Installing NSX Advanced Load Balancer in VMware Environments

Architecture Overview: Avi Vantage Platform – 100% software-defined, scalable, and distributed modern architecture that best matches the new generation of applications.

The Avi Vantage architecture separates the data and control planes to deliver application services beyond load balancings, such as application analytics, predictive autoscaling, micro-segmentation, and self-service for app owners in both on-premises or cloud environments.

The Avi Vantage Platform has three core components – Avi Service Engines, Avi Controller cluster, and the Avi Admin Console:

• Controller cluster

Controller is the single point of management and control. It serves as the brain of the entire Avi Vantage system, and for high availability, it is typically deployed as a three-node cluster. As its name implies, the Controller implements the control plane.

 Service Engines

Service Engines (SEs) handle all data plane operations within Avi Vantage by receiving and executing instructions from the Controller. The SEs perform load balancing and all client- and server-facing network interactions. It collects real-time application telemetry from application traffic flows

• Admin Console

Admin Console is a modern web-based user interface that provides role-based access to control, manage and monitor applications. Its capabilities are likewise available via the Avi CLI. All services provided by the platform are available as REST API calls to enable IT automation, developer self-service, and a variety of third party integrations.

Deployment Considerations

  1. Write access is the recommended deployment mode. It is the quickest and easiest way to deploy and offers highest levels of automation between Avi Vantage and vCenter.
  2. After completing the deployment process, click here for more information on creating virtual services.
  3. Avi Vantage can be deployed with a VMware cloud in either no access, read access, or write access mode. Each mode is associated with different functionality and automation, and also requires different levels of privileges for Avi Controller within VMware vCenter. For complete information, refer to Avi Vantage Interaction with vCenter.
  4. The Avi Vantage administrator needs to download only one Service Engine image for each type of image needed (ova/qcow2/docker). The same Service Engine image can be then used to deploy Service Engines in any tenant and cloud configured in the system. For more information, refer to Manually Deploy Service Engines in Non-Default Tenant/Cloud.
  5. It is recommended to use the built-in Virtual Service Migration functionality.

Deployment Prerequisites

Virtual Machine Requirements

The defaults are:

  • Avi Controller — 8 vCPU cores, 24 GB RAM, and 128 GB of storage. (Click here for important details, including minimum sizing requirements for Avi Controllers.)
  • Avi Service Engine — 1 vCPU cores, 2 GB RAM, and 10 GB of storage. (Click here for important details, including minimum sizing requirements for Avi SEs.

A typical deployment will have three Controllers in a redundant Controller cluster. The number of SEs required will depend on the number of applications being served by Avi Vantage and the configured level of redundancy.

Notes:

  • Reservation for CPU and memory is strongly preferred, but not required.
  • Modifying resource settings on VMs, such as CPU cores or RAM, requires powering down the VM, making the changes, and then powering the VM back on.

Software Requirements

IP Address Requirements

Each AVI Controller requires one management IP address. The management IP address is also used by the Controller to communicate with other Service Engines. This IP address for all Controllers within a cluster should belong to the same subnet. For more information, refer to the Controller Cluster IP document.

Each SE requires one management IP address, an IP address for each Virtual Service, and an IP address facing the network

vCenter Account Requirements

During the initial Controller setup, a vCenter account must be entered to allow communication between the Controller and the vCenter. The vCenter account must have the privileges to create new folders in the vCenter. This is required for Service Engine creation, which then allows virtual service placement.
For complete information on VMware user role and privileges, refer to VMware User Role for NSX Advanced Load Balancer.

Modes of Deployment

Depending on the level of vCenter access provided, NSX Advanced Load Balancer can be deployed in a VMware cloud in the following modes:
Write access mode – This mode requires a vCenter user account with write privileges. Avi Controller automatically spins up Avi Service Engines as needed, and accesses vCenter to discover information about the networks and VMs.
• Read access mode – This mode requires a vCenter user account with read privileges. Avi Controller accesses vCenter to discover information about the networks and VMs. Avi Service Engines are spun up and connected to the networks by NSX Advanced Load Balancer and the vCenter administrator
• No access mode – Avi Controller does not access vCenter. The NSX Advanced Load Balancer and vCenter administrator manually deploy Avi Service Engines, define networks and interface IP addresses, and map the Service Engines to the correct networks.
Note: Starting with release 18.1.2, IPv6 is supported for VMware vCenter in NSX Advanced Load Balancer.

Deploying NSX Advanced Load Balancer in Write Access Mode

Follow the steps given below to deploy NSX Advanced Load Balancer in a vCenter managed VMware cloud in write access mode:

Step 1: Deploying Controller OVAs through vCenter Server

Log into the vCenter server through a vCenter client. Use the client to deploy Avi Controller OVA file by following the steps mentioned below:

  • Choose Deploy OVF Template.
  • Browse to choose the AVI ova file.
  • Select a name and Folder.
  • Select a compute Resource.
  • Review template details.
  • Select Storage.
  • Select Networks and choose a port group for Destination Networks in Network Mapping. This port group will be used by the Controller to communicate with vCenter Server
  • Specify the management IP address and default gateway.
  • Review and complete.
  • Power on the VM.

Performing the Avi Controller Initial setup

  • Navigate to the Avi Controller on your browser and Configure the basic system settings:

        • Administrator account
        • DNS and NTP server information
        • Email or SMTP information

  • Set the infrastructure type to VMware.
  • Enter the vCenter settings.
    • vCenter credentials – To create Service Engines, the vCenter account must have privileges to create new folders in vCenter.
    • vCenter IP address.
    • Permissions – Select Write.
    • Integration with SDN- VMware NSX
    • Data center – NSX Advanced Load Balancer will be deployed here.
    • IP allocation method for the networks where the pools and virtual services will be located – DHCP or Static. (Wizard screen example below shows DHCP.)
  • Configure Avi Service Engine Settings.
    • Management network
    • IP allocation method for management network
    • Support Multiple Tenants – Select No.

If the management and pool networks use DHCP, the deployment procedure is complete with this step. In case of static IP address allocation refer to Configuring IP address pools.

Verifying the Configuration

To verify the installation, navigate to Infrastructure > Clouds and click on Default-Clouds. If the status is green, then the installation is a success.

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