Setting up VMC for vSphere

You can install OKD on VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS hosted vSphere clusters to enable applications to be deployed and managed both on-premise and off-premise, across the hybrid cloud.

VMC on AWS Architecture

You must configure several options in your VMC environment prior to installing OKD on VMware vSphere. Ensure your VMC environment has the following prerequisites:

  • Create a non-exclusive, DHCP-enabled, NSX-T network segment and subnet. Other virtual machines (VMs) can be hosted on the subnet, but at least eight IP addresses must be available for the OKD deployment.

  • Allocate two IP addresses, outside the DHCP range, and configure them with reverse DNS records.

    • A DNS record for api.<cluster_name>.<base_domain> pointing to the allocated IP address.

    • A DNS record for *.apps.<cluster_name>.<base_domain> pointing to the allocated IP address.

  • Configure the following firewall rules:

    • An ANY:ANY firewall rule between the OKD compute network and the Internet. This is used by nodes and applications to download container images.

    • An ANY:ANY firewall rule between the installation host and the software-defined data center (SDDC) management network on port 443. This allows you to upload the Fedora CoreOS (FCOS) OVA during deployment.

    • An HTTPS firewall rule between the OKD compute network and vCenter. This connection allows OKD to communicate with vCenter for provisioning and managing nodes, persistent volume claims (PVCs), and other resources.

  • You must have the following information to deploy OKD:

    • The OKD cluster name, such as vmc-prod-1.

    • The base DNS name, such as

    • If not using the default, the pod network CIDR and services network CIDR must be identified, which are set by default to and, respectively. These CIDRs are used for pod-to-pod and pod-to-service communication and are not accessible externally; however, they must not overlap with existing subnets in your organization.

    • The following vCenter information:

      • vCenter host name, username, and password

      • Datacenter name, such as SDDC-Datacenter

      • Cluster name, such as Cluster-1

      • Network name

      • Datastore name, such as WorkloadDatastore

        It is recommended to move your vSphere cluster to the VMC Compute-ResourcePool resource pool after your cluster installation is finished.

  • A Linux-based host deployed to VMC as a bastion.

    • The bastion host can be Fedora or any another Linux-based host; it must have Internet connectivity and the ability to upload an OVA to the ESXi hosts.

    • Download and install the OpenShift CLI tools to the bastion host.

      • The openshift-install installation program

      • The OpenShift CLI (oc) tool

You cannot use the VMware NSX Container Plugin for Kubernetes (NCP), and NSX is not used as the OpenShift SDN. The version of NSX currently available with VMC is incompatible with the version of NCP certified with OKD.

However, the NSX DHCP service is used for virtual machine IP management with the full-stack automated OKD deployment and with nodes provisioned, either manually or automatically, by the Machine API integration with vSphere. Additionally, NSX firewall rules are created to enable access with the OKD cluster and between the bastion host and the VMC vSphere hosts.

VMC Sizer tool

VMware Cloud on AWS is built on top of AWS bare metal infrastructure; this is the same bare metal infrastructure which runs AWS native services. When a VMware cloud on AWS software-defined data center (SDDC) is deployed, you consume these physical server nodes and run the VMware ESXi hypervisor in a single tenant fashion. This means the physical infrastructure is not accessible to anyone else using VMC. It is important to consider how many physical hosts you will need to host your virtual infrastructure.

To determine this, VMware provides the VMC on AWS Sizer. With this tool, you can define the resources you intend to host on VMC:

  • Types of workloads

  • Total number of virtual machines

  • Specification information such as:

    • Storage requirements

    • vCPUs

    • vRAM

    • Overcommit ratios

With these details, the sizer tool can generate a report, based on VMware best practices, and recommend your cluster configuration and the number of hosts you will need.

vSphere prerequisites

VMware vSphere infrastructure requirements

You must install the OKD cluster on a VMware vSphere version 6 or 7 instance that meets the requirements for the components that you use.

Table 1. Minimum supported vSphere version for VMware components
Component Minimum supported versions Description


vSphere 6.5 and later with HW version 13

This version is the minimum version that Fedora CoreOS (FCOS) supports. See the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 supported hypervisors list.

Networking (NSX-T)

vSphere 6.5U3 or vSphere 6.7U2 and later

vSphere 6.5U3 or vSphere 6.7U2+ are required for OKD. VMware’s NSX Container Plug-in (NCP) is certified with OKD 4.6 and NSX-T 3.x+.

Storage with in-tree drivers

vSphere 6.5 and later

This plug-in creates vSphere storage by using the in-tree storage drivers for vSphere included in OKD.

If you use a vSphere version 6.5 instance, consider upgrading to 6.7U3 or 7.0 before you install OKD.

You must ensure that the time on your ESXi hosts is synchronized before you install OKD. See Edit Time Configuration for a Host in the VMware documentation.

vCenter requirements

Before you install an OKD cluster on your vCenter that uses infrastructure that the installer provisions, you must prepare your environment.

Required vCenter account privileges

To install an OKD cluster in a vCenter, the installation program requires access to an account with privileges to read and create the required resources. Using an account that has administrative privileges is the simplest way to access all of the necessary permissions.

A user requires the following privileges to install an OKD cluster:

  • Datastore

    • Allocate space

    • Browse datastore

    • Low level file operations

    • Remove file

  • Folder

    • Create folder

    • Delete folder

  • vSphere Tagging

    • All privileges

  • Network

    • Assign network

  • Resource

    • Assign virtual machine to resource pool

  • Profile-driven storage

    • All privileges

  • vApp

    • All privileges

  • Virtual machine

    • All privileges

For more information about creating an account with only the required privileges, see vSphere Permissions and User Management Tasks in the vSphere documentation.

Using OKD with vMotion

OKD generally supports compute-only vMotion. Using Storage vMotion can cause issues and is not supported.

If you are using vSphere volumes in your pods, migrating a VM across datastores either manually or through Storage vMotion causes invalid references within OKD persistent volume (PV) objects. These references prevent affected pods from starting up and can result in data loss.

Similarly, OKD does not support selective migration of VMDKs across datastores, using datastore clusters for VM provisioning or for dynamic or static provisioning of PVs, or using a datastore that is part of a datastore cluster for dynamic or static provisioning of PVs.

Cluster resources

When you deploy an OKD cluster that uses installer-provisioned infrastructure, the installation program must be able to create several resources in your vCenter instance.

A standard OKD installation creates the following vCenter resources:

  • 1 Folder

  • 1 Tag category

  • 1 Tag

  • Virtual machines:

    • 1 template

    • 1 temporary bootstrap node

    • 3 control plane nodes

    • 3 compute machines

Although these resources use 856 GB of storage, the bootstrap node is destroyed during the cluster installation process. A minimum of 800 GB of storage is required to use a standard cluster.

If you deploy more compute machines, the OKD cluster will use more storage.

Cluster limits

Available resources vary between clusters. The number of possible clusters within a vCenter is limited primarily by available storage space and any limitations on the number of required resources. Be sure to consider both limitations to the vCenter resources that the cluster creates and the resources that you require to deploy a cluster, such as IP addresses and networks.

Networking requirements

You must use DHCP for the network and ensure that the DHCP server is configured to provide persistent IP addresses to the cluster machines. Additionally, you must create the following networking resources before you install the OKD cluster:

Required IP Addresses

An installer-provisioned vSphere installation requires two static IP addresses:

  • The API address is used to access the cluster API.

  • The Ingress address is used for cluster ingress traffic.

You must provide these IP addresses to the installation program when you install the OKD cluster.

DNS records

You must create DNS records for two static IP addresses in the appropriate DNS server for the vCenter instance that hosts your OKD cluster. In each record, <cluster_name> is the cluster name and <base_domain> is the cluster base domain that you specify when you install the cluster. A complete DNS record takes the form: <component>.<cluster_name>.<base_domain>..

Table 2. Required DNS records
Component Record Description



This DNS A/AAAA or CNAME record must point to the load balancer for the control plane machines. This record must be resolvable by both clients external to the cluster and from all the nodes within the cluster.

Ingress VIP


A wildcard DNS A/AAAA or CNAME record that points to the load balancer that targets the machines that run the Ingress router pods, which are the worker nodes by default. This record must be resolvable by both clients external to the cluster and from all the nodes within the cluster.

Generating an SSH private key and adding it to the agent

If you want to perform installation debugging or disaster recovery on your cluster, you must provide an SSH key to both your ssh-agent and the installation program. You can use this key to access the bootstrap machine in a public cluster to troubleshoot installation issues.

In a production environment, you require disaster recovery and debugging.

You can use this key to SSH into the master nodes as the user core. When you deploy the cluster, the key is added to the core user’s ~/.ssh/authorized_keys list.

You must use a local key, not one that you configured with platform-specific approaches such as AWS key pairs.

On clusters running Fedora CoreOS (FCOS), the SSH keys specified in the Ignition config files are written to the /home/core/.ssh/authorized_keys.d/core file. However, the Machine Config Operator manages SSH keys in the /home/core/.ssh/authorized_keys file and configures sshd to ignore the /home/core/.ssh/authorized_keys.d/core file. As a result, newly provisioned OKD nodes are not accessible using SSH until the Machine Config Operator reconciles the machine configs with the authorized_keys file. After you can access the nodes using SSH, you can delete the /home/core/.ssh/authorized_keys.d/core file.

  1. If you do not have an SSH key that is configured for password-less authentication on your computer, create one. For example, on a computer that uses a Linux operating system, run the following command:

    $ ssh-keygen -t ed25519 -N '' \
        -f <path>/<file_name> (1)
    1 Specify the path and file name, such as ~/.ssh/id_rsa, of the new SSH key.

    Running this command generates an SSH key that does not require a password in the location that you specified.

  2. Start the ssh-agent process as a background task:

    $ eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"
    Example output
    Agent pid 31874
  3. Add your SSH private key to the ssh-agent:

    $ ssh-add <path>/<file_name> (1)
    Example output
    Identity added: /home/<you>/<path>/<file_name> (<computer_name>)
    1 Specify the path and file name for your SSH private key, such as ~/.ssh/id_rsa
Next steps
  • When you install OKD, provide the SSH public key to the installation program.

Obtaining the installation program

Before you install OKD, download the installation file on a local computer.

  • You have a computer that runs Linux or macOS, with 500 MB of local disk space

  1. Download installer from

    The installation program creates several files on the computer that you use to install your cluster. You must keep the installation program and the files that the installation program creates after you finish installing the cluster. Both files are required to delete the cluster.

    Deleting the files created by the installation program does not remove your cluster, even if the cluster failed during installation. To remove your cluster, complete the OKD uninstallation procedures for your specific cloud provider.

  2. Extract the installation program. For example, on a computer that uses a Linux operating system, run the following command:

    $ tar xvf openshift-install-linux.tar.gz
  3. From the Pull Secret page on the Red Hat OpenShift Cluster Manager site, download your installation pull secret as a .txt file. This pull secret allows you to authenticate with the services that are provided by the included authorities, including, which serves the container images for OKD components.

    If you do not use the pull secret from the Red Hat OpenShift Cluster Manager site:

    • Red Hat Operators are not available.

    • The Telemetry and Insights operators do not send data to Red Hat.

    • Content from the Red Hat Ecosystem Catalog Container images registry, such as image streams and Operators, are not available.

Adding vCenter root CA certificates to your system trust

Because the installation program requires access to your vCenter’s API, you must add your vCenter’s trusted root CA certificates to your system trust before you install an OKD cluster.

  1. From the vCenter home page, download the vCenter’s root CA certificates. Click Download trusted root CA certificates in the vSphere Web Services SDK section. The <vCenter>/certs/ file downloads.

  2. Extract the compressed file that contains the vCenter root CA certificates. The contents of the compressed file resemble the following file structure:

    ├── lin
    │   ├── 108f4d17.0
    │   ├── 108f4d17.r1
    │   ├── 7e757f6a.0
    │   ├── 8e4f8471.0
    │   └── 8e4f8471.r0
    ├── mac
    │   ├── 108f4d17.0
    │   ├── 108f4d17.r1
    │   ├── 7e757f6a.0
    │   ├── 8e4f8471.0
    │   └── 8e4f8471.r0
    └── win
        ├── 108f4d17.0.crt
        ├── 108f4d17.r1.crl
        ├── 7e757f6a.0.crt
        ├── 8e4f8471.0.crt
        └── 8e4f8471.r0.crl
    3 directories, 15 files
  3. Add the files for your operating system to the system trust. For example, on a Fedora operating system, run the following command:

    # cp certs/lin/* /etc/pki/ca-trust/source/anchors
  4. Update your system trust. For example, on a Fedora operating system, run the following command:

    # update-ca-trust extract

Deploying the cluster

You can install OKD on a compatible cloud platform.

You can run the create cluster command of the installation program only once, during initial installation.

  • Configure an account with the cloud platform that hosts your cluster.

  • Obtain the OKD installation program and the pull secret for your cluster.

  1. Change to the directory that contains the installation program and initialize the cluster deployment:

    $ ./openshift-install create cluster --dir=<installation_directory> \ (1)
        --log-level=info (2)
    1 For <installation_directory>, specify the directory name to store the files that the installation program creates.
    2 To view different installation details, specify warn, debug, or error instead of info.

    Specify an empty directory. Some installation assets, like bootstrap X.509 certificates have short expiration intervals, so you must not reuse an installation directory. If you want to reuse individual files from another cluster installation, you can copy them into your directory. However, the file names for the installation assets might change between releases. Use caution when copying installation files from an earlier OKD version.

    Provide values at the prompts:

    1. Optional: Select an SSH key to use to access your cluster machines.

      For production OKD clusters on which you want to perform installation debugging or disaster recovery, specify an SSH key that your ssh-agent process uses.

    2. Enter a descriptive name for your cluster.

    3. Paste the pull secret that you obtained from the Pull Secret page on the Red Hat OpenShift Cluster Manager site. This field is optional.

    Use the openshift-install command from the bastion hosted in the VMC environment.

    If the cloud provider account that you configured on your host does not have sufficient permissions to deploy the cluster, the installation process stops, and the missing permissions are displayed.

    When the cluster deployment completes, directions for accessing your cluster, including a link to its web console and credentials for the kubeadmin user, display in your terminal.

    Example output
    INFO Install complete!
    INFO To access the cluster as the system:admin user when using 'oc', run 'export KUBECONFIG=/home/myuser/install_dir/auth/kubeconfig'
    INFO Access the OpenShift web-console here:
    INFO Login to the console with user: "kubeadmin", and password: "4vYBz-Ee6gm-ymBZj-Wt5AL"
    INFO Time elapsed: 36m22s

    The cluster access and credential information also outputs to <installation_directory>/.openshift_install.log when an installation succeeds.

    The Ignition config files that the installation program generates contain certificates that expire after 24 hours, which are then renewed at that time. If the cluster is shut down before renewing the certificates and the cluster is later restarted after the 24 hours have elapsed, the cluster automatically recovers the expired certificates. The exception is that you must manually approve the pending node-bootstrapper certificate signing requests (CSRs) to recover kubelet certificates. See the documentation for Recovering from expired control plane certificates for more information.

    You must not delete the installation program or the files that the installation program creates. Both are required to delete the cluster.

Installing the OpenShift CLI by downloading the binary

You can install the OpenShift CLI (oc) to interact with OKD from a command-line interface. You can install oc on Linux, Windows, or macOS.

If you installed an earlier version of oc, you cannot use it to complete all of the commands in OKD 4. Download and install the new version of oc.

Installing the OpenShift CLI on Linux

You can install the OpenShift CLI (oc) binary on Linux by using the following procedure.

  1. Navigate to and choose the folder for your operating system and architecture.

  2. Download oc.tar.gz.

  3. Unpack the archive:

    $ tar xvzf <file>
  4. Place the oc binary in a directory that is on your PATH.

    To check your PATH, execute the following command:

    $ echo $PATH

After you install the CLI, it is available using the oc command:

$ oc <command>

Installing the OpenShift CLI on Windows

You can install the OpenShift CLI (oc) binary on Windows by using the following procedure.

  1. Navigate to and choose the folder for your operating system and architecture.

  2. Download

  3. Unzip the archive with a ZIP program.

  4. Move the oc binary to a directory that is on your PATH.

    To check your PATH, open the command prompt and execute the following command:

    C:\> path

After you install the CLI, it is available using the oc command:

C:\> oc <command>

Installing the OpenShift CLI on macOS

You can install the OpenShift CLI (oc) binary on macOS by using the following procedure.

  1. Navigate to and choose the folder for your operating system and architecture.

  2. Download oc.tar.gz.

  3. Unpack and unzip the archive.

  4. Move the oc binary to a directory on your PATH.

    To check your PATH, open a terminal and execute the following command:

    $ echo $PATH

After you install the CLI, it is available using the oc command:

$ oc <command>

Logging in to the cluster by using the CLI

You can log in to your cluster as a default system user by exporting the cluster kubeconfig file. The kubeconfig file contains information about the cluster that is used by the CLI to connect a client to the correct cluster and API server. The file is specific to a cluster and is created during OKD installation.

  • You deployed an OKD cluster.

  • You installed the oc CLI.

  1. Export the kubeadmin credentials:

    $ export KUBECONFIG=<installation_directory>/auth/kubeconfig (1)
    1 For <installation_directory>, specify the path to the directory that you stored the installation files in.
  2. Verify you can run oc commands successfully using the exported configuration:

    $ oc whoami
    Example output

Creating registry storage

After you install the cluster, you must create storage for the registry Operator.

Image registry removed during installation

On platforms that do not provide shareable object storage, the OpenShift Image Registry Operator bootstraps itself as Removed. This allows openshift-installer to complete installations on these platform types.

After installation, you must edit the Image Registry Operator configuration to switch the managementState from Removed to Managed.

The Prometheus console provides an ImageRegistryRemoved alert, for example:

"Image Registry has been removed. ImageStreamTags, BuildConfigs and DeploymentConfigs which reference ImageStreamTags may not work as expected. Please configure storage and update the config to Managed state by editing"

Image registry storage configuration

The Image Registry Operator is not initially available for platforms that do not provide default storage. After installation, you must configure your registry to use storage so that the Registry Operator is made available.

Instructions are shown for configuring a persistent volume, which is required for production clusters. Where applicable, instructions are shown for configuring an empty directory as the storage location, which is available for only non-production clusters.

Additional instructions are provided for allowing the image registry to use block storage types by using the Recreate rollout strategy during upgrades.

Configuring registry storage for VMware vSphere

As a cluster administrator, following installation you must configure your registry to use storage.

  • Cluster administrator permissions.

  • A cluster on VMware vSphere.

  • Persistent storage provisioned for your cluster, such as Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage.

    OKD supports ReadWriteOnce access for image registry storage when you have only one replica. To deploy an image registry that supports high availability with two or more replicas, ReadWriteMany access is required.

  • Must have "100Gi" capacity.

Testing shows issues with using the NFS server on RHEL as storage backend for core services. This includes the OpenShift Container Registry and Quay, Prometheus for monitoring storage, and Elasticsearch for logging storage. Therefore, using RHEL NFS to back PVs used by core services is not recommended.

Other NFS implementations on the marketplace might not have these issues. Contact the individual NFS implementation vendor for more information on any testing that was possibly completed against these OKD core components.

  1. To configure your registry to use storage, change the in the configs.imageregistry/cluster resource.

    When using shared storage, review your security settings to prevent outside access.

  2. Verify that you do not have a registry pod:

    $ oc get pod -n openshift-image-registry

    If the storage type is emptyDIR, the replica number cannot be greater than 1.

  3. Check the registry configuration:

    $ oc edit
    Example output
        claim: (1)
    1 Leave the claim field blank to allow the automatic creation of an image-registry-storage PVC.
  4. Check the clusteroperator status:

    $ oc get clusteroperator image-registry

Configuring block registry storage for VMware vSphere

To allow the image registry to use block storage types such as vSphere Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) during upgrades as a cluster administrator, you can use the Recreate rollout strategy.

Block storage volumes are supported but not recommended for use with image registry on production clusters. An installation where the registry is configured on block storage is not highly available because the registry cannot have more than one replica.

  1. To set the image registry storage as a block storage type, patch the registry so that it uses the Recreate rollout strategy and runs with only 1 replica:

    $ oc patch --type=merge -p '{"spec":{"rolloutStrategy":"Recreate","replicas":1}}'
  2. Provision the PV for the block storage device, and create a PVC for that volume. The requested block volume uses the ReadWriteOnce (RWO) access mode.

    1. Create a pvc.yaml file with the following contents to define a VMware vSphere PersistentVolumeClaim object:

      kind: PersistentVolumeClaim
      apiVersion: v1
        name: image-registry-storage (1)
        - ReadWriteOnce (2)
            storage: 100Gi (3)
      1 A unique name that represents the PersistentVolumeClaim object.
      2 The access mode of the PersistentVolumeClaim. With ReadWriteOnce, the volume can be mounted with read and write permissions by a single node.
      3 The size of the PersistentVolumeClaim.
    2. Create the PersistentVolumeClaim object from the file:

      $ oc create -f pvc.yaml -n openshift-image-registry
  3. Edit the registry configuration so that it references the correct PVC:

    $ oc edit -o yaml
    Example output
        claim: (1)
    1 Creating a custom PVC allows you to leave the claim field blank for the default automatic creation of an image-registry-storage PVC.

For instructions about configuring registry storage so that it references the correct PVC, see Configuring the registry for vSphere.

Backing up VMware vSphere volumes

OKD provisions new volumes as independent persistent disks to freely attach and detach the volume on any node in the cluster. As a consequence, it is not possible to back up volumes that use snapshots, or to restore volumes from snapshots. See Snapshot Limitations for more information.


To create a backup of persistent volumes:

  1. Stop the application that is using the persistent volume.

  2. Clone the persistent volume.

  3. Restart the application.

  4. Create a backup of the cloned volume.

  5. Delete the cloned volume.

Next steps