Recently VMware released their vCenter Support Assistant that helps to streamline the process of dealing with support by automatically scanning your environment on a schedule and proactively logging tickets with VMware on your behalf if there are any discovered issues.
This post is designed to give a walkthrough of the installation process for this new virtual appliance and the basic configuration process. Please note that this appliance links into the vSphere Web Client.
Download and Deploy OVF
The first task is to download the vCenter Support Assistant – go to the VMware web site and search for ‘vCenter Support Assistant’, this should provide you with a link to download the appliance as OVF. The appliance is approximately 650MB in size – once deployed (using Thick Lazy format), there is a requirement for 254GB of disk space.
The wizard to begin deploying the appliance will now start. You will be presented with a screen similar to this:
Browse to the file that you downloaded earlier, then click ‘Next’. You will now be asked to confirm the details of the appliance to make sure that you have selected the correct file, click ‘Next’ to continue:
You are now at the confirmation screen, confirm the settings and tick the box to power up the appliance once deployed. The appliance does not take long to deploy and within a couple of minutes you should be able to ping the IP address of the appliance.
At this point I would confirm that the appliance is fully booted by viewing the console screen for the appliance:
The appliance is now deployed but is not configured. Browse to the web page of the appliance (this is shown on the console screen). You should see a web page similar to below:
Once logged in, you should see a screen similar to below:
You now need to input the address of the vCenter lookup service, this box is quite intelligent and therefore you can just enter the ip address or FQDN of the server that has the Lookup Service installed and the rest of the box will be completed. Click ‘Next’ to continue
You will now be required to enter in the SSO username and password for your environment to allow the appliance to be installed and connected to your vCenter environment. Please also note that if you have multiple vCenters utilising Linked Mode, then this will link through to all of them and therefore only one appliance is required in your environment.
Once you click ‘Finish’ the appliance will install and you may be requested to authorise access to your vCenter, enter additional details for Proxy access and also the contact details for when a support request is logged.
Accessing the Appliance in vSphere Web Client
So you have now deployed the appliance and configured it for your environment… how do you access it? Well, you log into the vSphere Web Client, under ‘Administration’, there is a new section called ‘Support’ and a link to the ‘Support Assistant’:
Click the ‘Manage’ tab to manage the ‘Proactive Support’ and also your ‘Support Requests’, you should adjust the data collection times as required and make sure that you enable the log collection functionality:
The final section of the appliance is the ‘Monitor’ tab, this gives you a quick indication of whether the appliance is sending the logs as expected and also allows you to exclude files etc, although keeping this as default is probably recommended.