Before you can use the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid CLI or installer interface to deploy the management cluster, you must prepare your vSphere environment. You must make sure that vSphere meets the general requirements and import the base OS templates from which Tanzu Kubernetes Grid creates node VMs.

General Requirements

  • Perform the steps described in Set Up the Bootstrap Environment for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid.
  • You have a vSphere 6.7u3 instance with an Enterprise Plus license.

    NOTE: Deployment to vSphere 7.0 instances on which the vSphere with Kubernetes feature is not enabled is possible but is not supported.

  • Your vSphere instance has the following objects in place:
    • A vSphere cluster with at least two hosts, on which vSphere DRS is enabled
    • A resource pool in which to deploy the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Instance
    • A VM folder in which to collect the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid VMs
    • A datastore with sufficient capacity for the control plane and worker node VM files
    • A network with DHCP to connect the VMs
    • The Network Time Protocol (NTP) service is running on all hosts

NOTE: If you intend to deploy multiple Tanzu Kubernetes Grid instances to this vSphere instance, you must create a dedicated resource pool, VM folder, and network for each instance that you deploy.

Create an SSH Key Pair

In order for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid VMs to run tasks in vSphere, you must provide the public key part of an SSH key pair to Tanzu Kubernetes Grid when you deploy the management cluster. You can use a tool such as ssh-keygen to generate a key pair.

  1. On the machine on which you will run the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid CLI, run the following ssh-keygen command.

    ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C ""

  2. At the prompt Enter file in which to save the key (/root/.ssh/id_rsa): press Enter to accept the default.
  3. Enter and repeat a password for the key pair.
  4. Add the private key to the SSH agent running on your machine, and enter the password you created in the previous step.

    ssh-add ~/.ssh/id_rsa
  5. Open the file .ssh/ in a text editor so that you can easily copy and paste it when you deploy the management cluster.

Import the Base OS Image Template into vSphere

Before you can deploy a Tanzu Kubernetes Grid management cluster or Tanzu Kubernetes clusters to vSphere, you must provide a base OS image template to vSphere. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid creates the management cluster and Tanzu Kubernetes cluster node VMs from this template. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid provides a base OS image template in OVA format for you to import into vSphere. After importing the OVA, you must convert the resulting VM into a VM template.

  1. Go to and log in with your My VMware credentials.
  2. Download both of the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid OVA files:

    • OVA for node VMs: photon-3-v1.17.3_vmware.2.ova
    • OVA for load balancer VMs: photon-3-capv-haproxy-v0.6.3_vmware.1.ova
  3. In the vSphere Client, right-click an object in the vCenter Server inventory, select Deploy OVF template.
  4. Select Local file, click the button to upload files, and navigate to the photon-3-v1.17.3_vmware.2.ova file on your local machine.
  5. Follow the installer prompts to deploy a VM from the OVA temaplate.

    • Accept or modify the appliance name
    • Select the destination datacenter or folder
    • Select the destination host, cluster, or resource pool
    • Accept the end user license agreements (EULA)
    • Select the disk format and destination datastore
    • Select the network for the VM to connect to
  6. Click Finish to deploy the VM.

  7. Right-click the VM and select Template > Convert to Template.

If you have Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus support, you can engage with Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus Customer Reliability Engineers, who can help you to build custom images with different operating systems.

Import the API Server Load Balancer into vSphere

You must also provide an API server load balancer to vSphere as a VM template. The API server load balancer is provided as an OVA file, photon-3-capv-haproxy-v0.6.3_vmware.1.ova.

The procedure to upload the API server load balancer OVA to vSphere is identical to that for base OS image OVA files. Import the photon-3-capv-haproxy-v0.6.3_vmware.1.ova file into vSphere, and convert the resulting VM to a VM template.

What to Do Next

Your environment is now ready for you to deploy the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid management cluster to vSphere.

If you are installing Tanzu Kubernetes Grid in an internet-restricted environment, see Deploy Tanzu Kubernetes Grid to vSphere in an Air-Gapped Environment for the additional steps to perform.

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