Macbook Pro vSphere Lab Part III…Finally!!

Yeah yeah..I know..what the hell took me so long?  Well, most of you know that life, work, family comes first and you have to prioritize but finishing this series on the Macbook lab is long overdue and since Autolab has been updated for vSphere 5.1, I figured it was time…so here we go.

First let me give credit where credit is due, me…lol..seriously the guys over at have made this all possible and very helpful.  I hope that Autolab gains great traction because I can see this as a useful tool especially for VMware partners such as who I work for.  I hope to meet or see some of these guys at VMware PEX to personally thank them!

Some things have changed since my original article on this.  A new version of Fusion has been released that allows you to create custom networks so there is no need for a third party utility like UberFuser unless you do not plan on using Fusion 5.  Fusion 5 brings several enhancements enhancements especially those of you that are “rollin in the dough” with your Retina it’s not just about Custom networking..etc…and of course, it also brings the ability to support Windows 8 Virtual Machines as well, which, I might add, runs extremely well.



At this point you should have a fairly loaded Macbook with at least one larger SSD for Virtual Machine storage and the max ram, 16GB.  If you have a Quadcore, more power too you, not really necessary, I get by with my 13″ Core i5 just fine…though the screen real estate is starting to annoy me more.  Anyway, now that the “Infrastructure” is in place you’ll need the following software:

VMware Fusion 5:

AutoLab 1.1: You’ll need to register to download the package.

Along with AutoLab, you will need to download the versions of vSphere, vCloud, and View you want to test with.  This guide will only cover setting up vSphere as the other products are still being worked on by the Autolab team for and “automated” rollout, this doesn’t mean that can’t be installed in your lab manually…etc.

You will also need to supply OS software for Windows if you want the ability to leverage the automation scripts in Autolab to rollout VM guests as well.  I chose not too as I have other plans for my lab.

The guide is a must and will supply you all the information you will need so make sure that you download that as well.  It will supply you step by step instructions.

On to the fun.  Now that you have the AutoLab software package downloaded, you can create a folder on your SSD drive and extract the contents.  Since there truely is no version for Fusion, you will download the workstation version.  Because of this, the folders are not in the correct format for Fusion to understand so you have to rename all the folders within the package by adding:



Assuming Fusion 5 is already installed, you should notice that each folder will change to a single file with a Fusion Icon.  Now you can import all of these into Fusion.  One thing I did fail to mention is that Fusion should be installed, updated, and a custom network created vmnetX using the subnet.  This is Autolab’s subnet for MGMT.  Make sure this is completed before anything.  If you follow the new guide, it still points to UberFuser, you can disregard that part now since the capability is now in the software.

At this time, please adjust each VM within the folder settings and change the network to the vmnetX network you created previously in Fusion.

Now fire up the Router VM.  This will come up quickly and should look very similar to this:


When that is up and looking healthy you can fire up the NAS Virtual Machine.  This is based on FreeNAS.  There is a share called build which is critical that’s hosted on this NAS that needs to be up and running before we can move on:


After this is completed you’ll want to continue following the guide which points you in preparing your software, naming it appropriately so the scripts work and poplating the folders in the BUILD share to look similar to this:


At this point you want to edit the Automate.ini file to the appropriate level of automation you want and the versions of software you plan to use.  This is something you’ll have to work through on your own using the guide.  I chose vSphere 5.1 and only wanted the ability to configure the ESXi hosts, build the cluster and attach them to vCenter.  Everything else was not useful such as building datastores and some guest VM’s…I personally didn’t need it so mine may look different than yours based on the automated features you want:


Continuing with the guide you can now move on to Setting up the DC.  You will need to supply your own Windows Server 2008 R2 Media, I used SP1 flawlessly so make sure your image is mounted in the settings of the DC as well as the floppy script file which is in the BootFloppies directory in the BUILD share and go through the automated install of your DC.


IMPORTANT: When the DC build is completed you should see a powershell VALIDATE Icon on the desktop, run it to make sure that you have all the required software etc.  You should not have any RED in the script indicating something is missing but if you do, go back and make sure your BUILD folders are populated correctly.  When everything passes on the VALIDATE PowerShell script, you can move on to the VC automated install.  Similar to the Domain Controller, you supply your own 2008R2 media and point the floppy to the appropriate bootfloppy image in the BUILD directory.



When this is completed, again, you want to Validate the install:


As you can see if have some red, but they are for OS images and remember, I don’t care about setting up guest VM’s through automation so this wasn’t a concern for me.

Next up you’ll want to fire up your ESXi hosts.  Here you have the option to auto install the version you want:


Completed and ready for work.  I personally added more memory to my hosts prior to configuration:


Finally, you’ll want to attach the Hosts, build the cluster..etc.  You can do this buy selecting the Autolab PowerShell script on the vCenter Desktop and choosing the appropriate option:


There ya have it!  I know I really went through this fast but follow the included guide and you should have no issues.  Don’t forget a few key things:

1. Change the newtwork settings to point to the new vmnetX network you created in the segment.  Without this you are stuck in the water.  This includes all the interfaces on ESXi..hosts as well.

2. Populate the BUILD share with the software you need and make sure they are in the correct folders, ie VIM51 contains the extracted vCenter for 5.1, ESXi5 contains the extracted contents of ESXi 5..etc.

3. Make sure you setup the Automate.ini file for the automation you want to have in your lab.  Remember, if you fully automate, you will need to have the WindowsXP and 2003 server ISO’s in the BUILD directory..etc.

4. READ and FOLLOW THE GUIDE!!!!<—without this, you’ll be lost, it contains everything you need, user accounts, passwords..etc.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s