Today I’m happy to announce that F5’s Management Plug-In for VMware has been released! Last week I was lamenting the problems of managing virtualized environments, something I face with virtual environments all the time. I explained that three of the biggest headaches I have are adding VLANs to my VMware servers in order to insure VMotion works properly, associating and managing my Virtual Machines (VMs) to my BIG-IP Local Traffic Managers (LTMs) and managing VMotion. The plug-in tackles the association of BIG-IP with VMs and solves one of my big three headaches.

While adding VLANs has been scripted and VMotion made easier through our Wide Area Network Optimization Module (WOM), this is another step forward in addressing the BIG-IP management piece of this management chaos. The plug-in allows users to add a VM to pools on BIG-IP, perform maintenance on a VM and gracefully shut down a VM, all form within the vSphere Client. There’s a lot of substance in this plug-in and I encourage everyone to read the deployment guide on F5.com vmware-plugin-2010-07-6-14-09.jpg

(Screenshot showing how a VM can be managed directly from the vSphere Client)

 The idea behind the plug in is that it’s easy to install into your vSphere Client, it takes away work duplication and lets you manage VMs associated with your BIG-IP right from within the client without a bunch of jumping around from client to client. Working with ESX/ESXi and LTMs, the plug-in actually installs on top of VMware Management Assistant (vMA).

The main features are the ability to add a VM to a pool, perform maintenance on a VM and shut down a VM, all from within the vSpshere Client. Of the features that really come in handy I find that adding virtual machines the most amazing because you can add rules, including a regular expression, that lets the plug-in automatically associate a VM to a BIG-IP.

For example, if I want to bring on-line a new server for my SAP environment’s dialog instances, I can simply give a pre-determined name (e.g., sap-mobile-43) and my regular expression will catch that this is a mobile instance of SAP DI and automatically add it to the predetermined SAP pool on my BIG-IP. That’s the type of automation that reduces clicks and makes life easier all around.

You can read the in-depth instructions in the deployment guide that our team has put together. The documentation covers the installation and the usage of the guide in the Resources (Deployment guide) section of F5.com. If you have any questions about the deployment guide , you can always email solutionsfeedback@f5.com        

In the tradition of DevCentral, I’m really happy that the source code is available for everyone! To download the plug go to the F5 Management Plug-In page on DevCentral and select the “Discussions and Downloads” tab from the menu bar in the middle of the screen. Let us know what you think by joining the discussion there. download-2010-07-6-14-09.jpg