Author Archives: Komal Mangtani

VMware Studio 2.0 GA – What’s new?

VMware Studio 2.0 GA was announced at VMworld Developer Day. The GA release comes two months after Beta. It mainly focuses on product quality and usability improvements with few enhancements from the Beta feedback. One of the key features added was support for CD based updates for virtual appliances. This feature is critical for production appliances that are deployed behind firewall. Since these appliances cannot connect to ISV's web based update repository, GA version of Studio allows appliance authors to create CD based update repository alongwith web based version it supported since 1.0. The end-user web console allows users to configure updates to be received from CD or through the phone-home URL. The other key area where we spent a good time during GA release was ensuring support for various vCenter environments for building vApps and virtual appliances. You can have VC environments with distributed vSwitches, VC deployments integrated with Active Directory and specify them as provisioning target in Studio. GA version also allows the author to specify clusters and sub resource pools for provisioning hosts. It detects hosts that are in maintenance mode and prevents their use during provisioning. 

Minor features include support for web console footer customization, setting hostname explicitly in built vms and virtual appliances and control EULA acceptance on first boot amongst others. Disabling EULA acceptance is needed for build and test environments to enable running regression test suite on nightly appliance builds in automated fashion. With 2.0 GA release, VMware tools are optional and explicitly specified in the build profile similar to appliance packages. This makes it easy to update or replace the tools with the version preferred for your deployment environment.

Also check out the GA version of Eclipse Plugin. We have done few usability improvements here, ability to add individual packages instead of entire application package repositories, ability to automatically create application package repository when building an application package. Studio menu items in Eclipse are now context sensitive. VMware Studio 2.0 is a view in Eclipse. Try it out with your Java, J2EE, C++ perspectives and it should integrate seamlessly. Eclipse 3.5 was released just after Studio Beta and we have ensured Studio GA Plugin continues to work with 3.5 alongwith 3.4 version of Eclipse.

A common question seen in community forums is support for various guest Operating Systems. We plan to address it in a different form by making Studio build process agnostic of various Linux distros and enabling users to create their own templates. Expect this feature in near future. In the meanwhile we have various blog posts coming to describe how to create VMs with various guest operating systems that are not supported out of the box in VMware Studio. 

The GA version includes fixes that we encountered while creating large vApps. One of the exercises we conducted internally was creation of Sharepoint vApp using Studio. We successfully created the 3 tier vApp that has MSSQL database, Index server and Frontend. The Sharepoint vApp uses OVF properties to extract environment specific variables : computer names of each vm and domain to integrate into. On first boot it runs sysprep to complete the deployment process. It also asks for existing AD instance and integrates the vApp into the existing domain. The end result is a running sharepoint vApp integrated with AD. We plan to post the details around the same including first boot scripts, sysprep commands, etc in coming weeks. 

Below are part 1 and 2 of videos that show how to build vApps using VMware Studio. Download VMware Studio 2.0 GA release from here and give it a spin. We look forward for your feedback.

From Studio Team

   
 

VMware Studio 2.0 Beta Unleashed

VMware Studio 2.0 is in public Beta and it comes with exciting feature set. While 1.0 release was focused on ISVs building virtual
appliances, VMware Studio 2.0 has a broader scope. 

For developers, we introduce VMware Studio 2.0 Eclipse
Plugin to provide an integrated dev/test environment using VMs. If you are the
architect/lead developer and want to standardize development stack for your
team, just create a build profile defining the components of your dev
environment and distribute it or the resulting VM within your team. It is
definitely better than creating a wiki with guidelines to setup development
environments J 

If your application cannot be contained in a single virtual
machine, you need a vApp! Simply put, vApps provide container semantics over a
group of inter-related VMs. Take any n-tier application: CRM, ERP as an example.
Such applications cannot be contained in a single virtual machine, generating a
need to manage these virtual machines in the context of each other. By grouping
them as a vApp, these VMs can be packaged, distributed, deployed and managed as
one unit. vApp also provides a common OVF environment that is shared by
contained VMs. And how do I create vApps? Use VMware Studio 2.0! With Studio
2.0 you can build vApps, author the OVF environment, specify startup/shutdown
order of VMs and their resource requirements. You can distribute these VMs as a
single OVF or OVA package. Learn more about deploying vApps in VC from Rene's blog on vApps 

Another area to touch upon is support for Windows. VMware
Studio 2.0 enables building Windows 2003 and 2008 based VMs. This is our first
release with Windows support. If you are an IT admin creating an “appliance”
for internal distribution or developer standardizing windows based dev
environment, give this feature a spin. 

Support for virtual appliances continues from Studio 1.0. Like
physical appliances, virtual appliances can be treated as a black box. Think Linksys
router, the only interface available to the users being a web console. Bringing
the same concept into virtualization world, VMware Studio 1.0 embedded in-guest
management framework – VAMI that is web accessible, into resulting appliances.
It came with few in-guest services. With VMware Studio 2.0, VAMI is extensible.
ISVs can write their custom in-guest services that plugs into this framework.
The best way to create your own in-guest service is through “VMware Studio
Linux Management Service” Wizard that is part of Eclipse Plugin for Studio. Check
out Matt's Coffee talk webinar and demo for more details

Last but not the least, VMware Studio 2.0 enables fast
builds. You can provide existing Studio-based VM as input, thereby avoiding
building the VM from scratch each time. There is lot more to come in this area
in future. We have just scratched the surface, so stay tuned.

To summarize VMware Studio 2.0 Features:

  • Build multi-VM vApps with rich metadata
  • Build Windows 2003 and 2008 based VMs
  • Support for building single VM and multi-VM Virtual Appliances  
  • Support for Ubuntu, RHEL, SLES, CentOS, 32 and 64 bit Linux VMs 
  • Eclipse
    Plugin
  • Extensible
    in-guest management framework
  • Accept existing Studio-built-VM as Input to build process
  • Better
    OS dependency resolution
  • Supports
    VMware Server 2.0, ESX 3.5 and 4.0, VC 2.5 and 4.0, Workstation 6.5.1 as
    provisioning engines along with VMware Server 1.0.x from Studio 1.0 
  • CLI interface for automation alongwith intuitive web interface

If this sounds exciting, download VMware Studio 2.0 Beta virtual appliance and deploy it in your favorite environment – ESX, WS or VMware Server. Ah and and before leaving, I have to mention this. We have put VMware Studio to a
great use within VMware. VMware Studio is integrated it with our official build
system and source control system to generate nightly builds of virtual appliances
for various products, including VMware Studio 2.0! Talk about eating your own
dog food..