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Vcenter High Availability.

Posted on 2015-01-04
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Last Modified: 2015-01-09
I wonder if there is a way to make Vcenter available all the time when Vcenter is a VM not physical machine.

let's say our vsphere client connect to Vcenter(VM) and for some reason the Vcenter has problems,
I now we can connect to ESXi through the client, but we may need to connect VCenter.

any help will be very much appreciated.

Thanks
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Question by:jskfan
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 286 total points
ID: 40530120
vCenter Server is ONLY a Management Server, in the event of failure, it does not affect the VMs or Host, whilst down!

If you have VMware HA and DRS, it's Highly Available.

see here

Supported vCenter Server high availability options (1024051)

Clearly because most use VMware HA and VMware DRS to create a highly available vCenter Server, or also use Failover Clustering as well, with SQL, VMware retired VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat as no one purchase it! (EOL - June 2014)

VMware vCenter Server Heartbeat is now End of Life.
http://www.vmware.com/uk/products/vcenter-server-heartbeat
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by:gheist
gheist earned 214 total points
ID: 40530128
When vcenter is powered off you must connect to ESXi and power it on.
So use DRS rules to keep it on ESXi that is not "locked down"
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 40530772
Is Vcenter windows cluster aware ?
As Andrew mention, Vcenter failure does not have any impact in production, but if we have just one Vcenter and it fails then there will be no other tool to manage Vsphere environment. It will get worse if the VMware environment has many ESXi servers, then will have to connect separately to each ESXi to manage it. I do not even know if vsphere client lets you open multiple sessions to separate ESXi servers ?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 286 total points
ID: 40530820
Failover Clustering is for the Backend Database - SQL.

You have to connect to each ESXi server directly, it does not do multiple sessions or connections.

What management do you need to do?

If you have VMware HA, and VMware DRS, everything is being done for you....?

What functions do you need to perform, if vCenter Fails, you should be thinking about

Number 1 - restore.....

And think about SERVICE, e.g, VMs running services will still be running!
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by:gheist
gheist earned 214 total points
ID: 40531065
Complete absence of vcenter does not break any SERVICE
It will take hour to day to make up a new vcenter (but you can always open ticket with vmware to help you bringing back old instance)
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 40531185
I know Vcenter failure  will not break any other service. Just for the sake of easiness in Manageability.
With Vcenter it is easy to do your work on all VMs in any ESXi server.
I believe with Veeam tool you can have a good view of your VMware infrastructure, then if you need for instance to do snapshots, clones, manual vmotion,and a bunch of tasks, then you will know which ESX server is the VM in , and then just remote to that specific ESX and do the task you need.
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 40531196
Another thing that I want to know about Vcenter, in the past I have reinstalled Vcenter without backing up SQL database. It was an SQL Express Database that was installed in the same box as Vcenter. Fortunately the re-install did not wipe out the existing Database and I wonder why it did not wipe it out..........
Well, if SQL database is installed in another Box, then let 's say I rebuild a server from OS installation all the way up to Vcenter installation, I believe the database will still  be safe. correct ?
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Assisted Solution

by:gheist
gheist earned 214 total points
ID: 40531210
What are you talking about? Veeam tool? Never heard of such product.

If you run vcenter across 3 unstable operating systems actually complete unavailability will occur 3x more often.
I would suggest that you take care investigating root cause of your windows instability. Normally it runs well and updates monthly for all its lifetime...
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LVL 119

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 286 total points
ID: 40531216
A vCenter Server installation if it detects an existing SQL database, will upgrade or use it.

Correct, very rarely does the database get corrupted which requires it to be deleted!

(but a full SQL database can stop vCenter working!)
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Author Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 40531218
The last thing Guys...
How can you tell which ESX server a specific VM resides on, if you do not have Vcenter available. ?
is there a tool ? a command line ?
can we open multiple sessions with Web client to separate ESX server ?
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Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 40531241
You can use DRS rules to bind vcenter to particular host or two.
Vsphere web client is component of vcenter, it can not connect to ESXi host even once.
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Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 286 total points
ID: 40531258
How can you tell which ESX server a specific VM resides on, if you do not have Vcenter available. ?

You cannot, why do you want to know, where a VM is located.

I have no idea, where all the thousands of VMs we have are located!

It does not matter, provided they are up and providing services.

Our VMs move all around our clusters of Host Servers and also storage!
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Author Closing Comment

by:jskfan
ID: 40541582
Thank you Guys!
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