vCloud Automation Center vCAC 6.0 – Using Linux Kickstart to Provision to Physical HP Server over iLo

That big ole title pretty much says it all. In this article I’m going to walk through how to deploy RHEL (Centos) Linux onto a Physical HP Server over the iLo interface using Kickstart. When provisioning to Physical servers such as an HP Proliant DL360 there are two methods built into vCAC. One is the use of PXE boot, and the other is via the iLo interface.

There are pro and cons to both PXE and remote mounting an ISO over the iLo interface. PXE has the obvious cons of the network requirements, having a PXE server available and if you want true flexibility you will need to do a little custom work. ISO mount over iLo tend to be a bit slower due to the over head of remote mounting a ISO and the speed of the iLo interface. In this article I will be covering remote mounting an ISO over iLo, but I will be covering PXE is a later article.

What do we need

To start we need the Physical HP server to be racked and cabled up. It’s iLo interface should be configured and licensed, the network interfaces should be cabled in and the switches should be configured for the appropriate Vlans etc. The drives in the server should also be initialized. vCAC will not create any raid groups etc for you, you must do this manually. My examples also requires a web server that can be utilized to store the needed files on the network.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Creating Entitlements

Entitlements are what allow you to give users/groups access to Services and/or Blueprints as well as determine what actions they can perform with them. Entitlements offer a significant amount of flexibility in how you provide access to services through the catalog, who can access those services, what actions they can perform, and what is any approvals are required.

Entitlements are made up of three components. Services, Catalog Items, and Actions. You can choose to entitle complete Services which encompass all Items within the service or just select catalog Items. You can also determine what actions the users that belong to the entitle can perform against all the catalog items that are a part of the entitlement. Keep this in mind if you want to have catalog items with lesser or more available actions you will need to put them in different entitlements.

Within entitlements you also have the ability to assign approvals to Services, Catalog Items, and actions. Again keep in mind that you may want to have different approval policies for different groups of people for the same catalog items, this would require a different entitlement for each.

Creating Entitlements

  1. Go to Administration -> Catalog Management -> Entitlements and select the + sign next to Entitlements at the top of the page.
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  3. When the page opens give your entitlement a name, set the status as active, select the business group that it relates to, and assign the AD users/groups that you would like to grant access to the entitlement. Once completed select next.
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  5. Next on the Items & Approvals screen is where we will entitle the services, catalog items, & Actions. If you entitle an entire service you do not need to add the catalog items from the service under catalog items. If you would like to add some of the catalog items form a service, do not entitle the service, but entitle just the catalog items you would like. You will notice that there are a large amount of actions you can choose from and some are specific to certain types of catalog items. You should be aware of the different types of items and provide the appropriate actions for that item.
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    Once you are finished adding service, catalog items, & actions to your entitlement click add to create your service. Once created the assigned users can go to the catalog and request the items made available.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Enabling Catalog Items

When we created a blueprint we had to publish the blueprint. Publishing the blueprint allows it to become available as a catalog item that we can assign to a service and later entitle a user to have access to. In this article we will be assigning the blueprint to a service and enabling it as a catalog item. This will not make it show up in the catalog just yet, but creates a relationship between the blueprint and the service for which it will be published under.
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Creating a Service

vCAC 6.0 introduces us to a new Self-Service catalog and a new way of managing Catalog Items. In previous versions of vCAC Blueprints were assigned to groups within the Blueprint itself. In vCAC 6.0 Blueprints are published which enables them to be assigned to users and groups through the catalog management components of the vCAC Service Catalog.

To enable blueprints to be available in the catalog we first need a service that we can publish them to. A service is really just a container that will hold the object. If you look at the service catalog you can see the services listed down the left side. These services are the containers that hold the actual catalog items that can be requested.

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We must have at least one service in the environment to enable our catalog items against. Below are the steps to create a service.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 Creating a VCHS Reservation

VCHS reservations are very similar to creating a vSphere reservation as you may expect. You are going to assign it to a Tenant and business group, you are going to reserve memory and storage, and determine what networks are available just like you would do when creating a vSphere reservation. There is really on one minor difference. You don’t have to manage and maintain the underlying hardware. In my mind that is a huge plus.

Creating a VCHS reservation

  1. Start by going to Infrastructure -> Reservations -> Reservations and from the “New Reservations” menu select Cloud and then vApp(vCloud Director).
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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 Creating a vSphere Reservation

There are two types of vSphere reservation within vCAC. Reservations against a vSphere host and reservations against vSphere clusters. In order to create either a vCenter server is required. To make a reservation against a vSphere host it cannot be part of a vSphere cluster. Unlike physical reservations when creating a vSphere reservation you do not need to consume the entire vSphere host or Cluster in one reservation. You can create multiple reservations against a vSphere resoruce consuming parts of it in each reservation. You also have the ability to over subscribe the vSphere host or cluster.

When creating a vsphere reservation you have the ability to reserve memory, storage, and determine what networks are available within the reservation. vSphere reservation also give you the ability to determine how workloads can consume the resources. This is achieved in a number of ways. The first of which is a reservation priority. The reservation priority allows you some control over how you consume your resources. Let’s say you have two reservations assigned to a business group. If you wanted workloads to fully consume one before being placed against the other you would give the different priorities. The one you would want to fill first would be say a priority of 1,and the other would be a priority of 2. If you want to fill them equally you would give them the same priority. This will cause vCAC to round robin the placement of the workloads.

You can also implement the same types of placement priority for datastores within the reservation using the priorities you associate to each datastore.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 Creating a Physical HP Reservation

Physical reservations are different in nature than a virtual reservation. Unlike virtual reservations we cannot dynamically assign Memory, CPU, Disks, or network adapters. We are stuck with what is in the physical machine. When we talk about self-service and automation it poses an interesting problem. How do we allow users to request a physical server that meets their needs.

The Physical Reservations combined with Physical Blueprints in vCAC help us solve this problem. In this article we are talking about Physical HP servers, and if we had a rack loaded full of servers it’s highly probable they wouldn’t be exactly the same. That’s fine we can add as many physical servers of varying configurations as we need to a reservation in vCAC. A physical Hp server reservation in vCAC is simply a collection of Physical HP servers managed through their iLo interfaces.

If you have reviewed Adding Physical HP iLo EndPoints you would have noticed that every physical server requires an endpoint. Once the endpoint is created vCAC does a discovery and learns about the physical specs of the server. A resource is then created for that server that can be added to a physical reservation.

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vCloud Automation Center – vCAC 6.0 – Creating a Business Group

Business Groups are representations of your organizations logical groupings of users and managers. These can be business units or other groupings such as developers, windows users, etc. Business groups are very important within vCAC because these are the groups that you assign resources to. You can assign resources from the various types of supported infrastructure to these groups and the users are then able to provision workloads to those assigned resources.

Creating a Business Group

  1. From the Infrastructure menu select Group form the left menu.
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