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vSphere Lifecycle Manager helps you keep your vSphere infrastructure consistent by applying the desired state configurations to all the ESXi hosts in a cluster. In vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM), the desired state is defined via the cluster image (desired image), consisting of vendor add-ons, ESXi version, and hardware specifics Firmware and Drivers. The vSphere 7 Update 1 release brings improvements to vSphere Lifecycle Manager, making it easier and quicker to patch and upgrade large parts of the SDDC.

Below are some of the notable improvements in vSphere Lifecycle Manager with vSphere 7 update 1.

  • Support for NSX-T (Available from upcoming NSX-T releases)
  • Support for vSAN
  • Firmware Integration for Lenovo ThinkAgile VX series
  • Increased Scalability
vLCM

 

 

Support for NSX-T

Starting from upcoming NSX releases,  The NSX Manager can manage all the life cycle aspects of NSX-T via vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) image manager APIs. All the aspects relating to installing, config, running, and upgrading are taken care of by the vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) image manager. vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) raise alarms if there is any drift to the desired state defined in the cluster Image.

Install NSX-T on a vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) enabled cluster

vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) cluster image is updated, and a new desired state is defined with NSX-T binaries. Once you click on  Configure NSX, the NSX manager starts the vLCM remediation. During this process, vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) ensures that NSX-T binaries are installed on all the hosts in a cluster or host group.

There is a new tag, “vLCM” in the NSX manager, which enables network administrators to identify the vLCM enabled clusters.

install

 

Note: Currently, there is no support for the N-VDS switch on a vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) enabled cluster. This means that vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) will not be able to do the host’s lifecycle management, working with the N-VDS switch. Only vDS managed NSX environments are manageable via vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) as of today.

What happens if I add/remove ESXi hosts to vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) enabled cluster?

The cluster image has got the NSX-T bits to it, vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) remediation will start to ensure NSX-T gets installed on newly added host as soon as you add the TNP profile to it in NSX manager.

Similarly, vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) will uninstall NSX-T as soon as you remove the host from the host group or vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) enabled cluster.

Upgrade

 The upgrade process of NSX-T on a vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) enabled cluster can be broken down into 3 stages mainly-

  1. Stage
    • The administrator needs to stage the binaries first
    • Stage the upgrade binaries
  2. Set Solution
    • Once we start the upgrade, vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) sets the vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) image with upgraded binaries
    • vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) sets a new desired state for the host groups/cluster
  3. Remediate
    • Once the solution is set, remediation is started by vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM)
    • Installs the new binaries on ESXi hosts
Upgrade

 

Support for vSAN

vSAN fault domain and availability zone aware

Now, vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) is aware of vSAN topologies like the vSAN fault domain and availability zone. vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) remediate sequence is now serialized across vSAN fault domains. Remediation on a fault domain will only process once the remediation is completed on the previous fault domain.

vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) also honours the availability zones throughout the lifecycle of vSAN clusters.

vSAN

Hardware compatibility pre-checks for vSAN environments

The hardware compatibility framework of vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) automatically polls the Hardware Compatibility List database at predefined intervals. It alerts the administrators if there is any mismatch in hardware compatibility concerning vSAN components.

Firmware Integration for Lenovo ThinkAgile VX series

Lenovo is the new addition to our partner program with its ThinkAgile VX HCI solution. Starting from vSphere 7.0 Update 1, vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) is integrated with Lenevo xClarity Integrator (LXCI). This integration enables us to manage firmware and driver upgrades specific to the Lenovo ThinkAgile VX series of servers.

Click here to know more about Lenovo xClarity Integrator (LXCI).

Lenevo

Source: Lenovo

 

Increased Scalability

Starting from vSphere 7.0 Update 1, vSphere greatly improves the scalability part of the vSphere infrastructure. These scalability options are now being reflected in vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) as well. Below are some of the notable scalability improvements with respect to vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM)

  1. 96 hosts are supported in a single vLCM cluster. For vSAN cluster, the limit is still at 64 hosts.
  2. 64 vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) enabled clusters in vSphere 7.0 Update 1 are now supported compared to 15 from previous releases.
  3. A single image can manage 280 ESXi hosts compare to 150 ESXi hosts from the previous release.

To Conclude

vLCM is improving day by day to meet the customer’s requirement. The addition of NSX-T and vSAN significantly improves this solution’s acceptability and makes it easier and quicker to patch and upgrade large parts of the SDDC. We continue to evolve and improve vLCM, and you will hear many more exciting announcements in the future releases of vSphere.

More Resources to Learn

Announcing VMware vSphere with Tanzu: The Fastest Way to Get Started with Kubernetes

What’s New with VMware vSphere 7 Update 1

vSphere 7 Update 1 – AMD SEV-ES

VMware vSphere

 

 

 

 


We are excited about these new releases and how vSphere is always improving to serve our customers and workloads better in the hybrid cloud. We will continue posting new technical and product information about vSphere with Tanzu & vSphere 7 Update 1 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through the end of October 2020! Join us by following the blog directly using the RSS feed, on Facebook, and on Twitter, and by visiting our YouTube channel which has new videos about vSphere 7 Update 1, too. As always, thank you, and please stay safe.