I recently saw an interesting question on the VMTN developers forum asking about vSphere SDK for Perl and VUM API integrations. As it stands today, VMware has not publicly exposed or documented the VMware Update Manager APIs, though they have released a few PowerCLI VUM cmdlets for PowerCLI users. This is one feature, in my opinion, that PowerCLI has over the other vSphere SDKs. This is quite unfortunate, since automating VUM operations is something I have looked forward to and the process can be slow from clicking around in the GUI. I think VMware sometimes forget that the world does not run on Windows and that VMware != Windows.

I was hoping with the release of vSphere 4.1, the VUM APIs would finally be exposed as a standard web service like the vSphere API provided with proper SDKs for the various languages. My reply to the VMTN user was exactly this: this type of integration does not exist today. If you would like to automate VUM operations, you must use the PowerCLI VUM cmdlets. The follow-up comment was how one might integrate between vSphere SDK for Perl and PowerCLI VUM cmdlets. Initially, I did not recommend this but it could potentially work with some type of WMI call or hooks from some Perl modules. The solution might get a little messy and it would probably be faster to just set up the PowerCLI VUM cmdlets on a Windows host.

As I thought about the question later that evening, I realized that there is potentially another method if you wanted to use the vSphere SDK for Perl but utilize the PowerCLI VUM cmdlets. The following solution will demonstrate the use of vMA, vSphere SDK for Perl, VIX Perl API, PowerCLI and PowerCLI VUM cmdlets. VMware VIX is used for guest management for VMs running on a VMware hypervisor, whether it be Workstation, Fusion or ESX(i). There is a Perl SDK for the VIX API which I use to generate a PowerCLI script that is transferred directly into a Windows VM running both PowerCLI and PowerCLI VUM. This dynamic PowerCLI script will contain the host information and VUM baseline provided from the vSphere SDK for Perl script. The script will remediate the host and then it will be deleted by VIX. This configuration is not ideal, but if you wanted to automate some of the available VUM operations but continue to use your vSphere SDK for Perl scripts, then you can.

The dynamic PowerCLI script that is generated is the following:

Connect-VIServer -Server [vc-server] -Protocol https -User [vc-user] -Password [vc-password]
$vmhost = Get-VMHost [vi-host]
$baseline = Get-Baseline [host-baseline]
$baseline | Attach-Baseline -Entity $vmhost -Confirm:$false
$vmhost | Scan-Inventory
$baseline | Remediate-Inventory -Entity $vmhost -Confirm:$false

Note: This is just one example, you can easily customize the script to generate other VUM operations or more complex PowerCLI script. Once the operation is completed on the ESX(i) host, the script is deleted via VIX.

Before we get started, you will need to have a Windows VM that has both PowerCLI and PowerCLI VUM installed which resides in the same infrastructure as your VUM Server. You will also need to have VMware vMA available and installed with VMware VIX which will be documented down below.

1. Download VMware VIX 1.10

2. Transfer VMware-VIX-1.10.1-266898.x86_64.bundle installer to vMA

3. Install VIX:



[[email protected] ~]$ sudo sh VMware-VIX-1.10.1-266898.x86_64.bundle
Extracting VMware Installer...done.
You must accept the VMware VIX API End User License Agreement to
continue. Press Enter to proceed.
The product is ready to be installed. Press Enter to begin
installation or Ctrl-C to cancel.
Installing VMware VIX API 1.10.1
[######################################################################] 100%
Installation was successful.

To complete the next section, you will need GCC to be installed which is not part of the default vMA installation. If you are using vMA 4.1, it is running CentOS and you can setup CentOS YUM repository. This will require that your vMA host can proxy out to internet or to specific site. I will document the changes that need to be made to talk to CentOS repository for package installs.

4. Create repository file:

[[email protected] ~]$ sudo vi /etc/yum.repos.d/centos-base.repo

Add the following to the repo file:

5. Install GCC using yum:

[[email protected] ~]$ sudo yum -y --nogpgcheck install gcc.x86_64

6. CD to vmware-vix directory and extract VIX Perl

[[email protected] ~]$ cd /usr/lib/vmware-vix/

[[email protected] vmware-vix]$ sudo tar -zxvf vix-perl.tar.gz

7. Install VIX Perl

[[email protected] vmware-vix]$ cd vix-perl

[[email protected] vix-perl]$ sudo perl Makefile.PL
Writing Makefile for VMware::VixBinding

[[email protected] vix-perl]$ sudo make

[[email protected] vix-perl]$ sudo make install

If you did not want to go through all these manual steps after installing VIX, I actually wrote a quick shell script that will automate the configuration of the CentOS repository, GCC installation and extraction and installation of VIX Perl.

Download installVIXPerl.sh

Executing installVIXPerl.sh:

[[email protected] ~]$ chmod +x installVIXPerl.sh

[[email protected] ~]$ sudo ./installVIXPerl.sh

9. Download patch-host.pl script and transfer it to vMA

10. You will need to edit 4 variables defined within the script:

$psvm_username = Is the username to your Windows system running PowerCLI
$psvm_password = Is the password to your Windows system running PowerCLI
$powercli_bin = Is the full path to your powershell binary, if it is a default installation, you can leave this unchanged
$powercli_options = Is the path to vSphere PowerCLI psc file, you can also leave this as the default

Note: If you do decide to change either $powercli_bin or $powercli_options, make sure you add an extra "forward slash" which needs to be escaped in the Perl script.

The script requires you to connect to your vCenter server and provide the following parameters:

--vihost = Name of ESX(i) host to be patched

--baseline = Name of the VUM basline to attach

--psvm = Name of the Windows VM running both PowerCLI and PowerCLI VUM

Here is an example patching an ESXi host that is running on 4.0u2 and using the script to apply vSphere 4.1 baseline:

[[email protected]]$ ./patch-host.pl --config --server reflex.primp-industries.com --username primp --vihost esxi4-3.primp-industries.com --psvm powerclivm --baseline vSphere4.1-Upgrade

Entering maintenance mode for esxi4-3.primp-industries.com
Successfully entered maintenance mode for esxi4-3.primp-industries.com
Guest login successfully!
Copy patch-host-esxi4-3.primp-industries.com-22174.ps1 to guest successfully!
PowerCLI/VUM script executed successfully!
Script removed successfully!
Successfully patched esxi4-3.primp-industries.com using VUM baseline: vSphere4.1-Upgrade

One thing I did notice, after the script is transferred to the Windows VM, it takes about 15-20 seconds before the script executes. I am not exactly sure why this occurs, as this does not happen when running the PowerCLI script logged into the VM. This may be due to the way VIX is executing the script within the guest.

The following resources were used in creating this script:

Thanks for the comment!