VMware Cloud Foundation Configuration Bits
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.