How to use VMware Health Analyzer to QA check a vSphere deployment in VCF (Step by Step)
Updated: Feb 16, 2021
So the nodes have been racked and stacked, software installed, vSphere is up and running and you are currently being asked by the application owners about when your new VMware Cloud Foundation platform will be ready for production workloads. At this point in the project you most likely are looking into how to test and validate your new platform both from a functionality and performance standpoint (but hopefully this was done at the beginning of the project).
VCF has several components, but at its core is the vSphere environment and (in this example) its associated vCenters and workload domains (WLDs).
How can we validate our newly created vSphere environment to insure that the baseline configurations were made according to VMware best practices? This is where VMware HealthAnalyzer can help us.
VMware HealthAnalyzer is an application that collects vSphere inventory data, creates findings and observations, recommends grades and allows you to edit grades and observations according to data categorised by VMware Health Check best practices.
The data collected by VMware HealthAnalyzer is categorised by best practices and presented in a project.
HealthAnalyzer is available for FREE to partners and can be downloaded from the VMware PartnerConnect Portal.
Step 1: This is the weblink for the download page: https://vmstarcommunity.force.com/partnerconnect/s/sales-services-software-solutions
Make sure to download the FULL OVA version:
Step 2: Once downloaded, deploy the OVA in the MGMT WLD vCenter:
Step 3: Select your storage, in my case I am using vSAN:
The HealthAnalyzer needs to be able to communicate with the vCenters that you are trying to assess. In VCF the vCenters for both the Management and VI WLDs will exist in the MGMT WLD cluster.
Step 4: On the networks page, select the Management Network where the other vCenters exist:
Step 5: In the Customize Template section, enter the hostname / FQDN for the appliance, username and password and finalize the installation:
Step 6: After the VM installation completes, navigate to the IP / hostname of the appliance in the web browser:
At this point, you will be prompted for a registration key and registered email.
Step 7: Go to your browser with outside internet access and go to this URL https://pstoolhub.vmware.com/ and sign in with your partner credentials:
Step 8: Enter the site, go to Register Product. Select the parameters below:
Step 9: After submitting the form, you will get the following notification:
Step 10: You will receive an email with a license registration code, copy that code, go back to your HeathAnalyzer instance and enter that + your partner email. You are now authorized to use the system.
Step 11: Upon entering, you will see a button on the top left side called "New Folder". Click that, and you will be prompted to create a folder. Give the folder a name.
Step 12: Click "New Project", select the project type of vSphere. Give the project and customer name:
Step 13: Add the vSphere username and login credentials. Add the vCenter hostname and credential profile should be set to vSphere and select your storage type:
Step 14: In the next step, the HealthAnalyzer tool will perform a vCenter discovery. You will see the vCenter, Data Center and hosts listed. You can deselect the objects that you would like to analyze or leave default.
Step 15: When the analysis is completed, click the Open button.
You will be presented with a reports page. From here you can see the tests that were run and a color indicating the severity level. Each test that is run is based on recommendations listed in the PD005_Tooling_Reference_BestPractices_0001 document, which can be downloaded from the vSphere Heath Check Solution Enablement Toolkit page on the partner portal. These recommendations are based on parameters taken from the VMware Validated Design for vSphere.
Step 16: Click on the Generate Report button, which will download a Word and Excel format version of the analysis.
In the word document, you will find a detailed report showing the configurations that meet the requirements or ones that require attention. I found that the Excel version was easier to read.
In my use case here, I was testing a VCF on VxRAIL environment. The configuration for this installation might differ from the reference parameters that the Analyzer tests against, so it is always a good idea to check your specific technology documentation before remediating any issues just to be sure. In my report I discovered that some NIC speeds were inconsistently configured with the wrong MTU and negotiated speeds on certain hosts. So I was happy that I discovered this tool!
To summarize: VMware HealthAnalyzer is a great and easy to use tool for vSphere configuration validation and best deployment practice verification. You can use this along with other great (FREE) tools out there on the market to test other parts of the system, such as HCIBench from VMware, which is used to performance test vSAN environments.