Category Archives: Lab

SDDC Lab, Home Lab

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virtuallyGhetto Automated NSX-T 2.0 Lab Deployment Gotchas

I was very excited when William Lam develop an automated NSX-T 2.0 Lab deployment and I always wanted to try it out. I had tried to install NSX-T 2.0 manually couple of weeks back and I know its quite painful to install it so since there is an automated way of doing it, its going to save me lotsa time. However, its not so straight forward to use William script whole sale and below I am going to list a few things to be taken note of. These were what I have experienced over the last 3 days of troubleshooting.

 

A few things to note here

  • I was using PowerCLI 6.3.0. PowerCLI need to be updated due to the new cmdlets for NSX-T. Since 6.5.1 onwards, the way to upgrade the powercli is very different. I followed the instructions here. However, I was having some issues on the Install-Module. Went some googling and finally found out that you will need to install PackageManagement_x64.exehttps://stackoverflow.com/questions/29828756/the-term-install-module-is-not-recognized-as-the-name-of-a-cmdlet
  • Once the package management powershell modules are installed, you can continue with the instructions such as Install-Module -Name VMware.PowerCLI
  • With the latest version of PowerCLI, we can run the script. The script requires you to have a vcenter, so therefore since my host is a standalone esxi, I need to install a vCenter. I chosen 6.5U2 VCSA and I use the cli script to install.
  • First time using the script, I used VSS for the network for the new VCSA and NSX-T Manager, since like the cmdlets are not able to find the virtual portgroup. Once I changed to VDS, the script works.
    $VMCluster = "Primp-Cluster"
    $VirtualSwitchType = "VDS" # VSS or VDS
    $VMNetwork = "dv-access333-dev"
    $VMDatastore = "himalaya-local-SATA-dc3500-1"
    $VMNetmask = "255.255.255.0"
    $VMGateway = "172.30.0.1"
    $VMDNS = "172.30.0.100"
    $VMNTP = "pool.ntp.org"
    $VMPassword = "VMware1!"
    $VMDomain = "primp-industries.com"
    $VMSyslog = "172.30.0.170"
    # Applicable to Nested ESXi only
    $VMSSH = "true"
    $VMVMFS = "false"
  • Some network issues such as reverse DNS not being set up. Undecided to use existing management subnet or create another new subnet and since the ESXi host is hosting some other VMs, I had the script trying to connect to existing vcenters and hosts. Lesson Learnt: try not to use the same IPs as the existing Lab setup to prevent any confusion.
  • Although my vCenter is 6.5U2 but my ESXi host is still in 6.0U2. When running the portion of the script where is using PutUsbScanCodes()I got an error of input argument. I suspect it got to do with the ESXi host, and therefore I went to try the PutUsbScanCodes() on a recent 6.5U2 vCenter and 6.5U2 host using the script here, and true enough the PubUsbScanCodes() works perfectly. So afterwhich, I went back to update the 6.0U2 host to 6.5U2 and confirm that the PutUsbScanCodes() works correctly.
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Powershell script to customise drivers into ESXi

The Supermicro E300 require the igxbe drivers for their 10GE NICs as the standard ESXi ISO does not natively support. Therefore I’m require to custom build the ESXi ISO.

The igxbe 4.5.1 drivers were from Paul Blog – https://tinkertry.com/how-to-install-intel-x552-vib-on-esxi-6-on-superserver-5028d-tn4t.

Download here.

The powershell script were from here. https://www.v-front.de/p/esxi-customizer-ps.html 

These are the commands used.

PowerCLI C:\> C:\Users\Administrator\Downloads\ESXi-Customizer-PS-v2.5.ps1 -izip C:\Users\Administrator\Downloads\update-from-esxi6.0-6.0_update03.zip -pkgDir E:\pkg

PowerCLI C:\> C:\Users\Administrator\Downloads\ESXi-Customizer-PS-v2.5.ps1 -izip C:\Users\Administrator\Downlods\ESXi650-201704001.zip -pkgDir E:\pkg

Screenshot:
Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 5.14.20 PM

You must be wondering why can’t I just update the drivers after installation. I wanted to PXE boot for ESXi installer and somehow or rather the NIC on the E300 that support PXE boot were the 10GE NICs. That was the reason why I have to custom build the igxbe driver into the ISO.

vSAN 6.5 Lab1

vSAN 6.5 ROBO All Flash – 2-node Direct Connect Testing

vSAN 6.5 ROBO All Flash – 2-node Direct Connect Testing

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vSAN 6.5 now supports using a low cost Cat6 or SFP+ TwinAX cables for cross-connect the 2 hosts. I had setup the lab to perform this ROBO setup. vSAN 6.5 also supports iSCSI which I plan to test it as well.

vSAN 6.5 Lab1

 

I plan to install vCenter 6.5 on these two nodes as well and therefore need to bootstrap the installation. I follow the instruction from William Lam blog – How to bootstrap vCenter Server onto a single VSAN node Part 1.

I did not want to go through the click through installation and therefore follow again his blog to install the vCenter using ovftool CLI method.

Had some issues with using the ovftool at the moment. Will have to update this blog again.

25 June 2017 Update

Finally got some time to perform some testing. I have been using these nodes to run nested ESXi for NSX Multi-site Lab. They are configured as individual standalone vSAN. Here are the specs to the boxes.

Supermicro E300 – SYS-E300-8D
Intel Xeon CPU D-1518 @ 2.2Ghz (4 cores per socket)
64GB of RAM
Cache: Sandisk SDSSDA240G 240GB
Capacity:  Samsung SSD 850 Evo M.2 1TB
2 x 1GE : Intel I210
4 x 1GE: Intel I350
2 x 10GE : Intel X552

ESXi 6.5 Build 4564106

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Some performance testing…

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SDDC suitcase1

NSX / SDDC in a suitcase

SDDC suitcase1

Sometime last year around September 2016, I had an idea of setting up a mobile NSX/SDDC Demo Lab that is compact enough to fit into a suitcase so that I can bring them around. However, I didn’t have the time to set them up. Guess what? Another colleague of mine in VMware US that works for the federal agencies set up something that I had envisage.

portablesddc

You can read more about it here. We basically had the same model of servers ie. the Supermicro E300. http://123virt.com/2016/12/21/portablesddc/