Cloud Computing Lab Project Requirements and Tasks

Functional Requirements

The system must transition host computers from their built in operating system to a lightweight operating system running in memory to act as host to virtual machines. This has to be accomplished in a controlled and predictable manner. The host computers must be linked and accessible to the vCenter Server Appliance. Network storage must be established that is linked to the vCSA to store the virtual machine templates. A frontend utility must be capable of scheduling request to access the Cloud Computing Lab and authenticate users to the system.

Project Resource Requirements

  • highly available
  • Computers to act as host for VM’s
  • Computer to function as a management console
  • Server to implement needed services
  • License for vSphere Enterprise Plus
  • Personnel to configure and implement the system

The goal is to achieve this task with minimal or no cost. Through the use of existing equipment an institution could apply this model. This would increase the overall return on investment in the hardware that is already present.

Technical Requirements

  • Host minimal recommended configurations: 8GB of memory, quad core processor, 1Gb/s network interface
  • Network minimal recommendation: 1Gb/s network interfaces
  • Server minimal recommended configuration:1Gb/s network interfaces
  • Refer to vMWare specs

List of Tasks

Please reference the technical setup section for comprehensive task details.

  1. Update and configure hardware
  2. Create RAID arrays for use by ESXi and to store VMs
  3. ESXi
    • Install ESXi 5.5 from disc to bare machine
    • Set static IP address
    • Install vSphere Client on Windows management machine
    • Deploy vCenter Server Appliance VM
  4. Configure DHCP in vCSA
    • Complete dhcp configurations
    • Configure networking
    • Set to assign static IPs to diskless hosts by MAC address
    • Prepare for diskless hosts to PXE boot
  5. Configure TFTP in vCSA
    • Complete atftpd configurations
    • Import SYSLINUX 3.86
    • Create directory structure in /tftpboot to be able to support PXE
    • Configure PXELINUX
    • Import ESXi ISO to /tftpboot
    • Configure ESXi installation files
    • Configure dhcpd service startup level
    • Start dhcpd and atftpd service
  6. Enable and configure VMware vSphere Auto Deploy service
  7. Create Datacenter
  8. Download and install Auto Deploy GUIe
  9. Configure Auto Deploy in vSphere
    • Import and customize ESXi Offline Depot for our specific diskless host hardware
    • Create and activate Deploy Rule(s)
  10. Configure a Datastore for use by VMs
  11. Openfiler
    • Build Openfiler VM to use as NFS storage
    • Set static IP address on Openfiler VM
    • Configure network settings
    • Enable necessary services
      • CIFS Server: Enabled - Running
      • NFS Server: Enabled - Running
      • HTTP/Dav Server: Disabled - Running
      • ACPI Daemon: Enabled - Running
      • SCST Target (FC): Enabled - Running
    • Create new volume
    • Create and configure share
  12. Diskless hosts
    • Set up lab machines to WoL w/ PXE
    • In BIOS:
      • Set integrated NIC to Enabled w/PXE
      • Set Wake on LAN to LAN with PXE Boot
      • Set Deep Sleep Control to Disabled
      • Set Fast Boot to Thorough
    • In Windows:
      • Update NIC drivers
      • Ensure that Wake on Magic Packet and Wake on Pattern Match are enabled.
      • Disable Fast Startup in Power Options
  13. Design solutions for the following remote management tasks:
    • Scheduled, remote Windows shutdown
    • Scheduled WoL
    • Scheduled shutdown of VMs
    • Scheduled shutdown of ESXi hosts
  14. Import or build VMs
  15. Link VMs to specific diskless host
  16. Configure necessary network-related services
  17. Integrate system with Netlab
  18. Test/debug


Host computers run as ESXi host

  • drivers and firmware must be updated to support WoL and PXe features
  • configured for WoL and PXe
  • WoL and remote shutdown scripts must be configured

Server setup as an ESXi machine

  • The Server firmware and storage configurations must be established first
  • ESXi 5.5 must be installed as the operating system on the server
  • a static address needs assigned

vCenter Server Appliance setup

  • ovf deployment depends on the presence of ESXi on the server
  • set static ip address

vCenter Server Appliance set to control host transitions

  • networking protocols need to be established(DHCP, TFTP, Autodeploy)
  • WoL and remote shutdown scripts must be configured

vCenter Server Appliance set to control host resources and vm’s

  • Datastores need to be created
  • Host must be added
  • vms need to be created

vCenter Server Appliance set to control host transitions

  • installation depends on storage configurations and the presence of ESXi on the server
  • static ip address establishedd
  • The share volumes need to be created

The frontend utility has to be determined

  • configurations must be set
  • The vCSA must be functional for the frontend to tie in
  • The host and vms need to be set in the vCSA for the frontend to manage labs