A really neat capability that is available in some of VMware's Virtual Appliance is a feature called vCenter Extension vService which leverages the vCenter Solutions Manager and vServices SDK. This feature allows a virtual appliance solution to automatically register itself as an extension with vCenter Server without requiring user to provide vCenter Server connection information and thus simplifying the deployment of a virtual appliance based solution. Some examples of VMware Virtual Appliances that can advantage of this feature are vSphere Replication and vSphere Infrastructure Navigator. If you have deployed either of these solutions, you may have seen a screenshot like the one shown below.
When going through the vSphere C#/Web Client to deploy a virtual appliance that requires vCenter Extension vService, the process is quite simple. You simply click on the drop down menu and select the one and only option as seen in the screenshot above. However, if you are looking to automate the virtual appliance deployment using something like ovftool, you might be asking how do you go about configuring this parameter? This was actually a recent question that I received on an older blog post regarding the automated deployment of vSphere Infrastructure Navigator.
The good news is that ovftool provides a way to configure the vCenter Extension vService using an option called --vService and expected syntax is the following:
To find the dependencyId, you will need to inspect the virtual appliance OVF/OVA. You can simply do this by running ovftool and passing in the OVF/OVA as input. Using the latest vSphere Infrastructure Navigator 5.8 OVA, the dependencyId is simply named "installation" as seen in the VService Dependency section in the screenshot below.
Putting all this together, if you wish to configure the vService, you will need to pass in the following option to the ovftool: