Friday, July 8, 2016

Assigning a Storage Policy to Multiple VMs with PowerCLI

Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM) is one of the most compelling benefits of Virtual SAN. With SPBM, you can define a number of policies each with a rule-set that governs items such as availability and performance. A policy can then be assigned to existing virtual machines and when creating a new virtual machine. It is even possible to assign a policy to individual virtual disks. The ability to assign policies at the virtual machine and virtual disk levels enables precise management of storage without having to create LUNs, define RAID sets, mask LUNs, etc. There are cases where an administrator might need to assign a policy to a group of virtual machines. This article provides a short script for automating the assignment of a storage policy to multiple virtual machines using VMware vSphere PowerCLI.

Friday, May 27, 2016

vSphere Replication Appliance Failure Prevention And Recovery

vSphere Replication is an excellent host-based, per-VM replication solution that is included with vSphere Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions. That’s right – if you have vSphere Essentials Plus or higher, you have vSphere Replication. There are several use cases for vSphere Replication: Migrating VMs from old hardware to new hardware, migrating VMs between data centers, and disaster recovery – with or without vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) – to name a few. When talking with customers, we tend to cover the features and benefits for starters and move on to how it works – and then what happens when issues such as hardware failure, administrative mistakes, etc. occur.

In this article, we will not discuss all of the details around how it works, but at a high level, changed data for each protected VM is replicated from vSphere hosts at the source location to one or more vSphere Replication virtual appliance(s) at the target location. The vSphere Replication appliance(s) then write this replicated data to vSphere storage at the target location. This often raises questions about what happens if these vSphere Replication appliances go offline or are lost. That is what we will cover in this post.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Erasing VMware Virtual SAN Partitions

There are some cases where you might want to reuse storage devices from an old Virtual SAN cluster in a new cluster or perhaps you are reinstalling everything from scratch using the same hardware. You might find that devices previously used for Virtual SAN still contain the Virtual SAN partitions as shown here:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

11 Tips to Help You Get Started with vSphere Data Protection

VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP) 6.x is included with VMware vSphere 6.0 Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions of vSphere. Considering the incredible number of organizations running vSphere, it is no surprise that VDP is being used more and more everyday. VDP is engineered by EMC and it is based on EMC's Avamar solution. That means customers get great Avamar features in VDP 6.x such as variable length deduplication and backup data replication.

As with just about any software solution, it has a few nuances and best practices that should be followed. I spoke with a few of our VMware Technical Support Engineers to find out what issues generate the most calls. This article briefly discusses these top issues and provides some general guidance on getting started with VDP.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Enable SSH Root Login for vSphere Data Protection

VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP) is a backup and recovery solution based on EMC Avamar that is included with vSphere Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions of vSphere. VDP is deployed as a virtual appliance running a Linux guest operating system (OS). I have had several individuals ask about enabling the ability to log into the VDP appliance guest OS as the root user with an ssh client such as PuTTY on Windows and Terminal on OS X. This is disabled by default for security purposes, but it can easily be enabled. This short blog article provides the steps. Just be sure to disable the access when it is no longer needed.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Backing up VMs on VSAN with VDP and Data Domain

Virtual SAN (VSAN) is VMware’s software-defined storage solution for a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). Virtual SAN is natively integrated with vSphere and it is configured with just a few mouse clicks. Since disks internal to the vSphere hosts are used to create a Virtual SAN datastore, there is no dependency on external shared storage. Virtual machines can be assigned specific storage policies based on the needs of the applications. However, one aspect that is not (yet) part of a Virtual SAN storage policy is backup and recovery. That is where vSphere Data Protection (VDP) can play an important role. VDP 6.1.1 features interoperability with VSAN 5.5, 6.0, and 6.1 and it is possible to deploy a VDP virtual appliance to a VSAN datastore to back up VMs running on VSAN. However, this breaks the cardinal rule of not having your production data and backup data on the same storage. How can we address that? Keep reading...

Monday, November 16, 2015

Recovering a Replicated vSphere Data Protection (VDP) Virtual Appliance

The question: Can a vSphere Data Protection (VDP) virtual appliance be successfully recovered from a replicated copy?

“Successfully recovered” means not only recovering the appliance, but being able to restore a VM from that recovered appliance. To test out this scenario, I used vSphere Replication (VR) to provide a replicated copy of the VDP virtual appliance. I do not recommend using VR to replicate VDP. In this case, I simply needed a way to test whether the VDP appliance could be recovered from the replicated copy at a secondary site – more importantly, to see if I could actually use the recovered VDP appliance at the secondary site to recover a VM that was backed up at the primary site. If you want the quick answer, scroll down to the end of this article for my recommendations. If you want more details...