vCenter Server Appliance and vSphere Data Protection Interop

vCenter logoIn this next test of vSphere Data Protection (VDP) interoperability, I wanted to see if a restored vCenter Server appliance would still be able to work with pre-configured vCloud Suite products such as vCenter Operations (vCops), vCloud Automation Center (vCAC), vSphere Orchestrator VCO and Network Virtualization (NSX). All of these products were running to some extent in my environment; vCAC had a simple blueprint for VM deployment, VCO had a simple workflow for renaming a VM and NSX included an Edge device providing a DHCP service. If all of this functionality was still in place post restore, then the backup and restore will have worked. Testing was done with vCenter Server appliance version 5.5U1 and VDP version 5.5.6.46.

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vCloud Automation Center and vSphere Data Protection Interop

vCAC-VCO-ExtensibilityThis post is a follow on to a previous post I did on vCops and VDP interop. In this scenario, I am going to try to use vSphere Data Protection (VDP), which is VMware’s Backup/Restore product, to back up and restore a vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) v6.0.1. and vCenter Orchestration (VCO) v5.5 deployment.

In this particular scenario, there are nine virtual machines making up my vCAC and VCO deployment. VCO has been deployed in a HA configuration, which accounts for two VMs. The others make up the DEM, Manager, Web, vCAC, SSO and various databases for vCloud Automation Center.

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VAAI-NAS, vCloud Director and Cloning Offload Strangeness

tintriI was in a conversation with one of my pals over at Tintri last week (Fintan), and he observed some strange behaviour when provisioning VMs from a catalog in vCloud Director (vCD). When he disabled Fast Provisioning, he expected that provisioning further VMs from the catalog would still be offloaded via the VAAI-NAS plugin. All the ESXi hosts have the VAAI-NAS plugin from Tintri installed. However,  it seems that the provisioning/cloning operation was not being offloaded to the array, and the ESXi hosts resources were being used for the operation instead. Deployments of VMs from the catalogs were taking minutes rather than seconds. What was going on?

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Heads Up! VASA Storage Providers disconnected – VSAN Capabilities Missing

I’m a bit late in bringing this to your attention, but there is a potential issue with VASA storage providers disconnecting from vCenter resulting in no VSAN capabilities being visible when you try to create a VM Storage Policy. These storage providers (there is one on each ESXi host participating in the VSAN Cluster) provide out-of-band information about the underlying storage system, in this case VSAN. If there isn’t at least one of these providers on the ESXi hosts communicating to the SMS (Storage Monitoring Service) on vCenter, then vCenter will not be able to display any of the capabilities of the VSAN datastore, which means you will be unable to build any further storage policies for virtual machine deployments (currently deployed VMs already using VM Storage Policies are unaffected). Even a resynchronization operation fails to reconnect the storage providers to vCenter. This seems to be predominantly related to vCenter servers which were upgraded to vCenter 5.5U1 and not newly installed vCenter servers.

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Essential VSAN kindle & ebook versions now available

Well, after almost 8 months of work, the VSAN book that I have been working on with Duncan Epping is finally available for general download. This is the first book I’ve written, and I’ll always be grateful for the guidance and mentoring I received from Duncan. I’m also extremely grateful to a number of people at VMware Press (Pearson) for their willingness to sponsor this project. There are also numerous people at VMware that deserve thanks for their input and support, and you’ll find them listed in the acknowledgements section of the book.

We’re hopeful that this book will provide a definitive resource to all your VSAN queries.

If you’d like to download the book, there are a couple of links below. The Amazon Kindle version is available by clicking on the link below:

Or if you’d prefer, the ebook version of Essential VSAN is also available from Pearsons. Click the book below for details:

Hard copies are currently available for pre-order if you want to wait a few more weeks.

Heads Up! Patches now available for NFS APD Issue

Very quick update …

Many readers will be aware of an ongoing issue with NFS in ESXi 5.5U1. My colleague, Duncan, wrote an article about it on his blog site recently entitled – Alert: vSphere 5.5 & NFS issue. Essentially, your NFS datastore may experience an APD (All Paths Down) condition. The issue is also described in KB article 2076392.

I’m pleased to say that VMware has now produced a patch to address this issue. The patch is 5.5EP4 (June 2014) and can be downloaded from VMware’s patch repository site here and will address this issue. Search on ESXi (Embedded and Installable), version 5.5.0. Another KB article, 2077360, has more information about the patch fix.

Introduction to vCloud Hybrid Services (vCHS) – Disaster Recovery (DR)

vCHS-PoweredI just recently received my credentials to VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Services. One of the first things I was interested in testing out was the Disaster Recovery Service, which uses VMware’s vSphere Replication technology to protect VMs in your on-premise DC to vCHS. The following post provides the steps to configure the replication target as your vCHS VDC (virtual data center), and then configuring replication on a VM.

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