Dell EMC VxRail 4.0 – Erasure Coding

Erasure Coding enables significant space reduction. An erasure coding 3+1, also known as Network RAID-5 3+1, can give us 50% more usable capacity than a RAID-1 Mirroring policy. Erasure Coding 3+1 requires a minimum of 4 Fault Domains/Hosts.

In this environment, there are four nodes in this VxRail Cluster.

In this post, we will learn how to create the storage policy in Dell EMC VxRail 4.0 and assign the storage policy into the virutal machines. First login into vCenter server in vSphere Web Client. You will now execute a set of steps to create a new storage policy.

Click Policies and Profiles.

Create the new storage policy.

Input the Name of storage policy, then Next.

Click <Add rule> Select Failure Tolerance method based on the below settings. Then Next.

Once the storage policy is created, you can assign this storage policy “Erasure Coding” into the virtual machines.

Rigth click of the virutal machine, select VM Policies and Edit VM Storage Policies.

In the VM storage policy list box, select the policy you created, Erasure Coding.
Click Apply to all. Click OK.

NOTE: After applying a new policy to a VM, it is important to verify that the VM complies to the new rules. Incertain policy changes, such as changes in QoS limits, the VMs will become compliant almost immediately but when changing rules like fault tolerance mode, it will take some time for the VM to become compliant because the adaptation to the new rules require data movement. In the following steps you will check the VM compliance and monitor the component reconfiguration process.

Finally you should go to monitor component reconfiguration,

Click on the Monitor tab. Click on the Policies tab
Select Hard disk1
Click Physical Disk Placement.
Check the Component State column. It may display “reconfiguring” or “active”.
Observe that there are 4 components associated to the “Hard Disk 1 – RAID-5 object”.
Each component is in a different Fault Domain.

NOTE: Erasure Coding requires to enable Fault Domains in VSAN Cluster.

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Cisco UCS Management Pack for VMware vRealize Operations 6.6 (VMware + Cisco UCS)

Cisco UCS Management Pack for the vRealize Operations Manager contains UCS Manager Adapter which enables monitoring of the UCS domains on the Operations Manager web UI. The pack uses the XML API exposed by the Cisco UCS Manager to get the data from the UCS domains. This data is used for monitoring the health and faults of the various resources in the UCS domain. This pack also establishes the relation between physical and virtual infrastructure.

You can download UCS Management Pack for VMware vRealize Operations Manager in the below link.

Download link:
https://software.cisco.com/download/release.html?i=!y&mdfid=286305108&softwareid=286305820&release=2.0(3)

Release Notes:
UCSM for vROps

In this post, we will learn how to deploy UCS Management Pack in VMware vRealize Operations Manager 6.6. You should go to Solutions of Administration, then install UCS Adapter.

Browse the Cisco UCS Adapter.

Then Upload.

Then Next.

Accept the agreement, then Next.

It starts the installation.

Once the installatin is completed, then Finish.

Now we start to setup the connection of UCS Manager and VMware vRealize Operations Manager.

Input the required information.

Input the Credentail of UCS Manager and vRealize Operations Manager.

Once the configuration is successfully completed, it starts to collect the performance data from UCS Manager.

Finally we can go to five Dashbords of UCS, ie UCSM Overview/UCS Health Tree/UCS Fabric Interconnect Traffic Statistics/UCS Power Summary/UCS Server Motherboard Statistics.

Installation and configuration of EMC Storage Analytics 4.3 and VMware vRealize Operations Manager 6.6 (VMware + EMC Unity)

EMC Storage Analytics solution provides a single, end-to-end view of virtualized infrastructures (servers to storage) powered by the VMware vRealize Operations Manager analytics engine. EMC Storage Analytics (ESA) delivers actionable performance analysis and proactively facilitates increased insight into storage resource pools to help detect capacity and performance issues so they can be corrected before they cause a major impact. ESA provides increased visibility, metrics and a rich collection of storage analytics for Avamar, Isilon, EMC RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines, ScaleIO, Unity, Unity/VSA, VNX, VNXe, VMAX, VMAX All Flash, VPLEX and XtremIO infrastructures in virtual or physical environments.

NOTE: The license is required to enable the feature of EMC Storage Analytics on the target EMC Array.

First you need to download the EMC Adapter at support.emc.com. Then go to Solutions section of VMware vRealize Operations Manager and start to install EMC Adapter.

Select the EMC Adpater and then NEXT.

Then click UPLOAD.

Then click NEXT.

Accept the agreement, then click NEXT.

Starts the installation.

You can see EMC adapter when the installation completed.

Select EMC Adapter and starts to configure which EMC storage needs to monitor. In this case, I select EMC UnityVSA storage to monitor its performance data.

Once the configuration is completed, it starts to collect the performance data from UnityVSA.

You can view dashboards of Unity Metrics/Overview/Topology.

Installation and Configuration of VMware vRealize Operations Manager 6.6

In this post I will introduce the deployment of VMware vRealize Operations Manager 6.6. This deployment is very simple and it divided into two phases.

  1. Installation – OVA deployment
  2. Configuration – Initial Cluster Configuration

The OVA deployment is very simple, just import OVA into vSphere server in vCenter server, setup its management IP and then boot up the virtual appliance.

After you boot up vRealize Operations Manager 6.6, then input its IP address in web browser and start the configuration, click “NEW INSTALLTION”.

Then NEXT.

Setup the new password for admin, then NEXT.

Install the certificate, you can choose the default certficate or install a new one, then NEXT.

Input the name of Master Node and NTP server, then NEXT.

Finally click FINISH.

It starts the configuration when you click “Start vRealize Operations Manager”.

Cluster status will show “Online” when the installation is successfully completed.

Go to “https://<Managment IP address of vRealize Operations Manager>/ui

Go to vRealize Operations Manager Configuration, then NEXT.

Accept the agreement, then NEXT.

Input the Product key, then NEXT.

Then NEXT.

Finally, click FINISH.

Once the configuration is successfully completed, go to Solutions section of Administration tab and start to configure vCenter adapter.

Input the vCenter Server and its Credentail, then click “SAVE SETTINGS”.

Once the setting is completed, vCenter Adapter starts to collect the performance data from vCenter Server.

Upgrade – VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5

In this post, we will perform the upgrading from vCenter 6.0 U3 to 6.5 U1. We highly suggest that check VMware Product Interoperability Matrices before any VMware products upgrade. Accroding to Interoperability Matrices, this upgrade path is supported.

Firstly you need to download vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Update 1 ISO in VMware website. Then mount this ISO and start the vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 installer located at \vcsa-ui-installer\win32

Select Upgrade button from the VMware vCenter Server Appliance 6.5 Installer.

VCSA Upgrade includes two stages which is deploy a new VCSA and copy data from source VCSA to target VCSA.

Stage 1 – Deploying vCenter Appliance 6.5

Click on Next.

Accept the End User Licence Agreement. Click on Next.

Enter the FQDN or IP of your existing 6.0 VCSA as well what host the existing VCSA resides on, along with all the login credentials. Click on Next.

Enter the ESXi host you want the new VCSA 6.5 appliance to be deployed. Click on Next.

Enter the name you would like for the appliance VM and root password. Click on Next.

Next, select the deployment size that best matches your environment. For this demonstration I’m selecting Tiny. Click on Next.

Select what datastore you want the VCSA 6.5 appliance to be stored. Click on Next.

Configure a TEMPORARY network setting. Once Stage 2 of the upgrade has been completed the VCSA 6.5 will take the network identity of the old existing VCSA. Click on Next.

Review the summary and click on Finish.

Once completed you will have the option to continue onto Stage 2 of the upgrade or close. If you close then you can finish the VCSA config by going to “https://<TEMP_VCENTER_IP>:5480

Stage 2 – Copying data to VCSA 6.5

After clicking Continue from Stage 1 you will be taken to the Stage 2 Upgrade introduction page, click on Next.

Confirm the source vCenter Server and ESXi host. Click on Next, this will start pre-check.

Select what data you would like to migrate from the existing VCSA 6.0 deployment to the new VCSA 6.5. Click on Next.

Check or un-check if you would like to join the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) and click on Next.

Again review the summary and check “I have backed up the source vCenter Server and all the required data from the database” and click on Finish.

You’ll receive a notice telling you that the existing VCSA 6.0 appliance will be shut down and it’s network identity will be enabled on the new VCSA 6.5 upgrade. Click on OK.

It starts to copy the data from the source VCSA to the target VCSA.

After a few minutes the vCenter Server Appliance upgrade should complete and you should see the following screen.

When you log into vCenter 6.5 by web client in “https://<VCENTER_IP>/vsphere-client and start enjoying vCenter Server 6.5.

This upgrade is successfully completed.

Dell EMC RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines 5.1 – Protect VM

In this post, we will perform one demonstration of new Virtual Machine protection (Local Copy) and see the power of auto-provisioning of replica VMs as well as Journals and VMDKs.

Firstly you login into vCenter by Administrator in vSphere Web Client, then will protect the virtual machine “TestVM” by RecoverPoint for Virtual Machine.

Right-click the TestVM, and then select All RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines > Protect.

Note: Once you right click on the VM, it might take few seconds for the All RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines option to appear at the bottom of the menu.

On the first step, you must select whether you want to create a new Consistency Group or add the VM to an existing CG. For the TestVM, you will create a new Consistency Group. Ensure Create new consistency group for this VM is selected.

The Protect VM wizard in RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines allows protection of multiple VMs within the same Protect VM wizard. In this case, only the TestVM should be protected at this point. Therefore, Do not select Select additional VM(s) to protect within the same consistency group.

In the Enter a name for the new Consistency Group field, type TestVM_CG.

Then you will select a RecoverPoint for VMs cluster to protect the TestVM. Select vRPA51 as the production cluster which is going to replicate the TestVM. Click Next.

NOTE: vRPA51 is local vRPAcluster, DR-vRPA51 is remote vRPAcluster.

In the Enter a name for the production copy field, type TestVM_PROD. Select Manually select a registered datastore from the table below, and select DS3_SDD.

Expand Advanced options > TestVM> VMDKs

Other options under Advanced Options are:

  • Protection Policy – Automatically protect new VMDKs.
  • Disk Provisioning – Select the same Disk Provisioning as the source VM or create the replica VMDKs as either THICK or THIN regardless of their type on the source VM
  • Hardware Changes – Replicate Hardware changes made to the source VM towards the replica VM. If this option is deselected, the replica VM would be created with virtual Hardware configuration as the source on the time the production VM was initially protected.

Click Next.

In this step you will configure one of our two target copies. You will start by configuring the local copy. In the Enter a name for the new copy field, type TestVM_Copy1. Select vRPA51, and then click Next.

Here, you will configure the journal volumes for the vRPA51 local copy. Leave the Journal size as 10GB as well as the current configured datastore.

Replication type to Asynchronous or Synchronous and you can also specify an RPO in terms of allowed lag based on size, number of writes or time (seconds, minutes..etc). For now, leave this option unchanged. Click Next.

In this demonstration, you want to automatically create the replica VM so leave the Automatically create a new VM copy at the target cluster option selected.

Select the resource to run the replica VM. Expand vRPA51 > vrp-vcenter6.victorlab.com > New Datacenter, and then select Site-A. Click Next.

In this step, you will configure the datastore which the target VM will reside on. Select the DS1_SDD datastore to store the target VM. Click Next.

In this step, you will define failover network for target VM. Click Next.

In the Ready to Complete screen, a summary of selections that you made during the wizard are displayed. Take a moment to review the settings, and then click Protect.

The RecoverPoint for VMs system is now creating the shadow (.shadow) and replica (.copy) VMs as well as auto-provisioning VMDKs for the replica VM and source and target journals.

After waiting and refreshing vSphere Web Client, you will see that replication initialization begins. Depending on what step the system is running, you might see the rp.TestVM.copy.shadow VMs in the inventory list on the left.

If you see any displayed errors about vRPAs unable to access certain devices, ignore those – they will be cleared once the volume have been provisioned.

Ignore any warnings on vRPAs running on the same ESX as the protected VM. It’s recommended that vRPAs protect VMs running on different ESXi nodes. vRPAs and VMs can co-exist on the same node, but the recommendation is to have the vRPAs protect other VMs.

In a production environment, the Consistency Group state would change from Paused by System, to Init (%) and finally to Active state. Active state would indicate that point-in-time images are available at the target replica VM.

In a production environment, the accompanying screenshot shows how replication displays an Active state which would indicate that point-in-time images are available for test and recovery operations.

Demonstration – Protection of Dell EMC RecoverPoint 5.0 For VMs

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