Client Integration Plugin madness

One of the frustrations dealing with the vSphere Web Client has always been the requirement for a browser plugin to import/export OVF templates. In vSphere 6 and vCloud Director 8 this has reached a whole new level of frustration. The issue is that both vSphere 6 and vCloud Director 8 offer to download and install a package called ‘VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0.exe’. In an ideal world this plugin once correctly installed would work for the OVF import/export/upload/download functionality in both products… right?

Meanwhile in this world, although the package names are identical, the functionality is not – if you’ve installed the vSphere version then you can’t upload/download OVFs or ISOs in vCloud Director and if you’ve got the vCD variant installed then vSphere OVF import/export doesn’t work. Uninstalling and reinstalling the ‘correct’ version fixes the problem (until you need the ‘other’ one again), but can be easier said than done – particularly in the case of shared desktop server administration environments where other users having a browser session open will prevent reinstalling browser plugins.

So how do you tell the two packages apart? In the current releases of vSphere 6.0Update1 and vCloud Director v8.0 the packages are significantly different sizes:

vCloud Director 8 vSphere 6.0 Update 1
Package Filename VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0.exe VMware-ClientIntegrationPlugin-6.0.0.exe
File Version 11.0.0.2826 10.0.0.3637
Product Version 6.0.0.2826 6.0.0.3637
File Size 48.8 MB 94.9 MB

So the easiest way to tell is the smaller 48.8 MB file is vCD and the larger 94.9 MB one is vSphere.

If (as I do) you often need to use both versions then maybe consider setting up separate management desktops (or virtual apps) for each so you can easily reach one that’s going to work for you.

Hopefully VMware will fix this in a future release and provide a single integration plugin that works across both products.

Update – 18th March 2016
VMware have just released vCloud Director for Service Providers v8.0.1 (http://pubs.vmware.com/Release_Notes/en/vcd/801/rel_notes_vcloud_director_801.html) which appears to have reverted the vCD Client Integration product to version 5.6.0 – there is also mention in the release notes on the possible clashes between vSphere and vCD client integration toolsets so it appears that VMware are at least aware of the issue.

Working with vCloud Metadata in PowerCLI – Part 1

Way back in 2012 Alan Renouf created a PowerCLI module to deal with manipulation of metadata entries for vCloud Director objects – this can be incredibly useful to track related information for these objects. The vCD metadata functionality was enhanced in v5.1 (and then later in 5.5, 5.6 and 8.0) – in particular typed values were added with functionality to use date/time, boolean and numeric values (as well as free-form string text). Also added were security levels so that metadata could be made read-only or hidden (from a tenant perspective) but still accessible/visible to system owners. I’ve taken the PowerShell module that Alan published here and updated it to cope with these enhancements. I’ve also updated the returned fields/views to include the extra attributes (where present) such as security levels of metadata entries.

Note that I am definitely not a professional developer (and most of my PowerShell knowledge comes from Google) so there’s probably significant room for improvement in the code – comment back if you have suggestions for improvement and I’ll update this post.

Use of the module requires a valid connection to a vCloud instance (using Connect-CIServer). This won’t work for versions prior to v5.1 (most of my testing has been with PowerCLI 6 against a v8 vCD deployment) so please use at your own risk and make sure you thoroughly test your own scenarios. I’ll write a follow-up post detailing some example code and usage scenarios which people may find useful in the next few days.

I’d suggest copy/pasting the code (below) into a PowerShell module (.psm1) file and including the module in your scripts as needed.

 

Welcome

I’ve been meaning to write a public blog for a while (ok, several years) now, but there always seemed to be something more important/urgent/fun to do so I never got around to it.

Having found out recently that my VMware vExpert status has been renewed for 2016 (Huge thanks guys!) I figured there really was no excuse not to and finally got off my behind to start up this site. I’m hoping to regularly update with code snippets and ramblings which I’m hoping other IT professionals will find useful – especially if working with VMware products in the service provider industry.

So why ‘kiwicloud.ninja’ ? Well, I work in the Cloud / Service Provider industry in New Zealand (so kiwicloud), and only found that the .ninja TLD was available when hunting around to register a DNS name for the site and thought it looked like fun – nothing more than that!

As always, the views and opinions expressed on this site reflect my own and not those of my employer (no, I’m not going to mention them here, but anyone who wants to will find them anyway).

Regards, Jon.