How to install and configure VMware vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) 5.1

Posted by Paul Braren on Nov 19 2012 in
  • Appliances
  • ESXi
  • HowTo
  • I plan to leave this free, 64 bit SuSE "light" appliance running 24x7. It only takes 800MB memory. This largely pre-configured Linux appliance can be used for basic duties, such as running vCLI scripts, collecting syslog files, and/or receiving USB signals from a UPS to perform an automated ESXi shutdown, gracefully triggering all VMs to go down first.

    You don't need to know anything about Linux to get started with creating this appliance in your lab or home. Still skeptical? Just follow the screenshots, or the video.

    1) Download the mostly pre-configured VMware appliance

    Here's the current version download:

    It's a free download for everybody, but you must login with your VMware logon.

    Here's the details on the file, as of Nov. 19 2012:
    File size:520M
    File type: zip
    Release Date: 2012-09-10
    Build Number:782391

    Release Notes here.

    2) Unzip the downloaded appliance

    it'll expand to a folder named "vMA-"


    3) Open vSphere Client, click File, Deploy OVF Template...

    and browse your way to the folder you created in Step 2 above

    Choose your disk type preference, I use thin on an SSD for good speed less space waste
    Only about 1.5Mbps average throughput for me, but it only took about 2 minutes to transfer the 4 files that make up this appliance.

    4) Let it finish, then do the initial configuration

    For a full view, you can skip to the right section of the video starting at gateway configuration here, or just follow this summary:

    • Option 2 to define gateway
    • Option 3 for setting hostname (I went with vma)
    • Option 4 for DNS
    • Option 6 for hard-coding IP address

    That's it. Yeah, you don't use a mouse for this, yet you don't need to know Linux to get through this.


    When you get to the last screen, where you are likely to be leaving the IPv6 field empty and hitting enter, you will get errors like this:


    Worry not, this quirk/annoyance is documented right in the VMware Release Notes here, where it says, at the very end:

    Configuring an IPv6 address for vMA fails
    When configuring an IPv6 address for vMA, the network configuration fails with an error similar to the following:
    [ERROR] Attempted translation of an Invalid IPv6 address
    This error occurs for both DHCP and static IPv6 configuration. However, you can successfully configuring an IPv4 address for vMA.

    5) Next, exit the configuration screen, set password, and let it restart:

    Choose Option 1, then set your Password, following the prompts.
    Wait a while for the IPv6 errors to time-out and auto-continue.
    Ignore the IPv6 errors.

    6) Time to log in with your browser

    I had issues with IE 10 for some reason (seen below), so I went with Chrome, which worked fine. I find this strange, since the vSphere Client help system still only works with IE, and not Chrome. Go figure. Move on, doesn't matter, you don't interact with this VM via the UI very often. Almost never really, seen below, I just set my timezone and I'm done, (which I also could have also done via the local login as well, see blue local console screenshot above).


    Putting this into your browser. where vma is your hostname or IP address of your vMA appliance:


    You may get a certificate issue, click "Proceed" then you're in, an it'll look like this:


    All you really need to do is configure your timezone, since it already has NTP time sync turned on (via VMware Tools):


    I noticed that Check Updates isn't finding a file on the VMware server yet, so it shows an error for now. But when an update is available someday, I'm confident it'll show up here. Why? I believe I've seen this same issue with other appliances, when they're recently released. And I'm an optimist.


    You're done!

    Here's a video walk through of the same install, where you'll see me fumble a bit, but you'll also learn alongside me, in this rough, un-cut version (yeah, it likes Chrome better than IE):

    If you're trying to use PuTTY to SSH into this system, you're in luck. Read all about how here, which I'll also be covering in future videos as well.