How we deployed Huawei MicroDC

Not so long ago, Huawei decided that it became cramped in the niche market of telecommunications services operators. The result was the creation of a separate IT division in their Enterprise division. At the same time, the Chinese approached this issue on a large scale.

When Huawei talks about IT, they really mean all product lines that cover the enterprise’s IT infrastructure, from SOHO / ROBO to the Enterprise level.
It is clear that with such a portfolio, the company can offer its customers truly end-to-end solutions that cover all the needs of the client. Today I want to tell you about one of them: Huawei MicroDC .





Briefly about what this solution is

In the rack of Huawei (yes, it is Huawei, everything is fair) it installs a Huawei UPS (and that's right, no nameplate-gluing), environmental monitoring sensors (temperature, smoke, humidity, opening doors, etc.), Cabinet Control Unit (a device that collects data from all these sensors and sends them via SNMP). In addition, the hardworking Chinese bred all switching in advance and accurately mark it.
Depending on the configuration ordered, the solution may include servers, switches / routers, storage systems - in general, everything that is needed for the functioning of a full-fledged infrastructure. Moreover, when ordering, you can specify your network plan in the questionnaire, according to which all switches will be configured at the factory, and the rack will come to you with configured VLANs, registered IP addresses, etc. You just have to make high-level settings of the server \ SHD equipment and you can run the solution by powering the rack-mount UPS.

The target audience of this solution is companies with a geographically distributed branch network and integrator companies offering their customers standard solutions “infrastructure from scratch on a turn-key basis”. It is convenient in that once you have compiled a typical solution, you can duplicate it many times, while the time it takes to set up entirely rests with the Huawei factory. It is enough for you after the purchase to send MicroDC to the place of operation. Moreover, you do not need to send expensive employees on a business trip to deploy a branch of your bank or an NPS infrastructure in the North. Anyone who knows how to read can connect marked cables to the marked ports, connect uplink and power ups from 220V. Everything else can be done remotely.

“All this is marketing!” - you say.

Well then, let's move on to practice. In our demo laboratory, Treolan turned out to be the minimum configuration of this solution: 24U rack, UPS with 3kVa battery modules, CCU, analog rack-mount KVM and dome IP camera. The batteries, KVM and camera came in separate boxes. However, this did not make it easier for us, either literally or figuratively. So that you can understand my words, this is how it all arrived:



It should be noted that all this did not come to the Treolan warehouse, equipped with the most modern technology, with professional warehouse staff, forklifts and elevators, but to the office, with everyone flowing out ... The edges of the box were reinforced with a couple of layers of cardboard, the rack itself was fastened with 4 bolts to the pallet.

In order to unload the rack from the car, it took us ~ 1.5 hours of time and 4 people accustomed to the loads.

To make the rack more or less transportable (I remind you that we don’t have a loader or elevators in the office), we made it as easy as possible. To do this, the side walls and the UPS were removed from it. However, even after this, it became by no means weightless.



Due to the good quality of the metal, the rack weighs far beyond a centner. This is a frequent question about build quality. No burrs, no backlash, metal does not bend with a finger (it feels like a cast-iron bridge is easier to break). Of course, in the process of carrying and operating a couple of scratches on the roof of the rack still appeared, but here I think no vendor can boast of such vandal resistance.

By the way, high build quality is inherent in all Huawei products that have passed through our hands.

After the rack was delivered to the end point, direct assembly and adjustment began.



In this form, the battery modules from the UPS are transported - in accordance with all accepted safety standards for the transportation of batteries.

Despite the fact that the configuration was minimal, Huawei still offers its customers something like Best-practice - these are their recommendations on the placement and type of units used in the rack. I want to note right away that all the marking on the patch cords and power wires is made taking into account precisely these recommendations.



So for example, UPS and batteries, they logically suggest installing in the lower 8 units. At the same time, the batteries are connected to the control module in series, with foolproof connectors.



However, these recommended solutions are subject to change from time to time, so recommendations vary across versions of the Installation Guide. So, for example, in our manual in the unit in which it was proposed to install the switch, there was already a cable entry pre-installed at the factory. But this is a minor minus, anyway we were not going to follow their recommendations.

Working scheme

For ourselves, we decided to build on the basis of this solution the “canonical” office infrastructure for 100-150 employees. For this, we decided to use a virtual cluster of 2 Huawei Tecal RH1288 V2 servers and a Huawei FusionCompute hypervisor, a Huawei OceanStor S2600T storage system, and we assembled the network core on a stack of two S5700-EI switches. Under the router, we identified the Huawei AR2200. And since we have everything “grown-up”, we decided to build an isolated management network based on the Huawei S5700-28X-PWR-LI-AC POE switch.



Here, by the way. Close up marking of patch cords. Everything is clear and accessible. They marked part of the cables according to their layout. Part - at the mercy of the client. However, as I said, we did not comply with these recommendations. But even so, the marking was very useful for further switching.



In addition, I want to note that the patch cords are laid on conscience. Everything is thought out and neat, each cable has a label at both ends. When we had to cut the ties to pull the cable to another unit, my heart bleeds.



The switches stacked without any problems, for this we used the FOXCONN stacked cable provided for this:



We installed the servers on our own sleds, which have a convenient mounting scheme:





On the roof, we installed the HikVision DS-2CD793PF-EI IP camera included in the kit (only on two minor devices in the rack we did not find the inscription Huawei - on the camera and on the KVM). A smoke detector and telescopic rod are connected to the camera.



One of the key components of the MicroDC solution is CCU- Cabinet Control Unit. It collects data from environmental sensors uniformly installed throughout the rack, aggregates them and sends them to an SNMP server (the role of which in our installation will be played by Huawei eSight ).
The CCU is mounted at the rear of the rack and visually looks like a switch. The signals from the smoke, temperature, front / rear door, floor flooding sensors converge on it and the UPS is connected.



A few units already have skids pre-installed. However, because of their "universality", they are not suitable for mounting storage systems or servers, and for 1U switches are simply not needed. Therefore, in fact, they delivered more inconvenience during installation than did any good.



As already mentioned, we installed the hypervisor from Huawei: FusionCompute from the FusionSphere solution on the servers. Their solution is based on the XenServer product from Citrix.



After all the equipment was installed in the rack and the initial initialization was carried out, pitfalls began to appear.

Software products

According to the scenario proposed by Huawei, the user must use their software product - Rapid Deployment Tool .
As the name suggests, this tool should help us easily and quickly initialize all the equipment installed in the rack. However, the logic in this place passes.

To deploy the Rapid Deployment Tool (hereinafter RDT) you must raise the version 5.5.30 x32 SQL server on your local machine. This distribution is on their site (only there it is for x64 systems, but oh well). Installing the sql server goes without any problems, the benefit is that in the guide they all describe in detail and upload screenshots at almost every step.

But when it is necessary to install RDT itself, a problem arises. Of the 10 machines on which we tried to install it, the distribution ( * .vbe ) started only 1, giving an access error. But starting up, he again began to pour in errors. Only after contacting Huawei Support, we learned that the distribution runs exclusively under two OS versions: Win XP Eng or Win 7 Eng. It is English, the only exception is Chinese.

When the installation was completed, we wondered: what does this product do?

Indeed, according to the manual for it, after installation, we need to manuallyuse the console cable to register IP addresses on the management ports of all devices (put them all on the same subnet 192.168.2.0/24), configure SNMP according to the parameters specified in the manual. And only after that start RDT, which will be able to query all these devices via SNMP and give you the opportunity to change their IP. Those. you must first do all the necessary work manually, in order to later be able to do the same automatically.

To our natural question " WHY ?" Huawei representatives answered approximately the following:
1. When ordering a more complete set (with pre-installed servers \ SHD \ switches), hardworking Chinese at the factory will perform part of the manual configuration for you. It is enough to fill out a questionnaire with a network plan when ordering.
2. The main purpose of this software product is to upload a Configuration File . After you configure all the devices, you can upload these parameters to a separate file. And this file is already uploaded to their other product: Huawei eSight .
In general, of course, there is logic here, but it is somehow ... Eastern, probably.

Now I’ll tell you more about the software solution of Huawei eSight . This is their vision of the urgent for many problems of administering the entire infrastructure from a single window. One of the advantages of Huawei is that in a number of solutions the entire infrastructure can be built exclusively on Huawei equipment, which greatly simplifies the administration issue.



Installing and configuring eSight does not cause serious difficulties, everything is described in sufficient detail in the manual. The solution has a modular structure, when in the installation wizard you can select those segments of your infrastructure that you want to monitor (servers, SAN-networks, IPSec tunnels, VoIP, Unified Communication, etc.). Therefore, proper planning of the installation will help you avoid unnecessary functionality and, as a result, clutter up the interface.



In our case, after updating the product to the current version, the process of adding resources was quite simple: using the pre-installed RDT, we imported the Configuration File and got a fully initialized rack:



In addition to import, resources can be added either manually by IP-addresses or by auto-discover by the range of addresses. Network devices and servers are managed through SNMP (v1 through v3), and storage and SAN switches through the SMI-S protocol.







The interface is not perfect, but there are no serious complaints, you can even say that it is intuitive. The system is completely interactive, problematic devices are marked on the diagram (by the presence of SNMP alerts), it is possible to either manage them directly from eSight (enable / disable \ reboot), or switch to web-based interfaces.

This is what the Tecal RH 1288V2 server management window looks like. If necessary, using the Device Management link, we can go to the iMana web interface for remote access or deeper settings (firmware updates, etc.)





The solution contains functionality for the automatic construction of an IP network card and its manual modification. Again, all the elements are interactive, give brief information on resources and allow you to go to the control window in 1 click.



Summarizing

We liked these solutions , despite some of the nuances, which, of course, always arise regardless of the vendor. Building Tecal servers is only positive. Setting up a network equipment by a specialist with a Cisco certificate should not raise questions either, since the CLI is very similar and there are a lot of detailed documentation on the Huawei website with examples. The well-thought-out cable management in the cabinet and the overall quality of its assembly, the presence of a camera and KVM in the composition makes a good impression on this infrastructure solution.
With all the functionality of eSight, we still did not figure it out, there was not enough time. But one thing we can say: eSight really allows you to monitor and administer our entire infrastructure from a single window, and the MicroDC + eSight bundle shows this most clearly. At the same time, the product works “out of the box”, without requiring serious customization by means of a team of qualified developers.

Therefore, we believe that these products, both as part of a single solution, and individually, will quickly occupy their niche and win a significant market share.

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