Design, Storage, Uncategorized, Virtualization, vmware, VSAN

Core Knowledge vSAN HBA

The fundamentals cannot be over-emphasized. You need to ensure that the key components of your vSAN host is configured per recommendations.

Just a reminder of the HBA controller configuration.

  1. Make sure the device is on the Hardware Compatibility Guide (HCG) 
  2. And verify the firmware is up-to-date.

I have seen first hand what impact different firmware can have on your environment.

Example: Dell Perc H310

Controller queue depth impacts the rebuild/resync times. A low controller queue depth may impact the availability of your production VMs during rebuild/resync. A minimum queue depth of 256 is required in vSAN. Some vSAN Ready Node profiles require minimum queue depth of 512, All Flash configs.

For more details see this: vSAN Hardware Quick Reference Guide

The availability of vSAN and VMFS can be vying for the same resource; the HBA.

Do NOT mix Disk Access modes to your Host Bus Adapter (HBA) also called an I/O Controller. Pass through configuration is preferred, but RAID-0 can work. vSAN prefers to have a more direct access to the device attached to the I/O Controller.  So for example if the HBA is setup with some logic configuration the groups all the devices together before presenting to the ESXi host then you have some prep work to do. Several array controllers do not support pass through mode,  to use this type of controller for vSAN, we need to create a single disk RAID-0 group for every SSD and HDD.

 

dell_08173_H740P_MINI_MONO_14G_3130LF

Dell PERC 740

Example.

  • RAID levels access for the devices attached.
  • vSAN and VMFS devices on same HBA.

From the VMware KB:

  • Do not mix the controller mode for vSAN and non-vSAN disks.
    • If the vSAN disks are in pass-through/JBOD mode, the non-vSAN disks must also be in pass-through/JBOD mode.
    • If the vSAN disks are in RAID mode, the non-vSAN disks must also be in RAID mode.
    • Mixing the controller mode will mean that various disks will be handled in different ways by the storage controller. This introduces the possibility that issues affecting one configuration could also affect the other, with possible negative consequences for vSAN.
    • https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2129050

If you absolutely must use the same HBA:

  1. limit the use of the VMFS that is sharing the HBA with vSAN.
  2. AND DO NOT USE RDM for that shared device/HBA
  3. DO NOT have the boot device on the same vSAN controller
  • If the non-vSAN disks are in use for VMFS, the VMFS datastore should be used only for scratch, logging and coredumps.
    • Virtual machines should not be running from a disk or RAID group that shares its controller with vSAN disks or RAID groups.
    • ESXi host installation is permitted on non-vSAN disks attached to same controller.
  • Do not pass through non-vSAN disks to virtual machine guests as Raw Device Mappings (RDMs).

The number and type of drives plus their disk group configuration is not covered here but another topic of important discussion!

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

Kubernetes and you

So if you haven’t been under a rock.. you know the latest hotness is Kubernetes.

13629408“Automated container deployment, scaling, and management”

It’s origins is from a internal Google’s Borg system and in development Kubernetes was called Project Seven, a nod to a friendlier Borg. See the seven spokes of the Kubernetes icon. But the name:  Kubernetes originates from Greek, meaning helmsman or pilotK8s is an abbreviation derived by replacing the 8 letters “ubernete” with “8”.

Seven of Nine

Borg: Seven of Nine

Kubernetes is definitely enterprise class but how do you get availability to explore and learn more about K8s??

Here are some online sites to get started:

Tutorial:  Official Kubernetes Tutorial

2018-03-03_22-03-12

The K8S tutorial you get your understanding fast tracked!

Once you have completed the tutorial you will understand the basics.

Cluster, Nodes, Pods, Apps: Deploying, Scaling and Updating

Some cool things to know. NOTHING TO INSTALL. You don’t even have to type.

The right side of the screen is the online linux terminal. It can be used as a regular console (you can type commands). Clicking on the blocks of code followed by the ENTER sign will execute that command in the terminal.

The left side area is the instructions for the lesson.

Just follow along with each of the 6 modules to get a good understanding of K8S.

2018-03-03_22-06-08

Online Tutorial Screenshot.

Next post will cover reproducing the online terminal experience on your laptop. Introducing: minikube.

 

There are some advanced features not available online but you can have the flexibility to explore with your own DEV environment.

 

 

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Design, servers, Storage, Uncategorized, Virtualization, vmware

vSphere Content Libraries (CL)

2017-10-01_13-44-16

The introduction of the Content Libraries feature came with vSphere 6. The goal is to reduce the complexity in management of VM templates, vApps, ISO images, and scripts that your virtual environment needs for day to day operations. Content libraries are container objects.
The Content library can be

  1. Local to the vCenter your create it in.
  2. Published externally to other vCenters with password authentication
  3. Subscribed Content Library to another library

The flexibility of the content library topology availability will enable your organization to maximize your operational efficiencies. How? Here are some scenarios that Administrator face.
“What Template did you use to build this VM?”
“Is it patched? Is it the latest one?”

Now imagine this conversation across the business units that span across geographic regions, time zone etc.
What and Where?
Some key things that a CL will help prevent is the bad practice of building workflow and processes around a single person. Increase efficiency in your organization, by using a central repository of essentials files you can avoid using the “wrong” vm template. That answers the what version is the latest? You can increase efficiency of answering the question of where is the latest version?

How do you setup a CL?

  1. In the vSphere Web Client navigator, select vCenter Inventory Lists > Content Libraries.
  2. Click the Objects tab.
  3. Click the Create a New Library icon (create a content library).
  4. Enter a name for the content library, and in the Notes text box, enter a description for the library and click Next.
  5. Select the type of content library that you want to create.

Option

Description

Local content library

A local content library is accessible only in the vCenter Server instance where you create it.

Published content library

Select Publish externally to make the content of the library available to other vCenter Server instances.

If you want the users to use a password when accessing the library, select Enable authentication and set a password.

Optimized published content library

Select Optimize for syncing over HTTP to create an optimized published library.

This library is optimized to ensure lower CPU usage and faster streaming of the content over HTTP. Use this library as a main content depot for your subscribed libraries. You cannot deploy virtual machines from an optimized library. Use optimized published content library when the subscribed libraries reside on a remote vCenter Serversystem and enhanced linked mode is not used.

Subscribed content library

Creates a content library that is subscribed to a published content library. You can sync the subscribed library with the published library to see up-to-date content, but you cannot add or remove content from the subscribed library. Only an administrator of the published library can add, modify, and remove contents from the published library.

Provide the following settings to subscribe to a library:

  1. In the Subscription URL text box, enter the URL address of the published library.

  2. If authentication is enabled on the published library, enter the publisher password.

  3. Select a download method for the contents of the subscribed library.

    • If you want to download a local copy of all the items in the published library immediately after subscribing to it, select Download all library content immediately.

    • If you want to save storage space, select Download library content only when needed. You download only the metadata for the items in the published library.

      If you need to use an item, you can synchronize it to download its content.

  4. When prompted, accept the SSL certificate thumbprint.

    The SSL certificate thumbprint is stored on your system until you delete the subscribed content library from the inventory.

6. Click Next.
7. Select a datastore, or enter the path to a remote storage location where to keep the contents of this library.

Option

Description

Enter an SMB or an NFS server and path

If you use avCenter Server instance that runs on a Windows system, enter the SMB machine and share name.

If you use vCenter Server Appliance, enter a path to an NFS storage. You can store your templates on an NFS storage that is mounted to the appliance. After the create a new library operation is complete, the vCenter Server Appliance mounts the shared storage to the host OS.

Select a datastore

Select a datastore from your vSphere inventory.

vSAN Datastore will appear here as a choice

8. Review the information on the Ready to Complete page and click Finish.

Great now you have a Content library.. what next?

ADD CONTENT to your Content Library.
You can:
Clone the VM as a template into your Content Library (Right click the VM choose
Actions–> Clone –> Clone to Template in Library

2017-10-01_13-44-59

Now for another time saver!
So, you already realize the importance of a repository and you have a single folder on datastore that says /iso-templates. Now what? You need to be able to copy all of that to your new Content Library. So you can publish the CL and enable other vCenter’s to Subscribe.
The tricky option is to deal with ISO images.

Sure Templates and VM’s can be handled with cloning VM to Template actions but here is a option for existing templates in your datastore. This will save you a bit of time in re-copying the ISO back into the content library.

 

When I first started to use the CL I didn’t see an option the the CL to add ISO files. I reached out to Roman Konarev and he provided this excellent guide.

 

How to import your ISOs from DS:
Get a URL to your ISO file that you want to import to Content library. The structure of that URL is the following: [DataStore url]/[ISOs folder]/[file_name].

Here is my ISOs folder:
1.png
Here is my DS url:

So, the final URL will be the following: ds:///vmfs/volumes/56cd1758-86602854-5166-020019640efe/RK_ISOs/small_ISO.iso

2)    Open a standard “Import library item” wizard and paste the URL above there:

 

** vSphere 6.5 update **

** Update to vSphere 6.5 and make it easier! **

What a difference a version makes!

Procedure

  1. In the vSphere Web Client navigator, select vCenter Inventory Lists > Content Libraries.
  2. Right-click a content library and select Import Item.

    The Import Library Item dialog box opens.

  3. Under Source section, select the option to import an item from a local file. Click Browse to navigate to the file that you want to import from your local system. You can use the drop-down menu to filter files in your local system.
  4. Under Destination section, enter a name and description for the item, and click OK.

Content Libraries can even extend into the Cloud!

Create a content library that is subscribed to the content library you published from your on-premises data center. Content is synchronized from your on-premises data center to your SDDC in VMware Cloud on AWS.

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Uncategorized

Right here. Right now.

It has been a while since my last blog post, but there is a reason or in this case for me LOTS of reasons.

My intention to blog has always and still is to give back to the community. Take what you can find useful and share what you can to give back. I will post ideas and technical challenges I have come across in the field that I can share.

Well… My professional role has changed. I am less customer facing but still face the same challenges! I am putting together some cool – or what I think are cool relevant posts for the hard working techs out there doing the needful.

Stay tuned….

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Uncategorized, vnx2

Change Control Station IP for VNX

The installation of a VNX2

The first day is the toughest and easiest. Like baking a cake you need to make sure all the ingredients are there and ready to go. You verify what  was ordered is installed and is in working order. Sounds simple enough?

As it turns out the initial VNX “Rack and Stack” was correct.

  • All cables were plugged in correctly
  • No amber lights on the system.
  • The DAE (Disk Assembly Enclosures) were recognized.
  • No faults in Unisphere

Ok. Good to go? No? Why. Mr. Customer provided a duplicate IP for one of the control stations. The correct IP is the same subnet and mask but needs to be changed.

Here are the steps

  1. Log onto Unisphere confirm IP information for Control Station
  2. Log onto Control station via ssh

Use root/nasadmin (default)

3. Verify status of Control station. You can make changes to the primary not standby.

In this case the primary Control station was IP’d correctly. I need to change the secondary Control station, the standby.

/nasmcd/getreason  <<– run this command as root

Here is what you will see:

output:
10 – slot_0 primary control station
11 – slot_1 secondary control station
 5 – slot_2 contacted
 5 – slot_3 contacted
4. Failover the Control station with this command:
    /nasmcd/sbin/cs_standby -failover
   
About 5 minutes later you will reboot the primary and failover to the secondary. 
5. Run this: /nasmcd/getreason
output:
11 – slot_0 secondary control station
10 – slot_1 primary control station
 5 – slot_2 contacted
 5 – slot_3 contacted

6. Log into Unisphere

Normally you login to the VNX with using the primary Control Station IP. However since it is in failover mode use the secondary IP. In this case I am using the duplicate IP and will change it to the correct IP by using the Unisphere GUI

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 5.10.39 PM

Log into the Unisphere GUI as root. Make sure you choose scope “local” not Global

Navigate to the “Control station Properties Tab”

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 5.11.43 PM

Change the IP of the Control Station

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 5.12.20 PM

 

Click Apply.

In Confirm Action, click OK.

WARNING:

Modifying the Control Station hostname, IP address, subnet mask, or gateway may disrupt the Unisphere software connection and any other client access to the Control Station. It may be necessary to reconnect to continue administrative activities. If you make a mistake changing the network, the Control Station may no longer be reachable remotely.

7. ssh to the primary Control station and failback. Verify that the primary control station is in slot 0

#  /nasmcd/getreason
10 – slot_0 primary control station
11 – slot_1 secondary control station
 5 – slot_2 contacted
 5 – slot_3 contacted

That is it.

 

Remember when you login to Unisphere you connect via the Primary Control Station IP, if you are failed over you will connect to the secondary Control Station.

 

Thanks for reading! If you have a more efficient way please share. Yes, you can ssh in and do all of this via cli. 😉

 

 

 

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EMC, EMCElect, Uncategorized

EMC Elect 2016.. by the numbers

The EMC Elect 2016 members have been announced.

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Wow what a privileged honor to be a part of this list. This year will be filled with many new challenges as EMC will have a flurry of changes internal to help the customer make their goals a success! I refer to the Dell + EMC adventure. I look forward to helping my customers and fellow IT professionals in 2016. Don’t forget that is just the business side. The never stopping change of technology is still in full force! The information to be consumed is non-stop, and the challenges for the customer to take advantage of this is incredible.  I know I am excited for 2016. Sharing the information and empower each other!

EMC Elect 2016 — Official list

FACT:

EMC Elect Summary

  • 2015 – 102 members chosen out of 450 nominations
  • 2016 – 71 members chosen out of 700 nominations

In 2015 – There were 450 nominations leading to 200 finalists, the 102 official directory of its members for 2015
In 2016 – There were 700 nominations, leading to 150 finalists. Of those finalists, under the toughest selection process for the EMC Elect here are the 71 members for 2016

In my opinion it seems that for 2016.. the selection process was roughly 10% of the nominated persons were chosen. There was an increase in nominations, but a decrease in the number of selected. I can only imagine how much a difficult task this was. Thanks for all the hard work Mr. Mark Brown @DathBrun

Here are some interesting facts by the numbers:

 

Number crunching for 2015  Great job Mr. Henry!

My attempt inspired by Mr. Henry @davemhenry

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I didn’t have a chance to calculate repeat EMC Elect members from former years. Metrics tell all sort of stories, but more over. Take a look at the content provided by the EMC Elect. There is A LOT!

Follow an EMC Elect member become informed and part of the discussion. Search for the tag #EMCElect.  Read the blogs (like this one) read up on the ECN (EMC Community Network). If you have a question reach out to a member via twitter or post on ECN. You will find very helpful individuals; who generally are very open to objective discussion on the technical merits of X, Y or Z!

Congrats to ALL the EMC ELECT 2016! And to all past EMC Elect… A famous quote to consider.

                   “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”                                                    -Sir Isaac Newton

@Digital_kungfu

 

 

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backup, vdp, vmware

Snapshots are not backups! or VDP and YOU

Ominous words would be echoed in the meeting… “You do have a BACKUP right?”

plan-b

Working in production environments the constant challenge of maintaining uptime aka ‘steady-state’ but at the same slowly or as quick as feasible move forward with changing demands of the business.

Change can came in many forms. It is a driver for your organization.

A simple response to a vulnerability; patching is a necessity.

New features are required. Upgrades will be needed.

And more importantly disaster avoidance. The idea is to prepare in advance avoid disaster. It is akin to shift and dodge BEFORE some bump comes in the road. There are many approaches to this like having a stretched geo-location metro cluster.

Whatever the driver you have to have a fallback plan. If the post-change activity fails, if there is an unforeseen after-effect.. Things do not always work 100% as planned. What is your fallback plan? What? You have a VMware environment. You did click the snapshot button.. Well, that does work but it isn’t a full backup

From KB 1025279

  • Snapshots are not backups. A snapshot file is only a change log of the original virtual disk.
  • Snapshots are not complete copies of the original vmdk disk files….it only copies the delta disks. The change log in the snapshot file combines with the original disk files to make up the current state of the virtual machine. If the base disks are deleted, the snapshot files are useless.
  • Delta files can grow to the same size as the original base disk file, which is why the provisioned storage size of a virtual machine increases by an amount up to the original size of the virtual machine multiplied by the number of snapshots on the virtual machine.
  • The maximum supported amount of snapshots in a chain is 32. However, VMware recommends that you use only 2-3 snapshots in a chain. — [ed The reason is there is a performance hit]

In fact VMware recommendation is to setup an alarm in vcenter if the VM is running from a snapshot to avoid this condition

See KB 1018029 “Configuring VMware vCenter Server to send alarms when virtual machines are running from snapshots”

Now the question still remains.. What options do you have?

Well there is good news!! VMware as of March 1, 2015. “VMware vSphere Data Protection Advanced will be consolidated into VMware vSphere Data Protection (available through vSphere Essentials Plus Kit or higher vSphere editions, all vSphere with Operations Management editions and all vCloud Suite editions) and will no longer require purchase of a separate license. All functionality available with vSphere Data Protection Advanced, previously available as a standalone product, is now included in VMware vSphere Data Protection 6.0 – See more at: Announcement

WOOHOO.

Why is this cool? There are many reasons but to sum things up.

VMware Data Protection Advanced (VDP) is very cool. It is based on modern backup solutions.

  • There are no tapes
  • There is deduplication – Variable length up
  • There is replication
  • File recovery
  • VM recovery
  • Application aware backups
  • Efficient, bandwidth throttling
  • Changed Block Tracking (CBT) Restore
    vSphere Data Protection uses Changed Block Tracking (CBT) during image-level backups. CBT is also utilized with image-level restores in some cases to improve speed and efficiency
  • It can plug into something really big (Data Domain and Avamar)
    • Data Domain allows for “Consolidate backup, archive, and disaster recovery with high-speed deduplication”
    • Avamar  DEDUPLICATION BACKUP SOFTWARE AND SYSTEM — VDP is based on Avamar. See the announcement.

It is super easy to install and use. I did say easy and it is, because you can even configure VDP to allow for.

  • Linux-based virtual appliance: Easily install and configure backups.
  • Self-Service File Level Recovery: Enable guest OS administrators to restore individual files and folders.
  • Wizard-driven backup policies: Assign backup jobs to individual virtual machines or larger containers such as a cluster or resource pool, with specific schedules and retention policies.
  • There is no need for agents in the VM for normal backups.
  • Application aware backups. Backup agents for Microsoft SQL Server, Exchange, and SharePoint. The agents enable application consistent backup and recovery of these applications on virtual and physical machines

– See more at: http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/features/data-protection.html

Some tips about VDP deployment.

Do not put the all your eggs in the same basket

— Don’t setup your backup volumes in the same datastore your VMs reside in. The option to use Data Domain is great option! Data Domain can be data backup target.

DNS. Have it working!

It is fast enough? Avoid problems and run a performance test before your backups. Make sure your Data backup targets are validated for performance.

Initial configuration is deployment via OVF. 

Log on via the https://ip-address-assigned/:8543/vdp-configure/

Here you log in as root/changeme

vdp-intial

BUT if you need to ssh in later via IP or hostname. You cannot use the root account. You must use the admin account, which has the same password then you su to root.

“Currently, users can access the VDP appliance command line using the vSphere Client console, SSH, or Putty sessions. With the VDP 5.8 and later releases, the ability to use SSH or Putty to log on to the VDP appliance with the root user has been removed.” — Administration Guide

and lastly

VAMI is your friend and so is the log.

The VAMI is: Virtual Appliance Management Infrastructure (VAMI). VAMI provides end‐users of virtual appliances with a Web console and command line interface that can:

  • „Configure network settings
  • „Check for updates and install them, manually or automatically„
  • Review basic system information for the virtual appliance
  • Stop or restart the virtual appliance

Where is the magical vami?

From the command line you can find it here: /opt/vmware/share/vami/

vami

and if you run into problems..

Log in via ssh to the vdp appliance. Run the following while you attempt the action where you see the error.

root@vdp01:~/#: tail -f /usr/local/avamar/var/vdr/server_logs/vdr-server.log

Then watch the log and try to reproduce the error.

Additional Resources:

Here is a great overview from the VMware HOL team!

VDP overview install and backups! VDP DEMO

and more VDP feature walk through DEMO

and learn how to:

  1. Creating a Virtual Machine Backup Job
  2. Creating a Replication Job
  3. Creating an Application Backup Job
  4. File Level Restore
  5. Restoring a Virtual Machine
  6. Restoring an Application

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