Virtual appliance for VMWare ESXi

If you have an ESXi or vCenter running, you can use the virtual appliance instead of an installation from source. This saves a lot of time since you don’t need to setup a Linux OS before and you don’t have to worry about files, scripts and permissions. This guide will explain how to install and configure the virtual appliance to fit your needs.

Before you go on, you should have:

  • An ESXi server running and ready to go
  • A virtual switch on your ESX that provides internet access – Keep in mind that your guests could reach internal resources if the attached networks allows this!
  • Another virtual switch for the guest network – this should be attached to its’ own network interface or VLAN!
  • Access to your ESXi server using vSphere

ESXi

First of all, you need to configure the networking part of your ESXi. Let’s first talk about how networking on VMWare ESXi works.

Your server has one or more physical network interfaces. Network cables or fiber links may be connected to them. One of these interfaces is probably already connected to your local network – you’re using this to manage your ESXi and to access your VMs that are already deployed. Such an internal network configuration might look like this:

vswitch_internal

On the right hand side, we have assigned a physical adapter – this is the internal network card. This device is connected to a virtual switch which has the portgroup “Internal-181” assigned. It is possible to add multiple virtual switches, each connected to either none, one or multiple physical network interfaces and virtual machines. Using these virtual switches, you can map virtual machines to dedicated network interfaces. This is what we need for OpenVoucher. The virtual appliance we’re going to install has two virtual network interfaces. One will be connected to the interface that has access to the internet and one will be connected to a guest network with WiFi access points.

To create such a network, we click the link “Add networking” on the top right hand side. Choose “Virtual Machine” an click Next. Now, pick the vSwitch that is assigned to a free network interface. If you have more experience in networking, you can also work with portgroups and VLANs. On the next page, choose a name (I will call it “OV-Client” in my environment) and configure a VLAN if needed. If you don’t use VLANs or don’t know what this is, leave it at zero. Click finish and the networking part is completed!

Download and install the appliance

Now, download the image from here. Please use the latest version unless you need an old version for some reason. Extract the archive to your local workstation. Once extracted, upload the appliance to your ESXi server using vSphere:

deploy_ovf_1

Click File > Deploy OVF Template to install the virtual appliance. A new window opens.

ovf_1

Choose the .ovf-file that you have just extracted. Please keep in mind that you have to extract all the files into the same folder. Click Next.

ovf_2

A short summary is shown. Click Next again.

ovf_3

Pick a name for the virtual appliance. In this case, we will call it “OpenVoucher”. Hit Next.

ovf_4

Now you need to decide on which storage you want OpenVoucher to be installed. What you see here depends on your configuration. datastore1 is the default storage, if you have enough space you can install the appliance to this storage. On the server shown above, we choose the “1TB” storage. Next.

ovf_5

Leave this on thick provision. On thick mode, the VM takes all the virtual disks’ space from the physical disk by provisioning. This is faster and better to maintain. Next.

ovf_6

This is important! You now need to map the network interfaces of OpenVoucher to the portgroups of the virtual switches of ESXi. The top interface is used to get internet access. In my setup, this portgroup is called “Internal-181”. This is the internal LAN and OpenVoucher uses this network to get internet access. The portgroup “OV-Client” is another virtual Switch which is assigned to a dedicated ethernet interface – this is the guest network, access points can be attached here. Choose the corresponding portgroup for the bottom guest interface. When you’re done, hit Next.

ovf_7

Check if everything is alright. Hit Finish and the upload will start.

Initial configuration

When deployed, start the virtual appliance. Open the console and login using the following credentials:

Username: root
Password: openvoucher

Now type

ifconfig eth0

into the console and check the IP address that has been assigned on the uplink interface. In this address, you can configure OpenVoucher: http://[IP-Address]/admin/

The default login credentials for OpenVoucher Admin are

Username: admin
Password: admin

You should change both the Admin and also the root password.

Please note that this virtual appliance has a pre-configured DHCP server on the guest interface! If you need to disable this DHCP server, run the following commands in the CLI:

update-rc.d isc-dhcp-server remove
/etc/init.d/isc-dhcp-server stop

The DHCP server will stay installed, but it will be disabled and not start anymore until you active it again using

update-rc.d isc-dhcp-server defaults
/etc/init.d/isc-dhcp-server start

That’s it! If you have any questions, let me know!

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