VMWare HA & PowerChute Network?

Posted on 2014-03-27
Last Modified: 2014-03-31

So I've installed the PowerChute Network appliance. So far so good.  But right now I only see one client that's registered on the UPS itself though (the PowerChute virtual appliance). But the physical VM hosts need to be registered there too so that PowerChute can contact those hosts in case of an electrical failure, right? But how do I do that ... ?

And in a HA cluster the automatic shutdown/startup function is disabled, right? So how will the virtual servers on these servers start again then after a total power failure?

Thank you
Question by:Xeronimo
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LVL 120
ID: 39959119
Have you installed the PCNS software in the VMA appliance ?

If you have controlled a Shutdown of your hosts, you will need to manually restart the VMs.

Author Comment

ID: 39959130
I've got the PowerChute Appliance running ... everything was already installed there ... I've configured it through the wizard.

What do you mean with 'have controlled a Shutdown etc'? I thought that the 'Virtual Machine Startup and Shutdown' had to be disabled by default on HA cluster servers?

So there's no other way than to start them manually? Which is kind of tricky since all my servers, AD, DNS and DHCP servers included, are virtual servers ... I guess I have to configure a laptop with a static IP address then and connect it to the same switch as the VM hosts and then connect to each host via its IP address to then manually start the virtual servers?
LVL 120
ID: 39959160
PowerChute Appliance, do you mean VMA ?

e.g. if the PowerChute software sends a signal to shutdown the Hosts, this is a controlled shutdown, and with a controlled shutdown, HA will not operate.

e.g. VMs only restart on other hosts with an uncontrolled shutdown, e.g. power off!

You can use Startup and Shutdown, but it's not recommended with HA.
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Author Comment

ID: 39960968
No, not the VMA. I mean a fully configured PowerChute VM that I only needed to deploy/import into my vCenter. I tried to go the VMA route first but I got stuck so I was glad to find the PowerChute appliance ... I can't find the download link anymore though!? It was from an offical site though.

And ok, so it makes sense to disable automatic start up and shutdowns on a HA cluster.

Some questions remain though:

1. So in that case, after a complete, prolonged power failure (twice a year we don't have electricity for +- 4 hours where the servers are; the dates are known beforehand; but we already had the very occasional unexpected power failure as well ...) I need to put a laptop on the switch my physical VM hosts are on and connect to them individually though my vSphere Client on the laptop to start the virtual machines, right?

2. I still need to install PowerChute clients on my ESXi hosts, no? How would I do that?

Author Comment

ID: 39960971
Update: I found the link to download the appliance (for free)

In my case I've used the third link.
LVL 120
ID: 39960995
1. Correct

2. You deploy the VMA, and then install the PCNS software on the VMA.

This is the recommended approach, when using PCNS software with a Network Management card in a SMART-UPS.

Author Comment

ID: 39961007
Ok, regarding the second point ...

I've downloaded and imported the PowerChute appliance on which the PCNS software is already running. I only needed to configure it using the wizard. This works all fine.

I was just wondering if I needed to install something on the ESXi hosts (= the PowerChute clients) as well or if it's enough to simply indicate their IP addresses in the PCNS software?

The only client registered so far here is the virtual machine the PCNS is running on. But the more crucial elements, my three ESXI hosts, are still missing ...

Sorry if I'm being dense here -.-
LVL 120
ID: 39961010

Author Comment

ID: 39961014
ESXi 5.5

And again ... I did neither of those. I did NOT install the VMA and then the PCNS on it. That's only one way to do it. Another is to download the whole thing as an appliance (3rd link here):

I've got PCNS 3.1 running, that's not the problem. I'm just wondering about the clients that PCNS is supposed to communicating with. Those 'Powerchute agents' from the previous screenshot ...

But maybe we're talking past each other?
LVL 120
ID: 39961140
Okay, I see APC have released the VMA with the PCNS software installed already!

(not sure how they are allowed to do this, as it's VMware code, anyway!!!)

So you need to start at Page 21 in the Document, (which you may have done already) and continue to Page 53, when to Add ESXi Servers to the list of Servers to be Shutdown by the vMA appliance, (which is VMA + PCNS software, also called PowerChute Network Shutdown v3.1.0 VMware Virtual Appliance!

The address of the Host running the appliance should always be in the list, if it is now need to do anything else, other than configure.

Author Comment

ID: 39961406
Ok, now we're on the same page! :)

So I've browsed to page 54 (I had already gone through the wizard stuff before) and I've tried to enter 'vifp addserver xxxx' in the console of the PCNS appliance but I get a 'vipf: command not found' error ...
LVL 120
ID: 39961657
vifp listservers

does this command work?

Author Comment

ID: 39965886
No, 'command not found' :(
LVL 120
ID: 39965955
if you change to the following directory


and also try sudo vifp listservers

Author Comment

ID: 39965962
Hi, there is no vma subfolder in the vmware folder ...

There's a bin subfolder though. But vifp doesn't work in there either :/

Seems that appliance isn't fool-proof either!?
LVL 120
ID: 39966230
I'm checking, this works

sudo vifp listservers

on standard vMA as provided by VMware, on version Build 724898.

and also has the directory '/opt/vmware/vma/bin'.

The new PowerChute Appliance is NOT VMA!

and it's setup differently to the document above...

see here

When going through the wizard, you assign Hosts to UPS

under the

PowerChute Setup: VMware Host Protection setup.

So the commands are deprecated for this appliance, and not needed, if you've gone through the wizard, you are protected.

Author Comment

ID: 39966320
Ok, then I should be good ... thank you so far!

One more question though (relating to all of this), on the Wizard page following the VMware Host Protection Setup: given that my installation is a cluster should I enable all the options on the 'PowerChute Setup: Virtual Machine Settings' page or not? If yes, what delays? 120 seconds?
LVL 120

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 39966328
I would stick with the defaults, of 120 seconds unless you need to tweak.

also refer to this new has good explanations of VMware HA setup and UPS!

and how it should be configured for your HA Cluster, look at the examples and each scenarios.

Author Comment

ID: 39966333
Ok, thanks a lot!

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