Objective 1.1 – Identify the pre-requisites and components for vSphere implementation

Good Morning All,

In last couple of days, I got some requests related to do some write ups on managing and configuring vSphere environment. As I was preparing for newly released VCP – DCV 2019 certification exam 2v0 – 21.19, I thought why not cover all exam objective as part of this blog series. Exam 2v0 – 21.19 covers vSphere 6.7 so we will discuss install, configure and management of vSphere 6.7 Update 1. It is very difficult to cover all exam objectives in a single blog, so I will try to cover one objective per blog. This is first part of my very long blog series covering first exam objective. So let’s get going.

Components for vSphere Implementation:

  • ESXi

ESXi is a hypervisor which virtualize compute physical resources. When we say compute normally we are talking about CPU and Memory. In traditional Datacentre architecture, OS is dependent on hardware or we have one to one relationship with physical resources. Hypervisor helps in breaking this boundary by virtualizing physical resources and introducing another layer called Virtualization layer between OS and Physical server. We can have one to many relationship with the help of Virtualization.

  • vCenter Server & Platform Services Controller

vCenter server provide a central plane of management to manage multiple ESXi and VMs running on them.

  • VMware Update Manager (Integrated with vCenter Server Appliance)

VMware update manager provides an easy solution to manage patches or updates for your ESXi environment. VUM manages only patching of ESXi and using VUM you cannot install patches on guest OS which is outside of scope of VUM.

Workflow of vSphere Implementation:

Pre-requisites of vSphere Implementation:

Overview of ESXi:

Hardware Requirements:

  • Supported server platform: Make sure to check list at VMware Compatibility guide on link
  • Minimum CPU – 2 cores
  • NX/ND bit should be enabled for CPU in BIOS
  • Minimum RAM – 4 GB
  • If you want to run 64 bit virtual machines, Hardware virtualization Intel VT-X or AMD RVI must be enabled in BIOS
  • One or more 1 Gbps or faster Ethernet controller
  • Minimum 1 GB boot device, if you are configuring boot from Local Disk, SAN or iSCSI LUN then 5.2 GB disk is required to create 4 GB scratch partition, if smaller disk is used and another local disk for scratch disk is not found then scratch partition /scratch is placed on ramdisk of ESXi host i.e. /tmp/scratch.
  • Starting with vSphere 6.7, Auto Deploy now supports network booting and provisioning of ESXi host with UEFI

Password Requirements:

For ESXi hosts, you have to use a password with predefined requirements. You can change the required length and character class requirement or allow pass phrases using the following option:

Security.PasswordQualityControl

By default below are requirements:

  • Password must contain mix of characters from four character classes: lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers and special characters
  • Password length is more than 7 and less than 40
  • Password cannot contain a dictionary word or part of dictionary word.
  • Passphrase are diabled by default. Example to enable password pass phrase:
retry=3 min=disabled,disabled,16,7,7

Above example allow passphrase of at least 16 characters and 3 words separated by space.

Overview of vCenter server Components and Services:

vCenter Server provides a centralized platform for management, operation, resource provisioning, and performance evaluation of virtual machines and hosts.

You can install/deploy vCenter server with an embedded Platform services controller or you can install/deploy vCenter server with an external Platform services controller.

If embedded deployment is done then vCenter server and services on PSC are deployed on same system and in other case, vCenter server is deployed on one server and PSC on another server.

Key Services Installed with PSC:

vCenter Single Sign-OnThe vCenter Single Sign-On
authentication service provides
secure authentication services to
vSphere software components. By
using vCenter Single Sign-On, the
vSphere components communicate with each other through a secure token exchange mechanism, instead
of requiring each component to
authenticate user separately with a directory service like Active
Directory.
Licence serviceIt provides common licence
inventory and management
capabilities
VMCAVMware Certificate Authority
provision each ESXi host with a
signed certificate that has VMCA as
root certificate authority.
VMware Component ManagerComponent manager provides
service registration and lookup
functionalities.
VMware Certificate ServiceManage certificates
VMware Directory serviceProvides a multitenant,
multimastered LDAP directory
service that stores authentication,
certificate, lookup, and license
information

Key Services Installed with vCenter Server:

PostgreSQL A bundled version of the VMware
distribution of PostgreSQL
database for vSphere and vCloud
Hybrid Services.
vSphere Web Client Provide connectivity to vCenter
server via web browser
vSphere Client New user interface HTML5 base
client
vSphere ESXi Dump
Collector
The vCenter Server support tool.
You can configure ESXi to save th
VMkernel memory to a network
server, rather than to a disk, when
the system encounters a critical
failure. The vSphere ESXi Dump
Collector collects such memory dumps over the network
VMware vSphere Syslog
Collector
The vCenter Server on Windows
support tool that enables network
logging and combining of logs from multiple hosts.
vSphere Auto Deploy The vCenter Server support tool
that can provision hundreds of
physical hosts with ESXi software.
VMware vSphere Update
Manager Extension
Update Manager enables
centralized, automated patch and
version management for VMwar
vSphere and offers support for VMware ESXi hosts, virtual machines, and virtual appliances.
The VMware vSphere Update
Manager Extension is an optional
service of only the vCenter Server Appliance 6.7.

Requirements for the vCenter Server Appliance and Platform Services Controller Appliance:

System Requirements:

  • ESXi 5.5 or later
  • Time Synchronization across target server, PSC and all vCenter server on vSphere network
  • If using FQDN then FQDN should resolve to IP address provided to appliance

Hardware Requirements of vCenter server appliance:

  • Tiny (up to 10 hosts or 100 VMs) – vCPU – 2 Memory – 10 GB Default Storage – 250 GB
  • Small (up to 100 hosts or 1000 VMs) – vCPU – 4 Memory – 16 GB Default Storage – 290 GB
  • Medium (up to 400 hosts or 4000 VMs) – vCPU – 8 Memory – 24 GB Default Storage – 425 GB
  • Large (up to 1000 hosts or 10000 VMs) – vCPU – 16 Memory – 32 GB Default Storage – 640 GB
  • X-Large (up to 2000 hosts or 35000 VMs) – vCPU – 24 Memory – 48 GB Default Storage – 980 GB

Hardware Requirements of PSC appliance:

  • vCPU – 2
  • Memory – 4 GB
  • Storage – 60 GB

Requirements for the vCenter Server and Platform Services Controller on Windows:

Hardware requirements generally are similar to appliance configuration. CPU and Memory requirements are same as of appliance whereas storage requirements will change. Other requirements for windows base deployment are:

  • Time Synchronization across target server, PSC and all vCenter server on vSphere network
  • DNS Name of Virtual machine or physical server should match actual computer full name
  • Machine on which vCenter server is being installed should not be an AD Domain Controller
  • If you need to account other than local system for vCenter server service then account should have below rights:
    • Member of Administrator group
    • Log on as a service
    • Act as part of OS
  • Local policy of machine should allow assigning right log on as a batch job to new users
  • Should be member of domain if you want to use Active Directory Identity sources after installation.

Database Requirements:

  • For environments up to 20 hosts or 200 VMs, bundled PostgreSQL database can be used but for full scalability either Oracle or MS SQL Database is required.

So this covers our objective 1.1 and I will be stopping here. Please let me know your feedback or any correction in article.

Further Reading and Reference Material:

https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/index.html

All the best for preparation.

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