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vCenter Server has become a mission critical part of most virtual infrastructures. It can be a single point of failure if it is not designed for availability. vCenter Server 6 has many changes relating to vCenter Server and its components and careful consideration has to be made in the design of its architecture.
There are multiple solutions for high availability. Many of these options can be combined to provide different levels of availability. vSphere HA, FT, vCenter Watchdog services and in guest clustering solutions can be combined depending on customer requirements for availability.
The Platform Services Controller (PSC) serves many VMware solutions in addition to vCenter Server such as VROPS, View, etc. The PSC deployment modes have to be carefully evaluated based on unique customer requirements and architected appropriately as well.
I believe most individuals know proper DNS configuration is essential to a smooth operating VMware environment - or pretty much any environment, for that matter. However, there are a few cases where certain components must be deployed to an environment that does not have DNS servers. I had a question about this specific to vSphere Replication so I decided to do some testing. My test environment consists of vCenter Server 6.0 running on Windows Server 2012 R2 in a virtual machine, a couple of local vSphere 6.0 hosts, and another vCenter Server 6.0 environment about 800 miles away from the local environment. I deployed a vSphere Replication 6.0 virtual appliance to the environment and removed the DNS server entries. It did not take long to see warnings and error messages in the UI.
When designing vCenter Site Recovery Manager environments the question of how to organize Protection Groups (PG) frequently comes up. In this post we'll review what a protection group is, where it fits in the context of SRM and the factors to keep in mind when deciding how to organize them.
vSphere Replication is an asynchronous, host-based replication feature that is included with vSphere Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions. It can be used as a standalone solution for simple, storage-agnostic, cost-effective virtual machine replication. vSphere Replication also serves as a replication component for VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) and VMware vCloud Air Disaster Recovery. When replication is configured for a powered on virtual machine, vSphere Replication starts replicating the files that make up the virtual machine from the source location to the target location. A question that comes up sometimes is "How much storage will be consumed by the virtual machine at the target location?" As with many questions like this, the short answer is "It depends."
SRM supports two different replication technologies, Storage Array or Array-Based Replication and vSphere Replication. One of the key decisions when implementing SRM is which technology to use and for what VMs. The two technologies can be used together in an SRM environment though not to protect the same VM. Given that, what are the differences and why would you use one over the other? This table will provide all the answers you need:
VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP) is a backup and recovery solution based on EMC Avamar that is included with vSphere Essentials Plus Kit and higher editions of vSphere. VDP is deployed as a virtual appliance running a Linux guest operating system (OS). I have had several individuals ask about enabling the ability to log into the VDP appliance guest OS as the root user with an ssh client such as PuTTY on Windows and Terminal on OS X. This is disabled by default for security purposes, but it can easily be enabled. This short blog article provides the steps. Just be sure to disable the access when it is no longer needed.
I often get questions around backing up and restoring vCenter Server with vSphere Data Protection (VDP). VDP includes an "emergency restore" feature, which enables the restoration of a virtual machine even if vCenter Server is offline. This makes VDP a possible option for backing up a vCenter Server virtual machine and restoring it if it is lost, e.g., deleted from the datastore on which it resides. In my environment, I have a 4-node vSphere 6.0 cluster running approximately 10 virtual machines including the vCenter Server virtual machine (Windows OS) on a VMware Virtual SAN datastore. I just powered off and deleted the vCenter Server virtual machine. Let's see what happens...
Over the course of the last few months I've been working on a pretty massive deployment guide for vCenter Server 6, the result turned into a 100 page guide. Before getting scared off by the size the guide it goes into details for installing and upgrading many different scenarios including new installs and upgrades from the most common configurations.