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The (tiny) difference between not-so good and just awesome - Virtualization

Created: 18 Dec 2012 • Updated: 03 Jan 2013
zeboul0n's picture
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A new customer of ours has a quite nice 2-node, 2xCPU,  2x96GB RAM, 5x NIC VMware cluster with iSCSI SAN.
The virtual machines are all running Windows Server 2008 R2.
The problem is the former IT-partner didn't do all the things right when choosing and implementing a new virtualized environment.
 
  • First, keeping a lot of physical servers just out of laziness.
  • Second, not implementing a separate iSCSI network.
  • Third, not implementing a separate backup network.
  • Forth, not implementing redundancy in (the only) network.
  • Fifth, not choosing a VMware license which allows live migration (the customer thought they had but they didn't. VMware Essentials Bundle is....  just expensive)
  • Sixth, not implementing a backup solution that targets a virtualized environment, just continuing the backups as usual and with no other backup storage then the primary deduplication disk.
 
This is how to fix it:
 
  • First, P2V ALL servers that does not require physical servers.(Lack of serial ports or USB is not a reason. There are dedicated, cheap, network appliances for that. Think $200.)
  • Second, implement a seperate, redundant, iSCSI network using two Gbit switches.
  • Third, implement a seperate backup network.
  • Forth, implement redundancy for the server network using two Gbit switches.
  • Fifth, change virtualization solution from VMware not-so Essential Bundle to Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V 3.0. Use the built in NIC teaming. Microsoft SA (Software Assurance) makes is "free" to change platform.
  • Sixth, handle the backups of the 100% virtualized platform for what it is. Virtualized. Using proper agents. In this case, Symantec Backup Exec 2012 V-Ray Edition licensed for 4 CPU's. And choosing GRT for all applications such as SQL, Exchange, File etc.
    Duplicate dedup-data to tape as secondary storage and and for long-term data storage.
So near a perfect solution but yet so far.
So easy, and for almost no extra cost, to change. Just a couple of cables and switches, an Ultrium 5 tape machine, and choosing the correct license form for your IT-platform.
Symantec Backup Exec 2012 V-Ray edition used as is should.
 
A couple of tips fee of charge. Don't agree? Drop a comment, please.
Regards, Sebastian