Adding a vSphere infrastructure to VMware Telco Cloud Automation

This post provides an overview of what’s required when adding a vSphere infrastructure to VMware Telco Cloud Automation.

Our Telco Systems Business recently announced general availability of Dell Technologies Reference Architecture for VMware TCP 5g Edition 2.1. It is an updated reference architecture featuring the latest version of TCP software and fully validated R650 and R750 servers along with Dell PowerSwitch networking. This Ref Arch an be found here.

So I decided to take a look at what Telco Cloud Automation (TCA) looked like, specifically what was involved in adding the physical infrastructure to the platform. The following is how VMware describe the layers of the Telco Cloud Platform 5G. This post will touch on some of the Physical Tier, Platform Tier, and Cloud Automation Tier components

The hardware in my lab environment does not align with the Ref Arch, which requires separated Management, Edge, and Workload clusters. The lab consolidates everything onto 4 x Dell R650 nodes, which is fine for the purposes of just standing this up in a lab and understanding some basics. Best not to run with it in Production though!

I am using a single vCenter Server (7.0 U2d) which is running on 4 x vSphere (ESXi 7.0 U2c) hosts. This means that the TCA Manager will connect to the same vCenter Server as the TCA Control Plane uses for the vSphere Infrastructure. Again, this works for the lab purposes of this VMW TCA fact-finding mission, and is not for Prod.

The primary sections of this blog post consist of:

  • Download VMware TCP software
  • Deploy TCA
    • Deploy and Configure TCA Control Plane Appliance
    • Deploy and Configure TCA Manager Appliance
  • Add vSphere endpoint to TCA

Download VMware TCP software

With a 4-node vSphere cluster and vCenter Server already installed and available, I went and grabbed the additional bits that I needed from

  • VMware NSXT v3.1.2
  • VMware Telco Cloud Automation v1.9.5
  • VMware vRealize Orchestrator v8.3.0

(and thankfully I have my vExpert licenses to use!)

VMware NSX-T Managers and VMware vRO were deployed as standard, and not captured for this post.

Deploy TCA

I deployed one TCA Control Plane appliance (to connect to the vSphere Infrastructure) and one TCA Manager appliance, as follows.

Deploy and Configure the TCA Control Plane Appliance

First I deployed the TCA Control Plane appliance, one of which is required for each infrastructure endpoint to be configured in TCA.

To see what this looks like, scroll through the following slideshow of screengrabs. When deploying the ovf, the most notable field is highlighted on the 2nd last screengrab under Services Configuration, where the appliance Role is set to Control Plane (as opposed to Manager). I did not configure any DHCP, IPv6 or Static Routes.

Once the ovf successfully deployed, it then needed to be configured by browsing to the IP or FQDN of the appliance using port 9443 e.g. https://tel-tca-cp01.cse.lab:9443, using the admin user login.

Scroll through the following slideshow of screengrabs to see what this looks like, where the TCA Instance type is vSphere.

Also note that the SSO/PSC is pointing back at the same vCenter Server, and I did not configure vRO at this point as it can be added later.

The final slide is what the appliance dashboard looked like after the restart, showing the NSX, vCenter and SSO connections as Active.

Deploy and Configure the TCA Manager Appliance

Next up was to deploy the TCA Manager appliance. The ovf deployment is almost identical to the Control Plane deployment, with the exception of the Role to be selected is Manager (as opposed to Control Plane), as shown below

Once the ovf has successfully deployed, the Manager appliance must be configured. Browse to the TCA Manager appliance IP or FQDN on port 9443 e.g. https://tel-tca-m01.cse.lab:9443, using the admin user login.

(I am missing screen grabs below for entering the Location and System Name, but nothing major, they are the same as with the Control Plan deployment).

The primary connections here are to the vCenter Server and the SSO/PSC (which is also the vCenter server here).

At this stage the VM count is 7 VMs, as shown in the vSphere Client below, and the basic VMW TCA components are configured:

Adding vSphere endpoint to VMW TCA

Next up is to log into the TCA portal, see what we can see, and configure the Virtual Infrastructure endpoint for TCA.

We browse to the FQDN or IP address of the TCA Manager appliance, which in this case is https://tel-tca-m01.cse.lab, and log in as the all-encompassing user administrator@vsphere.local which will allow us the required Virtual Infrastructure Admin user privileges to add a vSphere Infrastructure.

The initial dashboard dose not contain any configured Infrastructure (or anything else), so we next navigate to the Infrastructure > Virtual Infrastructure space, where we can Add Virtual Infrastructure

Key details to enter when creating a new Virtual Infrastructure Account are the TCA Control Plane URL for this endpoint, along with the associated Username and Password. Once the details are entered, they must first be Validated, and then Added.

Once the VI is successfully added, select Manage Compute Profile in order to select the appropriate Cluster or Resource Pool, as well as the Datastore. The Edge Cluster can also be configured here (I will add this in an updated post later).

One point to note was that during initial configuration of the Compute Profile, I did not see the option to enable SR-IOV, but it is then displayed as set to False under Capabilities Parameters. Also my servers do not have SR-IOV enabled for their NICs (*** Update, now they do). More about VMW TCA and SR-IOV here. Be aware that if you use SR-IOV, several virtualization features such as vMotion, High Availability, DRS, and Snapshots become unavailable. For more information, see SR-IOV support in the vSphere documentation.

We are just about done at this stage from the point of view of adding a Virtual Infrastructure to TCA. The image above is a summary of the VI that we added, while the images below are of the main Dashboard, all reflecting the newly added virtual infrastructure.

The information above is just one way to add Virtual Infrastructure to VMware TCA. This is also possible through Infrastructure Automation in TCA … but that’s for another day! Also for another day is adding K8 resources, but will hopefully post that soon.

Hope this all helps!



Telco Cloud Automation Architecture Overview

VMware TCA Privileges and Roles

Dell Technologies Reference Architecture for VMware TCP 5g Edition 2.1

VMware’s official Ref Arch Guide

Enable SR-IOV on your Dell server for VMware


2 thoughts on “Adding a vSphere infrastructure to VMware Telco Cloud Automation

  1. Pingback: How’s your Dell for SR-IOV? | Scamallach

  2. Pingback: VMware Telco Cloud Platform Sample Architecture Visio | Scamallach

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.