One of the key components of vSphere is VMware vCenter Server that allows you to manage multiple hosts connected, create clusters, datacenters and other objects, and also manage HA and vMotion operations. vCenter Server provide those various services and features that enable efficient and automated resource management and high availability for virtual machines, such as vSphere vMotion, vSphere Storage vMotion, vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), vSphere High Availability (HA), and vSphere Fault Tolerance. This is a post about vSphere Configuration Profiles – How VMware vCenter Server 8.0 U2 Can Simplify and Optimize vSphere Infrastructure Administration.
However, managing a large and complex vSphere infrastructure can be challenging and time-consuming, especially when you have to deal with multiple hosts, clusters, datastores, networks, and virtual machines. You may have to perform repetitive tasks, ensure consistent configurations, troubleshoot issues, and monitor performance across your environment. This can result in increased operational costs, human errors, security risks, and service disruptions.
vSphere Configuration Profiles might be able to help when dealing with those repetitive tasks. In this post we'll see some of the benefits of vCenter Server Configuration profiles, and how what they can bring to your vSphere environment.
What are vSphere Configuration Profiles?
vSphere Configuration Profiles are a new way to manage the configuration of the hosts in a cluster collectively. You can use vSphere Configuration Profiles to define a desired state for your hosts, such as network settings, storage settings, security settings, and so on. You can then apply the configuration profile to all hosts in the cluster in a single operation, ensuring that they are all configured consistently and compliantly.
vSphere Configuration Profiles are based on the existing Host Profiles feature, which allows you to create a reference host and use it as a template to configure other hosts. However, vSphere Configuration Profiles offer several advantages over Host Profiles, such as:
- You can create and edit vSphere Configuration Profiles directly in the vSphere Client, without having to use a reference host or the Host Profiles user interface.
- Also works for different ESXi versions, as long as they are compatible with vCenter Server 8.0 U2.
- Hosts that have different hardware configurations, such as different network adapters or storage controllers, as long as they have the same capabilities.
- Also works for hosts that are part of different clusters, as long as they are managed by the same vCenter Server instance.
How do vSphere Configuration Profiles work?
To use vSphere Configuration Profiles, you need to have a vCenter Server instance that is running version 8.0 U2 or later, and one or more ESXi hosts that are compatible with vCenter Server 8.0 U2. You also need to have the appropriate vSphere license and permissions to access the vSphere Configuration Profiles feature.
Once you have created a vSphere Configuration Profile (or extracted it from your existing host/cluster), you can apply it to one or more hosts or clusters in your vSphere inventory. You can do this by selecting the hosts or clusters that you want to configure, and then choosing the Apply Configuration Profile option from the Actions menu. You can also use the Schedule Configuration Profile option to schedule the application of the profile at a later time.
When you apply a vSphere Configuration Profile to a host or a cluster, vCenter Server will compare the current configuration of the host or the cluster with the desired configuration defined in the profile. If there are any differences, vCenter Server will attempt to remediate them by applying the configuration settings from the profile to the host or the cluster. You can monitor the progress and the status of the remediation process in the vSphere Client.
After the remediation process is completed, you can verify that the host or the cluster is compliant with the vSphere Configuration Profile by using the Compliance View option from the Actions menu. You can also use the Check Compliance option to manually check the compliance status of the host or the cluster at any time. If there are any compliance issues, you can use the Remediate option to resolve them.
Example of vCenter Configuration Profiles
One of the examples of vCenter Configuration profiles can be this one. You have a cluster of hosts, managed by vCenter server, and you do a change to one of the hosts. (you create a new vmk adapter and activate vSAN service). Then use vCenter Configuration Profile to apply this change to the rest of the hosts within your environment. It takes some manual steps by exporting and editing json files and then re-importing them back again and applying the configuration. It is just an example, right?
Note: Screenshots taken, then re-worked, from an official VMware Video about vCenter Configuration profiles.
As expected, esx-01 shows non compliant when you go to Configure > Desired State > Configuration > Compliance > Check Compliance.
You can se that the cluster value is “not configured” while the host value is “configured”.
So go to Desired state > Configuration > Settings > Export
then go and extract the configuration from a reference host.
and pick the esxi-01 as a host.
then rename the json files so you remember which one is which….
once done, you can open them in a notepad and copy paste the vmk3 section from the host export into the json from your cluster which does not have that new information yet.
So copy from host config as below….
into the cluster config, as below. (don't forget to separate by a comma).
then do the same copy paste about network portgroup section (under network switches). There is a vSAN port group to which this port is attached.
and paste to the cluster based json section….
then we have information about IP address of the vmk3. We need to copy that info from the host config json.
and paste this into the cluster settings json config. Each time we need to enter the appropriate IP address. I hope it makes sense.
If not, better re-watch the video.
You can validate your json at https://jsonlint.com/ website (also used in this video).
Now import this configuration into your cluster.
So go to Desired state > Configuration > Settings > Import
and select the cluster json file for the import.
You can see that host 01 is in compliance, and the hosts 02, 03 and 04 are not. Go ahead and remediate them by clicking the remediate button.
It starts an assistant where you'll be able to review the details about the actions that will be taken. (no change at this moment yet). It only analyses the config and lets you know what is happening.
Click the Remediate button again, but this time the remediation will really change configuration within the cluster. The results below….
All green -:)
You can imagine how powerful are the vSphere Configuration Profiles now.
Check the video if doubts…
That's only one example.
What are the benefits of vSphere Configuration Profiles?
By using vSphere Configuration Profiles, you can enjoy several benefits for your vSphere infrastructure administration, such as:
- Simplified and streamlined configuration management – You can create and edit vSphere Configuration Profiles easily and intuitively in the vSphere Client, without having to use a reference host or the Host Profiles user interface. You can also apply vSphere Configuration Profiles to multiple hosts or clusters in a single operation, without having to configure each host individually.
- Enhanced consistency and compliance – You can use vSphere Configuration Profiles to ensure that all hosts in your vSphere environment have the same configuration settings, according to your desired state. You can also use vSphere Configuration Profiles to enforce compliance with your organizational policies, standards, and best practices, and to detect and remediate any configuration drifts or deviations.
- Improved performance and reliability – You can use vSphere Configuration Profiles to optimize the configuration of your hosts for better performance and reliability, by applying the recommended settings for networking, storage, security, system, and advanced features. You can also use vSphere Configuration Profiles to leverage the benefits of vSphere Distributed Services Engine, which can offload some of the infrastructure functions from a server CPU to a DPU device, resulting in lower latency, higher throughput, and reduced CPU utilization.
- Increased flexibility and scalability – You can use vSphere Configuration Profiles to configure hosts that are running different ESXi versions, have different hardware configurations, or are part of different clusters, as long as they are compatible with vCenter Server 8.0 U2. You can also use vSphere Configuration Profiles to configure hosts that are part of a vSphere Distributed Services Engine cluster, which can scale up to 64 hosts and 8,192 virtual machines per cluster.
vSphere Configuration Profiles are a new feature in VMware vCenter Server 8.0 (actually, introduced in vSphere 7, but not so powerful as now…) that can help you simplify and optimize your vSphere infrastructure administration. By using vSphere Configuration Profiles, you can create and apply a desired state for your hosts, ensuring that they are configured consistently and compliantly, and that they perform optimally and reliably. You can also use vSphere Configuration Profiles to configure hosts that have different ESXi versions, hardware configurations, or cluster memberships, as well as hosts that are part of a vSphere Distributed Services Engine cluster. vSphere Configuration Profiles can bring several benefits to your vSphere environment, such as simplified and streamlined configuration management, enhanced consistency and compliance, improved performance and reliability, and increased flexibility and scalability.
I hope you found this blog post helpful and informative. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!
Learn more about vSphere Configuration Profiles in vSphere documentation.
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