Deploying Portworx on VMware Tanzu

Kubernetes operators across all organizations have seen an increase in the number of stateful applications deployed in their production environments. Based on the CNCF survey 2020, out of all the organizations running Kubernetes in production, 55% were already running stateful applications, 12% were evaluating stateful applications, and 11% were planning to use stateful applications in Kubernetes over the next 12 months. There is no denying the importance of persistent storage when it comes to Kubernetes and distributed applications built using containers. Customers adopting VMware Tanzu in their own datacenters to build a Kubernetes platform also need a solution that can help them build a robust Kubernetes data management layer for their applications. Portworx Enterprise can enable administrators to offer a reliable, highly available, easy to deploy, and manage Kubernetes data management layer that works seamlessly with VMware Tanzu to their developers. Portworx Enterprise is a solution that is easy to deploy and enables self-service access to individual developers. 

In this blog, we will learn to deploy Portworx Enterprise on a VMware Tanzu Kubernetes cluster. But before we do that, let’s talk about a few capabilities that Portworx Enterprise enables for organizations using VMware Tanzu.

  • Dynamic provisioning of container-granular volumes: Portworx Enterprise with VMware Tanzu allows developers or operators to dynamically provision volumes for their containerized applications. Portworx allows you to customize your Kubernetes storage classes, so you can provision block or file storage for your applications. You can also choose different IO profiles for your applications, enable encryption, configure high availability, etc. 
  • Automated capacity management: PX-Autopilot allows you to manage your storage capacity without any heavy lifting. You can set Autopilot rules; monitor your persistent volumes, storage pools, and so on; and automatically expand them when certain conditions are met. We covered PX-Autopilot and VMware Tanzu in a previous blog. 
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery: Disaster recovery remains a critical component to ensure business continuity. Even with containerized applications running on VMware Tanzu, Portworx allows you to architect async and sync DR solutions to ensure that your applications can meet predefined SLAs and that you can deliver a better customer experience.
  • Encryption and Role Based Access Control: Portworx PX-Secure offers cluster-wide encryption or granular container-based or storage class based encryption for the persistent volumes running on your VMware Tanzu Kubernetes clusters. PX-Secure also allows you to define authorization, authentication, and ownership of your data volumes in VMware Tanzu through direct integration with Active Directory and LDAP through OIDC.

Now that you know the benefits of running Portworx with VMware Tanzu, let’s look at a step-by-step guide to deploy Portworx Enterprise v2.8 on your VMware Tanzu clusters.

  1. Let’s start by deploying a VMware Tanzu Kubernetes cluster. Portworx needs at least four cores, 4GB RAM, and 8GB minimum storage on the Tanzu worker nodes. So, we will select a Virtual Machine class that meets those requirements. You can execute the following command against your supervisor cluster to get a list of virtual machine classes in your VMware Tanzu environment; use best-effort-large as the virtual machine class for our Tanzu Kubernetes cluster.
    kubectl get virtualmachineclass
  2. Now, let’s look at the yaml file that you can customize and apply against your Tanzu Supervisor cluster to deploy your Tanzu Kubernetes cluster.
    Example yaml file:

    kind: TanzuKubernetesCluster
      name: px-demo-cluster
      namespace: tkc-px
        version: v1.19.7
          count: 1
          class: guaranteed-medium
          storageClass: vmfs-cns
          count: 3
          class: best-effort-large
          storageClass: vmfs-cns
      settings: #all spec.settings are optional
        storage: #optional storage settings
          defaultClass: vmfs-cns
        network: #optional network settings
          cni: #override default cni set in the tkgservicesonfiguration spec
            name: antrea
          pods: #custom pod network
            cidrBlocks: []
          services: #custom service network
            cidrBlocks: []
  3. You can monitor the deployment of your VMware Tanzu Kubernetes cluster using the following command:
    kubectl get tkc -w
  4. Once your cluster is fully deployed, log out of the Supervisor cluster and log into the VMware Tanzu Kubernetes cluster.
    kubectl vsphere logout
    kubectl vsphere login --server --vsphere-username administrator@vsphere.local --insecure-skip-tls-verify --tanzu-kubernetes-cluster-namespace=tkc-px --tanzu-kubernetes-cluster-name=px-demo-cluster
    kubectl config use-context px-demo-cluster
  5. Let’s run a few commands to verify that your Tanzu Kubernetes cluster is ready for Portworx deployment.
    kubectl get nodes 
    kubectl get pods -n kube-system
    kubectl get sc
  6. To deploy Portworx, you will need a storage class that is backed by the VMware CSI driver. In our case, we have a storage class that is backed by a VMFS datastore, backed by a Pure FlashArray. Here is what it looks like:
    kubectl describe sc vmfs-cns
    Name:                  vmfs-cns
    IsDefaultClass:        Yes
    Parameters:            svStorageClass=vmfs-cns
    AllowVolumeExpansion:  True
    MountOptions:          <none>
    ReclaimPolicy:         Delete
    VolumeBindingMode:     Immediate
    Events:                <none>
  7. Next, let’s navigate to PX-Central to log in or create an account. Click Install and Run to open the Spec generator. Click on New Spec and select Portworx Enterprise. We are deploying Portworx using the Portworx DaemonSet, so we will keep the Portworx Operator checkbox unselected. Enter the version of Kubernetes running on your Tanzu Kubernetes cluster and select the version of Portworx as 2.8 from the version dropdown. If you are deploying Tanzu Kubernetes cluster for production, we recommend using an external etcd cluster. But, if you are creating a cluster for test/dev purposes, Portworx can also deploy an internal KVDB during installation. Click Next. Select Cloud and VMware Tanzu. In the “Configure Storage Devices” section, enter the name of the storage class that we looked at in step 6, and click Next. You can leave the Network settings as default and click Next. On the Customize tab, choose None, as we are using Tanzu Kubernetes clusters. You can leave all the other settings as they are and click Finish. Read through and Accept the Portworx Enterprise License Agreement.
    Portworx on TanzuTanzu
  8. Copy the kubectl apply command and apply it against your VMware Tanzu Kubernetes cluster.
    Deploy Portworx
  9. Once you have applied the configurations, wait for a couple of minutes and open required ports on your worker nodes using the following command:
    for pod in $(kubectl get pods -n kube-system -l name=portworx | grep -v NAME | awk '{print $1}');\
    do kubectl exec -t $pod -n kube-system -- nsenter --mount=/host_proc/1/ns/mnt bash -c \
      "iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --match multiport --dports 9001:9020 -j ACCEPT";\
  10. You can monitor the progress of your Portworx deployment using the following command
    watch kubectl get pods -n kube-system -l name=Portworx
  11. Once all the Portworx pods are ready, we can look at the Portworx storage pool by using the following command:
    kubectl exec Portworx-34gf4 -n kube-system -- /opt/pwx/bin/pxctl status
  12. You can also look at the storage classes that have been created for you.
    kubectl get sc
    px-db                     Delete          Immediate           true                   58m
    px-db-cloud-snapshot      Delete          Immediate           true                   58m
    px-db-cloud-snapshot-encrypted   Delete          Immediate           true                   58m
    px-db-encrypted           Delete          Immediate           true                   58m
    px-db-local-snapshot      Delete          Immediate           true                   58m
    px-db-local-snapshot-encrypted   Delete          Immediate           true                   58m
    px-replicated             Delete          Immediate           true                   58m
    px-replicated-encrypted   Delete          Immediate           true                   58m
    stork-snapshot-sc                stork-snapshot                  Delete          Immediate           false                  6m1s
    vmfs-cns (default)               Delete          Immediate           true                   84m
    vvols-cns                        Delete          Immediate           true                   84m
  13. Portworx is now successfully deployed on your VMware Tanzu cluster. You can start deploying your applications by using one of the preconfigured Portworx storage classes, or you can use the following template and create your own StorageClass for your application.  You can find examples for different stateful applications running on Portworx here
    kind: StorageClass
      name: portworx-tanzu-sc
    allowVolumeExpansion: true
      repl: "2"
      priority_io: “high”
      io_profile: “auto”

If you want to look at a demo of all the steps that we just discussed, check out the video below.

Sr. Technical Marketing Manager | Cloud Native BU, Pure Storage

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