One of the things that’s a huge benefit to customers is the ability to deploy the cluster very easily as well as scale the cluster by adding nodes. In order to achieve a repeatable process, we had been using a naming structure that would iterate the host names by an integer. Over the last 3 years, we slowly added more features – ability to go up to 4 digits in the number, adding a suffix and an offset which allowed customers to start at a number other than “1”.
The naming scheme we’ve had is effective for 99% (or maybe even higher) of our customers. One thing I’d get asked very infrequently (less than 10 times per year) was the ability to use “custom” host names. Some customers wanted to name their VxRail hosts using just names and without any integer that we could iterate. It’s definitely a fair request and the team has worked with those customers in the past to achieve what they wanted.
I’m happy to say that we’ve now integrated that directly into VxRail. You can now name your VxRail nodes after anything you’d like. This is available for new installs, as well as adding nodes to clusters running 4.7.100 code. Just note, once you go with custom host naming, you must use it for all future node adds. I’ll do a post on node adds later.
The overall install experience for our deployment team doesn’t change. The system is still initialized just like any other VxRail. Where things could change is once they get to the “Networks” screen during the deployment. This is the screen where they would specify the host names along with IP addresses for the VxRail components. Now they’ll see an option for “advanced mode”.
Once they click on “advanced mode”, they will have to add the host names along with IP addresses. This also allows them to make sure they’re assigning them to the correct PSNT (or serial number) for the nodes. Don’t forget, the node with the little house icon next to it is the primary node (there’s nothing special about that node other than that’s the node that is running the VxRail MGR VM for the purposes of the install).
After adding the host name and IPs to the nodes, the deployment continues as normal. When it’s all done, you’ll see the hosts in the nice HTML5 vCenter client, just as you’d expect.
So, it was a simple new feature, but that should help close the gap for the customers that didn’t use integers in their host names.
Bonus points for those that look at the host names and can tell me why I chose the names that I did.