If you want VMware SRM to work with your storage array it needs to communicate to the storage array. For this reason each storage vendor has created a Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) which plugs into SRM. You can download these SRAs  for each vendor here. (Note : Only download from the VMware website. Why?)

HDS also provides a SRA to connect to its storage arrays. But only installing the SRA won’t get the storage array to be recognized by SRM. The picture below gives a graphical representation of the component needed to let SRM communicate with the HDS storage array.

Click on picture to enlarge

The HDS SRA 2.0 needs an instance of the HDS Command Control Interface (CCI) to communicate to the HDS storage array. The HDS CCI is storage box management software which is provided by HDS. This can be installed on the SRM server next to SRM and the SRA.

To create an instance of the HDS CCI a Hitachi Online Remote Copy Manager (HORCM) service is defined manually on the Windows host. The HDS CCI manages the storage array(s) through the defined control LUNs on each storage array.  The HORCM service is configured in the HORCM file. This file defines which LUNs are replicated between the protected and the recovery site. These LUNs are the LUNs that SRM can see and which it can managed for Disaster Recovery and testing purposes.

During configuration the HDS SRA is pointed to the HORCM instance which manages the storage array(s). All this provides the HDS SRA with the  information which it passes through to the SRM server.

This creates the connection between the SRM server and the storage array necessary for SRM to work. For more information look at the VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager Deployment created by HDS. Follow its step-by-step instructions carefully while it is essential getting HDS to work with SRM.

VMware vSphere & SRM with Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

This post is about Site Recovery Manager (SRM) in combination with the storage system of Hitachi Data Systems (HDS). I’ve been working with over the last couple of months. This is a braindump of my knowledge about the product.

HDS has complete portfolio of storage solutions available. Every type of VMware environment can find a HDS solution suited for their needs. I’ve been working with the AMS2500. This is a SAS / SATA based storage array. It is a suitable solution for midrange size companies, but can also be used by enterprise size companies as a 2nd tier SAN. Next to this storage array HDS also provides enterprise class storage array with its Universal Storage Platform.

For both types of storage HDS provides best practices for VMware which can be found here for the AMS2000 series and here for the Universal Storage Platform VM.

Like all major storage vendors HDS also is a VMware partner when it comes to SRM. They committed themselves to the support of their storage systems with SRM through their HDS SRA 2.0.

For more information how to set up VMware SRM with HDS storage arrays take a look at the deployment guide here that HDS created. It’s a document that explains in detail how to setup your HDS storage array and HDS Storage Replicatoin Adapter (SRA) for the creation of your SRM environment.

For more information on HDS with VMware look at this resource page.

vSphere management GOing to the cloud?

Last week VMware launches its new product: VMware Go. This is a product that is specifically targeted at the SMB market. A clever move by VMware to expand its market share of virtualization in the SMB segment. VMware already is the market leader in virtualization when it comes to enterprise companies. But in the SMB segment has competitors like Microsoft’s Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer or RedHats KVM.

Not only cost is a factor that stops SMB companies from entering the path of virtualization. Also the lack of resources and knowledge about virtualization is something most SMB companies don’t have.  With Go VMware  tries to simplify the proces of virtualization. It provides a management interface to VMware ESXi from the Go cloud.

Eric Sloof over at NTPRO.NL points to a YouTube video where Dave McCrory, founder and CTO of Hyper9, explains how VMware Go works.

The picture above shows the same explanation of VMware Go as Dave McCrory gives in his video. What shows is that management takes place, through a web interface,  from the workstation where the administrator is located. Everything will be managed from the VMware Go cloud. The ESXi hosts are connected to the Go cloud by installing a proxy admin desktop. This desktop will service the Go cloud a management interface for the ESXi host.

This is a rather new concept of managing servers. Normally a client-server management model is applied to this kind of infrastructure services. VMware vCenter, the current management tool for vSphere infrastructures, is an example of a this type of management model.

The question is : Is this the first of step into moving vSphere management into the cloud?

This may seem like a far fetched idea, but is it? We are now living in the world of cloud computing. Lets look at the same picture as above, but introduce the vCloud concept into this equation.

Here you can see the same concept as the picture above. The proxy desktop has been replaced by an VMware Go Proxy appliance which is for managing the ESXi host in you (local) private vSphere cloud. There is a connection between the Private vSphere cloud and the vCloud(s) provided the various VMware hosting partners. All this can be managed from a central point : the VMware Go cloud.

If the name will still be the same isn’t important, call it vCenter Cloud Edition (CE), it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the fact that you now have central point of management to control your hybrid cloud. Not only can you manage your private cloud, but from the same interface you can manage you various vCloud partners (or even non-VMware) cloud services. This makes the VMware vCenter Cloud Edition a cloud broker to manage all your IaaS cloud services. Maybe even with integration to manage PaaS or SaaS solution. One cloud to rule them all 😉

Will this become reality? Only time will tell.

My personal opion: I like the idea of cloud brokers. I don’t think that one (cloud) provider / solution can serve all the cloud services needed by a company. So in my opinion cloud brokers will become the next battleground in cloud land. That’s why I like the idea of a central management cloud broker solution. That’s why I like the idea of a vSphere vCenter Cloud Edition.

What do you think?

Cloud from an end-user perspective


“I don’t want to care” is probably one of the main reasons end-users want to move to cloud services besides of course IT costs.

Over the last couple of decades IT more and more has become entangled within our daily lives. In our work, at home, in the streets; IT is everywhere. We are more depended on IT services then we think.

The thing is we don’t want is to care about IT. IT should be there like electricity, tap water or mailman dropping the “oldskool snailmail” in the mailbox. All examples of services that we take for granted and which we don’t think about. It’s delivered to us according to when we expect it, either being on-demand or on a pre-fined schedule. How these services are organized or how it works is something most end-users don’t care about.

Same goes for cloud services. End-users don’t want to care about IT, they just want to consume it. End-users in this context can be anybody, corparate or personal, as long as they use the cloud service.  But the technology that lies behind of these cloud services is of no interest to them. If the technology isn’t important to the end-user, what is?

The things that end-users look for IT cloud services can be brought down to 3 points :

  1. Performance; Either being a local software program on their personal  computer or a cloud service, it doesn’t matter as long as it performs to the expectation of the end-users.
  2. Availability; If you buy a service you want to use it whenever you need it. A big frustration is not being able to use that service at the moment you need it. A cloud app can have 99,9% uptime, but that 1 hour the  cloud service was down at the moment that users needed it the most, will result in a negative experience with the end user.
  3. Security; Data is new oil in this information era. And personal data of end-users is on top of the data list. End-users want to be sure that whatever data is put into the cloud doesn’t leave the cloud without their permission. They want to have full control over their data.

So whenever thinking about cloud computing and what matters, take into account the end-user and the 3 points above which matters to them!