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Part 2: Deploy VMware Cloud Foundation

Before you Begin

As with the previous phase of our deployment, there are a few prerequisites prior to beginning this section. 

Those are:

  • Separate, previously deployed ESXi, Hyper-V or other bare metal host or other laptop/desktop where the CloudBuilder OVA can be deployed with management network connectivity to the FlashStack ESXi hosts.

  • Four vSAN-ready ESXi hosts built in the previous phase of this document for Management Domain.  

  • NTP Server that can communicate with CloudBuilder and underlying ESXi hosts.

  • CloudBuilder OVA deployed on the above host or laptop with a static IP address.

  • Minimum of three routable production VLANS for use with VMware Cloud Foundation (Management, vMotion and VMware vSAN).

  • Required VMware Cloud Foundation license keys

Build the Cloud Foundation Management Domain 

VMware Cloud Foundation deployments all begin in the same way:  Building a Management Domain with vSAN via the CloudBuilder OVA.  This takes a VMware Validated Design (VVD) as input.  This methodology ensures consistency in the critical first phase of a greenfield deployment by requiring users to input a predefined set of values into an excel spreadsheet or JSON file.  This, in turn, minimizes the chance of a mistake and directs users to correct errors before deployment kicks off.  Since this deployment guide is based upon VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0, we will be using VVD6 for our sample architecture.

The first step is to log in to the CloudBuilder VM with the administrator credentials provided when the VM was built.  Once logged in, there is a more exhaustive list of prerequisites specific to VMware Cloud Foundation that need to be reviewed and acknowledged before moving forward.

Once the prerequisites have been reviewed, and the platform type has been specified (VMware VVD) the end-user can download the input specification as an excel spreadsheet or as a JSON file. 

This comprehensive deployment specification needs to be filled out with items such as:

  • VLANs to be used
  • Hostnames for both appliances and ESXi hosts (DNS entries must be made prior to Management Domain deployment)
  • VMware product license keys
  • Appliance users and passwords 
  • DNS/NTP servers

In a larger environment some of those items above needed might require communicating with multiple groups (e.g. network, security and software procurement teams) in order to gather all of the input data needed.  However, once all of this data has been amassed, the input specification will be uploaded to CloudBuilder, checked and then the SDDC and Management Domain deployment will kick off after verification. 

As with Cisco Validated Designs, VMware Validated Designs are a blueprint that automates formerly repetitive tasks and will stand up the entire Management Domain stack on the end users behalf, bringing VMware online much faster than the manual alternative. 

As the deployment process continues, users can see each step of the deployment process.  If any errors are encountered they will be displayed within the GUI, providing context on when and where an issue was encountered.  Detailed logs of the bring-up process can be found by connecting via ssh to the CloudBuilder VM itself and reviewed for more details when necessary.

SDDC Manager and Management Domain deployment times can vary greatly depending on how many ESXi hosts are in the management cluster, ESXi host resources and overall network connectivity, but once completed CloudBuilder will have fulfilled its role and SDDC Manager can be launched.

With the Management Deployment phase now completed in the preceding steps, we will now walk through a few options for using Workload Domains with Pure Storage.

Click here to proceed to Part 3 of the deployment process:  Adding Workload Domains with Pure Storage.