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Post VMware configuration: Understanding the VMware management interface

After you've configured VMware ESX Server, get help customizing the MUI port number, configuring initial MUI configuration settings, creating the VMFS swap file, assigning network cards and constructing virtual switches.

IT reseller takeaway: Systems integrators and value-added resellers will learn how to configure VMware ESX Server tasks and use the enableSSL script to generate certificates in this excerpt from Virtualization: From the Desktop to the Enterprise.

Working with the management interface

Now that you've confirmed and tested basic ESX Server functionality, let's move onto configuring the system to host virtual machines. You'll conduct post-configuration tasks through the MUI. In a nutshell, the MUI is ESX Server's primary front-end management tool and is delivered by an Apache-powered Web page. Because it requires a Web browser to function, be sure to turn off any pop-up stoppers you may have running. Failing to allow pop-ups from the ESX Server will result in you not being able to see VMware ESX Server's configuration windows. In addition, you'll need to be able to contact the ESX Server via its host name from your workstation, so configure DNS or edit your local host file for name resolution. We'll cover five main postconfiguration tasks:

  • Customizing the MUI port number
  • Configuring initial MUI configuration settings
  • Creating the VMFS swap file
  • Assigning network cards
  • Constructing virtual switches

Understanding MUI and SSL

You can configure ESX Server to use a certificate from your certificate authority or continue to use the one ESX Server generates for itself during the install. If after installing ESX Server you find it necessary to change the host name of the system, you should recreate the system's SSL certificate to avoid getting SSL security alerts while accessing the administrative interface of ESX Server from your Web browser. An SSL alert proclaims that the name on the security certificate is invalid. This occurs because the host's name isn't the same as the one on the certificate. If you didn't supply an FQDN during the install, you'll find that the name on the certificate is localhost.localdomain. You can manually reconfigure ESX Server, or you can use the enableSSL script provided by VMware to generate another self-signed certificate with the correct host name. You can download the enableSSL script from the VMware site.

To use VMware's script, you need to follow these steps:

1. Create a file with Vi, and name it vi

2. Type the text from the script into, and save it.

3. Rename the old SSL directory: mv /etc/vmware-mui/ssl /etc/vmware-mui/ssl-old

4. Run the script you just created: perl localhost root <root_password>

5. Verify that the new SSL directory was created: ls /etc/vmware-mui/ssl

6. Restart the Apache daemon: service httpd.vmware restart

7. When all proves to function, delete the old directory: rmdir -R /etc/vmware-mui/ssl-old

Test your new SSL certificate by browsing to your host's MUI. View the certificate, and verify its name is the same as the host's.


About the author   
Chris Wolf is an instructor at ECPI Technical College, as well as a leading industry consultant in enterprise storage, virtualization solutions, and network infrastructure management. He has a master's degree in information technology from Rochester Institute of Technology, and his IT certification list includes MCSE, MCT, and CCNA. Wolf authored MCSE Supporting and Maintaining NT Server 4.0 Exam Cram, Windows 2000 Enterprise Storage Solutions and Troubleshooting Microsoft Technologies, and he contributes frequently to Redmond Magazine and Windows IT Pro Magazine. Wolf also speaks at computer conferences across the nation.

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