Deploying NSX 6.3 in a vSphere 6.5 Environment (Part 1)

Deploying NSX 6.3 in a vSphere 6.5 Environment (Part 1):

Today, I’m going to go through the steps for deploying NSX 6.3 in my homelab.  My homelab consists of 4 Intel NUCs, with one of those running in a management cluster.  I only have 1 NIC per host at this point, but I’m thinking of adding a USB NIC to each of the systems in the VM cluster, to give me some more flexibility around networking.  Specifically, I’d like to have a standard switch that has the host management vmkernel address, so I can muck with the networking without taking my hosts offline.

I’m running a mixed environment of vCenter 6.5 and ESXi 6.0 at home and had previously deployed NSX but had to rip it out to upgrade to 6.5.  It was an interesting experience removing NSX and one that you’d probably never do in a production environment.  However, it did demonstrate for me how deeply integrated this is once installed.

Here are the initial steps:

Download the OVA from vmware.com.

Deploy the OVA and give your NSX Manager a name:

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Pick a place to put it. I’m putting the VM on my VSAN datastore:

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Pick a network for the management interface. This isn’t the NSX networks that will be defined later.  It should be a network that can communicate with the vCenter server.  You’ll set an IP address in the next step:

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Set the parameters for the NSX manager. You’ll set IP address, hostname and DNS server here.  Also, set the passwords for both the “admin” user and the “privilege” mode of the CLI.  This is much like the enable mode on a Cisco network device.

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Once you’ve set these, click next a couple times and then Finish to start the deployment. It will take few minutes.  When the deployment is finished, power on the VM to complete the initial setup.  If you want, you can watch the boot process with the VM Console and when it’s finished you’ll be ready for the next configuration steps.  When the deployment is finished, the NSX Manager VM should show the login prompt:

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Next, login to the web interface of the NSX Manager using the “admin” username and the password you setup in the initial OVA screens. Once you’ve logged in you’ll see the NSX Appliance Management page:

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From here, click on “Manage vCenter Registration” and input both the Lookup Service URL and vCenter Server addresses. You’ll be asked to accept certificates in both cases. Accept those and this will register the NSX environment with your vCenter installation.

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Also, make sure your NTP settings are correct, by clicking the Manage Appliance Settings button on the home page.  NTP and time in general is VERY important for things like SSO and SSL to work correctly.  One piece of advice I have is that if you’re ever having issues with services not working correctly, or login issues, check the time first.

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If all went well, you should see Connected and nice, green circles (and all sysadmins have a Pavlovian desire to see green circles, don’t we!).

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Now, you should be able to login to your vSphere Web Client and see the NSX icon showing up as Network and Security on the Home Page. If you don’t see it, logout and log back in.  We all know how much the Web Client likes a Refresh!  Unfortunately, this is one of those areas that isn’t supported in the new HTML5 client, but hopefully that will change in the future as VMware rolls more functionality into that client and eventually (one can hope!) moves us into a Flash-free future.

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That completes the initial deployment of the NSX manager.  Your NSX Manager is deployed and registered, but there are a few more steps we need to complete in order to have a fully functional SDN solution.  Next time, we’ll go through the initial configuration of the application, including host preparation and creating the networking requirements.  Also, we’ll need to apply licensing at some point to the installation.

New Systems from NetApp

NetApp announced last week the new A200 and A700s All Flash FAS systems.  They’ve announced that their platforms are complete for 2017 with these releases.  Each of these systems are capable of 24 internal SSD’s and have newer CPUs and a lot of memory.  Biggest thing to remember about these systems are they are meant for configurations where connectivity is not as important as density.  There are less ports to utilize on these systems as say the A300 or A700.

 

Here’s NetApp’s page about the new All-Flash FAS (AFF) systems:

http://www.netapp.com/us/products/storage-systems/all-flash-array/aff-a-series.aspx

Learning Python, Part 2

So, I’ve decided to switch gears in my Python journey and take a more academic approach.  To that end, I enrolled in the excellent edX program and I’m taking MIT’s 6.00.1x Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python (https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:MITx+6.00.1x_11+1T2017/info).  We’re on week 2 and it’s been a great way to learn programming and eventually Python.  They take a more computer science approach, teaching you how to think like  a programmer rather than just typing in stuff.  As you can imagine, being an MIT course, it’s pretty challenging already.  The first problem set used a lot of logic and required us to think about what was actually going on in the program.

I’d highly recommend edX as a way to enhance your professional knowledge, or just pursue something you’ve always liked and want to know more about it. You can take the courses for free, or pay for a verified certificate.  I’m considering the certificate, as I think an MIT course could be a good thing to put on my resume!

Learning Python

So, I’ve decided to start working on my Python skills.  I’ve always been a code borrrower, using others’ scripts and modifying them to fit my own needs. I imagine this describes a lot of you out there.   It’s always easier to edit other work than create something on your own.  Like anything in the Linux world, there are a lot of resources out there, both free and paid.  I found a good subreddit about it here: https://www.reddit.com/r/learnpython/

Based on that, I’ve decided to go through the course at Learn Python the Hard Way.  I like his approach of repetitive lessons.  Also, he stresses using the command line, rather than an IDE.  The initial exercises are really basic, but I’ve been slogging through them and I’ll update here with my progress.

First blog post

This is my first blog post.  I figured I have opinions on technology and what not, so I thought I’d share them.  I hope you either enjoy them or find some value here.  Thanks!

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