VMware vCloud Director 101: vApps – Part 1

August 10, 2014
Applications, Cloud

intro to vapps part 1

Welcome to US Signal’s vCloud Director 101 series. In this series we will be introducing vApps and exploring some of their uses in vCloud Director. Part 1 covers the basics of what vApps are, how they control and display their power states, and how they can affect the start and stop order of the Virtual Machines they contain.

With careful planning, vApps can help you keep your Virtual Machines organized, control their power states, and even manage some aspects of networking on those Virtual Machines. In order to get the most out of the vApps found in your Resource Pool, you will want to have a firm understanding of just what vApps are and how they work.

What is a vApp?

What are vApps and how do they function in vCloud Director?

While managing your US Signal Resource Pool using vCloud Director you will find that almost all of your work begins with vApps. A vApp is a logical container that can contain Virtual Machines and even share some of their functionality. vApps can be used to create templates in your environment and are able to provide some networking functions. vApps are versatile tools and with good implementation, they can assist you in organizing and managing your Resource Pool. While it’s true that vApps at their core are containers, they are also able to do much more.

vApps can:

  • Contain multiple Virtual Machines (Up to 128 Virtual Machines!)
  • Be powered on, off, or be suspended, affecting the Virtual Machines they contain
  • Control start and stop settings for individual Virtual Machines they contain
  • Be copied or moved as a unit including the Virtual Machines they contain
  • Have a snapshot taken as a unit including the Virtual Machines they contain
  • Be made into a Template and added to the Catalog
  • Contain isolated vApp networks

You can think of a vApp as a self-contained organizational unit.

For instance, let’s assume that your organization has branch offices in Michigan and Ohio and each location has a file server and a database server. One easy way of organizing your virtual machines would be to use two vApps, named OhioOffice and MichiganOffice with each containing their respective file and database servers. An alternative solution would be to organize the virtual machines by function. Again you could have two vApps, one named FileServers and the other named DatabaseServers. Both of these options are equally viable, as the flexibility of vApps allows you to develop your own organization and naming conventions.

Tip: You can always rearrange your VMs and rename vApps whenever you need to.

vApp Power States

What are the power states of vApps and what do they say about the state of the VMs they contain?

vApps are organizational containers that perform a variety of functions. One of the most powerful features is the ability to turn on, turn off, or suspend all of the Virtual Machines it contains. vApps have four power states:

  • Stopped: The vApp is stopped and all of the Virtual Machines it contains are in a fully powered off state.
  • Running: The vApp is running and all of the Virtual Machines it contains are in a fully powered on state.
  • Partially Running: The vApp is running, but one or more of the Virtual Machines it contains is powered off or suspended.
  • Suspended: The vApp is suspended and all of the Virtual Machines it contains are suspended as well.

vApp Settings – Starting and Stopping VMs

How are Virtual Machines affected by the options for Starting and Stopping Virtual Machines in a vApp’s settings?

vApps can be used to control the order in which the Virtual Machines they contain are powered on and off. In addition to controlling the starting order of the Virtual Machines, these settings can also define a delay (in seconds).

Order indicates the relative order of the Virtual Machine’s start or stop action. Virtual Machines with a lower order number will be handled first. Virtual Machines with identical order numbers will be handled at the same time.

Start Action defines the action that a Virtual Machine should perform when starting up.

Start Wait sets the number (in seconds) that the Virtual Machine will wait before performing its Start Action.

Stop Action defines the action the Virtual Machine should take when it is stopped.

Stop Wait sets the number (in seconds) that the Virtual Machine will wait before performing its Stop Action.

As you continue to work with your US Signal Resource Pool through vCloud Director, you will find that managing your vApps carefully will be a benefit to both you and your team. In Part 2 of this series, we will look at copying and moving vApps, as well as an introduction to vApp networking; we will also cover the basics of creating a template from a vApp.


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