Yesterday, VMware Automation gurus Nick Weaver and Nan Liu just announced the release of four awesome new VMware Puppet modules that can help you manage and configure vCenter Server (including ESXi) and vCloud Networking & Security (vShield). You can read all about the details here and here and if you were lucky enough to have attended PEX (Partner Exchange) you might even have caught the demo given by Nick in his session.

I have used Puppet in the past, but it was pretty limited and specifically in How to Deploy ESXi 5 Using Razor & Puppet. I thought this might be a good time to revisit Puppet and try out the new VMware Puppet modules. I took a look at some of the examples provided by Nan on his blog but for new users to Puppet, it may not provide enough details to quickly get started (including myself). I thought I document the minimal steps I took to quickly get started (I also ran into a few bugs which Nan has fixed).

Step 1 - Install Ubuntu Precise (Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS - See more at:

Step 1 - Install Ubuntu Precise (Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS). You can use other distros, I just choose Ubuntu as I had the image lying around.

Step 2 - Download Puppet Labs package repository by running the following commands:

wget$(lsb_release -c | cut -f 2).deb
dpkg -i puppetlabs-release-$(lsb_release -c | cut -f 2).deb
apt-get update

Step 3 - Install all the necessary packages such as Ruby, Ruby Gems, Puppet, etc. by running the following commands:

apt-get install -y libxslt-dev libxml2-dev ruby rubygems puppet
gem install nokogiri
gem install net-ssh

Step 4 - Install the VMware Puppet modules by running the following command:

puppet module install vmware/vcsa
puppet module install vmware/vcenter
puppet module install vmware/vshield

To start using the VMware Puppet modules, you will need to create what's known as a manifest file that contains the resources which maps to the actions you wish to perform (e.g. configure a newly deployed VCSA appliance or create a Cluster in vCenter Server and add an ESXi host to that cluster). You can find a bunch of example manifest files in each of the Puppet modules, here is the path to each:


You will see in some of the examples, they import a file in each directory called data.pp which contains the actual definitions of your VCSA, vCNS and ESXi hosts but you can also just specify that in the main manifest file as well for simplicity. The latter option provides more flexibility as you can easily reference various configurations for different environments. For your convenience, I have created the following manifest files that you can use and you just need to modify them to fit your environment.

Here is what my lab environment looks like and their respective IP Addresses for your reference (these must already be deployed and vCenter & vCNS does not need to be configured but just accessible over network):

vCenter Server =
vCloud Networking and Security =
ESXi Host =

Step 5 - As mentioned by Nan, a custom Rbvmomi was used and we will need to ensure our Puppet management host (Ubuntu system we are on) includes it. To ensure all the necessary packages are downloaded for us, we will use the rbvmomi.pp manifest file for our host and use Puppet to apply the policy. Replace management_server in rbvmomi.pp with the hostname or IP Address of your Ubuntu host and then run the following command:

puppet apply rbvmomi.pp

Note:  You can safely ignore the red warnings, it must not have liked something in my environment.

Step 6 - We will start off by configuring the VCSA so we can then perform operations such as adding in Datacenters, Clusters, ESXi hosts, etc. We will use the configure-vcsa.pp manifest file by running the following command:

puppet apply configure-vcsa.pp

Step 7 - Next we will create a Datacenter, Cluster and add our ESXi host by using the setup-vcenter.pp manifest file by running the following command:

puppet apply setup-vcenter.pp

Step 8 - We are now onto configuring vCloud Networking and Security and we will also associate it with our vCenter Server by using the configure-vcns.pp manifest file and running the following command:

puppet apply configure-vcns.pp

Step 9 - After configuring vCloud Networking and Security, we can now deploy a vCloud Networking and Security Edge Gateway to provide various networking services to our vSphere environment using the deploy-edge.pp and by running the following command:

puppet apply deploy-edge.pp

In about 5-10 minutes, you will have a fully configured vSphere environment that contains your vCenter Server, vCloud Networking and Security Manager and Edge Gateway and ESXi hosts all ready to start providing compute and networking services for your virtual machines and applications! I want to stress the above is a very simplistic example of what you can do with the new VMware Puppet modules. There are definitely more advanced capabilities provided in the modules and I would recommend you take a look in the samples directory of each module for more details.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the VMware integration that Nick, Nan and team built with Puppet. This was a great learning experience for myself, I learned quite a bit with just trying out these modules and I think I might have found a reason to dive more into Puppet! 🙂

Big thanks to Nan for helping me out with some of my Puppet questions!

5 thoughts on “How To Quickly Get Started With The New VMware Puppet Modules

  1. Hello, I dont understand one part – am i supposed to get the vcenter Windows vm already installed and vcenter files copied on it? How does this run the installer? Also what if my database is on another virtual machine – does it configure the db as well? Does it also deploy vshield manager ova? or do i have to deploy the ova and have it configured by ip?


  2. Hi

    Here your post is defining how to install a vcenter or a vcsa in an esxi. Can u please tell how to connect to a vcsa or a vcenter that has already been deployed in the environment.

    my Problem statement is to connect to vcenter 6.0/5.1 via puppet enterprise 4.8.7 so that I can automatically provision VM in that vCenter

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