I’ve been intrigued by VMware vCenter Orchestrator for a while now, but never found any good write-up on it, not to mention a guide on how to configure it.

While I was delivering a training course about vSphere last week, I decided to throw in some Orchestrator goodness, and configured it with the students. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to actually using Orchestrator, so for now, I’ve limited this blog post to merely configuring it. I’m planning to dive deeper into it some time soon.

Below is the complete configuration guide for VMware vCenter Orchestrator, including database and attaching it to LDAP. I’ve included some screenshots as well.

Requirements

  • (Virtual) Machine with the minimum on resources (CPU’s, RAM, disk space) as stated by the vCenter application.
  • Supported OS (I used Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2)
  • Installation media for VMware vCenter 4
  • LDAP Information Source (like a Microsoft Active Directory)
  • Installer for PostgreSQL (get it here)
  • License key for VMware vCenter 4

Database Setup

Launch the installer (postgresql-8.4.0-1-windows.exe). Installation is simple, just fill in whatever the installer asks you, like passwords, ports, installation folders and locale. Running the Stack Builder application to extend the functionality of your database is optional. We do need to create a database for Orchestrator to use:

00 pgAdmin III - New DB

Installation

The installation is integrated with VMware vCenter, so launch the installer on the ISO and click to install ‘vCenter Server’. Choose the desired parameters such as the database for vCenter (MS SQL 2005 Express). All in all, this installation shouldn’t pose any problem for a VMware enthusiast, as it is mostly ‘next-next-finish’.

Configuration

After installation, open the Microsoft Services tool to enable the ‘VMware vCenter Orchestrator Configuration’ service. I recommend it to start every time the OS starts up, i.e. ‘Automatic’. Start it manually as well to start working with Orchestrator immediately. Now start the ‘vCenter Orchestrator Web Configuration’ tool from your Start Menu. This will open a web page (http://yourvcip.com:8282). Log in using username ‘vmware’ and password ‘vmware’. You’ll be welcomed by the General Information screen:

01 VMvCOC - General - Information

Start by configuring the network. Just select the correct IP-address from the drop down list, and the rest in filled in for you:

02 VMvCOC - Network - Network

Next up: coupling with a LDAP source. I’m using a standard Microsoft Active Directory instance.

03 VMvCOC - LDAP - LDAP

Configuring the already created database for use with Orchestrator is fairly easy. Make sure it’s pointing at your PostgreSQL database you create earlier (vmvco, in my case) and let Orchestrator initialize the database (or install the contents to the database).

A server certificate is needed to ensure safe communication:

Orchestrator needs a VMware vCenter (Standard) license:

09 VMvCOC - License

The Orchestrator Service needs to be configured, too. Click ‘Install vCO server as a service’ and ‘Start Service’.

Plugins running on the Orchestrator Server need to be authenticated. Fill in an account with membership of a vCO Administrator Group.

11 VMvCOC - Plugin Credentials

Last step is to point Orchestrator to a vCenter server and restart the vCO Configuration server.

Conclusion

Installing and configuring VMware vCenter Orchestrator isn’t hard at all, Although loads of steps could be ‘inherited’ from an already configured vCenter server, thus preventing that you do certain steps (filling in a license, for instance) twice. That seems weird for a product that enables you to automate stuff.

With the Orchestrator server up and running, you are now ready to automate your ass off :)