Automating vCloud Director Resiliency whitepaper released

About a year ago I wrote a whitepaper about vCloud Director resiliency, or better said I developed a disaster recovery solution for vCloud Director. This solution allows you to fail-over vCloud Director workloads between sites in the case of a failure. Immediately after it was published various projects started to implement this solution. As part of our internal project our PowerCLI guru’s Aidan Dalgleish and Alan Renouf started looking in to automating the solution. Those who read the initial case study probably have seen the manual steps required for a fail-over, those who haven’t read this white paper first

The manual steps in the vCloud Director Resiliency whitepaper is exactly what Alan and Aidan addressed. So if you are interested in implementing this solution then it is useful to read this paper new white paper about Automating vCloud Director Resiliency as well. Nice work Alan and Aidan!

VMware View Infrastructure Resiliency whitepaper published

One of the white papers I worked on in 2012 when I was part of Technical Marketing was just published. This white paper is about VMware View infrastructure resiliency. It is a common question from customers, and now with this white paper you can explore the different options and understand the impact of these options. Below is a link to the paper and the description is has on the VMware website.

VMware View Infrastructure Resiliency: VMware View 5 and VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager
“This case study provides insight and information on how to increase availability and recoverability of a VMware View infrastructure using VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM), common disaster recovery (DR) tools and methodologies, and vSphere High Availability.”

I want to thank Simon Richardson, Kris Boyd, Matt Coppinger and John Dodge for working with me on this paper. Glad it is finally available!

SRM vs Stretched Cluster solution /cc @sakacc

I was reading this article by Chad Sakac on vSphere DR / HA, or in other words SRM versus Stretched (vMSC) solutions. I have presented on vSphere Metro Storage Cluster solutions at VMworld together with Lee Dilworth and also wrote a white paper on this topic a while back and various blog posts since. I agree with Chad that there are too many people misinformed about the benefits of both solutions. I have been on calls with customers where indeed people were saying SRM is a legacy solution and the next big thing is “Active / Active”. Funny thing is that in a way I agree when they say SRM has been around for a long time and the world is slowly changing, I do not agree with the term “legacy” though.

I guess it depends on how you look at it, yes SRM has been around for a long time but it also is a proven solution that does what it says it does. It is an orchestration solution for Disaster Recovery solutions. Think about a disaster recovery scenario for a second and then read those two last sentences again. When you are planning for DR, isn’t it nice to use a solution that does what it says it does. Although I am a big believer in “active / active” solutions, there is a time and place for it; in many of the discussions I have been a stretched cluster solution was just not what people were looking for. On top of that Stretched Cluster solutions aren’t always easy to operate. That is I guess what Chad was also referring to in his post. Don’t get me wrong, a stretched cluster is a perfectly viable solution when your organization is mature enough and you are looking for a disaster avoidance and workload mobility solution.

If you are at the point of making a decision around SRM vs Stretched Cluster make sure to think about your requirements / goals first. Hopefully all of you have read this excellent white paper by Ken Werneburg. Ken describes the pros and cons of each of these solutions perfectly, read it carefully and then make your decision based on your business requirement.

So just in short to recap for those who are interested but don’t have time to read the full paper, make time though… really do!

Where does SRM shine:

  • Disaster Recovery
  • Orchestration
  • Testing
  • Reporting
  • Disaster Avoidance (will incur downtime when VMs failover to other site)

Where does a Stretched Cluster solution shine:

  • Workload mobility
  • Cross-site automated load balancing
  • Enhanced downtime avoidance
  • Disaster Avoidance (VMs can be vMotioned, no downtime incurred!)

 

VMworld #NotSupported lightning talk slides – Hacking SRM

I presented this 15 minute talk at VMworld about hacking SRM or actually hacking the Storage Replication Adapter which is part of SRM. I noticed William Lam shared his slides so I figured I would do the same. This slidedeck was based on two articles I did a while back around hacking the SRA, you might want to read them as well. ( 1 , 2 )

I hope they are useful. Once again, thanks to Randy Keener for coming up with this excellent idea and thanks to the brownbag guys for helping hosting this great initiative. Lets hope we will see more of this next year at VMworld,

Demo time – vCloud Director 5.1 disaster recovery demo

When I was playing with the new vCloud Director 5.1 and Site Recovery Manager 5.1 I figured I would record a demo of the DR solution that Chris Colotti and I developed. The demo is fairly straight forward and hopefully helps you in the process of building a resilient cloud infrastructure. In this demo I have included:

  • vSphere 5.1
    • vSphere Replication
  • vCloud Director 5.1
  • Site Recovery Manager 5.1

Site Recovery Manager survey… please help us out!

I just received an email from the the Site Recovery Manager Product Management team. They created a new survey, and I was hoping each of you who is using, or will be purchasing SRM soon, could take the time to complete it. These types of surveys are very useful for Product Management when it comes to setting priorities for new features and identify gaps etc. Thanks!

We are conducting a survey about VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) to learn more about how people use our products. The survey will help us identify where we can improve the product to meet your needs and we would really appreciate getting your feedback.

The link to the survey is below, it typically takes less than 10 minutes to complete. http://www.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?ECC8A4BDEDA6B9BAE7

Thanks!

Forced recovery option grayed out with Site Recovery Manager 5.0.1

I was playing with Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.0.1 today and I wanted to trigger a fail-over. As I just wanted a quick test I figured I would use the “forced recovery” option. This option allows you to fail-over without SRM trying to sync the storage layer. In a normal situation I would probably try to sync my storage but as I knew the other site was dead and I just wanted to test it quickly I figured I would just tick it and get the recovery plan going. Unfortunately the option was grayed out.

You can enable this fairly simple  though:

  1. Right click in the left pane on your site
  2. Click “advanced settings”
  3. Click “Recovery”
  4. Select the “recovery.forcedFailover” setting

Now when you run your recovery plan it will not try to power-off/shutdown VMs or sync the storage. Nice right.

Another option that I spotted which many of you might need is “storageProvider.hostRescanRepeatCnt”, in the past I often had to rescan my storage system at least twice before LUNs would appear. That is where this setting comes in handy as it will do that for you. There’s some more nice new SRM 5.0.1 features to be found in this article by Ken Werneburg, make sure to read it.