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KEMP Virtual LoadMaster (VLM) is available in three format: one for Microsoft Hyper-V (just a zip with all the required files) and two for VMware (one for vSphere and one for Workstation format). All are quite small (less than 40MB), so really fast to download and deploy.

I have tried the the vSphere version that is just a compressed file with a folder including an OFV and a VMDK file. Really simple to deploy as most of the virtual appliances (maybe a single file could be more simple).

The Step 1 is get the software from the virtual-loadbalancer download site and select the hypervisor platform:

The Step 2 depend on the type of source, but basically is just deploy and power-on the virtual appliance. TheVLM will obtain a DHCP address (strange but in my case, on ESXi 5 it has not work) or a statically assigned At this point you can access the VLM using HTTPS:// or via VMware console and you will be prompted for a license key. On the same screen, an Access Code will be displayed. Record that Access Code for Step 3.

The Step 3 is just obtain a license key, also for the trial mode. Note that is generated on the Access Code that probably depend on some environment information (for sure the vNIC MAC Addresses, if you change them the appliance will restart in default setting without the license). The virtual hardware version seems not relevant to the activation (I’ve upgrade the appliance to v8 without any issues).

Now some configurations are needed in the guest level as described in the Quick start guide (the user and the password are also documented here).

About the VM it is basically and hardened Ubuntu Linux (32 bit) with 1 GB of vRAM (usage may depend by the type of services) and two vCPU. This choice probably is required for some services like SSL offload and/or proxy and/or IDS, but of course make not possible use VMware FT for a high availability environment (but don’t worry because there are specific configuration to have two VLM in HA configuration). About the disk it will be deployed as a thin disk of 512 MB and it will start will really few space (note the used space and remember that 1 GB is the VM swap file). About the virtual networking two vNIC are defined to be used in different type of configuration (described in the next post).

Note that VMware Tools are missing and this is (IMHO) a big lack, considereing that they can help also in the VM management (like snapshot or guest shutdown/reboot). For the shutdown seems that also the web procedure does not really power-down the VM (you have to force the shutdown from vSphere Client).

One curious think that I’ve notice during the reboot/shutdown test is that the browser keept the authentintication, so probably it is stored in some cookies or persisten session data.

For more information about the KEMP LoadMaster see the previous post.