VCAP-DCA 5 Objective 8.2–Administer vSphere Using the vSphere Management Assistant

Objective 8.2 – Administer vSphere Using the vSphere Management Assistant

For this objective I used the following resources:

  • vSphere Management Assistant Guide
Additional Resources
  • has covered this objective in the #vBrownBag VCAP-DCA5 series. Video is located HERE.


Identify vMA prerequisites

  • Hardware Requirements
    • ESXi host supporting 64-bit guest OS
    • AMD Opteron, rev E or later processor
    • Intel processors with EM64T support with VT enabled
    • 3GB of storage space
  • Software Requirements
    • vSphere 5.0
    • vSphere 4.1 or later
    • vSphere 4.0 Update 2 or later
    • vCenter Application 5.0

Determine when vMA is needed

  • Used to remotely manage ESXi hosts
  • Central location to execute system management scripts

Skills and Abilities

Install and configure vMA

Install – Procedure taken from page 13 of the VMware vSphere Management Assistant Guide

  • Use a vSphere Client to connect to a system that is running the supported version of ESXi or vCenter Server
  • If connected to a vCenter Server system, select the host to which you want to deploy vMA in the inventory pane
  • Select File -> Deploy OVF Template
    • The Deploy OVF Template wizard appears
  • Select Deploy from file if you have already downloaded and unzipped the vMA virtual appliance package
  • Click Browse, select the OVF, and click Next
  • Click Next when the download details are displayed
  • Accept the license agreement
  • (Optional) Specify a name for the virtual machine
  • Select a location for the virtual machine when prompted
    • If you are connected to a vCenter Server system, you can select a folder
  • If connected to a vCenter Server system, select the resource pool for the virtual machine
    • By default, the top-level root resource pool is selected
  • If prompted, select the datastore to store the virtual machine on and click Next
  • Select the network mapping and click Next
  • Choose the IP Address Allocation (Fixed, Transient, or DHCP)
    • If you choose Fixed, enter the IP address information on the following screen
  • Review the information and click Finish

Configure – When the OVF has been deployed and the vMA powered on open the console for the VM to finish the base configuration. You will be prompted during first boot for the following:

  • Network configuration – Allows you to set the vMA to use either DHCP or a static IP address
  • Password – Set the password for the vi-adminaccount
  • Timezone – After last two are configured and the vMA finishes booting from the console menu screen you can set the timezone.

Add/Remove target servers

Add a vCenter Server as a target server for AD Authentication:

  • Log into vMA as vi-admin
  • Add the vCenter target server using the following command:
    • vifp addserver <FQDN of Host> –authpolicy adauth –username <Domain>\<UserName>
  • Verify that the target server has been added using the following command:
    • vifp listservers –long

Add a vCenter Server as a target server for Fastpass Authentication

  • Log in to vMA as vi-admin
  • Add a server as a vMA target by running the following command:
    • #vifp addserver <FQDN of Host> –authpolicy fpauth
  • Specify the username when prompted
  • Specify the password for that user when prompted
  • Review and accept the security risk information
  • Verify that the target server has been added
    • #vifp listservers –long

Add an ESXi host as a vMA target server

  • Log in to vMA as vi-admin’
  • Run addserver to add a server as a vMA target
    • #vifp addserver <FQDN of Host>
    • You are prompted for the target server’s root user password
    • #root@<servername>’s password
  • Specify the root password for the ESX/ESXi host that you want to add
  • Verify that that target server has been added:
    • #vifp listservers
  • Set the target as the default for the current session
    • #vifptarget –set | -s <server>
  • Verify that you can run a vSPhere CLI command without authentication by running a command, for example
    • vicfg-nics -l

Perform updates to the vMA

Unlike previous versions of the vMA, the update procedure is done using a Web UI as opposed to from the command line:

  • Point your web browser to the FQDN or IP address of your vMA followed by a /5480:
  • The Web UI login page will be displayed. Enter the vi-admin username and password and click Login


  • Once logged in click the Update tab from the navigation bar


  • In the right hand side of the screen under Actions click the Check Updates button:


  • If any update are available they will be displayed and with the option to see details about them. To install the updates click Install Updates located under Actions


  • Click yes on the Install Update dialog window:


  • The updates will begin installing


  • Once the update has been installed notification of a reboot is needed:


  • From the navigation menu select the System tab and under Actions click Reboot:


  • On the System Reboot dialog box click Reboot:


Use vmksfstools to manage VMFS datastores

vmkfstools File system Command Options

Option Description


Uses the specified size for the file system creation. Used with –createfs



Creates a VMFS file system


Lists attributes of a file system


Sets the label for the file system. Used with –createfs



Extends the VMFS file sysem

vmkfstools Virtual Disk Options




Uses the specified type for disk creation


Clones the specified virtual disk


Maps a raw disk to a file on a VMFS files system


Maps a passthrough raw disk to a file on a VMFS file system


Creates a virtual disk


Deletes the specified virtual disk


Uses the specified format for disk creation


Extends the specified virtual disk


Extends the specified virtual disk


Converts a thin virtual disk to eagerzeoedthick format, preserving all existing data


Renames the specified virtual disk


Cleans the virtual disk by writing zeroes over all its data

Below is an example of using vmkfstools. In the screen shot I am creating a new VMDK named vcap-dca that is 5GB in size and is a thin provisioned disk. I have already navigated to the VM’s directory on the datastore:

Use vmware-cmd to manage VMs

Remote Connection String
#vmware-cmd –server <Host> –username root <command>

Server operations
vmware-cmd -l
vmware-cmd -s register <config_file_path> <datacenter> <resource pool>
vmware-cmd -s unregister <config_file_path>

VM Operations
vmware-cmd <cfg> getstate
vmware-cmd <cfg> start <powerop_mode>
vmware-cmd <cfg> stop <powerop_mode>
vmware-cmd <cfg> reset <powerop_mode>
vmware-cmd <cfg> suspend <powerop_mode>
vmware-cmd <cfg> setguestinfo <variable> <value>
vmware-cmd <cfg> getguestinfo <variable>
vmware-cmd <cfg> getproductinfo <prodinfo>
vmware-cmd <cfg> connectdevice <device_name>
vmware-cmd <cfg> disconnectdevice <device_name>
vmware-cmd <cfg> getconfigfile
vmware-cmd <cfg> getuptime
vmware-cmd <cfg> answer
vmware-cmd <cfg> gettoolslastactive
vmware-cmd <cfg> hassnapshot
vmware-cmd <cfg> createsnapshot <name> <description> <quiesce> <memory>
vmware-cmd <cfg> revertsnapshot
vmware-cmd <cfg> removesnapshots

Use esxcli to manage ESXi Host configurations

See Objective 1.3 – Configure and Manage Complex Multipathing and PSA Plugins for esxcli command examples.

Troubleshoot common vMA errors and conditions

Troubleshooting chart taken from page 24 of the VMware vSphere Management Assistant Guide documentation.


%d bloggers like this: