Recently I’ve been upgrading a vSphere 5.5 environment to vSphere 6.5U1. The vCenter upgrade process is pretty bulletproof by now: the installer is pretty much completely automated. I did run into some issues during the ESXi upgrade, one of which is the fact there were some conflicting VIBs present in the old installations. This would mean the ESXi 6.5U1 upgrade would not start. Time to start hacking in the CLI!
According to Tintri, the rise of server virtualization broke the traditional storage system. Initially we had relatively simple environments where one server talks to a number of LUNs on a storage system. Sometimes we’d have a small cluster of servers accessing those volumes. Still relatively simple.
Fast forward to now: large clusters of hypervisor hosts are the norm, collectively accessing an even larger number of volumes. Each hypervisor in turn hosts a large number or virtual machines. In case of performance problems, how are you ever going to figure out the root cause and which other systems are affected?
A couple of weeks ago StorMagic announced their newest SvSAN 6 release. The basics are still the same: SvSAN takes the internal disks from two hypervisor servers (HyperV or VMware) and turns them into highly available shared storage. Yes, that’s a two server minimum, not three; so this should be a little bit cheaper compared to VMware VSAN and the likes. What’s new in version 6 is the addition of an Advanced edition with SSD and memory-based caching and tiering.
The last couple of months I’ve been busy consolidating a couple of European data centers to one location in The Netherlands. Technically this meant we had to migrate a large number of virtual machines with as little downtime as possible across WAN links with varying speeds (30Mbit up to 500Mbit). There are a number of methods to go about this, but we chose to use the vSphere Replication infrastructure which is included in vSphere 5.x for free. Unfortunately there are a couple of downsides in the management interface which become a pain if you have to manage several hundred replications…
Today at the VMware Partner Exchange, StorMagic and VMware announced their partnership in bringing high available, low cost server virtualization to the Remote Office Branch Office (ROBO) environments. The StorMagic solution is pretty unique in the fact that it can build a high available, software-defined, vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) with just two servers compared to the “normal” 3+ servers that other VSA products need. This saves you a lot of €€ or $$ in small locations like the ROBO environments, both in CAPEX and OPEX.
In 2014 EMC announced their participation in the VMware EVO:RAIL program which combines storage, networking and VMware compute into a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance: 1 to 4 x86 appliances with internal storage, VMware vSphere and VSAN on top. Connect it to your network, open the management interface and you’re set. Today EMC delivers on that promise with the VSPEX BLUE hyper-converged appliance. The mission of VSPEX BLUE: add simplicity to your IT infrastructure and enable the EVO:RAIL user to easily use all the other EMC offerings like RecoverPoint and ESRS. Let’s see how it does that…