Wednesday Tidbit: Using VCA-CLI to manage vCloud Air

20151211 - 1Recently I’ve been using vCloud Air a lot, for both proof-of-concept and spinning up my own lab machines. But for some reason I just don’t gel with the UI. It’s not particularly bad, I just don’t find it very intuitive. So I set off in search of another tool, and found the VCA-CLI.

This is a handy command-line tool for managing vCloud Air and vCloud Director, primarily aimed at *nix/Mac users (in my case the latter). It is installed using PIP, a package management system for Python software packages.

If you’re interested in installing it on Mac OS X, then there are two methods available. The first is to use Homebrew. Anthony Spiteri has documented a fantastic howto which can be found at http://anthonyspiteri.net/how-to-install-pip-and-vca-cli-for-vcloud-airdirector-on-os-x.

As I don’t compile a lot of packages on Mac (and hence have no need for Homebrew), I decided to take the native option, which consisted of running the following in Terminal:

xcode-select --install
sudo easy_install pip
sudo pip install vca-cli

Unfortunately when I ran my first vca command I got a bunch of errors. This was easily fixed by running:

sudo pip install vca-cli --upgrade

Getting started

VCA-CLI gives you the ability to do a number of handy things. In the following example I will connect to vCloud Air, select my instance, check the firewall rules are in place to allow traffic, then finally create an Ubuntu virtual machine and power it on.

Login to vCloud Air (substitute accordingly):

vca login virtualhobbit@virtualhobbit.com

View available instances:

vca instance

This should give you something like:20160106 - 1Select your instance (substitute accordingly):

vca instance use --instance c2928f3e-????-493e-????-9b943fbd0e38

After configuring a VPN between my on-premises network and vCloud Air, I need to check the firewall rules are configured to pass traffic:

vca firewall

In my case, this gives:20160106 - 2Next let’s create an Ubuntu Server VM with 2 CPUs and 8GB of RAM. First, we need to see what templates are available in the public catalog. To do this, use:

vca catalog

Create the vApp (and VM):

vca vapp create --vapp vca-cliTest --vm myVm --catalog 'Public Catalog' --template 'Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS (amd64 20150127)' --cpu 2 --ram 8092 --network default-routed-network

Power it on:

vca vapp power-on --vapp vca-cliTest

Finally, retrieve the IP info for the new VM:

vca vm

When done, simply use the following to disconnect:

vca logout

Moving on

There a number of things you can do with the VCA-CLI. For a list of commands, check out the GitHub page at https://github.com/vmware/vca-cli.

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