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VCS Application Failover within VMware Virtual Machines

Created: 11 Oct 2012 • Updated: 24 Oct 2012
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On October 22nd, Symantec released Storage FoundationHA for Windows 6.0.1 , and Storage FoundationHA 6.0.2, which include additional functionality that enables Windows and Linux within a VMware virtual machine environment. In this era of virtualization one of the main challenges is to achieve 100% virtualization for your existing and new deployments. As customers travel towards this goal they find that providing resilience for key business applications can be difficult to attain and can find resistance from their application owners who are used to the traditional way that resilience is provided with clustering on physical hardware. While it is possible to use clustering inside a virtual machine, doing so can prohibit the use of VMware technology that provides virtual machine transportability between physical ESX hosts, in particular vMotion, Dynamic Resource Scheduler (DRS) and snapshots. Tied to this there is also a requirement that direct access to storage is required via the use of Raw Device Mappings (RDM) which means that VMware admins need to get their storage counterparts to provision storage upfront, doing this means that the VMware admin needs to know how much storage the Application owner needs and typically changing this after the fact can be complicated and disruptive.

So what’s needed is an intelligent way that storage is controlled and accessed between virtual machines and this process needs to be transparent to VMware technologies such as vMotion, DRS and VMware HA. Symantec has been working to provide this functionality and enhance the capabilities of Veritas Cluster Server. Today this functionality is available to preview and test in your environment. Additionally the creation and configuration of the application cluster is simplified and enhanced with VMware in mind. In a matter of five simple steps a cluster is created and the configuration of the application is dynamically discovered to make the whole experience a painless one.

In addition to this our focus has been to leverage the management of VMware environments via the use of vSphere Client to manage various aspects of the application such as start, stop and switchover from one virtual machine to another. The access control is an extension to vCenter administration roles and access can be customized based on your virtual infrastructure.  A pluggable architecture facilitates the use of a browser to access the User Interface if vSphere Client cannot be used in your environment.

 Key Application Failover Improvements for VMware in both Windows SFWHA 6.0.1 and Linux SFHA 6.0.2

1)     Same Console Server support for both Veritas Cluster Server (VCS) and ApplicationHA - Users will now be able to manage their virtual environments using ApplicationHA and Veritas Cluster Server using a single vCenter pluggable Symantec High Availability Console.

2)     VCS Storage Support/Integration (in guest, platform) : Provide a way to enable vMotion/DRS in VCS clusters configured with shared storage and deployed on virtual machines in VMware environment.

3)     Application Monitoring and Failover Target Configuration workflow : Using wizard workflow  enable users to Configure application monitoring, Un-configure application monitoring,  Add failover target (to a service group/application), Remove failover target (from a service group/application)

4)     Visibility and Control on using the VCS Cluster View on vSphere Client and the Symantec High Availability Console Dashboard on vSphere Client to show ApplicationHA and VCS application states and overview. The dashboard will provide an overview of the entire data center / cluster from a VCS / AppHA perspective. Users will see a consolidated list of applications running on all the virtual machines

Key Application Failover Improvements for VMware in Windows WxRT 6.0.1

1)     New Application Config Wizard Support for Microsoft SQL Server: Users should be able to configure 1 or more SQL nodes for failover in a VMware environment. A documented set of steps will  have to be followed for installing SQL itself before VCS can be configured on these nodes. The User Interface will configure the cluster, SQL service group and also set appropriate values for restarting of the faulted node. It will also configure newer agents required to support a VMware environment

Key Application Failover Improvements for VMware in Linux LxRT 6.0.2

On Linux, we have a release for SFHA 6.0.1.  With the 6.0.2 release we are extending Application Failover between VMware virtual machines.  This  release includes changes in agents to support vMotion and the use of VMDK disks.  This release will support Storage FoundationHA, but no changes will be implemented in Storage Foundation.  Storage Foundation is included to allow customers to upgrade from previous versions.  This product inclusion means that you can upgrade SFHA or VCS from 5.1, 5.1SP1 and 6.0 directly to the latest release.  Additional products, such as Storage Foundation for Oracle RAC and Storage Foundation Cluster File System, are not included in this release as having multiple systems access VMDK disks is not possible with the current agent. 

1)     New Application Config Wizard Support for Oracle Databases,  SAP, WebSphere MQ configurations and Generic Applications.  Users should be able to configure multiple nodes for failover in a VMware environment.   

  1.  Using Oracle, SAP and Websphere, each node in the environment will  have to be installed with the application binaries and have the application running before VCS can inspect and configure these nodes. The User Interface will configure the cluster, a service group for the specific application and also set appropriate values for restarting of on the faulted node. It will also configure additional agents required to support a VMware environment.  The wizard will configure disks, the application and prompt users for virtual IP addresses to complete the configuration as well as push out the VCS binaries to all nodes in the cluster. 
  2.  For applications traditionally configured using the application agent, there is a wizard that walks through the setup of the Generic Application including mount points and virtual IP resources along with cluster setup.

 

To further understand our capabilities, you can view this demo prepared to show how these features will be implemented.

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