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Booting and Pairing VMware Virtual Sensors (vSensors)

About Virtual Sensor OVA images

Vectra Brain appliances may be paired both with physical Sensors and with vSensors - virtual Sensors.  The appliances make an OVA image available for download and subsequent use for vSensors.

Vectra appliances typically operate with updates enabled.  Regular updates ensure that the appliances are running the very latest version.  Deployed Sensors and vSensors also update regularly.  

When a Brain updates, the corresponding OVA which it makes available for download and use on vSensors is updated as well.  As such, it is recommended to ensure to download and use the very latest available OVA from your Brain any time you deploy a new vSensor.  

Once a vSensor has been deployed, it will update itself as needed, staying current with its Brain.  

About vSensor Auto Pairing

Auto Pairing is configurable in the UI: Settings – System – Sensors page.  


If Auto Pairing is enabled, the vSensor will automatically complete the Pairing process.
If Auto Pairing is disabled, the vSensor will appear in UI: Settings – System – Sensors page, but must be manually Paired by clicking on the vSensor name and clicking the “Pair” button.

Notes about Pairing with new or changed Brains:

  • If you have a backup of your Brain and restore it to a new Brain with the same configuration (IP or hostname), previously paired Sensors (including vSensors) will connect to the new Brain automatically as the Sensor state is saved in the backup.
  • If the Brain IP has changed but otherwise remains the same, the vSensors may be updated to the new IP address using the "set brain" command.
  • Existing tunnels have to terminate to re-establish connection to a new Brain.  This can be accomplished a few different ways.
    • Naturally because the original Brain is no longer reachable due to firewall change, hardware or software failure, etc.
    • Using the "del brain" command on the vSensor you wish to Pair to the new Brain.
    • Unpairing from the original Brain and having the vSensor attempting communication to the original Brain.

Notes about OVAs and Pairing by Hostname vs IP

  • The vSensor (and Stream) OVAs downloaded from the Brain will use, by default, the Brain’s IP address for Pairing.
  • You will need to set the “Settings > General > Sensors > Pair using DNS name” option to generate the OVA that points at a hostname. 
    • When this setting is change, it does not affect any previously Paired (either by IP or Hostname) vSensors.

Downloading the latest Virtual Sensor OVA image

The current vSensor image (OVA) for use on new vSensors can be downloaded from the Brain by clicking the blue button “Download Virtual Sensor OVA” from the UI: Manage - Sensors page. 

 If the announce is successful, the vSensor will appear in the UI at the "Manage > Sensors" page.

Booting a vSensor

Vectra vSensors can be deployed into a virtualization environment just as any other OVA would be.

For production level monitoring, ensure that the vSensor VMs is kept running 24x7, and ensure that the hypervisor does not overcommit resources or otherwise misrepresent the resources it is providing to the vSensor.

vSensors do not have a distinct web UI, however they do have a CLI interface available via ssh.  Login as the user 'vectra' to access the sensor CLI.

vSensors, like physical Sensors, will update themselves at boot if needed, to stay current with their Brain.  Sensor CLI functions and traffic functions will become available only after the vSensor has ensured it is up-to-date.  Depending on the specific version of the vSensor, you may see errors or warnings when running CLI functions during the period of time when the vSensor is still updating.

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