Installing and Configuring VMware App Volumes Manager

CloudVolumes-SquareDuring VMworld 2014 it was announced that VMware was purchasing Cloud Volumes, an upstart for application virtualization technology. Fast forward to earlier this month and VMware officially released the product under the App Volumes name and made the software available to customers (as a standalone product or part of the Horizon View Enterprise bundle) as well as trial bits to give folks the chance to kick the tires.

App Volumes allows for the creation of containers or “AppStacks” for the delivery of a single application or multiple applications within a single stack. Shown in the picture below you can see with the use of the “CloudVolumes agent” the application stacks are decoupled from the operating system. Additionally, with the use of “Writable Volumes” user settings and changes can be captured and saved.

CloudVolumes

With all this goodness in hand, this first post in the series will cover the installation and configuration of the brains for App Volumes, the App Volumes Manager. In additional posts I will discuss the creation, presentation, and updating of AppStacks. Let’s get started!

The Prerequisites

  • Created Active Directory Service Account – Used for both LDAP Reads and vCenter Server permissions
  • Created “AppVolumes User” Role in vCenter (see eye chart at the end of the post for role permissions)
  • Windows Server 2012R2 virtual machine configured with 2vCPU’s and 4GB of RAM
  • MS SQL Database configured on remote MS SQL Server 2008R2 server
  • Trial software bits from VMware website -> HERE

The Install

Mount the VMware App Volumes ISO to the “VMware App Volumes Manager” server and execute the installer. Click “Next” on the Installation Wizard dialog:

AppVolumesPic1

Accept the the licensing agreement and click “Next”  to continue:

AppVolumesPic2

Choose the “Install App Volumes Manager” radial and click “Install” to continue:

AppVolumesPic3

The “App Volumes Manager Installation Wizard” dialog will be displayed. Click “Next” to continue:

AppVolumesPic4

Choose if you wish to have setup program install/configure a copy of SQL Server Express or utilize an existing SQL Server Database. For this example I am using an existing remote SQL Server Database:

AppVolumesPic5

Fill in the needed Database Server connectivity details and click “Next” when ready:

AppVolumesPic6

I had no need to change the default HTTP and HTTPS ports. Moving on, click “Next”:

AppVolumesPic7

I left the default Destination Location unchanged. Click “Next” to continue:

AppVolumesPic8

At this point we are ready for the actual installation. Click ‘”Install “ to proceed:

AppVolumesPic9

During my install this screen was accurate, it took about 8 minutes to complete the installation:

AppVolumesPic10

Once the installation completes click “Finish” to exit the installer:

AppVolumesPic11

The Configuration

With the completion of the installation we have to run through a quick “setup” process to configure VMware App Volumes Manager.

Launch the App Volumes Manager desktop icon:

AppVolumesConfigPic1

A “Welcome to App Volumes Manager” webpage will be displayed. It provides an overview of the tasks that can be completed and initiated App Volumes Manager. Click “Get Started”:

AppVolumesConfigPic2

The first tab that is displayed is the “License Information”. As I am using the trial version of the software we don’t have much to do here. One thing to point out, when using the trial version of the software only a single Appstack can be attached per user. Click “Next”  to continue:

AppVolumesConfigPic3

Second tab displayed is for the configuration Active Directory. Provide the details for your domain, domain controllers (if you want to specify) and user with “Read” access to your directory. I provided a service account that I created for both Active Directory and vCenter permissions. Click “Next” to continue:

AppVolumesConfigPic4

Configure the Active Directory group that will be added to the App Volumes Admin Group. For lab use I added my Domain Admins group. Click “Next”:

AppVolumesConfigPic5

Next up is the Hypervisor Credentials tab. I am using the “vCenter Server”, as I am assuming most folks will, and the service account I created assigned to the “App Volumes User” vCenter Role I created. I also provided my ESXi hosts root account and password to enable the “Mount on host” setting. Click “Next”:

AppVolumesConfigPic6

In the Storage tab we are configuring the location of where the Appstacks and Writeable volumes that are created will be stored. In my lab environment I configured both to use the VSAN Datastore:

AppVolumesConfigPic7

Confirm the Storage Settings to proceed. To choose whether to “Import volumes in the background” or “Import volumes immediately”

AppVolumesConfigPic8

Provide the vSphere Datastore to upload the volume templates and provide login in credentials for the ESXi host used for the data transfers. Click “Upload” to continue:

AppVolumesConfigPic9

Finally, verify the selections/settings made in the previous tabs provide in the Summary. Click “Next” to proceed:

AppVolumesConfigPic10

With all the steps completed and configured you are taken to the App Volumes Manager Dashboard:

AppVolumesConfigPic11

From here we are good to install our AppVolumes agent and create our first AppStack. Stay tuned!

-Jason

vCenter Server Permissions

  • Datastore
    • Allocate space
    • Browse datastore
    • Low level file operations
    • Remove file
    • Update virtual machine files
  • Folder
    • Create folder
    • Delete folder
  • Global
    • Cancel task
  • Host
    • Local operations
      • Create virtual machine
      • Delete virtual machine
      • Reconfigure virtual machine
  • Resource
    • Assign virtual machine to resource pool
  • Sessions
    • View and stop sessions
  • Tasks
    • Create task
  • Virtual Machine
    • Configuration
      • Add existing disk
      • Add new desk
      • Add or remove device
      • Change resource
      • Remove disk
      • Settings
    • Interaction
      • Power off
      • Power on
      • Suspend
    • Inventory
      • Create from existing
      • Create new
      • Move
      • Register
      • Remove
      • Unregister
    • Provisioning
      • Clone template
      • Clone virtual machine
      • Create template from virtual machine
      • Customize
      • Deploy template
      • Mark as template
      • Mark as virtual machine
      • Modify customization specification
      • Promote disks
      • Read customization specifications