Product Documentation

App Layering in VMware vSphere

Aug 30, 2017

vSphere Prerequisites

If you are installing the App Layering appliance in vSphere and building your layers on vSphere VMs or publishing Layered Images to vSphere, you need:

  • Network access to Tools download

    You need access from the Packaging Machine VM in vSphere to the Tools download (available on the Download page).

  • vCenter account and privileges

    • An existing or new vCenter account to use for App Layering.
    • The account must have vCenter privileges to: Create and remove VMDKs, and to copy and delete layers on VMDKs using vSphere file APIs (see detailed list of vCenter permissions below).
  • Dedicated vCenter role for App Layering (optional)

    To set up a new role:

    1. In the vSphere Client, navigate to Home > Administration > Roles.
    2. Click Add Role.
    3. Enter a name. Example: UDAdmin.
    4. Set the privileges for this account.
  • Privileges set for the vCenter role you are using for the App Layering service

    Add the required vCenter permissions (detailed permissions list below).

    1. Open the Assign Permissions window.
    2. In the vSphere Client, navigate to Home > Inventory > Hosts and Clusters.
    3. Select your vCenter, right-click, and select Add permission.
    4. In the Assign Permissions window, under Assigned Role, expand All Privileges.
    5. Select the permissions listed below, make sure that the Propogate to Child Objects check box is selected, and click OK. displayed.
  • The App Layering role associated with the administrator account

    Associate the App Layering role with the administrator account:

    1. Add the administrator account and assign the App Layering role to it.
    2. Allow the permissions to propagate to the entire Datacenter.

      Note: If you want to restrict this use from accessing specific folders in the Datacenter, grant the user more restrictive permissions for those folders.

  • vCenter permissions

    App Layering requires vCenter-level privileges to request information about the execution status of tasks. Without those privileges, the tasks would fail.

Expand All Privileges, and each of the following... Then select...


  • Allocate space
  • Browse datastore
  • Low level file operations


  • Create folder
  • Delete folder


  • Cancel task

Host > Configuration

  • System Management


  • Assign network


  • Assign virtual machine to resource pool


  • Export
  • Import
  • vApp application configuration

Virtual machine > Configuration

  • Add existing disk
  • Add new disk
  • Add or remove device
  • Advanced
  • Change CPU count
  • Change resource
  • Configure managedBy
  • Disk change tracking
  • Memory
  • Modify device settings
  • Remove disk
  • Rename
  • Reset guest information
  • Set annotation
  • Settings
  • Swapfile placement
  • Upgrade virtual hardware

Virtual machine > Interaction

  • Answer question
  • Configure CD media
  • Console interaction
  • Device connection
  • Power off
  • Power on
  • Reset
  • Suspend

Virtual machine > Inventory

  • Create from existing
  • Create new
  • Register
  • Remove
  • Unregister

Virtual machine > Provisioning

  • Clone template (optional, but required to use a vSphere template as the source VM)
  • Clone virtual machine
  • Customize
  • Deploy template
  • Mark as template

Virtual machine > Snapshot management

  • Create snapshot
  • Remove Snapshot

Storage requirements

  • 350-500 GB Storage Space
    The App Layering appliance uses local storage for temporary files and finalized layers. The more layers you create, the more space you need. However, if you run low on space, you can expand the size of the current disk, or add other disks to the appliance when needed.

  • 40-100 GB network file share (SMB)
    The file share connected to the appliance is used for upgrades, Elastic Layers, and cross-platform publishing. This space is easy to expand, if needed.

Operating System requirement

Operating System for Layered Images

You need a supported operating system freshly installed from ISO, to use in your OS layer. The OS layer is used to build all of your other layers and Layered Images. Preferably, import the ISO from your hypervisor, so that the operating system is partially optimized for your environment.