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Managing StarWind Infrastructure from your Web Browser

Everybody in IT should agree that it is convenient to manage your infrastructure from anywhere you are located. One of the possible solutions is administration via web. Recently, StarWind announced its own solutions to manage its infrastructure from a web browser. There are two ways to do it: by deploying StarWind Gateway VM or by using StarWind Virtual Storage Appliance.

StarWind Gateway VM, or StarWind Management Appliance (SWMA), is a Linux-based virtual machine which can be deployed from the template. It accepts incoming HTTP connections and transforms them into RDP sessions. After configuring the VM and a target host, you will be automatically directed into the RDP session on the target StarWind host when entering a Gateway VM IP in a web browser. Thus, you get the control over storage-related operations, such as creating devices on the available target servers, etc.

On the other hand, StarWind VSA is a Linux-based virtual machine which can be deployed from a template as well. It can be used as a fully functional StarWind node, but it can also be used for managing the existing StarWind infrastructure in a web browser.

The main difference between mentioned VMs is that with Gateway VM (SWMA) you should set the Target Server IP while StarWind VSA uses its internal components.

The Target server is a VM or a host where StarWind Web Console feature is installed and a user account for Web Access configured. To make the setup easier, these components can be added from a StarWind installation file on the instance where StarWind service is running.

In my lab, I have deployed StarWind Gateway VM using the instructions from this guide: https://www.starwindsoftware.com/starwind-management-console-thin-client-configuration-guide

The procedure is very straightforward and took less than an hour.

StarWind VSA can be downloaded and deployed using the instructions from this page: https://www.starwindsoftware.com/starwind-virtual-san-vsa

Once you deploy the VM, you get an access to StarWind Web Console and can then add any servers there by clicking the "Add Server" button and then manage your StarWind infrastructure.

starwind-webbrowser-localhost 

For ESXi configurations where vCenter is deployed, there is an additional possibility to Manage StarWind infrastructure -  by installing StarWind vCenter plugin.

StarWind vCenter plugin can be integrated on desktop (thick) vSphere Client as well as on vSphere Web Client. These plugins can be deployed whether from Gateway VM or StarWind VSA.

To deploy StarWind vCenter plugin on vSphere Clients, please follow the next steps:

1.       Open your web browser and enter URL depending on vSphere Client:

-          For the desktop (thick) vSphere Client on VMware vCenter v5.5:

http://%youripaddress% /starwindplugin/setup

 -         For vSphere Web Client on VMware vCenter v6.0:

http://%youripaddress% /starwindplugin/setup_v6

 -         For vSphere Web Client on VMware vCenter v6.5:

http://%youripaddress% /starwindplugin/setup_v65

Specify vCenter IP address, vCenter Administrator credentials, and your e-mail and then press the Install button.

starwind-webbrowser-plugin 

Once you will receive an "Installation complete" message, you can start using StarWind vCenter plugin (thick) vSphere Client on VMware vCenter v5.5.

To complete the installation for StarWind vSphere plugin for vSphere v.6.5 (v.6.0), open your web browser, enter the IP address or the hostname of either SWMA or Gateway VM in the following way: https://%youripaddress%:8443, and accept the certificate from this website.

I had to re-login into vSphere Web Client to make StarWind Management appear on the vSphere homepage (CTRL+ALT+1):

starwind-webbrowser-webclient 

At the first time, it is asking for StarWind appliance IP which is similar to SWMA or Gateway VM IP you have used to deploy the vCenter plugin.

starwind-webbrowser-pluginb 

starwind-webbrowser-pluginb

After re-entering into StarWind Management from vSphere Homepage, StarWind vCenter plugin asks for login credentials.

starwind-webbrowser-credentials 

Now, StarWind Management Console has appeared in VMware vSphere Web Client.

starwind-webbrowser-console 

So, as you see, it is extremely simple to configure a remote web access to StarWind infrastructure and make your life easier.

Useful StarWind guides:

Deploying Gateway VM: https://www.starwindsoftware.com/starwind-management-console-thin-client-configuration-guide

StarWind vSphere Plug-in Installation Guide for vSphere v.5.5: https://www.starwindsoftware.com/starwind-management-console-vsphere-plug-in-installation-guide  

StarWind vSphere Plug-in Installation Guide for vSphere v.6.0: https://www.starwindsoftware.com/starwind-management-console-vsphere-web-plug-in-installation-guide 

Published Friday, September 29, 2017 8:30 AM by David Marshall
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