VCAP6-DCV Deploy Objective 5.2

Objective 5.2 of VCAP6-Deploy exam covers following topics:

  • Use Profile Editor to edit and / or disable policies
  • Create and apply host profiles
  • Use Host Profiles to deploy vDS
  • Use Host Profiles to deploy vStorage policies
  • Import / Export Host Profiles
  • Manage Answer Files
  • Configure stateful caching and installation for host deployment

                                            Use Profile Editor to Edit and/or Disable Policies

I am not going to cover basics of host profile as I have already wrote an article on what is host profile and what it does. 

Host Profiles can be managed via vSphere Web ClientTo edit an existing Host Profile login to vSphere Web Client and navigate to Policies and Profiles > Host Profiles and select an existing profile and right click on it and select Edit Settings.

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From here you can add/remove individual configuration items as per your requirements.

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                                                          Create and apply host profiles

To create a new Host Profile login to Web Client and and navigate to Policies and Profiles > Host Profiles and click on green (+) botton to add a new profile. 

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Choose the reference host out of which profile will be extracted. 

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Provide a name for this profile and an optional description and hit finish. 

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Once the profile is created, you can edit the profile and chose what to keep in this profile and what not as per your infrastructure requirements. Once the profiel is edited, right click on newly created profile and select Attach/Detach Hosts and Clusters.

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Select a cluster/host and click on Atatch> button

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Customize the hosts. There are few attributes that is unique per host such as IP address, hostname etc. Fill up the values and hit finish. 

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Next is to scan the hosts/cluster against this profile and remediate them if they are not complaint against the profile.

To scan: Host Profile > Actions > Check Host Profile Compliance.

To Remediate: Host Profile > Actions > Remediate.

                                                      Use Host Profiles to deploy vDS

A host can be added to a vDS using Host Profiles. You can push the uplinks and VMkernel interface details onto each Esxi host via host profile. This document from VMware explains the steps for doing so. High level of those steps can be summarized as below:

  • Create vDS and port groups with no host (including mgmt network)
  • Add a template host to the vDS
  • Migrate the template host vmnics to dvUplinks and virtual ports to dvPort groups
  • Delete the standard switch from the template host
  • Create host profile from the template host (“Copy settings from host” options)
  • attached and apply the template host to the other host

If you already have a host profle then you can edit it and information about networking configuration. Edit a host profile and expand Networking Configuration > vSphere Distributed Switch.  If this host profile is extracted from a host that has already added to vDS then you will see the existing vDS settings in the profile.

However you can add new vDS also. To do so add a sub-profile under vSphere Distributed Switch by using the + icon. Provide a name for the sub-profile.

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Next is to create an Uplink sub-profile,the Uplink details will be automatically added but will have no NIC details. Select “Choose Physical NICs with the specified name” and fill up the relevant informations about which physical NIC will be added to uplink and what will be the name of uplink port etc.

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To assign VMkernel interface to vDS, edit the Networking Configuration and select Host Virtual NIC and choose which vDS and port group you want to assign the VMKernel interface. Also you have to define following values:

  • VLAN ID
  • load balancing policy
  • uplinks, VMKernel services
  • MTU settings
  • TCP/IP stack information

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Next is to define how a VMKernel interface will obtain an IP address. You can chose to supply the IPv4/IPv6 information via DHCP or prompt user to provide a fix IP address.

Within host profile select Host Virtual NIC > PortGroup > IP Address Settings and select a policy of your choice. 

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And this is how you can add a vDS via host profile. 

                                               Use Host Profiles to deploy vStorage policies

Setup Host Profile for NFS Storage

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Setup Host Profiles for iSCSI Storage

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Virtual SAN Configuration.

You can set storage policy for cluster, vDisk, vmnamespace, vmswap and memory

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                                                           Import / Export Host Profiles

You can export a profile to a file that is in the VMware profile format (.vpf).

To export a host profile, navigate to the Host Profile you want to export and right click on profile and select Export Host Profile.

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When a host profile is exported, administrator and user profile passwords are not exported. This is a security measure and stops passwords from being exported in plain text when the profile is exported. You will be notified of this warning. Click on save button to proceed. 

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To import host profile, click on the import profile icon

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Browse to the location where you have saved your profile while exporting it and provide a name and description (optional) for the profile and hit OK. 

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                                                              Manage Answer Files

Host profile greatly reduces the time required to configure all Esxi hosts as we can apply the shared attributes on all host at once by use of host profile. Host profiles can also be used to specify that certain settings are host-dependent such as host name/IP address etc. 

To customize individual hosts, you can set up some fields in the host profile to prompt the user for input for each host. After the user has specified the information, the system generates a host-specific answer file and stores it with the Auto Deploy cache and the vCenter Server host object.

For hosts provisioned with Auto Deploy, the answer file contains the user input policies for a host profile. The file is created when the profile is initially applied to a particular host

To apply a host profile to a host, the host must be placed into maintenance mode. During this process, the user is prompted to type answers for policies that are specified during host profile creation.

The answer file status indicates the state of the answer file. The status of an answer file can be complete, incomplete, missing, or unknown.

  • Incomplete: The answer file is missing some of the required user input answers.
  • Complete: The answer file has all of the user input answers needed.
  • Unknown: The host and associated profile exist but the status of the answer file is not known. This is the initial state of an answer file.

Checking the answer file status

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                                     Configure Stateful Caching and Installation for Host Deployment

With the Enable stateful installs on the host host profile, Auto Deploy installs the image. When you reboot the host, the host boots from disk, just like a host that was provisioned with the installer. Auto Deploy no longer provisions the host.

Configure a Host Profile to Enable Stateful Installs

To enable a host for stateful booting, Expand Advanced Configurations Settings profile and choose System Image Cache Configuration and select “Enable stateful installs on the host” and provide the arguments for the first disk (local,esx)

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Note: If you enable stateful install and when you apply the host profile for the first time on hosts, it will show non-complaint and will throw a warning that “This host do not appears to boot in stateful mode”. To get the host complaint against the profile, you have to reboot the Esxi host and apply profile again and again check for compliance.

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