vSAN and Fault Domains, aka Rack Awareness

Keeping your virtual workloads up and running at all times while also providing the back-end data resiliency is key to any VMware vSphere deployment. This is true if   your shared-storage mode consists of a “traditional” three tier architecture (host/fabric/storage) or if you leverage Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) to     consolidate   and provide compute/storage resources. How you accomplish this task though is different. With the traditional storage array you have redundant controllers front ending your disk subsystem, or if scaling you might place multiple controller across cabinets in a “cluster” configuration. With HCI/vSAN the concepts are still basically the same, but you are now leveraging both hardware (compute/storage nodes) and the software to logically place your data across cabinets. In vSAN this means leveraging Fault Domains for rack awareness.

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Notes from the Field–vSAN SBPM Tags and VR/SRM

VSAN_AcceptedSome of my favorite posts to write and put together are for the “Notes from the Field” titles/classifications. The reason being is these posts come from my experiences with clients to help solve a business requirement or design challenge that I am sure others have been or are faced with. This time around I am working with a customer on their Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery (BC/DR) initiative. Always a fun a topic!

High Level Architecture

The customer I have been working with is already down the path of HCI and specifically with vSAN ROBO edition for some of their remote locations. When they were looking for both a primary storage uplift at their production site as well as encompassing a disaster recovery strategy, looking to vSAN was an easy choice. For the replication or “data mover” task, vSphere Replication will be leveraged tied with Site Recovery Manager (SRM) for the orchestration engine.

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Deploying a 2-Node ROBO #vSAN Cluster

While Hyper-Converged Infrastructures such as Nutanix and VMware’s vSAN are popular topics in changing the dynamics of how compute and storage resources are consumed in a primary datacenter, one use case that sometimes gets overlooked is organizations that have or support a remote or branch office (referred to as ROBO going forward).

VMware addressed this customer need in the v6.1 release of vSAN supporting 2-Node + Witness configurations and has continued to introduce new enhancement/features since. Most recently the ability to “Direct Connect” the nodes in the ROBO location bypassing the need for a switch (at least for vSAN connectivity) to be deployed in v6.5.

While setting up vSAN via the vSphere Web Client is straightforward, there is a bit of “plumbing” that needs to be accomplished (both on the physical networking and ESXi networking side) to really get his use case up and running. Let’s see how it done!

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Configuring vSAN iSCSI Targets

VSAN_AcceptedTest…Test…Test…This thing on?

Yes it has been awhile since I actually posted something here, so I thought I would kick out something that I have been recently playing with in my home lab and share some thoughts. That being, the ability in vSAN 6.5 to present physical or virtual guests with an iSCSI target served from a vSAN cluster.

Now some might be thinking to themselves “Isn’t the whole idea of HCI to get AWAY from the concept of provisioning storage on a per LUN basis?” And for those thinking that, you are correct! Sadly, that utopia doesn’t quite exist in the real world. Yet. I still have conversations with customers that still have a few hold out workloads or requirements for a bare metal server or some sort of in-guest iSCSI initiators (shivers) and see these a roadblock or limitation to moving to HCI.

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