Trying vCenter Operations

As I mentioned a little while ago, vCenter Operations is a new management product that VMware are bringing out. Well, actually they've now brought it out as of Monday. I thought I'd check it out…


To sign up for a trial and download vCenter Operations, you simply need to head over to VMware's “Support and Downloads” page and expand the “Infra & Ops Management” section.

Follow the download link, register for a free trial, accept the Ts & Cs and download the software.

vCenter Operations comes as virtual appliance (you download an OVA file) that's about 600MB+ in size. Depending on the size of your internet connection, you may want to do something else right now.


I don't want to teach people how to suck eggs but if you've never install a virtual appliance before, it's pretty much just a case of clicking “Deploy OVF Template” from the file menu in your vSphere Client and following the instructions. It's very easy and takes only a couple of minutes.

As soon as it's complete, find the appliance in vCenter and power it on. It won't have any network configuration setup yet though.



Now it's running, we need to configure the appliance. This is done in two stages. The first part involves getting the appliance connected to the network. The second part is establishing a connection to a vCenter server and licensing the appliance.

Network Configuration

In this example I'm using a static address. Before you start makes sure you know which address, subnet mask, gateway and DNS servers that you want to use. Also the appliance needs a hostname.

First, open the VM console.

As you can see, the appliance doesn't have an IP address yet. Switch mouse and keyboard focus into the VM and use the cursor keys to highlight “Configure Network” and press Enter.

Follow the prompts, entering “y”, “n” or whatever configuration data it asks for. You can see above how I have configured mine. Eventually you'll be prompted to confirm the settings. If you do, the network gets configured and you get dropped back to the welcome screen again.

Connecting to vCenter and Licensing

The next stage is accomplished using a web browser and the vSphere Client. First, point a web browser at the IP address you gave the appliance (and move past the SSL certificate warning).

Once you login with the default user name and password (admin / admin) you'll be prompted to change the password. Next you'll get prompted to add a vCenter Server.

You may want to set up a dedicated account which the appliance uses to talk with vCenter as it's bad practice to use your own account! You'll see a certificate warning as the appliance connects to the vCenter server. This can probably be ignored in most cases.

If the action is successful, you'll then get prompted to head over to the vSphere Client and apply a license.

There are some other settings that you can make through the web browser (SMTP and SSL settings for instance) but I'll leave you to play with them.

In the vSphere Client, head to the “Licensing” page and click on the “Manage vSphere Licenses” link.

In the wizard, enter your vCenter Ops trial license and complete the wizard, assigning the new license to the vCenter Operations appliance in the process. (Note that when assigning the key, the vCenter Operations appliance can be found on the “Solutions” tab.)

That's it, job done.

What Next?

That's the basic configuration of the appliance done. Now it will interrogate vCenter for lots of information. To have a look at what it has collected and determined, head back to the home screen of your vSphere Client. At the bottom you will see a new icon under “Solutions and Applications”.

Click it and go!

As Steve Bryen (@virtualportal) so eloquently put it this morning, “Plenty of pretty colours”. In my case, I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not yet. Either way, go and try it out for yourself.