In this post, you'll see a quick walkthrough of the StacksWare installation process. Due to the agentless nature of StacksWare, installation is effortless and usually completes within just 15 minutes.

Step 1: Deploy the StacksWare OVA

After you've requested a free 15-day trial, you'll be prompted to download the StacksWare OVA file. This is a virtual appliance that deploys into your vCenter, and will be configured to agentlessly monitor your machines.

Once you’ve deployed the virtual appliance, it will automatically attempt to get a DHCP lease. You can manually configure it to have a static IP with the command swcli network setup.

Once the appliance has network connection, it will automatically download updates, and then a blue screen will indicate an IP address to use for the registration process.

If you have already made a StacksWare cloud account, skip to step 3. Otherwise, proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Registering your StacksWare cloud account

By this time, you should have received an email invitation to set up your account in the StacksWare web portal, as seen on the left in the image below. Simply click on the blue Join button, and you'll be taken to an account registration page.

Note that in this example, the organization name is Demo Environment and the web portal is located at demo.stacksware.com. This information will be important for the next step.

Step 3: StacksWare Appliance Registration

Navigate to the IP address indicated on the blue screen to begin registration.

Enter your domain, which in this example would be demo, and your credentials for the account registered in step 2 to log into the registration portal.

Once logged in, you will be prompted to select a collection method. The continuous option deploys and manages a lightweight executable onto guest machines, to provide real-time monitoring. The polling option uses periodic scans to collect information without deploying an agent onto any endpoints.

You may now configure data collection sources, which StacksWare uses to discover machines. StacksWare can use 3 different sources to find machines:

  1. vCenter (virtual machines only)
  2. Active Directory Domain Controller (virtual and physical machines)
  3. IP Address Range (virtual and physical machines)

Click on the blue plus symbol to add a source.

vCenter Source: This source leverages vCenter to discover virtual machines. Provide the IP address of your vCenter Server and your vCenter service account credentials to authenticate the source.

Active Directory Domain Controller Source: This source uses an Active Directory Domain Controller to discover machines. You may provide an LDAP search base to narrow the set of machines to discover.

IP Address Range Source: This source uses IP address ranges to discover machines.

Once you've configured your source, it will appear on the registration page.

Now that you've added a source, it's time to add machine credentials, which will allow StacksWare to log into and monitor the machines discovered from this source.

To add machine credentials, click on the Credentials button.

For these machine credentials, we recommend that you use the built-in "Administrator" account or the domain "Administrator" account to avoid permissions issues.

Note that only the machines covered by the machine credentials will be monitored. You may add as many machine credentials as you'd like.

When you're finished inputting your credentials, press submit to continue.

StacksWare will now validate the source and machine credentials entered by discovering all the machines from the source, and attempting to log into them with the provided machine credentials.

You should ensure that StacksWare discovered all the machines you expected, given the source information provided. Furthermore, you should ensure that StacksWare was able to successfully authenticate against the machines for which you provided credentials.

If everything looks good, click on Add Credentials, and StacksWare will immediately begin monitoring your machines. It's as simple as that!

You may repeat this process with different sources and sets of machine credentials, until StacksWare is monitoring your entire environment.

Step 4: Visit your StacksWare web portal to view the data

Now that StacksWare is collecting data, it's time to go to your web portal, located at subdomain.stacksware.com (in this example, it would be demo.stacksware.com).

You're all done! See? It really was just 15 minutes.

How to Learn More

Interested in learning more? Request a free trial or email your questions to me directly at rahul@stacksware.com.