VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) improves VMware admin productivity. Yet before VCF takes over, administrators must prepare the hardware precisely as recommended by the VMware Compatibility List (HCL) for each VCF cluster to be installed. RackN has been working with the VMware VCF team to create an integrated software solution that provides bare-metal automation to improve hardware bootstrapping capabilities, creating fully functioning secure VCF clusters in minutes.
RackN Extends VCF Automation to the Hardware Layer
The ever-evolving hardware conformance and bare metal validation requirements for VCF deployment can trip up even the most attentive systems administrator. For example, while the security gained from embedded trusted platform modules (TPM) already present in most servers is highly desirable, it is notoriously challenging to configure. Managing site’s naming conventions or password security requirements can also pose challenge to a well-planned deployment.
RackN Integrated Bare Metal Automation eliminates all manual steps to fully automate VMware infrastructure from bare metal via the Digital Rebar Platform. The solution uses the VMware Hardware Compatibility List (HCL), creates automation to prepare hardware for fully functioning clusters from bare metal in hours. The VMware workflow automation includes deep inventory, system HCL validation and firmware deployment for multiple hardware vendors.
Several architecture challenges have been met using RackN:
Multi-site Requirements: An automated, no-touch way to prepare thousands of servers for VCF installation. This automated method had to tightly integrate with existing VCF management and the adhere to the HCL.
- Highly Secure: Demanding security requirements for each server including unique passwords, custom password requirements, properly signed certificates, specific VLANs and the enablement of Secure Boot.
- Time to Market: A faster way to deploy servers for VCF clusters was required. New server hardware often spent 6 months on the data center floor before VCF clusters were deployed, wasting time and money.