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6 Simple Steps: Installing vFabric Administration Server (VAS) and Provisioning tc Server across 3 Nodes

As a suite of products, vFabric offers a single SKU model that includes the entire suite. Besides offering an economically beneficial licensing model that is flexible, based on average use, and hardware independent, the vFabric team has developed the vFabric Administration Server (VAS) to help make installation, configuration, and operations easier.

If you missed a previous article explaining how VAS work and what it can do for you, VAS is based on a single system image design (SSI) and allows you to define a group of nodes where each operation on the group is applied to each node who is a member of the group. This approach provides time savings and reduces errors by keeping systems more consistent, allowing easier ways to scale, and simplifying administration. VAS also provides a robust set of REST APIs for virtually all of its functionality. In addition to vFabric tc Server, VAS can manage vFabric RabbitMQ, vFabric GemFire, vFabric SQLFire, and vFabric Web Server. VAS 1.1.1 was recently released with new features and many bug fixes.

In this article (and demonstration further below), we will show you six steps that give you an idea of how easy it is to provision using VAS. We will show you how to install VAS and use it to provision vFabric tc Server across three nodes along with a WAR file. The explanation below refers to examples from RubyGems.org and GitHub/vFabric/VAS-Ruby-API along with the latest VAS documentation.

1. Download and Unzip VAS

Installing VAS is simple. Download the version you need from VMware’s download area, unzip the file, and run the setup script. Below, we see a screen shot of the unzip command running.

Run the Setup and Start Services

Once it is unzipped, run the setup script, /bin/setup.sh, as shown in the screen shot below. The setup creates three things: the broker, the server itself, and an agent install package. The broker is used to communicate between the agents and the server. The agent install package is what allows agents to be installed. When installed, the agents are preconfigured to communicate securely. Once the setup runs, the services can be started as shown below with the administration-server.sh start command.

Install the Agents

Next, we install the administration agents on the three machines we want to administer. Of course, there are several agent installation options – you can download the agent using curl, via ZIP, or using the Ruby or Python API bindings as shown in this example. Below, we demonstrate using the Ruby API and a Ruby script called install_agent.rb to install the agent on a single machine. There is an example of this called bootstrap_agent.rb in GitHub. Once the agents are installed on each machine, we can start each machine’s agent with administration-agent.sh start.

Verify the Admin Server Sees the Agents

After the agents are installed and running, we should check the admin server to see that the agent-installed machines are available for administration. To do this, we will use the Ruby API to check that there are three nodes registered with VAS as in the screen shot below. We see the command vas.tc_server.nodes.count is provided and the return is a 3.

Deploy the Web Application across the Nodes

Now that the server, broker, and agents are installed and connected, we want to provision vFabric tc Server and deploy a web application across the nodes. In this screen shot, we are going to use the web application example script that is available in the Ruby API’s GitHub repositoryThe web_application.rb Ruby script does several things:

  • It uploads the tc Server installation image and the web application’s WAR file to the administration server.
  • Then, it creates a group of all the available nodes (3 in this example), installs tc Server on this group, and creates an instance on each node.
  • Next, the web application is deployed to each instance, and the instances are started.

View the Web Application from a Browser

Now, we can go to a web browser and see the web application running on each of the three machines that the server is administering.

Besides helping with installs and deployment, VAS can be used to start and stop instances, update config files, retrieve log files, and more.

>> To learn more about VAS, read the documentation or download it.

VAS Video Demonstration

To see the video demonstration of the steps above, please review the video below on VAS.

Or, if easier:

About the Author: Stacey Schneider has over 15 years of working with technology, with a focus on working with sales and marketing automation as well as internationalization. Schneider has held roles in services, engineering, products and was the former head of marketing and community for Hyperic before it was acquired by SpringSource and VMware. She is now working as a product marketing manager across the vFabric products at VMware, including supporting Hyperic. Prior to Hyperic, Schneider held various positions at CRM software pioneer Siebel Systems, including Group Director of Technology Product Marketing, a role for which her contributions awarded her a patent. Schneider received her BS in Economics with a focus in International Business from the Pennsylvania State University.

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