VMware Cloud Foundation

VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell EMC VxRail Blog Series – part 5: Adding NSX-T   

Author: RadhaKrishna Dasari, Staff Solutions Architect.

In the previous blog, we discussed Lifecycle Management for Cloud Foundation on VxRail. In this part, we will discuss NSX-T. 


With the recent release of Cloud Foundation 3.8customers can deploy Cloud Foundation on VxRail and create workload domains with NSX-T Data Center deployed and pre-configured that comply with the VMware Validated Design (VVD) guidelines. This has been a highly requested feature since support for Cloud Foundation on VxRail was announced 


NSX-T Deployment 

Let’s first discuss the Add Domain workflow needed to deploy NSX-TCustomers can then use the deployed NSX-T Data Center to satisfy the use cases requiring NSX-T networking in their private cloud. 


Note: The current implementation deploys only a single NSX-T Manager cluster even if multiple workload domains are deployed with NSX-T cluster support. Effectively, these workload domains share the single NSX-T Manager cluster. 


Pre-requisites for an NSX-T VI Workload domain: 

Make sure the following pre-requisites are met before attempting the creation of a workload domain with NSX-T: 

  • At least two physical NICs are available on all the hosts that will be used for the cluster creation 
  • Download the NSX-T Manager install bundleTo download, in the SDDC Manager portal navigate to Repository -> Bundles page. Click on Download Now button next to the “VMware Software Install X.Y.Z.A software bundle. Alternatively, you can schedule the download by clicking on the Schedule Download button and providing the details of the date and time when you would like the download to start. 


  • Enter the NSX-T license key (needed for creating the NSX-T clusters) in SDDC Manager. To input the license keys, navigate to the Administrator -> Licensing page in the SDDC ManagerClick on +License Key button and provide your license key on the Add License Key pop-up window. 




NSX-T Workload Domain CreatioProcedure 


Kick off the NSX-T workload domain creation by clicking on + Workload Domain on the SDDC Manager dashboard and following the same steps described in the previous blog 


The next step is to add the 4 node VxRail cluster deployed by Dell EMC personnel (using VxRail Manager) by invoking the Add VxRail Cluster workflow in the SDDC Manager. In the Add VxRail Cluster to WLD UI, select the radio button in the row where this cluster is listed (Cluster Name and FQDN) and click Next. 




The Discovered Hosts page will list all the hosts that were prepared during the VxRail Manager cluster creation process. Fill in the details and click Next. 




Certain validation checks will be performed to ensure the hosts are reachable, the SSH passwords are accurate etc. Starting this release, on the Networking page, you are presented with two options: NSX-V and NSX-T. Select the NSX-T option to create a cluster with NSX-T Data Center support 




Enter the necessary fields such as VLAN ID of the overlay networkingIP and FQDN of the NSX-T Manager cluster, NSX-T Manager primary (shown as NSX-T Manager 1 on the UI) and the two NSX-T Manager secondary nodes (NSX-T Manager 2 and NSX-T Manager 3). 




Additionally, you will need to enter the Subnet MaskDefault Gateway and Admin Password information and click Next. 




Othe Licenses page, the NSX-T and vSAN licenses will be autopopulated with the licenses that you have previously entered. Click Next 




Review all the data on the Review page for accuracy. If you need to modify any fields, use the Back button to access the corresponding page(s), otherwise click Finish 





You can now review the high level status of the Add Cluster workflow on the Workload Domains summary page  



View the Tasks pane (you can also maximize the view) for a more detailed status of the workflow. 




After the workflow is completed, the status will be reflected athe workload domain being Active on the summary page. 




As part of the NSXT Manager cluster creation, three NSX-T Manager VMs will be deployed in the management domain. Verify the same by signing into the management vCenter using the vSphere client. In our lab environment, the primary NSX-T Manager is wdcnsx-2 and the secondary managers are wdcnsx-3 and wdcnsx-4 as shown in the figure below. 





Physical NIC selection Algorithm: 


The Add Cluster workflow will create the N-VDS using two free pnics (Physical NICs or network) that are available on the ESXi hosts at the time of creation of the cluster. You can review the state of different pnics on any host in this cluster as shown in the picture below (listed as vmnics in vCenter). 


The workflow uses the following algorithm for automatically selecting the free pnics:  

  1. List all the pnics on the ESXi hosts in the cluster. 
  2. Identify the pnics that are part of a vSphere Distributed Switch (VDS). These pnics are deemed as in use or not free. 
  3. Select the first set of two pnics that are free and with similar configuration – model and speed. Ensure that the similar pair of NICs are available on all the hosts in the cluster for uniformity. 
  4. The workflow would automatically pick these two free pnics for the creation of the N-VDS 
  5. If step 3. fails to find a pair of compliant pnics, thworkflow will fail and an error message will be shown on the UI. 






Now login to the NSXT manager primary node and verify the configurations performed by the Add Cluster workflow. Firstly, you can view the cluster information under Overview -> System – key details such as the Virtual IP, connectivity and stability information of the cluster 





The Transport Nodes information is available under Fabric -> Nodes 




You can click on one of the Nodes which displays a wizard showing the Host Details and Configure NSX pages. On the Configure NSX page, you can view all the settings that were automatically configured by the Add Cluster workflow. 






The Transport Zones information is available under Fabric -> Transport zones 





At this point, you will have a preconfigured NSX-T cluster available in your workload domain allowing you to start using NSX-T networking and build your use cases requiring the power of NSX-T.  


The remaining workflows pertinent to an NSX-T workload domain to add or remove a host, add a cluster, remove a cluster and deleting a domain are similar to the workflows covered in the previous blog 


For more detailed steps for the NSX-T Workload Domain deployment follow the VMware Cloud Foundation on Dell EMC VxRail Administration Guide. 


We would love to hear your feedback on this blog, more so as we just enabled NSX-T support for the workload domains. 

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