMware product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to in the ravellosystems domain are the property of VMware. VMware is not affiliated with Ravello Systems or any of Ravello System’s employees or representatives. VMware does not sponsor or endorse the contents, materials, or processes discussed on the site.

Note: If your application includes multiple ESXi serevrs, please make sure you start them separately, one by one, and not all at the same time.

About Ravello Systems

Ravello is the industry’s leading nested virtualization and software-defined networking SaaS. It enables enterprises to create cloud-based development, test, UAT, integration and staging environments by automatically cloning their VMware-based applications in AWS. Ravello is built by the same team that developed the KVM hypervisor in Linux.

Check our product demo video

How to run Vcenter 5.5 appliance on AWS using Ravello