Nested virtualization is an awesome way to learn about virtualization and
test features or processes. My AutoLab even makes the nested build process relatively
simple. But there are a few things that are impossible to test without real
servers. One feature missing from nested ESXi servers is an IPMI interface. IPMI
is a standard for out of band hardware management. Having IPMI on a nested ESXi
VM would enable testing of IPMI scripting as well as DPM, Distributed Power
Management, which is otherwise impossible. It would also resolve some of the
challenges making the Nutanix Community Edition work in nested virtualization.
So what does this IPMI for nested need? The ideal solution is for VMware
to bake it into their virtualization platforms. I simply don’t see that
happening. Instead, I hope someone in the community chooses to build something
to help others. My first thought is that a small Linux VM would be a good way
to go. The Linux VM would replicate the IPMI management controller, which is
accessed over an SSH session. Then the Linux box would need to drive the underlying
virtualization platform to power control the ESXi VMs using one of VMware’s
APIs. Naturally there would be a need for a web interface to configure the
Linux box, set its IP addresses and what VM it was responsible for controlling.
I would love to see this built and while it would be a good way for me
to learn more Linux skills I simply don’t have the time. So I’m setting the idea
free. If you think that this would be useful then pass the message on. If you
start building an IMI appliance and need a tester then get in touch with me.
© 2015, Alastair. All rights reserved.