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Workload Domain setup with VMware Cloud Foundation and FlashArray with Fibre Channel

You can download the PDF file here, or you can view the inline copy below:

Introduction

VMware Cloud Foundation provides wizard-driven workflows that enables users to deploy entire vCenter-based environments with a few simple clicks; automating many of the repetitive tasks normally associated with creation and maintenance.  This document will provide step-by-step instructions for bringing up a Workload Domain within VMware Cloud Foundation using a VMFS volume attached to a FlashArray with the Fibre-Channel (FC) protocol.  To use iSCSI, please see the previous KB article and use either the vSAN or NFS deployment type using the process described.  At this time iSCSI and vVols are not supported natively within VMware Cloud Foundation Workload Deployment (though it is supported to add them to a workload domain after deployment).  If those functionalities are added in the future this KB will be updated accordingly.

This flowchart represents the overall steps needed to deploy a vCF Workload Domain with Fibre Channel.

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We assume that the following prerequisites have been completed prior to the steps outlined within this article:

  • VMware Cloud Foundation 3.9 or later.
  • Management Cluster (4 – 8 hosts) with vSAN has been deployed using VMware Cloud Builder.
  • VMware SDDC Manager is available and online.
  • ESXi has been installed on all target Workload Servers and setup for use in VMware Cloud Foundation per VMware documentation.
  • ESXi Workload hosts have been commissioned for use within SDDC Manager.
  • Pure Storage FlashArray(s) has/have been cabled, setup and properly zoned for connectivity to Workload Domain ESXi hosts with FC.

Workload Domain Deployment Process

Step 1:  The first step in this process will be creating a host group comprised of the ESXi hosts you want to use in your Workload Domain, creating and then connecting a volume to the host group and lastly formatting a VMFS volume for use.  There are multiple ways to accomplish these steps, the easiest is via using a combination of the Pure Storage GUI and the Console on your ESXi hosts.  Other options include vRealize Orchestrator or vRealize Automation workflows.  To start down the CLI setup path, we first login to the array with the pureuser account.

 >ssh pureuser@<ArrayManagementIP>

Step 2:  Create a host group and populate that host group with the ESXi hosts you want to deploy in your Workload Domain.  For initial deployment a Workload Domain requires a minimum of 3 ESXi hosts.  In this example our Host Group name is vCF-FC.

> purehgroup create --hostlist HOST1,HOST2,HOST3 vCF-FC

Name    Hosts

vCF-FC  HOST1

        HOST2

        HOST3

Step 3:  Create and connect a volume to the Host Group created in the previous step.

> purevol create --size 10T vCF-FC-1

Name      Size  Source  Created                  Serial

vCF-FC-1  10T   -       2019-10-08 15:04:02 PDT  2BBD83D185B249AC00011A26

> purehgroup connect --vol vCF-FC-1 vCF-FC

Name    Vol       Lun

vCF-FC  vCF-FC-1  254

Step 4:  Log into one of the ESXi hosts either through the Direct Connect UI or CLI and navigate to Storage (The ESXi SSH service must be enabled in order to use CLI).

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Step 5:  Rescan the vHBA adapters on the host to pickup the newly created Pure Storage volume.

Step 6:  Create and name a new datastore on the host using VMFS6.

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Step 7:  Login to the other ESXi hosts and perform a rescan.  Confirm that the new VMFS datastore is available on all hosts to be part of the Workload Domain before proceeding.

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Step 8:  Login to the VMware Cloud Foundation SDDC Manager instance.  Click on adding a Workload Domain.  

Step 9:  Select the VMFS on FC storage type.

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Step 10:  Provide basic cluster identifying information.

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Step 11:  Provide Workload Domain vCenter specifications.  Note that forward and reverse DNS lookup entries for vCenter must be made prior to Workload Domain construction.

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Step 12:  There are two options for networking with VMware Cloud Foundation:  NSX-V and NSX-T.  Please note that the NSX-T installation package must be downloaded to the SDDC Manager repository prior to that option becoming functional.  Similar to vCenter, all DNS forward and reverse lookup entries must also be made prior to deployment.  In this example deployment we use NSX-T.

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Step 13:  Select at a minimum 3 ESXi hosts to be members of the Workload Domain cluster.  Additional hosts can be added and removed later (provided there are a minimum of three hosts).  This greatly enhances the ability scale up and scale down workloads based on real-time business needs.

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Step 14:  Enter the VMFS datastore name that was created back in step 6.

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Step 15:  Provide license files for vCenter and NSX-T.

Step 16:  Confirm Object Names that are auto-generated via the earlier steps in the deployment do not conflict with any existing VMware Objects.

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Step 17:  Review deployment settings and click ‘Finish’ to build the environment.

Step 18:  Once the Workload Domain has finished deployment, you now have a multitude of options for how to connect and administer Pure Storage alongside of it. 

Some options are: 

 

Narrated Demo Video

This video provides narrated step-by-step instructions on setting up a Workload Domain with VMware Cloud Foundation with Fibre Channel.