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Running VMware on Ravello

One of the many benefits of being a vExpert is the freebies that you get from vendors. Ravello from Oracle is one of them where you are able to run your VMs on their hypervisor in the public cloud space. One of the selling points is that you can just copy your vmdk files up to the system and you don't need to reconfigure your VM hardware and settings to get it running. The platform also allow you to run a hypervisor such as ESXi as a VM which means I can have a lab on the move in the cloud. With all freebies there are some gotcha which is I only get 1000 CPU hours per month and can run only 20 concurrent VMs but as its for a lab/testing this is more than enough.

In this article I will run through the steps to just get a ESXi 6 host up and running on their platform and if you want to try it they offer free trial here

  • Once you are logged in we would need to go to Library > Disk Images so that we can upload our ESXi ISO onto the platform
  • You will see that there are few Linux images there already provided by the platform. To import/upload our ISO click Import Disk Image

  • You will be taken to the VM Import tool page and will get a screen like this if you haven't installed the Ravello VM import tool yet. First select which OS you would like to install the tool to (Mac or Windows). Then select if you would like the GUI version or CLI. For this article I am going to run through installing on Windows and GUI version so I clicked on Download GUI VM Import Tool for Windows
  • Run the downloaded executable file (ravello_win.exe) and at the first screen of the setup wizard click Next
  • Leave the install path as default unless you want to change it and click Install
  • Click Finish once completed
Your default web browser should automatically fire up this page and you can see that the URL points For some reason this doesn't seem work with my Microsoft Edge browser so use one of the other ones if it doesn't fire up for you and type in the same address. Also check that the service is running by looking task tray. If it's not there then locate the program and try again. Type in your username and password for your Ravello account and click Log In to continue

  • Once logged in you will be presented with this screen, click on Upload
  • At this screen you can see that there is 5 options that you can select in terms of what you can upload. The one we need to select is Upload a disk (ISO, VMDK, QCOW) and then select Start
  • Browse to your ISO location and highlight the one you wish to upload then select Upload
  • You should now be directed back to the first screen and you will see your ISO listed. Check under the Progress section and once it hits 100% then your ISO has been uploaded. Close the browser or select your user name in the top right window of the browser and select Log Out

  • Head over to in a new browser window and sign in again if prompted. Go to Library > Disk Images
  • You should see your image/s that you have uploaded so in my example you can see that I have ESXi 6.0/6.5 and 6.7 iso uploaded
  • We have to create what they call an "application". It's is where you group all the servers that you are going to build to make up an "application" but you can use it anyway you want so we will click on Application and then Create Application
  • We give our application a name which I am using "Lab" and the other fields are optional. Leave From Blueprint blank then select Create
  • An application canvas should appear and you should see a list of Available VMs. If you don't then click on the "+" sign in the canvas tab. The kind people at Ravello have already created a template which has all the settings needed to run ESX 6 so if you select Empty ESX and drag it to the blank canvas
  • Click on the "Empty ESX" to get further information displayed about the VM settings. You can see from the summary tab that by default it has 4 CPUs, 8GB RAM and 100GB storage which is sufficient to just get a base ESXi up and running. There is also 2 network connections and one of them has a external IP so that you can access this host from the internet

  • Select the General tab and change the name, description and hostname to your liking. A Save and Cancel buttons will appears at the bottom if you have made some changes so select Save
  • Select the Disks tab and under CD section click on Browse
  • We will now see our disk image library where we select the ISO that we have uploaded earlier. Once you have selected your ISO click Select

The save and cancel buttons appears so select save

  • Once it has been saved you will notice that a Publish button appears towards the top click on it
  • A new pop up window appears detailing the compute information we have for this application. I have highlighted the section "Advanced" where you can decide if you would like all the VM/s to start automatically within this application once you publish this application. As this is a vExpert account the application is scheduled to automatically stop in 2 hours time. Click on Publish
  • Once you have clicked on publish you will see the icon of the computer change to an hour glass which means the platform is provisioning the VM/s

  • Once the computer icon changes to a play sign it means the VM is up and running ready fot you to use
  • Ensure you have highlighted the VM and on the right hand side of the browser window you should see that you can click on the Console. Click on the Console button get console access to the VM via the web browser
  • As you can see from the console screen in the browser it is loading my ESXi installer so we can install our host
  • Once you are at the screen to reboot shown below DO NOT reboot yet as we need to eject the CD
  • Go back to your Ravello application in the other browser window. Select the VM you are using. Go to Disks tab click Eject , the Save and Cancel button appears so select Save

  • Once it has been saved you will notice that a Update button appears towards the top click on it

  • A new pop up window appears click on Update
  • The VM icon will change to an hour glass which means it is applying the changes we have made. Wait for this to turn back to a play icon before moving on to the next step
  • Now go back to your console screen of the VM to reboot the server. If you don't do the steps above then your VM on reboot will always boot the loader from the CD
Hope this has some use for some one to test Ravello and be able to take their lab on the move saving some investment for hardware and electricity bills.


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