vCenter High Availability Deployment and Testing in my Home Lab

Home-Lab, VCAP6 - Design, vcenter, vsphere65
Since I upgraded my home lab to vSphere 6.5 I wanted to test the vCenter high availably feature.  In this post we will discuss vCenter High Availability (VCHA) deployment (step by step installation) and we are also going to test the feature and see how the system is responding. So what is VCHA?: VCHA is a way to eliminate single point of failure when it comes to the vCenter appliance. The architecture of VCHA includes three vCenter nodes, active node, passive node and witness node, which serves as a quorum only. VCHA supports both embedded and external PSC configuration, and if you use external PSC configuration you will need to use load balancer when designing your solution (supported load balancers are Netscaler,F5 BIG-IP and NSX Edge). When you deploy VCHA,…
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vSphere SRM 6.X Install and configure – Part 6 -Failover Re-protect and failback

Replication, SRM, VCAP6 - Design
In the previous posts we created and tested our recovery plan. at this point we know that we are ready in case we encounter a disaster at our protected site. In this post we will initiate a failover and failback to see if what we created so far actually works. Disclosure : All my Configuration and testing are made in a lab envioremnt so make sure to read and understand VMware documentation before using any of this information in a production environment. In this post we will perform the following steps: Run the recovery plan : When we running the recovery plan, SRM will migrate all the VM in the recovery plan to the recovery site in addition SRM Will shutdown our VM's on the protected site. There are two…
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vSphere SRM 6.X Install and configure – Part 5 – Creating recovery plan and testing

Replication, SRM, VCAP6 - Design
Now that we've installed SRM in our lab environment and followed the SRM configuration tasks, we need to complete the last and most important step by creating a recovery plan and testing our recovery plan. The recovery plan that we will create in this post will control every step in the recovery process. If you followed the SRM Installation and Configure series on this blog, please make sure that you have configured the protection group from part 4 of this series, and also make sure that your replication is working correctly (we only use vSphere replication at this point). Creating Recovery Plan step by step: In the SRM window click on the protected site and then click on Step 6 "Create a Recovery Plan" Create a name for your recovery…
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vSphere SRM 6.X Install and configure – Part 4 – Configure Protection group

Replication, SRM, VCAP6 - Design
In the previous posts we Installed SRM in our lab environment, we paired the two sites, we configured Inventory mappings and configured placeholder datastore. In this post we will continue with the configuration by adding protection groups The idea behind protection groups is to groups VM's and make sure they failover together to the recovery site. In SRM You can use protection group for array based replication and also for vSphere replication, in my lab I only configured vSphere replication at this point so I will demonstrate protection group configuration. Note: The following link is a good read on VMware blogs for SRM protection group design considerations: https://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2015/05/srm-protection-group-design.html Configuring Protection Group step by step: In the SRM window click on the protected site and then click on step 5 "Create Protection…
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vSphere SRM 6.X Install and configure – Part 3 – Configure Placeholder datastore

Replication, SRM, VCAP6 - Design
In the previous post we Installed SRM in our lab environment and we paired the two sites and configured Inventory mappings. In this post we will continue with the configuration, if you look at VMware configuration guide the next step is to configure placeholder datastore. We need to configure a datastore on the recovery site which SRM can store the placeholder for VM's files, this datastore doesnt have to be big to contain the entire total size of the VM's In fact placeholder VM's files are very small. I wasnt able to find actual sizing document for the placeholder datastore but i did find a discuss on VMTN: https://communities.vmware.com/thread/514420 Note: You will need to configure placeholder datastore on both sites for reverse recovery Configuring placeholder datastore step by step: In the…
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vSphere SRM 6.X Install and configure – Part 2 – Configure Inventory Mappings

Replication, SRM, VCAP6 - Design
In the previous post we Installed SRM in our lab environment and we also paired the two sites. In this post we will continue with the configuration. If you look at VMware configuration guide the next step is to configure inventory mappings. With Inventory Mappings we can specify how SRM maps the VM's resources at the remote site, the idea is that you use inventory mapping to dictate where in the protected site the VM's will be placed in case of a failure, you can map compute resources, VM folders and networks. So in the following examples we are going to set the following: Resource Mapping - With resource mappings you can map resource pools, standalone host vApps and clusters, You cannot map individual hosts that are part of a…
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vSphere SRM 6.X Install and configure – Part 1

Replication, SRM, VCAP6 - Design
In preparation for the design exam we need to cover vSphere replication and SRM. I decided to create a lab to demonstrate the installation and configuration of SRM. On this blog, you can find more information about replication cover in the VCP/VCAP deploy sections The following are the configuration of the two datacenters used for my SRM lab Datacenter Name: EP-L1 Prod Objective: Replication Source Configuration: Using four ESXi servers in a cluster configuration   Datacenter Name: EP-Remote Objective: Replication target Configuration: using two ESXi servers in a cluster configuration   Note: At this point I will not use SRA’s, I will be using vSphere native replication Prerequisite: Make sure your DNS configured correctly Make sure your NTP configured correctly on all hosts, vCenter and VM’s Make sure vSphere replication is…
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VCAP – Design: VMware vSphere Distributed Switch best practice notes

Networking, NIOC, VCAP6 - Design, vDS
In this post I will share my notes about VMware vSphere Distributed Switch best practice document in preparation for the VCAP Design exam. (Document link; https://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/techpaper/vsphere-distributed-switch-best-practices-white-paper.pdf) Notes: The document is not updated to vSphere v6; some of the information related to v5.X only. The document includes a lot of useful information.  This post is only study notes; if you are not familiar with the technologies discussed in the document please read the document first. I have chosen to cover the rack server configuration only, but the document also cover blade server configuration Design Consideration: Goals: No single point of failure Isolate traffic type Use of traffic management and optimization Component configuration: Rack server with 8 1GbE NIC’s Rack server with 2 10GbE NIC’s Physical Switch – capable of switch clustering…
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VCAP – Design: Storage Calculation – Part 3

Storage, VCAP6 - Design
This post is a continuation of Storage Calculation - Part 2; in this post we are going to talk about how we calculate storage throughput and datastore sizing for your design. Note: This post will show basic calculations and will not take into account caching and tiering technologies Calculating throughput: In the previous post we discussed IOPS, and now we will use the IOPS in a formula to calculate the throughput. The formula to calculate the throughput is: Throughput in MB/s = Workload IOPS  * IO size / 1024 For example :  A Company uses storage to archive and steam video surveillance, the I/O size for this workload is 64K and the total workload IOPS is 5000 (for all cameras) lets plug the numbers = 64k * 5000 / 1024 = 312.5 MB/s  …
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VCAP – Design: Storage Calculation – Part 2

Storage, VCAP6 - Design
This post is a continuation of Storage calculation part 1; in this post we are going to talk about disk types and how we calculate IOPS and Disks for your Design Note: This post will show basic calculations and will not take into account caching and tiering technologies Disks types Now that we've covered the raid levels, let’s talk about the disk drives. In the enterprise world we normally see the following disk types: 7.2K RPM NL-SAS or SATA 10K RPM SAS or FC 15K RPM SAS or FC SSD When we are looking to design a storage system, we need to consider the following: IOPS RAID Write Penalty Application workflow IOPS = Input/Output operation per second. In spinning disks the numbers of IOPS are well known and they are…
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