Support was recently announced for the Dell EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud platform on the VxRail HCI appliance. Aimed at smaller enterprises, this platform has been greatly anticipated and is generating huge interest with customers. What may not be as widely known and appreciated is how much the overall installation is accelerated by the EHC Automated Installation Tool.
The simplicity of VxRail installation and setup with VxRail Manager is well documented and hugely popular with customers. A couple of hours and you are ready to roll with vCenter, vSphere hosts, networking and vSAN storage. So how does a customer get from there to a fully integrated and fully functional Enterprise Hybrid Cloud platform? From Hooray to EHC?
Well, the idea started early 2015 when @cl0udguide created a prototype of a fully automated installation of the EHC solution. Was it pretty? No. Was it amazing? Yes. It proved that a MASSIVE amount of work was required, but more importantly, it proved that it was possible. The various ‘What Ifs’ were hotly contested, but it proved that a standardized repeatable process was possible.
Fast forward 2 yrs and the EHC engineering teams were able to release a fully functional, production-ready Automated Installation Tool for EHC on VxRail. accelerating and standardizing the overall installation of the EHC platform. The end result is a tribute to the amount of effort and dedication put in by the Engineering teams.
First, what does the EHC platform provide?
The EHC (Enterprise Hybrid Cloud) platform provides a fully designed, integrated and validated cloud solution, providing self-service provisioning, backup and recovery, automated resource management, software-defined storage and networking, metering and monitoring, and Security.
Must I use the Public Cloud if I use this solution?
No, the EHC platform does provide the ability to connect to and leverage Public Cloud resources and services, but using the Public Cloud is in no way a requirement for this solution. For customers who may have specific regulatory requirements, or simply just want to a Private Cloud only, then the EHC platform is still a perfect fit.
What does this Automated Installation Tool do?
The EHC Automated Installation Tool automates the installation of all of the required products and components that support the EHC solution, and configures all of the required integration points and dependencies. This includes all user accounts, certificates, SSO, with connections to/from vCenter, vRA, PSC, vRO, vR Ops, Log Insight, vRB, the NSX Manager and Load Balancer.
* Optional components such as Avamar, DataDomain, and CloudLink are manually installed if required. (will be automated in future release)
The configuration of the Advanced Networking with NSX (Controllers, Edges, DLRs) is a manual operation, tailored to the customers specific requirements, once the automated installation completes.
Highlighted above is the vCenter view of all of the EHC management components, post-installation, separated into their respective Resource Pools.
How long does all of this take to complete and who manages the install?
In general the deployment should take approx 8-10hrs on a greenfield/new VxRail, with the installation being managed by DellEMC trained personnel.
Email notifications can be configured so that the customer is notified of the completed steps in the process, as shown below
What happens if something goes wrong during the automated install?
The automated installation tool creates multiple snapshots throughout the installation process (as shown below), providing the ability to resume installation from the last restore point once a blocking issue is resolved.
Where or at what point does this automated install tool begin?
Once the VxRail installation is complete (Hooray!), the EHC Automated Installation Tool appliance is deployed into the vSphere environment.
Once this appliance is deployed and configured, the EHC Automated Installation can begin.
What information does the Automated Installation require?
The automated installation tool requires detailed information specific to the environment, such as Active Directory, Hostnames, IP Addressing, Sizing and Certificates.
All of this required information must be finalized ahead of time and, once imported in xls form, is validated by the tool before the deployment of components begins.
Show me more!
Take a few minutes to watch the video below, carefully put together by @cl0udguide
Check out VxRail – Welcome EHC for more EHC on VxRail specs and resources