Saturday, March 16, 2013

VMM 2012 SP1 - Real World Example

Real World example of using the new capabilities in Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V, and System Center 2012 SP1.

Let me start this blog post by explaining how glad I am that we are finally here, with Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 SP1.

The waiting has been tough, and many customers have been on the edge before implementing Hyper-V without management. However, my experience is that many customers are moving away from VMware and jumps over to Hyper-V and System Center. V2V is probably my closest friend in these days, together with a couple of Logical Switches. More on that later in this blog post.

So in this example, I would like to tell you about this enterprise customer who’s running major datacenters using VMware with vCenter. They were doing it all in the traditional way, using Fibre Channel from their hosts, connected to some heavy, expensive and noisy storage.

So how did we present a better solution for them, more suited for the future, using technology from Microsoft?

The customer would like to utilize their investments better, and do things more economically and cost effective, without losing any performance, functionality, availability and all the other factors you put into your SLA.

Key elements:

·         Windows Server 2012

·         Hyper-V

o   SMB3.0

o   Scale-Out File Server Role

o   NIC Teaming

o   Network Virtualization

o   Failover Clustering

·         System Center 2012 SP1

o   Virtual Machine Manager

o   Operations Manager

o   Orchestrator

·         Windows Azure on Windows Server (Katal)

o   SPF (SC 2012 SP1 – Orchestrator)

Since this is a large environment, designed to scale. The first thing we did was to install Virtual Machine Manager.

In a solution like this, VMM is key to streamline the configuration of Hyper-V hosts and manage the Fabric (pooled infrastructure resources). So since this would be a very important component, we installed VMM in a failover cluster as a HA role.
·         Dedicated cluster for Virtual Machine Manager

·         Two Windows Server 2012 nodes

·         Configuration of Distributed Key Management

·         Connected to dedicated SQL cluster for System Center

·         VMM console installed on a dedicated management server

With this baseline in place, we started to prepare the fabric.

Instead of using the traditional way of delivering shared storage to the hosts, SMB3.0 was introduced as an alternative. The customer was interested to see the performance of this, and the ability to manage it from Virtual Machine Manager. In test environment, we setup the hosts with multiple storage options.

Test environment:

·         Two Hyper-V hosts in a cluster managed by Virtual Machine Manager

·         Both hosts connected to shared storage using:

o   Fibre Channel directly to their SAN

o   2 x 10Gbe NICs in a NIC team, using dedicated virtual network adapters for SMB3.0 traffic, accessing a scale-out file server cluster.



After testing this, the results were clear.

1.       The customers had gained the same performance as using Fibre Channel.

2.       In addition, they had now simplified management by using file shares instead of dedicating LUNs to their clusters, leading to better utilization.

3.       Moreover, by better utilization, they were able to scale their clusters in a very new manner than before.

4.       By calculating on this for production, they were able to reduce their costs significantly by using Ethernet infrastructure instead of Fibre Channel. And this was key, since they could leverage Ethernet and move away from HBA adapters on their hosts.  

The networking part was probably the most interesting in this scenario, because if you think about it, a Hyper-V cluster configuration is all about networking.

And by using NIC teaming, QoS, network virtualization, SMB3.0 and more, it’s important to pay attention to the goal of the design as well as the infrastructure in general.

Every host had 2 x 10Gbe modules installed. And the customer wanted Load Balancing and Failover on every network.

We designed the following logical networks in Virtual Machine Manager:
·         Management

·         Live Migration

·         Guests

·         SMB1 (on the Scale-Out File Server cluster nodes, we made the SMB networks available for clients and registered the IP addresses in DNS. This is required if you want to use Multi-Channel)

·         SMB2

·         Cluster

Then, we created network sites and IP subnets with associated VLANs.

For each logical network, we created a VM Network associated with the logical networks.
For more information about NIC teaming in VMM and Network Virtualization, check these blog posts:
Next, we created Native Port Profiles for the teams and the virtual adapters, and grouped them in Logical Switches.
We prepared the Fabric additionally by integrating with PXE and WSUS for securing the life cycle management of the resources in the Fabric.

All set. We started to deploy Hyper-V hosts, and streamlined the configuration by putting then into right hosts groups, applied logical switches and presented file shares to them.

By taking a couple of steps back, I can clearly see that VMM is an absolute necessary framework for a highly available datacenter solution today. Almost every step was performed from the VMM console, and this was highly appreciated by the customer.

The next steps was to deploy virtual machines and leverage the flexibility of templates, profiles and services.

Ok, we had a Private Cloud infrastructure up and running, but still there was some work to do.

Migration from VMware to Hyper-V J

Ok, if you want to perform this operation in bulk, converting many virtual machines at once, then you must either use your Powershell ninja skills combined with Orchestrator, or some secret tool from Microsoft that also involves Veeam.

But if you want to take this slowly while doing other things simultaneously, then VMM is your friend.

This to be aware of:

-          Make sure the networks that your VMware virtual machines are connected to, are available on the Hyper-V hosts

-          Make sure you have a supported VMware infrastructure (5.1 is the only one that is supported but it might work if you are using 5.0 also).

-          Uninstall VMware tools manually on the VMs you will convert.

-          Power off the VMs afterwards.

-          Add both vCenter and then VMware ESX hosts/clusters in VMM.

-          Run Virtual 2 Virtual Conversion in Virtual Machine Manager.

This is an ongoing process and will require some downtime for the VMs. An extra step by converting the VHDs to dynamically VHDX can also be evaluated.

Hopefully this blog post gave you some ideas on how to leverage Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V and Virtual Machine Manager.
Of course we integrated with Operations Manager as well, to get monitoring in place for our fabric and virtual machines. This is key to ensure availability and stable operations.
The self-service solution landed on Katal, so that they could expose their Clouds/Stamps/Plans to their customers in a really good-looking UI with lots of functionality. I will cover this in a more detailed blog post later.

1 comment:

Stian Helgeby said...

Kul artikkel. Her ser man flere komponeneter spiller på lag som virkelig gir mening :)