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Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

  • 1.  Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 26, 2007 03:37 AM

    Hi

    I'm looking at VMWare as an option for our business however I cannot find anything on their site about if you can Virtualise a VirtualCenter server.

    I need to know if you can do it and is it best practice or not to?

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Cheers



  • 2.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 26, 2007 04:19 AM

    You can run VirtualCenter in a VM without any problems.

    Best Practice? Well that depends!

    The real debate is whether you should run your management server inside the environment it is managing.

    The VI3 Installation Documentation page 21 clearly states VirtualCenter is a "physical machine or virtual machine"



  • 3.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 27, 2007 10:49 PM

    whether you should run your management server inside the environment it is

    managing.

    I couldn't agree with this more. But other's swear by running as a VM.

    Try it yourself to see what suits you!

    Dave



  • 4.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 26, 2007 04:25 AM

    Yes you can virtualise your VirtualCenter server. The big advantage in doing this is that the VirtualCenter server itself can take advantage of the HA option and automatically start on another host if there is a host failure.

    We have not do this at our site as a wee while back, we had some SAN issues with the LUNs dissappearing and appearing every 10 minutes. It made it extremely difficult to work out what was happening when VirtualCenter was affected like everything else. For that reason, we kept in out of the VIN environment.



  • 5.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 26, 2007 04:29 AM

    So if you have it on a physical box, what is the best way to back it up? or recover it in a disaster recovery?



  • 6.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 26, 2007 06:50 AM

    So if you have it on a physical box, what is the best

    way to back it up? or recover it in a disaster

    recovery?

    You could clone it with conventional disk cloning tools... the big thing is not virtualcenter which takes very little to re-install. It's you VirtualCenter database which is a single point of failure and that's where the important stuff is. You could cluster this DB is you wished - but personally I think this is a bit excessive - perhaps a replication model with another SQL instance would be more cost effective.

    Lastly, one useful approach is to Virtualcenter on both a physical and virtual machine. The physical would be "primary", and the VM a "hot standby"...

    Regards

    Mike



  • 7.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 26, 2007 02:32 PM

    Simply backup the DB and reinstall VCMS in case of loss.

    We recommend the DB be on a separate box and that you perform routine maintenance and backups of that database server.

    Many Customers have primary VCMS as physical and a cold standby as a VM and point to the same DB.

    There are many options and strategies, which works best for you?



  • 8.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted May 06, 2008 09:32 PM

    Hi,

    Simply backup the DB and reinstall VCMS in case of loss.

    We recommend the DB be on a separate box and that you perform routine maintenance and backups of that database server.

    Many Customers have primary VCMS as physical and a cold standby as a VM and point to the same DB.

    There are many options and strategies, which works best for you?

    Mike describes one problem a bit further down:

    What happens when the physical VCMS is destroyed and I cannot boot the virtual standby VCMS because no license is available...?

    Thanks in advance!

    Regards

    /egr



  • 9.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 27, 2007 08:19 AM

    VC as a VM allows you to make use of all the HA and DRS features etc..

    We had done Mikes suggestion a couple of times and it works well.. The VC as a Physical and then used Converter to create a cold standby as a VM..



  • 10.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 27, 2007 09:14 PM

    this is an interesting topic. could someone explain to me if the VC server is a VM and the ESX host that is hosting that VM is down how can the VM's be told to power up on another ESX server if the management server is down? is this information cached on the ESX server ?



  • 11.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 27, 2007 09:35 PM

    High Availability is configured from the VirtualCenter server, but the configuration is then stored on each individual ESX host in the cluster. VirtualCenter is only required to configure HA, but not for the actual failover to occur.



  • 12.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 28, 2007 06:59 AM

    this is an interesting topic. could someone explain

    to me if the VC server is a VM and the ESX host that

    is hosting that VM is down how can the VM's be told

    to power up on another ESX server if the management

    server is down? is this information cached on the ESX

    server ?

    jdaunt is right... VMware's HA is actually EMC Autostart re-engineered for VMs. Once configured its a peer-to-peer system where each esx forms a kind of mesh - with every server watching every other server looking for a failure. When a esx host powers on a VM it is "locked" in the file system - but every so often that ESX host must go back and re-affirm it locks on the VMs files. If it doesn't those locks are forcibly released. This has to happen during ESX failures with HA, so the other ESX hosts can have access to the files of the lost system...

    I run my VC, SQL, DC all in VMs in a DRS/HA cluster - and I have even seen VC be VMotion'd by DRS whilst I've been working. It's pretty spooky to have the management system that allows you to manage being moved. This said VMotion although when done manually, is triggered by VC... the actual VMotion process like HA is a esx host to esx host event.

    What's more interesting than virtualizing VC is how to virtualize the license service. That's a real chicken-and-egg/catch22 situation. To power on a VM to install the license service - you need a license... Work arounds include:

    Using "free" virtualization

    Using ESX 2.x to host your infrastructure VMs

    Using ESX 3.x with host based licensing to host your infrastructure VMs, and then switching it over to the license server

    Run on physical...

    and for a humour value, use M$ Virtual Server to run VMware's License Server to license your ESX hosts!!!!

    Anyway, that's my take on the situation. In my experience the decision whether or not to virtualize the VC is usually not a technological one but an ideological one. Some people think having your management system running on the platform it manages is a faulty concept. Others think is weird that the management system of a vitualization platform should run on physical system. What this overlooks is that ESX runs on physical....

    Regards

    Mike

    ps. if you think this thread is interesting watch out for the customers who ask if you can virtualize ESX... :smileywink:

    Message was edited by:

    because apparently i can't type or spell today...\!!!



  • 13.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted May 06, 2008 03:26 PM

    Hi,

    thanks for that very interesting thread.!

    Using ESX 3.x with host based licensing to host your infrastructure VMs, and then switching it over to the license server

    So you mean in case of desaster, primary site down, I manually configure a ESX on the remote site to use host base licensing so that a VM can start?

    Or do you mean that one should have one ESX running host based licensing all the time?

    Sorry I did not really understand that... :smileyshocked:

    An answer would be nice.

    Regards

    /egr



  • 14.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 28, 2007 03:23 AM

    Thanks for all your help guys. My Q has been answered.

    I'll know which solution works best for me when I run up VC.



  • 15.  RE: Virtualise a VirtualCenter Mgmt server

    Posted Mar 28, 2007 03:26 AM

    Just be sure to simulate various failures so you know what to expect.

    Dave