ESXI Free High availability solution

slinuxuzerslinuxuzer Posts: 665Member ■■■■□□□□□□
Guys, managment has me testing a solution for remote sites that we can't spend alot on, the idea is two servers running ESXI free, netbackup for vmware to backup the guest to tape. Basically two hosts with local storage.

What are my options for recovering the guests from a crashed host A to host B in the absolute bare minimum amount of time (faster than from tape and more consistent)

I know this is asking alot, but is there a scritping solution to copy the guests over every hour or two or a third party solution to keep the guests in sync?

Comments

  • blargoeblargoe Posts: 4,165Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    That is going to be pretty tough. You can't just do a file copy of VM files that are in use. Now, Netbackup for VMWare is going to do a good job of getting the VM's backed up correctly (you are aware, however, that Netbackup Enterprise Client is required, right? that is a pricey option itself).

    No matter what you're doing to get the VM's from point A to point B, the fact that it is going to be a large amount of data is going to make it slow, whether it's tape or copying over ethernet. What kind of tape drive and/or library do you have?

    If your boss is serious about having higher availability, you need to at least talk him into vCenter Server Foundation. Retail is $1318 for 6 CPUs, vCenter Server Foundation, vCenter Data Recovery, VMware HA, and VMotion. You could probably get it cheaper through your hardware partner. I haven't used the Data Recovery before, but you might could avoid having to purchase expensive Symantec licensing (and ongoing maintenance) with that...

    I don't know what an inexpensive, sufficiently redundant NAS is going for these days...
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  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,739Mod Mod
    I'm with blargoe. I experience physical pain every time I hear a company talking about DR/CDP/redundancy on the cheap. There are some things in life that you have to pay for hoping to never use them: health, car and home insurance. DR is the same. You need to throw money even though the ROI is not evident.

    Can you tell us more about the environment? How many VMs? What do they run? Anything that requires being quiesced such as Oracle, SQL or Exchange? What size are those VMs? At some point the VMs become just to big to fully transfer every hour and you may need to look into snapshot/disk based solutions such as FalconStor or AppAssure. Again, $$$.

    If I follow your scenario you just want two have two physical ESX boxes, one of them running several VMs and the other one as a backup that gets updated hourly. Correct? Sounds like you want to use a NetBackup agent inside the VM. This is OK (although not optimal) but in my opinion defeats the whole purpose of having an enterprise class backup solution. If the company wants to keep things consistent they could leverage ESX and the Netbackup vStorage API and establish a real solution. Heck, under some scenarios it may even be cheaper to go with Veeam Backup and Replication instead of adding components to NetBackup. Veeam Backup would've accomplished what you need with a fairly minimal investment. However, some time ago VMware forced them to drop support for the free ESX.

    Check out this PDF: http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/Optimizing_Data_Protection__Taneja__Mar_09_.pdf. It addresses the SMB backup dilemma. This explains why I just said above:

    "While SMBs are being affected by many of the same issues causing data protection headaches for enterprise environments, they also face a set of unique challenges. Budgets can often provide data protection coverage for only the most mission-critical applications, and sophisticated data protection administrative expertise can be in very short supply. Existing tape-based backup infrastructures are often unable to address backup window, RPO, RTO, and recovery reliability issues which are top of mind for most data protection administrators. And when evaluating new solutions, it’s clear that SMBs have a strong preference for solutions that are easy to deploy and manage. Because of the management advantages and rapid return on investment (ROI) that server virtualization provides, it has been very popular with SMB customers.

    As customers move to these environments, they often migrate their data protection processes to them unchanged. When evolving computing environments, it’s smart to use a phased approach to making changes, but in our opinion you’re making a mistake if you’re not also looking at modifying your data protection processes soon after completing the transition to server virtualization. Because of the way server virtualization works, data protection processes designed for physical server environments can perform poorly."


    Now go build a business case to get the real thing going.
  • instant000instant000 Posts: 1,745Member
    LOL @ Free High availability.

    If you're serious about being super-cheap, then you need to make up for that by being ultra-skilled for your employer, and once they lose you, they're in worse shape, as they didn't deploy a standardized solution.

    I remember there was once a product called "Ghetto VCB" but I'm not sure how well that works with the free ESXi, or even if it's available with that.

    Also, I'm not sure if there might be some freely available backup appliance that you can obtain to get your backups done.

    I can say for sure that Veeam works, but that is a paid product, but I never saw "NetBackup" as a cheap product, so your mileage may vary there.

    As a previous poster said, explore Veeam. it's surprisingly easy to set up, and get going. I still advise reading their excellent FAQs, which answer a lot of your questions, prior to posting support tickets or spamming the forums. (by forums, i'm referring to the veeam forums. I'm not saying that you're spamming us with questions here)
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  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    Depending on what the VMs are doing you could go the way I setup a solution for a customer. The customer had two ESX free hosts in two physical locations. He had several Linux VMs running LAMP which he needed to be replicated. What I did instead was having the VMs cloned and used DRBD in conjunction with HEARTBEAT effectively building a free cluster. On windows, since he didn't want to spend the money on A loadbalancer, we simply once again cloned those VMs to the remote site and replicated the data which is changing using a dedicated link. The production network was configured but disabled so when the primary site goes down he simply has to enable the network on the remote site and he is back online.

    That, imho is the only way to do this for free. Linux is a lot easier than Windows due to the option of using DRBD but it is all possible.

    Another customer uses two single hosts with local storage but uses Veeam to replicate the VMs to the remote site but a. Veeam isn't cheap and b. It doesn't work on ESXi free.
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  • instant000instant000 Posts: 1,745Member
    Gomjaba:

    You're right. VMware pressured them to take out the support for ESXi, so if people wanted that, they had to "downgrade" to an earlier version of the product, that did support ESXi. (this is corrobated by statements by what's his name? Gostev(sp?) at the Veeam forums)

    Of course, if you're trying to make enterprise applications somewhat more available and resistant to disaster type situations, it'd be prudent to do some investing.

    As cyberpuyr said earlier, it's like getting insurance.

    My biggest worry is deploying some customized, free solution, and then you get hit by a bus. Now what? Someone has to reverse engineer a rigged solution to figure it out.... not sure that the company has saved any money here. Much better to go with a supported solution, and especially if the company is low on IT staff. I would hate to be on some "free" solution, and have something hit the fan, then not be able to get support, or, if you do have to get support even one time, it's so expensive it would have been better to buy ten or fifteen years of support, for the cost of repairing a single incident.

    I see it as a risk acceptance type of situation. Make sure you make a guess on how often this solution could fail, and plan accordingly for what the costs would be, if it blew up in your face. Then, get someone to sign off on the possibility, and accept the risk they're taking.
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  • cyberguyprcyberguypr Senior Member Posts: 6,739Mod Mod
    instant000 wrote: »
    My biggest worry is deploying some customized, free solution, and then you get hit by a bus. Now what?

    Or stuff hits the fan, you try recovering and it doesn't work as it did when you tested it. Then you have an RPE (resume producing event).
  • slinuxuzerslinuxuzer Posts: 665Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    instant000 wrote: »
    LOL @ Free High availability.

    If you're serious about being super-cheap, then you need to make up for that by being ultra-skilled for your employer, and once they lose you, they're in worse shape, as they didn't deploy a standardized solution.

    I remember there was once a product called "Ghetto VCB" but I'm not sure how well that works with the free ESXi, or even if it's available with that.

    Also, I'm not sure if there might be some freely available backup appliance that you can obtain to get your backups done.

    I can say for sure that Veeam works, but that is a paid product, but I never saw "NetBackup" as a cheap product, so your mileage may vary there.

    As a previous poster said, explore Veeam. it's surprisingly easy to set up, and get going. I still advise reading their excellent FAQs, which answer a lot of your questions, prior to posting support tickets or spamming the forums. (by forums, i'm referring to the veeam forums. I'm not saying that you're spamming us with questions here)

    Obviously I am pushing for storage, these kind of things come up when you get demands for a solution and are told you going to implement something and it's going to cost under X, in my experience being the guy that is all but refusing to implement becuase he doesn't agree will get you no where, managment is aware of the recommendation, the stuff thats going to run on this is fairly low risk. The only thing that won't quiesce is AD.
  • scott28ttscott28tt Posts: 654Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    What about a virtual SAN solution, where you use the local storage of each of the two hosts to create virtual LUNs?

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  • slinuxuzerslinuxuzer Posts: 665Member ■■■■□□□□□□
    scott28tt wrote: »
    What about a virtual SAN solution, where you use the local storage of each of the two hosts to create virtual LUNs?

    HP StorageWorks P4000 Virtual SAN Appliance Software - Overview & Features

    I actually like the idea of this and have thought about it, do you know of any case studies I could use to sell this? The main marks against it is, it runs as a VM rather than installing to the bare metal and managment may not see it as a proven solution yet.

    Let me clarify the title of this post, originally it should have read ESXI Free; HA solution.

    We already own netbackup with ENT client, right now I am leaning towards asking them to buy licensed ESXI and veam backup and replication.
  • Legacy UserLegacy User Posts: 0Unregistered / Not Logged In ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hi

    Our product SvSAN is a virtual storage appliance (VSA) that enables VMware users to leverage the server storage to create a single shared datastore. As you'll know is that this will enable the use of features such as vMotion DRS and HA, an that this would only applyt to versions of Essentials plus and above

    HOWEVER..... by the end of September 2011 SvSAN will also be able to provide high availability to free versions of ESXi and ESXi Essentials, this would not require vCenter as it would be managed in StorMagics Web GUI.

    Check out the recent press release and our website

    Web: StorMagic ::: Smart Storage Made Simple
    PR: http://www.stormagic.com/pdf/SvSAN_Delivers_High_Availability_to_ESXi.pdf

    Steve
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Posts: 4,317Member ■■■■■■■■□□
    slinuxuzer wrote: »
    I am leaning towards asking them to buy licensed ESXI and veam backup and replication.

    Don't forget, you need at least vSphere Essentials
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