utorok 8. januára 2013

VMware vSphere - Basic building blocks of internal cloud Part 2 (Managing your cloud)

In Part 1 we ran through basic building blocks of your virtual infrastructure. These are essential and very crucial pieces of technology helping you to create reliable and flexible environment.

We still don't know how all this can be managed. There are several options and with vSphere 5 these options are even greater although we've lost ESX console. You remember...ESXi doesn't have one.

Let me show you basic diagram....and don't get scared by complexity there are far more complex drawings :-)

I tried to pencil whole solution as described in Part 1 and what kind of management tools you can use to manage every tier of your private cloud. 

With vSphere 5 product line there is an improved web access portal available right after installation of the vCenter. You can find yours on default URL https://vcentername:9443. Current version is more capable than previous one included in vCenter 4.1 and you can do many basic tasks right away.

Most conventional and probably also most used is vSphere client connected to vCenter server. This is feature rich and very intuitive client-server application. However it requires Windows based vCenter server we can now, with version 5, install cost effective linux based option available. VMware calls it vCenter server appliance and there is no need for additional Windows licenses you just download and install ISO. For those who, for any reason, prefers Windows free environment this could be the way forward.

With vSphere client you can do all kind of operations on datacenter, cluster, esx and virtual machine like setup clusters, initiate vmotion, setup DRS, assign datastores, setup alarms and of course deploy virtual machines and appliances (from OVF files or other sources) in addition to this  vCenter can be enriched with plugins such as for Update Manager for interaction with VMware Update manager patching solution, Operations Manager plugin for capacity and performance reporting and management or 3rd party plugins like vkernel's vOps. vSphere client is also used to setup permissions and atuhentication options on ESX or vCenter server.

For multiple vCenter servers there is an option to create linked mode vCenters where you can join  and create hierarchy similar to domain and have one tree of all of your datacenters and clusters with less administration overhead.

Less convenient but very flexible is powercli, this is vmware addition to standard powershell framework and you can do all kinds of "en masse" tasks which are usually hard to perform or very complicated in terms of complexity. Imagine you need to perform change of policies for multipathing on 100+ SAN datastores or obtain ESX CPU, MEM and NIC info for multiple clusters connected to same vCenter. That is quite complicated and complex task to be performed through client. On top powercli you can have PowerGUI. This is free 3rd party tool with additional powerpacks for VMware so you can do less scripting and more queries and reporting right from the graphical interface. I'm talking little bit more about this brilliant tool in my previous post.

Another option, to perform tasks through command line, is esxcli you can compare this one to the powercli but it uses native vmware command line syntax where you can execute various configuration commands and is meant to be used for ESX(i) management directly.

On the picture above, you may notice additional "management" console called VMware VDR (vmware data recovery), it is not used as management tool for ESX or vCenter elements but it's rather used for managing backups of virtual machines. With basic installation you already have possibility to leverage from VCB (VMware consolidate backup) which you can use to backup whole     virtual machine files. You can download VCB from VMware for free  but going forward strategy is to use VDR as it is easier to manage and maintain. VDR is downloadable appliance in form of OVF file so you can easily deploy it within your infrastructure and utilize native ESX(i) functionality like snapshots and clones to create one centralized store of your backed up VMs.

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