How to: Claiming Disk for vSAN

On Monday’s post, I did a quick blog on how easy it was to enable vSAN within vCenter. vSAN, as it was discussed in earlier posts,  is a very powerful tool that utilizes software defined storage at the hypervisor level, which reduces costs and complexity. Storage is the key ingredient to this solution, so we may need to add disk in order to actually utilize vSAN right?  Fortunately, VMware (like most things with vSAN) has made this process incredibly simple. Today’s blog is a continuation from Monday’s blog, which will show us how easy it is to claim disk for vSAN usage. Disk claiming is needed in order build out your vSAN datastore. This is what makes vSAN so different from traditional hosts/storage configurations.

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How to: Enabling vSAN

Last week I wrote a detailed post last week on vSAN. Now that vSAN has been explained and the benefits understood, let’s get started with how to enable it within a lab setting.

Note: This is a quick blog on how to enable vSAN, which will be part of a larger mini series that will take us through each step.  It’s primary purpose is to show how easy it is to enable vSAN. With that said, vSAN shouldn’t be enabled within a production environment without proper planning, consideration, and change controls. While vSAN is something you can enable with the “flip of a switch”, it doesn’t mean you should. Careful consideration should be taken while planning. Performance is something else that you should keep in mind. If all possible, engage the help of a vSAN resource that can guide you through the process. This isn’t something to be taken lightly, and caution should be taken when designing your vSAN deployment. Finally, the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide should always be used.

Additional information specific to vSAN HCL can be found by click this link.

Without referencing this, you can quickly set yourself up for failure. With that said, always reference the compatibility guide religiously!

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vSAN: What is it? How is it different?

Today’s blog post is all about vSAN. vSAN, according to VMware, is VMware’s hyper-converged software solution.  In order to understand the differences between hyper-converged and software defined, let’s look at the definition for each. With all of the cool/hip buzz words, there is a lot of misunderstandings, and often times these words are interchangeably used without understanding the terminology correctly.

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How to: Dell EMC Data Domain Virtual Edition Install on ESXi

Finalizing this month’s series on data protection, I wanted to follow up last week’s blog post on installing Avamar Virtual Edition with this one, which is installing Data Domain Virtual Edition. The two are often married together in Data Protection deployments. Simply put, Avamar is the front end backup engine that has all of backup software, and DataDomain is the landing spot for the backup data.  DataDomain is Dell EMC’s appliance based deduplication device. It is the market leader in purpose-built backup appliances.  Various workloads can be ingested, including data from Avamar, VEEAM, Networker, etc. Like the Avamar VE, DataDomain VE allows you fully take advantage of virtualization in one easy to manage package. The virtual edition is geared towards small-to-medium size environments and/or EDGE locations (ROBO).  With that said, let’s get started!

 

Be sure to check out the system requirements before you proceed.

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Dell EMC easily allows anyone to give DataDomain VE a try. To get started, first download the trial copy by heading over to Dell EMC’s website.

In the upper right hand corner, select download for the VMware 0.5TB Try and Buy.

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Select download

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The download file should start downloading

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Troubleshooting Avamar: Failed to Communicate with vCenter

On yesterday’s blog, I was able to deploy Avamar Virtual Edition. One of the goals once deployed was to test integration with vCenter 6.5; however, when I attempted to add my test 6.5 vCenter server, I received an error. The error states “Failed to communicate to vCenter.  Unable to find a valid certification path to the vCenter”.

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This is caused since I don’t have a certificate installed on my test vCenter server.  So, with that said, here’s what I did to resolve the issue.

Using WinSCP, connect to your Avamar node and navigate to the following directory.

/usr/local/avamar/var/mc/server_data/prefs then double click mcserver.xml

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Locate vmware within the XML file. Within the entry keys, locate “ignore_vc_cert value=false”

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Change the value from “false” to“true”. This resolves the issue by telling Avamar to ignore the requirement for a certificate.

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Once the change has been made, click save in the upper left hand corner of WinSCP.  Now we need to start/stop the MCS in order for the changes to take.

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To do this, putty into the Avamar node as admin and run dpnctl stop mcs

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Once the MCS is shutdown, start the MCS by running dpnctl start mcs

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Now that the MCS has restarted successfully, you can login back into the Avamar GUI to add the vCenter server as a client.

In order to complete this, click on the Administration tab, then click the Account Management tab. Next, locate the top level domain, right click and select new client.

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Enter the vCenter server credentials and click “OK“.

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Once authenticated, the vCenter server is now seen as a client. You can now add VMs for backups.

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How to: EMC Avamar Virtual Edition Install on ESXi

Dell EMC has provided a Virtual Edition of their flagship backup product Avamar for some time now. Avamar is an enterprise backup software that allows you to back just about anything, which includes full image based backups of VMs within VMware, physical Windows, Linux, Unix, Hyper-V, and application consistent backups (Exchange and SQL). I’ve known about Avamar Virtual Edition for a few years now, but i’ve just now had a chance go try it out! The Virtual Edition allows users to quickly provision a Virtual Edition of Avamar instead of utilizing physical hardware. The Virtual Edition comes in 0.5TB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB capacities. This is intended for smaller workloads, remote branch offices, or Metadata only nodes. If you need something larger than this, look at getting one of their larger physical appliances.  The virtual edition installs quickly, and in my opinion, is easier to maintain long term since you have a virtualized VM, which gives you all the benefits of virtualization. No longer do you have to worry about managing a physical appliance that has component failures and takes up power/cooling; rather, now you have a VM that can be migrated, backed up, and even deployed in the cloud! The download and install took me less than 1 hour, which is pretty quick considering how powerful a product Avamar is. First the requirements. According to Dell EMC’s website, here are the requirements for AVE.

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 11.05.59 PM

 

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VMworld Goodies from Letsv4Real!

VMworld 2017 has come and gone! While I haven’t been to attend VMworld yet, I was able to keep up with VMware’s announcements via Twitter and blogs. Thankfully the event is heavily covered, and I was able to follow along just as if I was there! Here’s one of the sessions (VMworld 2017 SER1143BU A Deep Dive into vSphere 6.5 Core Storage Features and Functionality) that caught my eye, since it had to do with Core Storage Features!

 

This was a very informative session with regards to core storage functionality, and thankfully VMware posted these sessions for those who couldn’t make it.  Continue reading “VMworld Goodies from Letsv4Real!”