vCloud Director v9 Multi-site

Since vCloud Director v9 was released last week (and previously as part of the closed beta), one of the new features I’m most excited about is support for multi-site deployments. This allows vCloud Director environments for the first time to properly span federated sites (e.g. a tenant who has resources in multiple datacenter locations for resiliency/redundancy can now manage these in the same place).

Configuring multi-site support in vCloud Director v9 is a 2-part process:

1) The service provider has to configure federation between their vCloud Director instances.
2) The tenant has to associate each of their Organizations in each vCloud Director instance.

This post will attempt to explain and show both processes, and there’s even a bonus of a PowerShell script I’ve written to help other service providers configure their site pairings. To help demonstrate the processes involved, I’ve built a test lab environment consisting of 4 separate vCloud Director instances (‘Auckland’, ‘Wellington’, ‘Christchurch’ and ‘Dunedin’ sites). Each of these has it’s own vCloud Director, vCenter, NSX and ESXi hosts. I’ve also created a tenant organization (‘Tenant X’) in all 4 instances and created and assigned a VDC to Tenant X in each location. Finally, I’ve federated Tenant X’s vCloud users with a directory service (Microsoft AD FS in this case) so that the same identity provider is available to all 4 vCloud instances.

If you’re not a service provider and just need to configure Organization pairing you’re probably safe to skip this section and proceed straight to the 2nd part of this post.

Part 1 – Service Provider Site Pairing

The basic process for a service provider to pair sites is:

– Check (and configure if necessary) the vCloud site name in each location. Note by default in the initial vCloud Director 9 release this is simply a GUID string so you’ll probably want to change it to something more meaningful.
– Download from each site the site association document (from /api/site/associations/localAssociationData)
– Upload this site association document to each other site that you want to pair with (to /api/site/associations)

In a scenario with only 2 sites you need to perform this process twice (once in each direction), but for our example with 4 sites we need to do this a total of 12 times to pair every site with every other site.

Being a bit of a pain to do manually against the REST API interface I ran true to form and wrote a PowerShell module to simplify the process of both administering the site names and also pairing sites together. The module is available on my github repository at https://github.com/jondwaite/vCDSitePair. The script uses my Invoke-vCloud module, so you’ll need that installed for it to run.

Once you’ve downloaded the vCDSitePair.psm1 file from github you can add it to your PowerShell session using ‘Import-Module ‘

There are a total of 4 functions provided by the module, and they are documented on the github repository but basically:

Get-vCloudSiteName Allows a service provider to check/confirm the ‘Site Name’ assigned to a vCloud Director instance.
Set-vCloudSiteName Allows a service provider to set/update the ‘Site Name’ assigned to a vCloud Director instance.
Get-vCloudSiteAssociations Shows the existing associations (if any) from a vCloud Director instance.
Invoke-vCDPairSites Performs the 2-way exchange of localAssociationData documents to pair two vCloud Director instances.

So to confirm/set the names of our ‘Auckland’ (akl.mycloud.local) and ‘Christchurch’ (chc.mycloud.local) sites we can use Get-vCloudSiteName and Set-vCloudSiteName:

PS C:\> Get-vCloudSiteName -siteDomain akl.mycloud.local
847f4785-f8a5-4e59-b0d7-5608723247dd

PS C:\> Set-vCloudSiteName -siteDomain akl.mycloud.local -siteName 'A03 - Auckland DC'
Task submitted successfully, waiting for result
q=queued, P=pre-running, .=Task Running:
q
Task completed successfully
True

PS C:\> Get-vCloudSiteName -siteDomain akl.mycloud.local
A03 - Auckland DC

Christchurch Site Name:

PS C:\> Get-vCloudSiteName -siteDomain chc.mycloud.local
b34798aa-f722-4c06-a8a2-392f591cf450

PS C:\> Set-vCloudSiteName -siteDomain chc.mycloud.local -siteName 'C00 - Christchurch DC'
Task submitted successfully, waiting for result
q=queued, P=pre-running, .=Task Running:
q 
Task completed successfully
True

PS C:\> Get-vCloudSiteName -siteDomain chc.mycloud.local
C00 - Christchurch DC

Now we have set the site names, we can check if they are already associated:

 

PS C:\> Get-vCloudSiteAssociations -siteDomain akl.mycloud.local
Displaying site associations for site Id: urn:vcloud:site:847f4785-f8a5-4e59-b0d7-5608723247dd with site Name: A03 - Auckland DC
No site associations found

PS C:\> Get-vCloudSiteAssociations -siteDomain chc.mycloud.local
Displaying site associations for site Id: urn:vcloud:site:b34798aa-f722-4c06-a8a2-392f591cf450 with site Name: C00 - Christchurch DC
No site associations found

Ok, so they’re not already associated, so we can run Invoke-vCDPairSites without the ‘WhatIf $false’ to see what would happen:

PS C:\> Invoke-vCDPairSites -siteAuri akl.mycloud.local -siteBuri chc.mycloud.local
Running in information mode only - no API changes will be made unless you run with -WhatIf $false
Site A returned site ID as: urn:vcloud:site:847f4785-f8a5-4e59-b0d7-5608723247dd
Site A returned site name as: A03 - Auckland DC
Site B returned site ID as: urn:vcloud:site:b34798aa-f722-4c06-a8a2-392f591cf450
Site B returned site name as: C00 - Christchurch DC
Not performing site association as running in information mode

That all looks good so now we can attempt the action pairing operation:

PS C:\> Invoke-vCDPairSites -siteAuri akl.mycloud.local -siteBuri chc.mycloud.local -WhatIf $false
Running in implementation mode, API changes will be committed
Site A returned site ID as: urn:vcloud:site:847f4785-f8a5-4e59-b0d7-5608723247dd
Site A returned site name as: A03 - Auckland DC
Site B returned site ID as: urn:vcloud:site:b34798aa-f722-4c06-a8a2-392f591cf450
Site B returned site name as: C00 - Christchurch DC
Associating A03 - Auckland DC (Site A) with C00 - Christchurch DC (Site B)
Task submitted successfully, waiting for result
q=queued, P=pre-running, .=Task Running:
q 
Task completed successfully
Returned Result = True
Associating C00 - Christchurch DC (Site B) with A03 - Auckland DC (Site A)
Task submitted successfully, waiting for result
q=queued, P=pre-running, .=Task Running:
q 
Task completed successfully
Returned Result = True

And confirm the associations using Get-vCloudSiteAssociation again:

PS C:\> Get-vCloudSiteAssociations -siteDomain akl.mycloud.local
Displaying site associations for site Id: urn:vcloud:site:847f4785-f8a5-4e59-b0d7-5608723247dd with site Name: A03 - Auckland DC
Associated sites:
https://chc.mycloud.local/api


href                    : https://akl.mycloud.local/api/site/associations/b34798aa-f722-4c06-a8a2-392f591cf450
type                    : application/vnd.vmware.admin.siteAssociation+xml
Link                    : {Link, Link, Link}
RestEndpoint            : https://chc.mycloud.local/api
TenantUiEndpoint        : https://chc.mycloud.local/tenant
RestEndpointCertificate : -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
                          MII...
                          -----END CERTIFICATE-----
SiteId                  : urn:vcloud:site:b34798aa-f722-4c06-a8a2-392f591cf450
SiteName                : C00 - Christchurch DC
PublicKey               : -----BEGIN PUBLIC KEY-----
                          MII...
                          -----END PUBLIC KEY-----

(I’ve cut out the certificate dumps for brevity).

So now that our Auckland and Christchurch sites are paired we can move on with associating the Organization (‘Tenant X’) between these sites. I’ve also been through and associated all of the other sites to each other, so by this stage ‘Auckland’ is associated to ‘Wellington’,’Christchurch’ and ‘Dunedin’ etc.

Part 2 – Organization Site Pairing

Originally I was intending to write PowerShell functions for this too, and while this is certainly possible, VMware have been nice to us and created the capability in the new vCloud Director tenant UI. Logging in as a user with ‘Organizational Administrator’ access shows an ‘Administration’ tab:

Selecting the ‘Administration’ tab reveals the site pairing options:

When we select ‘Export Local Association Data’ a file is downloaded (named ‘Download’ weirdly enough) and this file can be uploaded to the ‘partner’ site using the other ‘Create New Organization Association’ button. Once completed, the association is shown in the panel – here is the Auckland site for ‘Tenant X’ once the Christchurch Local Association Data has been uploaded to it:

You can click on this panel to see the association details and even remove a site association if no longer required:

Here’s the view of the ‘Christchurch’ environment once I’ve paired the ‘other’ 3 sites to it for this Organization:

Once we’ve added all our associations (and logged out and back in) we can see the new multi-site drop-down menu item which allows us to select from any of our datacenter locations:

And selecting one (‘Auckland’ in this case) takes us to the Auckland resource view:

All in all, a little bit of a convoluted process, but at least it should only need to be done once and can then be left alone. Very excited to see what VMware do with this functionality in future – can definitely see a time when all of an Organization’s VMs are displayed / summarised in a single view regardless of which vCloud instance supports them.

I have several more thoughts generally on vCloud Director v9 which I’ll put into a separate post when I have time, but wanted to get this published for anyone else playing around with the new multi-site features.

As always, comments and feedback appreciated.

Jon.

Invoke-vCloud PowerShell Module

Several of the posts on here and many of the internal PowerShell projects I use at work require direct interaction with the vCloud Director REST API. Usually this is because features exposed in the API aren’t yet directly implemented as PowerCLI cmdlets. A good example would be the modules I wrote to allow manipulation of independent disks with vCD VMs here: Independent Disks in vCloud via PowerCLI.

As I wrote more and more scripts that require interaction with the vCD API I started to develop a generic function to allow easier interaction with it. I’m intending in future to use this as the basis for future scripts requiring this functionality which should be useful in keeping the script size smaller and provide an easier method of interacting with the API.

PowerShell has a built-in ‘Invoke-RestMethod’ call which submits a REST request and gathers any responses, but there are a variety of additional parameters required in a typical vCD API call which this method doesn’t know about and which need to be supplied with each call. Wrapping Invoke-RestMethod in a function allows us to much more easily consume the API and makes handling calls which return a long-running task much easier to handle by giving the option to return immediately or to wait for the complete interaction to complete before returning.

Typically to call the API we need to provide the following:

URI The URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) for the API call (typically of the form https://my.cloud.com/api/requestpath).
Method This is simply which HTML method we are invoking from the common HTML verbs (‘GET’,’PUT’,’POST’,’DELETE’) – the fifth verb (‘PATCH’) doesn’t appear to be used much (if at all) in the vCloud API, but could be specified if required. We can also assume a sensible/safe default value of ‘GET’ since that will only read from the API and not change anything.
Authorization Provided as an HTML Header using the x-vcloud-authorization tag and a previously existing session ID. We could supply the session ID as part of the call, but it’s usually much more convenient to attempt to match the request URI against PowerShell’s existing global view of connected vCD API endpoints and use the existing session ID available from here.
Accept Provided as part of the HTML header, this tag specifies the type of information we are prepared to accept back from the API, this will usually be set to ‘application/*+xml’ but we also need to specify which version of the API we wish to use – in vCloud Director 8.20 this is version 27.0 so the complete Accept token will be ‘application/*+xml;version=27.0’. We can provide a sensible default value for this in our module so that if it is ommitted we still get a sensible version specification.
ContentType When we are sending data to the API with a PUT or POST request, we need to specify the type of document we are sending using the ContentType header, for GET requests this isn’t required.
Body When sending data to the API, this will be the (usually XML formatted) document body.
Timeout Some API operations can take a while to complete, specifying a timeout value allows our script to carry on or raise an error if an API call is taking an excessively long time.

In addition to these, I’ve also included a flag ‘WaitforTask’ which can either be true or false. If set to ‘true’ and if the result of the API call is a ‘Task’ object reference then the script will monitor the task and wait until it has completed (or timeout exceeded) and then return the task status to our script. This can be useful for operations that can take considerable time when it doesn’t make sense for your script to continue until the previous action has been completed – e.g. cloning a new vApp and then modifying it’s network settings.

I was keen to explore using Microsoft’s PowerShell Gallery as a mechanism to distribute modules, this should make it easier to be able to use these modules and functions wherever needed by simply importing the module as required. The process to make a module available in the gallery is reasonably straightforward and documented on the site, but basically once you’ve signed up and got an API key you simply call Publish-Module and provide the path to your module code and manifest including your API key as an identifier.

So I’m pleased to announce that the initial release version of my Invoke-vCloud module is now available from the PowerShell Gallery and can be included in any scripts using:

Install-Module -Name Invoke-vCloud -Scope CurrentUser

It can also be downloaded/inspected using:

Save-Module -Name Invoke-vCloud -Path <path>

Of course if running an administrative PowerShell instance it can also be installed for all users on the system using:

Install-Module -Name Invoke-vCloud

Once installed, it can be used in your scripts by specifying the required URI parameter and any optional specifications:

PS C:\> Invoke-vCloud -URI https://my.cloud.com/api/org

xml OrgList
--- -------
version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" OrgList

You will either need to have an existing PowerCLI vCloud session (Connect-CIServer), or have an x-vcloud-authorization token for a valid/authenticated session which you can pass to Invoke-vCloud using the -vCloudToken parameter.

I’ve included parameter descriptions in the module to assist which can be viewed using the Get-Help cmdlet:

PS C:\> Get-Help Invoke-vCloud -detailed

NAME
    Invoke-vCloud

SYNOPSIS
    Provides a wrapper for Invoke-RestMethod for vCloud Director API calls


SYNTAX
    Invoke-vCloud [-URI]  [[-ContentType] ] [[-Method] ] [[-ApiVersion] ] [[-Body] ] [[-Timeout] ] [[-WaitForTask] ] [[-vCloudToken] ] []


DESCRIPTION
    Invoke-vCloud provides an easy to use interface to the vCloud Director
    API and provides sensible defaults for many parameters. It wraps the native
    PowerShell Invoke-RestMethod cmdlet.


PARAMETERS
    -URI 
        A mandatory parameter which provides the API URI to be accessed.

    -ContentType 
        An optional parameter which provides the ContentType of any submitted data.

    -Method 
        An optional parameter to specify the HTML verb to be used (GET, PUT, POST or
        DELETE). Defaults to 'GET' if not specified.

    -ApiVersion 
        An optional parameter to specify the API version to be used for the call.
        Defaults to '27.0' if not specified which is the API version for vCloud
        Director v8.20.

    -Body 
        An optional parameter which specifies XML body to be submitted to the API
        (usually for a PUT or POST action).

    -Timeout 
        An optional parameter which specifies the time (in seconds) to wait for an API
        call to complete. Defaults to 40 seconds if not specified.

    -WaitForTask 
        If the API call we submit results in a Task object indicating an asynchronous
        vCloud task, should we wait for this to complete before returning? Defaults to
        $false.

    -vCloudToken 
        An alternative method of passing a session token to Invoke-vCloud if there is
        no current PowerCLI session established to a vCloud endpoint. The session must
        have already been established and be still valid (not timed-out). The value
        supplied is copied to the 'x-vcloud-authorization' header value in API calls.

I have some new scripts in development against some of the new features in the recently announced vCloud Director v9 which I’m intending to use this module for and will post as soon as v9 is released.

As always I welcome any comments and suggestions for improving this module.

Jon.

vCloud Director 8.20 Edge Gateway Roles

One of the key changes in vCloud Director 8.20 and 8.20.1 from 8.10 is the Advanced Networking for Edge Gateways, this allows customer control of several advanced networking features of the Edge Gateways which previously could not be made available to tenant administrators. vCloud Director 8.20 and later also change the Roles to be per-tenant organisation (rather than globally shared between all tenants). However, in order for tenant administrators to be able to take advantage of the new features, the new Edge Gateway roles need to be added to their organisation. The only way currently to achieve this is by the vCloud REST API and must be performed separately for each organisation in the vCloud infrastructure.

Here is what the available rights looks like prior to the change being made – note there is no ‘Gateway Advanced Services’ section at all:

Since manually modifying the OrgRights XML is time-consuming and a bit prone to error, I set about writing a PowerCLI script to make the change automatically for a given organisation. Note that this change does not alter the defined roles for an organisation, it simply adds the new Edge Gateway permissions as available entities which can then be selectively added to roles.

Once the script has been run for an organisation, editing the properties of a role allows the new Gateway Advanced Services entities to be selected for that role:

The script is included below, as always I welcome any thoughts/comments/feedback.

Jon

# Script to add new OrgRights options for administering advanced Edge Gateway to a vCloud Director organisation.
# Note that Organisation roles (e.g. Organizational Administrator) still need to be edited to add these rights once
# this script has been run against their org.
# NOTE: You must be connected to the vCloud API (Connect-CIServer) with a System administrative user prior to running the script for this to work.

$OrgToUpdate = 'Organisation'
$APIendpoint = 'API Endpoint - api.my.cloud.com'

Function vCloud-REST(
[Parameter(Mandatory=$true)][string]$URI,
[string]$ContentType,
[string]$Method = 'Get',
[string]$ApiVersion = '27.0',
[string]$Body,
[int]$Timeout = 40
)
{
$mysessionid = ($global:DefaultCIServers | Where { $_.Name -eq $APIendpoint }).SessionId
$Headers = @{"x-vcloud-authorization" = $mysessionid; "Accept" = 'application/*+xml;version=' + $ApiVersion}
if (!$ContentType) { Remove-Variable ContentType }
if (!$Body) { Remove-Variable Body }
Try
{
[xml]$response = Invoke-RestMethod -Method $Method -Uri $URI -Headers $headers -Body $Body -ContentType $ContentType -TimeoutSec $Timeout
}
Catch
{
Write-Host "Exception: " $_.Exception.Message
if ( $_.Exception.ItemName ) { Write-Host "Failed Item: " $_.Exception.ItemName }
Write-Host "Exiting."
Return
}
return $response
} # Function vCloud-REST End

# The new vCloud Director API v27.0 OrgRights for Advanced Networking:
$newrights = @{}
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Distributed Firewall: Enable/Disable", "a100f6a0-2c81-3b61-90c3-c4dbd721b3a8")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: Configure BGP Routing", "2c4eb5ac-15f5-33f0-8b4a-680b3a1d3707")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: Configure DHCP", "be1abe9a-7ddc-38f6-bdf3-94affb01e46b")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: Configure Firewall", "b755b050-772e-3c9c-9197-111c286f563d")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: Configure IPSec VPN", "209cde55-55db-33f1-8357-b27bba6898ed")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: Configure L2 VPN", "eeb2b2a0-33a1-36d4-a121-6547ad992d59")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: Configure Load Balancer", "27be9828-4ce4-353e-8f68-5cd69260d94c")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: Configure NAT", "c9e19573-3d54-3d4a-98f2-f56e446a8ef9")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: Configure OSPF Routing", "3b337aef-42a8-3ed1-8616-341152bc5790")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: Configure Remote Access", "72c5e652-c8d7-3f19-ab83-283d30cb679f")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: Configure SSL VPN", "92b7d500-6bb6-3176-b9eb-d1fda4ce444d")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: Configure Static Routing", "f72af304-97b0-379e-9d6d-68eb89bdc6cf")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: View BGP Routing", "d9dabcab-579e-33c5-807b-dc9232bf7eff")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: View DHCP", "8e16d30d-1ae3-3fff-8d4b-64c342b186a9")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: View Firewall", "7fee6646-ec0c-34c9-9585-aff6f4d92473")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: View IPSec VPN", "82beb471-ab7f-3e2b-a615-136ba6645525")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: View L2 VPN", "105191de-9e29-3495-a917-05fcb5ec1ad0")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: View Load Balancer", "2a097e48-f4c4-3714-8b24-552b2d573754")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: View NAT", "fb860afe-2e15-3ca9-96d8-4435d1447732")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: View OSPF Routing", "eb525145-08e5-3934-91ef-ec80837c9177")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: View Remote Access", "65439584-6aad-3c2c-916f-794099ee85bf")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: View SSL VPN", "cdb0edb0-9623-30a8-89de-b133db7cfeab")
$newrights.Add("Organization vDC Gateway: View Static Routing", "9740be24-4dd7-373c-9237-91896338c11e")

$myendpoint = $global:DefaultCIServers | Where { $_.Name -eq $APIendpoint }

if (!$myendpoint.IsConnected) {
Write-Host "Not connected to this vCloud endpoint, use 'Connect-CIServer' before running this script."
Exit
}

$org = Get-Org -Name $OrgToUpdate -Server $APIendpoint

if (!$org) {
Write-Host "Couldn't match organization with name $OrgToUpdate, exiting."
Exit
}

$rightsuri = 'https://' + $APIendpoint + "/api/admin/org/" + $org.Id.Substring($org.Id.LastIndexOf(':')+1) + "/rights"

[xml]$rights = vCloud-REST -URI $rightsuri -ContentType 'application/vnd.vmware.admin.org.rights+xml' -Method 'Get' -ApiVersion '27.0'

# Add the new API v27 'RightsReference' elements to the XML returned:
foreach($newrule in $newrights.Keys) {
$newright = $rights.CreateElement("RightReference", "http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/v1.5")
$newright.SetAttribute("href","https://$APIEndpoint/api/admin/right/$($newrights.Item($newrule))")
$newright.SetAttribute("name",$newrule)
$newright.SetAttribute("type","application/vnd.vmware.admin.right+xml")
$rights.OrgRights.AppendChild($newright)
}

# Update the Organization with the ammended rights:
vCloud-REST -URI $rightsuri -ContentType 'application/vnd.vmware.admin.org.rights+xml' -Body $rights.InnerXml -Method 'Put' -ApiVersion '27.0'

Using Independent Disks in vCloud

Yesterday I wrote about the PowerShell module I’ve written (CIDisk.psm1) to allow manipulation of independent disks in a vCloud environment. This post shows some usage options and details some of the caveats to be aware of when using disks in this manner.

My test environment has two VMs (named imaginatively ‘vm01’ and ‘vm02’), and the VDC they are in has access to four different storage profiles (‘Platinum’, ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Bronze’ storage). The default storage policy for the VDC is ‘Bronze’, but what if we want to create independent disks on other profiles? The -StorageProfileHref parameter to New-CIDisk lets us do this. Once connected to our cloud (Connect-CIServer) we can find the Hrefs of the available storage profiles we can use:

C:\> $vdc = Get-OrgVdc -Name '<My VDC Name>'

C:\> $vdc.ExtensionData.VdcStorageProfiles.VdcStorageProfile | Select Name, Href

Name                     Href                                                                                       
----                     ----                                                                                       
Platinum Storage Profile https://my.cloud.com/api/vdcStorageProfile/4777f1a3-1f71-4e47-831e-fc7ed80376c3
Silver Storage Profile   https://my.cloud.com/api/vdcStorageProfile/d14c6c2e-2cfb-4ffe-9f31-599c3de42150
Bronze Storage Profile   https://my.cloud.com/api/vdcStorageProfile/dc382284-bc65-4e61-b85f-ea7facba63e4
Gold Storage Profile     https://my.cloud.com/api/vdcStorageProfile/f89df73a-2fa5-40e4-9332-fdd6e29d36ac

Let’s create 2 independent disks, a 10G disk on ‘Platinum’ storage and a 100G disk on ‘Silver’ storage:

C:\> New-CIDisk -DiskName 'disk01-plat' -DiskSize 10G -StorageProfileHref https://my.cloud.com/api/vdcStorageProfile/4777f1a3-1f71-4e47-831e-fc7ed80376c3 -DiskDescription 'Platinum test disk'
Request submitted, waiting for task to complete...
Task completed successfully.

Name        : disk01-plat
Href        : https://my.cloud.com/api/disk/a1b00fa4-3d84-4c75-bc76-7604b96cdcab
Description : Platinum test disk
Size        : 10 GB
BusType     : lsilogicsas
Storage     : Platinum Storage Profile
AttachedTo  : Not Attached

C:\> New-CIDisk -DiskName 'disk02-silv' -DiskSize 100G -StorageProfileHref https://my.cloud.com/api/vdcStorageProfile/d14c6c2e-2cfb-4ffe-9f31-599c3de42150 -DiskDescription 'Silver test disk'
Request submitted, waiting for task to complete...
Task completed successfully.

Name        : disk02-silv
Href        : https://my.cloud.com/api/disk/b02b50fd-1305-454d-923c-26ef9874a3fd
Description : Silver test disk
Size        : 100 GB
BusType     : lsilogicsas
Storage     : Silver Storage Profile
AttachedTo  : Not Attached

We can see in the vCloud interface that these disks now exist in our VDC (Note: you may have to completely refresh your vCloud session using your browser’s refresh before the ‘Independent Disks’ tab appears):

There are no context actions for these disks though and we can’t attach/detach them to VMs in the vCloud interface.

Our VM01 virtual machine currently has a 40GB base disk attached and no other storage:

 

We can mount both our new independent disks to this VM using the following:

C:\> $vm01 = Get-CIVM -Name 'vm01'

C:\> $disk01 = Get-CIDisk -DiskName 'disk01-plat'

C:\> $disk02 = Get-CIDisk -DiskName 'disk02-silv'

C:\> Mount-CIDisk -VMHref $vm01.Href -DiskHref $disk01.Href
Request submitted, waiting for task to complete...
Task completed successfully.

C:\> Mount-CIDisk -VMHref $vm01.Href -DiskHref $disk02.Href
Request submitted, waiting for task to complete...
Task completed successfully.

Looking at the VM01 Hardware tab following this shows both disks mounted:

Note again that no manipulation options are available in the vCloud UI, but at least it’s obvious that independent disks have been attached to VM01.

After rescanning storage in the guest, we can see the new storage devices on VM01:

And once these are brought online, initialized, storage volumes created and drive letters assigned, we can use the disks inside the guest (the volume names don’t get automatically mapped – I’ve just named the volumes the same as the independent disk objects for consistency):

At this point everything appears to be working fine, but there can be a catch here – if you restart the virtual machine you may find that the server attempts to boot from one of the newly mounted independent disks. Luckily vCloud Director 8.10 allows us to get into the VM BIOS and change the boot order settings:

Once restarted into BIOS we can select the correct boot order:

With the server restarted, we can create some test content in ‘disk01-plat’ to prove that the data moves when we reattach this disk to VM02:

And to dismount ‘disk01-plat’ from VM01 and mount it to VM02 we can:

C:\> Dismount-CIDisk -VMHref $vm01.Href -DiskHref $disk01.Href
Request submitted, waiting for task to complete...
Task completed successfully.

C:\> $vm02 = Get-CIVM -Name 'vm02'

C:\> Mount-CIDisk -VMHref $vm02.Href -DiskHref $disk01.Href
Request submitted, waiting for task to complete...
Task completed successfully.

Looking at the available storage in VM02 after a disk rescan shows our disk has transfered across:

Finally, checking the contents of the ‘E:\’ drive shows our test folder & file have made it across:

And Get-CIDisk can be used to verify the disk attachments after moving disk01 to VM02:

C:\> Get-CIDisk | ft -AutoSize

Name        Href                                                               Description        Size   BusType     Storage                  AttachedTo
----        ----                                                               -----------        ----   -------     -------                  ----------
disk01-plat https://my.cloud.com/api/disk/a1b00fa4-3d84-4c75-bc76-7604b96cdcab Platinum test disk 10 GB  lsilogicsas Platinum Storage Profile vm02      
disk02-silv https://my.cloud.com/api/disk/b02b50fd-1305-454d-923c-26ef9874a3fd Silver test disk   100 GB lsilogicsas Silver Storage Profile   vm01

Hopefully this gives a better idea of how CIDisk can be used to manage independent disks in a vCloud environment, it would be nice if VMware included the management functions in the UI, but for now at least you can use PowerShell to easily achieve the same results without having to write against the API directly.

As always, any comments / feedback greatly appreciated.

Jon

Independent Disks in vCloud via PowerCLI

Another day, another customer requirement which I figured ‘this will be easy’ and turned out not to be quite so easy…

The customer in question is a tenant on our cloud platform and has built a VM to be their offline root Certificate Authority (CA). In line with their security practice, this VM has no network connectivity and is usually powered-off in their environment unless specifically required to issue or renew certificates.

They asked if there was an easy way to transfer certificate files issued by this VM to other servers in their infrastructure. In their (old) vSphere environment they would simply attach a new temporary virtual disk to the VM, copy the certificate files over and then attach the disk to the destination VM. Surely there had to be some similar functionality in vCloud Director?

Well, there’s a bit of good and bad news on that…

By default disks in vCloud Director are assigned (permanently) to a VM, they can’t be moved to different VMs. (That’s the bad news). The good news is that vCD supports ‘independent disks’ which can be moved between VMs. The bad news is that this is an API-only operation (nothing in the web UI allows creation or manipulation of Independent disks, although you can see them if they exist). The worst news is that VMware PowerCLI even in the latest 6.5R1 version doesn’t have any cmdlets to manipulate independent disks attached to vCloud VMs either.

So while I could have hacked something together to run directly against the vCloud Director REST API for this customer, I figured it would be better to have some reusable PowerShell cmdlets for this. So I set about writing some and I’m pleased to announce the first release of ‘CIDisk’, a collection of PowerShell cmdlets to manipulate independent disks in vCloud Director environments.

The module code, documentation and examples are now available on my github at https://github.com/jondwaite/cidisk

I’ll do a followup post detailing some more advanced options and scenarios in the next day or two.

Edit – Followup post is now available here.

As always I appreciate any/all feedback and hope someone else finds these useful.

Jon

Detailed VM Storage Information in vCloud Director

I recently had a request from one of our customers who wanted an easy / scriptable method to determine the storage allocations on their hosted VMs in our vCloud platform, preferably from PowerShell. That should be easy I thought and set about my usual Google-based research. I initially found this post from Alan Renouf which I forwarded back to the client.

Unfortunately, while this achieved part of the answer, this particular customer had a number of VMs which had hard disks attached using multiple/different storage profiles and they wanted to get the details of these too. So I set about writing some code to see if I could get full storage information about the VM and all of its disks. I ended up having to access the vCloud REST API directly for this information but it wasn’t too bad.

First, I created a ‘worst-case’ test VM where the 3 attached hard disks which were created one each on our ‘Gold’, ‘Silver’ and ‘Bronze’ storage policies:

test02-hardware-properties

(Just to make sure everything would work I also created the 3 disks on 3 different storage Bus Types). I also set the VM storage policy to something different:

test02-general-properties

My first step was a function to access the vCloud REST API, I found this post from Matt Vogt’s blog which had some code for this which I shamelessly borrowed (hey, why reinvent the wheel unless you need to):

function Get-vCloudREST($href) {
  $request = [System.Net.HttpWebRequest]::Create($href)
  $request.Accept = "application/*+xml;version=20.0" # For vCloud Director 8.xx or later API
  $request.Headers.add("x-vcloud-authorization",$global:session.sessionID)
  $response = $request.GetResponse()
  $streamReader = new-object System.IO.StreamReader($response.getResponseStream())
  $xmldata = $streamReader.ReadToEnd()
  $streamReader.Close()
  $response.Close()
  return $xmldata
}

The return from the Get-CIVM cmdlet includes a reference to the VM object within the vCloud API:

PowerCLI C:\> $test02 = Get-CIVM -Name 'test02'
PowerCLI C:\> $test02 | fl
ExtensionData   : VMware.VimAutomation.Cloud.Views.Vm
Status          : PoweredOff
Deleted         : False
GuestOsFullName : Other Linux (64-bit)
CpuCount        : 1
MemoryMB        : 384
MemoryGB        : 0.375
VMVersion       : v11
Org             : MyOrg
OrgVdc          : MyOrgVDC
VApp            : test02
Description     : 
Href            : https://<cloud.com>/api/vApp/vm-ef4a4594-c631-421a-98f0-4d15670c98ad
Id              : urn:vcloud:vm:ef4a4594-c631-421a-98f0-4d15670c98ad
Name            : test02
Client          : /CIServer=<user>:<org>@<cloud.com>:443/
Uid             : /CIServer=<user>:<org>@<cloud.com>:443/CIVM=urn:vcloud:vm:ef4a4594-c631-421a-98f0-4d15670c98ad/

Using this we can obtain our disk information:

PowerCLI C:\> $queryHref = $test02.Href + "/virtualHardwareSection/disks"
PowerCLI C:\> [xml]$xml = Get-vCloudREST($queryHref)
PowerCLI C:\> $xml
xml                            RasdItemsList
---                            -------------
version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" RasdItemsList

Filtering the returned RasdItemsList for a ResourceType of 17 (Hard Disk), we can get a list of attached hard disks:

PowerCLI C:\> $xml.RasdItemsList.Item | Where { $_.ResourceType -eq 17 }

AddressOnParent      : 0
Description          : Hard disk
ElementName          : Hard disk 1
HostResource         : HostResource
InstanceID           : 2000
Parent               : 2
ResourceType         : 17
VirtualQuantity      : 8589934592
VirtualQuantityUnits : byte

AddressOnParent      : 0
Description          : Hard disk
ElementName          : Hard disk 2
HostResource         : HostResource
InstanceID           : 2016
Parent               : 3
ResourceType         : 17
VirtualQuantity      : 8589934592
VirtualQuantityUnits : byte

AddressOnParent      : 0
Description          : Hard disk
ElementName          : Hard disk 3
HostResource         : HostResource
InstanceID           : 16060
Parent               : 4
ResourceType         : 17
VirtualQuantity      : 8589934592
VirtualQuantityUnits : byte

So this gets us to a point where we have all of the hard disk information, but how do we find the storage policy for each disk? It turns out that each disk has an attribute ‘HostResource’ which provides the URI to the storage policy from which the disk has been allocated:

PowerCLI C:\> $disks = $xml.RasdItemsList.Item | Where { $_.ResourceType -eq 17 }

PowerCLI C:\> $disks.Count
3

PowerCLI C:\> $disks[0].HostResource

vcloud                          : http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/v1.5
storageProfileHref              : https://<my cloud URI>/api/vdcStorageProfile/f89df73a-2fa5-40e4-9332-fdd6e29d36ac
busType                         : 6
busSubType                      : lsilogic
capacity                        : 8192
iops                            : 0
storageProfileOverrideVmDefault : true

PowerCLI C:\> $disks[1].HostResource

vcloud                          : http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/v1.5
storageProfileHref              : https:// <my cloud URI>/api/vdcStorageProfile/d14c6c2e-2cfb-4ffe-9f31-599c3de42150
busType                         : 6
busSubType                      : lsilogicsas
capacity                        : 8192
iops                            : 0
storageProfileOverrideVmDefault : true

PowerCLI C:\> $disks[2].HostResource

vcloud                          : http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/v1.5
storageProfileHref              : https:// <my cloud URI>/api/vdcStorageProfile/dc382284-bc65-4e61-b85f-ea7facba63e4
busType                         : 20
busSubType                      : vmware.sata.ahci
capacity                        : 8192
iops                            : 0
storageProfileOverrideVmDefault : true

So how can we convert the storageProfileHref values into meaningful (human readable) storage profile names? We can use another API call to establish the name of each vdcStorageProfile:

PowerCLI C:\> [xml]$sp = Get-vCloudREST($disks[0].HostResource.storageProfileHref)
PowerCLI C:\> $sp.VdcStorageProfile.name
Gold Storage Profile

PowerCLI C:\> [xml]$sp = Get-vCloudREST($disks[1].HostResource.storageProfileHref)
PowerCLI C:\> $sp.VdcStorageProfile.name
Silver Storage Profile

PowerCLI C:\> [xml]$sp = Get-vCloudREST($disks[2].HostResource.storageProfileHref)
PowerCLI C:\> $sp.VdcStorageProfile.name
Bronze Storage Profile

Querying the API for every vdcStorageProfile for every disk is going to generate a lot of calls for any significant number of VMs, so in the code below I’ve added a hash stored in a global variable which caches these results so that any storageProfileHref which has been seen before doesn’t need to generate an additional API call.

Putting it all together

So we now have a way of determining all of the information we need, using PowerShell custom objects allows us to write a function which returns all of our VM and storage details in a easily consumable form for further processing.

The script included at the bottom of this article produces the following output for my test environment containing 2 VMs of which the ‘pxetest01’ VM has no disks attached:

PowerCLI C:\> $vmobjs

VMName    : pxetest01
Id        : urn:vcloud:vm:45a86f24-1109-4ead-881d-f865c1f0692f
Status    : PoweredOff
vRAM      : 1
vCPU      : 1
HWVersion : v11
vAppName  : PXE Demo
GuestOS   : CentOS 4/5/6/7 (64-bit)
Disks     :

VMName    : test02
Id        : urn:vcloud:vm:ef4a4594-c631-421a-98f0-4d15670c98ad
Status    : PoweredOff
vRAM      : 0.375
vCPU      : 1
HWVersion : v11
vAppName  : test02
GuestOS   : Other Linux (64-bit)
Disks     : {@{Name=Hard disk 1; StorageProfile=Gold Storage Profile; Quantity=8589934592; QuantityUnits=byte}, @{Name=Hard disk 2; StorageProfile=Silver Storage Profile; Quantity=8589934592; QuantityUnits=byte}, @{Name=Hard disk 3; StorageProfile=BronzeStorage Profile; Quantity=8589934592; QuantityUnits=byte}}

It can also return just the disk information as another custom object:

PowerCLI C:\> $test02vm = $vmobjs | Where {$_.VMName -eq 'test02'}
PowerCLI C:\> $test02vm.Disks

Name StorageProfile Quantity QuantityUnits
---- -------------- -------- -------------
Hard disk 1 Gold Storage Profile 8589934592 byte
Hard disk 2 Silver Storage Profile 8589934592 byte
Hard disk 3 Bronze Storage Profile 8589934592 byte

And we can check the number of disks attached to any VM:

PowerCLI C:\> ($test02vm.Disks | Measure).Count
3

Finally because the output is a PowerShell object, we can easily turn this custom object into JSON for use in further processing:

PowerCLI C:\> $test02vm | ConvertTo-Json

{
	"VMName": "test02",
	"Id": "urn:vcloud:vm:ef4a4594-c631-421a-98f0-4d15670c98ad",
	"Status": "PoweredOff",
	"vRAM": 0.375,
	"vCPU": 1,
	"HWVersion": "v11",
	"vAppName": "test02",
	"GuestOS": "Other Linux (64-bit)",
	"Disks": {
		"value": [
			{
				"Name": "Hard disk 1",
				"StorageProfile": "Gold Storage Profile",
				"Quantity": 8589934592,
				"QuantityUnits": "byte"
			},
			{
				"Name": "Hard disk 2",
				"StorageProfile": "Silver Storage Profile",
				"Quantity": 8589934592,
				"QuantityUnits": "byte"
			},
			{
				"Name": "Hard disk 3",
				"StorageProfile": "Bronze Storage Profile",
				"Quantity": 8589934592,
				"QuantityUnits": "byte"
			}
		],
		"Count": 3
	}
}

Hopefully you’ve found this post useful, let me know in the comments if you have any issues or would like to see more examples like this.

Jon.

Full script to find storage policy information for vCloud VMs using the vCloud REST API:

$global:spolrefs = @{}
# Change to be appropriate for your scenario:
$cloudURL = "<cloud FQDN or IP Address>"
$cloudOrg = "<cloud Organization name>"

# Check if we are already logged-in (interactive session) and if not, prompt for login:
if (!$session.IsConnected) {
 $creds = Get-Credential -Message "Authenticate to $cloudOrg Cloud Service"
 $session = Connect-CIServer -Server $cloudURL -Org $cloudOrg -Credential $creds
}

# PS Function to query the vCloud Director REST API
# ('Borrowed' from Matt Vogt's blog at: http://blog.mattvogt.net/)
function Get-vCloudREST($href)
{
 $request = [System.Net.HttpWebRequest]::Create($href)
 $request.Accept = "application/*+xml;version=20.0" # For vCloud Director 8.xx or later API
 $request.Headers.add("x-vcloud-authorization",$global:session.sessionID)
 $response = $request.GetResponse()
 $streamReader = new-object System.IO.StreamReader($response.getResponseStream())
 $xmldata = $streamReader.ReadToEnd()
 $streamReader.Close()
 $response.Close()
 return $xmldata
}

# Function to get Storage Profile name from its Href (if not already known/cached in a global hash)
# if already known we don't need to call the API again and can just return the value from the hash
function Get-SPName($storage_href)
{
 if ($global:spolrefs.ContainsKey($storage_href)) {
 return $global:spolrefs.Get_Item($storage_href)
 } else {
 [xml]$sp = Get-vCloudREST($storage_href)
 $global:spolrefs.Add($storage_href, $sp.VdcStorageProfile.name)
 return $sp.VdcStorageProfile.name
 }
}

# Function to retrieve the disk information for a VM:
function Get-VMDisks($VM)
{
 $VMDisks = @() # Start with an empty array
 $queryHref = $VM.Href + "/virtualHardwareSection/disks" # API path for VM disk information
 [xml]$xml = Get-vCloudRESt($queryHref)
 $disks = $xml.RasdItemsList.Item | Where-Object {$_.ResourceType -eq 17} # Resource Type 17 = Hard disk drive
 foreach ($disk in $disks)
 {
 $sp = Get-SPName($disk.HostResource.storageProfileHref)
 $diskobj = New-Object -TypeName PSObject
 $diskobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "Name" -Value ([String]$disk.ElementName)
 $diskobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "StorageProfile" -Value ([String]$sp)
 $diskobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "Quantity" -Value ([Int64]$disk.VirtualQuantity)
 $diskobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "QuantityUnits" -Value ([String]$disk.VirtualQuantityUnits)
 $VMDisks += $diskobj
 }
 return $VMDisks
}

function Get-VMInfo($VM)
{
 $vmobj = New-Object -TypeName PSObject
 $vmobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "VMName" -Value ([String]$VM.Name)
 $vmobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "Id" -Value ([String]$VM.ExtensionData.Id)
 $vmobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "Status" -Value ([String]$VM.Status)
 $vmobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "vRAM" -Value ([Decimal]$VM.MemoryGB)
 $vmobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "vCPU" -Value ([Int]$VM.CpuCount)
 $vmobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "HWVersion" -Value ([String]$VM.VMVersion)
 $vmobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "vAppName" -Value ([String]$VM.VApp.Name)
 $vmobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "GuestOS" -Value ([String]$VM.GuestOsFullName)
 [PSCustomObject]$disks = Get-VMDisks($VM)
 $vmobj | Add-Member -Type NoteProperty -Name "Disks" -Value $disks
 return $vmobj
}

# Get all VMs in our Cloud Organization:
$vms = Get-CIVM

# Initialise an array for returned objects:
$vmobjs = @()

# For each VM, build our object:
foreach ($vm in $vms) {
 $vmobjs += Get-VMinfo($vm)
}

# Output our object to console:
$vmobjs

 

Live import VMs to vCloud Director

Tom Fojta wrote a great blog post about the new capability in vCloud Director 8.10 to import running VMs into vCloud Director. This is a huge asset in migration scenarios where customers can’t afford outages when being migrated into the vCD environment. Unfortunately the API syntax to actually initiate the import is a little convoluted and not the easiest process to manage.

I set about writing a PowerShell script to significantly simplify the process of initiating a live-import operation. The script itself is available from github at the following link: https://github.com/jondwaite/vcdliveimport.

The liveimport.ps1 script contained in this repository does the following:

  • Prompts for a credential to be used to connect to both vCloud Director (System context) and vCenter – if you have different usernames/passwords for each you’ll need to adjust this.
  • Enumerates the available vCenter instances registered as Provider Virtual Datacenters (PVDCs) in vCloud Director and allows one to be selected as the source vCenter for the migration.
  • Lists the available VMs in the selected vCenter instance, filters this list based on selectable criteria (e.g. don’t offer to import ‘Guest Introspection’ VMs) and allows the source VM to be selected.
  • Lists available destination Virtual Datacenters (VDCs) in the vCloud Director environment and allows the destination VDC to be selected.
  • Displays the appropriate POST request information to be submitted to vCloud Director to initiate the live-import of this VM.
  • Optionally – Submits the REST API request directly to the vCloud Director environment to actually initiate the import process.

An example transcript of this process is show below. Hopefully this helps someone else out and helps to make it easier for you to live-import running VMs into vCloud Director.

Jon.

Example Session Transcript:

PowerCLI C:\> liveimport.ps1
Connected to vCloud Director OK
vCenter(s) Found:
-----------------
vc01 (https://vcd01.dev.local/api/admin/extension/vimServer/158f73ec-a999-4332-8250-f4dd5e6c4971)

Selecting vc01 as only pVDC vCenter found.
vCenter vc01 selected.
Connected to vCenter Server vc01 OK

Evaluating vCenter VMs as migration candidates.............
Available candidate VMs:
------------------------
testvm01

Enter VM name to live-migrate to vCloud (or 'quit' to exit): testvm01
Selected VM testvm01 for live import to vCloud.

Available VDCs:
---------------
Lab VDC
Enter Destination VDC Name (or quit to exit): Lab VDC
VDC 'Lab VDC' selected.

URI for POST operation:
https://vcd01.dev.local/api/admin/extension/vimServer/158f73ec-a999-4332-8250-f4dd5e6c4971/importVmAsVApp

XML Document Body:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<ImportVmAsVAppParams xmlns="http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/extension/v1.5" name="testvm01" sourceMove="true">
 <VmMoRef>vm-111</VmMoRef>
 <Vdc href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/admin/vdc/b21c92fa-1a6f-42a9-8c1e-ef0947c7be76" />
</ImportVmAsVAppParams>

Content-Type: application/vnd.vmware.admin.importVmAsVAppParams+xml

Would you like to submit this API request to live import this VM? (y or n) (or quit to exit): y
Making request to live import VM testvm01...
Response was:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<VApp xmlns="http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/v1.5" ovfDescriptorUploaded="true" deployed="false" status="0" name="testvm01" id="urn:vcloud:vapp:ff1a9021-2c21-4378-99c7-b77bdaf3e9e6" href="https://vcd01.ndev.local/api/vApp/vapp-ff1a9021-2c21-4378-99c7-b77bdaf3e9e6" type="application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.vApp+xml" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/v1.5 http://vcd01.dev.local/api/v1.5/schema/master.xsd">
 <Link rel="down" href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/network/251f72a8-19b5-4e7d-94ba-0523ee919cd9" name="VM Network" type="application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.vAppNetwork+xml" />
 <Link rel="down" href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/vApp/vapp-ff1a9021-2c21-4378-99c7-b77bdaf3e9e6/controlAccess/" type="application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.controlAccess+xml" />
 <Link rel="up" href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/vdc/b21c92fa-1a6f-42a9-8c1e-ef0947c7be76" type="application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.vdc+xml" />
 <Link rel="down" href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/vApp/vapp-ff1a9021-2c21-4378-99c7-b77bdaf3e9e6/owner" type="application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.owner+xml" />
 <Link rel="down" href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/vApp/vapp-ff1a9021-2c21-4378-99c7-b77bdaf3e9e6/metadata" type="application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.metadata+xml" />
 <Link rel="ovf" href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/vApp/vapp-ff1a9021-2c21-4378-99c7-b77bdaf3e9e6/ovf" type="text/xml" />
 <Link rel="down" href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/vApp/vapp-ff1a9021-2c21-4378-99c7-b77bdaf3e9e6/productSections/" type="application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.productSections+xml" />
 <Tasks>
 <Task cancelRequested="false" expiryTime="2016-10-31T11:27:25.312+13:00" operation="Importing Virtual Application testvm01(ff1a9021-2c21-4378-99c7-b77bdaf3e9e6)" 
operationName="importSingletonVapp" serviceNamespace="com.vmware.vcloud" startTime="2016-08-02T11:27:25.312+12:00" status="queued" name="task" id="urn:vcloud:task:37576f8c-0d39-444c-8842-81436ddb421e" href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/task/37576f8c-0d39-444c-8842-81436ddb421e" type="application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.task+xml">
 <Owner href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/vApp/vapp-ff1a9021-2c21-4378-99c7-b77bdaf3e9e6" name="testvm01" type="application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.vApp+xml" />
 <User href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/admin/user/fa7fb40e-648c-4787-ad0f-711dcc315261" name="system" type="application/vnd.vmware.admin.user+xml" />
<Organization href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/org/3f46b162-f794-4d9e-8fa1-6ca1ee7b6377" name="Lab" type="application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.org+xml" />
 <Progress>1</Progress>
 <Details />
 </Task>
 </Tasks>
 <DateCreated>2016-08-02T11:27:25.079+12:00</DateCreated>
 <Owner type="application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.owner+xml">
 <User href="https://vcd01.dev.local/api/admin/user/1545cb33-9151-43e2-a156-9d20e3b966c0" name="system" type="application/vnd.vmware.admin.user+xml" />
 </Owner>
 <InMaintenanceMode>false</InMaintenanceMode>
</VApp>

 

Create an empty vApp in vCloud Director

Sometimes you just need to create a new vApp with no contents at all – maybe for testing, or maybe you want to populate it with VMs built ‘from scratch’ rather than cloned from templates. This is easy to do in the vCloud Director web UI – you just skip the addition of any VM templates or new VMs and can easily create empty vApps, but how about programatically?

The VMware documentation is remarkably slim in this regard – all the documented methods I could find for vApp creation require either cloning from existing vApp templates, from existing VMs or from uploaded OVF files.

So how do we create a brand-new empty vApp? Turns out it’s pretty simple – once you discover the ‘composeVApp’ method on an Organization VDC supports creation of empty vApps.

If using the REST API we can simply create an XML body document of type ‘composeVAppParams’ and submit it against the OrgVDC’s /action/composeVapp link.

An example XML document body could be:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<ComposeVAppParams
name=”MyEmptyVapp”
xmlns=”http://www.vmware.com/vcloud/v1.5″
xmlns:ovf=”http://schemas.dmtf.org/ovf/envelope/1″>
<Description>My vApp Description</Description>
<AllEULAsAccepted>true</AllEULAsAccepted>
</ComposeVAppParams>

We then ‘POST’ this document body to the link: ‘https://<Cloud Server DNS name or IP address>>/api/vdc/<ID of our VDC>/action/composeVApp’ not forgetting to add a header of ‘Content-Type: application/vnd.vmware.vcloud.composeVAppParams+xml’ to the POST request.

If we want to accomplish the same thing using PowerShell / PowerCLI it’s easy too (once connected to our cloud using Connect-CIServer):

$vapp = New-Object VMware.VimAutomation.Cloud.Views.ComposeVAppParams
$vapp.Name = “MyEmptyVapp”
$vapp.Description = “My vApp Description”
$myorgvdc = Get-OrgVdc -Name ‘My OrgVDC Name’
$myorgvdc.ExtensionData.ComposeVApp($vapp)

No idea if this is ‘officially’ supported or not – so use at your own risk and be aware that the implementation could change in a future release and break this (although I’d be surprised as this is almost certainly the action that the vCD web UI is submitting ‘behind the scenes’ when you manually create an empty vApp).

Jon.