VCAP6-DCV Deployment – Objective 5.2 – Implement and Maintain Host Profiles


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Objectives 5.2 are broke down as the following

  • Use Profile Editor to edit and / or disable policies
  • Create and apply host profiles
  • Use Host Profiles to deploy vDS
  • Use Host Profiles to deploy vStorage policies
  • Import / Export Host Profiles
  • Manage Answer Files
  • Configure stateful caching and installation for host deployment

Use Profile Editor to edit and / or disable policies

Host Profiles can be used to apply ESXi settings to a host and can be used to check compliance across all hosts to make sure the configuration is consistent, they can be managed via Web Client – Host Profiles.  From here Host Profiles can be edited and applied to hosts either on initial deployment or applied to existing hosts.  Host Profiles will not be configured but default you must first create one, that will be covered in the next section.  For this section I will demonstrate how to edit an existing profile.

Host Profiles can be used with Auto Deploy for the initial deployment of hosts, some of the objectives here overlap with previous objectives, for Host Profiles with Auto Deploy see here.

To edit an existing Host Profile I go to Web Client – Host Profiles – Profile – Actions – Edit Settings

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By default all settings will be selected, you wont want all of the settings applied and chances are they wont be compliant with your ESXi hosts even if you export the settings from one of your hosts and try to apply it back to the same host.

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For instance if I apply this profile with all of the settings enabled to an existing host I run Check Host Profile Compliance which comes back as a failure and cannot then be applied.

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In this case I will remove all the settings and build it up a few settings at a time.  If I edit the profile again this time I remove all of the selected features.

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Once cleared I enable the settings I want such as the following.

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Now given less configuration the Host Profile is now compliant with my host.

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I can then build this up to include the settings I need, by doing a bit at a time its easier to manage.


Create and apply host profiles

To create a new Host Profile I go to Web Client – Host Profiles – Extract Host Profile.  I first need to select a host to extract the settings from, this can be any host managed by vCenter.

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Then give the new Host Profile a name and complete the wizard.

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Once created I then edit the settings to match my requirements.  Once I am happy with the configuration I need to either apply it to a host in my vCenter or use it for Auto Deploy.  To apply it to an existing host in my vCenter I go to Web Client – Host Profiles – Profile – Actions – Attach/Detach Host and Clusters.  Select the host of hosts and select Attach.

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Should the Host Profile have configuration enabled that requires user information, such as VMKernel interface IP addresses or scratch configuration you will be prompted at this point to add the information.  This will be covered in a later section, in my example I check the scratch location is correct then complete.

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Once applied I need to check for compliance to see if the settings can be applied to the host, a profile must be complaint to be able to be applied to a host.  Select the Host Profile – Actions – Check Host Profile Compliance.

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Once compliant I can then apply the policy, select the Host Profile – Actions – Remediate.

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Select the host or hosts that need the Host Profile applied to.

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Customize the host and finish the wizard.

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Host Profiles can then be edited and applied to multiple hosts at once.


Use Host Profiles to deploy vDS

A host can be added to a vDS using Host Profiles, I can set the uplinks and set VMKernel interface details.  I will continue to use the same Host Profile as in the other examples, this profile doesnt currently have any network settings set.  I first need to edit this profile – Web Client – Host Profiles – Profile – Actions – Edit Settings – Edit Host Profile – Networking Configuration – vSphere Distributed Switch.  As this Host Profile was extracted from a host alredy setup for my vDS the settings here were already filled in, if it is for a new vDS then I need to add a sub-profile under vSphere Distributed Switch by using the + icon.

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First create the vDS sub-profile then create an Uplink sub-profile,the Uplink details will be automatically added but will have no NIC details.

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From here I can determine how the physical NIC is assigned to the Uplink port, I will choose Physical NICs with a specific name.

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I can then choose what to call the Uplink port and what port group to assign it to.

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Other options are available such as Choose an uplink automatically

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Using Host Profiles I can also add a VMKernel interface to my vDS.  Web Client – Host Profiles – Profile – Actions – Edit Settings – Edit Host Profile – Networking Configuration – Host Virtual NIC.  From here I can choose which vDS and port group I want to assign the VMKernel interface.  Configure VLAN ID, load balancing policy, uplinks, VMKernel services, MTU settings and TCP/IP stack information.

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Given a VMKernel interface requires host specific settings such as an IP address, you must pick how this is assigned.  For an IP address I can set if its assigned by a DHCP address or if a manual IP address is added by the admin.  Once the Host Profile is applied to the host, a customization window is displayed asking for an IP address.  Web Client – Host Profiles – Profile – Actions – Edit Settings – Edit Host Profile – Networking Configuration – Host Virtual NIC – PortGroup – IP Address Settings.

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Once changes have been made check for compliance and apply.


Use Host Profiles to deploy vStorage policies

I will use the VSAN storage policy as an example Web Client – Host Profiles – Profile – Actions – Edit Settings – Edit Host Profile – Storage Configuration – Virtual SAN Configuration.  From here I can set the storage policy for cluster, vDisk, vmnamespace, vmswap and memory.

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Although this objective doesnt mention storage Native Multipath Policy (NMP), applying these settings via a Host Profile could potentially be on the exam and could fall under storage policies.  Web Client – Host Profiles – Profile – Actions – Edit Settings – Edit Host Profile – Storage Configuration – Native Multi-Pathing (NMP) – Storage Array Type Plugin (SATP) Configuration.  From here I can set claim rules.

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I can also change the default PSP behaviour of a SATP.

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I can also configure PSP for presented storage devices.  Web Client – Host Profiles – Profile – Actions – Edit Settings – Edit Host Profile – Storage Configuration – Native Multi-Pathing (NMP) – PSP and SATP Configuration for NMP Devices.

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I have covered NMP, PSP and SATP in more detail under the storage objectives 2.1 and 2.2


Import / Export Host Profiles

Host Profiles can be exported to be saved for a future deployments, simply select the Host Profile – Actions – Export Host Profile.

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Passwords wont be exported for security reasons.

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It is exported as a .vpf file.

Existing .vpf files can be imported.  Web Client – Host Profiles – Import Host Profiles.  Point this to the .vpf file and give it a name.

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Manage Answer Files

You can use host profiles to specify that certain settings are host-dependent such as VMKernel interface IP information, iSCSI information, syslog location etc.  When a setting in the Host Profile is set to prompt user for input it will save this information and apply it with the Host Profile.  The answer file is not stored in a location or format that administrators can access. Use the Host Profiles UI in the vSphere Client to manage answer files.

I first need to attach a host to the Host Profile before I can add the answer file, then when I edit the profile I will be prompted for the settings that are set to require a user input.

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Configure stateful caching and installation for host deployment

Hosts deployed via Auto Deploy with either stateful deployment or stateless.  Stateful deployments provisions a host and applies a Host Profile to store the ESXi image and config to local disk, once installed the host will boot from disk and no longer require Auto Deploy.  Edit an existing Host Profile via Web Client – Host Profiles – Edit – Advanced Configuration Settings – System Image Cache Configuration.  Choose here with stateful caching mode to use.

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If Enable stateful installs on the host is enabled some additional settings can be added.

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