A lot has happened during the last 5 months and now that we’re close to making version 2 the default branch, I thought it would be a good time to give you an update of what’s been going on.
Let’s start with the one thing that hasn’t changed, namely the idea behind this project: A collection of Ansible scripts that perform fully automated deployments of nested VMware SDDC Pods.
If you’re looking to deploy complete VMware SDDC nested environments without having to manually install all of the individual components, this project might be of interest to you.
No, you can’t make this work on an Intel NUC. You will probably need some real server hardware (and decent storage too), but if your goal is to spend quality time with the latest VMware technologies like vSphere 7 and NSX-T 3 (for studies, PoC, dev/test, etc), that investment will be worth it any time.
A partner in crime
Soon after publishing my second post about this project Luis Chanu, who already was somewhat of a “trusted advisor”, stepped up to become a lead developer himself. Having Luis as my script writing partner has made a tremendous impact on the direction this project has taken. For example, in v2 the entire code base got a major overhaul. Smarter, more scalable code and many other good improvements adding a certain level of maturity to the project. Most of this is thanks to Luis hard work during the last months.
A new project name
_________________ _____ _ _ / ___| _ \ _ \/ __ \ | | | | Developed By \ `--.| | | | | | || / \/ | | __ _| |__ -------------------------- `--. \ | | | | | || | | | / _` | '_ \ Rutger Blom & Luis Chanu /\__/ / |/ /| |/ / | \__/\ _ | |___| (_| | |_) | NSX vExpert VCDX #246 \____/|___/ |___/ \____/ (_) \_____/\__,_|_.__/
The old project name wasn’t really a name anyway and quite a mouthful too. “SDDC.Lab” is more catchy and to the point. It also happens to be the default domain name for the SDDC Pods that you deploy (it’s configurable of course). We hope you like it too.
Alright. There are many new and improved things in version 2, but from a component perspective we have two new additions:
- vRealize Log Insight
- DNS Server (Ubuntu VM with ISC BIND)
We’re especially happy with the addition of that DNS server which also acts as an NTP server. With a zero-touch installation and pre-configured for any Pods that you will deploy, this thing will save you time and potential headaches. It is an optional component and you can still leverage your own DNS/NTP infrastructure if you want to, but we think that most people will want to include our “appliance”.
I don’t think that vRealize Log Insight needs any introduction. It’s VMware’s “syslog server on steroids” product and a very common component in VMware SDDCs. That’s why we added it to the project where it’s configured as the default syslog target.
Deploy to vCenter
Previously you were only able to deploy the nested Pods to standalone ESXi hosts. Just before freezing the code for the v2 release we managed to squeeze in the option to deploy Pods to a vCenter target. A very welcome addition that will make life easier for those with physical ESXi hosts managed by vCenter (not too uncommon I believe).
In v2 the following components can be configured with IPv6:
- Nested VyOS router (all interfaces)
- NSX-T segments
- NSX-T eBGP peering with the router
Ultimately we want to offer IPv6-only Pods and this is something that has high priority in upcoming releases.
A lot of other things have improved and the majority of this is “behind the scenes” stuff. I do want to highlight a couple of them:
- Utilize data structures (where possible) for improved scalability and manageability
- An improved deployment process that decreases overall deployment time
- Introduction of the software library where the required OVA/ISO files are stored
- A separate data file for license keys which are then automatically applied during a Pod deployment
- Utilize DDNS (nsupdate) for populating the DNS server with records
- Many, many Ansible script optimizations
Trying out v2
As mentioned before, we are busy with finishing touches of version 2 (when our schedules allow us to). We believe that the code is pretty much done and are now mainly working on the documentation where there are still some gaps.
If you would like to give version 2 a try today you can start by visiting the branch’s page over at GitHub and basically take it from there. Don’t forget to do a “git checkout dev-v2” after cloning the repository as v2 is not the default branch yet.
The information in the README.md is almost complete and should help you get started. We’re also working on a “Deploying your first SDDC.Lab Pod” guide which is not complete yet but could still be helpful.
Let’s us know what you think or if you have any questions or suggestions.