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Category Archives: Uptime

What’s New with vSphere Data Protection 6.0 and vSphere Replication 6.0

There are many interesting items coming out of VMware’s 28 Days of February where customers can learn more about “One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device”. A couple of the biggest items are the announcements of vSphere 6.0 and Virtual SAN 6.0. In this article, we will look at what is new with two of the more popular vSphere features: vSphere Data Protection and vSphere Replication. Perhaps the biggest news with these two features is around vSphere Data Protection. Before vSphere 6.0 and vSphere Data Protection 6.0, there were two editions of vSphere Data Protection: vSphere Data Protection, included with vSphere, and vSphere Data Protection Advanced, which was sold separately. With the release of vSphere Data Protection 6.0, all vSphere Data Protection Advanced functionality has been consolidated into vSphere Data Protection 6.0 and included with vSphere 6.0 Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions. Keep reading to learn more about the advanced functionality now included as part of vSphere Data Protection 6.0.

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vSphere 6 – Clarifying the misinformation

With the Announcement of vSphere 6 this week there is a lot of information being published by various sources. Some of that information is based on old beta builds and is much different than what we’ll see in the final product. In this post I aim to correct some of the information based on the beta builds that’s floating around out there.

First off there’s confusion on the maximum number of virtual machines per cluster vSphere 6 supports. This is in part my fault, when we wrote the What’s New in vSphere 6 white paper the number was 6000. Additional scale testing has been done and that number is now 8000. The what’s new paper will be updated soon to reflect this.

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vSphere APIs for IO Filtering

I’ve been fortunate to have one of our super sharp product line managers, Alex Jauch (twitter @ajauch), spend some time explaining to me one of the new enabling technologies of vSphere 6.0: VAIO.  Let’s take a look at this really powerful capability and see what types of things it can enable and an overview of how it works.

VAIO stands for “vSphere APIs for IO Filtering”

This had for a time colloquially been known as “IO Filters”. Fundamentally, it is a means by which a VM can have its IO safely and securely filtered in accordance with a policy.

VAIO offers partners the ability to put their technology directly into the IO stream of a VM through a filter that intercepts data before it is committed to disk.

Why would I want to do that? What kinds of things can you do with an IO filter?

Well that’s up to our customers and our partners. VAIO is a filtering framework that will initially allow vendors to present capabilities for caching and replication to individual VMs. This will expand over time as partners come on board to write filters for the framework, so you can imagine where this can go for topics such as security, antivirus, encryption and other areas, as the framework matures. VAIO gives us the ability to do stuff to an IO stream in a safe and certified fashion, and manage the whole thing through profiles to ensure we get a view into the IO stream’s compliance with policy!

The VAIO program itself is for partners – the benefit is for consumers who want to do policy based management of their environment and pull in the value of our partner solutions directly into per-VM and indeed per-virtual disk storage management.

When partners create their solutions their data services are surfaced through the Storage Policy Based Management control plane, just like all the rest of our policy-driven storage offerings like Virtual SAN or Virtual Volumes.

Beyond that, because the data services operate at the VM virtual device level, they can also work with just about any type of storage device, again furthering the value of VSAN and VVOLs, and extending the use of these offerings through these additional data services.

How does it work?

The capabilities of a partner filter solution are registered with the VAIO framework, and are surfaced for user interaction in the SPBM Continue reading

Storage and Availability at Partner Exchange 2015

VMware’s 2015 Partner Exchange is now just about one week away, and it’s shaping up to be a great one!

In storage and availability we’ll have a lot to talk about across the board: Some sessions will offer deeper examinations of our current products, others will give you a great exploration of some of the newer things VMware has to showcase.

I’ve made a list of some of the sessions put on by those of us in the storage and availability product team; it’s a good cross section from product marketing, product managers, and technical marketing people such as myself.  Outside of the engineers who actually write the code, these are the people closest to the products you use, so sign up and hear something new.  There are also sessions from our highly experienced field sales and technical teams — the experts at understanding how these products address customer requirements and explaining their value to our customers.

I’m personally doing a technical session with my colleague Rawlinson on Virtual SAN (STO4275) and looking forward to it quite a bit.

Lastly, don’t be shy to come say hello after the sessions.  We love to hear your thoughts, if we’ve got time between activities…

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vSphere Data Protection – SharePoint VSS writer registration failed

I was working with the SharePoint agent and came across the following error message: SharePoint VSS writer registration failed.

mossagent_error

On a Windows Server 2012 R2 VM running SharePoint Server 2013, I found the location of stsadm.exe here: C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\Web Server Extensions\15\BIN

I ran this command which fixed the issue: stsadm.exe -o registerwsswriter

@jhuntervmware

vSphere Data Protection (VDP) – Removing an External Proxy

It is not particularly clear how to remove a vSphere Data Protection (VDP) external proxy in the vSphere Data Protection (VDP) 5.8 Administration Guide. Before I get into that specifically, I should probably start with what a VDP external proxy is and how it is deployed. The external proxy functionality is currently only available with the Advanced edition of VDP. External proxies are virtual appliances that are typically deployed to locations where the VDP appliance does not have direct access to storage, e.g., another cluster or perhaps even another site such as a branch office or remote office. This reduces the amount of network bandwidth required to transmit backup data across the network. An external proxy will utilize SCSI HotAdd to attach the protected VM’s disk(s) to an external proxy during a backup job. The external proxy will first query the VDP appliance to see if the backup data segment already exists in the VDP appliance’s backup data repository – either in the VDP appliance (GSAN) or on the Data Domain appliance, if Data Domain is being used to store VDP backup data. If the segment does exist, the external proxy will not send it again across the network. Without the external proxy, VDP would have to use the Network Block Device (NBD) protocol to back up remote VMs. In this scenario, all changes to the protected VMs would be sent across the network to the VDP appliance and deduplication would happen within the VDP appliance or on the Data Domain appliance.

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MySQL VM Backup with vSphere Data Protection

I often get questions regarding backup of a MySQL database server (VM) using vSphere Data Protection (VDP). VDP does not have an agent for MySQL, but you can of course perform an image-level (entire-VM) backup of a VM running MySQL. With VDP and many other backup solutions that use the vSphere APIs for Data Protection (VADP), the backup and recovery of Linux VMs is crash-consistent. In other words, there is no quiescing of the file system and applications running inside the VM when a backup of the VM is performed. When you recover a VM from a crash-consistent backup, it is similar to the state of the server when the power has failed unexpectedly (no graceful shutdown) and then power is restored. MySQL, as with other popular database solutions, has good, built-in protection against data loss and corruption when recovered from a crash-consistent state, but there are no guarantees. The goal is to minimize the chance of corruption and data loss. Here are a few recommendations when using VDP to back up a VM running MySQL:

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Reference Architecture for building a VMware Software–Defined Datacenter

The latest in our series of reference architectures is now available. This is an update to the previous version which brings in additional products and covers the vCloud Suite 5.8 release.

This reference architecture describes an implementation of a software-defined data center (SDDC) using VMware vCloud® Suite Enterprise 5.8, VMware NSX™ for vSphere® 6.1, VMware IT Business Management Suite™ Standard Edition 1.1, and VMware vCenter™ Log Insight™ 2.0 to create an SDDC. This SDDC implementation is based on real-world scenarios, user workloads, and infrastructure system configurations. The configuration uses industry-standard servers, IP-based storage, and 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) networking to support a scalable and redundant architecture.

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Infographic – Walk Through of VMware Availability

Here’s a visualization we put together to help people understand the various offerings from VMware that can positively affect your levels of availability.

Hope you like it!

VMware-Availability  <click here for pdf>

vSphere Replication Appliance Failure Prevention and Recovery

vSphere Replication is an excellent host-based, per-VM replication solution that is included with vSphere Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions. That’s right – if you have vSphere Essentials Plus or higher, you have vSphere Replication. There are several use cases for vSphere Replication: Migrating VMs from old hardware to new hardware, migrating VMs between data centers, and disaster recovery – with or without vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) – to name a few. When talking with customers, we tend to cover the features and benefits for starters and move on to how it works – and then what happens when issues such as hardware failure, administrative mistakes, etc. occur.

In this article, we will not discuss all of the details around how it works, but at a high level, changed data for each protected VM is replicated from vSphere hosts at the source location to one or more vSphere Replication virtual appliance(s) at the target location. The vSphere Replication appliance(s) then write this replicated data to vSphere storage at the target location. This often raises questions about what happens if these vSphere Replication appliances go offline or are lost. That is what we will cover in this article.

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