by Kandy O’Mara, Solutions Architect, VMware
As part of our hybrid cloud journey, VMware IT needed to provide a network filesystem (NFS) for VMs and application workloads in VMware Cloud on AWS. These applications include SAP Landscape Virtualization Management (LVM), Atlassian Jira, and the VMware Blog applications. All require shared filesystems, which play an important role in our workload migration strategy. VMware IT looked at several options to provide a network-attached storage (NAS) solution.
Our criteria were clear: The solution had to be easy to implement, flexible, scalable, and sustainable. We required local snapshots, bi-directional replication, and high performance for migrating application data from an on-premises data center to VMware Cloud on AWS.
The second factor in our decision was support for the IT disaster recovery plan. Typically, we use VMware Site Recovery Manager with VMware vSphere replication to protect virtual machines (VMs). However, we also needed local/remote replication for the filesystem and NAS server failover capabilities. (For more about the IT DR plan, check out, Why Disaster Recovery Should Be an Integral Part of the Enterprise).
Deploying Dell EMC UnityVSA
After extensive evaluation, we chose the Dell EMC UnityVSA™ Cloud Edition (Virtual Storage Appliance) solution, a software-defined storage platform for environments that do not require dedicated storage systems. Here are three reasons we selected UnityVSA:
- It could be easily deployed on a VMware ESXi server and supported local and remote bidirectional replication at the filesystem level.
- The technology was scalable and sustainable; our environment could be expanded from 4TB to 50TB without affecting running services.
- It aligned with the current disaster recovery solution built into VMware Cloud on AWS and supported NFS exports to production and stage VMs.
Dell EMC UnityVSA Open Virtualization Application (OVA) was installed on a VMware ESXi host in VMware Cloud on AWS. A key feature was VMware vSphere HA (high availability), which provides protection for the NAS server VMs. VMware HA pools the VMs and their hosts into a cluster so they can be monitored, and in the event of a failure, restarted on alternate hosts.
Dell UnityVSA on VMware Cloud on AWS also enables implementation of multi-tenant storage instances, reducing our storage infrastructure costs and providing a quicker rate of deployment—hours versus weeks.
The VMware IT architecture below shows how UnityVSA bi-directional replication support enables us to migrate NAS servers and filesystems from an on-premises data center to VMware Cloud on AWS. NAS replication plays an important role in the VMware IT disaster recovery plan for SAP LVM, Atlassian Jira, and VMware Blog applications.
IT uses Dell EMC Unisphere to manage the UnityVSA footprint. As shown below, the Unisphere interface consolidates UnityVSA management into a single dashboard that provides an overview of our virtualization footprint, including changes to specific pages such as Pools and System Health.
Our next step is to evaluate the Dell EMC Unity Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA), which enables the tiering of data from UnityVSA to another location based on user-configured policies. CTA should help us reclaim capacity on primary storage by transparently moving data to lower cost tiers of storage, resulting in reduced operating expenses, decreased backup times, and improved performance.
For further reading on VMware Cloud on AWS and disaster recovery planning, read these blogs:
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