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vSphere 5 - Image Builder and Auto Deploy

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Auto Deploy is a new method for provisioning ESXi hosts in vSphere 5.1. At a high level the ESXi host boots over the network (using PXE/gPXE), contacts the Auto Deploy Server which loads ESXi into the hosts memory. After loading the ESXi image the Auto Deploy Server coordinates with vCenter Server to configure the host (using Host Profiles and Answer Files (answer files are new in 5.0). Auto Deploy eliminates the need for a dedicated boot device, enables rapid deployment for many hosts, and also simplifies ESXi host management by eliminating the need to maintain a separate “boot image” for each host.

Image profiles and VIBs are available in software depots from VMware or from VMware partners, and managed using the Image Builder PowerCLI. You can use software depots, image profiles, and software packages (VIBs) to specify the software you want to use during installation or upgrade of an ESXi host. Understanding how depots, profiles, and VIBs are structured and where you can use them is a prerequisite for in-memory installation of a custom ESXi ISO, for provisioning ESXi hosts using VMware Auto Deploy, and for some custom upgrade operations.

VIB A VIB is an ESXi software package. VMware and its partners package solutions, drivers, CIM providers, and applications that extend the ESXi platform as VIBs.
VIBs can be used to create and customize ISO images or installed asynchronously onto ESXi hosts. VIBs are available from software depots.

Image Profile An image profile defines an ESXi image and consists of VIBs (software packages). An image profile always includes a base VIB, and might include
additional VIBs. You examine and define an image profile using the Image Builder PowerCLI.

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vSphere 5 - Image Builder and Auto Deploy

  1. 1. vSphere 5 Image Builder and Auto Deploy
  2. 2. Composition of an ESXi Image Core CIM Hypervisor Providers Plug-in Drivers Components
  3. 3. ESXi Image Deployment Challenges • Standard ESXi image from VMware download site is sometimes limited • Doesn’t have all drivers or CIM providers for specific hardware • Doesn’t contain vendor specific plug-in components ? Missing CIM provider Missing driver Standard ESXi ISO • Base providers • Base drivers
  4. 4. Describing ESXi Components VIB • “VMware Infrastructure Bundle” (VIB) • Software packaging format used for ESXi • Often referred to as a “Software Package” • Used for all components • ESXi Base Image • Drivers • CIM providers • Other components • Can specify relationship with other VIBs • VIBs that it depends on • VIBs that it conflicts with
  5. 5. Managing Customized ESXi Images Image Builder: a set of command line utilities for… • Creating and managing image profiles • Building ESXi customized boot images, e.g. • Installable ISO • Bundle suitable for PXE installation or Flash • Initial version is based on PowerCLI • Snap-in component bundled as part of VMware’s PowerCLI tools Depot • A repository containing • Image profiles • VIBs • Can have multiple depots, with two types • On a web server • Encapsulated in a .ZIP file
  6. 6. Building an Image Start PowerCLI session Windows Host with PowerCLI and Image Builder Snap-in
  7. 7. Building an Image Activate Image Builder Snap-in Windows Host with PowerCLI and Image Builder Snap-in Image Builder
  8. 8. Building an Image Depots Connect to depot(s) Image Profile Windows Host with PowerCLI and Image Builder Snap-in ESXi VIBs Image Driver Builder VIBs OEM VIBs
  9. 9. Building an Image Depots Clone and modify existing Image Profile Image Profile Windows Host with PowerCLI and Image Builder Snap-in ESXi VIBs Image Driver Builder VIBs OEM VIBs
  10. 10. Building an Image Depots Generate new image Image Profile Windows Host with PowerCLI and Image Builder Snap-in ESXi VIBs Image ISO Image Driver Builder VIBs PXE-bootable Image OEM VIBs
  11. 11. What Is Auto Deploy? New host deployment method introduced in vSphere 5.0 • Based on PXE Boot • Works with Image Builder, vCenter Server, and Host Profiles • How it works: • PXE boot the server • ESXi image profile loaded into host memory via Auto Deploy Server • Configuration applied using Answer File / Host Profile • Host placed/connected in vCenter • Benefits • No boot disk • Quickly and easily deploy large numbers of ESXi hosts • Share a standard ESXi image across many hosts • Host image decoupled from the physical server • Recover host w/out recovering hardware or having to restore from backup
  12. 12. What Is Auto Deploy?Without Auto Deploy… With Auto Deploy…Host image tied to physical server Host image decoupled from server• Each host needs full install and config • Run on any server w/ matching hardware• Not easy to recover host • Config stored in Host Profile• Redundant boot disks/dedicated LUN • No boot diskA lot of time/effort building hosts Agile deployment model• Deploying hosts is repetitive and tedious • Deploy many hosts quickly and efficiently• Heavy reliance on scripting • No pre/post install scripts• Need to update for each new release • No need to update with each releaseConfiguration drift between hosts Host State Guaranteed• Config drift always a concern • Single boot image shared across hosts• Compromises HA/DR Every reboot provides consistent image• Manging drift consumes admin resources • Eliminate need to detect/correct drift
  13. 13. What Is Auto Deploy? No Boot Disk? Where does it go? Boot Disk Platform Composition: ESXi base, drivers, CIM providers, … Configuration: networking, storage, All information on the state date/time, firewall, admin password, … of the host is stored off the host in vCenter Running State: VM Inventory, HA state, License, DPM configuration Event Recording: log files, core dump
  14. 14. What Is Auto Deploy? No Boot Disk? Where does it go? Boot Disk Platform Composition: ESXi base, drivers, CIM providers, … Image Profile Configuration: networking, storage, date/time, firewall, admin password, … Host Profile Running State: VM Inventory, HA state, License, DPM configuration vCenter Server Event Recording: log files, core dump Add-on Components
  15. 15. Auto Deploy ComponentsComponent Sub-Components NotesPXE Boot • DHCP Server • Setup independentlyInfrastructure • TFTP Server • gPXE file from vCenter • Can use Auto Deploy ApplianceAuto Deploy Server • Rules Engine • Build/Manage Rules • PowerCLI Snap-in • Match server to Image • Web Server and Host Profile • Deploy serverImage Builder • Image Profiles, • Combine ESXi image • PowerCLI Snap-in with 3rd party VIBs to create custom Image ProfilesvCenter Server • Stores Rules • Provides store for rules • Host Profiles • Host configs saved in • Answer Files Host Profiles • Custom Host settings saved in Answer Files
  16. 16. Auto Deploy Example – Initial BootProvision new host vCenter Server Image Image Profile Image Host Profile Profile Host Profile Profile Host Profile Rules Engine ESXi VIBs Driver VIBs “Waiter” Auto TFTP DHCP OEM VIBs Deploy
  17. 17. Auto Deploy Example – Initial Boot1) PXE Boot server vCenter Server Image Image Profile Image Host Profile Profile Host Profile Profile Host Profile Rules Engine ESXi VIBs Driver VIBs “Waiter” gPXE DHCP image Request Auto TFTP DHCP OEM VIBs Deploy
  18. 18. Auto Deploy Example – Initial Boot2) Contact Auto Deploy Server vCenter Server Image Image Profile Image Host Profile Profile Host Profile Profile Host Profile Rules Engine ESXi VIBs Driver VIBs “Waiter” Auto OEM VIBs Deploy Cluster A Cluster B
  19. 19. Auto Deploy Example – Initial Boot3) Determine Image Profile, Host Profile and cluster vCenter Server Image Image Profile Image Host Profile Profile Host Profile Profile Host Profile Rules Engine ESXi • Image Profile X • Host Profile 1 VIBs • Cluster B Driver VIBs “Waiter” Auto OEM VIBs Deploy Cluster A Cluster B
  20. 20. Auto Deploy Example – Initial Boot4) Push image to host, apply host profile vCenter Server Image Image Profile Image Host Profile Profile Host Profile Profile Host Profile Rules Engine ESXi Image Profile Host Profile VIBs Cache Driver VIBs “Waiter” Auto OEM VIBs Deploy Cluster A Cluster B
  21. 21. Auto Deploy Example – Initial Boot5) Place host into cluster vCenter Server Image Image Profile Image Host Profile Profile Host Profile Profile Host Profile Rules Engine ESXi Image Profile Host Profile VIBs Cache Driver VIBs “Waiter” Auto OEM VIBs Deploy Cluster A Cluster B
  22. 22. Auto Deploy Example – Subsequent RebootReboot Auto Deploy Host vCenter Server Image Image Profile Image Host Profile Profile Host Profile Profile Host Profile Rules Engine ESXi Image Profile Host Profile VIBs Cache Driver VIBs “Waiter” Auto TFTP DHCP OEM VIBs Deploy
  23. 23. Auto Deploy Example1) PXE boot host vCenter Server Image Image Profile Image Host Profile Profile Host Profile Profile Host Profile Rules Engine ESXi Image Profile Host Profile VIBs Cache Driver VIBs “Waiter” gPXE DHCP image Request Auto TFTP DHCP OEM VIBs Deploy
  24. 24. Auto Deploy Example2) Contact Auto Deploy Server vCenter Server Image Image Profile Image Host Profile Profile Host Profile Profile Host Profile Rules Engine ESXi Image Profile Host Profile VIBs Cache Driver VIBs “Waiter” Auto OEM VIBs Deploy Cluster A Cluster B
  25. 25. Auto Deploy Example3) Image Profile and Host Profile loaded from cache on vCenter vCenter Server Image Image Profile Image Host Profile Profile Host Profile Profile Host Profile Rules Engine ESXi Image Profile Host Profile VIBs Cache Driver VIBs “Waiter” Auto OEM VIBs Deploy Cluster A Cluster B
  26. 26. Auto Deploy Example4) Host place host into cluster vCenter Server Image Image Profile Image Host Profile Profile Host Profile Profile Host Profile Rules Engine ESXi Image Profile Host Profile VIBs Cache Driver VIBs “Waiter” Auto OEM VIBs Deploy Cluster A Cluster B

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