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In my last article in this series, vCenter Operations Manager Architecture, I discussed the architecture of the vCenter Operations Management Suite and, in more detail, vCenter Operations Manager. In that post, I also covered the 3 things that you didn’t know about vC Ops architecture as well as how to size the vCenter Operations Manager virtual machines.

In this article, we’ll deploy the vCenter Operations Manager vApp. Keep in mind that we already discussed sizing vC Ops, which covers the resource requirements you would normally review prior to installing a traditional management application. Those resource requirements, which vary based on the size of your virtual infrastructure are the majority of the “system requirements” for vC Ops. Additional system requirements for vC Ops 5.x, that the majority of you out there are going to meet, are:

  • System running the vC Ops vApp must be using vCenter 4.0 U2 or later
  • Host running the vC Ops vApp must be using ESX Server or ESXi 4.0 or later
  • Must be using a supported web browser to administer vC Ops – Internet Explorer 7/8/9 or Mozilla Firefox 3.6, 8, 9, or 10 with a minimum resolution of 1024×768

Note: while I, personally, use Google Chrome with vCenter Operations Manager and haven’t seen any trouble, it is technically an unsupported web browser by VMware when used with vC Ops.

Also note: there is an installable version of vC Ops that runs in the Windows or Linux operating systems. VMware doesn’t recommend that installation today. Originally, it was distributed in that format for scalability purposes but with the scalability of the vC Ops in vApp format, it’s no longer needed. In this article, we are installing the vC Ops vApp, which is by far the most popular deployment option in use today.

Keep in mind – because we are installing a Linux virtual appliance-based management application, there is no need to do things like…. create a new VM, buy a Windows Server OS license, install Windows, create a new table and user on your SQL Server, install the Windows-based management application, connect it to SQL, etc.

As you perform your own install, keep in mind how much time and money you will save with the Linux virtual appliance approach.

Step 1 – Prepare vCenter with a Network Pool to Support vC Ops

I’ll be honest, when I first deployed vC Ops, I skipped this step completely and had network problems. Typically, you can simply deploy a vApp without thinking about network pools but this is not the case with the vC Ops vApp. Even if you plan to use static IP addresses for the vC Ops vApps (which you should in production), you must still complete this step. The name “IP Pool” is actually misleading in the case of vC Ops as, most likely vC Ops is going to have a static IP address and there is no need to even enable this “IP Pool”, as a traditional network pool. Still, don’t skip this! (honestly, it only takes a couple of minutes)

Setting up a new IP Pool in vCenter is easy. In the vSphere Client for Windows, you would use the IP Pools tab on your virtual datacenter. However, in the vSphere Web Client, you click on the virtual datacenter where vC Ops will reside (in Hosts and Clusters view), and click on the + icon to add a new network protocol policy.

That’s right, in the vSphere Web Client, “IP Pools” are called “network protocol policies”.

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A new window will appear where you will answer the questions from the new network policy wizard.

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Give the new network policy a name. I like to call it something like “vC Ops Network Identity Pool”, as that is really all it is being used for (it isn’t a network pool, handing out IP addresses).

Next, associate it with a network, and click Next.

Now, enter the necessary IPv4 pool information. That includes-

  • IP network address (such as 10.0.0.0 or 10.0.1.0)
  • Gateway IP address (usually something like 10.0.0.1 or 10.0.1.1)
  • and DNS Server IP addresses

Do not enable the network pool

Click Next

vcops-install-2-network-policy-pool2From here, for the purposes of vC Ops, you can simply click Finish.

In the end, here is what your network policy will look like to support the vC Ops vApp:

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Step 2 – Deploy the vC Ops vApp

Now, we are ready to deploy vCenter Operations Manager! vC Ops is the only commercial virtualization management tool I can think of where you can simply paste the URL of the OVF file into the vSphere Client and deploy (other vendors – feel free to correct me if you support this). In fact, you don’t even need to know the URL. You can go to the Home screen in vCenter, click on vCenter Operations Manager, and on the Getting Started tab, click Deploy vCenter Operations Manager.

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This will bring up the Deploy OVF Template wizard to walk you through the process. It’s here that you enter your username and password that you use to login to my.vmware.com.

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After that, you’ll be downloaded through the deployment wizard, starting with reviewing the details of the vApp that you are about to deploy, shown below.

Note: if you ever do download a OVF file (for any virtual appliance) and then try to deploy it using the vSphere Client (WIndows or Web), make sure that you have a good connection. I have struggled before trying to deploy an OVF over a WAN or over Wifi, tried to troubleshoot numerous FAILED error messages, only to find out that if I would just connect using a reliable Ethernet connection to the same network that the vSphere infrastructure is on, the errors simply disappear. If you can’t do that then I encourage you to create a, let’s say, Windows VM in the vSphere infrastructure, connect to it via RDP, download the OVF file to that Windows VM (because it’s on the same network as the vSphere infrastructure), and then deploy the OVF file from there. OR, just use the option that I am demonstrating in this blog post, where vCenter downloads it directly from VMware.com

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As you can see this is the vCenter Operations Manager 5.8.1.0 version, it’s 1.3GB in size to download and 344GB to deploy thickly provisioned, and 3.8GB to deploy if thinly provisioned. Cluck Next to continue.

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Accept the VMware end user license agreement by clicking Accept and clicking Next.

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Select the destination, in the virtual infrastructure, where the vC Ops vApp will reside by name and folder, then click Next.

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Now, select the size of your virtual infrastructure, based on the sizing chart in my vC Ops Architecture post.

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Next, select the resource where you will deploy the vC Ops vApp and click Next. This is a cluster, host, vApp or resource pool.

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Select the datastore where you will install vC Ops, the virtual disk format, and the VM storage policy (if applicable), and click Next.

Note: if, at this point, you get a long delay and then the following error message, “A connection error occurred. Verify that your computer can connect to the vCenter Server”, you likely have a DNS issue that you must correct before you can continue the installation. Ensure that you can do a forward and reverse DNS lookup on the DNS name of your vCenter server and that your vCenter server is using that DNS server as well. While there may be other issues that cause this, in my case, it was that DNS was incorrectly configured (or not configured at all).

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Next, select the network that the vC Ops vApp will connect to and how the IP addresses will be allocated to the two virtual machines in the vApp. The default is going to be VM Network with an IP allocation of DHCP. Click Next.

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Now, select your Timezone and click Next

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Finally, review what you are about to install and, if correct, click Finish.

What you should see is a new vSphere Client Task to Deploy OVF Template, with the name of the vApp that you configured.

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Being as the OVF file is 1.3GB it could take a few minutes to download from VMware.com to your vCenter server, to be deployed. The cool thing here, in my opinion, is that you don’t have to first download it to your local computer and then deploy it to vCenter – which should cut the download portion of the deployment roughly in half.

After a few minutes, you should see the new vApp deployed on the new host or cluster that you specified, as in the graphic below.

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Notice the configuration of the Analytics VM-

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And the User Interface VM-

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To access vC Ops, you’ve got a couple of options-

1) if you used DHCP, you can get the IP address of the UI VM from the vSphere Web Client, when looking at that VM, as you see below-

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2) if you used static IP addresses, you should already know the IP address of the UI VM but, whether you used DHCP or static, you can get to vC Ops the same way that we initially deployed it, inside the vCenter Home screen and then through the vCenter Operations Manager icon, like this-

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Like the vCenter Server Appliance, and other VMware virtual appliances, vCenter Operations Manager has two different web interfaces-

  • vC Ops Administrative Interface – x.x.x.x/admin
  • vC Ops User Interface – x.x.x.x/vcops-vsphere

To configure vC Ops, you’ll need to go to the administrative interface and perform the initial vC Ops configuration, which brings us to step 3…

Step 3 – vC Ops Initial Configuration

The first time that you go to the vC Ops interface, you’ll be brought to the administrative interface as vC Ops needs to be configured. There, you’ll need to login using the default vCenter Operations Manager administrative credentials, where the default username and password is admin / admin, as you see in the graphic below-

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From here, you’ll be brought to the initial configuration wizard for vC Ops, which starts with telling vC Ops about your vCenter Server by providing your vCenter IP address / hostname and administrative username/password. You also need to verify the IP address of the vC Ops analytics VM, which should already be there.

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Likely, you will see this certificate warning.

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The certificate warning is a normal part of this process, unless you are using your own certificates, so just click Yes to continue

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Now, you are required to change the default admin password for the vC Ops admin interface AND the default password for the vC Ops command line root account. The default password for admin is, admin and the default password for root is vmware.

Note that the password complexity requirements for these accounts is very strict. You must have at least an 8 character password, with at least 1 digit, 1 upper case letter, 1 lowercase letter AND 1 special character.

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Initially, my “go to passwords” usually fail so take note.

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Next, specify the vCenter server that you want to monitor and the necessary credentials and click Next. Note that the vCenter server that the vC Ops vApp runs in and the vCenter server that you monitor don’t have to be the same (but they usually are).

Next, you will likely get the message “vCenter Operations Manager detects no plug-ins” and you can click Next

After that, you will likely get the message “No vCenter Servers are linked to this vCenter Server: [your vCenter server name]”, if you aren’t using vCenter in linked mode. Click Next.

At this point, you will be brought to the vCenter Operations Manager administrative interface home screen, on the Registration tab.

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Now, vC Ops is successfully configured. You should see that the service status is “Running”, that it’s registered with a vCenter server, and that the connection status is “Connected”.

If you now go to the vCenter Operations Manager IP address or click Open vCenter Operations Manager from inside vCenter, you should be taken to the vC Ops user interface and be prompted to login-

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Remember – the default username is still admin and the password is the complex password you set it to during the initial configuration of vC Ops.

Once logged in, you should immediately start seeing feedback about your vSphere infrastructure, based on the data that vC Ops has recently gathered from your vCenter server. Here is what my World view looks like from the perspective of vC Ops-

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As you can see, some objects are already RED and are in need of some kind of optimization.

If I drill down into the overall Health of my “World”, you can see the health, workload, and faults of the various objects that make up my world (VMs, hosts, or datastores in this case).

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I can sort these by the objects that have the lowest health (that’s not good) or the highest workload (that’s not good either), and the highest number of faults (that’s very bad).

It will take some time for vC Ops to gather all the data that it needs to learn about your virtual infrastructure to start making recommendations for optimization but, just in the first few minutes, you will start learning where your bottlenecks are and which of your virtual machines, hosts, and datastores is currently under the heaviest workloads (and who those workloads are caused by).

If you are looking for more information on the deployment, installation, and configuration of vCenter Operations Manager, consult the vC Ops Documentation here.

In my next post, I’ll be covering the fundamentals of how to use vCenter Operations Manager to analyze your virtual infrastructure, covering concepts and terms (like scores and badges).