How to Perform VxRail 4.7 Cluster Install

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Recently, I have been getting a lot of requests for “advice” on how to re-deploy VxRail. Apparently, the 13G server line and older G-Series appliances still have a use when upgrading to 14G hardware. Lab environment for staging a like for like Production environment to test out code updates, POCs, and anything else you desire in a lab to continue your ROI. This article will walk you step by step in deploying a VxRail cluster for those who are wanting to get more mileage out of aged out hardware in their environments.
**warning, this is going to be a longer article than I normally post. Please do not fall asleep 🙂
***As always this is for a lab environment. If deploying VxRail in a production environment, please consult your Partner or DellEMC PSO

Download reading materials. I am sure by now many of your are experts at VxRail but it doesn’t hurt to refresh material:

Administration Guide:

Network Guide:

The PEQ (Pre-Installation Site Checklist)
Go to DellEMC support page and search for VxRail 4.5 Pre-Installation Site Checklist or VxRail 4.7 Pre-Installation Site Checklist.
It is important to always fill out a PEQ prior to any re-install of VxRail.

1. Have all your static IP’s, VLANS, DNS (forward & backward), and user accounts created.
**Remember, each VxRail host requires 4 x IPs (ESXi host, vSAN, vMotion, iDRAC)
2. The working set here is we are re-deploying VxRail for a Lab environment. If you are moving it to a new vCenter that doesn’t have VxRail, you will need to re-create your local vCenter user account. If VxRail already exists, you can re-use the existing.
3. In addition to the local account, you will need to once again create a generic user account that VxRail will use during the install to get everything going. Go to Administration > SSO > Users & Groups. Create a user IE vxrailmanageruser. Gives this user a password and keep it handy as you will need to enter this information into the PEQ.
4. Once you have filled out your PEQ, I recommend going to the DellEMC support site and downloaded the Network validation Tool (NVT). In the PEQ click “VxRail Network Configuration” tab click “Click to generate NVT JSON format file” Upload this JSON into the NVT and check for any potential network errors. If all good then you are all good to proceed. FYI, don’t forget to also generate a JSON for install as it will speed up the install process later.

Let the fun begin on the journey we are about to take:
Step 1. Configure VxRail Manager to be on your network.
My working set is that y’all don’t want to go into the Datacenter and plug into the top of rack switch and set your laptop to an IP on the network (Default IP for VxRail Manager). My additional working set is that you don’t have the network on a jump host somewhere in your environment. If the above working set is wrong skip down a few lines. If i am right then the next step will allow you remote access into VxRail Manager without having to leave your desk.

Step 1a. Enable ESXi Shell

Step 1b. Change the network information on your first host to the static network information you entered into the PEQ.

Step 1c. Set the Management VLAN to the VLAN associated with your static network information

Step 1d. Log into the ESXi Shell and set the network information

#esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup set -p “Management Network” -v <Your_VLAN_ID>
#esxcli network vswitch standard portgroup set -p “VM Network” -v <Your_VLAN_ID>
#/etc/init.d/loudmouth restart

Step 1e. ensure the clock on the host is within seconds of one another

Verify time is correct using date command
#esxcli system time set -H [hour]  — use UTC  time
#Restart /etc/init.d/loudmouth

Step 1f. Log into the ESXi host via web browser

Step 1g. Go to Virtual machines>VxRail manager>Open Console – Log in as root

Need to set the new IP information for the VxRail Manager that is in the PEQ.
#/opt/vmware/share/vami/vami_set_network eth0 STATIC4 <IPAddr> <Subnet Mask> <Gateway>
Confirm VxRail Manager date and time matches host

Step 1h. Remove the static IP you set on Host1.

Step 1i. Rinse and repeat setting VM Management & VM Network & Date/Time on the remaining hosts.

Step 1j. Put the IP for VxRail manager in your web browser and confirm you can log in.

Step 2. Ensure all the hosts you are adding into VxRail manager have been discovered. If not, make sure their time and VLAN information is correct. If all else fails, restart loudmouth again on the hosts.

Step 2a. Select Configuration file to use the JSON you generated earlier

Step 2b. Put in NTP server. For NIC configuration I put 2x10GbE if you only have a 4 port NIC card (VMK Traffic) & I build out a vDS for VM Traffic. If you have more than 4 Ports then select 4x10GbE.

Step 2c. Put in your network information

Step 2d. Fill out the VxRail Manager information

Step 2e. Put in vMotion network information

Step 2f. Put in vSAN network information.

Step 2g. Put in your VM Network information.

Step 2h. Put in your Log server (Optional)

Step 2i. Put in your account information

Step 2j. Validate the configuration

Step 2k. Download JSON then click Build VxRail

Step 2l. If the build stops due to error, restart and restart. If after restarting twice the same error occurs then troubleshooting is required.

Step 2m. Hooray

Hopefully, you have not encountered any unsold features during install. If so feel free to email me and I will see how I may be able to help assuming this VxRail cluster is no longer under maintenance as it will be a test lab. Your lab cluster should now be up and running. Enjoy.

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