Manage NSX-T Lifecycle with vLCM

With the integration of NSX-T with vLCM, the NSX Manager can manage all the life cycle aspects of NSX-T via vLCM image manager APIs. 

All the aspects relating to install, config, run, and upgrades are taken care of by the vLCM image manager and raise alarms in case there is any drift to the desired state defined in the cluster Image. 

(Overview) NSX Manager leverages vLCM Image manager to enable:
Installation of NSX-T
Upgrade of NSX-T
Uninstall of NSX-T
Add/Remove/Move a host in & out of vLCM-enabled clusters

Important Information: This integration is only supported with NSX-T3.1, which is yet to be released.

Install NSX-T on a vLCM Enabled Cluster

NSX manager now shows a new Tag called vLCM to inform NSX administrator that this cluster is vLCM enabled and managed by vLCM. 

NSX configuration workflow changes slightly in the case of vLCM clusters are involved. 

• You can not configure NSX-T with N-vDS on a vLCM enabled cluster. Currently, this integration only supports vDS switch
• NSX-T depot gets added to the vLCM repository 
• vLCM now sets the new solution. In this case, the solution is NSX-T 
• Desired state is configured, and now it has NSX-T bits defined in the desired state 
• NSX manager now starts the vLCM remediation on all the hosts one by one to ensure desired state configuration
• No change in the configuration workflow in case cluster is not vLCM enabled

Configure NSX-T on a vLCM Enabled Cluster

Add/ remove Hosts:
If NSX-T and vLCM cluster adding or removing any hosts from host group/cluster will install/un-install NSX – T components respectively
Adding and removing hosts means that NSX administrator is adding a host to a host group with associated TNP. Once that is done vLCM remediation gets starts.

Move hosts to different hosts groups
For example if you move a host from one host group to a different host group than NSX manager updates the TNP profile associated to it and vLCM remediation starts

Remove host
vLCM will uninstall NSX-T components from ESXi hosts

Drift management
On a vLCM enabled cluster, vLCM reports NSX manager if there any ESXi hosts not meeting the desired state. NSX manager than has the option to resolve the same.

Drift can happen due to various reasons, for ex.  
• Manual installation of NSX-T vibs, Someone installs different versions of NSX-t vibs manually
• Removal of NSX-T, Someone manually removes the NSX-t vibs
• In any of these case vLCM can understand the drift from desired state and reports the same to NSX manager

Upgrade NSX-T on a vLCM Enabled Cluster

NSX Manager can now upgrade the NSX-T on vLCM enabled cluster. Currently In place upgrade is not supported and host goes into Maintenance mode during the upgrade procedure.

Upgrade Procedure of NSX-T components on a vLCM cluster can be explained in 3 stages
1. Stage – administrator needs to stage the binaries first
• Stage the upgrade binaries

2.Set Solution
• Once we start the Upgrade, vLCM sets the vLCM image with upgraded binaries
• vLCM sets a new desired state for the host groups/cluster

3. Remediate
• Once solution is set, remediation is started by vLCM
• Installs the new binaries on ESXi hosts