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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

vCMA - VMware vCenter Mobile Access Deployment

So today we got all of our Android apps together, opened up some ports in the firewall, and configured our phones so we can manage things from our phones while we're driving. Kidding. So we've got Paessler PRTG monitoring our servers and applications, HP's IMC monitoring our network infrastructure, Spiceworks doing helpdesk and our "IT Knowledge Base", and now VMware vCenter Mobile Access (vCMA) so that we can access vCenter remotely.

Setting up the virtual appliance, which can be found here, was fairly easy; I followed a couple of very nice sets of instructions here and here. I did get a little lost in a couple of places.

  • First, when you download the vCMA, make sure you go with the OVF download. There's a zip file download there that includes some VMDK files and a VMX file, but I couldn't get it to start. 
  • I actually had to break out my mad vi skills (of which mine are scant) to edit some config files in the vCMA appliance, which is based on a CentOS base. I needed to edit the port that vCMA was listening on from 443 from something else, so I cracked open vi and edited the /usr/lib/vmware/mobile/tomcat/apache-tomcat-6.0.28/conf/server.xml file and did a search and replace. To do a search and replace with vi, use this: :%s/foo/bar/gc. This command replaces all instances of 'foo' with 'bar' after prompting you each time. When you're done editing, :wq will write your changes to the file and quit vi, by the way. Using vi makes me thank the FSM for nano and gedit, which is included in modern and "fuller" Linux distros.
  • There is no "app" for Android to make use of this that I could find, although from some of the pictures there seems to be a nice iPad app (boooooo). You just point your mobile browser at https://vcmaserver:port and that's it. The instructions I was following were a little hazy on this. Port 5480 is the management port, but you need to go to the SSL port for the app, which is just browser based. I could complain about it being browser-based, but to be fair, I'm not going to be doing "work" from my phone. I just want the ability to reboot some server from the park if I need to, and this achieves that. 

Realistically, I've no reason to complain at all. I really like that VMware has made this capability available, and this is what's called a "fling", meaning that it's unsupported and just for fun. Like hell, that's a handy capability! Thank you VMware! 

P.S. Could you please make an app like the iPad has for Android?

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