How to install vRealize Network Insight (vRNI) 3.8.0

Once a customer asked me we have vROps to monitor our infrastructure but when it comes network devices or network flow between virtual machine how can we monitor that..??

This question is pretty valid for almost all environment because with more and more workload being offloaded to virtual environment it becomes utmost important to make sure each one of the vm is getting adequate network for its operations. Also if there are physical network devices (which every customer has by-default) they also need to monitor these devices as well. The answer to these question is very straight forward, VMware has product called vRealize Network Insight (aka vRNI) which does this job. However this product gives best results when customer has NSX in their environment but even for nascent vSphere environment it does the job pretty well.

I’ll be showing step-by-step installation and configuration procedure for vRNI 3.8.0 in this blog post.

Like any other VMware products vRNI comes as a software appliance which can be downloaded from this link. There are two .ova files which needs to be downloaded:

  • vRealize Network Insight – Platform OVA file
  • vRealize Network Insight – Proxy OVA file

First one is the vRNI platform appliance, user will be connecting to this appliance via IP address on FQDN. All configurations and settings will be made on this vm and the proxy appliance is the one which hold the job to collect the incoming data, massage it and then pass it to Platform appliance where the actual analysis is done. Customer has to deploy both the appliance in the same order as mentioned above.

System/Network Requirements:

There are mainly two brick sizes available for vRNI (Platform & Proxy vm) i.e. Medium & Large. Below are the minimum system requirements:

Size vRealize Network Insight Platform OVA Disk
Medium Brick 8 cores – Reservation 4096 Mhz 800 GB – HDD, Thin provisioned
32 GB RAM – Reservation – 16GB
Large Brick 12 cores – Reservation 6144 Mhz
48 GB RAM – Reservation – 24GB
vRealize Network Insight Proxy OVA
Medium Brick 4 cores – Reservation 2048 Mhz 150 GB – HDD, Thin provisioned
10 GB RAM – Reservation – 5GB
Large Brick 6 cores – Reservation 3072 Mhz
12 GB RAM – Reservation – 6GB

Please refer to the links for System Requirements and Network Communication

Installation Steps:

Once all pre-requisites are met start deploying vRNI Platform .ova file using vSphere web console and follow the screenshots:

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Give an appropriate name to the platform appliance and also create DNS record for it.

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Assign the network which this appliance will be associated to

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Select the option to manually configure IP address of this appliance

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One last time review the settings and click on Finish to start the deployment

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Once the appliance is deployed, power on the vm and open console (web or remote). At the login screen login with username consoleuser and password (as mentioned on login screen)

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Step#1 it will ask you to change password for consolueser and support Make a note of both the passwords as you will require these passwords for managing this appliance later

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Step#2 you will need to provide IP address, default gateway, subnet mask, DNS server and domain name information

Step#3 is to configure NTP server and Step#4, Step#5 will ask information related to VMware customer experience etc and these steps are also optional.

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Once settings are saved, browse to https://<vRNI_FQDN_or_IP_address&gt; and you will land at the below screen. You need to provide valid license key and set admin@local password which will be used to access vRNI UI

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Once necessary information is provided click on Activate button

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Now Platform appliance is successfully deployed it will show the screen with Shared Key. This key is required to configure Proxy vm with Platform vm.  Use the same steps as shown above to deploy proxy vm .ova and when the below screen shows up paste the Shared Key and click Next

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While proxy vm is getting deployed and powered on the below message will be displayed on Platform vm. Please follow below steps to configure Proxy vm to establish the connection

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After Proxy is powered on login using consoleuser (and given password) and change default passwords

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Configure Network and NTP settings for Proxy vm

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Once the configurations are successfully saved automatically on Platform vm UI Proxy Detected message will appear. It confirms that both the vm have established connection and the deployment is successful

 

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Browse to https://<vRNI_FQDN_or_IP_address&gt; and you will land to the below page. Login with admin@local

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User can configure Amazon AWS account or VMware vCenter server to vRNI. For demonstration purpose I’ll be configuring vCenter Server to it

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Select VMware vCenter and Click on Settings for configurations. Notice under collector (Proxy) VM we are able to see the Proxy appliance which is another checkpoint to validate if the connection between Platform & Proxy vm is configured correctly or not. Provide vCenter IP address, Username and Password information to connect to desired vCenter server for monitoring and click on Validate

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With this installation of vRNI 3.8.0 is completed successfully. You can also configure various network devices from CISCO, Brocade, Palo-Alto and many more from this console (as shown in below screenshot).

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I’ll be posting follow-up blog post to configure various other devices using vRNI. With this I end this blog… I hope it helps… till then Happy Reading 🙂

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