ESXi provisioning and customization have hundreds to do

Posted on 2016-07-25
Medium Priority
1 Endorsement
Last Modified: 2016-07-27
I am looking on the best way to setup a provisioning network and install hundreds of ESXi installs.

I have iDRAC which I complete all my installs.

I am building 50 ESXi Servers or more a week, and its getting old.

Is there a way to plug and play and let it provision on its own.

Either script or cfg file or etc. and best way to make a provisioning network.

Perhaps with PXE/DHCP
Also I have a custom iDRACK.ISO that we configure the servers with - Can this be automated..
However the ESXi Install is my main concern on automation..

So during install I need these configured as well.

Management interface --

IPV6 disabled

DNS settings

NTP settings

Change root password

Change vSwitch settings
      a.      General > Ports: Default of 120
      b.      General > MTU: 1500
      c.      Security > Promiscuous Mode: Reject
      d.      Security > MAC Address Changes: Accept
      e.      Security > Forged Transmits: Accept
      f.      Traffic Shaping: Status to Disabled
      g.      NIC Teaming: Leave Policy Exceptions to default, ensure that both of the vmnic's are set to active

dvSWITCH configuration other VLANS
      Create Folder - Label xxx-xxx(x)     xxx- Site   -xxx - Group
      Create dvSWITCH using above for each - Label above = xxx-xxx(x)-DVS1
      Greate port group for each
            iSCSI x2
                        a.      ISCSI1: Uplink1 Active, Uplink2 Unused
                        b.      ISCSI2: Uplink2 Active, Uplink1 Unused
            vMOTION x2  (is it best to have 2 vmotion ports) one active one standby and visa versa
                        c.      vMotion1: Uplink1 Active, Uplink2 Unused
                        d.      vMotion2: Uplink2 Active, Uplink1 Unused

            Port group naming sheme i.e

      a.      Storage Heartbeat - vmk1
      b.      ISCSI1 - vmk2
      c.      ISCSI2 - vmk3
      d.      vMotion1 - vmk4 , check Use this virtual adapter for vMotion
      e.      vMotion2 – vmk5 , check Use this virtual adapter for vMotion

Set properties
      i.      MTU: 9000
      ii.      Discovery Protocol Status: Enabled
      iii.      Discovery Protocol Type: Link Layer Discovery Protocol
      iv.      Discovery Protocol Operation: Both
      v.      Admin Contact Information: Virtualization Support

Enable Network I/O control
Set as follows:
      a.      Fault Tolerance: Shares - Custom, value of 1 -- QOS priority 7
      b.      ISCSI Traffic: Custom, value of 60 -- QOS priority 1
      c.      Management Traffic: Custom, value of 10 -- QOS priority 2
      d.      NFS Traffic: Custom, value of 1 -- QOS priority 7
      e.      Virtual Machine Traffic: Shares - Custom, value of 100 -- QOS priority 1
      f.      vMotion Traffic: Shares: Custom, value of 20 -- QOS priority 3
      g.      vSphere Replication Traffic: Shares - Custom, value of 10 -- QOS priority 4
      h.      Virtual SAN traffic: Shares - Custom, value of 1 -- QOS priority 7

Disable AD Validation

Set EVC mode to Intel Bridge

Setup CHAP advance
LoginTimeout and change the value to 60
uncheck the box for “Delayed ack”

Question by:Indyrb
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LVL 123
ID: 41727811
Use Auto Deploy and Host Profiles.

Author Comment

ID: 41727821
Cant use host profiles due to license... Not sure about Auto-depoly -- Is there another way. scripts and etc. config files?

Author Comment

ID: 41727822
And if auto deploy -- Is there a setup guide
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LVL 123
ID: 41727834
Yes, there is a setup guide to using Auto Deploy and Host Profiles.

What VMware vSphere license do you have, or take a look at AutoLab, and how hosts are deployed quickly using PXE and scripting...

HOW TO: Set up a lab environment for vSAN using VMware Workstation

You will have to reply on PXE, Kickstart scripts.

Author Comment

ID: 41727861
Looks like this is for esxi 5... All my builds are 6.
Do you personally have any scripts and etc?
LVL 123
ID: 41727869
If you are referring to the document I linked to, it is based on 5.x, but the skills and setup is exactly the same for 6.0.

So you have 100 of servers to build and not Auto Deploy or Host Profiles ?

What licenses do you have ?

If you do not have any of the advanced features for the quick deployment of servers, you will need to use a scripted installation.
LVL 123
ID: 41727877
This expert suggested creating a Gigs project.
I have suggested your question either be broken down into many questions, on how to complete the activities, or it's a Gig or Live for an EE Member.
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Aaron Street
ID: 41727903
If you have licence for distributed switch then you have licence for host profiles?

Author Comment

ID: 41727924
We have Enterprise plus -- But as a service provided. So we dont have storage DRS, i/o or host profiles.  Those are alla carte.   Not sure if we are licensed for Auto deply either.
LVL 123
ID: 41727950
So these are individual ESXi host servers for clients and not a single site ?

Enterprise Plus includes vSphere Host Profiles and Auto Deploy, and also includes Storage DRS

Author Comment

ID: 41728026
Also is there a way to script / install VCSA applainces too... I am building out ton of these too.

Author Comment

ID: 41728028
our Enterprise + does not have host profiles...  Wierd how its setup..

Yes there are main vcenters... Then for each customer there is a new VCSA -- then the esxi installs are attached to the new VCSA...  tons of them..

Does that make sense?
LVL 123
ID: 41728032
You will need to script them, using PXE and Kickstarter.

But to be honest with you the number of hours you spend researching and developing, you could have finished the installations!

or just have a handful of ESXi installations on SD cards/USB flash drives.

Author Comment

ID: 41728250
I was looking at one of our host, and looks like this is what were are typically licensed for.

Unlimited virtual SMP
H.264 for Remote Console Connections
vCenter agent for VMware host
vSphere API
Content Library
Storage APIs
vSphere vMotion
X-Switch vMotion
vSphere HA
vSphere Data Protection
vShield Endpoint
vSphere Replication
vShield Zones
Hot-Pluggable virtual HW
vSphere Storage vMotion
Shared Smart Card Reader
vSphere FT (up to 2 virtual CPUs)
Virtual Volumes
APIs for Storage Awareness
Storage-Policy Based Management
vSphere Storage APIs for Array Integration
vSphere DRS
Remote virtual Serial Port Concentrator
MPIO / Third-Party Multi-Pathing
Big Data Extensions
Reliable Memory
vSphere Distributed Switch
LVL 123
ID: 41728255
if you are building for clients I do not think Auto Deploy and Host Profiles would not help you, it's designed to deploy 100 servers quickly in the same cluster.

Kickstart and scripted installations, if you've go the time to research and develop.

Author Comment

ID: 41728322
Anything that you have that I can modify?  and/or anyone?

Author Comment

ID: 41728323
Much appreciated
LVL 123
ID: 41728343
look at Autolab, how its put together and deploys ESXi hosts with ease.
LVL 123

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 41728350

Author Comment

ID: 41731605

Expert Comment

by:Senior IT System Engineer
ID: 41732143
Hi Indyrb,

Please share the script here once you've found it or test it.
LVL 123
ID: 41732152
All documented in AutoLab.

Download AutoLab, and look at how the deployment of AutoLab, deploys ESXi Hosts, easy!

Its open source and in the public domain.

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