Virtual Center : Centralized Administration of Virtual Infrastructure

Hi Friends,

In my last post i discussed about different types of access that we use to manage an ESX server. And i am hoping with that information you are aware what is a VI Client and what is a Virtual Center is… VI Client is the only application which is used to manage Single ESX server or Virtual Center (Collection of ESX Servers).

What is a Virtual Center?

Virtual Center is an application which is used to manage ESX Farms, that means multiple ESX servers from Multiple Datacenters. Its a Windows based Application, can be installed on Windows 2003 or 2008 Server Operating systems. Centralized Administration of entire Virtual Infrastructure is only possible through Virtual Center only. And one more important thing to remember is that, all the enterprise futures of Virtualization will be enabled only from Virtual Center Only. Some of them are VC dependent and some of them are not. So overall we can manage all the ESX servers and all the virtual machines installed on them. It uses Windows type authentication and the same will be used for ESX server also, once they added to VC. Why i am mentioning this point is, ESX uses UNIX based authentication when it is managed through VI Client directly or through SSH or through Service Console.


What is and ESX Farm?

image ESX Farm is nothing but a Collection of ESX hosts working together to enable the Extra-ordinary futures of Virtualization by sharing the Virtual Machines which are running on them. ESX Farm is also called as ESX cluster. ESX servers that are working as a part of an ESX cluster will share all the available resources between them, and act as a single huge resource, that enables futures like DRS, HA, Vmotion etc.

In the image beside, DELL Servers is the ESX Cluster and the hosts below it are the ESX Servers that are added to that cluster. Cluster has options to configure HA and DRS.

How to Install Virtual Center on a Windows Server? What are the requirements to Install it?

This was explained in one of my previous posts Click here to read it or Click on the following Link

How to add an ESX Server to VC for the first time or to an existing ESX Cluster in a VC?

To Add an ESX Server to Virtual Center or an Existing Cluster we need to do some configuration on the ESX server using the Service Console. So what ever the ESX server that is going to be added, which should be in the same LAN as the VC, or the communication must be established between VC and that ESX server if it is in different VLAN. Try pinging the ESX server IP from the Virtual Center server before adding it. That makes lot of sense.

Before adding the server to the virtual center we need to assign an ip to the service consoleimage nic on the ESX server, and that should be in the same subnet for better communication. Different subnet also works fine, but the communication between the VC and ESX server is must. Service Console NIC is the gateway to manage the ESX server from Virtual Center. It allows only the service console traffic. In production environment every ESX server should have different NIC’s for Service Console, VMotion, iSCSI SAN and Virtual Machine Networks (vSwitches) to segregate the traffic from each other. That gives better performance of an ESX server when we run some Virtual Machines on them.

Command to assign an IP to Service Console NIC is as follows:

hostname#>esxcfg-vswitch –a vSwitch0

hostname#>esxcfg-vswitch –A “Service Console” vSwitch0

hostname#>esxcfg-vswitch –L vmnic1 vSwitch1

hostname#>esxcfg-vswitch -l

hostname#>esxcfg-vswif -a –p "Service Console" –i x.x.x.x –n x.x.x.x vswif0

hostname#>esxcfg-vswif –l 

-a  =  assigning ip, -p  =  port group, -i   =  ip address, -n  =  net mask, -l  = listing

After you confirm everything was set to go, you can directly come to the VC, add the host to it or an existing cluster using the graphical wizards provided by VMware. Once after added to VC you can manage that ESX server with all the options available, but using beautiful and simple Graphics mode.

Video 1 : Installing Virtual Center and Adding and ESX host to VC

Video 2 : Configuring Service Console on ESX Server

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