Getting started with VCF Part 2 – vRealize Suite

Following on from my first post on getting started with VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF), the next thing that you will probably want to do is configure the vRealize Suite in SDDC Manager. Now, as part of the initial VCF deployment, vRealize Login Insight is already deployed.  Therefore in this step, we will deploy two components – the vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager and vRealize Operations. There are two pieces of information that we will need before we start. The first of these is the ‘Bill of Materials’ to tell us which versions of software are required for our particular release of VCF. Since I deployed VCF version 3.9, I can get the software version information from the VCF 3.9 Release Notes. The second piece of information that I need are the number of IP addresses / FQDNs that are required to deploy each product. This is available in the VCF 3.9 Planning Preparation document. The information for deploying vRealize Lifecycle Manager, Log Insight and Operations in VCF 3.9 is available in the Planning Preparation link here. IP / FQDN requirements for vRealize Automation can be found here (we won’t deploy vRA in this post, but may come back to it in a future post). Once the correct versions of software have been identified and the necessary IP addresses and FQDNs noted and added to DNS, we can proceed.

All of the following steps are carried out in the VMware Cloud Foundation SDDC Manager.

Authorize your My VMware Account

To access the necessary vRealize bundles, and indeed all other VCF bundles, you will need to authorize your My VMware account in the Bundles section of SDDC Manager found under Repository:

Once authorized, the bundles should commence to download, but be aware that this will take some time. You should eventually begin to see the Bundles screen populate with items similar to those shown below. The download service is setup to check for downloads every 5 minutes.

I have highlighted the ones that we are interested in red, namely vRSLCM, vROps and vRA. Again, refer back to the BOM shown earlier to ensure that you pick up the correct versions as there may be multiple versions available.

Click on Download to start the download process. I am only going to download vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager (vRSLCM) and vRealize Operations (vROps) initially. We will leave vRA for another day. Note that downloads are done sequentially, but the queued downloads will start automatically once the preceding download completes.

vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager deployment

On first clicking into the vRSLCM section, it will look something like what is shown below:

Once the vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager download completes, the vRealize Suite view in the SDDC Manager will change as follows:

Simply click on the ‘Deploy’ button to start rolling out vRSLCM. First thing you will get is a Prerequisite checklist, which is just to ensure you have done due diligence on the networking and package downloads:

Click on the ‘Begin’ button and you are taken to the Network Settings window, which will need to be populated. It has the usual network requirements such as VLAN ID, Subnet Mask and Gateway. DNS and NTP are populated from the initial SDDC deployment parameter sheet which we already filled out (refer to initial ‘Getting started’ post for more details).

Next we come to the vRSLCM Virtual Appliance settings, which asks for appliance FQDN and passwords. Remember that the FQDN and IP address were already highlighted as being necessary in the Planning Preparation document for VCF that I mentioned in an earlier part of this post.

Click Next, review the settings and then Finish. Let the appliance deploy:

On completion of the vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager, the vRealize Suite screen is SDDC should now look something like this:

We are now ready to deploy the other vRealize components in VCF.

vRealize Log Insight deployment

There is no work to be done here since we already deployed this product as part of the initial SDDC deployment. However, it is now synchronized with vRSLCM so it appears in the vRealize Log Insight view in SDDC Manager. As you can see, it reflects the deployment of vRLI that we made in the initial configuration, which was to deploy it as a 3 node cluster.

vRealize Operations deployment

Let’s now deploy vRealize Operations by moving to the vRealize Operations view in the SDDC Manager > vRealize Suite section. When we click on deploy, the first thing we get is the usual prerequisites screen:

If you have not added a license, you will get an immediate error, as shown below. A vROps license needs to be added via the SDDC Manager before you can proceed.

With the correct vROps license added, we can now proceed with the deployment. Following the Preparation Guidelines document, we are going to deploy vROps in a HA configuration. This will deploy a vROps master node and a vROps replica node. It will also require a load balancer (external) so NSX will be used to provide this virtual IP address. This will also involve the creation of an NSX Edge (active and standby). Note that SDDC Manager is going to take care of all of those tasks for us – pretty cool, huh? Let’s start the deployment of a highly available vROps cluster configuration:

Next, we need to provide the following information:

  1. NSX Edge Service Gateway for the Load Balancer
  2. Load Balancer Virtual IP address/FQDN of load balancer for the vRealize Operations cluster
  3. vROps Master Node
  4. vROps Replica Node
  5. FQDN of the vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager

Next, provide a password for the vRealize Operations administrator:

Finally, review the configuration information and click Finish to start the vROps deployment.

Now we let SSDC Manager do its thing and automatically roll out a highly available 2-node vRealize Operations cluster, with NSX providing the load balancer virtual IP. On completion, the vRealize Operations view in SSDC Manager will look something like the following:

And vROps automatically starts to monitor the management domain:

NSX Edge and Load Balancer Virtual IP

One last item to show you are the NSX Edges, and the virtual IP address that is being used as the Load Balancer front end for the vROps cluster. First a look, at vcf-vr-edge01-0, which is the primary NSX Edge. The other NSX Edge, vcf-vr-edge-01-1 is the backup.

And finally, if we drill into the networking view, we can see the Load Balancer virtual IP address. Looks good to me.

And so to conclude, I hope you can appreciate how easy SDDC Manager has made this particular task. In just a few clicks, we have successfully deployed a highly available 2-node vRealize Operation cluster, along with some NSX Edges to provide a load balancer virtual IP address for the cluster. Pretty impressive if you ask me.