Virtual Server

The GWDG is hosting a VMware vSphere environment based on vSphere ESXi 5.5 which is available for all GWDG customers. A GWDG account is required to apply for a server and for accessing the console.

Infrastructure

The VMware cluster at GWDG has a VMware designed HA functionality.
If a VMware host is down the failover will restart all runing VMs of that host on another host.

The cluster is build at two locations within Göttingen and it is for productiv VMs location redundant. Which means that some of the VMs can be run at the second location even if the first location is failing. For VMs with the need of extra high availability ressources can be held at both locations.

As mass storage a NFS mirrored at both locations is used. Furthermore the use of other mass storage types offered by the GWDG (e.g. StorNext and SAN) is possible.

Services

Using the vSphere Web Client at the terminal server of the GWDG (gwd-wints1.top.gwdg.de) you are able to access you VM globally 24/7.

The GWDG is giving extensive privileges for the VM managemant:

  • Reboot, power on, power off, …
  • Creating and deleting snapshots
  • Switch to specific snapshots
  • Access to a console
  • Mount ISO images from your own computer
  • Activate and deactivate the network interfaces
  • Create, modify and execute schedueled tasks
  • Modify descriptions and attributes of the VM

Most other options of an enterprise VMWare environment can be requested in a ticket. Simply send your request to support@gwdg.de:

  • Adjust hardware configurations - CPU Cores, RAM, mass storage, additional network interfaces and so on…
  • Creating a clone for test cases
  • Other special requierments can be can be fullfilled in coordination with the GWDG

Your requests are processed during the operating hours of GWDG
Monday - Friday ⇒ 7:00AM - 9:00PM
Saturday & Sunday ⇒ 10:00AM - 6:00PM
The GWDG will process your request as fast as possible.

Quick Guide: 5 Steps to create a VM

  1. Create a concept of needs for the VM. This concept should cover the points size (RAM, CPU cores, internal mass storage), security (vLAN, firewall rules), operating (operating system, administrators) and if necessary additional external storage.
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    Whats my institute's abbreviation?
    Your institute's abbreviation can be found at the GWDG Portal at portal.gwdg.de.
    My Account → Account → Institute

  2. Use the corresponding SharePoint form to apply for a VM. Therefore you should enter the points of the concept into the form.

  3. Once your VM is deployed, you will receive details to it such as the IP address in an e-mail.

  4. Access the terminal server of the GWDG (gwd-wints1.top.gwdg.de) via RDP and open the vSphere Web Client in any browser to manage your VM.

  5. You can select your VM and start a console session within the vSphere Web Client. Here you can install the operating system.

A VM application from users of the University of Göttingen is deployed automatically if following configurations are not exceeded:

Max. CPU 2 Cores
Max. RAM 4 GB
Max. internal mass storage 100 GB

Exceeding these configurations will result in a manually deployment which will extend the time till the deployment.

IMPORTANT: Please ensure that the account you are using is credited to the institute you are applying the VM!

I need a larger amount of storage (> 512 GB) and/or i already have a large quantity on one of GWDGs fileservers that i want to access- what services do you offer for me?
GWDG offers two possible ways to access external storage from within your VM:
a. Blockdevice (you manage your own filesystem)
b. Managed Filesystem over high-level protocols
Please inquire in advance on these solutions before applying for the VM.

Applying for a virtual server

To apply for a virtual server, please visit this SharePoint Document. Here you can open the application form by clicking Server Beantragen and Neues Element. (A login using your GWDG credentials may be necessary) Please fill out the form.
You need to log in with a GWDG-Account or an account authenticable to the AD of the GWDG at the location Göttingen.

The form is only available in german. You can use the image above as translation.

Managing VMs

To manage your virtual machine you have to log in at the Windows Terminal Server of the GWDG via remote desktop protocol (RDP). Using a RDP-client, in Windows this would be mstsc.exe, in Linux it would be the rdektop for Apples Mac you can use the Remote Desktop Connection Client of Microsoft or similar RDP cLients. Please ensure in all cases you have installed the latest clientversion. As DNS-name use wints1.top.gwdg.de to connect to the terminal server.

To manage your vServer, you may go to https://vcenter.gwdg.de:9443 from within the terminal server using a web browser of your choice. OR you can utilize the vSphere client.

Due to changes made to the WebClients permission design, we recommend to use vSphere Client application only. Several features described here are no longer working as documented.

vSphere Client

Using the installed vSphere client you may discover some irregularities in the field
“IP-Adresse / Name”. You may have to correct it to the name vcenter.gwdg.de.
Instead of entering a username and password, simply tick the box
“Windows-Sitzungsanmeldedaten verwenden”. As an alternative you may enter the credentials
of that GWDG account, which has been entered earlier in the application form
(incl. prefix: GWDG\userid).
When logged in, you may choose “VMs und Vorlagen” where your VMs will be
listed on the left side.

vSphere Web Client

Use a browser of your choice to access the URL https://vcenter.gwdg.de:9443.
If the background color of the website is blue you can skip the next step.
If the background color of the website is gray you may need to enable the
plugins. You can do this by clicking on the brick symbol within the address bar.
By selecting the button “Erlauben und Entscheidung merken” you will allow
this website to use the plugins permanently. The website should reload
automaticaly, otherwise you can trigger the reload manually by pressing the “F5” key.
A website with a blue background should appear. Instead of entering a username
and password, simply tick the box “Windows-Sitzungsauthentifizierung verwenden”.
As an alternative you may enter the credentials of that GWDG account,
which has been entered earlier in the application form (incl. prefix: GWDG\userid).
The shown massage may appear during the authentication process. Please assure that
the tick next to “Always ask before allowing this site” is removed before hitting the “Allow” button.
When logged in, you may choose VMs and Templates where your VMs will be
listed on the left side.

Operating System Installation

Please find a list of all supported Operating Systems and how to install them under http://partnerweb.vmware.com/GOSIG/home.html

Assigning DNS Names To Your VMs

After you have installed and configured your server via console access and already got the IP, your network administrator will be able to add an appropriated record into the IPAM.

Export a Virtual Server


The export function ist not available from within the webclient.
Please use the installed vCenter application instead.

Please connect to the vCenter Server as usual and follow the steps below:

For the export of a VM as OVF (Open virtualization format) it needs to be switched off and it has to be focused in list of VM’s on the left side.
Once the VM is switched of and focused you can open the entry “Datei” form the menu bar.Choose the entry „Export“ and select „OVF-Vorlage exportieren…“
Your VM name will be set as name of the OVF. Please asure that the selected storage has enough space left to write the OVF file to it.
The construction of the OVF file may take severel minutes. After the process is finished, you can find the OVF file at the entered location.


Deleting / Removing a VM

If you want or need to remove/delete your VM, please send an e-mail to support@gwdg.de containing the name of the VM and your contact data.

VMware Tools

Setup Guide For The Installation Of VMware-Tools

To install VMware-Tools on Linux there are three possible procedures.

In Windows only the first option is available.

Install VMware Tools From vSphere (Web) Client

If you want to install the VMware Tools at your guest operating system using either the vSpehre Client or the vSphere Web Client, you have to assure the the VM is powered on. The steps within the vSphere descriped below will only mount an image of VMwware Tools to your guest operating system. Within your system you can install the VMware Tools as you would install software from a CD.


vSphere Client

Select your VM by a right click on it. A context menu appears where “Gast” should be selected. Within the sub menu of “Gast” you can select “VMware Tools installieren/aktivieren” to mount the image.


vSphere Web Client

Select your VM by a right click on it. A context menu appears where “All vCenter Actions” should be selected. Within the sub menu of “All vCenter Actions” you can select “Guest OS” to get in another sub menu. Here you can select “Install VMware Tools…” to mount the Image.





vSphere Client

Therefor go to your VMware vSphere Client and edit the settings of your VM.
Within the settings window you go to the “Optionen” tab, select “VMware Tools” and check the option “Tools beim Aus- und erneuten Einschalten prüfen und aktualisieren” within the field “Erweitert”.


vSphere Web Client

Therefor go to your VMware vSphere Web Client and edit the settings of your VM.
Within the settings window you go to the “VM Options” tab, select “VMware Tools” and check the option “Check and upgrade VMware Tools before each power on” at the “Tools Upgrades” point.


VMware Snapshots

Snapshot concept

  • A Snapshot isn't a backup and doesn't replace such. If you need a system state which you want to access later (e.g. after initial installation of the operating system) please configure TSM backup, use a suitable tool to create an image or create a system internal backup.
  • Usually VM Snapshots will be deleted after 14 days. This might happen without any notification upfront.
  • Snapshots may use the entire size of the system, depending on time and the numbers of changes made within the system, which means that a 1TB VM may use up to 2TB of storage!

Creating Snapshots

  • Use vSphere (Web)Client to create or delete Snapshots. All registered administrators have these permissions.
  • Please include the date of creation within the name of the Snapshot. This will make it easier to overview the age of the snapshot.

Deleting Snapshots

Users may delete snapshots again as well, otherwise they will be deleted after a 14 day period without any notifications ahead. If you will need a snapshot for a longer period of time, please contact the VMware team from GWDG at support@gwdg.de.

Include own ISO Files

(Status 17.02.2016) Please use the vSphere Client Application. Currently there is a bug affecting the Webclient which prevents mounting an ISO file.

Including own images from an ISO file type varies between the vCenter Client Application and the vCenter WebClient. A manual on how to include an image for both clients can be found below.

Include ISO using the WebClient

Please select your VM and select the tab Erste Schritte.
Within the pannel VM-Hardware you can find the link Einstellungen der virteullen Maschine bearbeiten.
Select the tab Virtuelle Hardware in the pop up window.
On the left side you can find a list of the virtual hardware,
focus the label CD-/DVD-Laufwerk 1 (or similar).
Choose Clientgerät in the corresponding dropdown menu
appearing on the right side.
Confirm your option selection by clicking the OK button.
Now you can select your VM and approve that it is switched on.
Select the Übersicht tab and view the VM Hardware panel.
Here you can find a CD Icon labeled CD/DVD-Laufwerk 1 (or similar).
You can find an icon (Representing two plugs) at the same line on the
very right of the panel having a downwards arrow aside.
You can open the context menu by clicking on the plugs icon.
Please select Mit dem CD/DVD-Image auf lok. Platte verbinden… from this menu.
In the window which shows up, you can browse your local files and select the image you need.
The image is now included and should show up in your VM in no time.
To install an operating system you have to enter the BIOS to change the
boot prioritys. Therefore you need to open the VM settings again. Choose
the tab VM-Optionen and focus the menu point Startoptionen. A point
BIOS-Setup erzwingen will appear beneath. You can find a chekbox just
to the right of that point. Please check that box and save the settings
using the OK-Button.
Switch off your VM. Starting it again will take you to the BIOS setup.
You need to navigate (navigation keys are shown at the very
bottom of the image) to the point Boot using the right arrow key.
You can use the down arrow key to go to the CD-Rom drive. Move
that point to the top of the list bei using the +-Key multiple times. By
pressing F10 the settings are beeing saved and the VM is restarting
and boots, if possible, from the disc / image. During the installation you
should enable the BIOS-Setup erzwingen option again. Once the
installation is done, your VM will boot again into the BIOS setup. Go to
the Boot tab again and choose +Hard Drive to be at the top of the list.
If everything is done right, your VM should boot into the operating system now.

Including ISO using the Client Application

Please select your VM and make sure it is powered off.
Select the tab Erste Übersicht. On the bottom of the page
you can find the link VM-Einstellungen bearbeiten.
Select the tab Hardware in the new window showing up.
On the left side you can find a list of the hardware,
focus the label CD-/DVD-Laufwerk 1 (or similar) by clicking it.
Activate the option Clientgerät in the corresponding selection options
appearing on the right side. The Option can be found within the topic Gerätetyp.
Confirm your option selection by clicking the OK button.
Power on your VM
and click on to the CD icon on the upper icon bar of the client.
The selection menu as shown in the image should open.
Select the option CD-/DVD-Laufwerk 1 and within this option,
select Mit dem ISO-Image auf lokaler Festplatte verbinden….
A file explorer should open where you can
select your image from the client machine.
The image you have selected will be available from your server in no time.
To install an operating system you have to enter the BIOS to change the
boot prioritys. Therefore you need to open the VM settings again. Choose
the tab Optionen and focus the menu point Startoptionen. A panel
BIOS-Setup erzwingen will appear on the right side. You can find a chekbox just
to within that panle. Please check that box and save the settings
using the OK-Button.
Switch off your VM. Starting it again will take you to the BIOS setup.
You need to navigate (navigation keys are shown at the very
bottom of the image) to the point Boot using the right arrow key.
You can use the down arrow key to go to the CD-Rom drive. Move
that point to the top of the list bei using the +-Key multiple times. By
pressing F10 the settings are beeing saved and the VM is restarting
and boots, if possible, from the disc / image. During the installation you
should enable the BIOS-Setup erzwingen option again. Once the
installation is done, your VM will boot again into the BIOS setup. Go to
the Boot tab again and choose +Hard Drive to be at the top of the list.
If everything is done right, your VM should boot into the operating system now.

Connecting a NIC

If your VM's NIc isn't connected, please follow these steps:

vSphere-Client:

Edit settings
Select the NIC, then tick “Verbinden” (If the VM is powered on) and “Beim Anschalten verbinden” to ensure the NIc is connected after restart

WebClient:

Edit settings
Select the NIC, then tick “Verbinden” (If the VM is powered on) and “Beim Anschalten verbinden” to ensure the NIc is connected after restart