This is the first in a series of posts covering VCF On VxRail 4.4. The following detailed post provides an example walkthrough covering the process of:

  • Deploying a VxRail Management Workload Domain cluster
  • Deploying VMware CloudBuilder for VxRail
  • Bring-Up of VCF 4.4

Versions used in this example are VCF 4.4 & VxRail 7.0.320. Release Notes:

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Cloud-Foundation/4.4/rn/vmware-cloud-foundation-44-on-dell-emc-vxrail-release-notes.html

The end result of this example build is that of a single site VCF on VxRail solution including a single NSX-T VI Workload Domain (thanks to @HeagaSteve for the architectural diagram):

Management Workload Domain Creation

The VxRail bring-up of the Management Cluster is similar to a standard VxRail bring-up with embedded vCenter being deployed. Previously there was a requirement to externalize the vCenter using VxRail Manager plugin from the vCenter HTML client but this is now fully automated as part of the Cloud Builder Bring-Up process. Also changing the Management port group to Ephemeral port type post VxRail bring-up is also not required as it is now an option during the VxRail deployment as can be seen in the following walkthrough. This release disables the SSH service on ESXi hosts by default. Tasks include:

  • VxRail Mgmt WLD cluster bring-up
  • Enable Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP)
  • Rename DC, Cluster, VDS, vSAN
  • Confirm health status

Deploy CloudBuilder

VCF On VxRail is deployed leveraging VMware Cloud Builder for which the OVA can be downloaded from VMware.com and deployed as follows: 

VCF Bring-Up

The following section details the VCF on VxRail Bring-Up. At this stage the Cloud Builder VM has been deployed, powered on and user logged into the Cloud Builder UI, from here you proceed as follow:

  • Download the parameter Sheet from Cloud Builder
  • Populate the Parameter sheet based on network and environment specifics
  • Validate the Parameter sheet values

Below are some example screen captures of the parameter sheet (Note: it is no longer required to provide Edge/AVN entries and BGP Peering details at this point as this task is now a Day-N option which I will cover in Part 2.):

Before proceeding with the VCF bring-up it is good practice to create snapshots of the following virtual machines in the result that a rollback is required:

  1. VMware vCenter Server Appliance
  2. VMware Cloud Builder
  3. VxRail Manager

During bring-up the following components are automatically deployed and configured:

  • SDDC Manager
  • NSX-T Managers

Cloud Builder Tasks:

On completion of VCF Bring-up we review the Management Domain VMs created in vCenter by the VCF Bring-Up process and confirm automatic IP assignment from the DHCP IP pool for the NSX-T Virtual Tunnel Endpoints (VTEPs).

Note: Cloud Builder in previous releases generated a JSON file for the management cluster from the uploaded config file, this vcf-public-vxrail.json file is now automatically deleted upon successful bring-up to address security concerns.

In Part 2 I will walkthrough the deployment of Application Virtual Networks (AVN)s including the NSX Edge Cluster and NSX network segments via SDDC Manager UI.

Note: this is an example for reference only please use the VxRail installation procedures provided by Dell EMC.

Thanks for reading!

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