VMWare migrating to new server room?

Posted on 2011-03-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Just wondering what the easiest way to migrate an ESX server with site services from one building to another with no downtime. (buildings connected by fiber)

We have two ESX servers in a cluster. I'm guessing I can vmotion VMs off of one ESX server, then physically carry it over to the new site and bring it up, then VMotion the others over? The VMs are 40gigs minimum. At what point would this not make sense and at what bandwidth? They will be connected via Fiber to 1gb switches, but the buildings are still a mile apart I think.

Please assist.

Thanks EE
Question by:snyderkv
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 35179926
If both ESX hosts share the same storage, then yes, you can VMotion the VMs on the current host to the host in the new location. If they do not share the same storage, you can use Converter to move/convert the VMs (do a V2V basically) to the new host/location. If you have VMotion capability then there would be no downtime. If not, using Converter would keep your source VM live while conversion is taking place, but once the conversion is done, you will need to power down the source, then power on the converted VM.


Author Comment

ID: 35186627
Ok cool, yes we have VMotion license and shared storage.

Why is shared storage necessary? Couldn't I move the datastore (vmdk) of the virtual machine from the source SAN to the local ESX box once moved to the new site? We won't have SANs in both locations so the SAN will also be moving.

Get it? To reiterate, two ESX servers with 400GB local storage are both connected to a SAN (SUMO) where the datastores reside.
The plan would be to move one ESX server to the new TCF, then VMotion the datastores to the ESX server local storage, then physicaly move the SAN and second ESX server to the new TCF, then vmotion everything back from local storage to SAN.

Would this work?
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 35188744
Shared Storage is a requirement to have for (specifically) Storage VMotion (sVMotion) amongst all ESX hosts in a VMware Datacenter (not necessarily phys datacenter...but a vCenter Datacenter object). And you need to have Ent licensing, as well. So, if you have storage that can be seen by both ESX hosts, you can migrate/sVMotion the VMs to your off-site host ("host2") while 'live' (still powered on). VMotion on the other hand simply allows you to move your VMs while live to a new host, not new storage. You can still migrate a VM to new storage at anytime regardless of your licensing (as long as you have vCenter Server), but the VM just needs to be powered down.

So, if I understand you correctly, this is my suggestion - you have 2 hosts in different phys locations; "host1" at current site you wanna move and "host2" at destination site, and both are connected to the *same* SAN, correct? You wanna move "host1", as well as the SAN, to the new location/destination where "host2" is, correct? So, what I recommend is VMotioning the VMs on "host1" to "host2". Then simply sVMotion the VMs to local storage on "host2". After all VMs are off "host1" and the SAN, power down both "host1" and your SAN and move them as needed. Once both "host1" and the SAN are up in the new location, and the SAN is connected to both hosts again, you can VMotion the VMs you want on "host1" back to it and sVMotion them to the SAN if you like.

Hope that helps.


Author Comment

ID: 35190185
Yes that is what I asked whether or not I could do. So we both agree.

One more thing, about the migration od datastore, I have migrated the entire datastore without the VM being turned off, and takes a long long time. 4-12 hours per machine and the VM was on. Unless I am missing what you are saying and am going crazy? Please correct me or that statement if you will, it's making me a little nervous. I don't want any gotchas or "oh that's what he meant"

Thanks again
LVL 40

Accepted Solution

coolsport00 earned 2000 total points
ID: 35190258
Yeah...I just had to get my brain wrapped around everything...sorry :P

Yes, for a sVMotion...(migrating VM to a different datastore), the process could indeed take a while. And, depending on the VM size, and WAN bandwidth, that sounds about right (4-12hrs). What happens during a sVMotion is a snap is taken of the VM; the orig VM and it's files are then transferred to the new datastore; any changes made to the VM will be added to the snap file; upon completion of the transfer of files, the data in the snap will then be written to the orig VM vmdk and the snap deleted. So, that process could take a while to complete.


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