December 23, 2010
December being the month that you normally give and receive gifts, this year the welcome present we received this was the news of the virtual edition of the Command Center Secure gateway becoming GA.
For us this was long awaited news, and we were eager to replace the physical appliances we were using in the past on both the IT department, and the local Sales support demo rack.
Nothing against the physical appliance, but since we already made the jump to virtual a couple of years back (we migrated to VMware infrastructure 3.5 in 2008), and we know how much easier it is to maintain and backup a virtual appliance.)
And also the idea of getting rid of two hardware devices to reduce our power consumption, yes that was certainly appealing.
When we took the original step to virtualize our systems we took a maintenance agreement on our environment, but when that expired VMware had not yet released 4.0 VSphere.
Not really a problem, patches are still supplied, you just don’t get to upgrade.
Both IT and sales support are happily using 3.5 esx hosts.
The CCSG however was supplied as a virtual appliance for a vsphere4.x (which is apparently the only version we officially support)
Now we don’t believe we are unique in the situation that we are the only company that is still using the esx 3.5 platform, and yes we are hesitant to spend a lot of money on upgrading our VMware to the latest version without a clear benefit for the company at this moment in time.
However, after discussing it with our sales support department we decided to give it a try anyway.
And guess what? It worked! Using a simple tool, Sales-support managed to convert the deployment file to a regular virtual machine, still 4.x format, but that could simply be installed on our esx server using the VMware converter tool that VMware supplies.
And yes it works!
The next challenge came from the Flexera license server, as I wrote before our hopes were to reduce the number of physical boxes in use in our environments.
(In line with Raritan’s goal to be as green as possible)
The Flexera license server is needed to activate licenses on the command center.
For some reason, the CCSG design team has opted to enforce the installation of the license server to a physical box. Our guess is that’s the only way to ultimately enforce license in a virtual environment.
In an attempt to work around the need to use an additional external server, we took the time to dug in the Flexera documentation and found there is an option (VMW_ETHER) to install the Flexera lmbind agent on one of our esx hosts (that should allow for binding a virtual license server to the physical hardware of the ESX server that hosts a license server in a VM).
Unfortunately, the Flexim publisher version supplied by Raritan does not use this feature.
I guess its time to make a new feature request:-)
The good thing is that when using our last and only physical server still in production (not counting the esx hosts), then the installation is easy, and the CCSG is running smooth and fast 😊
CCSG has come a long way since its first releases and I am really pleased with the discovery feature and the VMWARE support
I am really looking forward to our new future release, and new product developments.