The previous blog covered details of the Stretched Cluster functionality. In this part, we will discuss the Life Cycle Management (LCM) Process.
LCM is one of most important features of Cloud Foundation on VxRail. Upgrading an environment hosted on different types of hardware with varied firmware levels, running different types of VMware products at various versions while supporting customer workloads, can be a daunting task. Trying to figure out the compatibility matrix between software and firmware as well as interoperability between the various VMware products can be overwhelming. For example here is a sample matrix for compatibility between ESXi versions and NSX for vSphere:
When considering upgrades, not only do you have to take into account the version supportmatrix but you also need to consider the sequence of performing the upgrade. For example, should ESXi be upgraded before or after the NSX Manager and Controllers? Now multiply this by the number of workload domains, and components you have installed as well as the firmware, bios and drivers for the hardware and it can be quite a challenge!
This is exactly where Cloud Foundation on VxRail really provides significant value. VMware and Dell EMC qualify bundles that include the full stack of components. The integrated Cloud Foundation Lifecycle Controller Manager (LCM) provides end–to–end validated patch bundles which helps the end user upgrade the full environment, including Cloud Foundation software and VxRail hardware, at a click of a button from single user interface (UI) without having to worry about the individual components. These bundles include the following;
- VxRail Manager
The entire upgrade process is managed from the VMware Cloud Foundation SDDC Manager appliance. From this UI you can see the current versions of the system, see if new versions are available and trigger upgrades across the system in a controlled way. The upgrade automation takes care of the entire sequence of the upgrade (including downloading the binaries) and correctly ordering the upgrade process, so that you do not need to worry!
The step by step process of upgrading a system is available on VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail documentation.