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What are your high availability options if you are running vCenter Server in a virtual machine?

Created: 01 Mar 2012 • Updated: 26 Nov 2012 | 2 comments
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Virtually_LG's picture
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Whilst presenting to various customers and at many conferences about Symantec ApplicationHA solution, I often hear questions about the availability of a virtualized vCenter Server.

There are various options available if your system is sitting on physical hardware, Symantec has Veritas Cluster Server (VCS), which has a dedicated vCenter agent to protect the various components of vCenter Server as well as the accompanying Oracle or SQL databases. When vCenter Server is virtualized it is now possible to use ApplicationHA to protect vCenter which is especially ideal if using vMotion and if the vCenter Server is VMwareHA enabled.

With VMwareHA and ApplicationHA working together, the level of protection for the virtual infrastructure along with the application will assist in keeping vCenter online with minimal downtime, more often the issue with downtime are typically due to application faults.  According to Gartner application failure can contribute up to 40% as a leading cause of unplanned downtime.

Wouldn’t it be easier to have a solution that monitors all the key components of a virtualized vCenter Server along with SQL or Oracle backend configuration databases and resolve any issues that may occur within them? Symantec ApplicationHA has this ability.  Besides having a tailored agent for vCenter Server, ApplicationHA can also control a vast array of enterprise applications such as SQL, Oracle, Exchange and SAP to just name a few.  All of the application statuses can be viewed from within the Symantec ApplicationHA Dashboard directly from within the VMware vSphere Client.

Fig 1. Dashboard Management view of applications configured with Symantec ApplicationHA

To control vCenter Server, ApplicationHA primarily monitors the services that are installed with VMware vCenter Server. However, if configured on the same machine as vCenter Server, ApplicationHA also monitors the SQL Server or Oracle database. ApplicationHA automatically discovers and monitors the databases associated to vCenter Server. For instance, during the vCenter Server installation, you can choose to install the embedded version of SQL Server (SQL Server Express) to host vCenter Server’s information. If you install it, then ApplicationHA monitors it.

You can configure application monitoring for vCenter Server on a virtual machine using the ApplicationHA Configuration Wizard. vCenter Server protection of the vCenter environment can be carried out in matter of minutes and management is integrated directly in vSphere Client or Veritas Operations Manager.

Fig 2. Symantec ApplicationHA Configuration Wizard for vCenter Server.

Fig 3. vSphere Client view of the configured vCenter Server application

If protection of your vCenter Server is important to you and budget is limited, then take a look at Symantec ApplicationHA and test drive a 60 day evaluation. See for yourself just how flexible this solution is for availability of your applications running in virtual machines, for vCenter Server and other applications as well.

Get more info and download a trial version at http://www.symantec.com/application-ha

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Armando Crisafo's picture

Really great article !!!

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