Taking the pain out of the Internet Explorer requirement for RHEV 3.0

For non-Windows administrators, the Internet Explorer requirement for RHEV 3.0

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management can be maddening, but proper preparation can limit the hassle.

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Recently, Red Hat proudly released Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) 3.0, which no longer requires Windows Server. But that doesn’t mean you can deploy RHEV 3.0 without Windows, because Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) is the only supported browser for managing the virtualization platform.

For a typical Linux audience, that’s a big hurdle -- especially if a server-based version of Windows is used. Internet Explorer prohibits access to most websites, including ones that execute code in the browser, which RHEV requires for management. So before connecting to the RHEV management portal, you need to carry out a couple of steps in IE.

Fulfilling the Internet Explorer requirement for RHEV 3.0 management
First, you need to install.NET 4.0 from Microsoft’s website. The RHEV Management portal (RHEV-M) is completely written in .NET, and Linux doesn’t support that programming language very well.

Installing .NET is the easy part. What is not so easy is switching off the Internet Explorer Enhanced Security Configuration (ESC), which prevents IE from executing the scripts necessary to manage RHEV 3.0.     

Disabling ESC will depend on your version of IE. On Windows Server, you can best perform this procedure from the administrative tools on the server. On a Windows workstation, select Tools > Internet Options > Security to switch off ESC for administrators as well as ordinary users.

Next, from the same interface, add the RHEV-M management site to the trusted sites. You can’t proceed to the next step, which involves installing the certificates necessary for managing RHEV 3.0, until you complete this step.

Importing the correct certificates
Once you remove the security restrictions, you need to import two certificates to access the RHEV-M management site. Be careful, though: You cannot simply select all of the default choices in the wizard. You need to make sure the Server certificate is installed in the Trusted Roots folder and not in the default selection that Windows provides.

The Red Hat documentation clearly states that you need to install this certificate, but this step often goes awry, because most people don’t really read the documentation. After this final hurdle, you’re ready to manage RHEV 3.0 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux from Internet Explorer.

The future of RHEV and Internet Explorer requirement
It is a bit surprising that RHEV 3.0 depends on Windows, so I asked Red Hat why there’s still an Internet Explorer requirement and if the vendor has plans to change that.

Red Hat reiterated that the primary administration interface is based on .NET and the Windows Presentation Foundation, which is supported only in Internet Explorer. There is also a Web administration interface based on HTML, JavaScript and the GWT toolkit, which works across multiple platforms. But it’s a technical preview and not recommended for production environments.

Also included in RHEV 3.0 is a self-service PowerUser Portal, which provides a Web administration interface for virtual machine lifecycle operations.

In RHEV 3.1, however, Red Hat plans to nix the Internet Explorer requirement by removing the .NET code, and RHEV will only support the Web admin interface.

This was first published in May 2012

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