As part of a VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) greenfield deployment, the Cloud Builder appliance is used for one-time use. It automatically deploys the management infrastructure of a VCF cluster and can be discarded afterwards.
The ideal situation is that the previously created workbook or JSON is processed and the cluster is successfully created.
In the UI of the Cloud Builder, however, there is no option to reset the wizard and restart it from zero. For example, when requirements have changed and a new or adapted workbook is to be used. Or you want to use the appliance for another rollout. In this case, the appliance would have to be completely redeployed. Any errors in the JSON file cannot be corrected this way either.
However, there is a trick to reset the Cloud Builder to zero and feed it with a modified JSON file. This is thanks to an API call that may have been ‘forgotten’ during development. In order to do so, we have to log in to the console of the Cloud Builder as user root.
[Optional] It may be easier to grant the root user temporary SSH access. Log in to the VM console as root and edit the sshd configuration.
sudo vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config
Browse the sshd_config and look for the line PermitRootLoginno. Disable the line by putting a # in front of it.
# PermitRootLogin no
Save the configuration and open a SSH session as user root. We now can execute an API call as user root.
curl -X GET http://localhost:9080/bringup-app/bringup/sddcs/test/deleteAll
Login to the web UI of the Cloud Builder appliance. You now can start from the beginning.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration when I say “2020 was a year like no other.” Pretty much everyone in the IT industry and elsewhere will confirm that. I’m taking this last day of 2020 as an opportunity to write my last blog article of the year and review important events for me in it.
The year began quite normally, almost like any other. After the turn of the year, tasks and projects for the coming months slowly started. According to experience, it is a quiet month, because many customers usually don’t resume work before the second week.
February had some of my personal highlights of the year.
We held a VMUG meeting in Nuremberg on February 13th. Today I have to add that it was an on-site meeting. At that time a matter of course. Today it sounds like a tale from a distant past. I myself had given a presentation there on the topic of “Strategies for proactive error prevention”. A closer look at the products VMware Skyline and Runecast Analyzer. What do they have in common and what are their unique selling points?
A long planned private trip took us to the high latitudes of the Arctic. Spitsbergen in winter. No other event left such deep impressions this year like this one. On February 14th, after 84 days of darkness, the long polar night ends on Spitsbergen and the sun comes above the horizon again for the first time. In mid-April, the sun will not set at all for another 99 days. In the time in between the ice desert shines in wonderful light. We love the Arctic and wanted to experience this natural spectacle and – of course – capture it in pictures.
Exploring Spitsbergen means being away from civilization for many hours at temperatures down to -38°C. Always accompanied by an armed guide, because the island is polar bear country and you’re required by law to have at least one armed member in your party once leaving the settlement.
We’ve learned, for example, that such simple things like eating can be a real challenge at very low temperatures We’ve also witnessed what it means to be caught in a white-out when the sky merges into the coulour of the ice, visibility is close to zero and everything around you is just white.
While being abroad I got a pleasant notification in my inbox. I was nominated to be a vExpert for another year.
Our stay lasted until the first week of March. But the world we returned to was a different to the one we left. Already on the way we read news about Corona outbreaks and sold-out toilet paper. When we left Germany, Corona was hardly a topic. Now it was THE topic and would remain so for months.
On March 11th, the last German on site VMUG took place at VMware’s premises in Munich. I myself was co-organizer and speaker and had no concerns about the train ride and the meeting at that time. Looking back and with the knowledge of today, it was certainly not the brightest idea. We were unnecessarily putting ourselves at great risk. Washing hands alone is not enough against SARS-CoV-2. Luckily (as far as I know), the event had no further health consequences for anyone involved.
I reported in detail last year about the planning and hardware of my homelab vSAN cluster (part 1 and part 2). For the sake of simplicity, the four small Supermicro E300-9Ds were placed on an ordinary IKEA rack.
This worked quite well for some time, but changes in cabling, or hardware maintenance turned out to be difficult. Disconnecting patch cables and power cords was always a challenge. Restoring the cabling was even more difficult. It was not uncommon to end up with swapped ports after such actions.
In other words, a solution was needed. A 19″ rack would be ideal, but I don’t have room for a 48 U cabinet in my office. After some research, I found a small rack with 12 U at one of my hardware suppliers, which can also be equipped with rolls. This seemed perfect as it was just about as high as my desk. Also the depth is variable from 57,5cm to 101cm. No problem for the compact E300-9D and a few network components.
Time for Tinkering
The frame comes in a very compact pack size and turns out to be solid metal design with proper bolting.
Some of the existing components had to be refitted to 19 inches. For example, the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter 10X, for which a conversion kit is available from the manufacturer (SKU: ER-RMKIT). The same applies to the Supermicro E300-9D mini servers. Supermicro also offers a conversion kit (MCP-290-30002-0B), which extends the servers to 19″ width and includes a bracket for the power supply.
In the early design phase, I didn’t think I would be able to fill all 12 height units. But step by step it became clear that further components were necessary and had to be added. For example, the power switch strip (top), which can be used to switch individual device groups. It is connected to the power distribution strips on the rear. Cable guides are also a must if you don’t want to end up in a mess. It quickly became clear that a separate switch would be needed for the 1 GBit connections if you didn’t want to waste 10 GBit ports for 1 GBit.
Although I am a big fan of the Ubiquiti UniFi system, I decided to use EdgeMax series devices for the Homelab. These can be configured individually on the CLI or the web GUI.
The E300-9D are equipped with a total of four 10 GBit adapters. Two of these are RJ45 and two are SFP+. This led to the upgrade with an Ubiquit EdgeSwitch 16 XG.
There are storage shelves on the back, which can be used for the Raspberry Pi and other accessories. A Raspberry Pi acts as DNS and NTP server in the lab.
Since the whole rack is mounted on rollers, it can be easily pulled out for maintenance. Only one patch cable and one power supply has to be disconnected for this.
As the number of devices increases, so does the noise. I already described how to silence the Netgear 10G switch in an older article. The Ubiquiti switches work surprisingly silent and are only a bit louder during startup. At a distance of one meter, all switches reach a sound pressure of about 20 dB. This corresponds to a flying mosquito. Not too annoying, but audible. The four E300 servers currently have the highest noise level, but the original fans could be replaced with Noctua models as well. Maybe a future project…