I'm about to set up a new 5 node, ESXi 5.5 cluster. I'd like to post my current thoughts/ideas on how this is to be set up , but I do have questions on the best way to go about everything. This is a new data-center build out, so connectivity to other items (such as Active Directory servers) located elsewhere may not be available day 1, but it does exist.
Each server has 8 network interfaces (2 x quad cards). Initially, each network segment will have 2 interfaces teamed (across separate switches/cards), and the VLANs I have laid out currently are:
VLAN 1 = Management network/HA
VLAN 2 = NFS network
VLANs 3-8 = Server Networks
VLAN 9 = vMotion
Obviously these are not the actual VLAN IDs, just trying to keep everything simple. We would start by installing ESXi 5.5 on each of the hosts and configuring their management network information. We'd then be looking to install the vCenter Virtual Appliance (connecting to one of the hosts and deploying the appliance downloaded from VMWare). Assuming this is OK so far (please let me know if there are any issues at this point), we'd make sure the appliance can resolve each of the hosts by short names and fqdns via the Management network (editing the hosts file if AD isn't available) and update the hostname via the management page before running through the install.
My question now is, if Active Directory is not available right away, how should we proceed with the install of the appliance? We might not have an AD server to point to for NTP time synchronization, or for the domain configuration for joining the domain/authentication. I've seen others have issues because of the time synchronization being off on the servers.
Another question is since this appliance would be initially deployed with 1 NIC connected to the Management/HA network and static IP, should we configure another Port Group on the ESXi host and assign a second NIC to the appliance to account for the Server Networks and walk it off onto a VDS later, or should that be done after it is already managing the cluster adding this other connection via a new Port Group on the VDS?
This is the first time I'd be installing ESXi on this type of scale with this many VLANs (I've previously been responsible for much smaller vCenter deployments, single network with no dedicated VLANs for HA/vMotion/NFS/Management) just for the benefits of virtualization and single point of management. Any advice or input someone could provide based on previous experience or best practices I may have missed would be extremely helpful