VMware SRM and EMC Symmetrix

Lately I’ve been working on a VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 4.1 implementation in combination with a the Symmetrix storage arrays by EMC. Designing and figuring out how to get SRM working in combination with the storage arrays is the hard part of the job.

It requires knowledge of SRM, the EMC storage arrays and the vSphere infrastructure that you are implementing SRM into. The hard part is in the connection between SRM and the storage arrays. EMC providers a Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) , the EMC SRDF adapter, to integrate SRM with the Symmetrix storage arrays.

You need to understand how the SRA works, how to get it to working in combination with the Solutions Enabler software and how to present the replicated LUNs to your SRM.

EMC has written a document, “Using EMC SRDF Adapter for VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager”, to fully understand all the software tooling and components involved in setting up a SRM implementation in combination with Symmetrix storage arrays.

The document is divided into four chapters and two appendices:

Chapter 1, “Introduction to VMware Technology,” introduces the reader to VMware and its technologies.

Chapter 2, “Installation and Configuration,” discusses the installation, setup and configuration of the EMC SRDF Storage Replication Adapter for VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager version 4. This chapter also presents detailed best practices for installing and configuring Solutions Enabler for management of Symmetrix storage arrays.

Chapter 3, “Testing Recovery Plans with SRDF Adapter version 2.2,” presents how to configure and execute recovery plans with SRM version 4 and EMC SRDF Adapter version 2.2.

Chapter 4, “Failover and Failback with SRDF Adapter version 2.2,” discusses how to configure and execute failover and failback operations with SRM version 4 and EMC SRDF Adapter version 2.2.

Appendix A, “Symmetrix Access Controls with EMC SRDF Adapter,” discusses how to use Symmetrix Access Controls to manage access and control of the Symmetrix storage arrays visible to the VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager server.

Appendix B, “Solutions Enabler Licensing,” discusses how to license Solutions Enabler to make use of the EMC SRDF SRA features. This section includes pre-Solutions Enabler 7.2 host-based licenses as well as Solutions Enabler 7.2 Symmetrix-based eLicensing.

Hopefully this document will help others understand SRM better and to successfully implement SRM with EMC Symmetrix storage arrays. It helped me in getting the job done! Thanks EMC.

Get vSphere network info using PowerCLI & CDP

PowerCLI is powerfull stuff. It can be used to set specific configuration for your vSphere environment, but it can also be used to collect information. This post will go into detail how to get network information using VMware PowerCLI and Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP).

Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP)

CDP is used to share information about other directly-connected Cisco networking equipment, such as upstream physical switches. CDP allows ESX and ESXi administrators to determine which Cisco switch port is connected to a given vSwitch. When CDP is enabled for a particular vSwitch, properties of the Cisco switch, such as device ID, software version, and timeout, may be viewed from the vSphere Client. This information is useful when troubleshooting network connectivity issues related to VLAN tagging methods on virtual and physical port settings.

CDP under VMware vSphere

By default ESX(i) has the CDP protocol on the vSwitch configured to the mode Listen. This enables you to view all relevant information with regards to your Cisco network.

To show this information under the vSphere client you have to enable CDP on the ESX(i) host and the Cisco switch. This KB article by VMware is a good reference on how to enable CDP. You can also view the configuration guide of ESX or ESXi.

If all works fine you can view the network information by clicking the info icon next to the vSwitch :

For more information on CDP under vSphere see this KB article.

PowerCLI & CDP

When CDP is enabled you can use PowerCLI to generate network information output for your vSphere environment. This is very usefull information which you can use for troubleshooting or in my case to prepare for a migration.

The KB article by VMware already gives a good PowerCLI script to get network information of all the connected NICs on a specific ESX(i) host.

Get-VMHost | Where-Object {$_.State -eq “Connected”} |
%{Get-View $_.ID} |
%{$esxname = $_.Name; Get-View $_.ConfigManager.NetworkSystem} |
%{ foreach($physnic in $_.NetworkInfo.Pnic){
$pnicInfo = $_.QueryNetworkHint($physnic.Device)
foreach($hint in $pnicInfo){
Write-Host $esxname $physnic.Device
if( $hint.ConnectedSwitchPort ) {
} else {
Write-Host “No CDP information available.”; Write-Host } } } }

If your not a scriptkiddie, you can also use PowerGUI and import the VMware Community PowerPack to do the work for you. This will, when you are connected to a vCenter host, provide you with a list of all the NICs in your ESX(i) hosts and their network information.

Relevant links

More information on CDP & ESXi: VirtualClouds.info – Configure Cisco CDP on ESX(i)

Best practices for XenApp on VMware

VMware released a best practices guide for XenApp on VMware. I have been looking forward to a best practices guide by VMware for a while, since more and more companies are deploying their XenApp infrastructure on VMware vSphere.

This guide describes the best practices for implementing an XenApp infrastructure on VMware vSphere by focussing on the following topics :

 Citrix XenApp Architecture on vSphere – Provides background on Citrix XenApp architecture and the
rationale for deploying on VMware vSphere.

 VMware ESX™ Host Best Practices for Citrix XenApp –Provides proven VMware best practices for
vSphere hosts running XenApp workloads. Includes guidance in the areas of CPU, memory, storage,
and networking.

 Citrix XenApp on vSphere Best Practices – Deploying Citrix XenApp on vSphere requires that proven
best practices for the XenApp application continue to be followed. The focus in this section is on
configuring virtual machines for XenApp.

 Monitoring Performance – When migrating XenApp to a vSphere infrastructure, maintaining
performance levels that are equal or better than those achieved in physical deployments is essential.
Monitoring before and after a migration helps validate whether the migration was a success, and can
also help establish a baseline understanding of the performance characteristics. This section takes a
look at the vSphere tools available to help monitor the vSphere environment.

 vSphere Enhancements for Deployment and Operations – Provides a brief look at vSphere features
and add-ons that can enhance the deployment and management of XenApp.

You can download the guide over here.