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Running the VX Deployer

Use the VX Deployer to install the vSAN cluster. You can install a new vCenter instance as well, or you can use an existing vCenter instance to manage the cluster.

Before you begin

Before you begin to deploy the vSAN cluster, make sure that you have completed the following activities:
  1. Install all ThinkAgile VX appliances. See Install hardware into rack.

  2. Cable the networks. See Cabling network.

  3. Set up the VX Deployer. See Setting up the VX Deployer.


After navigating to the URL for the VX Deployer, step through the VX Deployer wizard:

If you need to return to a previous page in the Deployer, make sure that you click the page in the left navigation or that you use the Back button within the VX Deployer. Do not use the Back button on the browser, which will return you to the first page of the Deployer (all data entered in the VX Deployer will be lost).
  1. On the Getting Started page, specify the deployment process to be used. Click Install new cluster and specify the name of your organization.

    • Click Install new cluster to proceed through the deployment process.

    • Click Use Configuration File to choose a configuration file that you saved when you created a new vSAN cluster previously.

      For more information about using a configuration file, see:

      Working with configuration files

    Click Next to continue.

  2. On the License Agreements page, you can view the Lenovo license, open-source information, and the VMware EULA.

    • Click I have read and agree to the License Agreements.

    • Click Your data will be handled in accordance with Lenovo’s Privacy Statement.

    Click Next to continue.

  3. On the Add Hosts to Cluster, select the hosts that will make up the vSAN cluster.

    The VX Deployer uses SLP discovery to find the ThinkAgile VX host that are in your network. If you do not see an expected host, make sure that the host is cabled to the network correctly, and click Rediscover.

  4. On the Network Services page, specify a primary DNS server and NTP server. Optionally, you can specify a secondary DNS server and NTP server.

    Click Next to continue.

  5. On the New or Existing vCenter page, specify details about the vCenter instance to be used to manage the vSAN cluster, such as the fully qualified domain name for the vCenter instance and the Single Sign-On (SSO) domain name. In addition, specify the passwords for the vSphere administrator ID and the vCenter root ID.


    If you are adding the vSAN cluster to an existing vCenter instance, the user account used to authenticate with the vCenter instance must include a minimum set of permissions. For a list of the required permissions, see the following topic:

    Minimum vCenter user permissions

    Click Next to continue.

  6. On the Cluster Location page, specify the location of your vSAN cluster (vCenter Datacenter, vSAN Cluster, Organization name, Region name, and Site name).

    Click Next to continue.

  7. Optionally, install Lenovo XClarity Integrator (LXCI) and enable it as the hardware support manager for vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM). If you choose to install LXCI, provide the host name, XCC IP address, and XCC VLAN ID. In addition, you will need to provide the password for the LXCI admin account.
    If you configured the VX Deployer to not use an XCC IP address, the XCC IP address and the XCC VLAN ID fields are not available; you will not be required to provide this information.

    If you install LXCI, the vSAN cluster will be configured to use a vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) image. For more information about vLCM, see the following topic:

    Introducing vSphere Lifecycle Management (vLCM)

    Click Start vLCM Cluster Remediation to verify that all hosts are compliant with the vLCM image. After the cluster has been configured, LXCI triggers the cluster remediation process. You can monitor the remediation task from the vSphere client. For more information about vLCM cluster remediation, see the following topic:

    Remediating a cluster against a single image

    If you decide not to install LXCI during the deployment, you can choose to install it later. After installation, you will need to register LXCI with vCenter and discover all vSAN nodes from LXCI. For more information, see Configuring LXCI.

    Click Next to continue.

  8. On the Global ESXi Settings page, choose the version and level of ESXi to be installed on the nodes, and specify the root password.

    The ThinkAgile VX Deployer allows you to install and set up one of the following configurations:
    You cannot mix versions of VMware vCenter Server and VMware ESXi.
    • VMware vSAN 7

      • VMware vCenter Server 7.0 Update 3k, build 21290409

      • VMware ESXi 7.0 Update 3k, build 21313628

      • Lenovo XClarity Integrator (LXCI), version 8.1.0, build 681

    • VMware vSAN 8

      • VMware vCenter Server 8.0 Update 1, build 21560480

      • VMware ESXi 8.0 Update 1, build 21495797

      • Lenovo XClarity Integrator (LXCI), version 8.1.0, build 681

    Click Next to continue.

  9. On the General Networking page, provide the networking information (subnet and gateway) for the ESXi management network, the ESXi vSAN network, the ESXi vMotion network, and the XCC management network. For the ESXi management network, include the hostname prefix that will be applied to each of the nodes in the cluster.

    Provide the following network information:
    • The ESXi management subnet mask. You can specify the hostname prefix that will be applied to each of the new nodes. Make sure that you validate the name for each new host on the Host Settings page. The gateway is required.

    • Specify a valid vSAN subnet mask. The gateway is optional.

    • Specify a valid vMotion subnet mask. The gateway is optional.

    • Specify a valid XCC management subnet mask if the XCC management network is different than the ESXi management network. The gateway is optional.

      • If you specified an XCC network IP address when you configured networking during the setup of the VX Deployer, you must specify the XCC management subnet mask. For more information about setting up the VX Deployer, see:

        Setting up the VX Deployer

    • Specify a unique VLAN ID (1 to 4094) for each of the ESXi Management, the vMotion, and the vSAN networks. The physical switches must be configured to add the specified VLAN IDs in trunk mode for all the ports connecting the physical NICs of the ESXi hosts.

      For more information about configuring the physical switches, see the following topic: VLAN Configuration

    Click Next to continue. The VX Deployer validates the network settings.

  10. For each host listed on the Network Settings per Physical Host page, specify the IP address for the vSAN, vMotion, and XCC networks. Validate the ESXi host name and IP addresses for each of the nodes in the cluster. If changes are required, you must click Revalidate.

    A numeric identifier is automatically added to the host name prefix that you specified on the General Networking page. The identifier starts at “01.” Modify the host name as needed to make sure that the host name is unique within the cluster.

    Click Next to continue.

  11. On the XCC Credentials page, specify a common password that will be used to access the XCC USERID user account on each VX appliance. In addition, you must specify the existing password for each VX appliance in the cluster.

    The VX Deployer requires a common password that can be used to log in to the XCC for each VX appliance. However, after the vSAN cluster has been deployed, you can change the XCC passwords to be unique for each appliance, if desired.

    Click Next. The VX Deployer validates the current XCC USERID passwords and configures the common XCC USERID password.

  12. On the Review page, validate the information that you specified.

    All existing data on the nodes in the cluster will be deleted when you deploy the new cluster.
    From the Review page, you can perform the following actions:
    • Click Export Configuration to export the details of this deployment into a .JSON file. You can then use that file to pre-populate the VX Deployer for another deployment. For more information about configuration files, see:

      Working with configuration files

    • Click Deploy Cluster to proceed with the vSAN cluster deployment.

  13. Deploy the cluster. The status of the deployment process is displayed.

    This process might take some time, depending on the network and the number of nodes being deployed in the cluster.
    Make sure that the VX Deployer VM is not shut down during the deployment process. If the VX Deployer VM is shut down during the deployment process, the VM might be left in an indeterminate state. If the VM is inadvertently shut down, you will need to attempt the deployment again to reset the state of the VM. It will not succeed, but the VX Deployer will invoke a cleanup script. Then, you can attempt the deployment again.
    From the Deploy Cluster page, you can perform the following actions:
    • Click Download Log Bundle to download the log files associated with this deployment. For more information about the log bundle, see Troubleshooting the deployment.

    • Click Launch vCenter to launch the vCenter instance so that you can validate the deployment. For more information about validating the deployment, see Validating the deployment.

    • Click Shutdown VX Deployer to shut down the VX Deployer virtual machine.