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Building a Cluster based on VMware (part II)

Posted by Veniamin Kireev on February 6, 2018
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In the previous article Building a Cluster based on VMware (part I) we saw Cluster Technologies types and understand how to install VMware ESXi. To create a cluster of ESXi hosts, we need to install vCentre. In this part, we’ll look at how to deploy the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.5

VMware vCenter is the software for managing your vSphere environment. vCenter allows you to centrally manage the entire virtual infrastructure of VMware. Currently, the version of vCenter 6.5 is relevant. There are 2 versions of vCenter:

  • Software for Windows Server-based deployment
  • A virtual machine image based on Linux (VCSA)

The key difference between these two versions is that in the case of VCSA you do not need to spend money on a Windows Server license, for VCSA the drawback is that it’s an even box.

More details about new vCentre 6.5 chips can be found in the VMware blog

In this part, we’ll look at how to deploy a standalone VCSA.

For this we need:

  • ESXi host available from the network
  • ISO file VCSA 6.5 (available here)
  • 4 gigs on the local host and 20 on the disk array.

Deploy VCSA to ESXi:

After downloading VCSA 6.5 ISO, run vcsa-ui-installer \ win32 \ installer.exe:

Launching VCSA-UI installer

After starting, you will be offered several scenarios:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install

On the next screen, the wizard informs you that we are waiting for 2 steps: installation and after – setting up VCSA:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 1 - Deploy appliance

Then read the license agreement and agree with it:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 1 - Deploy Appliance - License Agreement

Next, we define the deployment model. You can select an embedded platform compiler (PSC) with the vCentre server or split the role as shown in the diagram below. The second model is suitable if you want to deploy several vCentre and they will share the services together. Our choice is the first option:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 1 - Deploy Appliance - vCenter Server

Next, specify ESXi or vCentre server, where the software will be deployed. I choose to run ESXi, the management port, and the root account:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 1 - Deploy vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller - Appliance deployment target

Next, fill in the name of the virtual machine and root the password for our center:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 1 - Deploy vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller - Set up appliance VM

Set the virtual machine parameters for VCSA. The more infrastructure we have, the more resources we need to allocate:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 1 - Deploy vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller - Select deployment size

Next, select the disk array where VCSA will be deployed and click next:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 1 - Deploy vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller - Select Datastore

The next step is to fill the network settings for VCSA. If you use FQDN for the system name, make sure that the record exists with the correct IP, on the DNS server. Otherwise, you will get an error:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 1 - Deploy vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller - Configure Network Settings

To start the deployment, click “Finish”:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 1 - Deploy vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller - Ready to complete Stage 1

During the deployment process, the status bar will display the progress of the process:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 1 - Deploy vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller - in Progress

If you connect to an ESXi host, you can verify that the machine was created:

ESXi host - VM created

After the VM is deployed you will receive a notification:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 1 - Deploy vCenter Server with an Embedded Platform Services Controller - Deployment Complete

Click on continue and proceed to set up VCSA:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 2 - Set Up vCenter Server Appliance with an Embedded PSC - Introduction

Set the NTP server to synchronize the time:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 2 - Set Up vCenter Server Appliance with an Embedded PSC - Configuration

Next, fill in the SSO for infrastructure management:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 2 - Set Up vCenter Server Appliance with an Embedded PSC - SSO Configuration

Further, we mark whether we want to take part in CEIP or not:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 2 - Set Up vCenter Server Appliance with an Embedded PSC - Configure CEIP

Click the finish to apply the parameters:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer - Install - Stage 2 - Set Up vCenter Server Appliance with an Embedded PSC - Ready to Complete

Again we see a bar showing progress

Appliance setup is in a progress - progress bar

By the end we see the following:

Complete - Successfully setup this Appliance

Now you can connect to vCentre by going to the address that was specified in the final report:

VMware vSphere Web Client

For monitoring, go to https: // <SystemName>: 5480 and use the data for root:

VMware vSphere Appliance Management - LogIn

As you can see below, we get redundant information about the state of the system and we can monitor the CPU or Memory usage:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance - Navigator - Summary

And you can always saw the current version details and available updates for your vCenter:

VMware - vCenter Server Appliance - Navigator - Update - Current version details

Conclusion:

We deployed vCentre and now we can create a failover cluster. That will be described in the next part. As you can see, the process of deploying vCentre is very easy.

There’s no point in starting a Windows Server virtual machine to run vCentre. Since VCSA allows you to do the same, but we do not pay for a license from Microsoft.

In the next article (p III), we’ll look at how to configure VMware HA Cluster.

 

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Building a Cluster based on VMware (part III)
Building a Cluster based on VMware (part I)

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  1. […] the next article, we’ll look at how to deploy the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) […]

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