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Excerpt gives vital vSphere 5.1 tips for vSphere Management Assistant

The VMware vSphere 5.1 Cookbook shares simple recipes for the busy virtualization administrator who wants to tap into some new features.

Even if you've been working with vSphere 5.1 for a while, the day-to-day duties of being a virtualization administrator can prohibit you from learning about the functionality and changes in different components, such as the vSphere Management Assistant.

The vSphere Management Assistant (vMA), which gives admins a way to run scripts and agents to oversee ESXi hosts and vCenter Server, doesn't ordinarily receive a lot of press. While there are numerous learning resources available online from various message boards, Twitter and VMware's site, having information about key vSphere 5.1 administrative features in an easily digestible format makes switching vSphere versions more palatable.

The VMware vSphere 5.1 Cookbook by Abhilash G.B. was designed to provide key information in bite-sized pieces about features like vSphere Management Assistant. It walks vSphere users through the areas most frequently traveled during the learning process, from the installation of ESXi 5.1 and vCenter Server 5.1 to failover setup using vSphere HA.

Chapter 13, titled "Using vSphere Management Assistant (vMA 5.1)," is available to download and read here (PDF). In this chapter, Abhilash G.B. explains the configuration and deployment of vMA 5.1 to execute scripts or commands on ESXi hosts where authentication is required.

Highlights from Chapter 13:
The vMA appliance will be deployed as an appliance VM on an ESXi server. Download the vMA appliance from the following website:

The vMA appliance can be deployed on an ESXi server by using vSphere Client or by using the vCenter Server.

vMA 5.1 can be deployed on the following systems:

      • vSphere 4.1 or later
      • vCenter 5.0 or later

vMA 5.1 can be used to target operations on vSphere 5.0 and later, and vSphere 4.1 and later systems.

How to do it…

The following procedure will help you deploy the vMA appliance using the vSphere Web Client interface.

      1. Download and extract the appliance ZIP bundle to a location accessible to the vSphere Web Client.
      2. At the vSphere Web Client interface's inventory home, navigate to Hosts and Clusters.
      3. Right-click on the ESXi cluster and then click on Deploy OVF Template.
      4. At the Deploy OVF Template wizard, select the Local File option and then click on the Browse… button.
      5. Browse and select the OVF file from the extracted location and then click on Next to continue with the wizard.
      6. Review the details of the OVF file and then click on Next to continue.
      7. Accept the license agreement and then click on Next.
      8. Choose an inventory location for the appliance VM and then click on Next.
      9. Choose a data store for the VM and then click on Next.
      10. Choose a port group to which the vNIC will be mapped. Set the IP allocation policy and Protocol Settings and then click on Next.
      11. Specify an IP address for the VM's NIC and then click on Next.
      12. Review the Ready to complete screen and then click on Finish to deploy the appliance.

Note that it doesn't matter what IP allocation policy you choose or what IP address you specify; you will need to choose between a DHCP and a static configuration when you configure the appliance after the first boot.

How it works…

Once you finish the wizard, it will deploy the vMA appliance onto one of the ESXi hosts in the cluster. The inventory should now list a virtual machine with the name vSphere Management Assistant (vMA). The appliance, however, is not ready for use yet. The appliance needs to be manually configured before its first use. Read the recipe Preparing vMA for first use for instructions on how to prepare the vMA appliance for first use.

Editor's note: VMware vSphere 5.1 Cookbook by Abhilash G.B. is available from Packt Publishing Ltd.

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What's your preferred way to manage ESXi hosts?
Have used other methods so comfort and familiarity is higher. Also use CLI via SSH console.