Tuesday, August 25, 2009

vSphere - OVF URL Issue (Am I Just Demanding?)

OK, so I haven't posted in a while and I apologize. I'll catch you up by saying that in June 2009 I took a contract position as a VMware Engineer over at CARQUEST Technology and it has been enjoyable thus far. That being said I'm hoping to get a few more posts over the coming weeks on vSphere and other technologies I am working with, such as the IBM XIV storage system.

Earlier today I logged into my vCenter 4 server to import the vSphere Management Assistant (vMA). I typed the web address... "www.vmware.com/go/importvma/vma4.ovf" and received the following error:
"An error occurred while reading the URL: Invalid URI: the format of the URI could not be determined."

To be fair I did not type in http:// as listed on the vMA site but it was disappointing to me that with all the investment that they put into making vSphere fantastic they failed to inlude a simple "IF" statement to check what the inputted string started with and add an HTTP:// if needed.

I then corrected my "error" and included the http:// and received yet another error:
"An error occurred while reading the URL: The remote server returned an error: (407) Proxy Authentication Required."

I am now 0-2 on trying to quickly add an appliance. A quick Google and VMware community search led to only one way to work around this by running the ovftool in the command line

ovftool --proxy=user:pass@proxy.example.com http://external-site.com/ovf/package.ovf

--P.22 of http://www.vmware.com/support/developer/ovf/ovf10/ovftool_10_userguide.pdf--

It seems to me that there should be some way to input the proxy settings either from the environment or through vCenter Server. I can see where there may be some disconnect since the ovftool is separate but this really makes it difficult for me to download appliances as easily as I should in order to best take advantage of OVF based appliances and the VMware Marketplace.

Browsing through the file system led me to a module.properties file under directory "C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\Infrastructure\tomcat\webapps\ui\jslib-1.0.160852\modules\com.vmware.webaccess.ovf_1.0.0" in 64bit Server 2008 that contained tons of information but no presence of the word "proxy". Perhaps there is a line that can be injected on this or another settings file to eliminate the need to use command line ovftool in order to authenticate against our proxy server. I'll keep digging and update this post if I find another means to access appliances through our Proxy.

One last quick disappointing note: If you bookmark the vMA page you'll notice that the header has Assistant spelled incorrectly with an 'e' instead of the appropriate 'a'. I think in the end I'm disappointed that this appliance and mechanism for deployment isn't more polished like so many other VMware released items. In the end I've had to download the .zip to import the appliance. Not as slick and easy as it was intended to be.