Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Create a custom ESXi ISO for NetApp NAS Plugin using PowerCLI and SAVE TIME !!

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In my previous blog “vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) & NetApp – How to set it right?” I shared some pre-checks you should consider before using vStorage APIs and NetApp storage. I have highlighted about NFS VAAI Pluing that is required to be installed on the ESXi hosts if you want to leverage NFS VAAI and NetApp NFS Storage. This can be an additional implementation task and would require significant efforts if you are you are a cloud service provider or have a large infrastructure with 100s of ESXi hosts.
To address this you can create custom ESXi ISO with the NFS VAAI Plugin. In this blog I will discuss how you can create a custom ESXi ISO in easy steps using VMware PowerCLI. NOTE: There are few GUI based products which allows you to do the same task however their installation may not be permitted in organizations with strict compliance and policies. Hence I chose to use VMware PowerCLI to do this.
To create the custom ISO you need to download the following components:
  • VMware PowerCLI
  • VMware Offline Bundle: Download the offline bundle from vmware for the version of ESXi that you want to install. In the screenshot below I am downloading the offline bundle for vSphere 5.1 however in the example I am using ESXi 5.1 Update 1.

Once VMware PowerCLI is installed, launch PowerCLI (I am not covering about setting execution policy while using PowerCLI in this blog). In this scenario I am creating a custom ESXi 5.1 Update 1 ISO with NetApp NASPlugin version 18.
  1. Add the offline bundle to the software depot
PowerCLI C:> Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\ESXi\
Depot Url

  1. List the different image profiles that are now available.
PowerCLI C:> Get-EsxImageProfile | Format-Table -AutoSize
Name                             Vendor       Last Modified        Acceptance Level
----                             ------       -------------        ------------
ESXi-5.1.0-20130402001-no-tools  VMware, Inc. 3/23/2013 9:30:37 PM PartnerSu...
ESXi-5.1.0-20130401001s-no-tools VMware, Inc. 3/23/2013 9:30:37 PM PartnerSu...
ESXi-5.1.0-20130402001-standard  VMware, Inc. 3/23/2013 9:30:37 PM PartnerSu...
ESXi-5.1.0-20130401001s-standard VMware, Inc. 3/23/2013 9:30:37 PM PartnerSu...

  1. Use one of the existing image profiles to create a clone of a new image profile that we will use to customize with the NetApp NASPlugin.
PowerCLI C:> New-EsxImageProfile -CloneProfile ESXi-5.1.0-20130402001-standard -Name ESXi-NFSVAAI -Vendor NetApp
Name                           Vendor          Last Modified   Acceptance Level
----                           ------          -------------   ----------------
ESXi-NFSVAAI                   NetApp          3/23/2013 9:... PartnerSupported

  1. Add the NetApp NAS Plugin to the software depot
PowerCLI C:> Add-EsxSoftwareDepot -DepotUrl C:\ESXi\
Depot Url

  1. List the NetApp NAS Plugin
PowerCLI C:> Get-EsxSoftwarePackage | Where-Object {$ -match "Netapp"}
Name                     Version                        Vendor     Creation Date
----                     -------                        ------     ------------
NetAppNasPlugin          1.0-018                        NetApp     4/29/2012...

  1. Add the NetApp NAS Plugin to the cloned Image profile
PowerCLI C:> Add-EsxSoftwarePackage -ImageProfile ESXi-NFSVAAI -SoftwarePackage NetAppNasPlugin
Name                           Vendor          Last Modified   Acceptance Level
----                           ------          -------------   ----------------
ESXi-NFSVAAI                   NetApp          9/13/2013 2:... PartnerSupported

  1. Export the Image profile as an ISO image
PowerCLI C:> Export-EsxImageProfile -ImageProfile ESXi-NFSVAAI -ExportToISO -filepath C:\ISO\ESXi5.1-NFSVAAIv18.iso

I personally felt that it’s easy to use PowerCLI and will continue to use PowerCLI in future, leave a comment if you have a different opinion.

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