vSphere Web Client and OS X

So I finally decided to install the Web Client server in my lab. Everything was pretty straight forward as far as installation goes. Ones you get through the wizard, you will basically have to register the Web Client with the vCenter server. This happens on the server where the web client server is installed via the browser. You will go to https://web-client-server:9443/admin-app/ where server is the name/IP of the web client server. Keep in mind this requires flash to be installed on the server. I am not a big fan of installing flash unless absolutely needed, so here is the workaround thats mentioned in this kb article.

If you don’t want to install flash on the web-client server, simply type the following command on your web-client server:

admin-cmd.bat register https://web-client-server:9443/vsphere-client https://vCenter-server username password

Be sure to replace the portions in blue above with your info (web-client server, vCenter server, username, password).

Once the registration is complete, you can simply head over to https://web-client-server:9443/vsphere-client and login. However, be warned, though this is a great alternative to the vSphere client, it does not have all the functionalities and even less if you are an unfortunate Mac user.

 At the bottom left of the screen, you will notice where it says “Download Client Integration Plug-in”, and if you are a Mac user you will be disappointed. Why? Because this will not install, you will be prompted with with a message as displayed below:

 

So whats the big deal?

To start off, client integration does a couple of important thing that I am aware of:

  1. Allows you to access a virtual machine’s console in the vSphere Web Client
  2. Allows you to connect virtual devices that reside on a client computer to a virtual machine (think USB devices on a client machine)

So if your an OS X user, you will not be able to perform those tasks using your web-client. Will this kill you? Probably not but it’s disappointing to see that OS X has been left out for now. I have heard that support for OS X is in the roadmap for the future. When exactly? No clue. I guess after crying for years, VMware listened to the Linux users and released the web-client and I think its only a matter of time before the Mac world starts to see all the features.

Don’t get me wrong. The web-client doesn’t cover all the features a traditional vSphere client has but it’s ver 1 and I am sure it will get there soon. If you are a Mac user, keep in mind the functionality of the web-client on OS X is even more limited.Will I still use it? Absolutely, this will replace the traditional client we have known for years one day.

 

Apple enters the cloud world

Though I try to stay away from posting about Apple news but today Apple officially entered the cloud arena. So I thought it would be worth mentioning. To put it in simple words, with iCloud, Apple has given you the ability to keep your iPad, iPhone and your Mac all in sync. So basically you can take a picture on your phone and have it available on your iPad/Mac right away. Of course there is more you can do with that and pictures just happen to be one of the things. Once you take a picture, it gets saved in iCloud and it then gets pushed to your Mac/iPad etc. One thing that I think is note worthy is the availability of cloud storage APIs which will enable developers to create applications that would leverage Apple’s cloud. This will give the users/developers endless possibilities and will be a good way to put Apple’s cloud to test.

I specifically like the iTunes Match feature. I like it because that feature alone tells me a lot about Apple as a company and where its headed. Not everyone purchases music from iTunes, some rip CDs and some live on the edgy torrent world. Knowing it will only upset customers if they can’t leverage iCloud for non-iTunes purchased music, Apple took a very interesting route. So if you have music that hasn’t been purchased via iTunes, Apple will scan your library and add its 256 kbps version to your iCloud library for you to download it to other devices. Nice aye? And if you happen to have any music that is not available in iTunes, you can simply upload it to iCloud and it will be available to the other devices you own. All this for $24.99/year. Not bad at all, very competitive indeed. What I like is that Apple figured out a way to make money from customers by providing them with a service that they didn’t have before. They could have upset everyone and their brothers and forced users to re-purchase the music via iTunes. But I am glad that Apple gets it.

The picture, doc syncing etc between your devices is all free by the way. As of now only the iTunes portion is available, and with iOS5 and the release of OS X Lion, iCloud will come to life.

Again, I don’t usually post about Apple news, if I start doing that, this blog will take an interesting turn. I thought this was worth posting and a few minutes of my time. After all the talk, Apple has now entered the cloud world.

Duplicate MACs in vCenter

I don’t have a lot of experience with Hyper-V, but I have worked with people who have. After hearing their horror stories, I don’t envy acquiring that sort of experience. Speaking of horror stories, my favorite one is, when one of my co-workers told me about a Hyper-V environment they had setup which was generating duplicate MAC addresses. I was amused but in the back of my mind I started thinking if this was possible in a vSphere setup. Yes it is.

UID

vCenter assigns MAC addresses using the unique ID that’s assigned to it under AdministrationvCenter Server Settings > Runtime Settings

This unique ID can be set to a value between 0-63. If you have two or more vCenter’s running the same instance ID, its only a matter of time before you start seeing mac conflicts in your environments.

vCenter assigns MAC addresses using a simple formula (00:50:56:80HEX+UID:00:00). So if your vCenter ID is 45, your VMs mac should be 00:50:56:ad:XX;XX. As you can tell the fourth byte is what can help you identify which vCenter was used to create the VM. The fifth and sixth bytes are the ones that are usually edited if you have a need for assigning a MAC instead of vCenter doing it for you.

Another interesting thing I noticed, I saw 3 different types of MAC addresses in my VMs. I saw,

VM1 00:50:56:ad:c2:3F

VM2 00:0C:29:73:B1:2F

VM3 00:5056:a5:d2:6F

It turns out, that VM1 was created on my new vCenter with a UID 45 (ad=80HEX + 45), VM2 was created directly on a ESXi host and VM3 was created on a different vCenter with a UID of 37(a5=80HEX + 37).

Though these little things don’t matter as much, but its important to know how all this comes together. It will be very helpful when you find yourself in a situation where your VMs have identical MACs. Someone forgot to set a unique ID for their vCenter.