System Center VMM 2012 R2 Bare Metal Deployment with Converged Fabric and Network Virtualization – Part 3 Logical Switch

This blog series is divided in the following parts.

In this part we will create two Logical Switches in System Center VMM 2012 R2 referencing the building blocks that we created in the previous part. This blog also describes the steps to configure a Host Profile.

Logical Switch

With all the building blocks in place we can now create the logical switch. Each host in the tenant cluster has two converged networking configurations with different settings. One for Management traffic (Host Management, Live Migration and Csv) and one for Tenant traffic (PA Space and Tenant VLANs). We will create a logical switch for Management and a logical switch for Tenants as shown in the following table.

Name SR-IOV Extensions Uplink mode Uplink Port Profile Virtual Ports
Logical Switch Management   Microsoft Windows Filter Team SI – HD Host Management (Host management), Live migration workload (Live migration), Host cluster workload (Cluster)
Logical Switch Tenants   Microsoft Windows Filter Team SI – HD – HNV High bandwidth (High Bandwidth Adapter), Medium bandwidth (Medium Bandwidth Adapter), Low bandwidth (Low Bandwidth Adapter)

Logical Switch Management

The first converged networking configuration for a host in the Tenant cluster is constructed of two physical NICs in a NIC Team. The Hyper-V Extensible Switch on top of the NIC Team will contain three virtual NICs (Host Management, Live Migration and Csv). Select to create a logical switch from the Fabric tab. Specify a descriptive name for the logical switch (in this example Logical Switch Management).

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/01-Logical-Switch-Name.png” width=720”>

The Hyper-V extensible switch in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 allows you to add extensions to the Virtual Switch that can capture, filter or forward traffic. The logical switch enables a central distribution and management point for these extensions. In this blog the default extensions are used, but you can add additional extensions to System Center VMM 2012 R2 and select them here.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/02-Logical-Switch-Extensions.png” width=720”>

The uplink screen allows us to add the possible uplink port profiles. You should think of the entries here as capabilities that are made available to a host when this logical switch is assigned to it.

All hosts in the Tenant cluster will get the same uplink capabilities for the converged networking configuration Management. Therefore we only need to add one Uplink port profile. To use NIC Teaming for the physical NICs in the converged networking configuration Management, change the Uplink mode to Team.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/03-Logical-Switch-Uplink.png” width=720”>

The Virtual Port screen allows you to add virtual network adapter port profiles. The port profiles that are added here are made available as vNICs in the ManagementOS or as settings for a VM to the host where this logical switch is configured. For the converged networking configuration Management we need to add three virtual network adapter port profiles (Host Management, Live Migration and Csv). Select Add to add a virtual port. Specify the Port classification, enable the checkmark to Include a virtual network adapter port profile in this virtual port and select the matching port profile.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/04-Virtual-Port.png” width=600”>

Repeat these step for the virtual ports Live Migration and Csv. After adding the virtual ports, the virtual ports screen should contain three virtual ports (Host Management, Live Migration workload and Host Cluster workload).

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/05-Logical-Switch-Virtual-Ports.png” width=720”>

Finish the wizard to create the Logical Switch Management.

Logical Switch Tenants

The second logical switch will be used to handle tenant traffic in the Tenant cluster. We will create a mixed mode of traditional VLAN capability combined with Network Virtualization. Select to create a logical switch and give it a descriptive name (in this example Logical Switch Tenants). Leave the Enable single root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) unchecked. Use the default settings for the extensible switch or add a switch extension to enable this in your environment. In the Uplink screen select the Uplink profile that was enabled for Network Virtualization (in this example SI – HD – HNV) and select Team for the Uplink mode.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/06-Logical-Switch-Uplink.png” width=720”>

The weighted bandwidth calculation for extensible switches that will handle the Tenant VMs is different that the extensible switches that will handle the MangementOS traffic. The minimum weight calculation for the Logical Switch Management is static. There are three Virtual Network Adapters that in total have a weight of 100. For example; the Host Management adapter has a minimum weight of 20 out of 100. This means that the Host Management adapter will have a minimum of 20% of the total bandwidth guaranteed if it is required by the adapter. The three adapters (Host Management, Live Migration and Csv) will not change very often and the minimum bandwidth calculation for these adapter are therefore pretty straightforward.

The mobility of virtual machines has improved greatly over the last Hyper-V releases (Live Migration within a cluster, Live Storage Migration and even “Shared Nothing” Live Migration). This requires a different approach for setting minimum bandwidth weight. System Center VMM 2012 R2 provides three out of the box virtual network adapter port profiles that you can use to set weight on individual virtual machines. The values for these virtual network adapter port profiles are gapped as by Microsoft documentation on QoS Minimum Bandwidth Best Practices.

Name Minimum bandwidth weight
High Bandwidth Adapter 5
Medium Bandwidth Adapter 3
Low Bandwidth Adapter 1

If you only have two virtual machines assigned with a low bandwidth adapter they will each get a minimum bandwidth of 50%. If you have hundred virtual machines with a low bandwidth adapter they all get the same calculated minimum bandwidth weight of 1%. With virtual machines moving all over the place, setting these values on a virtual machines prevents individual virtual machines from being starved. Add these three virtual network adapter port profiles with the matching port classifications to the virtual port screen.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/07-Logical-Switch-Port-Classifications.png” width=720”>

Complete the Create Logical Switch Wizard. You should now have two logical switches created. One logical switch for the converged networking configuration Management called Logical Switch Management and one logical switch for the converged networking Tenants configuration called Logical Switch Tenants.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/08-Logical-Switch-Overview.png” width=720”>

Host Profile

With the logical switches in place we are ready to create a Host Profile. A Host Profile is a collection of settings that describes the configuration of a new server when performing a bare metal deployment. The Host Profile will reference the virtual hard disk containing the Operating System, specifies the networking configuration and enables some OS configuration settings.

To create a Host Profile open the library tab and select create Physical Computer Profile. Give the profile a descriptive name (in this example Hyper-V Host) and select VM Host as the role.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/09-Host-Profile-name.png” width=720”>

In the OS Image screen specify the path to a virtual hard disk containing a sysprepped Operating System. For testing purposes you can enable the settings to not convert the virtual hard disk type to fixed during deployment. For production environments it is recommended to leave this unchecked. Please note that during the bare metal deployment process System Center VMM 2012 R2 will verify the available hard disk space on the server. The bare metal deployment process will fail if the hard disk size on the server is less than the size of the virtual hard disk containing the sysprepped Operating System with the following error VHD_BOOT_HOST_VOLUME_NOT_ENOUGH_SPACE

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/10-Not-enough-space.png” width=600”>

You will even encounter this error if the virtual hard disk is dynamically expending and you choose to not convert the virtual hard disk type to fixed during deployment.

We will spend some time in the next screen called Hardware Configuration. This is where we layout the configuration for the networking that we will map to the available hardware in the server during the bare metal deployment process.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/11-Hots-Profile-default-NICs.png” width=720”>

The preconfigured settings in the wizard contain one physical NIC that is defined as management NIC. The following table describes the configuration that we need to create.

Type Logical Switch Port Classification VM Network Allocate IP Address
Mangement NIC (Virtual NIC) Logical Switch Management Host Management Management_Hosts VM Network
Physical NIC #1 Logical Switch Management      
Physical NIC #2 Logical Switch Management      
Virtual NIC #1 Logical Switch Management Live Migration workload Live Migration VM Network
Virtual NIC #2 Logical Switch Management Host Cluster workload Csv VM Network
Physical NIC #3 Logical Switch Tenants      
Physical NIC #4 Logical Switch Tenants      

In this example each node in the tenant cluster will have a total of four physical NICs. Two physical NICs are assigned to the logical Switch Management and the other two physical NICs are assigned to the logical Switch Tenants. We will first add the Physical NICs by selecting Add > Physical Network Adapter. Add four physical network adapters.

Select Physical properties tab of Physical NIC#1 and assign it to the logical Switch Management. Apply the uplink port profile that we created for the Logical Switch Management earlier (in this example SI – HD)

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/12-Add-Physical-NIC1.png” width=720”>

If your rack or blade supports Consistent Device Naming, you can enter the CDN names. This will assign the settings to the correct physical NIC. You are not required to use CDN, although it is very helpful. If your server or blade does not support CDN you can just select Physical network adapter’s CDN is unknown. In the bare metal deployment process there is a feature called Deep Discovery that will get the physical NIC information for correct assignment. In this part of the blog series on Bare Metal Deployment I will reference the field that you can use for CDN. The next part of this blog series will describe CDN and Deep Discovery in greater depth.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/13-Add-Physical-NIC1-CDN.png” width=720”>

Repeat these steps for the Physical NIC #2.

Select the Management NIC again. Because there is now more than one Physical NIC configured you have the possibility to choose between a physical network adapter as the Management NIC or a virtual network adapter as the Management NIC. In this example we want to create a vNIC in the ManagementOS. Select “Create a virtual network adapter as the management NIC”.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/14-Management-as-vNIC.png” width=720”>

Open the Physical Properties screen of the Management NIC. Apply the Host Management port classification to this virtual NIC. We have added two Physical NICs in the previous step. Both Physical NICs were assigned to the Logical Switch Management. This vNIC is automatically assigned to the Logical Switch Management because there is no other option available. If you would have added all four physical NICs first and also assigned them to the correct logical switches you should have selected which logical switch you would have this vNIC configured on.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/15-Assign-Management-vNIC.png” width=720”>

Select the IP Configuration of the Management NIC. Set the option “Create this virtual NIC on this virtual network (VM network)” to Management_Hosts and select to allocate a static IP from the above VM network.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/16-Assign-Management-vNIC-VM-network.png” width=720”>

We now have two Physical NICs in a team configured for the Logical Network Management with one vNIC for Management. In this example the Logical Network Management contains two additional vNICs (one for Csv and one for Live Migration). Add two vNICs, one for Csv and one for Live Migration, by selecting Add > Virtual Network Adapter. Set similar values for the two virtual network adapters as the Management vNIC (Logical Switch assignment, Port classification, VM Network and allocate static IP). You can verify your settings in the table at the beginning of the Host Profile section of this blog.

With the two virtual network adapter for Csv and Live Migration added the configuration of the Logical Switch Management in the Host Profile is complete. The Logical Switch Tenants also contains two Physical Network Adapters. Add these Physical NICs by selecting Add > Physical Network Adapter. Add two physical network adapters for the Logical Switch Tenants.

Select Physical properties tab of Physical NIC#3 and assign it to the logical Switch Tenants. Apply the uplink port profile that we created for the Logical Switch Tenants earlier (in this example SI – HD – HNV). Repeat these steps for Physical NIC#4.

The configuration is now complete and should look something like this.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/17-Overview-with-CDN.png” width=720”>

Select Next to open the OS configuration screen. Specify the domain and the RunAs account that we created in the first part of this blog series. Enter a local administrator password, the Identity information, the product key and the correct time zone.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/18-Identity.png” width=720”>

Select next to open the Host Settings screen. You can specify the virtual machine placement path here. The summary screen will show an overview of the configured settings. For those paying attention you might see that the Summary screen does not display the Port Classifications for the vNICs for Csv and Live Migration. The Host Profile Wizard will not save these settings. This is a known issue in the preview bits and should be solved in RTM.

<img src=”/images/2013-09-22/19-Summary.png” width=720”>

Finish the wizard. The host profile is now complete. In the next part of this blog series we will deploy two hosts with the Bare Metal Deployments process using the Logical Switches and Host Profile we just created.