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A detailed view of what’s under the hood with HP Insight Control for VMware vCenter Server

By Guest blogger Steeve Daigle, Product Marketing, HP Converged Systems

 

In 5 easy steps to deploy a new cluster with HP OneView’s integration with VMware vCenter, I described the process of deploying a vSphere cluster through HP’s integration with VMware vCenter and HP OneView and how automation makes it up to 12X faster than before. Now I’d like to take a deeper dive into the initial phase of setting up HP OneView and other required components of this solution so they work together properly. The VMware Grow Cluster feature that is part of our latest release of HP Insight Control for VMware vCenter 7.3 (IC4VC) relies on HP OneView to automate the infrastructure provisioning and HP Insight Control Server Provisioning (ICSP) to deploy the ESXi host image on the bare-metal servers.

 

Let’s start with HP OneView.

 

>Deploy an ESXi management host with 48GB+ RAM that will host HP OneView, ICSP, media server, and vCenter 5.5 with IC4VC plugin. We recommend using HP BladeSystem c7000 with HP FlexFabric modules and BL460c Gen8 blades.

>Download HP OneView and ICSP from www.hp.com/go/oneview. Download IC4VC from www.hp.com/go/icvcenter.

>Set up HP OneView (10GB VM).

   >>Import enclosure

   >>Configure networking

   >>When creating networking, ensure the network purpose is selected appropriately. IC4VC uses the purpose to determine how the port group should be configured.

 Create network template.png

**Networks whose purpose is

General – results in creation of port port fogroups for VM Networks

Management – results in creation of a vmkernel r Management 

vMotion – results in creation of a vmkernel port with vMotion enabled

 

     >>Now let’s create the ESXi Profile Template that will be used by the Grow Cluster feature when a cluster is empty.

This is an unassigned profile that all the desired settings for each ESXi host in the cluster. This includes BIOS settings, FW baselines, connections – Ethernet and Storage networks. For redundant connectivity, simply choose the connections to the same networks or network sets for multiple nics. Active-Active networks can also be setup in the profile.

 

IC4VC will automatically team these connections when configuring vSwitches. Ensure the profile has the deployment network available as the native network on the first nic (the PXE capable nic) so that the hosts can PXE boot for OS Deployment. There is no need to explicitly change boot order to enable PXE boot; IC4VC will automatically enable PXE boot as needed.

 

Create server profile template.png

 

Create server profile image 2.png

 

 

Next, set up the ESXi host provisioning engine, HP Insight Control Server Provisioning (ICSP), using HP OneView’s RESTful API set.

 

>Install ICSP 7.2.2 as a VM with 16GB RAM  (Install Guide)

>Download HP VMWare ISO, explode it, then import using ICSP media import utility

>Install windows VM as media server

>Configure ICSP to point at media server with credentials and configure ICSP 7.2.2 as DHCP server (or use separate soft router VM)

>IC4VC requires customized OS build plans. Setup the custom build plan following pg. 43 of IC4VC 7.3 user guide and appendix B.

Finally, set up HP Insight Control for VMware vCenter.

 

 

>Install windows VM with vCenter 5.5 server

>Install IC4VC

>Setup Server Module credentials – including credentials for HP OneView, ICSP (available in the vSphere web client Administration page – see page 8 of the IC4VC 7.3 user guide).

>Setup Host Network configuration preferences – choose the type of vSwitches desired during automatic host configuration (standard Switches or Distributed switches)

>Define any custom port group names desired. The default port group names match the network names defined in OneView. In case of active-active networks, choose a common custom name mapped against the two different networks in HP Oneview that form the redundant pair.

>Apply licenses to the folders/datacenter in vCenter so that new hosts provisioned to that datacenter are automatically licensed.

 

This completes the one-time setup in IC4VC.

 

With the complete solution fully installed, it is now possible to use the Grow Cluster feature.

>Create an empty cluster, enable HA and DRS as required.

>Launch grow cluster wizard

   >>Select the profile template to be used for the provisioning the cluster members

   >>Choose the custom build plan that was setup earlier

   >>Choose the blades to be used – ideally spread these across enclosures

   >>Enter the IP address/host names for each host, credentials for each ESXi host.

 

>Watch the automation complete and the cluster fully provisioned. During this time, the template profile is cloned for each host. The Servers powered on to PXE boot into ICSP and deploy ESXi. The Servers are added to vCenter to the appropriate cluster. Server vSwitches are configured as per the host network preferences and the template.

>If the profile had redundant connections, they are all automatically teamed.  The Management vSwitch is always the standard vSwitch, but all other switches are configured based on the host network preferences set earlier. During this entire process, you can monitor the progress via the task status.

>The newly provisioned hosts are left in maintenance mode since the shared storage is not yet setup automatically. The hosts have the correct SAN connectivity (based on the template) so the shared storage can now be set up.

>Bring the host out of maintenance mode and the cluster is ready for use.

 

Once the initial steps of configuring the required components are completed, the VMware admin can continue to provision compute resources as needed. The Integration with VMware vCenter provides the needed information through a simple wizard: the server is configured and firmware updated, ESXi is provisioned and VMware host networking is automatically synchronized with the networks and vLANs defined in the HP OneView server profile.  Finally, the newly available hosts are added to the cluster from which the task was initially triggered. 

 

You can also view this video for a visual walk-through of these steps.

Check out HP OneView integration with VMware vCenter Server.

 

Be sure to register for HP Discover Las Vegas 2014 today and take advantage of great hands-on experience with convergence solutions delivered by HP. Want to see what else is available to you? Preview the HP Discover Session Catalog today.

 

Steeve

 

Read about the entire HP ConvergedSystem portfolio

Follow me on Twitter @HPConvergedSys        

Join the Converged Infrastructure discussions on LinkedIn

 

 

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Technology marketing professional with over 25 years of experience in energy, semiconductor and IT industries.


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