Getting started with vCloud Director 5.1 – first steps


This past weekend I decided to dive into VMware vCloud Director 5.1. Nothing fancy, just a small setup in a lab environment for testing, learning, and just getting a feel for what all the product could do for me and/or my customers. I figured this can’t be that hard with only a vmware-vcloud-director-5.1.0-810718.bin” file download. First thing was to read the installation documentation to get a since of how deep the water was before I dove in. As I started reading the instructions I felt a bit overwhelmed at how complicated the setup was. I had to run SQL scripts and setup database parameters. Then once the database was setup I had to create certificates using the java key tool. And then run installation of vCloud Director on a supported linux REHL system. I guess I’ve become accustomed to click next, next, yes, and next but this process seemed to be more than I’d assume most people would like to create there own cloud environment. Not saying that it was entirely complicated to the 12th degree but come on. I can see why when I’ve others if they’ve installed the answer was mostly “No”.

The first thing I wondered was why does it only support Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)? I thought for sure VMware was on the new SUSE track. Why could there be some installer that accessed the SQL server and then made the modifications required instead of having the user go step by step to make these changes. Human error is the number one reason why things break or stop working. Then I found an article on VMware’s site which allowed for the download of a product evaluation of vCloud Director 5.1 which was packaged as a virtual appliance. So I abandoned my original environment for the appliance because it had to be simpler right? Yes, it was much easier to setup and configure which is perfect for what I needed to use it for. During the virtual appliance setup you could use an external database as usual or you could an instance of Oracle Express which would be installed and configured for you. Also worth noting was that the appliance was built using SUSE. This appliance is was still not available from the VMware software download page but I assume at some point it will to help move the adoption rate up.

Even after getting the vCloud Director setup there is lots to learn and I don’t claim to know it all here. But here are some good free resources that could help you out.

This was the first blog resource I used which create by KiOng, which I thought was very well done and he also has a pretty good video too. http://plain-virt.blogspot.com/2011/12/vcloud-director-15-setup-guide.html

Free online VMware videos:

There are actually more free online videos from VMware that I have not watched yet.

Plus the vCAT Toolkit which is a great collection of documentation that will be useful when architecting your vCloud environment.

Hopefully this helps somewhat.