This week I have been the Netherlands teaching the VMware Authorised Vi3 course “Install and Configure”. I took the opportunity to meet up with Carl Thijssen – the creator of the UDA (the Ultimate Deployment Appliance). It was great to finally meet up with Carl, and to escape my awful hotel and its awful food!
We discussed the UDA, VMware and virtualisation generally – and chatted about the eternal problem of delivering computing environments to desktop end-users.
As for the UDA – Carl does plan to support Windows Vista using the WinPE environment and Redhat Enterprise Linux Release 4 (which distributes across a number of ISOs). Carl also intends to port the “ESX Kickstart Configurator” to a stand-alone html format – so you don’t need to download a large file (the UDA virtual machine/disk) just to get a nice kickstart file for scripting the ESX install. We have also discussed delivering the VMware Convertor “Cold Clone” CD via the UDA to allow for remote “cold clone” conversions (P2V) of physical machines to virtual machines. Although the “agent” convertor process allows for “online” conversions – some people like myself still perfer an offline conversion process usually delivered by some kind of boot CD – as I have generally found it more reliable.
In the short-term we plan to just “bug fix” the work done on deploying ESX via the UDA. In the long-term I will be assisting Carl in extending the UDA to also handle the “%post” section of the ESX installation. For example we plan to enable such post-configuration all via a friendly web-based UI such as:
- NTP Settings
- DNS Settings
- Hidding SAN LUNs from Anaconda
- vSwitch Configurations
- Hardware Agent Installations (HP, IBM and Dell)
- Patching ESX from a repository held on the UDA
Right now Carl is busy with his full-time work, his family and his house move! So I didn’t want to put too much pressure on Carl – as everything he does is for free and in his own time…