VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide

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If you have a VMware NSX-powered softwared-defined networking infrastructure, you have an incredibly capable platform for delivering next generation networking for your environment. However, understanding how your traffic flows, having vsibiility to the ins and outs of your now “abstracted” networking layer can be difficult without the right tools. VMware vRealize Network Insight is the premeire tool for managing your software-defined networks and security policies. In this post, we will take a look at VMware vRealize Network Insight install guide to see how to get the solution off the ground in your environment.

What can VMware vRealize Network Insight do?

When deploying your software-defined infrastructure and planning out your micro-segmentation strategy, vRealize Network Insight helps to take the guesswork out of how your network flows actually happen. You no longer have to guess what network flows happen for a particular application.

It can also provide visibility for your virtual and physical networks. Overall, it helps to manage, troubleshoot, and secure your network.

Features of vRNI include the follwoing:

  • Ability to plan micro-segmentation
  • Troubleshoot security on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid deployments
  • Minimize risk
  • Reduce mean time to resolution (MTR) for connectivity issues
  • Eliminate network bottlenecks
  • Scale across NSX managers
  • Ensure compliance

vRealize Network Insight 5.2 Installation Requirements

Below are the documented requirements for installing vRealize Network Insight 5.2.

Platform brick requirements

Brick SizeCores requiredfor 2.1 GHz CPUCores requiredfor 2.3 GHz CPUCores requiredfor 2.6 GHz CPURAMDisk
Medium109832 GB1 TB
Large15141248 GB1 TB
Extra Large20181664 GB2 TB

Collector brick requirements

Brick SizeCores required for 2.1 GHz CPUCores required for 2.3 GHz CPUCores required for 2.6 GHz CPURAMDisk
Medium55412 GB200 GB
Large109816 GB200 GB
Extra Large109824 GB200 GB

Other Requirements and Considerations

  • The maximum time skew between the platform nodes has to be lesser than 30 seconds.
  • The availability of the NTP service is critical to system operations. Ensure that you do not reboot the platform node or the collector node when the NTP service is not available.
  • When the existing compute resources are completely used by the other processes on the platform, vRealize Network Insight crashes and does not recover automatically. If the services fail to recover, reboot the platform node.
  • If the network latency between platform node and upgrade server is greater than 500ms, the vRealize Network Insight upgrade might encounter an error. So, the network latency must be less than 500ms.
  • The recommended disk latency for optimal performance is up to 5ms. If the disk latency is greater than 5ms, the system performance degrades.
  • The recommended disk IOPS is 7500.

Supported Web Browser

  • Google Chrome: The latest two versions.
  • Mozilla Firefox: The latest two versions.

Recommendations to Support High Availability

You can customize vSphere HA options to enable vSphere high availability.

  • Host Failure – Restart VMs
  • Host Isolation– Disabled
  • Guest not heartbeating– Disabled

VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide

VMware vRealize Network Insight is installed in two parts. These include the following:

  • Installing the vRNI platform appliance
  • Installing the vRNI collector appliance/proxy

Both components are deployed using the very familiar OVF/OVA deployment process in the vSphere Client. During the process of standing up the platform appliance, you will generate a secret key that will be used in the deployment of the collector VM.

I am not going to show each screenshot of the OVA deployement here as it is standard, however, just showing a few of the highlights and screens to note. Here we are choosing the OVA for the Platform appliance solution.

Beginning-the-deployment-of-the-vRNI-5.2-platform-appliance VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Beginning the deployment of the vRNI 5.2 platform appliance

Make note of the size of appliance you would like to deploy. A note here is the vRNI solution is not a lightweight pair of VMs. The Platform appliance, even in the Medium configuration, requires 8 vCPUs and 32GB of memory. The collector requires 4 vCPUs and 12GB of memory.

Select-the-configuration-size-for-the-Platform-appliance VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Select the configuration size for the Platform appliance

The deployment displays the note that you will need to manually configure the appliance after it is deployed.

Customize-template-for-the-vRealize-Network-Insight-Platform-appliance VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Customize template for the vRealize Network Insight Platform appliance

The first part of the configuration of both the Platform and Collector appliances is that you will need to open a console session and run a setup wizard to get some basic configuration on the solution. This includes:

  • Setting up user accounts
  • Network configuration
  • NTP configuration
  • Web proxy configuration

You login with consoleuser and the password of console.

Logging-into-the-console-and-performing-steps-1-and-2-of-the-setup-process VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Logging into the console and performing steps 1 and 2 of the setup process

Running steps 3 & 4.

Configuring-steps-3-and-4-of-the-setup-process-with-vRNI-5.2 VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Configuring steps 3 and 4 of the setup process with vRNI 5.2

After a few minutes, you should see the Appliance configured successfully message displayed.

Platform-appliance-is-configured-successfully VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Platform appliance is configured successfully

Now, we move on to the browser portion of the configuration. Open your browser and point to the IP you configured during the setup wizard. You will first enter a license key and validate the license.

Enter-your-vRealize-Network-Insight-license-key-and-validate VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Enter your vRealize Network Insight license key and validate

Next, generate a shared secret key for the collector VM.

Generate-a-shared-secret-for-the-collector-VM VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Generate a shared secret for the collector VM

Secret key is generated. Click the Copy button to copy it to the clipboard. You will leave your browser session open as you deploy the collector VM.

Copy-the-generated-shared-secret-to-use-during-the-deployment-of-the-collector-appliance VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Copy the generated shared secret to use during the deployment of the collector appliance

Deploying the vRealize Network Insight Collector Appliance

Now that the Platform appliance is deployed, it waits on the Collector/Proxy VM to come online. Below, we are beginning the process to deploy the Collector VM. Note the size requirements.

Viewing-the-configuration-size-of-the-Collector-VM VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Viewing the configuration size of the Collector VM

Paste in the Shared Secret for Proxy that you copied from the web interface of the Platform appliance.

Paste-in-the-shared-secret-key-you-generated-on-the-web-configuration-of-the-Platform-appliance VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Paste in the shared secret key you generated on the web configuration of the Platform appliance

You follow the same process here for the Collector. Open a console session and run the setup wizard. You will configure the same values here including accounts, network, NTP, proxy, and it will automatically configure the connection to the Platform appliance.

Beginning-the-console-configuration-of-the-Collector-VM VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Beginning the console configuration of the Collector VM

Shared secret configuration working…

Finishing-the-console-configuration-of-the-Collector-VM VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Finishing the console configuration of the Collector VM

The connection is successfully made to the Platform appliance. You should see the Appliance configured successfully displayed in the console.

VMware-vRealize-Network-Insight-Collector-VM-appliance-configured-successfully VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
VMware vRealize Network Insight Collector VM appliance configured successfully

Going back to the web interface of the platform appliance, you should see the Proxy Detected Click Finish. Click Finish.

Proxy-detected-finish-the-configuration-from-the-Platform-appliance-web-interface VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Proxy detected finish the configuration from the Platform appliance web interface

Login to the web interface of the platform appliance. Here, I am setting up a connection to a vCenter Server integrated with an NSX-T environment.

Select-an-account-to-add-to-vRNI VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Select an account to add to vRNI

Under the Accounts and Data Sources menu, you will populate the credentials for your connection to vCenter as well as setup NetFlow, VDS and then submit the configuration.

Validate-the-vCenter-connection-netflow-and-VDS-before-submitting VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Validate the vCenter connection netflow and VDS before submitting

Click Finish.

Finish-the-configuration VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide
Finish the configuration

Wrapping Up

There you have it – VMware vRealize Network Insight Install Guide using vRealize Network Insight 5.2 as a guide for the walk through. The vRNI platform is easily configured with just a bit of time and quickly leads to time to value for your NSX environment.

Stay tuned for more vRNI goodness as I delve deeper into the solution and look at traffic flows, micro-segmentation, security, etc.

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