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vm ware  high availabilty

Posted on 2009-02-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
i currently use Microsofts hyper-v, i have 3 physical servers.the first has a virtual machines
domain controler
sql server
file server
the second phyisical machine has
domain controller 2
sql server file server
the 3rd physical machine is just a backup server

now my question , i would like to swap this entire setup for vmware hight availability
can this be done with my current hardware while still keeping my system running during the migration?
whats the overview on how i can acomplish this?
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Question by:dano992
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by:nappy_d
ID: 23682063
Not entirely.  you will need one server to run the ESX server host OS.  This will basically wipe your HDD of all data during the preparation and install of VMWare.

Maybe start with your 3rd physical box.

Next I would recommend that you have a NAS, SAN or iSCSI storage for your Guest Virtual OS's.  This is a must for proper HA and mulitple node VMware environment.
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by:dano992
ID: 23682235
in my current setup i can keep all systems running with just one physical server , so i can use the other 2 servers for vmware.
hou many servers will i need to setup high availability?
is a nas/san/iscsi a requirement for high availability?
can you expalin the need for the above for the guest virtual OS'S
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by:nappy_d
ID: 23682300
Here is what you will need to do:
  1. Before you begin you should verify that your hardware is on the VMWare HCL http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/compatibilityguides
  2. Once this has been confirmed You will need centralized network storage SAN, NAS, iSCSI
  3. For HA etc you should have minimum of three ESX Hosts, 2 for the Host ESX environment and a 3rd server that will be used for managing your Environment for VCB(Virtual Center Backups, HA and consolidation of your ESX management)
  4. Now that your have your ESX box up and SAN, NAS or iSCSI storage you will need to convert your OS's to VMWare Guest OS's. This will be done with this product http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/
  5. TEST TEST TEST!!!
  6. If you are still happy, you can now convert all of your OS's to VMWare, store them on your SAN, NAS or iSCSI storage
  7. Now you can convert the next server into a second ESX box
  8. Spread the Guest VM OS's out evenly as possible on the two nodes
  9. Conver the last server into a 2003 Windows server, install Virtual Center for complete management http://www.vmware.com/products/vi/vc/
  10. Don't forget to have our organization pay for your training http://mylearn.vmware.com/mgrreg/courses.cfm?ui=www&a=one&id_subject=14
  11. Happy virtualizing
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by:nappy_d
ID: 23682331
You need a minimum of two servers. For HA, It is.  If you store your Guest on the physical Host and there is a problem with that host(hd failure etc) there is no other way to bring it up, you are down.

The Guest is the virtualized Windows or Linux OS running on the VMware EXS server(a.k.a Host)
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by:CrashDummy_MS
ID: 23682348
Like Nappy says, you're going to need some shared storage like SAN, NAS or iSCSI for HA, because both VMware servers need to be able to see the data at the same time.

If you already have that, you can do this with minimal downtime. First, move all of your VMs to one of the Hyper-V servers. On the other server install ESX. One by one, use VMware converter to import the VMs that are on Hyper-V into ESX. Once you've imported all VMs to ESX and shut down the Hyper-V VMs, install ESX on the other server that had Hyper-V. Then you'll have 2 ESX servers and can distribute the VMs between them, and you'll have the 3rd physical server that does backups.
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by:dano992
ID: 23682469
awsome thanks
so i will absolutely need some kind of storage array correct?
if i dont get an array and store my guests on a host and that host fails im down and dead in the water
is this correct?
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by:nappy_d
ID: 23682523
100% correct.  IP NAS devices are low in cost as a good way to start.
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by:aldanch
ID: 23682986
Since you're considering low cost central storage, look at either OpenFiler (http://www.openfiler.com/) or FreeNAS (http://www.freenas.org/) for your NAS/SAN solution. You can install them on any server/workstation configuration to keep your cost low.

Although it's possible to run everything on your existing subnet, with central storage, it's recommended that you keep iSCSI/NFS traffic on a separate network in order reduce saturation. This requires additional hardware/configuration, such as a dedicated switch or setting up a VLAN on your existing switch. You may also need to add additional NICs (or iSCSI HBAs) to your servers for iSCSI/NFS traffic and set them up as static IPs to talk to your NAS/SAN.

HA will work with a minimum of 2 ESX hosts plus vCenter (using SQL Express or a dedicated SQL server for its database) and the VI licenses for HA. The hosts will need to be able to talk to each other, vCenter, as well as see the central storage whether it be an NFS server (NAS) or iSCSI SAN (both of which can be done with Openfiler and FreeNAS).
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by:markzz
ID: 23683028
Keep that comment in mind.
An IP based SAN is low in cost and a good place to start.
They are cheap for a reason. A great place to start
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by:nappy_d
ID: 23683157
If you are looking for a SAN or NAs solution, this is a nice unit in this URL.  Tons out there like it from various manufacturers http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/pvaul_md3000?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd
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by:markzz
ID: 23683654
Don't Dell on sell EMC CX Series.
I think this is a CX320 and not a bad little SAN,
for the money I'd also look at the NetApp FAS2000 or maybe FAS3000
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by:aldanch
ID: 23684067
When looking for a vendor for central storage, make sure that your company is willing to cough up the annual maintenance, which can be anywhere from 15-25% of your total acquisition. For a $50,000 storage solution, that's $7,500-$12,500 annually. Be sure you understand what the maintenance agreement provides you - co-pilot, phone/on-site support, software/firmware upgrades, etc. Vendors such as NetApp, EMC, Compellent will hammer you with this - and not tell you up front about it unless you ask. If cost is a factor, you can build your own iSCSI/NFS solution using OpenFiler and FreeNAS, but you're responsible for troubleshooting, maintenance, etc. Other vendor solutions such as HP's VSA (part of their LeftHand Networks acquisition), Datacore's SAN Melody, and FalconStor's NSS provide lower cost solutions than the ones recommended above.
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by:dano992
ID: 23684069
thanks guys one more question if i could,
if main concern is automatic failover would vCenter Site Recovery Manager be a better solution then high availability for me?
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by:nappy_d
ID: 23684327
vCenter Site Recovery Manager is Disaster recovery not High Availability.
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aldanch earned 2000 total points
ID: 23684376
dano992,

SRM would require more hardware, software, licenses to execute.

Primary Site
Central Storage
ESX Servers
vCenter - SRM pligin (SRM license)

DR Site
Central Storage
ESX Servers
vCenter - SRM plugin (SRM license)

Pre-reqs
Array-based replication (SAN to SAN replication)
TCP connectivity between vCenter servers
SRA adapter - provided by storage vendor

SRM does NOT
Replicate data
Auto-failover
Failback to primary site
Make business decisions

Storage considerations
Storage grouping - detected by SRA
Tier storage base on importance
Array-based replication

Network considerations
Re-IP applications
-Pluses
--static design
--partial environment failover
-Minuses
--How do apps respond to IP changes
--Cumbersome re-IP
--Longer recovery times

Move IP subnets
-Pluses
--Apps will work
--Faster VM bootup
-Minuses
--DR network expertise
--Plan failover
--All VMs in subnet must go (no partial failover)

Make sure your management is clear about their expectations when executing this DR plan.

Stick with HA for local (and even remote - bandwidth dependent) failover.
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Author Comment

by:dano992
ID: 23688730
aldanch,
just to be clear since im looking at alll options available
SRM could not be used as a true failover, it requires human intervention correct?
would also require some kind of storage correct?
so to achieve what i want to accomplish in my original question  SRM would not be a an option?


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by:nappy_d
ID: 23690747
For true failoiver, you will need duplicate of ALL hardware on a redundant site.
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by:aldanch
ID: 23692821
dano992,

SRM is a type of failover but is on a grander scale compared than HA.

If you're looking to fail over your VMs from one ESX host to another ESX server in the event of a server hardware failure, then HA is your ticket. If you're looking to fail over an entire site (VMs on multiple ESX servers, storage groups, etc), then SRM is what you'll need to evaluate.

VMware HA = Host failover = automatic restart of VMs on a failed host to another host (must have enough resources on ESX server failing over to in order to start up all failed VMs or key VMs)

VMware SRM = Site failover = manual restart of VMs on a failed site to a DR site (must have SAN-to-SAN replication or array-based replication, adequate bandwidth between 2 locations, and similar hardware (ESX server resources, vCenter, central storage).

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by:markzz
ID: 23695541
There are cheaper site to site solutions than SAN level replication. My experience is they are all quite pedantic but can be tuned to perform the expected VM replication.
I've used vReplicator extensively but fortunatly never had to bring the DR site up. Again it's a bit fiddly to get working but does work.
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by:aldanch
ID: 23695841
Bottomline, in order for you to achieve VMware HA, you'll need the infrastructure to support it. That means
ESX hosts (which you have)
vCenter server (which your 3rd server can be)
Central storage (NFS or iSCSI). You can either build or buy from a vendor
Additional switch to segment iSCSI/NFS traffic or assign ports on existing switch to a VLAN
iSCSI HBAs or additional NICs on the servers for redundancy

Your setup includes domain controllers and SQL servers. I recommend you build new VMs for each one. Promote the VMs you want to be domain controllers and transfer the FSMO roles and other responsibilities (DNS, WINS, DHCP, IAS, IIS, etc). For the SQL VMs, backup the databases on the SQL server running on Hyper-V and restore the databases to the SQL VM running on VMware ESX.

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by:nappy_d
ID: 23717890
Please ask the author to accept and assign point prior to closing this ticket.
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