VMware Metro Storage Cluster Overview

VMware Metro Storage Cluster

VMware Metro Storage Cluster (vMSC) allows vCenter to stretch across two data centers in geographically dispersed locations. In normal circumstances, in vSphere 5.5 and below at least, vCenter would be deployed in Link-Mode so two vCenters can be managed as one. However, with vMSC it’s possible to have one vCenter manage all resources across two sites and leverage the underlying stretch storage and networking infrastructures. I’ve done previous blogs on NetApp MetroCluster to describe how a stretched storage cluster is spread across two disparate data centers. I’d also recommend reading a previous post done on vMSC by Paul Meehan over on www.virtualizationsoftware.com. The idea behind this post is to provide the VMware view for the MetroCluster posts and to give a better idea on how MetroCluster storage links into virtualization environments.

The main benefit of a stretched cluster is that it enables workload and resource balancing across datacenters. This helps companies to reach almost zero RTO and RPOs and ensure uptime of critical systems as workloads can be migrated easing using vMotion and Storage vMotion. One thing to keep in mind regarding vMSC, it’s not really sold as a disaster recover solution but rather a disaster avoidance solution when linked with the underlying storage. Some of the other benefits of a stretched cluster are:

  • Workload mobility
  • Cross-site automated load balancing
  • Enhanced downtime avoidance
  • Disaster avoidance
  • System uptime and high availability

There are a number of storage vendors that provide the back-end storage required for a vMSC to work. I won’t go into the entire list but you can find out more on the VMware Compatibility Matrix site. The one that I have experience with is NetApp MetroCluster but I know of others from EMC and Hitachi at least. So what components make up a vMSC? It comes down to an extended layer 2 network across data centers so that vMotions can take place with ease and also a resilient storage platform connected to ESXi via VMFS or NFS datastores. VMware vCenter itself does need some configuration changes but it’s nothing outside the scope of what a regular VMware admin can implement. A view of what a vMSC looks like is below. The networking and storage components have been simplified.

fabricmetro2

 

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How To: VMware vCenter 5.0 to 5.5 Update 2 Upgrade – Part 6

Other posts in this series:

Step 20:  Upgrade the ESXi hosts using Update Manager

20.1: The first step to carry out is to create a new baseline with the ESXi image. To do this go to Update Manager from the home page on the vSphere client

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20.2: Click on the ESXi Images tab as you’ll need to upload the image before configuring a new baseline. Select Import ESXi image

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20.3: Select the ESXi image that was downloaded earlier and click Next


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How To: VMware vCenter 5.0 to 5.5 Update 2 Upgrade – Part 5

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Step 19: Post Installation tasks

Issue 1 – SSO access for admins

19.1: Give permissions to admin users for access to SSO. Log into the web client as the administrator account.

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19.2: Select Administration and then expand Single Sign-On. Select Users and Groups and select the groups tab. From here you can select Administrators

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19.3: Select Add member

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19.4: Select the required domain from the drop down menu

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How To: VMware vCenter 5.0 to 5.5 Update 2 Upgrade – Part 4

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Step 13 : Upgrade SRM

13.1: Upgrade the SRM server software first and once that has been completed update the SRA. Select the SRM software and run it.

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13.2: Click Ok on the language settings

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13.4: Go to C:\Windows\SysWOW64 and run odbcad32 and check which server and database the connector is directed to. You can then run the normal 64bit ODBC from Administrative Tasks and add a new connection under System DSN

Click next to continue

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13.5: Click Next

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How To: VMware vCenter 5.0 to 5.5 Update 2 Upgrade – Part 3

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 Step 10:  Upgrade vCenter Inventory Service on Primary

10.1: Select vCenter Inventory Service and click Install

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10.2: Leave the default language settings and click Ok

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10.3: Click Next on the initial screen

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10.4: Accept the EULA and click Next

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10.5: Select to keep the existing data and click next

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How To: VMware vCenter 5.0 to 5.5 Update 2 Upgrade – Part 2

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Step 7 – Unlink vCenter Server

7.1: Go to Start -> Programs -> VMware -> vCenter Server Linked Mode Configuration

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7.2: When the configurator opens click on Next

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7.3: Select Modify linked mode configuration and click Next

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7.4: Leave Isolate this vCenter Server instance from linked mode group selected and click Next

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7.5: Click Continue to remove the server from linked-mode

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How To: VMware vCenter 5.0 to 5.5 Update 2 Upgrade – Part 1

Following on from a previous bit of work I carried out to convert vCenter from a physical to virtual machine I then had to upgrade vCenter from 5.0 to 5.5 Update 2 to allow the drivers for Trend Micro Deep Security Manager to work on the ESXi hosts. A workaround was tried to just have the ESXi 5.5 filter drivers for Trend installed on the 5.0 hosts but it caused some PSODs on our Dev servers and VMware recommended performing an upgrade of the environment. It was on my to-do list for later in the year anyway so it was good to get the upgrade out of the way. I documented the steps for the upgrade and while once again I didn’t want to create a multi-part blog post the sheer number of steps dictated that it was a requirement. I’ve broken down the posts into a 6-part series covering the below areas:

Step 1 – Planning

1.1: Check Compatibility

The first thing you need to check is that all the components of your environment are compatible with the version of vSphere you want to upgrade to. The first step is this process is to gather the version details of all the installations and plug-ins that you have and use the VMware Compatibility Guide – http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php – to  verify that all the components listed are compatible or at least find out what versions of your products are compatible and seek out information on the upgrade process for each of those components. For example in the below matrix we will be upgrading SRM from 5.0.1 to 5.5.1 to be up to the latest version supported on vCenter 5.5 Update 2. Likewise for the IBM plug-ins and the SRA required for SRM.

Product Current Version Compatible Version
ESXi Host 5.0.0 5.5 Update 2
vCenter 5.0.0 5.5 Update 2
SRM 5.0.1 5.5.1
IBM SRA 2.1.0 2.2.0
Update Manager 5.0.0 5.5 Update 2
IBM TSM TDP 1.1 7.1
IBM Storage Mgmt Console 2.6.0 3.2.2 (supported on 5.5)

There is one other document to be aware of when it comes to planning for the upgrade and that is the upgrade sequence matrix so that you ensure that the correct products are updated at the correct times. This can be found here – http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2057795

1.2: Download software vCenter 5.5.0 Update 2d

Go to the following website – https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/details?productId=353&downloadGroup=VC55U2D

Select the relevant version of vCenter and click on Download Now

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From here you’ll be prompted to log into the my.vwmare.com account. Log in. Accept the EULA

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The download will begin. To get the Custom ISOs for Cisco blades for this version go to: https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/details?downloadGroup=ESXI55U2&productId=353#custom_iso and click Go To Downloads Continue reading

How To: P2V of vCenter Server

I was recently tasked with upgrading a legacy vCenter environment to cater for an upgrade to Trend Deep Security Manager. As I was reviewing the environment I noticed that one of the vCenter servers was a physical server running on an IBM HS22 blade. This server is part of a linked-mode vCenter and as the second vCenter was virtualized it caught me by surprise that this one wasn’t. Before beginning the work to upgrade vCenter from 5.0 to 5.5 and all its component I decided to virtualize the physical vCenter server to make management easier down the road and to eliminate the reliance on physical hardware outside of the ESXi hosts themselves.

As all ESXi hosts were being managed by the vCenter I was trying to convert I had to remove on host from the production cluster and isolate it so that it could be managed independently and could be used as the destination for the P2V in the vCenter Standalone Converter.

 

PREPARATION:

Step 1: Download vCenter Standalone Converter 5.5 from VMware site

1.1: Go to https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/info/slug/infrastructure_operations_management/vmware_vcenter_converter_standalone/5_5 and download the installation file.

Step 2: Isolate an ESXi host to use as the destination of the conversion

2.1: Put the ESXi host in maintenance mode. Then right-click and Disconnect from vCenter. It will appear in italics and with a red X through it.

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2.2: Log on directly to the ESXi host using the root account

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