Home Lab: PernixData FVP Freedom

Hey there, kids! I am doing the home lab posts way out of order. I still need to update on the vSphere infrastructure, the Horizon Lab, the vCloud lab, and even the Windows infrastructure. More on that later. I really wanted to get the PernixData FVP Freedom setup since I just setup my shared storage. This process couldn’t have been easier. Let’s give it a run down:

Hardware: 

2 x Physical ESX hosts for VM’s

1 x Physical FreeNAS

RAM for Acceleration

Software:

vCenter Server

PernixData FVP Freedom

 

Install:

I don’t have VUM up and running yet, so I went the good old fashioned manual route for getting the VIB’s on the hosts. I uploaded the VIB package to a local DS on each host, then used SSH to get into the host and used esxcli to install the VIB’s.

VIB_datastoreSSH_VIB_Install

Doing the VIB install requires each host to be in maintenance mode. This is key. The next thing I needed was a service account. I gave this admin permissions to vCenter, and local admin on the FVP server.

AD_Service_Account

Lets get into the meat of the install. This is on a standalone Windows server, with 4vCPU and 8GB of RAM (Recommended). I didn’t get screenshots, but I created a database in SQL called prnxdata and a user called pernix (DB_owner). This is needed for the FVP management. First, you can do do a full or custom install. Full is best, but here is what Custom can get you:

01-custom-setup

Next we’ll need to point it at vCenter. As we set the service account as admin, and on the box, the permissions will be just what we need.

02-vcenter-user

The next thing we need to do is point the installer at SQL. You can run SQL express locally, but I have a SQL 2014 instance for all my lab DB’s.

03-SQL

The next step is setting up the management server. I opted for the FQDN over the IP, and the default management ports. After a few more clicks of “Next” I clicked the final “Install” button. It did all the rest for me.

04-Network-Settings

Yay, we’re done! (Kinda.) Now lets pull up the console. The first thing you want to do is drop in the license:

05-License

Now that we’re licensed, we need to create an FVP cluster. I selected my Production cluster, as the Storage cluster simply has 1 host that holds my NAS VM.

06-Cluster-Settings

As soon as we get the cluster, we have to give it an acceleration device. Normally, you’d be able to use the SSD, or PCIe Flash device, but since this is Freedom (Free Edition) it is RAM only (up to 128GB! That is a LOT for a free lab). I don’t have a ton of RAM, so I allocated 4GB each host (8GB of acceleration total).

07-Resource

Now that we have the cluster built, and the flash device set, we need to tell it what storage to accelerate. I selected my 3 NAS DS’s that I have setup into a DS cluster in vCenter. I just setup the shared storage, so I don’t have a lot on it. The SQL server and 1 other.

08-Datastores

And we have…a giraffe!… I mean, a functional FVP Console!

09-Console

And a reporting console, too!

10-Reporting

This was really a very painless process. While it did take me two days, it was simply because of only doing it in my free time. Overall, it took longer to enable SSH on the hosts and setup the service account than it did to do the rest. Now time to move all my VM’s from the local stores to the NAS DS cluster. I’ll have a follow up post on this soon with some updated stats and my day to day interactions. Now, go out and get your copy!

-vTimD

Note: My series on PernixData software is in no way sponsored by PernixData. The posts are all written by me, for knowledge, not compensation.