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  • Kyle Hill

Home Lab - Deploying Azure Stack HCI

In the previous post, we looked at and configured some of the prerequirsites for our Azure Stack HCI deployment, including our VM setup. In this post, we are going to run through the actual deployment of the Azure Stack HCI cluster.

To help us on our way, there is a great piece of software from Microsoft called the Windows Admin Center. If you didn't download it with your Azure Stack HCI ISO, here is the link where you can download it from after going through the signup process again. Once downloaded, you can run it and will be presented with an installation wizard as follows:

After accepting the terms and clicking 'Next' you will be presented with the following:

I selected to send only the required diagnostic data and then clicked 'Next':

I like to keep my software up-to-date so I selected to use Microsoft Update and then clicked 'Next':

I was prompted for confirmation to install and then clicked 'Next':

I left the default options for the deployment config and then pressed 'Install':

Once the install completed, I received confirmation of this and then was able to finish the install wizard:

Once the install wizard completed, the Windows Admin Center then loaded in a browser window based on the earlier config and we are presented with the following:

To get started on our Azure Stack HCI deployment journey, we need to click 'Add' in the top left hand corner and then under 'Server Clusters' click 'Create New':

Of the two options we have, we will be selecting the 'Azure Stack HCI' option and then clicking on 'Create':

You will be presented with a step-by-step wizard for the install as follows:

Clicking 'Next' starts the wizard, where you can specify the VMs (nodes) that you will be using for the install. In my case, my two nodes are called AS01 and AS02:

Once added and validated you will be able to click 'Next' to add the nodes to a domain:

Seeing as we already added the nodes to the domain in the VM setup, this step should go pretty quickly and validate as follows:

After clicking 'Next', so will then be presented with the option to install the required services on each node as below:

Clicking on the 'Install Features' button will begin the install:

Once completed, you will be presented with a confirmation of all the service installed and a validation thereof. You can then click 'Next' to move to the next stage:

Any updates for the nodes will be presented here and I suggest that you install them just to make sure that you have the latest of everything. Once installed you will be presented with the following:

After clicking 'Next' you will have the chance to install any hardware updates, where applicable:

In my case, this is not supported, so we can move onto the next step where we restart the nodes to make sure that they are reflecting all of our changes and updates:

Once completed, the wizard will show you a confirmation of this and we can now move onto the networking configuration options for the deployment:

Next, we are going to manually setup the networking by selecting the option as per the below:

The wizard will scan and identify the available adapters per machine as illustrated below:

You will need to select one adapter per VM that has external access as the Management adapter:

Following that, you can create a virtual switch for the Compute networking by selecting one adapter per VM (can be an internal one):

AS my Home Lab setup doesn't support RDMA, we will skip setting this up:

Next, we will confirm the adapter settings and configs including the IP address assignment and subnets. Remember this from the planning we did in a previous post as getting this wrong can cause a large amount of chaos:

Click 'Apply and Test' to validate the configurations specified:

If the tests pass, you will be able to click 'Next' and begin creating the cluster:

Once some initial tests have run, click 'Validate' to start the process of creating the cluster:

You will be prompted to provide some configuration details around the cluster name and IP assignment (if you aren't using DHCP):

Clicking on 'Create Cluster' will begin the process of creating the cluster across the 2 VMs:

Once the creation completes successfully, you we be notified of this and then be able to click 'Next' to start the Storage configuration phase:

You will then be presented with the option to erase any of the detected drives (excluding the operating system drive), and for sanity, this is what I did by click 'Erase drives':

Once this completes, you will get a confirmation and you can click 'Next' to proceed:

The wizard will then scan the available drives and check whether they are valid for use with Storage Spaces Direct:

If the drives are valid, you will get a confirmation of such and be able to move to the next stage by clicking 'Next':

Next, to enable Storage Spaces Direct on the drives, click on the 'Enable' button:

If this process completes successfully, you will be presented with a confirmation of the operation:

Finally, there will be the option to setup Software Defined Networking (SDN), but for now, we are going to skip this, and you can do so by click on the 'Skip' button:

Congratulations, your Azure Stack HCI cluster is now deployed and you can see the results in the Windows Admin Center as follows:

Now that we have successfully configured the Azure Stack HCI cluster, in the next post, we will look at some post deployment configuration steps that are required to unlock some additional features. Stay tuned.

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