Shutdown vs. Power Off in vCloud Director vApps.
vCloud Director is a great tool, but I feel like some people aren’t always using it in the precise way that it was designed. When you want to perform maintenance on a VM that vCD manages, you’re probably going to have to have that VM powered down. So, what do you do? You open your vApp, right click on your VM and select Power Off, right? Well, I’ve seen a lot of people do just that, but it’s not really what I’d recommend. Remember, Power Off is not Shutdown; it’s just going to perform a hard power off and your VM might have some issues after that.
So, what do you do? There’s no “Shutdown” option on that Right Click menu in vCD. Since you want to keep your servers in tip-top shape, you open the VM console and then issue a command inside the guest OS (good ole “shutdown /s” anyone?). The VM goes down gracefully and you can now manage it… but the vApp might be in an interesting state: “partially running” which can prevent you from changing some of its settings (even if that VM was the only one in the vApp). From here, you can select the vApp itself and press that big red “stop” button in order to fully power off the vApp for maintenance on it.
Why not do that from the first place, you ask? Well, that might be a good solution, especially after you tweak some settings. By default, that “Stop” button performs a “Power Off” operation on all VMs in the vApp. In my experience, that’s not very useful. Fortunately, it can be changed.
If you Right Click on the vApp (not a VM within it, but the vApp itself), you can select Properties and then go to the Starting and Stopping VMs tab. From there, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Just change the Stop Action for each VM from Power Off (default) to Shutdown. Now, if you need a hard power function, you can still target individual VMs within the vApp, but for general shutdown purposes, you can easily perform soft power functions. As an added benefit, while you’re in there, you can set the order for those power operations in order to ensure that things work smoothly!