Deploying Cloud Foundation 3.9.1 on VxRail; Part 6

Last and possibly least (as far as effort required) for the Cloud Foundation stack is to deploy vRealize Operations. Much like the Lifecycle Manager installation, this is relatively painless.

Similar to previous deployments, I’ve already reserved an IP address for all vROPs nodes I intend on deploying and created DNS records. I’ve also entered a license key for the install in SDDC Manager. I’m leaving the install (number and size of nodes deployed) at default. Same as last time, Operations will be deployed onto the pre-created Application Virtual Network.

As you’ll see from the video above, all I had to do was select the license key and enter the FQDNs for each component. At the end of the deployment, I connected the existing workload domain.

That’s pretty much it, nothing too exciting or demanding.

As I said at the start of this series, I’m now moving on to working almost exclusively with Cloud Foundation 4.0 on VxRail 7.0. Thanks to the introduction of new features in both versions, I’m hoping to be able to cover off a few more topics that I didn’t get to in 3.9.x on VxRail 4.5 and 4.7. Things like Kubernetes, external storage connectivity, more in-depth NSX-T configuration and hopefully some PowerOne integration.

Deploying Cloud Foundation 3.9.1 on VxRail; Parts 4 & 5

The next step is a relatively easy one. I’m going to deploy vRealize Lifecycle Manager so that in the steps that follow this, I can use it to deploy both vRealize Automation and vRealize Operations Manager.

As I’ve said above, vRealize Lifecycle Manager is a simple install. One of the prerequisites of course is to have the LCM installer on the system, something I’ve already done. I may have mentioned in previous parts that before I did anything else (right after I completed the SDDC bringup), I downloaded all the packages I knew I was going to need to run through this series. Those packages are; vCenter, NSX-V, vRealize LCM, vRealize Automation and vRealize Operations Manager. I also downloaded any patch or hotfix bundles available.

Another requirement is to have an IP set aside for the LCM VM and a DNS record created. The LCM VM will be deployed onto one of the SDDC application virtual networks which I covered in a previous part. When those two easy tasks are done, I can kick off the LCM deploy in the vRealize Suite menu in the SDDC interface. Side note, if at this stage I tried to deploy anything else (vRA, vROPS), I’d get a helpful error that I need to deploy LCM first.

Less talk, more video…

The deployment process is not a very involved one. Enter an FQDN for the LCM VM, a password for the system admin and root account and that’s pretty much it. Once the deployment is done, I can log into the LCM dashboard and see that the SDDC deployed vRealize Log Insight instance has already been imported into the LCM.

Having the full LCM functionality available is useful, but throughout the final two deployments I’m not going to be using it. Everything will be done from within the vRealize menu in the SDDC UI.

Which brings me onto part five of the series, vRealize Automation. I couldn’t very well just leave this post with a simple LCM install. vRA deployment is a much more detailed and potentially troublesome process. The list of prerequisites is, as you’d expect, quite a bit longer;

  1. IP addresses allocated and DNS records created for all VMs;
      3x vRA appliance VMs
      All Windows IaaS VMs – 2x manager, 2x web, 2x DEM worker and 2x agent.
      Windows SQL VM
  1. Windows VM OVA template built to vRA specifications. Info here on VMware docs.
  2. Multi-SAN certificate signing request generated. Info here on VMware docs.
  3. License key for vRA added to SDDC licenses.
  4. Installation package for vRA downloaded to SDDC.
  5. MS SQL server built and configured with vRA database.

As you’ll see in the video above, the process is quite detailed. Roughly;

  1. Select the appropriate vRA license key.
  2. Enter certificate information. I took the CSR generated above on the SDDC command line and ran it through my Microsoft CA. Generating certs for vRA or vSphere is an entire blog post series in itself.
  3. Upload the Windows OVA for IaaS components.
  4. Validate network subnets for deployment. vRA components will be deployed onto both of the AVNs created at SDDC bringup.
  5. Enter FQDNs for all vRA components.
  6. Enter the active directory user which will be used for the Windows IaaS component VMs.
  7. Enter SQL server and database details. I took the lazy route here and used the SA user. Don’t do that. You should have an appropriately configured active directory user set as owner/admin of the vRA database.
  8. Finally, enter tenant admin details and some details that will be assigned to logins for SSH, Windows local admin, etc.
  9. The last step is to wait a long time for the vRA stack to be deployed. On my four node E460F VxRail cluster, I had to wait a little over three hours. Given the nature of vRA 7.x installation, you don’t see a whole lot of what’s going on behind the scenes (even if you were to manually install vRA). So be patient and wait for that success message.

Once everything was successfully deployed, the existing workload domain was added to the vRA stack. This involves additional agent services being installed and configured on the two IaaS agent VMs. Thankfully, this completes pretty quickly.

Once all that is done in SDDC Manager, I can log in and get to work configuring my vRA instance. But that’s outside the scope of this series, so I haven’t covered it in the video above.

Next up and last up, I’ll be deploying vRealize Operations Manager.