Building vSphere 6 with VSAN on IBM Softlayer: Part 2 – Ordering vCenter server on Softlayer

This is the second part of Building vSphere 6 with VSAN on IBM Softlayer series. In the first part we’ve discussed how to order bare metal server with ESXi 6 installed.

In this part I will show how to order vCenter Server 6 on a Windows Cloud Instance (aka CI – VM running on Softlayer) .

You may ask, why should we do that? Why should we order vCenter on Cloud Instance of Softlayer? We can install a vCenter appliance.

Answer to this is very simple. The reason I do this is because when you run vSphere Enterprise Plus 6 on Softlayer  you get a vCenter Server free of charge. That’s right, you do not need to pay for vCenter Server license. You still need to pay for Cloud Instance though.

Disadvantage of such config is that it comes in Embedded Deployment Model with all components installed on a single VM. So, if you want a more complex solution, for example with external DB or PSC on different server, you will need to reinstall those yourself.

Here is how you order a vCenter server on Softlayer.

Click the Devices icon in the Order panel.

Order

In the pop-up window, select ⊕ Monthly under Virtual Server(public node).

CI

1. Select Quantity of Servers you want to order

In my example I need only 1 vCenter server. So I will keep this as it is.

2. Select Location.

I’ve built my ESXi hosts in AMS03, so I will keep my vCenter in same location.

Datacenter

3. System Configuration

According to VMware Documentation for Tiny environments you need at least 2 CPU and 8GB RAM. Considering that in my example I will run  in Embedded Deployment Mode I would say we need minimum of 2 CPU and 10 GB RAM. But, to be on safe side, in this emxaple I will build it with 4 CPU and 16 GB RAM.

Next, we need to select the OS. VMware vCenter Server 6 works fine on Windows 2012 R2 Standard (64bit), so that’s what I am going to chose.

Note: You will be presented with a warning that selecting Windows 2012 R2 needs bigger disk that default 25Gb. Press OK to proceed.

Last thing we need to do for System Configurations is to select disks.

In my example, I will select 100GB for First Disk and another 100Gb for Second Disk as I am planning to install Update Manager on the same machine.

4. Network Options

The only thing I will change here is the Network speeds. I will use 1 Gbps Public & Private Network Uplinks instead of default 10 Mbps Public & Private Network Uplinks. I will keep public internet access enabled for my example.

Note: You may want to reconsider enabling public access to your vCenter Server when building a production system. Giving direct internet access to Windows without any firewall in front, may not be the best idea.

5. System Addons

This is the place where you specify that vCenter Server 6 should be installed on this CI. So make sure you will not miss it.

Under OS-Specific Addons select vCenter 6.0 from VMware sub-menu.

CI_VCENTER

Note: Pay attention to the fact that vCenter costs $0.00 per month.

Another thing you may consider to select from OS-Specific Addons is an Antivirus software. In Softlayer you can get McAfee VirusScan Enterprise for free with any Windows installation.

CI_AV

6. Storage Addons

You may consider configuring EVAULT backup for your vCenter server, but that’s a topic for a separate article. So, for my example, I will skip it.

7. Service Addons

In production environments you may consider selecting better monitoring options from Service Addons sections. For my example though, the only thing I will change is, again, Response. I don’t want monitoring to restart my Systems without any notice.

Once done, click Continue Your Order.

On Order Summary and Billing page, review your order and provide the info needed, similar to the what we did for bare-metal servers.

Specify VLANs to use.

CI_VLANS

Specify Hostname and Domain name

CI_HOSTname

Once ready, scroll down, read and (if you agree) accept terms and conditions, and click Finalize Your Order.

Provisioning a CI can take up to one hour but usually it’s quite fast. You can monitor the progress of deployments in Device List in Softlayer Portal.

Now, once we will have both vCenter and ESXi hosts ready, we could proceed with VSAN config. But first we need to solve some networking. See you in the next article, where we will order a dedicated VLAN and create a subnet for VSAN.

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Aram Avetisyan is an IT specialist with more than 15 years experience. He has rich background in various IT related fields like Cloud, Virtualization, SDN, Disaster Recovery, and so on. He holds several industry level certifications including but not limited to VCIX6-DCV, VCIX6-NV, VCAP-CIA. As VCI Aram is delivering VMware authorised courses. For his contribution to the community, he was recognised as vEXPERT in years 2014, 2015 and 2016.

About Aram Avetisyan

Aram Avetisyan is an IT specialist with more than 15 years experience. He has rich background in various IT related fields like Cloud, Virtualization, SDN, Disaster Recovery, and so on. He holds several industry level certifications including but not limited to VCIX6-DCV, VCIX6-NV, VCAP-CIA. As VCI Aram is delivering VMware authorised courses. For his contribution to the community, he was recognised as vEXPERT in years 2014, 2015 and 2016.
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