The vSphere Management Assistant (vMA) is a Linux-based virtual appliance. Like many areas of VMware vSphere administration, DNS configuration needs to be spot-on for the vMA to function correctly.

Because the vMA is a Linux operating system, you won’t see some of the “accidental successes” that come with Windows NetBIOS name resolution. To this end, the vMA can be configured to use explicit DNS server configuration during the installation.

In situations where multiple DNS zones are in place with VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) hosts and VMware vCenter Servers across multiple networks, it may not be enough of a name resolution configuration. Short of a DNS zone for all of the Windows components of vSphere, a local configuration on the vMA is likely the quickest path to resolution.

Even though the vMA is Linux based, it doesn’t function exactly like a typical operating system install to manage aspects of the appliance, such as the host file. To configure the host file on the vMA, a typical host file would be a simple modification of the /etc/hosts file with a text editor such as vi. During the setup of the vMA, the vi-admin account is created; this account will be used to edit the host file. The following command is needed to allow the file to be written to: sudo chmod a+w hosts. This command sequence is shown in Figure A, with the working directory displayed and the username displayed.
Figure A

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Now the file can be written to with vi. (Download the TechRepublic vi reference and cheat sheets if you haven’t already.)

Figure B shows a single host being put into the vMA in my personal lab.
Figure B

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Once the changes are saved, the host file configuration will work for name resolution.

DNS configuration is the preferred way to go, but there are situations where a host file modifications is required. If you have tweaked the vMA in other ways, tell us about it in the discussion.

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