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How can I move an ESX cluster to a new physical location without impacting users?

Posted on 2009-05-06
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
Here is our situation, looking for the best way to accomplish this.
we have one office on the west coast running a 2 -node ESX SAN cluster with 6 VM's using a total of 1.7TB of space.
This office is closing, and we need to relocate those 6 VM's to our production cluster on the east coast.

Problem: the VM size of 1.7 TB is too large to replicate or move via VM ware, our bandwidth will not support this large amount of data to be copied.

Question: We could take a full backup of all VM's in our west coast office, then ship the USB drive to our east coast location. we could then spin up those VM's on our production cluster. however, the problem is that we would have an "out of date" copy of the VM in our east coast location.
is there a way to run a sync to update the copy in our east coast office that was shipped on USB to the source copy in the west coast?

once the two are in sync, i could simply update the DNS records and point all clients to the east coast VM.

thanks in advance,

M.
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Question by:siber1
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by:qualchoice-it
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Have you tried using VMConverter and just basically doing a V to V copy up to your east coast location?

When you say out of date VM?  What does that mean?  ESX is running an older version or build?
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by:paulsolov
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You can a standalone ESX/ESXi server with local storage and configure replication using something like doubletake or Vizioncore VReplictator.  Replicate the VMs localy.  Once you have a base replication yo can stop the replication job and send the server with local storage to the east coast.  Once on the east cost you can do differential replication  and shutdown the one on the west coast.  

Once the VMs on the standalone box are replicated on the east coast you can add it into your virtual center and use storage vmotion to put into the cluster.
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by:siber1
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Hi Paul,
The problem is the total disk space consumed by the 6 VM's currently on SAN space is 1.7TB
we wouldn't have that kind of space for a local ESX storage.

could I use an external USB drive / storage for this perhaps? not sure if ESX would recognize that.

Also, how can i do a differential replication once the server is on the east coast?

thx - M.
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by:paulsolov
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YOu could use a server with SATA Drives and configure as an ISCSI target for the datastores.  Get a barebone box with 4 500GB SATA drives and configure Openfiler (free).
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by:siber1
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it is an option. what about the differential sync.
have you tried that before?

i.e. - source server has 1 week worth of deltas that need to be sync'd to target server that has been shipped to the east coast.
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by:siber1
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Paul, just so I have the process clear.
1. build a new ESX stand alone server with the SATA local storage
2. Join to the VM virtual data center
3. replicate the 6 VM's using something like VEEAM or Vizioncore to create a duplicate image on the stand alone ESX server
4. disconnect and ship to east coast data center
5. bring online and initiate a differential / delta sync

is that correct? can you confirm if i've missed any steps. need to put this in a proj. plan tonight.

thx
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paulsolov earned 500 total points
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Actually it's simpler:

Standup a server with Openfiler on it and connect via software iSCSI initiator to your current cluster (just like a regular iSCSI SAN).  Use it as the destination for your replication.  Once you have completed an initial replication send the iSCSI NAS to the east coast and attach to your new cluster.  Reconfigure the replication to the new location.

Another option is what you mentioned, you can use an ESX/ESXi with local storage.

You definately want to test this and the nice thing is that you can do this in a relative amount of time and also use trial versions of the software.  Vizioncore does replication using a standby VM that's not running so it's a little bit easier than soemthing like XOsoft or Doubletake. Either way I would setup a pilot on the west coast just to ensure that it works and then proceed with the migration if successfull.

We have done something like this when moving customer's VMs from a local site to a datacenter.
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Author Closing Comment

by:siber1
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thanks for the solution. much appreciated!
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