Use VMware vSphere with Juju

To register a VMware ESXi cluster with vSphere as a “vSphere cloud”, there are three main steps:

  1. Add a vSphere cloud
  2. Add a credential
  3. Bootstrap a controller


In order to add a vSphere cloud you will need to have an existing vSphere installation which supports, or has access to, the following:

  • VMware Hardware Version 8 (or greater)
  • ESXi 5.0 (or greater)
  • Internet access
  • DNS and DHCP

Juju supports both high-availability vSAN deployments as well and standard deployments.

Adding a vSphere cloud

There are two methods to define a cloud for Juju.

A. Use an interactive prompt
B. Define a YAML file and provide that to Juju as a command-line argument

Both methods make use of the juju add-cloud command. During the process, you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • A name that Juju will refer to the cluster as
  • IP address of your cluster’s vCenter
  • The name(s) of any Datacenter(s) that you want to enable Juju to be able to deploy to

To access detailed help about all of its options, use this command:

juju help add-cloud

Finding Datacenter names in vSphere

Your Datacenters are available through the vSphere web client by selecting vCenter Inventory Lists > Resources > Datacenters from the hierarchical menu at the top left.

The values you need are listed in the ‘Name’ column, such as the ‘dc0’ and ‘dc1’ Datacenters shown here:

vSphere web client showing Datacenters

A. Using an interactive prompt

Use the add-cloud command to interactively add your vSphere cloud to Juju’s list of clouds:

juju add-cloud --local

What does --local do?

Using the --local option instructs Juju to store the cloud definition on the machine that you’re executing the command from.

Omitting it will store the cloud definition on the controller machine. This enables controllers to control models on multiple clouds, but isn’t recommended while you are creating your first model.

An session with multiple datacenters:

Cloud Types

Select cloud type: vsphere

Enter a name for your vsphere cloud: vsp-cloud

Enter the vCenter address or URL:

Enter datacenter name: dc0

Enter another datacenter? (y/N): y

Enter datacenter name: dc1

Enter another datacenter? (y/N): n

Cloud "vsp-cloud" successfully added

You will need to add credentials for this cloud (`juju add-credential vsp-cloud`)
before creating a controller (`juju bootstrap vsp-cloud`).

B. Manually adding vSphere clouds

The manual method makes use of configuration files defined in YAML. To define a configuration file that mimics the parameters provided by the interactive example, you can follow:

  type: vsphere
  auth-types: [userpass]
   dc0: {}  # these empty maps
   dc1: {}  # are necessary

Adding a cloud manually can either be done locally or the cloud can be stored on a current controller). Here, we’ll show how to do it locally (client cache).

To add cloud ‘vsp-cloud’, assuming the configuration file is vsp-cloud.yaml in the current directory, we would run:

juju add-cloud --local vsp-cloud vsp-cloud.yaml

Confirm that you’ve added the cloud correctly

Ask Juju to report the clouds that it has registered:

juju clouds --local

2. Adding credentials

Use the add-credential command to interactively add your credentials to the new cloud:

juju add-credential vsp-cloud

Example user session:

Enter credential name: vsp-cloud-creds

Using auth-type "userpass".

Enter user:

Enter password: ********

Enter vmfolder (optional): juju-root

Credential "vsp-cloud-creds" added locally for cloud "vsp-cloud".

We’ve called the new security credential ‘vsp-cloud-creds’. You will need to provide your VMware account username–this looks like an email address–and the associated password.

Locked out?: Credentials for the vSphere cloud have been reported to occasionally stop working over time.

If this occurs, then you can “remind” vSphere of your credentials. See Dealing with inert credentials for guidance.

For more information about credentials, read through the Credentials page.

Confirm that you’ve added the credential correctly

To view the credentials that Juju knows about, use the credentials command and inspect both remote and locally stored credentials:

juju credentials
juju credentials --local

3. Creating a controller

You are now ready to create a Juju controller for cloud ‘vsp-cloud’:

juju bootstrap vsp-cloud vsp-controller

Above, the name given to the new controller is ‘vsp-controller’. vSphere will provision an instance to run the controller on.

For a detailed explanation and examples of the bootstrap command see the Creating a controller and Configuring Controllers pages.

VMware-specific bootstrapping options

There are three VMware-specific options available for specifying the network and datastore to use:

  • primary-network
    The primary network that VMs will be connected to. If this is not specified, Juju will look for a network named VM Network.
  • external-network
    An external network that VMs will be connected to. The resulting IP address for a VM will be used as its public address. An external network provides the interface to the internet for virtual machines connected to external organization vDC networks.
  • datastore
    The datastore in which to create VMs. If this is not specified, the process will abort unless there is only one datastore available.
  • force-vm-hardware-version
    This change adds a new model level flag, that allows operators to set a newer compatibility version for the instances that get spawned by juju.
  • disk-provisioning-type
    This change allows operators to set a new model-level config option which dictates how template VM disks should be cloned when creating a new machine.

For example:

juju bootstrap vsp-cloud vsp-controller \
    --config primary-network=$PRIMARY_NET \
    --config external-network=$EXTERNAL_NET \
    --config datastore=$DATA_STORE

The above --config options will only apply to the ‘controller’ and ‘default’ models. Use option --model-default instead if you want any newly-created models to be affected. You can also use the model-defaults command once the controller is created to do the same thing.

Initial bootstrap duration: When creating a controller with vSphere, a cloud image is downloaded to the client and then uploaded to the ESX host. This depends on your network connection and can take a while.

vSphere specific features

Levels of placement

When creating a controller, there are three levels of placement that Juju understands: cloud, region, and availability zone. In vSphere, these are mapped in two different ways depending on your topology:

  • cloud (vSphere endpoint), region (Datacenter), availability zone (host)
  • cloud (vSphere endpoint), region (Datacenter), availability zone (cluster)

If your topology has a cluster without a host, Juju will see this as an Availability Zone and may fail silently. To solve this, either make sure the host is within the cluster, or use a placement directive:

juju bootstrap vsphere/<datacenter> <controllername> --to zone=<cluster|host>

To create a controller using Datacenter ‘dc1’ you would enter the following:

juju bootstrap vsp-cloud/dc1 vsp-controller

Specifying a datastore when deploying an application

There is a constraint called ‘root-disk-source’ that can stipulate the name of a vSphere datastore to house the root disk:

juju deploy myapp --constraints root-disk-source=mydatastore

Deploying applications to a specific host or cluster

Resource pools within a host or cluster can be specified with the ‘zones’ constraint:

juju deploy myapp --constraints zones=myhost
juju deploy myapp --constraints zones=myfolder/myhost
juju deploy myapp --constraints zones=mycluster/mypool
juju deploy myapp --constraints zones=mycluster/myparent/mypool

Last updated a day ago.