VCAP5-DCA Objective 5.1 – Implement and Maintain host profiles

VCAP5-DCA Objective 5.1 – Implement and Maintain host profiles

Objectives

  • Use Profile Editor to edit and/or disable policies
  • Create sub-profiles
  • Use Host Profiles to deploy vDS
  • Use Host Profiles to deploy vStorage policies
  • Manage Answer Files

Use Profile Editor to edit and/or disable policies

Official Documentation:
A good reading on Host Profiles is the  VMware Host Profiles: Technical Overview.

The vSphere Host Profiles Guide, covers the following aspects regarding Host profiles:

  • Creating host profiles
  • Exporting and importing a host profile
  • Editing host profile policies
  • Attaching an entity to a host profile
  • Applying a host profile to an entity attached to the host profile
  • Checking the host profile’s compliance to an entity attached to the host profile
  • Checking and updating the host profile’s answer file

Summary:
The essence of Host profiles:

Host profiles eliminates per-host, manual, or UI-based host configuration and maintains configuration consistency and correctness across the datacenter by using host profile policies. These policies capture the blueprint of a known, validated reference host configuration and use this to configure networking, storage, security, and other settings on multiple hosts or clusters. You can then check a host or cluster against a profile’s configuration for any deviations.

Workflow

You perform host profiles tasks in a certain workflow order. You must have an existing vSphere installation with at least one properly configured host.

  1. Set up and configure the host that will be used as the reference host.
    A reference host is the host from which the profile is created.
  2. Create a profile using the designated reference host.
  3. Attach a host or cluster to the profile.
  4. Check the host’s compliance to the reference host’s profile. If all hosts are compliant with the reference host, they are correctly configured.
  5. Apply the host profile of the reference host to other hosts or clusters of hosts.

Policies

A policy describes how a specific configuration setting should be applied. The Profile Editor allows you to edit policies belonging to a specific host profile.

Here, is an example how to use the Profile Editor to edit and/or disable policies

  • After Applying a previously created Host profile to a ESXi host, this output is received:

Figure 1

  • Luckily, this is a common situation when using local SAS drives with vSphere5. VMware published this KB “Applying a host profile causes compliance failure” to solve the issue.
  • Log into the vCenter using the VI Client.
  • Under the Home view, click Host Profiles under Management.
  • In the Host Profiles view, right click the host profile and select the second option, Enable/Disable Profile Configuration.

Figure 2

  • Expand /unfold Storage Configuration.
  • Expand /unfold the Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA) configuration.
  • Deselect the PSA Device Configuration profile.
  • Expand /unfold Native Multi-pathing (NMP).
  • Expand /unfold PSP and SATP Configuration for NMP Devices.
  • Deselect PSP configuration for and SATP configuration for.

Figure 3

  • Click OK.
  • Check compliance again.

Other references:

Create sub-profiles

Official Documentation: vSphere Host Profiles Guide, Section “Edit a policy”, page 10.

Summary:
Host Profiles, structure.

  • A policy describes how a specific configuration setting should be applied.
  • The Profile Editor allows you to edit policies belonging to a specific host profile.
  • On the left side of the Profile Editor, you can expand the host profile. Each host profile is composed of several subprofiles that are designated by functional group to represent configuration instances. Subprpfiles are eg. Storage configuration, Networking configuration, Date and time Configuration.
  • Each subprofile contains many policies and compliance checks that describe the configuration that is relevant to the profile.
  • Each policy consists of one or more options that contains one or more parameters.

Figure 4 – Policy Configuration details

  • Each parameter consists of a key and a value.
  • The value can be one of a few basic types, for example integer, string, string array, or integer array.

Figure 5 – Compliance details

Subprofiles can be added to a Profile.

  • Expand a subprofile and
  • Right click to add a profile

Figure 6

A subprofile can also be removed by right-clicking and choosing “Remove Profile”.

Other references:

  • A

Use Host Profiles to deploy vDS

Official Documentation:

Figure 7 – Summary provided by VMware

Summary:
The most common scenario is this one:

  1. Create Distributed Switch (without any associated hosts).
  2. Create Distributed Virtual Port Groups on Distributed Switch to match existing or required environment.
  3. Add host to Distributed Switch and migrate vmnics to dvUplinks and Virtual Ports to DV Port Groups.
  4. Delete Standard Switch from host.

At the completion of Step 4, we will have a single host with its networking environment completely migrated to Distributed Switch.

The following three steps allow us to create a host profile of this migrated host and then apply it to a number of hosts in one step (Step 7).

  1. Create host profile of Reference Host.
  2. Attach and apply the host profile to the candidate hosts.
  3. Migrate virtual machine networking for virtual machines and take the hosts out of Maintenance Mode.

Variation on Using Host Profiles for Migration.
The previously outlined process can be time consuming for a large number of virtual machines. An alternative method, which reduces the per–virtual machine edit process but requires a reapplication of a modified host profile, is as follows:

  1. Retain the Standard Switch on each host (and, therefore, the Port Groups) during migration, using Host Profiles. Do not perform Step 4 (so you create a host profile of a host with a Standard Switch and a Distributed Switch and then apply that profile to the hosts).
  2. Right-click on the Distributed Switch and select Migrate Virtual Machine Networking… and then migrate all virtual machines for each Port Group in one step per Port Group.
  3. Delete the Standard Switch from the host profile using the edit host profile function (or just delete the Standard Switch from the reference host and create a fresh host profile).
  4. Reapply this host profile to the hosts in the cluster.

Other references:

  • A

Use Host Profiles to deploy vStorage policies

Official Documentation:
The VMware Host Profiles: Technical Overview.

Summary:
In previous editions of VMware vSphere, there were some limitations regarding the configuration of Storage policies, e.g. configuring iSCSI storage.

As you can see in the figure depicting the Storage configuration section, now NFS, (software) iSCSI, Software FCoE, NMP en PSP is covered.

Figure 8

Other references:

  • A

Manage Answer Files

Official Documentation:
vSphere Host Profiles Guide, Section “Update Answer files”, page 10.

Summary:
When applying a Host profile for the first time to an ESXi host, in most cases you will be prompted for additional information, e.g. IP addresses for network configuration and so on.

Figure 9

An Answer file is attached to a Host. You can Export or Import an Answer file. A very useful option is the “Update Answer File”, in case you want to edit configuration details (or typo’s).

To get there:

  • Go to Host Profiles;
  • Select the desired Host profile;
  • Go to the “Host and Clusters” tab;
  • Select the ESXi host an right-click to open the menu.

Other references:

  • A
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