Move your VMware and KVM applications to the cloud without making any changes

  • April 14, 2015

How to Create VMware Data Center on Ravello

We at Ravello have been working on some really cool technology for the last couple of months. We have implemented a CPU virtualization extension called VT-I for Intel or SVM for AMD in our HVX hypervisor. These extensions allow running other hypervisors such as KVM or VMWare ESXi™ on top of Ravello in addition to running regular VMs.

In this blog we are going to walk through setting a full VMWare datacenter in a public cloud - extremely useful for running ESXi enabled virtual labs. We will go over:

  1. Creating a data center
  2. Configuring ESXi hosts to use NFS
  3. Setting up virtual distributed switch (optional)
  4. Creating VMs to run on VMware cluster
  5. Set the VMs start and shutdown order
  6. Saving application blueprint


  1. Ravello account. If you don’t already have one, start your free trial.
  2. VMware ESXi VM image in Ravello Library
  3. VMware vCenter Server VM image in Ravello Library

We recently held a webinar discussing how to build ESXi labs on AWS/ Google Cloud. Enjoy the webcast and slides...

[video url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9byjFw5omQ"]

[slideshare id=48986275&doc=20150602esxiwebinar-150604114506-lva1-app6891]

1. Creating a data center

1. Create an empty application in Ravello, and give it a name. Do not use a blueprint.
2. Add the vCenter Server from the VM library saved earlier, and publish the application. Please note that it takes a few minutes to publish and a few more for the vCenter full be operational.
3. Add one or more ESXi VMs from the VM library. Please note that each of the hostnames (defined in General > Hostnames) needs to be unique. Please change hostnames accordingly if you add more than one ESXi machine. Once done click ‘Update’ on application canvas Please note that it takes a few minutes to update and few more for ESXi to be operational.
4. Check out how to create NFS shared storage for ESXi. Add the NFS VM created by following the instructions to the Application and Click ‘Update’ on your your application canvas to publish. Please note that you need to select a key pair for NFS VM. The NFS VM contains some images to create virtual machines in your cluster
5. Login to vCenter Server web interface on port 9443 (https://publicIP:9443)
6. Add a new data center
7. Add a new cluster with default settings
8. Add the ESXi hosts to the datacenter using the hostname defined in Ravello (General > Hostnames on Ravello UI)

2. Configure ESXi hosts to use the NFS

1. Select an ESXi machine, and browse to the ‘Related Objects’ tab. Click on ‘Datastores’ tab.
2. Click on the icon on upper left to create a new datastore. When asked to select Type between VMFS or NFS datastore, select NFS and click Next
3.In the “Server” edit-box insert the hostname of the NFS server (should be “lio1”). In the “Folder”edit-box insert “/nfs”and click “Next”.
4. Continue and finish the wizard. You have added the datastore for the first ESXi host. Repeat the steps to add the Datastore for the other ESXi hosts

3. Optional Step - Setting up virtual distributed switch

Please follow these instructions to configure the virtual distributed switch. Each ESXi in the cluster has 2 NICs - first one used for management, and second used for data. It is recommended to put the second interface on the virtual distributed switch.

4. Creating VM to run on ESXi

The most efficient way to deploy VMs in vCenter is to deploy an OVA template. One can download such templates of free OS (such as Ubuntu, Fedora, etc) from the internet.

To deploy the OVA, right click on the target ESXi host, and select ‘Deploy OVF template’ and select OVA downloaded to local machine earlier.

Go through the wizard and wait a few minutes until the VM is deployed, and then power on the VM.

Using vCenter’s web interface, open the VM’s console and login with user and password associated with the OVA template (user/password can be found in the ‘Notes’ section in the ‘Summary’ tab). Please note that you may need to install a browser plugin. Pay attention to popups windows during the plugin installation.

Next step is to configure the networking for the VM. Please note that only static IPs are currently supported. You will need to -

  1. Configure the default gateway to mirror the default gateway on Ravello UI under network tab for the application (usually
  2. Set the netmask/network to mirror as the Ravello’s network (e.g.
  3. Set the static IP of the machine to a “high unique ip” so that it doesl not conflict with other Ravello VMs in the same application (e.g.
  4. Set the DNS to a known public DNS (like

Test the networking, by opening the console and pinging your favourite internet site (e.g. www.google.com.)

If VMware tools are not installed, please install VMware tools on your VM.

5. Set the start and shutdown order for the VMs

Next, one needs to assign the right start and shutdown order for the VMs in Ravello UI (Settings > Startup and Shutdown Order). Storage VM and vCenter VM need to start first (before all ESXi machines) and shut down last (after all ESXi machines).

6. Saving application blueprint

Follow the steps listed here to save the application blueprint

Known Limitations

  1. There are known issues with VMXNet3 as network interface for ESXi. Please use e1000.

VMware product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to in the ravellosystems domain are the property of VMware. VMware is not affiliated with Ravello Systems or any of Ravello System's employees or representatives. VMware does not sponsor or endorse the contents, materials, or processes discussed on the site.

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