Deploying Cisco HyperFlex Edge Cluster via Intersight over 4G – Part 1

When I heard Cisco were releasing Hyperflex Edge Nodes that do not require the use of fabric interconnects I was very keen to take them for a test drive. Without the fabric interconnects there is no UCS Manager so the configuration is done using Cisco Intersight. Another plus is you no longer have to deploy the traditional minimum 3-Node cluster, you can deploy them as a 2-Node cluster which is perfect for edge locations.

Cisco HyperFlex Edge 2-Node clusters requires the use of Cisco Intersight for initial deployment and ongoing operations as it acts as the cloud witness.

Intersight is Cisco’s software as a service management platform and comes in two license editions,

Base Edition

  • Free version, supports Cisco UCS and HyperFlex
  • Global monitoring of health and inventory status
  • Integration with Cisco TAC support
  • Customized dashboards
  • Tagging and basic search
  • Context launch of element managers

Essentials Edition

  • Includes all the functionality of the Base Edition
  • Contains policy-based configuration with service profiles
  • New virtual appliance deployment option
  • Has remote management and vKVM
  • Incorporates firmware management with scheduled updates
  • Consists of HCL compliance check and upgrade recommendations
  • Supports the OpenAPI standard

As I will be covering off how to deploy a 2 Node Edge Cluster from Intersight I will be using the licensed version which is Essentials Edition.

Below are some examples of the cabling requirements of a Hyperflex 2 Node Edge Cluster. You can also deploy this using a single switch but for extra redundancy I always go with two.

The first is the 1 Gigabit Ethernet top of rack option.

The second is the 10 Gigabit Ethernet top of rack option. For this deployment I have chosen to go with the 10GE option.

The next thing we need to do is configure the CIMC settings on each of the new nodes. To do this connect a monitor, keyboard and mouse to the server and follow the steps below,

1- Power the server on and when prompted for boot options press F8 to enter the IMC Config Utility.

2 – Update the default password (Cisco123) with your new password.

3 – Next set the IP Address, check IPV4, uncheck DHCP enabled and enter values for CIMC IP, Subnet Mask an Gateway.

4 – For the VLAN set it to enabled and enter the VLAN ID if you are using trunk ports. Leave it blank if you are using access ports.

5 – Press F10 to save your settings and press ESC to exit the utility.

6 – Open your web browser and login to the CIMC page using the IP Address specified.

7 – Login with the newly set credentials and update any other settings you require.

8 – Repeat this process on each of the Hyperflex Edge Nodes.

For this example I wanted to treat it like a proper Remote Edge Cluster, it doesnt have to just be used for this purpose but I wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to setup. I don’t even have a proper internet connection at this location which is needed to connect to the Cisco Intersight Servers.

All I have is two 10G top of rack switches, a simple 4G Router connected to the switches and two new Hyperflex Edge Nodes. We just need to be able to resolve and allow outbound connections on port 443.

Log into the CIMC on each of the Servers and from the menu on the left hand side expand Admin and then select Device Connector

Next make sure Intersight Management is set to Enabled. Then copy the Device ID and the Claim Code into notepad ready for the following step.

Note – I have modified all of the below device ID’s and IP addresses to generic entries.

Now it’s time to login to Cisco Intersight. If you haven’t already created an account now is probably a pretty good time to do so –

Once logged in select Devices from the left hand menu and then click Claim a New Device

Now open that notepad file where you copied the Device ID and the Claim Code and paste each in the corresponding boxes below and click the Claim button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen

Add each of your servers in until they are all listed on the Devices screen

Then select Policies from the left hand menu and then click Create HyperFlex Policy. We are going to create a New Hyperflex Policy that we will use to apply to the 2 Node Edge Cluster

Now we need to select the Policy Type that we are going to create. Select DNS, NTP and Timezone and click Next

DNS, NTP, and Timezone Policy—Configures DNS, NTP, and Timezone on all servers.

Enter a Name for the policy and click Next

Select your Timezone from the drop down menu, then set your DNS Suffix. Then enter your preferred DNS and NTP Servers. Once complete click Create

The newly created policy will now be displayed

Then click on Create HyperFlex Policy and select IP & Hostname and click Next

IP & Hostname Policy—Configures the management IP pool.

Then enter a Name and click Next

Next we need to enter the Hostname Prefix and all of the Management IP’s that will be used to configured the 2 node HyperFlex Edge Cluster. Once complete click Create

The newly created policy will be displayed alongside the one we created earlier

Then click on Create HyperFlex Policy and select Network Configuration and click Next

Network Configuration Policy—Configures the Management VLAN ID, MAC Prefix, Uplink Speed and Jumbo Frames for the Edge clusters.

Enter a Name for the policy and click Next

Next select the uplink speed you are going to use, you can select 10G or 1G from the drop down menu. I have put a diagram for each configuration at the start of the post. For this install I will be using 10G.

Then enter the MAC Prefix you would like to use and enter your Management Network VLAN. Also Jumbo frames is always enabled when you select 10G for a 2 Node Edge setup. Once complete click Create

The newly created policy will be displayed alongside the others we created earlier. Starting to see a pattern forming here?

Then click on Create HyperFlex Policy and select Security and click Next

Security Policy – Configures ESXi and Controller VM password for the HyperFlex Edge Cluster.

Enter a Name for the policy and click Next

Now we need to enter the Password we would like to use for the Hypervisor and the Controller VM Admin. Once you have entered these click Create

The newly created policy will be displayed alongside the others we created earlier

Then click on Create HyperFlex Policy and select Storage Configuration and click Next

Storage Configuration Policy – Options for VDI Optimization (for hybrid HyperFlex systems) and Disk Partitions clean up.

Enter a Name for the policy and click Next

Select Clean up Disk Partitions and click Create

The newly created policy will be displayed

As this installation is an Edge Cluster I don’t have any other infrastructure in this location that I could be running VMs on. So because of that I won’t be creating a vCenter policy to add to this service profile. If you did have a vCenter server already in the location you are deploying your Edge Cluster then you can add the Policy in here.

I will cover how to connect the nodes to vCenter manually in the next post as it shows you can build everything from the ground up out at a remote site.

That brings us to the end of Part 1. In Part 2 I will cover off how to use the Policies to create a Hyperflex Cluster Profile and apply it to the 2-Node Edge.


Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *