Implementing VxRail HCI Solutions

By Victor Wu
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  1. Chapter 1: Overview of VxRail HCI

About this book

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) can help you simplify the provisioning and daily operations of computing and storage. With this book, you'll understand how HCI can offload the day 0 deployment and day-to-day operations of a system administrator. You'll explore the VxRail Appliance, which is an HCI solution that provides lifecycle management, automation, and operational simplicity.

Starting with an overview of the VxRail Appliance system architecture and components, you'll understand the benefits of the VxRail system and compare it with the environment of traditional servers and storage. As you advance, the book covers topics such as disaster recovery and active-active and active-passive solutions for VxRail.

By the end of this book, you'll have gained the confidence to manage the deployment, administration, planning, and design of a VxRail system.

Publication date:
June 2021
Publisher
Packt
Pages
364
ISBN
9781801070485

 

Chapter 2: VxRail Installation

The previous chapter provided you with an overview of VxRail Hyperconverged Infrastructure. You learned what Dell EMC VxRail Hyperconverged Infrastructure is and its key functions. VxRail Appliance can deliver a lot of features that can offload the system administrator's daily operation and configuration. The initial setup of VxRail requires three identical nodes running in a VxRail cluster. According to different business requirements, the system administrator can purchase a suitable model for deploying a VxRail cluster.

This chapter will describe the installation of VxRail Appliance. You will learn how to plan and design VxRail Appliance pre-deployment and post-deployment activities. This includes preparation of the pre-installation site checklist, hardware and software installation, network environment validation, and VxRail initialization and configuration. By the end of this chapter, you will have learned the step-by-step installation procedure...

 

Technical requirements

In this chapter, we need to prepare a laptop for VxRail initialization. For VxRail initialization, we will use a four-port configuration on the Network Daughter Card (NDC) – an onboard network adapter. Make sure Microsoft Windows 7 or above is running on this laptop, and that the web browser is installed on your laptop. The latest versions of Firefox, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 or above are all supported.

Environment

In this chapter, we will discuss VxRail installation based on the architecture in Figure 2.1. There are three VxRail nodes (P570 model), two 10 Gb network switches, and one 1 Gb network switch. The following table is the summary of each hardware component. The two pairs of 10 Gb switches are used to network VxRail Appliance, and the 1 Gb switch is used for the Integrated Dell Remote Access Controller (iDRAC) network:

According to the preceding table, we know the network configuration...

 

Site preparation for VxRail Appliance

Prior to VxRail initialization, we must complete the validation of network settings and the Domain Name System (DNS) settings for VxRail Appliance. Each VxRail series appliance includes a 10/25 Gb NDC and one iDRAC port. Each NDC is bundled with either four 10 Gb SFP+ ports or two 10/25 Gb SPF+ ports. Each VxRail model series offers different choices in terms of network connectivity. Now it shows some of the physical network port options for each VxRail series. In Figure 2.2, you can see four 10/25 Gb NDC ports and one iDRAC port on the VxRail E Series:

Figure 2.2 – Back view of the VxRail E Series on Dell's 14th-generation PowerEdge server

In Figure 2.3, you can see four 10/25 Gb NDC ports and one iDRAC port on the VxRail V, P, and S Series:

Figure 2.3 – Back view of the VxRail V/P/S Series on Dell's 14th-generation PowerEdge server

In Figure 2.4, you can see two 10/25 Gb...

 

VxRail Appliance hardware installation

Once the site preparation for VxRail Appliance is complete, we can start the VxRail hardware installation, which includes the following steps:

  1. Mounting VxRail appliances needs to be done in a specific order, starting with the lowest serial number at the bottom of the rack and stacking them up as the numbers ascend in the customer-provided rack.
  2. Mount the TOR switches into the customer-provided rack if the latter does not provide TOR switches.
  3. Cable TOR switches to VxRail Appliance nodes.

Mounting the VxRail appliances

In the best practices of VxRail Appliance deployment, we should install the VxRail appliances in a specific order, starting with the lowest serial number at the bottom of the rack and stacking them up as they ascend, and install the TOR switches at the top of the rack:

Figure 2.6 – Rack layout for VxRail

Figure 2.6 shows mounting appliances from bottom to top by serial number...

 

VxRail Appliance initialization

Once the VxRail hardware installation is complete, we can begin VxRail Appliance initialization. First, we must prepare a laptop for VxRail initialization and configuration. The operating system is the Windows platform. Connect the laptop to a port on the TOR switch, or to a VLAN that can access the VxRail appliance:

Figure 2.8 – The cable connection diagram for the management laptop

Now we can move on to the next section, where we will configure the connectivity of VxRail Manager.

Configuring a laptop for VxRail Manager connectivity

To configure a laptop for VxRail Manager connectivity, perform the following steps:

  1. Set up an IP address on the same subnet as the permanent address to be assigned to VxRail Manager (the default IP address for VxRail Manager is 192.168.10.200).
  2. We configure an IP address (192.168.10.101/24) on the laptop to connect on the same subnet as VxRail Manager:

    Figure 2.9 –...

 

VxRail validation

Once VxRail initialization is complete, we need to verify the status of the core components in the VxRail cluster:

  1. We go to the Monitor tab and select Health under vSAN, making sure that all vSAN services are running with a green icon, including vSAN Build Recommendation, Network, Physical disk, Data, Cluster, Capacity utilization, Hardware compatibility, and Performance service:

    Figure 2.33 – The health status of vSAN services

  2. Finally, we go to VxRail Dashboard on the home menu and verify that System Health shows as Healthy. At this point, VxRail cluster deployment has completed successfully:

Figure 2.34 – VxRail Dashboard

Now that this VxRail cluster is healthy, you can start to deploy the virtual machines based on your requirements regarding this VxRail cluster.

 

Summary

In this chapter, we described the VxRail Appliance installation procedures and how to prepare all the requirements. Compared with traditional server deployment, VxRail HCI installation is more intelligent and automatic. We don't spend a lot of time deploying the server and storage because VxRail Appliance includes compute and storage nodes.

In the next chapter, you will get a VxRail administration overview. This includes the VxRail management dashboard and vSAN configuration.

 

Questions

  1. How many network ports are there on the DNC in the VxRail P Series model?

    a. Two

    b. Three

    c. Four

    d. Five

    e. Six

  2. Which network setting is required to define the IP address pool during VxRail initialization?

    a. vSAN and vMotion Network

    b. ESXi Management and VMs Network

    c. vCenter Server Network

    d. vRealize Login Insight Network

    e. Platform Services Controller Network

  3. What are the configuration requirements in DNS Manager prior to VxRail initialization?

    a. Forward Lookup Zone

    b. Revise Lookup Zone

    c. Both Forward and Revise Lookup Zones

    d. Either Forward or Revise Lookup Zones

    e. None of the above

  4. How many TOR switches support the high-availability network connection on VxRail Appliance?

    a. 1

    b. 2

    c. 3

    d. 4

    e. 5

  5. What is the default IP address of VxRail Manager?

    a. 192.168.10.10

    b. 192.168.10.100

    c. 192.168.10.20

    d. 192.168.10.200

    e. None of the above

  6. Who can access the VxRail Appliance PEQ?

    a. Any customers

    b. Dell EMC partners

    c. Dell employees

    d. VMware partners

    e. Dell employees...

About the Author

  • Victor Wu

    Victor Wu has over 14 years of system infrastructure experience. Currently, he works as a senior solutions expert at BoardWare Information System Limited in Macau.

    He is the only qualified person in Macau with a certificate in VMware VCIX-DCV, and he has been awarded the vExpert certification from 2014 to 2021, Cisco Champion from 2017 to 2020, Veeam Vanguard from 2019 to 2021, and Nutanix Technology Champion in 2021.

    His professional qualifications include VCIX-DCV, VMware Certified Master Specialist – HCI 2020, Implementation Engineer – VxRail Appliance, Systems Administrator – VxRail Appliance, Nutanix Certified Professional 5, NetApp HCI Implementation Engineer, and Knowledge Sharing Author from 2018 to 2020.

    He is the author of Mastering VMware vSphere Storage and Cisco UCS Cookbook, published by Packt Publishing in July 2015 and March 2016, respectively.

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