VMware Fling – PXE Manager for vSphere
I just fiddled somewhat with the new fling from the VMware site: the VMware PXE Manager for vSphere.
And if you ask me, it’s not just a ‘fling’, but it is really, really useful. It’s easy to install and easy to use.
PXE Manager for vCenter enables ESXi host state (firmware) management and provisioning.
PXE Manager features:
- Automated provisioning of new ESXi hosts stateless and statefull (no ESX);
- ESXi host state (firmware) backup, restore, and archiving with retention;
- ESXi builds repository management (stateless and statefull);
- ESXi Patch management;
- Multi-vCenter support;
- Multi-network support with agents (Linux CentOS virtual appliance will be available later);
- Wake on LAN;
- Hosts memtest;
- vCenter plugin;
- Deploy directly to VMware Cloud Director;
- Deploy to Cisco UCS blades.
I was amazed by the ease of the whole process. The setup took care of all the items that needed to be installed. After creating a build in the repository and creating a host under Stateless Hosts I deployed my first ESX host from PXE Manager.
Visit http://labs.vmware.com/flings/pxe-manager for the download, installation instructions and a demo on installing a stateless ESXi server.
This is the way to go for rolling out VMware ESX clusters, very useful to make the patch cycle as short as possible. Just reboot the ESX host in maintenance mode and let it get the new firmware/ESXi deployment. Test it and put it back into production. This in combination with host profiles found in vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses makes it easy, secure and cost effective to manage vSphere clusters.
Any suggestion how to improve the software is welcomed :)