While building a new server product of its own kind, we chose virtual appliance as the package. During the development phase, we configured thin disk to save space. But for our beta customers to try out, we decided to switch to thick disk for better performance as the product has to do lots of processing and heavy disk I/O. BTW, we still have a few slots for new beta customers with have large vSphere deployments. Please contact me if you are interested.
I started to play with CentOS 7 recently because I wanted to use it for one of my appliance products. Naturally, I installed the minimum version of the CentOS 7.0.
While it takes time, the installation process is pretty straight-forward like installing any other Linux on a virtual machine. What I did was to upload the .iso file to a datastore, then create a new virtual machine that uses the iso file as CD device. When it booted, the installation started. Although it’s minimal version, but the installer is actually GUI based. So it’s pretty intuitive.
There is a big change in the vCenter 6.0 with the introduction of Platform Service Controller. To run vCenter 6.0, there must be a PSC server somewhere: either existing one, or new one installed together with vCenter. For most dev/test environments, you would choose the latter option which is also referenced as embedded mode. Because of this separation of vCenter and PSC, the installation process of vCenter appliance 6.0 is quite different from the previous versions.
After playing with the vCenter appliance simulator feature documented by William, I got into a show stopper that vCenter service (VPXD) could not be started. I don’t think it’s related to the simulator feature at all. My guess is that it’s caused by a sudden power off of the virtual machine but didn’t try to reproduce the problem that way – I care more to fix it than anything else.
A virtual appliance is a virtual machine preinstalled with operating system, middleware, and applications. It’s ready to run after a few configurations after powering up.
The benefit of delivering a virtual appliance is obvious – it offers better out of box experience due to simplified installation/configuration and complete isolation from other applications. The disadvantage is also obvious in that it potentially uses much more system resources than sharing a virtual machine with other applications. Like any solution, it’s all about when and how you use it with what for best results. This can be a long discussion by itself.
The first part of the title of this article may seem like mathematics, but it’s really not. This is just about software packaging – a topic not so often discussed. In plain English, it basically says something like: one application with N features vs. N applications, each of which has one feature. More generally speaking, it can describe software entity with sub-elements. I will discuss it in the contexts of mobile/desktop, and virtual/physical.
This is yet another post based on my notes taken at LISA 2010 conference. The talk is The 10 commandments in release engineering by Dinah McNutt from Google. Dinah did a great job in summarizing the basics of release engineering therefore it’s worthwhile to compile my note and share it here.
Note that although typical release engineering does not produce virtual appliances, the basic principles are the same. You will find these basics helpful as well.
Release engineering is a critical part of software engineering and should be treated as products in their own rights. But often there is disconnect between development writing the code and the system administrator who installs it. Release process is usually an afterthought.
Typical Release Process
The following steps are executed during a release run:
Yesterday I posted an article introducing the virtual appliance Timo created last week. I am sure some of you have given it a try. I hope you liked it. If you haven’t done so, you can download it from Timo’s post.
The virtual appliance ships with only two samples. Definitely not enough. That is why the community needs to work together so that we can match the functionalities of vSphere PowerCLI.
The following are two samples by David Rousseau who is an independent consultant living in Paris. Thanks for his permission to publish his code here. He owns the copyright of the code. If you want to use it, you can contact him or leave a message in this post.
- jython_rest.py: This code shows how to use the tiny Client REST API I created. Check out this article for more details of the API itself.
- jython_test.py: list all the hosts, resource pools, virtual machines and vApps that are found at the server.
To help you understand the code, I added a little comment before each file.
After creating a light virtual appliance last year, Timo Sugliani continued with a full fledged version of virtual appliance with all you need for vSphere development with Java and Jython. This is what Timo called “my linux powershell toolkit.” The biggest advantage is that you are no longer limited by Windows as your development platform.
With the growth of virtualization, a new term “virtual appliance” has been coined for a special type of virtual machines that are used like applications. What does it really mean?
First, a virtual appliance is still a virtual machine. When seen in vSphere Client, the virtual appliance does not look much different from other typical virtual machines. Secondly, the functionality of the virtual machine is limited to that of an application. More often than not, the virtual machine is installed with one application. Because of this, the underlying OS is stripped down only to the minimum required to support that application. This type of OS is also called Just Enough OS (JEOS). All the existence of the JEOS is to support the application in the virtual appliance.
Now, is it a VM or an application? It could be either, depending how you look at it. For ESX/vCenter, a virtual appliance is a virtual machine. You can manage it just like any other virtual machine. For application users, it’s an application, a special one that is different from a normal application.
You may have read blogs from my colleagues Mike DiPetrillo, Duncan Epping about the VMware Script-O-Mania contest. The prizes are $2,500 (1st), $1,000 (2nd), and $500(3rd) respectively. The contest ends in March 15, 2010. So act quickly!
“Wait, how can I WIN the prizes?”
Well, first of all, you want to read carefully the criteria. Note that your script is for System Administrators with ESXi. So it could be for initial server set up, health monitoring, trouble shooting, reporting auditing, or anything else that is cool and creative. I suggest you talk to system administrators what REAL PAINS they have, and how they would like to fix the problems.
When you are clear what problems to solve, then let’s move on.
If you are already familiar with PowerCLI and RCLI, you should probably stick with them. You can get helps from VMware Developer Community.
If not, open source VI Java API can help you!
Here are 4 ways the API can do for you to win the $2,500: