Associate a stakeholder with the information that needs to be collected:
This information ‘should’ always be passed on to you from the business you are working with. Most units/applications will have an aligned business owner. If for some reason they don’t or they are like some companies that simply don’t understand who the correct person is to speak to in the business then it’s a requirement to arrange stakeholder meetings to get bodies assigned as stakeholders in the project. People you need to speak to will include:
- C-Level execs
- Application Owners
- Business Unites
- Users (remember they are likely to use applications day in day out and can (sometimes) provide a better insight of how the application works than the aligned business owner
- Server Team
- Storage Team
- Network Team
- Security Team
- Compliance Team
From personal experience I always try and get two vital pieces of information out of these meetings at a minimum. An aligned business stakeholder, and an SME (subject matter expert). Ensure these people are listed in the design along with their title or role and an email address.
Utilise customer inventory and assessment data from current environment to define a baseline state:
VMware have a 5 step design methodology which should be followed here (after all it is a VMware exam).
- Initial Design Meeting – scope, goals, requirements, constraints. Who should be invited.
- Current State Analysis – complete datacenter inventory, virtuaisation candidates, tools, constraints and assumptions.
- Stakeholder and SME training – educate SMEs who can help make informed design decisions
- Design Sessions – allow for design decisions with stakeholders/SMEs to be made so there are no surprises later on
- Design Deliverables – documentation to include: capacity analysis, hosts, vCenter servers, clusters, networks, storage, monitoring, patching, backup, restore, DR/BC, security, installation, operations, scalability, support, logical, physical.
(Thanks to the US vBrownBag team – I took this from their slide deck – I couldn’t find anything official).
Analyse customer interview data to explicitly define customer objectives for a conceptual design:
The conceptual design focuses on achieving the organisations business goals and requirements. It will be the first design that is created, and will be high level based on:
- The information gathered from key stakeholder and SME interviews (scope, goals, requirements, assumptions, constraints)
- The information gathered from the current state analysis
Identify the need for and apply requirements tracking:
A good design will document every single requirement. These requirements should be allocated a unique identifier (for example, R01. Ro2 etc) which should be proceeded with a description of the requirement, the source of the requirement, an approval date and a priority. The design should will need to reference these requirements and show they have been met.
Given results of a requirements gathering survey, identify requirements for a conceptual design:
The purpose of the conceptual design is to make certain that as many as possible of the business goals and objectives are met. You must be able to define the entities of the organisation. This entity could be a user, a service, an application a process, or an entire line of business. Entities can be anyone or anything affected by the design project and that have goals, requirements and constraints.
The conceptual design associates the goals and requirements to specific entities then defines which vSphere capability will be employed to reach the goal or satisfy the requirement. Generally the conceptual design is documented with a series of diagrams, tables and text.
Make use of VMware Capacity Planner to gather information for a current state analysis. Ensure the analysis includes:
- Detail on current server, storage and network platforms
- Detail on current applications and operating system levels
- Detail on resource consumption
- Detail on resource performance
Once the current state analysis is complete, envision the target state of the design. This is often easier to do with a diagram.
Categorise requirements by infrastructure qualities to prepare for logical design requirements:
The logical design will follow on from the conceptual design. The logical is lower level compared to the conceptual. The logical design will show how to arrange hosts, storage and network components enough to satisfy the relationships deciphered in the conceptual design. The logical design is useful for understanding and evaluating the design of the infrastructure without becoming lost in the connection and configuration details. The logical design includes the relationship between all major infrastructure components.
The logical design will be based on the information documented in the conceptual design and considers all the constrains and risks. Where risks to exist, they should be actively communicated to the business along with a recommended remediation to help enable a decision to be made going forward.
When creating the logical design be aware of the capacity analysis, although the logical design doesn’t normally include item specifics such as, LUN sizes, CPU count, memory required etc. Also, the logical design does not specify details of specific hardware, port details or FC zones. The logical design will illustrate how the design will meet the goals and requirements already set out. This design is generally documented with a series of diagrams, tables and text.