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Archive for June 2010

Rapid ESX Deployments

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At the end of this past week, we were actually working on installing ESX to our UCS blades for a stateless environment.  When you have 16 blades to install, the last thing you want to do is build each one through the ESX gui.

Enter the ESX Deployment Appliance, or EDA for short.  (You can read up about EDA here http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/va/89313 )

As great as version 0.90 is, I quickly ran into two three issues.

Issue 1: EDA does not allow assigning VLAN to Service Console

For our deployments, the Service Console port of all our ESX hosts reside on a separate VLAN from the rest of the network.  When installing through the gui, the ESX installer provides a way to assign the Service Console port to a VLAN.  In the current version of EDA, the only way to accomplish this is by adding the VLAN to the Service Console portgroup through the POST section of the KS.  However, the ESX host will not have network connectivity until you first go ping the gateway from the console.  It works, but not convenient to rapid deployments.

Issue 2: Naming of local ESX VMFS volume

Typically when I build an ESX host, I name the local VMFS volume with the host name of the ESX host.  This allows for the local VMFS volumes of all ESX hosts to be easily recognized in vCenter.  This is currently not an option in 0.90 of EDA.

Issue 3: Removing default VM Portgroup during ESX installation

This is a very minor issue.  If we were using standard vSwitches, then I would probably be fine with this as I’m starting to move to the one vSwitch rules them all camp.  However for these deployments, we are utilizing the Cisco Nexus 1000v, so a local VM portgroup is not needed.

Since these options were crucial for our rapid deployments, I decided to start hacking away on EDA on my flight back from Boston Friday.  Fixing these issues (or adding these features) didn’t take long at all, and I’m currently testing out the modified appliance.  For those wondering, I will not be distributing the modified appliance.  If there is enough interest, I’ll write up a blog post on the exact changes that need to be made to these fixes (or features).

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Written by jguidroz

June 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Posted in VMware