VMware Lifecycle Manager: Essentials (overview)

I am currently in the process of going through VMware’s Lighthouse certification for Lifecycle Manager. For enterprises with large numbers of VM’s this product really has a lot of potential to easy the load on System Admins using automation and process flow. LCM can be tied in to existing service desk systems using API’s and Plug-ins.

A very basic example of how LCM could be used is:

  • Developer requests a VM via a web interface and selects from several administrator configured choices for memory, processor, drive space, physical site location etc.
  • Depending on the type of VM an approval e-mail is sent to an approver(s) for review and approval.
  • Once approved the VM is automatically created and placed in the environment or sent to IT for manual placement.
  • An e-mail is sent to the requestor to notify them the VM is ready for use.

This is a very basic example but LCM has many options to suit all kinds of businesses and their different processes.

Below is a brief summary of some of the product features:

Key benefits:
– Best practice for tracking, controlling and approving vm’s
– Provides automation and eliminates manual tasks.
– Reduces costs.
– Leverages VirtualCenter, DRS, HA
– Minimizes/Eliminates VM sprawl and unauthorized VM’s
– Helps eliminate compliance issues
Product Architecture:
1) VMware Lifecycle Manager Application
2) VMware Orchestrator Platform (Currently only available via purchase of LCM)

Delivery Options:
Standard
– Packaged Product
– Customization not enabled
– No customer interaction
Customized
– Packaged product
– Customization is enabled
– For larger customers
– Must purchase the “Standard” product plus a “Custom” License (one time fee)

Lifecycle Manager Roles:
IT Administrator
o Policy based deployment
o Security policies
o Network settings (IP Pools)
o Infrastructure management
User
o Self Service Portal
o Request VM
o Manage VM’s
Approver
o Approve or Reject (e-mail notifications)
o Dashboard view for all pending/approved VM requests
IT Staff
o Allows manual placement of VM’s and customization
Technical User
o Request VM
o Customize VM

** LCM and VMware Orchestrator run separately from VirtualCenter but communicate with it.
Infrastructure Requirements:
– VC 2.0x or 2.5x
– ESX 3.0 or 3.5
– Datastore
– DRS Cluster
– VM Folder (not Root)
– VM Template
– VM Network
– Resource Pool (not Root)
– Storage Space
– VC Web service running

Physical Infrastructure Requirements:
– 2 CPU
– 2 GB RAM
– 10 GB HDD
– VMware Server 1.0.3+, Workstation 6.0+, or Fusion
– Free fixed IP

OS Support:
– XP Pro
– W2K, W2K3
– Redhat Linux 5 and SUSE Linux 10.3
o 1 GB RAM, 5 GB HDD, 32-bit OS
Databases:
– SQL 2000/2005
– Oracle 9i & 10g
Browser Support:
– IE 6 or 7
– Firefox 2.0 +
Access Control:
– AD authentication / AD service account
– SMTP account
– Shared account to communicate with VC
– Rights:
o VC 2.x – Administrator
o SMTP E-mail Relay
o General User for AD

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