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Questions about vmWare VSA cluster running fault tolerance enabled VM's

Posted on 2014-01-23
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Last Modified: 2014-01-31
Hi all,

We need to setup a reliable server to run our most critical software. We have spent some time researching and learning and by now the best option seems to be a vmWare cluster running virtual machines with Fault Tolerance feature enabled.

Besides, as we do not need big storage capacity at all for this software to run, vmWare's VSphere Storage Appliance comes up as the perfect choice to avoid installing an expensive hardware-based shared storage.

So, we come to the conclusion that we need a VSA cluster running the FT-enabled VM's.

From what we read in this document:
VMware vSA Installation and Configuration we understand that our full setup would look like this:

vmware cluster
Is this scheme correct?

What happens if server 3 fails and VSA Manager and vCenter go offline?

Page 12 says Switch 2 is optional to achieve network redundancy but it seems Servers 1 and 2 must have two NIC's (with two ports) even if they're all connected to the same switch. Is that true?

If I decided not to use Switch 2. Could Switch 1 and Switch LAN be actually one single switch?

I thought that NICs 2 and 4 would connect directly with each other in the case of a 2-member cluster. Is this possible?

Thank you.
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Question by:ScreenFox
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LVL 119
ID: 39802834
If vCenter and/or VSA Manager fails, you will not be able to view information about the cluster or run performance tasks on the VSA cluster, but the cluster will remain up.

Not quite, only network connection, can go to one single port, so you would need four nics, 1,2,3 and 4, in each server.

You would need two ports for every service, VM Network, vMotion Network, iSCSI Network, and also FT Network.  (as per the VMware recommendations)

e.g. 8 physical nics per server, without using VLANs

Single switch, with 8 nics connected, single point of failure. Two switches is ideal in a stack.

I assume Server 1 and Server 2 are ESXi servers, and Server 3 is a physical server.

You need to attach all your nics to switches, not directly to each other. (you could do, but it's not the done thing!)

iSCSI is setup as follows:-

HOW TO: Add an iSCSI Software Adaptor and Create an iSCSI Multipath Network in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 5.0


HOW TO: Enable Jumbo Frames on a VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi 5.0) host server using the VMware vSphere Client
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by:ScreenFox
ID: 39803461
Ok, so NIC and switch configuration stays as pictured.

What about failure in server 3? Does VSA manager failure make the cluster go offline?

Thanks.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 39803523
Is was in my first post....

If vCenter and/or VSA Manager fails, you will not be able to view information about the cluster or run performance tasks on the VSA cluster, but the cluster will remain up.
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