Difference between revisions of "Managing your VMware vSphere Homelab without vCenter"

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Running standalone/free ESXi Hypervisors without vCenter means you're missing out on some of the features- creating templates, cloning, moving VMs from host to host etc. There are ways to get vCenter licensing on your home lab - VMUG Advantage and the vExpert Scheme are a couple of good examples -however there are some workarounds you can do to imitate some of the functionality.
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[[Category:Management]]
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Running standalone/free [[VMware vSphere]] ESXi Hypervisors without vCenter means you're missing out on some of the features- creating templates, cloning, moving VMs from host to host etc. There are ways to get vCenter licensing on your homelab - [https://www.vmug.com/Advantage VMUG Advantage] and the [https://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/vexpert vExpert Scheme] are a couple of good examples -however there are some workarounds you can do to imitate some of the functionality.
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==PowerShell==
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With Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows 10 comes great responsibility!  in Microsoft PowerShell you can now power on your hosts via there IPMI/ILO interface (if you have IPMI connected hosts obviously!).  with the commandlets you can:
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# Get Information on the IPMI connected host (Get-PcsvDevice)
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# Power On an IPMI connected host (Start-PcsvDevice)
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# Power Off an IPMI connected host (Stop-PcsvDevice)
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===Links===
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==ESXi Embedded Host Client==
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VMware Labs has created a web management interface for ESXi that installs directly on the ESXi server.
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All you need to manage ESXi is a browser. No extras required (no Java, no Flash, even works from Safari on an iPad)!
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https://labs.vmware.com/flings/esxi-embedded-host-client
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Simply download the installation file from VMware, ssh into your ESXi host and install it. No reboot required.
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When installed the server can be managed from https://<i>servername</i>/ui
  
 
==PowerCLI==
 
==PowerCLI==
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===Links===
 
===Links===
[http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2012/06/how-to-copy-vms-directly-between-esxi.html How to Copy VMs Directly Between ESXi Hosts Without Shared Storage]
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*[http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2012/06/how-to-copy-vms-directly-between-esxi.html How to Copy VMs Directly Between ESXi Hosts Without Shared Storage]
[https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1918 Using SCP to copy files to or from an ESX host]
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*[https://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1918 Using SCP to copy files to or from an ESX host]
  
 
==VMware Converter==
 
==VMware Converter==
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===Links===
 
===Links===
 
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[http://www.vmware.com/uk/products/converter/ VMware Converter Product Page (including Download and Documentation)]
  
 
==Veeam Backup==
 
==Veeam Backup==
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===Links===
 
===Links===
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[[Veeam]] on Open Homelab
  
 
==Someone else's vCenter==
 
==Someone else's vCenter==
 
Creating an OVF/OVA template requires vCenter, but you can deploy them direct to an ESXi host. So if you have access to a VCenter somewhere outside your homelab (an employer perhaps) then you can use that to create the OVF files and then deploy them back at home.
 
Creating an OVF/OVA template requires vCenter, but you can deploy them direct to an ESXi host. So if you have access to a VCenter somewhere outside your homelab (an employer perhaps) then you can use that to create the OVF files and then deploy them back at home.
 
[[File:Deploy-OVF-Template-Host.png|thumb|200px|Deploy OVF Template]]
 
[[File:Deploy-OVF-Template-Host.png|thumb|200px|Deploy OVF Template]]

Latest revision as of 19:20, 26 May 2016

Running standalone/free VMware vSphere ESXi Hypervisors without vCenter means you're missing out on some of the features- creating templates, cloning, moving VMs from host to host etc. There are ways to get vCenter licensing on your homelab - VMUG Advantage and the vExpert Scheme are a couple of good examples -however there are some workarounds you can do to imitate some of the functionality.

PowerShell

With Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows 10 comes great responsibility! in Microsoft PowerShell you can now power on your hosts via there IPMI/ILO interface (if you have IPMI connected hosts obviously!). with the commandlets you can:

  1. Get Information on the IPMI connected host (Get-PcsvDevice)
  2. Power On an IPMI connected host (Start-PcsvDevice)
  3. Power Off an IPMI connected host (Stop-PcsvDevice)

Links

ESXi Embedded Host Client

VMware Labs has created a web management interface for ESXi that installs directly on the ESXi server.

All you need to manage ESXi is a browser. No extras required (no Java, no Flash, even works from Safari on an iPad)!

https://labs.vmware.com/flings/esxi-embedded-host-client

Simply download the installation file from VMware, ssh into your ESXi host and install it. No reboot required.

When installed the server can be managed from https://servername/ui

PowerCLI

PowerCLI won't let you do anything you're not licensed for- just because the Move-VM cmdlet exists doesn't mean it will run and let you vMotion guests- but you can use PowerCLI to move or copy VMs, there's just a bit of thinking involved to put the script together. For example, to move a VM between independent ESXi hosts with no shared storage we could

  1. Shutdown the Source VM on the Source Host (see the Shutdown-VMGuest cmdlet)
  2. De-register the Source VM on the Source Host (see Remove-VM)
  3. Mount the Source Datastore as a PowerShell Drive (see Get-Datastore and New-PSDrive)
  4. Mount the Target Datastore as a PowerShell Drive
  5. Move the VM files (so all the config files, VMDK's etc) between the two Drives (see Copy-DatastoreItem)
  6. Register the (now Target) VM on the Target Host (see New-VM -VMFilePath)
  7. Power on the Target VM (see Start-VM)

All of these steps are available at the Free licensing level and higher.

Links

ESXi Shell

There's lots of functionality available through the ESXi Shell- remember, as with PowerCLI, you still don't have access to unlicensed features just because you're using the command line.


Links

VMware Converter

This free tool from VMware allows you to move Virtual Machines between different infrastructures so can be used, amongst other things, to cold-migrate between ESXi hosts.

Links

VMware Converter Product Page (including Download and Documentation)

Veeam Backup

Veeam Backup, right from the free offering, allows you to backup a VM and this backup can be restored to a different target host- in effect a cold-migration with an intermediate step.

Links

Veeam on Open Homelab

Someone else's vCenter

Creating an OVF/OVA template requires vCenter, but you can deploy them direct to an ESXi host. So if you have access to a VCenter somewhere outside your homelab (an employer perhaps) then you can use that to create the OVF files and then deploy them back at home.

Deploy OVF Template