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Changes in ESXi support in Abiquo 3.8.x

Abiquo 3.8:

  • Multiple SCSI controllers but only one of each type (e.g. you cannot set two LSI Logic controllers)
  • Change of SCSI controller after configuration 

Abiquo 3.8.1:

  • Property to specify downgrade of hardwareVersion for new virtual machines
  • Hot-add and hot-reconfigure options set in template and available in the Abiquo UI
  • Deploy of VMDK_STREAM_OPTIMIZED disks

Abiquo 3.8.3:

Abiquo 3.8.5

  • Detect all HostProxySwitch as DVS without requiring a naming convention

  • Deprecated abiquo.dvs.enabled property

Installation

Please see VMware documentation for installation instructions. You can perform a basic install and then configure for Abiquo as required.

Configure vCenter

To connect to vCenter, Abiquo will require a valid administration user and password (and port if not using the default).

Enter these credentials in the /opt/abiquo/config/abiquo.properties file, on the same server where the ESXi plugin is located, which is usually the Remote Services server.

abiquo.dvs.vcenter.user = Administrator
abiquo.dvs.vcenter.password = Pa$$w0rd
abiquo.vcenter.port.connection = <Port No.>

Notes:

  • Although the credentials properties are called "dvs.vcenter", Abiquo can use vCenter without DVS 
  • In vSphere 5.1+, you must create the user account In an Active Directory domain or using a VMware Single Sign-on system. DO NOT use a local Windows account on the vCenter.  
  • Check VMware password character restrictions

Configure networking

Configure Firewall and VNC

For the VNC connection to VMs through the "eye icon", add a custom firewall rule to define the ports that will be available to users.

You will also need to define the same range of VNC ports for Abiquo, so that it will allocate available ports. Define these ports with Abiquo Configuration Properties#vncport properties.

You cannot add a VNC firewall rule through the VMware console. Follow the steps below to add the firewall rule with the CLI (using SSH).

The following example shows how to add a custom firewall rule under ESXi 5 for ports 5900 to 5964.
(Credit vInfrastructure Blog)

1. Log in to the CLI for the ESXi as root user
2. Create the XML file

~ # vi /etc/vmware/firewall/Abiquo-vnc.xml

3. Add these lines (copy/paste) to the VI and save the file.

<!-- Firewall Rule for Abiquo VNC Console -->
<ConfigRoot>
 <service>         
  <id>Abiquo-VNC</id>   
  <rule id = '0000'>
    <direction>inbound</direction>
    <protocol>tcp</protocol>  
    <porttype>dst</porttype>    
    <port>      
      <begin>5900</begin>       
      <end>5964</end>          
    </port>              
  </rule>                 
  <rule id = '0001'>                       
   <direction>outbound</direction>  
   <protocol>tcp</protocol>      
   <porttype>dst</porttype>           
   <port>               
     <begin>5900</begin>                   
     <end>5964</end>                         
    </port>                                
  </rule>                                    
  <enabled>true</enabled>
  </service>             
</ConfigRoot> 

4. Refresh the rules and check it has been added;

~ # esxcli network firewall refresh
~ # esxcli network firewall ruleset list | grep Abiquo-VNC

Abiquo-VNC                    true

5. Optional step - Add a specific IP address to the rule for added security;

Set the status of the allowedAll flag to false

/etc/vmware/firewall # esxcli network firewall ruleset set --ruleset-id Abiquo-VNC --allowed-all false

Add the list of allowed IP addresses

/etc/vmware/firewall # esxcli network firewall ruleset allowedip add --ruleset-id Abiquo-VNC --ip-address 10.81.2.20/24

Configure DVS

See How to configure Abiquo to use the Distributed Virtual Switch feature.

Configure vSwitch

On the ESXi host, the vNICs must be attached to a vSwitch, which may be a DVS. Abiquo will automatically create a port group for the host.

Reconfigure an Existing ESX or ESXi Installation

If your host has already been configured with another vSwitch, you may need to delete the port group before adding the host in Abiquo.

Configure storage

Configure NFS Datastores

It is possible to configure NFS Datastores on ESXi hypervisors. However, to allow access to persistent virtual machines and external storage volumes, you should configure the abiquo.esxi.datastoreRdm property to use iSCSI.

Set this property to the name of a VMFS datastore configured for RDM on the ESXi hypervisor, for example on an iSCSI LUN. If you create a persistent VM or add an additional iSCSI disk, ESXi will use the configured RDM datastore to map into the iSCSI LUN. If you create an auxiliary disk, ESXi will store it on the hypervisor's NFS datastore.

Configure the property with the name of the datastore in ESXi. For example, if the hypervisor has an NFS datastore named "datastore1" and an RDM datastore named "datastore2", configure it as:

abiquo.esxi.datastoreRdm = datastore2

All the ESXi hypervisors monitored by the same Abiquo Remote Services will use the same RDM datastore, so all of them should have the same datastore configured with the same name.

Note that ESXi datastores can only be configured with the datastore name – you cannot enter a directory as part of the datastore configuration.

Provide a datastore when using virtual machines with only persistent disks

If you are deploying only virtual machines that only have persistent disks (volumes on external storage devices, not the hypervisor datastore) then you must set the datastoreVmFile property. 

abiquo.esxi.datastoreVmFile = 

See Abiquo Configuration Properties#esxi

Thin Provisioning

Abiquo uses thin provisioning on ESXi. It is enabled for all VMs deployed using Abiquo, which will all be deployed with thin disks. If the disks are attached to an IDE controller, you can resize these disks outside Abiquo, using VMWare tools such as vCenter. Within Abiquo you can only resize disks attached to a SCSI controller, due to an ESXi limitation.

Rescanning External Storage Devices

Abiquo avoids performing a full HBA rescan of storage on ESX or ESXi for performance reasons. Instead it checks for a raw device mapping for a given IQN and LUN. However, if a volume has been removed or replaced in the storage device, Abiquo may try to attach a volume that does not exist or is completely different to the one previously configured.

This situation may occur with: managed storage volumes, generic iSCSI volumes and persistent virtual machines. It can be resolved by manually performing a full HBA rescan of all ESX or ESXi hosts that had raw device mappings for the devices involved.

Disk Controller Configuration

You should check that the appropriate iSCSI adapters were enabled as part of the ESXi installation process. See How to enable iSCSI Initiator on ESXi

Abiquo recommends that you install the drivers for the appropriate SCSI controllers when preparing virtual machine templates that will be uploaded to the Abiquo platform.

SCSI Disk Controllers

Users can set the SCSI disk controller type and controller for ESXi. The supported disk controllers are listed in the following table.

ResourceSubType valuediskController saved in template and created on VMware
contains "bus"VirtualBusLogicController
contains "paravirtual"ParaVirtualSCSIController
contains "sas"VirtualLsiLogicSASController
other (default value)VirtualLsiLogicController

If the user does not set a controller, the defaults are:

  • IDE drivers for non-persistent primary disks because they are compatible with almost all operating systems and hypervisors.
  • SCSI drivers for persistent disks (persistent primary disks and data volumes) for performance reasons.
    • The default configuration set by the administrator in the abiquo.properties file

    • LSI Logic Parallel SCSI controller

      # Default VirtualSCSIController implementation when diskController is not 
      # specified. Range [lsilogic, paravirtual, bus, sas]
      #abiquo.esxi.scsicontroller=lsilogic 

      If the user does not set the controller before deployment, Abiquo attaches SCSI disks to the default controller.

Disk controller user information

  • Users can now set disk controller and disk controller type

    • You can set multiple controllers but only ONE of each type (e.g. you cannot set two LSI Logic controllers)

  • You can change the controller type after it is set


ESXi Disk Resize Capabilities

To resize disks of virtual machines running on ESXi using Abiquo, the disks must be:

  • SCSI disks on SCSI controller 
  • Thin provisioned disks

You cannot resize the primary disk of a virtual machine that is not allocated (not deployed)

Note that 

  • Abiquo uses thin provisioning by default
  • Disks of captured VMs may use thick provisioning, so may not be able to be resized

See VMware knowledge base article

Abiquo Support for vMotion

Abiquo supports vMotion. See How to make VMware vMotion work with Abiquo for configuration information.

Configure VMware specific properties

DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP

You must review and double check the properties file before you use Abiquo. NFS settings to configure the repository location and vCenter settings are critical for the correct functioning of Abiquo. See Abiquo Configuration Properties and below.

Log in to the Abiquo Remote Services machine (or if you performed a Monolithic installation log in to the Abiquo Server) and set the appropriate properties for your system to appropriate values in the /opt/abiquo/config/abiquo.properties file:

abiquo.esxi.datastoreRdm
abiquo.esxi.datastoreVmFile
abiquo.esxi.scsicontroller

RemoteDisplay.vnc.keyMap

com.abiquo.virtualfactory.esxi.timeoutConnectionMs
com.abiquo.virtualfactory.esxi.timeoutReadMs

abiquo.dvs.portgroup.loadsharingmechanism
abiquo.dvs.portgroup.maxsize

abiquo.dvs.vcenter.user
abiquo.dvs.vcenter.password
abiquo.vcenter.port.connection

abiquo.esxi.forcehardwareversion

Log in to the Abiquo Server and add the properties that apply to your system to the abiquo.properties file:

abiquo.vncport.min
abiquo.vncport.max

After the properties have been set to the appropriate values, restart the Tomcat server on each machine:

service abiquo-tomcat restart

See the full list of supported properties.