For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you may have seen a few tweets from me hinting at a vSphere deployment script that I have been working on. This was something I had initially built for my own lab use but I figured it probably could benefit the larger VMware community, especially around testing and evaluational purposes. Today, I am please to announce the release of my vGhetto vSphere Lab Deployment (VVLD) scripts which leverages the new PowerCLI 6.5 release which is partly why I needed to wait until it was available before publishing.
There are literally hundreds if not more ways to build and configure a vSphere lab environment. Over the years, I have noticed that some of these methods can be quite complex simply due to their requirements, or incomplete as they only handle specific portion of the deployment or add additional constraints and complexity because they are composed of several other tools and scripts which can make it hard to manage. One of my primary goals for the project was to be able to stand up a fully functional vSphere environment, not just deploying a vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) or a couple of Nested ESXi VMs, but rather the entire vSphere stack and have it fully configured and ready for use. I also wanted to develop the scripts using a single scripting language that was not only easy to use, so that others could enhance or extend it further but also with the broadest support into the various vSphere APIs. Lastly, as a stretch goal, I would love to be able to run this script across the different OS platforms.
With these goals in mind, I decided to build these scripts using the latest PowerCLI 6.5 release. Not only is PowerCLI super easy to use, but I was able to immediately benefit from some of the new functionality that was added in the latest PowerCLI release such as the native VSAN cmdlets which I could use a sub-set of the cmdlets against prior releases of vSphere like 6.0 Update 2 for example. Although, not all functionality in PowerCLI has been ported over to PowerCLICore, you can see where VMware is going with it and my hope is that in the very near future, what I have created can one day be executed across all OS platforms whether that is Windows, Linux or Mac OS X and potentially even ARM-based platforms 🙂
- Automatically handle Nested ESXi on vSAN
- Resolved "Another task in progress" thanks to Jason M
- Support for deploying to VC Target
- Support for enabling SSH on VCSA
- Added option to auto-create vApp Container for VMs
- Added pre-check for required files
- Added missing dvFilter param to eth1 (missing in Nested ESXi OVA)
- 1 x Physical ESXi host OR vCenter Server running at least ESXi 6.0 Update 2 or greater
- PowerCLI 6.5 R1 installed on a Window system
- Nested ESXi 6.0 or 6.5 Virtual Appliance OVA
- vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) 6.0 or 6.5 extracted ISO
The scripts support deploying both a vSphere 6.0 Update 2 as well as vSphere 6.5 environment and there are two types of deployments for each:
- Standard - All VMs are deployed directly to the physical ESXi host
- Self Managed - Only the Nested ESXi VMs are deployed to physical ESXi host. The VCSA is then bootstrapped onto the first Nested ESXi VM
Below is a quick diagram to help illustrate the two deployment scenarios. The pESXi in gray is what you already have deployed which must be running at least ESXi 6.0 Update 2. The rest of the boxes is what the scripts will deploy. In the "Standard" deployment, three Nested ESXi VMs will be deployed to the pESXi host and configured with vSAN. The VCSA will also be deployed directly to the pESXi host and the vCenter Server will be configured to add the three Nested ESXi VMs into its inventory. This is a pretty straight forward and basic deployment, it should not surprise anyone. The "Self Managed" deployment is simliar, however the biggest difference is that rather than the VCSA being deployed directly to the pESXi host like the "Standard" deployment, it will actually be running within the Nested ESXi VM. The way that this deployment scenario works is that we will still deploy three Nested ESXi VM onto the pESXi host, however, the first Nested ESXi VM will be selected as a "Bootstrap" node which we will then construct a single-node vSAN to then deploy the VCSA. Once the vCenter Server is setup, we will then add the remainder Nested ESXi VMs into its inventory.
For most users, I expect the "Standard" deployment to be more commonly used but for other advanced workflows such as evaluating the new vCenter Server High Availability feature in vSphere 6.5, you may want to use the "Self Managed" deployment option. Obviously, if you select the latter deployment, the provisioning will take longer as you are now "double nested" and depending on your underlying physical resources, this can take quite a bit more time to deploy as well as consume more physical resources as your Nested ESXi VMs must now be larger to accommodate the VCSA. In both scenarios, there is no reliance on additional shared storage, they will both create a three node vSAN Cluster which of course you can expand by simply editing the script.
Here is a table breaking down the deployment time for each scenario and vSphere version:
|vSphere 6.5 Standard||36 min|
|vSphere 6.0 Standard||26 min|
|vSphere 6.5 Self Managed||47 min|
|vSphere 6.0 Self Managed||34 min|
Obviously, your miles will vary based on your hardware configuration and the size of your deployment.
There are four different scripts which covers the scenarios we discussed above:
Please refer to the Github project here for detailed instructions.
Once you have saved all your changes, you can then run the script. You will be provided with a summary of what will be deployed and you can verify that everything is correct before attempting the deployment. Below is a screenshot on what this would look like:
Here is an example of running a vSphere 6.5 "Standard" deployment:
I hope you find these scripts as useful as I do and feel free to enhance these scripts to perform additional functionality or extend them to cover other VMware product deployments such as NSX or vRealize products for example. Enjoy!