When you do work that feels good, time flies. LinkedIn reminded me that I joined Lenovo 2 years ago, but I still have a vivid memory of my first day at Lenovo, in the middle of the pandemic: get in the office, spend 20 minutes to get the IT equipment, and then rush home. I realized I wrote nothing on my blog about my work at Lenovo, so I’ll correct this quickly.
In the middle of the COVID-19 crisis priorities changed, for me like for a lot of other people. I decided that 20 years spent in IT operations are enough. During my search for other opportunities, I met the people from Lenovo and I liked their involvement in the community, given my implication in the VMUG community I felt we are sharing similar vision. So here I am jumping in a different boat, software development. I was lucky enough to join a new initiative in Lenovo and help developing a product from scratch, a tool to automate installation and configuration of a vSAN cluster.
What is ThinkAgile VX Deployer?
ThinkAgile VX Deployer is a GUI-based wizard that guides a VMware administrator through the deployment of vSAN clusters on top of Lenovo ThinkAgile VX Integrated Systems. We designed the Deployer to be as simple to use as possible. You just install the VX servers in rack, and then fire the VX Deployer. You don’t need to configure out-of-band interfaces, you don’t need to power on the servers, you just need the right amount of network connections.
The VX Deployer starts from bare-metal servers, configures the out-of-band interface (Lenovo xClarity Controller), and then installs and configures VMware vSphere, VMware vCenter Server, and VMware vSAN. On top of that, the VX Deployer installs and configures Lenovo xClarity Integrator (LXCI), a vSphere plugin which acts as Hardware Support Manager for vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM). LXCI will then work together with vLCM to provide an easy way to update drivers and firmware at the same time with vSphere.
How can you get it? The VX Deployer comes preloaded from factory on supported ThinkAgile VX Integrated Systems.
Where Can I Get More Info About the VX Deployer?
I will point you to three information sources about the ThinkAgile VX Deployer.
You can start by watching a recording of my presentation at VMware Explore US 2022: “Accelerate Time to Business Value and Achieve Faster Deployment with Lenovo ThinkAgile VX Deployer”. You can find in this video what we propose to our customers to enable them to faster put their Lenovo hardware in production. You can also watch a recorded demo of a new vSAN cluster deployment into a new vCenter Server instance using a configuration file.
You can then continue with the official documentation, because who doesn’t want to give that a thorough read? The current VX Deployer version is 1.2.1 and you can read about it here. You will get information about how to prepare for a deployment, how to deploy a new vSAN cluster, how to expand an existing vSAN cluster, how to troubleshoot or how to work with configuration files.
The third resource I would like to direct you is a research done by Prowess Consulting named “Measuring the Ease of Deployment and Operation of Lenovo® ThinkAgile™ VX HCI Solutions”. I’m quoting from their research:
Prowess Labs tested the ThinkAgile VX Deployer tool to evaluate how well it works, how easy it is to use, and how long it takes to perform the key operations of creating a new cluster and extending that cluster with an additional node. We tested these operations both for a first-time deployment and expansion, and for repeating the operations using a configuration file to fill many of the fields automatically. We also tested to validate that VMware vSphere® Lifecycle Manager™ (vLCM) was able to perform a successful remediation of the cluster that the ThinkAgile VX Deployer tool had created.Prowess Consulting
In the end, if you need more information about the hardware part of the solution, you can visit the official Lenovo site.