Getting Started with VMWare, Replication, Veeam, etc

Discussion in 'VMware, VirtualBox, Citrix' started by Stril, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. Stril

    Stril Member

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    Hi!

    I do not have any experience with VMWare, but need to migrate from Xenserver.

    Can you give me some "best-practice" hints to avoid a bad design.

    Goal is:
    Cluster with 3 nodes, each with one CPU-socket (because of licensing costs)
    Shared storage

    One DR-Node

    I want to replicate the VMs on the cluster every X minutes to the DR-node

    1. Licensing:
    I want to avoid Essentials/Plus to be able to scale up later.
    --> VMWare Standard with vSphere Standard

    2. Replication/Backups
    Veeam seems to be expensive, but also one of the best or the best backup/replication solution. Do you agree?

    Can you give me any hint about things to avoid/to do in my scenario?

    Thank you very much!

    Regards
    Stril
     
    #1
  2. gea

    gea Well-Known Member

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    Many options

    If you do not need vcenter for central management and hot vm/storage move but want async replication you can simply use ESXi free combined with a fancy virtualized ZFS storage appliance. I came up with this idea 10 years ago and this is a quite common setup now, either with a Solarish based ZFS appliance (where ZFS comes from and where it is native) and my napp-it or an appliance based on Free-BSD.

    This works like
    - You need an ESXi server with enough power/RAM for an additional storage VM where you place your VMs onto ZFS over NFS. This gives all ZFS advantages to ESXi with highspeed internal connectivy between VM and storage.

    Thanks to ZFS you can use a high performance Slog device to protect the write-ramcache that is required for performance, ex an Intel Optane.

    - You need a second similar machine where you replicate the storage with the VMs via zfs replication. This allows to keep two filesystems in sync, even under high load with open files down to a minute delay.

    -In case of a disaster you can move a pool phsically or register the VMs there from the replication and are up again within minutes with full versioning due ZFS (allows thousands of snaps unlike ESXi where you must destroy them after a short time and should not keep more than one or a few)

    - If your VMs require a hot replicated state, you can include ESXi hot snaps into the ZFS snaps that are like the state of a sudden power-off.

    - A third machine is not essential but can be a spare system or remote backup/dr system.

    see napp-it // webbased ZFS NAS/SAN appliance for OmniOS, OpenIndiana, Solaris and Linux : Manual
    4b is about my AiO/ storage VM template for ESXi
     
    #2
  3. hhp

    hhp New Member

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    Look at VMWare Essentials Plus, ~$5k for 3 hosts/6 sockets, VCenter, VMotion, H/A, cross site switch, etc, it is a good choice if you do not expect the need to add nodes (its six sockets or nothing). I use it at lot of macro sites, nice feature set and good bang for the buck compared to standard pricing. Veeam would be an excellent choice for backup, I am currently switching sites over from barracuda appliances.
     
    #3
  4. hhp

    hhp New Member

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    What SAN/Storage solution are you planning to use?
     
    #4
  5. Stril

    Stril Member

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    Hi!

    @gea:
    I know that setup, but I do not like it too much, because it avoids using any other storage...

    @hhp:
    I need at least 4 hosts and I think, essentials plus cannot be extended - right?
    At the moment, I am using a ZFS-storage (Open-E), but I think of migrating to Starwind. What do you think?

    Thank you for your help!
     
    #5
  6. nk215

    nk215 Active Member

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    Is this home lab or business? If it's home lab, VMUG is an inexpensive way to get licenses.

    What exactly don't you like gea setup? It seems very robust. You can always have local storage for data and use zfs for the boot partition and critical data of your VM. Use a local storage for data for speed etc.
     
    #6
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  7. dswartz

    dswartz Active Member

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    Agree on VMUG.
     
    #7
  8. Stril

    Stril Member

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    Hi!

    It's a business setup.
    What I do not like at the ZFS approach for replication are two points:

    - storage lock in
    It's not easy to use another storage like starwind, as it would lack the possibility of snapshot replication. ZFS is quite slow in cluster usage and I hope to find something better

    - Complexity for restore
    I need to use the setup with some other people. The complexity to start the VMs on the DR site is much higher, of is storage centric.
    --> Clone snapshot
    --> Mount on ESXi
    --> Register VMs
    ...

    And I can save the Vdisks of a VM only on one storage. Splitting leads to crazy problems..
     
    #8
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