Now that our new PS6000 is initialized and ready to go, we started to look at replication and what we wanted to achieve in terms of backup/recovery and failover/failback. The idea was to replicate our Hyper-V virtual Machines to this second PS Series group and also all our users data. The Second PS Series group will be onsite but at the furthest most point away from our primary PS Series group in a seperate building. We also needed to look at our SAN Network topology and how we needed to extend this to give us the High Availability and bandwidth we required.
EqualLogic comes with SAN based replication built into the inclusive licensing model and with tools such as SANHQ and Dell's Manual Transfer Utility or MTU for short configuring replication is once again a nice and easy process.
Firsty lets take a quick look at what EqualLogic replication is and what it involves.
Following on from my Hyper-V Post I thought I would carry on the theme of High Availability and clustered services. Dell's EqualLogic PS Series iSCSI SAN optimise's resources by automating volume and network load balancing. A PS Series Group consists of one or more PS Series Array. Group Members are connected to an IP network and managed as a single system.
iSCSI or internet small computer systems interface to give it its full title, is a block level storage protocol that can be used to create a storage network over Ethernet. iSCSI uses ethernet as a transport medium for data from servers to storage devices or SAN'S (Storage Area Networks) such as EqualLogic. iSCSI encapsulates SCSI commands into TCP/IP and sends these commands over standard Ethernet, because of this iSCSI can be sent over LAN's and WAN's and these Arrays do not have to be located in the same room or even the same Galaxy as your servers.
Virtualization I am sure has been on everyone's agenda for a while now, but fully embracing the virtual world wasn't quite there yet for us. We were running VMware ESXi for little over 18 months when we decided to take a look at Microsoft's Hyper-V offering (mainly due to cost). So we installed the Hyper-V server role on a full fat install of Windows Server 2008 R2 pre SP1, so dynamic memory was merely a rumour at this point! first impressions were good and after looking at Cluster Shared Volumes and alot of further testing we decided to go ahead and move our proof of concept into production.
Planning Physical to Virtual Conversions - Capacity Planning has to start somewhere !
If you are planning to convert existing physical servers to Hyper-V's with VMM 2008 R2, there is a good tool from Microsoft, the MAP toolkit (Microsoft Assessment and Planning toolkit). The MAP toolkit is agentless and will help you gather the required information for you to plan your Hyper-V assault, providing information on candidates for virtualization and auto generating reports. Also with the Microsoft Integrated Virtualization ROI Tool you can calculate potential power cost savings with Hyper-V before deploying, some useful information to have in your arsenal!
P2V planning also gives you a good starting point to spec up your hardware and plan your SAN capacity.