There’s a right way and a wrong way to install VMware’s vCloud Director (vCD). Identifying the wrong way is quite simple — it just won’t work. There’s actually a lot more to that — caveats, best practices, redundancy, add-ons — which I will cover in the next post. For now, we’ll focus on what you need before the install.

Installing vCD can be a daunting task if you don’t have all the prerequisites in place prior to rolling out the goods. Below is a quick list of to-do’s and links to the associated resources. The actual install of vCD is the quickest part of this entire process assuming all these pieces are in place. Do this right and the rest will be easy as pie…

VM’s (OS Requirements):

VMware vCenter Server 4.1
OS: Windows 2008 R2 x64

vCenter on a VM is fully supported. There are some caveats to consider, but I’ll cover that in the next post. For starters, make sure the vCenter VM is utilizing a standard vSwitch vs. a dvSwitch for net connectivity. This can apply to the majority of your management (core) VMs.

vSphere 4.1
OS: ESXi 4.1 U1

Licensing at the vSphere Enterprise Plus level isn’t absolutely required, but highly recommended to enable the use of several vCD capabilities that otherwise would be unavailable (vCD-NI, I/O Control, etc). Ent+ licensing is required to support distributed virtual switches (dvSwitch). If this setup is for a lab environment, 2 ESXi hosts will do. I’ll share best practices for laying out your vSphere clusters following best practices.

VMware vCloud Director 1.0.1
OS: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 x64

RHEL is the officially-supported OS for vCD 1.0.1, although there are several people who have successfully installed vCD on another flavor or linix. Just keep in mind that RHEL is the only VMware-supported OS.

vShield Manager 4.1 U1
OS: Appliance (OVF)

The vSM is used to automatically deploy vShield Edge appliances in vCloud Director. Download this appliance and deploy directly into vCenter.

Oracle DB 11g 
OS: Windows or Linux x64

Rather than building and Oracle instance from scratch, use an existing Oracle instance (if one exists) and create a dedicated Tablespace and User for the vCD database.

vCloud Request Manager 1.0*
OS: Windows 2008 R2 x64

* Optional

vCloud Connector*
OS: Appliance (OVF)

* Optional. VMware vCloud Connector will allow you to use your vSphere Client for “a single pane of glass” view across Public/Privide/Hybrid clouds and your vCenter servers. Download this appliance and deploy directly into vCenter.

vCenter Chargeback 1.6*
OS: Windows 2008 R2 x64

* Optional. vCenter Chargeback enables administrators to deliver IT as a service stand-alone or within vCloud Director using a simple chargeback model. Chargeback 1.6 provides full integration with vCD and lines up with vCD’s resource allocation models.

Getting Started:

I’m not going to detail the installation of vCenter Server and ESXi — hoping you’ve got that down prior to tackling vCD. If not, there are several how-to videos and guides out there to walk you through the process. Start with these two videos on YouTube – Installing vSphere 1 of 2Installing vSphere 2 of 2. A prerequisite for installing vCD really should be a solid understanding of vSphere and a high comfort level of vCenter management. It won’t be impossible to continue without that, but it would make things a whole lot easier.

Preparing vSphere:

vCD requires that the hosts being used to provide resources for the Provider vDC (PvDC – the aggregate pool of cloud resources) are in an HA-enabled cluster and a fully-automated DRS policy. As a best practice, build separate clusters for Management and Cloud Resources. The Management cluster will need no more than 2 or 3 hosts to support all the core VMs running this vDC (vCenter included). The Cloud Resource cluster (call it whatever you want) will be dedicated for vDC resource allocations. This cluster (or multiple clusters) becomes the root aggregate of resources that you will make available to cloud tenants. Prior to tying vCD to your vCenter instance, make sure all your clusters and hosts are configured properly, have access to the appropriate networks and storage, and configurations are consistent across all hosts within a cluster. This will also be a good time to build out your dvSwitch(es) and so on.

This is all a good time to license everything. vCD itself is licensed at first login after the install, but vCenter, ESXi hosts, and vShield Edge for vCloud are all licensed via the license management component within vCenter (accessible via the vSphere client). Trust me, get licensing out of the way to prevent head-scratching issues later.

Preparing the RHEL x64 VM for vCD:

Be sure the vCD VM is configured with 2 vNICs — 1 for HTTPS (web) access and the other for the ConsoleProxy (I’ll get into that in more detail in Part 2). Each should have it’s own static IP. Be sure to install the VMware Tools prior to moving on to the next step. If you need help doing this, see the YouTube how-to guide.

There are some dependant packages that need to be installed to support vCD. I’d recommend first running an update to make sure you’re at the latest patch level. Log in as root and run the following in a Terminal window:

yum install alsa-lib bash chkconfig compat-libcom_err coreutils compat-libstdc++-33-3.2.3 findutils glibc grep initscripts krb5-libs libgcc libICE libSM libstdc libX11 libXau libXdmcp libXext libXi libXt libXtst module-init-tools net-tools pciutils procps sed tar which compat-libcom_err

Note that these packages are also required for Oracle 11g on RHEL if you go down that route.

We’re not going to tackle any of the “Optional” components in this post. I will have detailed install instructions for vCloud Connector, vCloud Request Manager, and Chargeback in future posts. Once the prerequisites are in place, you’re ready to move on to the vCloud Director install. That process will be highlighted in Post 2 of 2: “Installing vCloud Director”.

Prior to moving on to the install, be sure to review the vCloud Director 1.0.1 Installation Guide. The guide will step you through specifict environmental prerequisites (OS/DB permissions, versions, roles, etc.).

Enjoy! And please provide feedback if you get stuck along the way.



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