In the last article we have an overview of the basics of ZVR and its installation. We will now see how to install VRA – Virtual Replication Appliances as the first step of initial configuration. VRA sits on each ESXi host and performs always on block level replication. Zerto can also replicate on different hypervisors. During installation of ZVM or VRA, there is absolutely no downtime. Here is an example of a Production and Recovery site showing where the ZVM and VRA is located.
A VRA is simply a virtual machine that is installed alongside the virtual machines on the host. It is a custom 64-bit Debian version of Linux and is designed for security and a small footprint in terms of disks, memory and CPU. Exact requirement for VRA installation varies depending on the hypervisor. Here is the requirement:
The following information are needed before installation of VRA.
The network to be used for replication
The IP address, Subnet Mask, Default Gateway (When using static and not DHCP)
The network settings to access the peer site
Whilst installing VRA, SSH will be enable on the host and will be disabled automatically after installation. Once you connect to the ZVM main dashboard with the IP address on port 443, click on set up to begin the installation process.
Each time a VRA is installed, you need to click on New VRA. The idea is to choose the host and installed the VRA on each HOST. It is also recommended to use static IP for the VRA Network details. Details such as the datastore, network, V Ram (The amount of RAM determines the maximum buffer size for the VRA when buffering IOs ) should be entered before the installation as follows:
Once installation process started, the VRA Status will be on mode “installing”. The alert notification on bottom left can be clicked. An alert that could be prompted could be “Host xxx.xxx.xx.xx has no VRA installed”. Zerto API can also be used to automate the process for installation of VRAs. Once the VRA’s installed on each host, its important to paired with the Recovery site by repeating the same process on the production site.
There is two way to pair with a disaster recovery site. One when login to the ZVR console, it will prompt a licence to pair with which should that of the recovery site or a manual pairing can be done when already connected by clicking on Sites -> Pair and click on the Pair button
After pairing from source to recovery site, it is to be noted that no replication is happening yet. By setting up Virtual Protection Groups (VPGs) we can start tracking block-level changes and replication across the two sites.
Zerto Ltd is a company providing disaster recovery software for virtualized infrastructure and the cloud. The product is based on ‘hypervisor-based replication’, a technology that moves asynchronous replication from the physical storage and disk arrays to the virtualization abstraction layer. This allows for storage-agnostic replication; i.e., a virtual machine (“VM”) can be replicated to another VM operating on a different storage technology. – Wikipedia
An another technology which i keep on discovering in DRAAS – Disaster Recovery as a Service. Zerto also provides online certification for beginners and advanced professionals. The ZCP Basic is on the interesting course to start with. The first module is the “Getting Started with ZVR”. I am going to shed a quick overview of the first module. The aim of the ZCP Basic is to:
Install Zerto Virtual Replication 5.0
Navigate the Zerto Virtual Manager
Add VRAs and configure your sites
Set up protection with VPGs and the journal
Recover data and applications with any of the six key recovery operations
ZCP Basic is designed to get you up and running with ZVR and its key features and functions. There is a minimum requirements before using the ZVR service. First the ZVM should meet a requirement which is as follows. You will need one ZVM for every ZVM management console. For example each vCenter in use in the case of VMware, a ZVM is needed.
Zerto supports a variety of network configurations but not a NAT firewalling system.
To start with Zerto Virtual Replication, the Zerto Virtual Replication 5.0 Installer should be run as an administrator. The Zerto Virtual Replication 5.0 Installer will also install
ZVM – Zerto Virtual Manager – A window service that manages disaster recovery
VRA – Virtual Replication Appliance OVF: A virtual machine that manages replication of data to the recovery site.
VBA – Virtual Backup Appliance: A Windows service that manages backups
ZUI – Zerto User Interface : The graphical user interface
There are two types of installation i.e; Express installation and Custom Installation. The express installation will consist all configurations and packages by default whereas, the custom installation will allows you to specify values such as ports and connection details. During installation, it will prompt for the IP/Host Name, Username, Password and Site Name. The IP is related to the vCenter server IP address.
After inserting the information ZVR will validate the information. There are 4 reasons why it might not validate:
vCenter Server is not running
Can’t connect over correct ports – 443 for vCenter
Incorrect access credentials
User might not be an administrator
Now that the ZVR is installed, you can access the ZVM from any modern HTML5 compatible browser with the URL https://ZVM IP ADDRESS:9669. If the URL cannot be accessed, the following should be checked:
The VM is powered on and functioning
If using a proxy server, ensure the ZVM IP is whitelisted
An internal speech contest was carried out on the 19th of March 2017 at Aurora Toastmasters Club at Shangrila Restaurant, Garden Village, Curepipe. Despite being a beginner in Public Speaking, i decided to participate in the speech contest and was assigned a mentor who helped me throughout the preparation of my speech. It was indeed an amazing experience to be among good speakers in the club.
At the Toastmasters Internal Speech Contest, I should admit that I was nervous and not really prepared. My voice tonality needs improvement. This was due to lack of practice and skills. With time and practice, I strongly believe that joining the club will help serve my purpose. Moreover, I have been able to convey my message and completed my CC2 through my speech with titled “Brain Magic or Brain deception”. Where the heck I got this title? Well, i used to read books on Brain Deception and Neuroscience since years. One of the famous scientist, Stephen Hawkins inspired me a lot. I’m happy to be able to complete my CC2 (Competent Communicator 2) . There are four aims for this speech:
Use an outline which aids understanding.
Transition smoothly from one point to the next.
Craft an effective speech opening.
Craft an effective speech conclusion.
Some days back, I updated my Facebook Timeline picture with a banner of the Toastmasters International. I keep on having so many questions about it. “What the heck is a Toastmaster club ?” or “What do you do there ?” Let me tell you something.. Do you want to become a confident public speaker and strong leader? If so, Toastmasters is the place for you. You’ll find a supportive learn-by-doing environment that allows you to achieve your goals at your own pace. Aurora Toastmasters Club is affiliated with, and shares the vision and mission of Toastmasters International. It is the most affordable Toastmasters Club in Mauritius. The club hold meetings on alternate Sundays, 9.15 a.m., at Shangrila Restaurant, Garden Village, Curepipe, located in the center of the island.
Improving communication and leadership skills demand really lots of effort. I strongly believe that these skills will help me in my career and public speaking in the future. Whether you are an IT guy, a lawyer or someone curious about public speaking, then you have your place in a Toastmaster club. “They don’t need a lawyer, they need a Toastmaster” – Edward Benett Williams
In this post, we will get into the following parts:
Data Center Virtualization products overview
vSphere with Operation Management
Software defined storage – Virtual SAN
Software defined networking – NSX
Big Data Extensions – BDE
VMware Integrated OpenStack
Cloud Services – vCloud Air
EVO:Rack and EVO:Rail
Data Center Virtualization Products overview
The goal of DCV products is to help in the flexibility of computer, storage and networking. These are the various DCV products:
vSphere with Operations Management
vSphere with Operations Management offers the virtualization platform with critical operational enhancements in Performance Monitoring andCapacity Management. It is designed for businesses of all sizes and allows them to run applications at high service levels and maximized hardware savings to higher capacity utilization and consolidation ratio. vSphere with operations management provides availability services and policies with simplicity and flexibility for any application from legacy to next generation application such as Hadoop that require intense resources. The platform can also be tuned to meet the performance needs of low latency applications. vSphere with Operations management also reduces the cost and complexity of managing Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery with layered protection against service outages and data loss. The platform provides fast and efficient data recovery for virtual machine, in addition to replicating and running virtual machine to another location. With predictive analytics and smart alerts on the house of the virtualized systems, vSphere with operations management enables proactive identification and remediation of system issues with dynamic threshold that automatically adapt to environments to provide fewer and more specific alerts. vSphere with operations management makes it easier to optimize and manage capacity planning. It allows you to reclaimed over-provisioned capacity, increase resource utilization and eliminate the need for scripts and spreadsheets
vSphere with Operations Management is a combination of vSphere and vRealize operations standard editions. vSphere with operations management editions is available in the following three editions:
vSphere with Operations Management Standard – Server consolidation, business continuity and insight into workload capacity and health management.
vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise – Resource Load Balancing and insight into workload capacity and health management.
vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus – Enhanced application availability and performance insight into workload capacity and health management.
There is another product called vSphere with Operation Management Acceleration Kits which comes into the following versions:
vSphere with Operations Management Standard AK – Server consolidation, business continuity and insight into workload capacity and health.
vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise AK – Resource Load Balancing and insight into workload capacity and health
vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise AK Plus – Enhanced application availability and performance insight into workload capacity and health
There are add-ons options with vSphere Operations Management such as vRealize operations Insight, to perform advanced operations management for vSphere Operations Management.
VMware vRealize suite is a cloud management platform purposely built for the hybrid cloud. It delivers and manages infrastructure and application quickly while maintaining IT control. vRealize suite provide a comprehensive management stack on IT services on VMware vSphere and other hypervisors. It extends a unified management experience to external cloud service providers such as VMware vCloud AIR and AWS web services or OpenStack based private and public cloud. With vRealize suite, businesses get the agility and speed needed to maintain competitive advantages. At the same time IT gets the control and efficiency needed to manage and uptime, performance, compliance and cost effective infrastructure and applications. vRealize suite consist of the following products:
VMware vRealize Automation – vRealize Automation provides a secure portal where authorized administrators, developers or business users can request new IT services and manage specific cloud and IT resources, while ensuring compliance with business policies. Request for IT services such as infrastructure, applications and desktop are processed through a common-service catalog to provide a consistent user experience. vRealize automation improves cost control by exposing the cost of cloud resources and by providing simplified resource management including reporting on capacity use.
VMware vRealize Operations – vRealize operations is built on a scale-out, resilient platformed designed to deliver intelligent operational insights to simplify and automate management of application and infrastructure across virtual, physical and cloud environments. With vRealize operations, IT organizations of all sizes can improve performance, avoid business disruptions and become more efficient with comprehensive visibility across applications and infrastructure in one place.
VMware vRealize Log Insight – vRealize Log Insight delivers real-time log management for VMware environments with machine learning-based Intelligent Grouping, High Performance Search and better troubleshooting across physical, virtual and cloud environments. It has an intuitive, easy to use and graphical interface for simple interactive searches as well as deep analytical queries. vRealize Log Insight is best suited for your VMware environment as it has a built-in knowledge and native support for vSphere.
vRealize Operations : Introduction
vRealize Operations is a scalable and resilient platform. It is a part of the vRealize Suite products. vRealize Operations provide control over performance capacity and configuration with predictive analytics to add in pro-active actions and policy based automation. The key features of vRealize operations include the following:
Operation Dashboard – The Operation Dashboard feature provides ‘at a glance-views’ into health, risk and efficiency data of your virtual infrastructure.
Health and Workload view – is a feature that identifies anomalies, faults and stressed workloads that can impact the performance and health of the infrastructure.
Workload Details view – is a feature provides in-depth analysis of the factors that impact the performance and health of virtual machines, hosts, datastores and clusters.
Proactive Smart Alert – is a feature which enables you to perform root cause analysis of potential issues. This feature notifies the end users of issues in advance before they are actually impacted.
Automated correlation of change events – is a feature that enables you to track back the cause of reduction of performance and health and identify the changes in the infrastructure or those inside the guest operating system. This feature facilitates better configuration management.
Heat Map Views – is a feature that provides visibility into all areas of your infrastructure and enables you to identify resource constraints and bottlenecks.
Capacity Trending and analysis – is a feature that provides insight into the current and future resource needs and usage. The feature enables informed capacity management and planning through performance trends, forward-looking projections and extended forecast.
Right-Size virtual machines – is a feature that helps you to reclaim unused resources to optimize consolidation ratios and virtual machine density without impacting performance
Capacity reporting feature – is a feature that enabled automatic generation and dispatch of capacity reports in a variety of formats.
Remediation Actions – is a feature that enables problem identification and resolution without the need to exit vRealize Operations 6.0
Fully customizable Symptoms, Alerts and Recommendations – is a feature that enables building and bundling of your own customized symptoms into specific alerts that helps your IT staff by defining your own recommendations.
vRealize Operations: Virtual Machine Architecture
VMware vRealize Operations Architecture is a reliable and scalable model that can be use to cross different kinds of environments ranging from smart and wide enterprise organisations. Each install of the VMware vRealize Suite Operations include the entire software stack that includes:
User Interface – Are web applications services based on Apache Tomcat
Collector – The collector component connects to one or more controller component and sends the collected data.
Controller – is responsible for placing or mapping the data across the nodes in the cluster.
Analytics – Receives data from the controller components, caches the collected data and processes the collected data.
Persistence – takes cached data and writes the data to disks
Databases – Data is stored in XML based databases or xDB – A file system database (FSDB) and a vPostgres database
This box refers to the Virtual Machine which runs the full stack of software. Applications disciplines such as Capacity, Performance, Change Management and Compliance works across the stack. The rest of the applications disciplines are enables as common services.
vRealize Operations : High level Architecture
vRealize Operations collects data from many different sources such as vCenter Server, vCenter Configuration Manager or vCloud Director. The vRealize Operations Analytics virtual machine processes the collected data and presents the result through out the UI virtual machine. Possible UI are the vRealize Operations vSphere UI and the vRealize Operations Manager Customs UI which is only available in the VMware vRealized Advanced and Enterprise Editions. vRealize Operations also features an Admin UI to perform administrative tasks. The monitored resources and collected metrics requires certain computing resources. This should be taken into account when deploying the virtual machine. vRealize Operations is designed as Enterprise solutions. So planning and preparing your environment is critical to successful deployment. You need to take factor like Environment Size, Landscape and Complexity into account. The vRealize Operations architecture needs to take into account how large the environment is including the number of applications, data sources, resources and metrics, the physical environment distribution and the number of users
Software defined storage – Virtual SAN
VMware Software Defined Storage (SDS) transformed storage on virtualized environment by aligning it with applications demands. The hypervisor matches the demands from virtualized applications with the storage supply, makes intelligent placement decisions and optimizes Ongoing Adjustments.
Virtual SAN is the SDS for the SDDC. Virtual SANs hypervisor converged architecture enables storage and compute to run on the same physical hosts with minimal overhead. It can seamlessly integrate with the vSphere web client and the entire VMware stack to simplified management. When enabled Virtual SAN works together with virtual machines storage policies. Virtual SANs monitors and reports on the policy compliance during the life cycle of the virtual machine.
Software defined networking – NSX
Software Defined Networking – SDN enables you to network with virtual machines on the same way which you use to do with physical machines. You can also built complexed network within a single ESXi hosts or across multiple ESXi hosts for production deployments or for development and testing purposes. NSX network virtualization is a transformed architecture from VMware that makes it possible to create and run an entire networks in parallel on top of existing hardware. This result in faster deployment of workloads as fast as agility and face of increasingly dynamic data centers. NSX reproduce the entire networking environment in software. You can deploy NSX non disruptively on top of your existing physical infrastructure. NSX network virtualization allows you to treat your physical network as a pool of transport capacity. NSX provides you with a platform for advanced networking and security services. NSX allows you to create a network pool of capacity that can be allocated, utilized and repurposed on demand. It decouples the network from the underlying hardware and applies virtualization principles to networking infrastructure. It also deploys network in software that are fully isolated from each other as far as other changes in a data center.
Big Data Extensions – BDE
vSphere Big Data Extension – BDE is a feature in vSphere to support big data in Hadoop or clouds. BDE provided an integrated set of management tools to help enterprise deploy, run and manage Hadoop on the vSphere platform. VMware introduces BDE as a commercially supported version of project Serengeti design for enterprises seeking VMware support. BDE enables customers to run clustered scalar Hadoop applications on the vSphere platform delivering all the benefits of virtualization to Hadoop users.
BDE delivers operational simplicity with an easy to use interface, improved utilization through compute elasticity and a scalable big data platform to satisfies business changing requirements. A few feature of BDE include:
Integrate with vCenter for automated deployment of Hadoop clusters.
Provide self service of Hadoop clusters in the private cloud with vCloud Automation Center.
Integrate with management tools to manage infrastructure and perform Hadoop installation.
Elastically scale compute and data separately.
VMware Integrated OpenStack
VMware Integrated OpenStack – VIO enables IT administrators to deploy and manage a production grade OpenStack quickly and easily on top of their VMware infrastructure. It provides key administration capabilities including install, upgrade, troubleshooting and cost visibility to various VMware management tool. A few key feature of VIO include:
Streamlined deployment using vSphere web client
Seamless upgrade or patch
Available free of charge for use for all vSphere Enterprise Plus Customers
Highly scalable network virtualization solution through NSX
Simple, high performance and resilient storage using Virtual SAN
Predefined workflows for automating operations such as adding or removing capacity
A few advantage of VIO include:
Most robust and production proven hypervisor
Advanced virtualized network services with massive scale and throughput
Advanced storage policies using virtual SAN and vSphere virtual volume
Works with any vSphere validated storage
Cloud Services – vCloud Air
vCloud Air is an extension of the of the SDDC that is designed to deliver a true hybrid cloud.
This service supports existing workloads and 3rd party application as well as new application development giving administrators a common platform to seamlessly extend their data center to the cloud. Administrators can leverage the tools and processes that they are familiar with and move the existing applications and services to the cloud without having to re-architect the infrastructure. vCloud Air offers a seamlessly networking layer between your data center or private cloud and vCloud Air and common management tools for on-premises and off-premises management of workload. Application and data are completely mobile from your premises to vCloud Air and back to premises on demand. It allows you to stay in full control of the cloud environment using your current staff, processes, tools and automatation.
EVO:Rack and EVO:Rail
VMware EVO Rack
VMware EVO Rack is a hyper converged infrastructure product that can dramatically simplified how companies buy, deploy and operate SDDCs.
It help organizations rapidly provision applications and services at data center scale.
EVO Rack meets the increasing demands of private clouds at medium to large enterprises.
It can run on a range of pre-integrated hardware configurations ranging from Open Compute Project based hardware designed to industry designed OEM servers and converged infrastructure.
VMware EVO Rail
VMware EVO Rail is another hyper converged infrastructure product
That would help customers to streamline the deployment and scale-out of software-defined IT infrastructure
It is also the first solution in a family of hyper converged offerings from VMware
EVO Rails target users in the mid-market and enterprise segments.
It is ideally suited for use CASES such as desktop infrastructure or VDI as well as remote office, branch office for industries such as financial services, Federal, Healthcare, Higher Education, Insurance, Oil and Gas and Retail.
VMware vSphere delivers maximum availability of your virtualized environment making unplanned downtime of thing of the past. The enhanced availability also minimizes unplanned downtime through automated virtual machine restart. Automatic virtual machine placement and load balancing, Backup and Recovery and Site wide Disaster recovery enhances availability. The vSphere availability features include vSphere Data Protection, High Availability, Fault tolerance and vSphere replication.
vSphere Data Protection
VMware vSphere data protection is a robust easy to deploy disk-based backup and recovery solution for VMware virtualized environment. The feature enables both local data protection and off site disaster recovery. Backups are performed locally and then replicated offside for disaster recovery. Data Protection is managed using the vSphere web client, an interface that is familiar to the vSphere administrator. With data protection, tasks such as creating Backup jobs, Restoring virtual machines and Backup data replication are intuitive.
Data protection includes agents that enables application consistent backup and recovery from a wide variety of servers including the Microsoft SQL server, Microsoft Exchange server and Microsoft Sharepoint server. It allows you to restore the replicated backup data to a target location or back to the source location. This functionality provides several retention and recovery options to satisfy a wide variety of business requirements. Data protections also include automates backup verification schedule jobs that routinely restore virtual machines, boot the guest operating systems and check for VMware tools heart beats to verify if the virtual machines have been recovered successfully and then delete the restored virtual machines. The data protection support for backup data storage provides increased reliability and backup data capacity with minimum impact on network bandwidth and performance.
High Availability proposes easy to use, cost effective high availability for applications running on virtual machines. In the event of physical server failure affected virtual machines are automatically restarted on other server with space capacity. In a case of operating system failure, HA restart the affected virtual machine on the same physical server.
The combination of HA and the other availability features of the vSphere platform provides organisations with the ability to select and deliver the level of availability required for all their important applications. HA enables you to minimise unplanned downtime and IT service disruptions. While eliminating the need for dedicated standby hardware or the installation of additional software. It provides affordable and uniform HA across the entire virtualized IT environment without the cost and complexity of fail over solutions tie to either operating systems or specific applications. To monitor operating system failures, HA monitor heartbeat information provided by the VMware tools package installed on each virtual machine on the cluster. Failure are detected when no heart beat received from a given virtual machine within a specified time interval.
vSphere Fault Tolerance is an important feature that allows you to protect mission critical high performance applications regardless of the operating systems or other running applications. It provides continuous availability for applications in the event of physical server failures by creating a lock step of virtual machine that is always up to date with the primary virtual machine. In the event of hardware outage, Fault Tolerance automatically triggers fail over ensuring zero downtime and preventing data loss. vSphere Fault Tolerance is easy to set up and configure and does not require any other operating system and application specific agent and configurations. It is tightly integrated with vSphere and managed using the vSphere web client. Fault tolerance can support up to 4 vCPUs and 64 GB of memory thus providing protection for approximately 90% of mission critical customer workloads regardless of the application or operating system.
A traffic between hosts where primary and secondary virtual machines are running is referred as Fault Tolerance logging. In vSphere 6.0, Fault Tolerance logging is very bandwidth intensive and the use of a dedicated 10 GB of NIC on each host is recommended. Though this is not a requirement, without the necessary bandwidth, the protected virtual machine would be slower. vSphere 6.0 Fault Tolerance creates a copy of the entire virtual machine resulting in total protection for virtual machine storage, compute and memory. It also allows you to store primary and secondary VM files on both shared as well as on local storage. This result in increased protection, reduced risk and improved flexibility. You can use VMware snapshot based tools to backup the Fault Tolerance protected virtual machine enabling easier Backup Administration and Data Protectioin and Reduced Risks. Fault tolerance support all virtual disk types, including Eager-Zeroed Thick, Thick and Thin disks.
Host compatiblity for vSphere Fault Tolerance is now the same as for vSphere vMotion. These features make is easy to use Fault Tolerance.
vSphere Replication is a feature to provide data protection and disaster recovery for vSphere platform by replicating virtual machine within the same site of cross-site. It create a copy of the virtual machine that can be stored locally within a cluster or another site providing a data storage to rapidly restore the virtual machine within minute. This recovery process is simpler and faster as compared to the process of restoring from a backup. In vSphere 6.0, replication is tightly integrated with vSphere and is managed using vSphere web client. It allows you to create as many as 24 recovery points for a replicated VM. It also provides you with the option to minimize network bandwidth consumption by controlling the frequency and Extent of Replication. Further, the replicated data is compressed as it is sent across the network and stay compress until it is written to storage. Though compressing and decompressing them replicated data cost some CPU cycles on the source and target storage host, the result is always balanced between Performance, Compression and Limited overhead. vSphere 6.0 allows you to easily isolate network traffic associated with vSphere replication from other vSphere host traffic. This allows you to control bandwidth by configuring more and more NIC in a vSphere replication virtual appliance and by using vSphere network I/O control to separate network traffic. At the source, administrators can specify a NIC for replication traffic and use Network I/O control to control replication bandwidth utilization. At the target vSphere replication appliances can have multiple NICs with separate IP addresses to separate incoming traffic isolated controllable flows. The administrator can specify one of the NICs for incoming replication traffic to be written to storage and the result is improved performance and security.