DR of VMware vCenter Orchestrator

VCOOver the past month or so, I’ve been looking at disaster recovery of some of the vCloud Suite components. My experiences of using vSphere Replication and Site Recovery Manager to protect and recover vCenter Operations Manager in the event of a disaster can be found here and here. Now it was time to look at vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) to see if that could be protected and recovered.

In this configuration, I deployed vCO in HA mode, meaning that there were two vCenter Orchestrator servers, one running and one in standby mode. The database for vCO was an external SQL Server database, running in its own VM. So there were three VMs to protect in this setup.

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VSAN Troubleshooting Case Study

vsan-vmware-virtual-san-boxI have been doing a bunch of stuff around disaster recovery (DR) recently, and my storage of choice at both the production site and the recovery site has been VSAN, VMware Virtual SAN. I have already done a number of tests already with products like vCenter Server, vCenter Operations Manager and NSX, our network virtualization product. Next up was VCO, our vCenter Orchestrator product. I set up vSphere Replication for my vCO servers (I deployed them in a HA configuration) and their associated SQL DB VM on Friday, but when I got in Monday morning, I could not log onto my vCenter. The problem was that my vCenter was running on VSAN (a bit of a chicken and egg type situation), so how do I troubleshoot this situation without my vCenter. And what was the actual problem? Was it a VSAN issue? This is what had to be done to resolve it.

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Some weird VCO client login messages

VCOI’ve recently been looking at VCO, our VMware vCenter Orchestrator product, more from a High Availability and Disaster Recovery point of view rather than a usability perspective. I admit I have little or no orchestration skills whatsoever, but there are plenty of other blogs and educational web sites out there to help you get started with VCO. Anyhow, whilst getting the product up and running, I hit a couple of snags that I thought would be interesting to share. Continue reading

A closer look at X-IO

xio2My first introduction to X-IO was via Stephen Foskett’s Tech Field Days. They piqued my interest and I added them to the list of storage vendors that I wanted to check out at VMworld 2014. I started to research these guys a little more, and learnt that they are closely related to Xiotech, a SAN company that I dealt with on occasion when I worked in technical support for VMware back in the day. It seems that Xiotech acquired Seagate’s spun-out Advanced Storage Group in 2007. The guys then began to work on a different product to the Xiotech team, namely the Intelligent Storage Element or ISE array. The Xiotech products were discontinued in 2012 (although the name continues to appear on the VMware SAN/Storage HCL), and the focus was placed on the ISE products. I was a bit confused when I saw that X-IO were not listed on the HCL directly, but after checking with Blair Parkhill, VP of Tech Marketing at X-IO, it seems that they still use their incorporated name, Xiotech.

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New mclock I/O Scheduler in vSphere 5.5 – Some details

schedulerMy colleague Duncan wrote a post relatively recently around the new mclock I/O scheduler which VMware introduced in vSphere 5.5. He also mentioned some caveats with the new scheduler, especially around the I/O size (32K) used with the IOPS setting, which may lead to some unexpected behaviour. As Duncan mentioned, the reason for introducing the new scheduler is primarily to provide a better I/O scheduling mechanism that allows for limits, shares and reservations. Unfortunately, we didn’t do a very good job of announcing this change in I/O scheduling, or documenting the behaviour, and it has led to a number of additional questions from our customers. I hope to address some of these here.

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Some useful NSX Troubleshooting Tips

nsx-logoI’ve been working on some Disaster Recovery (DR) scenarios recently with my good pal Paudie. Last month we looked at how we might be able to protect vCenter Operation Manager, by using a vApp construct and also using IP customization. After VMworld, we turned our attention to NSX, and how we might be able to implement a DR solution for NSX. This is still a work in progress, but we did learn some very useful NSX troubleshooting commands that I thought would be worth sharing with you.

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PowerCLI 5.8 Release 1 – new SPBM cmdlets

powercli58Yesterday saw the release of vCloud Suite 5.8. While there are quite a few new enhancements to the VMware product line in this release, what really jumped out at me were the new PowerCLI cmdlets for Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM). SPBM is a critical component of VIrtual SAN (VSAN), and will play a major role in the Virtual Volumes (VVols) feature which has been tech previewed at VMworld 2014. VVols will enable our storage array partners to implement out Software Defined Storage vision –  you can read more about there. So what are the new cmdlets for PowerCLI in the 5.8 release?

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