Setting up a new vSphere Server

Hi all,

This might help you out, and for certain it helps me remember things.  Not all here is good for all people but certainly it is all worth thinking about. I have a best practices article that has lots of great info and which helps out this article.  But here is a list of things and you can always ask questions or leave comments.

  • FQDN and IP’s already decided and defined in DNS
  • I like to make sure the BIOS is right - a nice thing about where I buy these (WiredZone - this is what I got) means the BIOS is already done.  But I like to check some of these things:
    • PXE type network stuff off
    • Virtualization enabled.
    • Disabled serial and parallel if there is anything like that
  • I like to do a memory test overnight - using MemTest86.
  • I connect the network.  For me I have four connections. Mgmt, VM, and various storage.
  • I connect via DRAC or iKVM and install vSphere and do basic network and password.
  • I connect the new host to the appropriate cluster. I always use the FQDN to do that.
  • I now use VUM to update the host.  In my case that is for patches, but also for two different network drivers I need to update / add - one for my 10 GB and one for my 1 GB networks.
  • I add the storage - love how easy it is to add NFS.  But I have both NFS and iSCSI to add.
  • Now the vSphere tweaks
    • I add my syslog destination - and I use tcp:// to do it.  TCP is better than UDP as it keeps track of its packets!
    • I configure NTP - using but also also works - and I do 0., 1. and 2.
    • I do an external Core dump location - using this article to help.
    • I tweak HA and DRS now.
      • For example I make sure things like VM to Host groups include the new host if appropriate.
      • I get rid of the management network redundancy missing network stuff.
  • I now make sure I see no errors in the new host Summary screen or the cluster Summary screen.
  • I register VMs now as appropriate.
  • I now check Log Insight vSphere dashboards to see that this host - or cluster - has no errors.  More confirmation really.

Make sure you check out my vSphere Best Practices - they are pretty useful and I implement them all and keep an eye on them.  I update the article as necessary too.

And yes, you should absolutely automate all this stuff.  Make sure understand and do it a few times manually first! Dell’s OpenManage Plug-in for vCenter can automate some of this nicely - including install vSphere. I have seen several customers that use PowerShell and PowerCLI to automate all this very nicely indeed. Host Profiles would help with a lot of this and are a very cool feature.

BTW, I just worked on this with my new Supermicro hosts.  See this for more info on the setup of them.


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4 thoughts on “Setting up a new vSphere Server

    1. Thanks Paul, I was told by some very smart logging R&D guys that TCP was better than UDP as no packets would be dropped. But you example is very interesting so thanks for sharing, I will have to think about this.


      1. It would be better, if the protocol allowed for the receiver to acknowledge when it had received a log message (not just TCP ACKs). But since it doesn’t, you can end up losing a ton of messages without realising it or getting issues like the one I had. I agree it does feel like a better idea, but in practice it isn’t.

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