Adding vCenter appliance to Fusion

Inside the content of the vCenter Server appliance ISO there are the files. Normal process is to use the HTML page and install the VMware Client Integration Plugin. Given that I want to deploy to Fusion this is not going to help me. In the folder ‘vcsa’ there is a file vmware-vcsa. It does not have an extension but in truth it is an ova file. Append the extension .ova to the end of this file so it is vmware-vcsa.ova.

It can be imported into VMware Fusion now! Import this into Fusion like any other OVF file. Deploy it with the default settings or modified them if you like. Once deployed do not power it on. Browse to the VM location and explore the contents of the VM. Inside there is a VMX file.

When deploying to VMware Fusion or Workstation the VCSA VMX file must be modified. The additional which are normal put in do the ‘fantastic’ (emphasis on fantastic) install process can be manually added. These include SSO domain name, PSC deployment type, IP addresses and more.

guestinfo.cis.deployment.node.type = "embedded"
guestinfo.cis.vmdir.domain-name = "vsphere.local" = "Default-First-Site"
guestinfo.cis.vmdir.password = "VMware1!" = "ipv4" = "" = "" = "24" = "static" = "" = ""
guestinfo.cis.appliance.root.passwd = "VMware1!"
guestinfo.cis.appliance.ssh.enabled = "true"
hard-disk.hostBuffer = "disabled"

Note that I have also disabled hard disk buffering which results in any high memory usage being swapped. This is swapped to the SSD which results in suitable function performance. After all – nested labs are designed to test function and not benchmark.

Power On the VM and let it boot. Voila! Server Appliance on Fusion. Lab away on the best way to deploy vCenter. Now – time to way for Update Manager for VCSA they promised at VMworld the other year!

Cisco VIRL : Where did NX-OS go?

Cisco VIRL allows administrators and network engineers to build network topologies rapidly and validate a variety of use cases on a virtual platform. Superb for change and even better when considering traditionally this used to require physical equipment or ‘guestimation’.

Many networks these days have a variety of Cisco’s portfolio within them. They vary between firewalls, campus switching, edge routing and data centre switching. Whilst this doesn’t change the underlying concepts of networking in does introduce different operating systems. There is NX-OS, IOS, IOS-XR and ASA that are currently the core flavours. Unlike JUNOS which has one (and a fork for SRX) unified OS, Cisco has a few. Whilst the merits of this can be argued another day this poses and issue for validation.

Cisco VIRL allows the running of these operating systems in software! Now it is possible to test NX-OS against ASA with a backbone network built from IOSv and IOS-XR.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.16.12 pm

When you first login to Cisco VIRL you will notice that there is only IOSv. You need to synchronise your VMmaestro client with the VIRL server.



Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.16.27 pm



Notice that there is NX-OSv listed but there is a ? within the icon and interfaces aren’t defined. Well, if you were to drag this icon to your canvas you would notice there is not an image defined either to boot from. Whilst Cisco VIRL allows you to define a particular image per OS type the server holds a raft of default configurations.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.16.38 pm


Simply click Fetch from Server. Confirm that you want to download configuration from the server. Look at the list. Populated with more devices than you’ve traditionally been able to use. What is even better is that you don’t have to install and deploy each one individually on the canvas. You just click, connect, start and lab!

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 10.17.15 pm


Ah. That is better. The palette is populated with additional devices.


Screenshot 2014-07-04 06.55.36

There you go. NX-OS. Simply connect this to the other devices in the topology and you will have multi-platform test bed.

I have labbed a lot more recently since getting my hands on Cisco VIRL. This is due to having my platform hosted and always on, not worrying about recabling, addressing and all the things that eat into technology lab time. After living in the land of VMware for a little bit I lost some of my hands on skills. It’s all coming back. It must be the muscle memory!