VMware vFabric Application Director 1.0 demonstation setup at Xebia

20 Nov, 2012
Xebia Background Header Wave

Xebia’s expertise with middleware and application deployment automation led to the wish to  explore new tools handling these area’s.
Along came VMware’s Application Director 1.0 beta and later GA, and together with VMware Netherlands we built a demo environment at Xebia.
The setup did not go real smooth, mainly because we had some infra setup troubles and the interfacing between software components did not work directly.
After all was working, I compared the vApp director 1.0 with Xebialabs’ DeployIt deployment tool.
Conclusion: vApp director 1.0 is nice, but more operations/infra oriented than developer oriented. With DeployIt, when parts of the deployment (say, only a war & datasource) is changed between deployments, only those steps are done in correct order. With vApp dir, you have to script this out, or deploy everything from scratch, which takes a long time. On the other hand, DeployIt cannot create VM’s by itself.

Infra setup
This being a demo setup, costs are an issue, so spare servers and refurbished hardware was used. For the compute servers, CPU’s were almost the same, I had to swap E5620 xeons for 2 E5520 Cpu’s. And in 1U rack hardware, that’s easier said than done.
Software stack
vApp Director depends on vCloud Director version 1.5, which builds on vSphere 5 and the ESXi 5 hypervisor.
Some issues here were within vSphere, the vSphere could not manage it’s own esxi server and the esxi/vcloud instances at the same level. And the vCloud director appliance has SSL certs with 3 month expiry, when that passes one cannot connect the vApp director to vCloud. Solution is to set new certs on cloud dir & import in vApp.
User management
vApp director lacks ldap support for user/role management, which is a missing enterprise feature for larger implementations.
All in all, this is a 1.0 release, good it got out, useful, but still some features missing.


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