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Simple HA/failover for vcenter/vsphere

Posted on 2016-08-08
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
(I'm sure you have like 5 articles on this.... I'll read them.... just point me to the right ones ;-)

So I set up my first esxi server and have a few virtual machines running on it and got a vcenter appliance set up on it, etc, etc.   I have a backup machine that I installed esxi on.  That we plan to have no purpose in life except to sit there and wait for the first esxi server to fail .  And then we would run everything on this machine until the primary is running again.  

It looks like you can get all super fancy with this stuff.... Setting up resource groups and host profiles, and rules and what not.... My guess is that all the stuff is really nice when you're managing 300 virtual machines, but when you're managing the six they might be more trouble than they are worth....  That's one of the main purposes of me asking this question here is because I'm looking for real-world advice on what's the most practical and easy way for me to do this.

Ideally it would be nice if I had constantly cloned and synced virtual machines on the secondary esxi host ready to run at a moments notice...  But if that is troublesome is to set up.  I am okay with hours of downtime to get things running on esxi host 2.

(BTW I have vmware/esxi/vcenter essenstials kit license and acronis backup to work with)
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Question by:Xetroximyn
12 Comments
 
LVL 117
ID: 41748524
Well Essentials is not going to give you many options to work with in terms of HA.

Do you not have any options with Acronis to "replicate" VMs from One host to another ?

otherwise in it's simplest form just restore your backups to the old host.
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Assisted Solution

by:Mr Tortur
Mr Tortur earned 125 total points
ID: 41748986
Hi,
if this is replication that you want, then you need to look at vSphere Replication or third party tool (vRanger, Veeam, Double Take for VMware, etc...), to replicate your VM from ESXi 1 to ESXi 2.

But maybe VMware HA could be enough, and in this case you need to have at least Essentials PLUS kit. Essentials only don't have it (and in fact it doesn't provide any advanced functionnalities).
Reminder : if ESXi 1 host fails then HA will restart your running VM on ESXi 2 in a few minutes!
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Author Comment

by:Xetroximyn
ID: 41754191
Oh - I do have essentials plus kit - does that mean I have access to VMWare replicaiton?
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LVL 117
ID: 41754228
Was not mentioned in OP.

Essentials Plus does include vMotion, VMware HA and vSphere Replication, so plenty of VMware HA options.
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LVL 117
ID: 41772702
do you require any more assistance to close out this question.
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Author Comment

by:Xetroximyn
ID: 41773074
so plenty of VMware HA options.

It looks like you can get all super fancy with this stuff.... Setting up resource groups and host profiles, and rules and what not.... My guess is that all the stuff is really nice when you're managing 300 virtual machines, but when you're managing the six they might be more trouble than they are worth....  That's one of the main purposes of me asking this question here is because I'm looking for real-world advice on what's the most practical and easy way for me to do this.

So the key question here is that I am looking for advice on the most practical and easy way for me to do this in my specific very small situation given the plenty options at my disposal.  :-)

I have a total of 6 VM's on a single esxi host and have another unused esxi host for backup.  

Thanks!
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LVL 117

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 250 total points
ID: 41773105
VMware vSphere replication will replicate the VMs to the other ESXi server, waiting for you to turn them on....you can adjust the RPO, to maintain replication, every 15 minutes or longer.

So in the event a Host or VM fails, it will be available on the other ESXi server, and you will lose 15 minutes of data at worst case.

to use VMware HA, you will need to have shared storage for both ESXi servers.

So it looks like Replication for you will work, for a HA option.

If you want a simple method, restore your VMs from backup, to the old ESXi host, when required, in the event of failure. BUT how long is that going to take, and how much downtime can you afford, vSphere Replication as you have it available is simple, easy, and you'll have VMs ready to Power Up.
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Author Comment

by:Xetroximyn
ID: 41773157
Thanks! I figure it's safe to assume since you didn't mention it that vmotion also does not fit my needs?  :-)
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LVL 117
ID: 41773175
Do you have Shared Storage?

How does vMotion help you? if the host is OFF and DOWN! You cannot vMotion. (Live Migrate!)

Unless you have a crystal ball and know when you host is going to fail!

If both hosts are up and working, you could use vMotion to Move a VM from one host to another host using Shared Nothing vMotion, or Enhanced vMotion. (without shared storage!)

e.g. in the event you are patching a host.....
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Author Comment

by:Xetroximyn
ID: 41775560
How does vMotion help you?
Why are you asking me?  Did I imply it would help me?  I asked if it was safe to assume it did not meet my needs.... Thank you for confirming it does not meet my needs. :-)  

(I only asked about vmotion because you mentioned it here, in a way that made it appear you were saying it was one of my HA options ;-)
Essentials Plus does include vMotion, VMware HA and vSphere Replication, so plenty of VMware HA options.


p.s. I don't have shared storage.... storage is internal on both esxi hosts.
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LVL 117
ID: 41775580
depends if you looking for a method to perform maintenance on a host, which has not failed, and want to migrate VMs, whilst Live e.g. no downtime, or a host has failed.

if a host has failed - vMotion will not come to your rescue, but if you want to perform maintenance, and take the host down e.g. manually, vMotion can help you.

vMotion can work without shared storage.

So vMotion and VMware HA can benefit you, depending on the scenario at hand, if however, you want a simple life an no VMware Cluster, and configuration, just replicate the VMs to old host.
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Assisted Solution

by:specialist Mohamed
specialist Mohamed earned 125 total points
ID: 41788431
vSphere Replication is the best choice here with no additional investment and no shared storage.
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