A VMware vSphere virtual machine is a software computer that runs an operating system and applications just like a physical computer. A virtual machine is made up of a set of specification and configuration files that are backed up by a host’s actual resources. Virtual devices exist in every virtual computer and provide the same capabilities as physical hardware while being more portable, secure, and manageable.
You’ll need some background information before you start constructing and managing virtual machines, such as virtual machine files, life cycles, components, and so on.
Here are the topics are covered in this chapter –
Virtual Machine Files
Virtual Machines and the Virtual Infrastructure
Virtual Machine Lifecycle
Virtual Machine Components
Virtual Machine Hardware Available to vSphere Virtual Machines
Virtual Machine Options
The vSphere Client and the vSphere Web Client
Where to Go From Here
VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Files
A virtual machine is made up of many files saved on a storage device. The configuration file, virtual disk file, NVRAM setting file, and log file are the most important files. The vSphere Client, one of the vSphere command-line interfaces (PowerCLI, vCLI), or the vSphere Web Services SDK are all used to configure virtual machine settings.
Without the permission of a VMware Technical Support person, do not alter, relocate, or destroy virtual machine files.
When you use the virtual computer to do particular operations, additional files are created.
- A.hlog file is a log file that vCenter Server uses to keep track of virtual machine files that need to be removed after a specific action is completed.
- When you convert a virtual machine to a template, a.vmtx file is created. The virtual machine configuration file is replaced by the.vmtx file (.vmx file).
VMware vSphere Virtual Machines and the Virtual Infrastructure
Virtualization and management are two software layers that make up the infrastructure that enables virtual machines. The virtualization features of ESXi in vSphere aggregate and offer the host hardware to virtual machines as a normalized set of resources. Virtual machines are hosted on ESXi hosts that are managed by vCenter Server.
vCenter Server allows you to effectively monitor and manage your data center infrastructure by pooling the resources of several hosts. Resources for virtual machines can be managed, virtual machines can be provisioned, tasks can be scheduled, statistics logs can be collected, templates can be created, and so on.
vSphere vMotion, vSphere Storage vMotion, vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), vSphere High Availability (HA), and vSphere Fault Tolerance are also available through vCenter Server. These services provide for effective and automatic resource management as well as high virtual machine availability.
The primary interface for controlling vCenter Server, ESXi hosts, and virtual machines is the vSphere Client. Virtual machines can also be accessed using the vSphere Client’s console.
In inventory views, the vSphere Client displays the organizational hierarchy of managed objects. vCenter Server or the host uses inventories to organize managed objects in a hierarchical framework. The monitored objects in vCenter Server are included in this hierarchy.
A data center is the top-level container of ESXi hosts, folders, clusters, resource pools, vSphere vApps, virtual machines, and so on in the vCenter Server hierarchy that you see in the vSphere Client.
Virtual representations of underlying real storage resources are called datastores. Datastores hide the quirks of the underlying physical storage and present a consistent representation for the storage resources needed by virtual machines. A datastore is a storage location for virtual machine files (for example, a physical disk or LUN on a RAID, or a SAN).
The host must have the necessary vSphere license in order for some resources, options, or hardware to be exposed to virtual machines. ESXi hosts, vCenter Server, and solutions are all covered by vSphere licensing. Depending on the characteristics of each product, licensing might be based on a variety of criteria. See the vCenter Server and Host Management manual for more information on vSphere licensing.
VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Lifecycle
When it comes to constructing and deploying virtual machines, you have a lot of alternatives. You can use VMware Tools to install a guest operating system and VMware Tools on a single virtual machine. You can clone or convert an existing virtual machine to a template. You can also use OVF or OVA templates to deploy.
Most of the virtual machine’s hardware, settings, and resources can be added, configured, or removed using the vSphere Client New Virtual Machine wizard and the Edit Settings dialog box. The performance charts in the vSphere Client allow you to keep track of CPU, memory, disk, network, and storage parameters. Snapshots allow you to record the current state of a virtual machine, including its memory, settings, and virtual disks. When necessary, you can revert to the previous virtual machine state.
You can manage multi-tiered apps with vSphere vApps. You utilize vSphere Update Manager to perform staged upgrades on virtual machines in the inventory to upgrade their virtual hardware and VMware Tools at the same time.
You can either remove a virtual machine from the inventory without destroying it from the datastore, or you can delete the virtual machine and all of its files.
VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Components
Virtual machines usually include an operating system, VMware Tools, as well as virtual resources and hardware. These components are managed in the same way as real computer components are.
A virtual machine’s guest operating system is installed similarly to a physical computer’s operating system. You’ll need an operating system vendor’s CD/DVD-ROM or ISO image containing the installation files. You are responsible for protecting and patching the operating system after installation.
VMware Tools is a set of tools that improves the performance of the virtual machine’s guest operating system and simplifies virtual machine maintenance. It contains device drivers and other applications required by your virtual machine. You have additional control over the virtual machine interface with VMware Tools.
By applying a compatibility setting in the vSphere Client, you may assign each virtual machine to a compatible ESXi host version, cluster, or datacenter. The compatibility parameter defines which ESXi host versions the virtual machine may run on, as well as the virtual machine’s hardware capabilities.
Each virtual hardware device serves the virtual machine in the same way that physical computer hardware does. CPU, memory, and disk resources are all available to virtual machines. When possible, CPU virtualization prioritizes performance and operates directly on the processor. When possible, the underlying physical resources are exploited. The virtualization layer executes only the instructions required to make virtual machines function as if they were running on a physical computer.
Virtual memory is supported by all current operating systems, allowing software to use more memory than the machine has. Similarly, the ESXi hypervisor supports overcommitting virtual machine memory, when the total amount of guest memory configured for all virtual machines exceeds the physical memory available on the host.
In the Edit Settings dialog box, you can access the hardware devices. Not all devices can be customized. Some hardware devices are part of the virtual motherboard and display in the Edit Settings dialog box’s expanded device list, but they cannot be modified or removed.
See Virtual Machine Hardware Available to vSphere Virtual Machines for a list of hardware devices and their functionalities.
You can also add virtual hardware components to the virtual machine using the Edit Settings dialog box. You can add memory or CPU resources to a virtual machine while it is running by using the memory or CPU hotplug options. To avoid adding memory or CPUs while the virtual machine is operating, you can disable memory or CPU hotplug. Memory hotplug is supported by all 64-bit operating systems, but the guest operating system must also support this capability in order to use the extra memory.
Setting permissions on a virtual machine allows a vSphere administrator or another privileged user to control who can access or alter the virtual machine. See the vSphere Security documentation for further information.
VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Hardware Available
You can setup or add devices, resources, profiles, and vServices to your virtual machine using VMware.
Every virtual computer does not have access to all hardware devices. Devices that you add or customizations that you make must be supported by the virtual machine’s host and the guest operating system. You should check the VMware Compatibility Guide to see if a device in your environment is supported.
The host may not have the requisite vSphere license for a resource or device in some instances. vSphere licensing applies to ESXi hosts, vCenter Server, and solutions, and can be based on a variety of parameters, depending on the product. See the vCenter Server and Host Management manual for more information on vSphere licensing.
The virtual PCI and SIO hardware devices are part of the virtual motherboard, but they can’t be changed or removed.
VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Options
Use the available virtual machine options to fine-tune the parameters and behavior of your virtual machine for best performance.
A virtual machine could be running on ESXi hosts, datacenters, clusters, or resource pools, among other places. These objects have dependencies and relationships with many of the options and resources you configure.
The following options are available in VMware virtual machines.
Check the location of the configuration file and the virtual machine’s working location, as well as see or alter the virtual machine’s name.
If the vCenter Server instance is in a trusted relationship with a KMS server, enable or disable encryption for the virtual machine. See the vSphere Security documentation for further information.
For virtual machines that are not encrypted, you can additionally enable or disable encrypted vMotion. Encrypted vMotion can be configured to disabled, opportunistic, or needed. Encrypted vMotion can be enabled during virtual machine creation. You can also modify the encrypted vMotion state at a later point. See the vCenter Server and Host Management manuals for further details.
Manage the power options for your guests. When you put the guest operating system into standby, suspend the virtual machine or leave it powered on.
Manage the virtual machine’s power settings and run VMware Tools programs. During power cycling, you can also upgrade VMware Tools and synchronize guest and host time.
Virtualization Based Security (VBS)
Enable VBS to give the virtual machine an extra layer of protection. VBS is compatible with the most recent Windows operating systems. See the vSphere Security documentation for further information.
When powering up virtual computers or forcing BIOS setup and configuring failed boot recovery, set the boot delay.
Configure debugging and statistics, and change the swap file location after disabling acceleration and enabling logging. You can also add configuration options and alter the latency sensitivity.
Fibre Channel NPIV
Control access to LUNs for virtual machines on a per-virtual-machine basis. N-port ID virtualization (NPIV) allows several virtual ports to share a single physical Fibre Channel HBA port. Each virtual port has its own unique identity.
In a virtual computer, you can enable or disable the vApp feature. You may view and change vApp properties, vApp Deployment options, and vApp Authoring options when you activate vApp options. You can set up an IP allocation strategy or a network protocol profile for the vApp, for example. The parameters given at the vApp level are overridden by a vApp option specified at the virtual machine level.
The vSphere Client and the vSphere Web Client
The vSphere Client and the vSphere Web Client provide access to all administrative operations. The vSphere Client and vSphere Web Client are cross-platform apps that can only connect to vCenter Server. They include a comprehensive set of administrative features as well as a plug-in-based design that can be expanded. Virtual infrastructure administrators, help desk operators, network operations center operators, and virtual machine owners are typical users.
Through a Web browser, users can access vCenter Server using the vSphere Client and the vSphere Web Client. The VMware API is used by both clients to arbitrate communication between the browser and the vCenter Server.
What’s New in the vSphere Client
The following settings are available in the vSphere Client starting with vSphere 6.7 Update 1.
- The quick action icons can be used to do common virtual machine functions. On the top of each virtual machine administration tab, the icons are displayed next to the virtual machine name. The following quick action options are available to you.
- Power On
- Shut Down Guest OS
- Launch Console
- Edit Settings
- Take Snapshot
- To safeguard your applications and maintain endpoint security, you can install and use the VMware AppDefense plug-in. With the VMware vSphere Platinum license, the AppDefense plug-in becomes available. The AppDefense panel appears on the Summary page for any virtual machine in your inventory if you have the vSphere Platinum license. You may install, upgrade, or examine details about the AppDefense plug-in from that panel. See the AppDefense documentation for more information about VMware AppDefense.
Where to Go From Here
Before you can manage your virtual machines, you must first construct, configure, and deploy them.
Determine whether to construct a single virtual machine and install an operating system and VMware tools, work with templates and clones, or deploy virtual machines, virtual appliances, or vApps stored in Open Virtual Machine Format before you start providing virtual machines (OVF).
You can configure and manage virtual machines after they’ve been provisioned and deployed into the vSphere environment. You can alter or add hardware to existing virtual machines, as well as install or upgrade VMware Tools. You may need to use VMware vApps to manage multitiered applications, adjust virtual machine startup and shutdown settings, work with virtual disks, or add, remove, or delete virtual machines from the inventory.
Read More about Virtualizations