The Virtualization Room

Mar 20 2008   12:43PM GMT

Storage VMotion GUIs

Joseph Foran Profile: Joe Foran

Using Storage VMotion (SVM) from the command line is fairly straightforward. However, a lot of admins may not be comfortable with the inefficiency of taking extra steps to perform a task that can be better handled via an integrated GUI tool.

It’s a feature that was clearly lacking in the VI 3.5 / VC 2.5 product release. It’s one that should have been addressed by the product team but wasn’t (I suspect for reasons related to release dates more than anything.) I looked at a few of the graphical tools for managing SVM, and found a couple of them to be pretty robust. One comes from fellow TechTarget blogger Andrew Kutz, while another comes from developer Alexander Gaiswinkler.

Gaiswinkler’s application is pretty neat and does  good job outputting information. It takes the remote command line interface (CLI) utility for managing a VMware environment and adds a graphical layer to it. Setup is relatively simple and quick, taking a few short steps. I would expect, if a firm were to make a product around it, an installation package would be able to handle the process easily. Simply put, to install the SVM GUI, you need only follow the following:

  • Install VMware’s remote CLI
  • Save the vms.pl script to %PROGRAMFILES%\VMware\VMware VI Remote CLI\bin\
  • Save the svmotiongui.exe to your PC (I put mine in %PROGRAMFILES%\VMware\SVMGUI\ (a directory I created manually, but it really doesn’t matter where you put it)
  • Launch said exe file

In testing, I was able to SVM several vmdk files across my iSCSI data stores without incident. My only complaints about the application are that it’s seperate from the VI client interface and that it needs to be documented. But it’s a great tool even without that integration.

I also took Andrew Kutz’s plugin-based SVM GUI for a spin, and was equally happy with it. Because it’s an actual plugin for the VI console, integration was a given. The installation was smooth, just like installing any add-on. The steps are:

  • Launch the server and client installers from your VC host and clients and follow the prompts
  • Open your VI Client, go to Plugins, and the Available tab
  • From the Click Download and Install Plugin
  • Follow the prompts again
  • From the Installed tab and check the box

I sent the same virtual machines flying around the iSCSI skies again without the slightest problem. While it’s not at a 1.0 release, I was so impressed that I’ve moved it into production. The one downside I’ve found is in the two seperate installers, but since that’s a relatively common practice for server and client-side applications that’s not much of a downside at all. I would personally like one installer which can detect the presense of the VC server, run the server installer if it is present, then run the client installer.

The seperate GUI application is solid. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being terrific, I’d have to give it an 8. The VC integatred client gets 9. Both are great tools, but Andrew’s plugin-based model is tops in my book. Both could use more documentation, and a more streamlined install processes, but neither one is badly in need of either. Both do a great job.

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