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Get a grip on your virtual environment with vCenter Operations Manager

This tutorial on vCenter Operations Manager walks you through the installation and setup of the virtual infrastructure management tool for a test run.

VMware vCenter Operations Manager is VMware's reporting tool, designed to help system administrators find and eliminate virtual infrastructure issues. This tutorial, the first in a two-part series, covers basic installation and setup.

While there are two versions of vCenter Operations Manager (vCOPs) -- installable and normal -- we will work with the normal deployable one.

Preparing for vCOPs deployment

The vCOPs vApp contains two virtual machines, the UI virtual machine (VM) and the analytics VM. The UI VM, as the name implies, contains all the front-end logic. The analytics VM holds all the data that has been collected.

Prior to deploying the vApp, create an IP pool for the vApp machines to get an IP address. Go to the Data Center tab, then to IP Pools. Give the IP pool a name. Set up the subnet to reflect the network you wish to access. As an example, my current network has one Port group, and the network, as displayed is (See Figure 1.)

IP pool properties
Figure 1: Set up your IP pool properties.

Click Enable IP pool, and then click Associations and select VM Network or whatever is appropriate for your network.

Click Accept on the EULA, followed by Next.

On the next screen, choose Name and Location for the deployed template. You can keep the default name, but place it in the right location. (See Figure 2.) I place mine inside my Linux folder since the machines run on SUSE Linux.

Deployed template location
Figure 2: Specify the name and folder location of the template.

At the Deployment Configuration screen, depending on what you select, your requirements and CPU and memory allocation will increase. Because we are only testing, we will select Small then click Next.

The following screen shows you available storage. As usual, shared storage is the way to go. Select the preferred storage location and click Next.

On the Disk Format page, use Thin Provision for test purposes to keep disk usage to a minimum. Click Next.

On the Network Mapping screen, select the right port group and click Next.

IP address allocation
Figure 3: Choose the IP allocation policy.

On the IP Address Allocation screen, select Transient. (See Figure 3.) That way, when the machines boot up, they will receive an IP address from the pool we created. Unfortunately, at present, there is no way to have a fixed IP. If you try, you will get errors as the deployment progresses. Click Next.

On the Properties page, set the appropriate time zone and IPs that were reserved by the IP pool and click next.

Configuring vCOPs

Once the system is deployed, you can log into the administrator function by pointing your browser to the UI VM IP assigned from the IP pool. The default username and password is admin/admin. An example of my URL is http://vCOPs/admin.

Next, the initial setup wizard screen assists with configuring the vCenter collector, which gathers the data from vCenter. Additional collectors are available for other systems, but they are beyond the scope of this tutorial.

On the Virtual Appliance Details screen, fill in the server address, username and password. In our example, I am using domain admin because it is a test setup. Press Next.

After the appliance details have been accepted, you will be prompted to change the user names for the vApps you installed.

Setting up the vCenter is next on the Specify vCenter Server page. (See Figure 4.) Fill in the display name along with the server IP/DNS. The registration user is the user that implements the service. The collector user is the account or service account that gathers information from vCenter.

Specify the vCenter Server
Figure 4: Specify the vCenter server to monitor.

The collector user can be the administrator account, but VMware recommends setting up a service account with a read-only role at the data center level. This helps maintain a secure setup. You can also use this account to block unwanted folders and monitor just part of the estate, perhaps separating development and production if cost is an issue.

After the details for the vCenter have been input and you click Next, a security alert may pop up if the server can't be verified. Click Yes and the system will set up all the links required to monitor the vCenter in question.

Once this is done, you will see the full admin console and the SSL certificates and email addresses to be used with the application.

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