Cisco Unified Computing System 4.0 – New GUI

Cisco UCS Manager, Release 4.0 provides unified, embedded management of all software and hardware components of the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) across multiple chassis, Cisco UCS servers, and thousands of virtual machines. Cisco UCS Manager manages Cisco UCS as a single entity through an intuitive GUI, a command-line interface (CLI), or an XML API for comprehensive access to all Cisco UCS Manager functions.

The following demo is based on Cisco UCS 4.0(1c). When we go to UCS Manger mangement page, we can still launch UCS Manager or KVM Manager.

In this demo, we will associate service profile (VMware ESXi and Microsoft Windows) to UCS blades. On the Servers tab, expand Servers > Service Profiles > root to show the existing service profiles. Expand Servers > Service Profiles Templates > root. Click Service Profile Templates to show the list of available templates in the work pane.

Select Create Service Profiles from Template from the resulting menu to begin the automated deployment. We can enter service profile name in the Naming Prefix field, the number for Name Suffix Starting Number and Number of Instances.

It starts the UCS configuration.

After the configuration is completed, we can launch UCS blade by KVM console.

We can manage the VMware vSphere and Microsoft Windows platform.

If you launch the KVM Manager, you can see the all UCS blades that associated with UCS service profile.


Overview of Hyper Converged Infrastructure Systems

The following are some reference information about each brand HCI.

Dell EMC VxRail Appliance

vCenter Server Options on VxRail Appliance

Software upgrade – Dell EMC VxRail vSAN Stretched Cluster

Dell EMC VxRail – VMware Virtual SAN Stretched Cluster

iDRAC firmware upgrade on EMC VxRail Appliance

Demo – EMC VxRail software upgrade from v4.0.310 to v4.5.0 (Quanta)

New Features in EMC VxRail 4.5

Dell EMC VxRail 4.0 – Erasure Coding

VMware vSAN

VMware vSAN 6.6 Stretched Cluster

Create VM Storage Policies on vSAN 6.6 Stretched Cluster

VMware Virtual SAN 6.7

Enabling VMware vSAN 6.7

Enabling vRealize Operations within vCenter and vSAN 6.7

What’s New in vSAN 6.7 Update 1

NetApp HCI

Datastore Provisioning

Protecting NetApp HCI with Veeam

Cisco HyperFlex System

Cisco HyperFlex Cluster Replication

Cisco HyperFlex Integration with Veeam Backup & Replication

Cisco HyperFlex Systems and Veeam Backup and Replication – VM Replication

Create a Cisco HyperFlex Systems Stretched Cluster

Create a datastore – Cisco HyperFlex Stretched Cluster

Nutanix Metro Availability

Nutanix Metro Availability

Create a datastore – Cisco HyperFlex Stretched Cluster

Log in to HyperFlex Connect, we can see the operational status of HX Stretch Cluster.

We can get further details about each node in the cluster.

If we create Datastores in the cluster, go to Datastores on Manage menu.

Click “Create Datastore”, input Datastore Name, Size and select Site Affinity.

In this scenario, we will create two Datastores “Cisco_DS1” and “Cisco_DS2“.

NOTE: Each datastore is available to all hosts. However, because of the Site Affinity choices during datastore creation.

After creating the two Datastores, we can see these two Datastores are avaiable on all hosts.


Create a Cisco HyperFlex Systems Stretched Cluster

The following is the architecture diagram of Cisco HyperFlex Systems Stretched Cluster, there are two set HyperFlex systems at site A/B, the witness server installed at 3rd site.

Now we will go through the high level deployment of Cisco HyperFlex Systems Stretched Cluster. Login credential into the Cisco HX Data Platform Installer. Accept the Terms and Conditions to activate the Login button.

Click Create Cluster and select Stretch Cluster from the drop-down menu, we will configure the HX Cluster at Site A/B. Now we configure the Site A.

Select a File to upload a file that contains the configuration details for the HX Cluster. Click Continue.

Wait approximately a few seconds while the HyperFlex Installer polls UCS Manager for the servers available to this Cluster. Click Continue. Finally review the hypervisor networking configuration, and click Configure Site to configure this HX Cluster.

After a few minutes, you can see the HyperFlex Configuration Successful message in HyperFlex Installer.

Now we can configure the HX Cluster at Site B, select Configure Site. Repeat the above procedures to configure the Site B.

Select a File to upload a file that contains the configuration details for the HX Cluster. Click Continue.

Wait approximately a few seconds while the HyperFlex Installer polls UCS Manager for the servers available, the four servers (Site A and B) are displayed. Click Continue. Review the network configuration of the cluster and click Continue.

Finally review the all configuration, and click Start to configure this HX Stretch Cluster.

Wait approximately 40 minutes for the cluster to be fully configured.

Log in to HyperFlex Connect, we can see the operational status of HX Stretch Cluster.

The deployment of HyperFlex Stretch Cluster is completed successfully.

My technical books

I am great to finish my final goal in 5 years, published the three technical books which are related to different vendors, eg Dell EMC, Cisco and VMware.

2018 – Storage Migration – Hybrid Array to All-Flash Array
2016 – Cisco UCS Cookbook
2015 – Mastering VMware vSphere Storage

My tech article – “Storage Migration – Hybrid Array to All-Flash Array”

I am great to announce my new tech article “Storage Migration – Hybrid Array to All-Flash Array” published on Dell EMC Education Website. This article discusses how to migrate data from Dell EMC VNX storage into Dell EMC Unity All-Flash storage. A sample of the environment is presented that includes Microsoft Windows platform and VMware Hypervisor which are running on Cisco UCS Unified Computing System. Determining the best migration methodology and how to prepare for data migration is also discussed. Here is my article download link.

Cisco HyperFlex Systems and Veeam Backup and Replication – VM Replication

Veeam Replication is a VM based replication that replicates VMs based on low RTO/RPO. It has the ability to replicate one or more VMs from a source host to a destination host (either local or remote location). These replicated VMs will be available in VM format at the replicated site for quick power up in the event of a primary site failure.

In this scenario replicates VMs from one Cisco HyperFlex cluster (HX-Cluster-B) to the 2nd HyperFlex cluster (HX-Cluster-A), it simulates a local replication scenario. Both the source and target proxy server will be on the Veeam Backup Server. For remote replication, Veeam does use compression, and optional WAN accelerators, to minimize the traffic over long distance, high latency connections. The following diagram is the high level architecture for Veeam Backup Server.

Login into Veeam Backup & Replication Management Console, click Connect.

Click Jobs in the inventory pane then click Replication Job.

Enter a name and description for the replication job and click Next.

Click Add to bring up a list of VMs available at the source HyperFlex.

Select the source VM from the list and click Add.

Then Next.

In the Destination screen, click Choose to select the target HyperFlex. Click OK then click Next.

In the Job Setting, the local Veeam repository will house the replica metadata, so it is not necessary to change the Repository for replica metadata. Leave the default in the Replica name suffix field. Click Next.

In the Data Transfer Setting, it allows the selection of source and target proxy servers. For replication replication we have the option to use WAN accelerators, if available.

NOTE: WAN accelerators are available with the Enterprise Plus edition of Veeam and should be configured before creating the replication job.

Click Choose the Source proxy and Target proxy. Click OK.

In Guest Processing Setting, it allows users in production environments to define application aware processing settings. In this scenario there are no installed applications in the VM in this environment, so no changes are necessary. Click Next.

In the Schedule Setting, click the Run the job automatically check box to provide several options for scheduling the replication job. Click Apply.

Finally it run the job immediately when finished. Check Run the job when I click Finish, and click Finish.

Click the replication job in the working area and monitor the status of the job in the Statistics window.

The replication job will take approximately a few minutes to complete.

Cisco HyperFlex Integration with Veeam Backup & Replication

With Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2, it can support the integration with Cisco HyperFlex Platform. This integration allows the backup jobs to take advantage of native Cisco HX snapshots. Backup from Storage Snapshots minimizes the performance impact on production virtual machines (VMs) during their backup window.

The data flow goes as follows:

  1. Analyzes which VMs in the job have disks on supported storage.
  2. Performs Veeam’s agentless application-aware processing and consistency for a VM
  3. Creates HyperFlex VM snapshot, leveraging the HyperFlex API.
  4. Releases the consistent state of the VM.
  5. Retrieves the CBT information for VM snapshots.
  6. Reads new and changed virtual disk data blocks directly from the HyperFlex VM snapshot and transports them to the backup repository or a replica VM.
  7. Triggers the removal of the HyperFlex VM snapshot once the VM has been backed up.
  8. Truncates database logs within the VM.

How to configure the Cisco HyperFlex integration

Launch the Veeam Backup & Replication Console, check Windows session authentication and click Connect.

Ensure that the Veeam proxy server can access the HX IOvisor, by verifying open firewall ports on the ESXi host on which the IOvisor is running. Verify that the VeeamCiscoHXFirewall rule is available in the Incoming Connections section.

Now we can add HX Data Platform Storage to Veeam backup server. Go to Storage Infrastructure, click “Add Storage“.

Add the Management IP address of the Cisco HyperFlex Platform, then Next.

Define the login credentials for the HX management.

In the Access Options screen, click Choose to select the Veeam proxy server that will be accessing the HyperFlex Data Platform. Click Next to see the summary page, then click Finish.

The storage discovery process starts which will scan the storage and validate NFS connectivity to the storage for Veeam. When the process completes and the success message appears, the storage has been successfully added. Click Close.

Cisco HyperFlex will be listed under Storage Infrastructure in the inventory pane.

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