VMware vApps wrap up apps, VMs for portability and flexibility

Using vApps adds powerful features to an administrator's arsenal, such as determining a VM startup and shutdown order.

For administrators who value speedy deployments and flexibility in the virtual environment, VMware vApps can provide just the type of elasticity their shop needs to keep up with customer demands.

The book, vSphere Virtual Machine Management by Rebecca Fitzhugh, is a guide for VMware users at all levels, providing tips on administering VMs, as well as configuration and installation help.

In Chapter 5, Managing Multitiered Applications with vApps -- which can be downloaded in PDF form here -- Fitzhugh explains that vApps' portable nature adds greater functionality to the VMware infrastructure. Fitzhugh describes a vApp -- similar to a resource pool but with greater functionality -- and explains how they are a good way to contain multi-tiered applications that run on top of vSphere. Fitzhugh includes a step-by-step process with screenshots describing how to create a vApp in vSphere, and explains how CPU and memory resources can be adjusted in the Settings menu.

Later in the chapter, Fitzhugh talks about IP addresses; powering VMs on or off within a vApp; exporting a vApp as an OVF template; and cloning a vApp, which could helpful when testing a new patch.

Highlights from Chapter 5:

One great feature of vApps is that you can specifically set the order in which virtual machines (and nested vApps) within a vApp start up and shut down. Choose which order to power on by assigning the virtual machines to groups. You can also specify that a virtual machine should wait a specific amount of seconds before powering on or powering off the next virtual machine in the vApp. A different time interval can be placed between each group. Another option is to select VMware Tools are ready; choosing this will allow for the virtual machines to wait until the VMware Tools have started and ready on one virtual machine before powering on the next. This way, if you have set the interval to 600 seconds, if the virtual machine is powered on, and if the VMware Tools initialize in 75 seconds, then the next virtual machine will go ahead and power on, and not wait until the entire interval has elapsed.

The Shutdown Action operation works similarly, except that you can modify the operation to either conduct Guest Shutdown, Power Off, or Suspend on the virtual machines.

All of these Start order settings are contained inside the vApp and are portable when the vApp is transferred.

Editor's note: The chapter excerpt from vSphere Virtual Machine Management is available courtesy of Packt Publishing.

This was first published in July 2014

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