VCP-6 Objective 6.1–Configure and Administer a vSphere Backups/Restore/Replication Solution

For this objective I used the following resources:

Objective 6.1 – Configure and Administer a vSphere Backup/Restore/Replication Solution

Knowledge

Identify Snapshot Requirements

Create/Delete/Consolidate Virtual Machine Snapshots

For these two topics I am going to group other them together with a list of VMware KB articles that easily cover the topics and provide a deeper level of the how’s and why’s of VMware snapshots. But for an overview a VMware snapshot is:

  • Represents the state of a virtual machine at the time it was taken
  • Include the files and memory state of a virtual machine’s guest operating system
  • Includes the settings and configuration of a virtual machine and its virtual hardware
  • Is stored as a set of files in the same directory as other files that comprise a virtual machine
  • Should be taken when testing something with unknown or potentially harmful effects
  • Can take up as much disk space as the virtual machine itself. If multiple snapshots are possible, the amount of disk space used increases with the number of snapshots in place

For a complete run down of VMware snapshots, have a look at the following VMware KB articles:

Identify VMware Data Protection Requirements

Software Requirements

  • Minimum requirement is vCenter Server 5.1, while vCenter Server 5.5 or later is recommended
  • VDP 6.0 supports the Linux-based vCenter Server Virtual Appliance and the Windows based vCenter Server
  • VDP .1 is not compatible with vCenter 5.5 or later
  • Web browsers must be enabled with  Adobe Flash Player 11.3 or later to access the vSphere Web Client and VDP functionality
  • Deploy VDP appliances on shared VMFS5 or later datastores to avoid block size limitations
  • Make sure that all virtual machines are running hardware version 7 or later to support Change Block Tracking (CBT) functionality
  • Install VMware Tools on each virtual machine that VDP will backup

Unsupported  Virtual Machine Disk Types

  • Independent
  • RDM Independent – Virtual Compatibility Mode
  • RDM Physical Compatibility Mode

System Requirements

VDP is deployed based disk capacity. The options are:

  • .5TB
  • 1TB
  • 2TB
  • 4TB
  • 6TB
  • 8TB
    Based on the disk/repository sizing the CPU/Memory resources minimum requirements are:

.5TB

1TB

2TB

4TB

6TB

8TB

CPU 4 x 2GHz 4 x 2GHz 4 x 2GHz 4 x 2GHz 4 x 2GHz 4 x 2Ghz
Memory 4GB 4GB 4GB 8GB 10GB 12GB
Disk Space 873GB 1.6TB 3TB 6TB 9TB 12TB

Explain VMware Data Protection Sizing Guidelines

  • Up to 400 virtual machines supported per VDP appliance
  • Up to 20 VDP appliances supported per vCenter
  • Available storage size of 8TB’s
  • Number of protected virtual machines and the dataset size
  • Types of data being backed up (OS files, documents, databases, etc)
  • Backup data retention period (daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly)
  • Data change rates

Identify VMware Data Protection Version Offerings

This is an interesting objective as of vSphere 6.0 there is only a single version offering product. Just note that earlier versions of VDP (5.x days) there were two versions of the product, VDP and VDP Advanced. With the release of vSPhere 6 it appears VMware has consolidated the “Advanced” edition of the product into one.  Let’s review some of the features in the product:

  • Agentless virtual machine backup
  • Integration with EMC Data Domain for additional scale, efficiency, and reliability
  • Agent support for application consistent backup and restores of Microsoft Exchange, SQL and Sharepoint (used to be in the “Advanced” version)
  • Granular File Level Restores (FLR)
  • Deployment of external proxies, enabling as many as 24 parallel backup operations
      For a deeper dive into the functions of features of VDP 6.0 have a look at the

VMware vSphere Data Protection 6.0 Technical Overview

    whitepaper.

Describe vSphere Replication Architecture

vSphere Replication is an included feature with VMware vSphere that provides hypervisor-based virtual machine replication. vSphere Replcation is an alternative over using storage-based replication technologies and allows for replicating to unlike storage (FC to NFS for example). vSphere Replication supports replicating between sites in the following configuration.

From a source site to a target site:

Site to Site

Within a single site from one cluster to another:

Single Site

From multiple source sites to a shared remote target site:

Multi Site Shared

vSphere replication supports both the Linux-based vCenter Appliance as well as the standard vCenter Server Windows installation. Combinations of both are supported, IE Windows based vCenter at your primary site and the Linux-based appliance at the DR target location.

Bundled with the vSphere Replication appliance are all the needed components  required:

  • Plug-in for the vSphere Web Client
  • Embedded database that stores replication configuration and management information
  • vSphere Replication management server
    • Configures the vSphere Replication server
    • Enables, manages, and monitors replications
    • Authenticates user and checks their permissions to perform vSphere Replication operations
  • vSphere Replication server that provides the core of the vSphere Replication infrastructure

Install and Configure VMware Data Protection

Prior to installing VDP there are few house cleaning items that need to be taken care of first:

  • Both forward and reverse DNS entries need to be configured
  • Configure NTP settings on both your vCenter Server and ESXi hosts
  • Minimum requirement is vCenter Server 5.1, vCenter Server 5.5 or later is recommended

Now, on with the show.

  • Log into the vSphere Web Client with administrative privileges
  • From the Home screen in the vSphere Web Client, select Hosts and Clusters in the right hand navigation
  • In the left hand pane select expand your Datacenter object and select the vSphere Cluster you wish to deploy VMware Data Protection to
  • Right click on the vSphere Cluster and select Deploy OVF Template
  • Provide the Source location for the installation. Options are either URL or Local File
  • Review the virtual appliance settings/details and click Next
  • Accept the EULA and click Next
  • Provide a Name and Location for the virtual appliance. Click Next
  • Select the Virtual Disk Format and Datastore location. Click Next
  • Provide the needed Networking information:
    • Management Network Portgroup
    • IP Protocol
    • Manual IP addressing
    • Select the check box to Power On the virtual appliance after deployment and click Finish

With the deployment of the appliance complete, if you pop open a console connection you will see a listing for the next steps to complete the configuration of the device:VDP_Console

  • From a web browser open :8543/vdp-configure/”>:8543/vdp-configure/”>:8543/vdp-configure/”>https://<VDP_IP_Address>:8543/vdp-configure/
  • Type root in the User field and changeme in the Password field, and then click Login
  • On the VDP Welcome screen click Next
  • Verify/Complete the Network Settings options, click Next
  • Select the appropriate Time Zone, click Next
  • Provide a Password for the VDP Credentials, click Next
  • For the vCenter Registration provide a Username and Password and related vCenter Server information. Use the Test Connection to validate the settings. Click Next when completed
  • For Create Storage select either Create New Storage or Attach Existing VDP Storage. If using new storage, select from the available storage capacities. Click Next
  • Provide the storage location/locations on the Device Allocation window. Click Next
  • For CPU and Memory assign the needed amount of RAM to the appliance. Click Next
  • Choose to enable the Product Improvement feed back. Click Next
  • On the Ready to Complete dialog choose to run the Run Performance Analysis on Storage Configuration. Note, this is optional. Click Next
  • Finally, from the Complete screen click Restart Appliance

Create a Backup Job with VMware Data Protection

  • Log into the vSphere Web Client with administrative privileges
  • From the Home screen in the vSphere Web Client, select VDP in the right hand navigation
  • Click the Backup tab
  • From the Backup Job Actions menu, select New to begin the Create a new backup job wizard
  • On the Job Type page, select the job type. For this example we are going to to select Guest Images. Click Next
  • For the Data Type select either Full Image or Individual Disks
  • On the Backup Sources dialog select the vCenter object or objects you wish to schedule in the backup job. These can be Datacenter, Clusters, groups of virtual machines, or individual virtual machines
  • On the Schedule page, select the schedule for the backup job and click Next
  • From the Retention Policy page, select a retention period and click Next
  • Provide a Name for the backup job
  • Review the settings on the Ready to Complete screen. Click Finish when ready

Install/Configure/Upgrade vSphere Replication

  • Log into the vSphere Web Client with administrative privileges
  • From the Home screen in the vSphere Web Client, select Hosts and Clusters in the right hand navigation
  • In the left hand pane select expand your Datacenter object and select the vSphere Cluster you wish to deploy vSphere Replication to
  • Right click on the vSphere Cluster and select Deploy OVF Template
  • Provide the Source location for the installation. Options are either URL or Local File
  • Review the virtual appliance settings/details and click Next
  • Accept the EULA and click Next
  • Provide a Name and Location for the virtual appliance. Click Next
  • Select the Configuration size of the appliance (Either 2 or 4 vCPU). Click Next
  • Select the Virtual Disk Format and Datastore location. Click Next
  • Provide the needed Networking information:
    • Management Network Portgroup
    • IP Protocol
    • DHCP or Static-Manual IP addressing
  • Provide a Root password for the appliance. Click Next
  • Review the binding to the vCenter Extension vService and click Next
  • Select the check box to Power On the virtual appliance after deployment and click Finish
  • One the deployment has succeeded Log Out and then back into the vSphere Web Client
  • The vSphere Replication icon will be presented on the Home screen

Complete the above steps on your secondary/DR site and vSphere Replication is ready for use!

 

Configure VMware Certificate Authority (VMCA) Integration with vSphere Replication

By default the vSphere Replication appliance will use self-signed certificates for authentication purposes. If you wish to upload your own certificates for stronger security you will need to access and log into the virtual appliance management interface (VAMI) of your replication appliance and complete the following:

  • Connect to the VAMI of the vSphere Replication appliance in a web browser (default URL is :5480″>:5480″>:5480″>https://<appliance-address>:5480)
  • Type the root user name and password for the appliance
  • Click the VR tab and click Security to review the currentl SSL certificate
  • Click Configuration
  • To enforce verification of certificate validity, select the Accept only SSL certificates signed by a trusted Certificate Authority check box.
  • Generate or install a new SSL certificate
  • Click Save and Restart Service to apply the changes

Configure Replication for Single/Multiple VM’s

  • Log into the vSphere Web Client with administrative privileges
  • From the Home screen in the vSphere Web Client, select VMs and Templates in the right hand navigation
  • In the left hand pane select a Datacenter object, click the Related Objects tab in the right hand navigation
  • Click the Virtual Machines tab under Related Objects
  • Either select a Single virtual machine or Multiple virtual machines using the Ctrl and Shift keys
  • Right-Click the virtual machine/virtual machines and click All vSphere Replication Actions > Configure Replication from the menu
  • Acknowledge the number of virtual machines to replicate
  • Verify the virtual machine validation and click Next
  • Select the Target replication site
  • Select the target location Datastore
  • Use the RPO slider or enter a value to configure the maximum amount of data that can be lost in the case of a site failure
  • Select a Guest OS Quiescing configuration, if applicable to the source virtual machine operating system
  • Review the settings and click Finish to establish replication

Identify vSphere Replication Compression Methods

Data compression is supported for vSphere Replication if the envirionment meets certain requirements. For full support of end to end compression both the Source and Target ESXi hosts need to be running ESXi 6.x. If you have a “mixed” environment of 6.x hosts and earlier the ability to compress data will be limited. Refer to the chart below:

Source ESXi Host Target ESXi Host Data Compression Support
Earlier than 6.0 Any supported version vSphere Replication does not support data compression for the source ESXi host, so the option Enable network compression for VR data is disabled in the Configure Replication wizard.
6.0 Earlier than 6.0 The ESXi host on the source site sends compressed data packets to the vSphere Replication server on the target site. The vSphere Replication server searches the target site for ESXi 6.0 hosts that can decompress the data. If no 6.0 hosts are available for the target datastore, the vSphere Replication server uses the resources of the vSphere Replication appliance to decompress the data, and sends the uncompressed data to the ESXi host.
6.0 6.0 This is an environment that supports full end-to-end compression. The ESXi host on the source site compresses the data, and the vSphere Replication server on the target site passes the data off to the ESXi host where the host decompresses the data and writes it to disk.

 

Recover a VM using vSphere Replication

Recovering a virtual machine by using vSphere Replication is a manual task. Prior to attempting the steps to recover a virtual machine, insure that the virtual machine at the source site is powered off. If the virtual machine is powered on and running an error message will be displayed reminding you to power it down.

    • Log into the vSphere Web Client with administrative privileges
    • From the Home screen in the vSphere Web Client, select vSphere Replication in the right hand navigation
    • Select the appropriate site/vCenter Server. Click on Monitor in the navigation bar
    • Choose the Incoming Replication tab, right-click the virtual machine to recover and select Recover
    • Select whether to recover the virtual machine with all the latest data, or to recover the virtual machine with the most recent data from the target site
    • Select the recover folder and click Next
    • If the virtual machine contains hard disks for which you have not enabled replication, select a target destination for the disk or detach the disk, and click Next
    • (Optional) Select Power on after recovery
    • Click Finish

Recovery_Options

Perform a Failback Operation Using vSphere Replication

After performing a successful recovery on the target vCenter Server site, you can perform failback. You log in to the target site and manually configure a new replication in the reverse direction, from the target site to the source site. The disks on the source site are used as replication seeds, so that vSphere  Replication only synchronizes the changes made to the disk files on the target site.

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