VMware Cloud Foundation Configuration Bits


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The VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) platform automates the deployment and lifecycle management of the SDDC. The deployment will help an organization go from installation of the physical rack to a ready-for-deployment vSphere environment in a matter of hours. The VCF platform includes the following VMware products:

  • VMware vSphere Hypervisor
  • VMware vCenter Server
  • VMware NSX-v
  • VMware vRealize Operations
  • VMware vRealize Log Insight

As the previous post mentioned, there are several management components VCF relies upon for its automation and workflow framework. After the initial deployment is complete, a vSphere Administrator will still need to perform several tasks to fully configure the environment and make it ready for a production workload. Some of those steps include:

  • Configuring LDAP or Active Directory authentication sources.
  • Creating local accounts.
  • Configuring the network uplinks on the physical network equipment.
  • Configuring NSX and/or the Virtual Distributed Switch for upstream network connectivity.
  • Configuring a jump host for accessing the OOB network where the iDRAC interfaces exists.
    • Multiple jump hosts will be required, one for each physical rack since the OOB network is duplicated within each rack.
  • NIOC will need to be configured.
  • Proper configuration of the Resource Pools VCF creates will need to be completed — no reservations or shares exist after initial deployment.
  • Log Insight management packs, where necessary, will need to be configured.
  • vRealize Operations will need to be configured.
  • DNS integration.
  • Adjust the Virtual SAN storage policies per your environments requirements.

A few key points to remember,

  • Do not modify the cluster structure outside the VRM workflows — which means no creating new clusters or splitting existing clusters up.
  • Do not modify the names of any of the management virtual machines.
  • Do not modify the name of the Virtual Distributed Switches.
  • Do not modify the pre-configured portgroup names.
  • All expansion of hosts/capacity needs to be initiated from the VRM interface.
  • The management cluster will only deploy initially with 3 nodes — barely enough for any true fault tolerance for Virtual SAN. I highly encourage you to expand it to the recommended VMware Best Practice of a 4 hosts.
  • Upgrades always occur in the management cluster first, then the workload domains — which I personally believe to be a bit backwards.

The VCF product is a great first step along the path of fully automated deployments and lifecycle management. The biggest challenge to adopting it will be balancing the line between what VCF manages and what a typical vSphere Administrator is going to be used to doing. Operationally it will take some adjustment, especially when using the lifecycle management workflows for the first time.

Happy Thanksgiving!