VMWARE SRM and Lefthand multisite cluster

Matsco
Matsco used Ask the Experts™
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WE bought a 4 nodes Multi-site HP lefthand SAN which we will use as WAN cluster between 2 sites. The sites are connected by 1GB/s link with latency <1ms. We aim to use synchronous Lefthand replication between the 2 sites by using Network Raid feature. The SAN volumes will be presented to an ESX cluster on the primary site where we'll have a virtual VCenter installed.
We would like to have VMWARE Site Recovery Manager installed to fire up the VMs on the DR site but I am a bit confused how this would work on the DR site in this sort of scenario.
Do we need to have 2 VCenter licenses for this layout to work?
I am also confused as of why we need a full SQL 2008 license for SRM, can't we just use it on SQL express licence on the same machine as VCenter? The solution will have 2 ESX hosts in production and 2 hosts in DR. Total number of VM Servers is 8.

thanks in advance for any help

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Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
SRM does require 2 vCenters, 2 SQL DBs for vCenter and 2 for SRM DB (one at each site).  You can use SQL Express in small environments.
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
Forgot to mention, I've installed both vCenter and SRM on the same server with no issues. You may need to create the DB for SRM and ODBC before you install SRM.  You can do this with SQL Studio Express..

Author

Commented:
So we can use SQL 2005 Express that is bundled with vcentre without any issues when the SRM is installed on the same server as vCentre ?
Also is there any issues with the fact that both Vcentres ( one in each site ) will be located as VM's on the same replicated SAN, or should they be put on the local storage at each site ?
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Senior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008
Commented:
No issues that I've experienced with either concern.  SQL2005 Express works fine although I think it will be SQL2008 Express with Windows 2008R2 since vCenter only does 64 bit now.

All  of my vCenters at DR sites are virtual.  I would also split up the VMs and use a separate datastore for the vmware swap files so that it doesn't get replicated.

Author

Commented:
Excellent Thanks!!
Setting this up in 2 days so will come back.. hopefully no issues ;)

Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
Just check the ODBC for SRM.  I think it needs to be 32 bit so get the odbcad32 from the wow64 directory (forgot the exact path) and you may need the SQL Native Client installed.

Author

Commented:
ok after setup have found some issues.
I have setup all 4 SAN nodes in a single cluster so replication is set at 4way, with 2 sites
( 2 nodes in each site )  configured in CMC
When I am setting up Site Recovery Manager it is not seeing sites and seems to be treating the cluster as a single primary site
After going over conflicting forums hopefully someone can help
do i need to create another management group and add the 2 nodes at second site to this and simply use the remote copy option, ( scrapping my original setup )  or is there away that SRM can be setup to see the LUN's in the SAN cluster and treat that as a remote site or smart enough to see Node 3 and 4 as remote
Ideally I want 4 way replication so any node can fail
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
You would need to create another 2 node cluster.  If you have 4 nodes in the cluster it will see it as a single site.  I setup my first Lefthand last week so now I know a little bit about it.  The second virtual center will need to connect to the second cluster.  The SRA is what controlls how it sees the SAN cluster.  If the SRA doesn't have the capability than you're out of luck, the SRA is made by the vendor and not VMWare.


Author

Commented:
mmm..will test this but it starts getting overly complicated, after checking with 2nd level HP engineers it seems the scenario will look like the one attached.

1 Mgmt group, 1 cluster spanning 2 sites using syncronous replication
1 Mgmt group, 1 cluster spanning 2 sites using syncronous replication with Remote Snapshots only

Volumes on Site A will snapshot on the 2nd cluster which will replicate them to site B using Network RAID 2-way repl. VMWARE SRM will attach the Remote Snapshot on Site B.

how ugly is this? at the end what I get is a-syncronous replication NOT live replication which is not what I originally planned for :(

Is there a better layout I can use with these Lefthand SAN even w/o using SRM you think? just widening my possibilities :)













Lefthand-Layout-2.pdf
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
You could try using Veeam or vRanger replication. This way the VMs are warm and you could power them on at anytime without the need to mount the LUNs to a new host.  

I typically install Netapp systems as well MSA, EVA.  The LeftHand left me scratching after I realized that the cutomer would only have 35% usable storage in a node environment with HA and no deduplication nor single instance, and copy on write snapshots which in the end take more space then many other systems.

Author

Commented:
Paul

what about spanning the VLAN across the sites (so 1 SAN cluster with all nodes on the same IP subnet) and use HA/VMOTION (hence all ESX hosts in the same VMWARE cluster)
In a DR scenario we would need 2 x VCenters (1 x Production, 1 x DR) but I am unsure about their placement.
does it sound feasible and sufficiently resilient?

MB

Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
You would need a Gigabit connection between the sites for your scenario to be feasible

Author

Commented:
Actually we do have gig link :)
with a 10MB backup link
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT Advisor
Top Expert 2008

Commented:
You could potentially confiugre HA/DRS in a single vSphere Cluster then

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