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Two options for installing the VMware Infrastructure Management Assistant

This tip outlines two options for installing the VMware Infrastructure Management Assistant (VIMA), which streamlines ESXi management by acting as a service console. One takes less time, but the other is worth the extra effort.

VMware Infrastructure Management Assistant (VIMA) streamlines VMware ESXi management by acting as a service console. VIMA is a virtual appliance used for centralized scripting, centralized command execution and centralized third-party application installations in VMware environments; it's a command-line interface-only Linux server that allows you to run all the typical vicfg-xxxx commands, across all ESX hosts, with no authentication. VIMA also provides centralized log consolidation for ESX servers. In the second part of this two-part series, we'll go over how to install and use VIMA. There are two ways of doing so; one takes less time, but the other is worth the extra effort.

For critical tips on using VIMA, instructions about how to log in to VIMA and how to connect VIMA to your servers so they can be managed, please read my first article on VIMA: How VIMA bridges the ESXi management gap.

What are my installation / import options for VMware's VIMA appliance?
You have two options for downloading and installing VIMA:

  1. Import the VIMA machine using the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) directly into an ESX host, using the VMware Infrastructure Client (VI Client).

  2. Download the zipped version of VIMA, extract the OVF file and VMware virtual disk, and import them into an ESX host using the VI Client.

Before I show you how to perform the second option, let me show you quickly how to do the first. The first option is likely the easiest choice. Option two, however, is worth a few more minutes of work if you want to have the OVF file available to import the VIMA appliance a second time or save it for future use.

To import the VIMA machine using the OVF directly into an ESX host using the VI Client, select File, Virtual Appliance, Import, and enter the URL for VIMA: https://www.vmware.com/go/importvima/vima1.ovf

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From there, specify that you want to import a VM from a URL and enter the VIMA OVF URL in the blank, like this:

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At that point, go through all the same procedures as I do below in the method where I import VIMA from a file.

You can find a lot of information on VIMA, including the official documentation, downloads section and developer information at the VMware VIMA webpage.

What are the requirements to run VIMA?
I talked about the requirements for VIMA in my article: How VIMA bridges the ESXi management gap . Without going into that again, in full, the single most important requirement is that you have a 64-bit server running ESX or ESXi to import the VIMA VM into. That 64-bit requirement is a "hard requirement" and not something you can get around.

How do I download VIMA and import it into my virtual infrastructure?
In my case, I opted to download the VIMA zipped virtual machine (VM), extract it and import it. To do this, I downloaded the ZIP file by clicking on Downloads at the VMware VIMA website.

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Once you download the ZIP file, extract it to a folder. Open your VI Client and go to File -> Appliance -> Import.

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From there, specify that you want to import a VM from a File and Browse to the path for the OVF file, like this:

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Continuing through the import process, noticing that this VM will create a 4 GB virtual disk.

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Accept the license agreement.

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Name the VIMA appliance and specify where you want it located in your VI Inventory.

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Specify whether or not you want the VIMA appliance placed in a resource pool and, if so, what resource pool.

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Specify what datastore you want the VIMA appliance placed in (local or SAN?).

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For the last step in the import process, click Finish, after you have reviewed what you are about to do.

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At this point, the import of the OVF appliance will begin. Here is what my import window looked like when the import had completed. At this point, you can click Close.

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Now that the VIMA appliance is imported, you should see it in your virtual machine inventory, like this:

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At this point, the VIMA appliance is imported. Now let's talk about how to turn it on and perform basic configuration.

How do I perform initial configuration of the VIMA appliance?
At this point, you just need to power on the VIMA appliance like any other VM guest. Go to the console of the VM inside your VI client and you can watch the boot. Once most of the boot is completed, you will see the screen below:

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On that screen, you can configure your VIMA appliance Ethernet adaptor for either a static IP address or a dynamic IP address (the default).

Here is what the Ethernet NIC IP address configuration looks like:

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When you are done, select Quit back on the Select a Device menu and the boot will continue.

You will be asked to configure a hostname and vi-admin password, as you see in the screen below.

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Once that is completed, you should be able to login to the new VIMA appliance. You should login as vi-admin and use the password you created above. You can login on the console or you could just as easily SSH to the server from a SSH client. Here is what a successful login looks like:

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VIMA quick tips

  1. There is no graphical interface for VIMA as VIMA is a command-line tool as it is here to replace the service console (also a strictly command-line interface).
  2. To manage ESX hosts, you need to add them using the following command: sudo vifp addserver (esx host to add)
  3. Once servers are added, you need to initialize them with vifpinit (esx host)
  4. Just about all VIMA commands start with vicfg-xxxx. There are also the older esxcfg-xxxx.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Davis (CCIE #9369, VCP, MCSE) is the Director of Infrastructure at Train Signal, Inc. He has written hundreds of articles and six video training courses – including the Train Signal VMware ESX Server video training series. His websites are Happy Router.com and VMwareVideos.com.

This was last published in December 2008

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