VCAP-DCA 5 Objective 5.1–Implement and Maintain Host Profiles

Objective 5.1 – Implement and Maintain Host Profiles

For this objective I used the following documentation:

  • vSphere Host Profiles documentation
  • VMware vNetwork Distributed Switch: Migration and Configuration white paper

Skills and Abilities

Use Profile Editor to edit and/or disable policies

To access/manage Host Profiles from the “Home” menu screen select “Host Profiles” under the “Management” section:

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If you have any existing host profiles they will be listed in the left side navigation window. In the example below the “VCAP-DCA 5” profile listed. When selecting the profile the menu options become available to Clone Profile, Edit Profile, Delete host profile, and Attach Host/Cluster. If no profile is listed your only option will be to Create Profile:

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To edit a profile a select the profile and click “Edit Profile” from the menu:

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The “Edit Profile” screen will be displayed similar to the screenshot below. Each host profile is composed of several sub-profiles that are designated by functional group to represent configuration instances. Each sub-profile 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. The parameters consist 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.

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Create sub-profiles

  • Open the Profile Editor for the profile you wish to edit (as outlined above)
  • On the left side of the Profile Editor, expand a sub-profile until you reach the policy you want to edit (noted with a “folder” icon)
  • Right click the policy and select “Add Profile

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  • A new profile will be created under the given target

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  • Expand the new policy till you receive the “Configuration Details” tab in the right pane
  • Configure the new policy options

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  • Click OK save and close the Host Profile

Use Host Profiles to deploy vDS

Prior to deploying the host profile the target host most be in Maintenance Mode. The over view of deploying the vDS is as follows:

  • Create vDS (without any associated hosts)
  • Create Distributed Virtual Port Groups on vDS to match existing or required environment
  • Add host to vDS and migrate vmincs to dvUplinks and Virtual Ports DV Port Groups
  • Delete Standard Switch from host
  • Create Host Profile of Reference Host
  • Attach and apply host profile to candidate hosts
  • Migrate VM networking for VMs and take hosts out of Maintenance Mode

For a more detailed description of the above steps read pages 24 thru 28 of the VMware vNetwork Distributed Switch: Migration and Configuration white paper.

Use Host Profiles to deploy vStorage Policies

This is a tricky section as I am not exactly sure what VMware means by a “vStorage Policy”. I am taking a guess and if I am wrong please let me know in the comments section below.

With that said, I believe VMware is talking about the “Storage configuration” node within the Host Profile:

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Under this node there are several sub-categories covering everything from configuring the iSCSI initiator for a host to setting up the desired Path Selection Policy (PSP) and Storage Array Type Plugin (SATP). I would suggest creating a test policy and playing with these settings to get a feel for what they do and how they work.

Manage Answer Files

Answer files are used for ESXi hosts that are provisioned using VMware Auto Deploy, which is a new feature in vSphere 5. An answer files contains the ‘answers’ to settings in the Host Profile. For example what value to set the root password to. You access the answer file from the by select the Host Profile and then click on the “Hosts and Clusters” tab:

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From the screenshot above you can see that answer file for each of my hosts is marked as “Unknown”. The other two status options are “Incomplete” and “Complete”. Each is defined as follows:

  • Incomplete – The answer file is missing some of the required user input answers
  • Complete – The answer file has all of the user input answers needed
  • The host and associated profile exist but the status of the answer file is not known. This is the initial state of an answer file.

If you right click on the “Answer File Status” several options are available to work with for that hosts answer file:

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  • Check Answer File – This confirms the status of the answer file. See descriptions above
  • Update Answer File – Allows you to enter or update the user input values for the host profile
  • Import Answer File – Allows you to import and exported answer file
  • Export Answer File – Allows you to export an answer file to be used with another host profile

For additional information see pages 17 thru 18 of the VMware vSphere Host Profiles documentation.

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