vSphere 6.5 Content Libraries

I was aware of Content Libraries when the feature was released in vSphere 6.0, although I didn’t make use of it. I found this article by Jon Kensy which gives a really good review on the usability of Content Libraries in vSphere 6.0, however there have been improvements since then. In this post we’ll take a look at Content Libraries in vSphere 6.5, which has additional features including the option to mount an ISO from a Content Library, update existing templates, and apply guest OS Customisation Specifications during VM deployments. If Content Libraries reside on VCSA then we can also make use of vCenter HA, and native Backup and Restore, both new to v6.5.

In the steps below we will create a publisher library, add some content, and then create a subscription library on a different vCenter Server. You can learn more about Content Libraries in the vSphere 6.5 Documentation Centre.

contentlibrary

Create Publisher Library

The vCenter Server where the Content Library will be updated is assigned the publisher role. Log into the vSphere web client of the vCenter Server to deploy the publisher library, from the home page select Content Libraries.

contentlibrary1

From the Objects tab click the icon with the green plus symbol to create a new library. The new library wizard will open. Enter a name, and description if required. Select the vCenter Server to be the publisher and click Next.

contentlibrary2

Select Local content library. To allow other vCenter Servers to subscribe select Publish content library externally (this can be done later if required). If you want to add a password to the library tick Enable authentication. Click Next to continue.

contentlibrary3

Select the storage where the library will reside, click Next.

contentlibrary4

Review the details on the summary page and click Finish. The Content Library has been created.

contentlibrary5

Add Content

With the new Content Library selected, browse the different tabs. Configure allows us to publish the library for other vCenter Servers, and password protect if required. The subscription URL is also listed, which is needed to add a subscription library on a different vCenter Server.

The Templates tab is self explanatory and lists the templates stored in the Content Library. Templates can be imported or created from an existing virtual machine or template in the inventory. To create a template from a virtual machine right click and select Clone, Clone to Template in Library.

clone

A new template will be created. For existing templates you can right click and choose Clone to Library.

existingtemplate

Now from the Content Library we can right click the template and select New VM from This Template. The usual deploy virtual machine from template wizard opens, here we also have the option to customise the guest OS with a Customisation Specification.

template

Using the Other Types tab files such as ISO or OVA can be added. Once an ISO is imported it can be mounted to a virtual machine direct from the Content Library.

iso

Create Subscription Library

Additional vCenter Servers which will pull content from the publisher are assigned the subscription role. Log into the vSphere web client of the vCenter Server to subscribe to the library, from the home page select Content Libraries.

contentlibrary1

From the Objects tab click the icon with the green plus symbol to create a new library. The new library wizard will open. Enter a name, and description if required. Select the vCenter Server to be the subscriber and click Next.

contentlibrary2

Select Subscribed content library. Enter the Subscription URL provided by the publisher library. If authentication is required then select the appropriate tick box. You should also decide whether to download all the content now, or download on demand. Obviously the latter will use less storage capacity however access to library items will be slower. When you’re ready click Next.

subscription

Select the storage where the library will reside, click Next.

storage

Review the details on the summary page and click Finish. The Content Library has been added. From the drop-down Actions menu you can manually synchronise the library, edit, rename, or delete.

62 thoughts on “vSphere 6.5 Content Libraries

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