Posted by martijnl on November 7, 2006
Well, after mentioning it in my earlier post Platespin has uploaded a new press release with which they announce PowerConvert 6.5 and sister product PowerRecon 2.5. We will be downloading and testing it in the next few days so you will probably read about our experiences with this new version real soon.
If you are currently running a Proof of Concept license you will probably be able to upgrade to this next version.
If would seriously recommend getting a Proof of Concept license if you are thinking about using Platespin.
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Posted by martijnl on September 12, 2006
After our initial troubles with PowerConvert we have ordered it today. We’ll start with 2 times the 25 server package. Some Windows boxes will probably receive a fresh install during migration (like the domain controllers) so 50 licenses in total should be enough for the complete project. At the end of the project we also have some ESX2.5 to ESX3.0 migrations, we will see how well they go or if we are going to V2V them with PowerConvert.
We have chosen the license type that is good for P2V, V2V, P2I and I2V as we are not expecting to have to migrate back to physical. Our DR planning takes into account the restore into a new virtual environment and support wise (vendors that only support implementations on physical machines) we are pretty much clear. Anything else can be handled by performing a re-install to a physical box and restoring the data back to it but I will be surprised if that will happen more than twice a year based on all the testing we’ve done.
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Posted by martijnl on September 11, 2006
The issue I wrote about in my last Platespin post has been resolved. Unfortunately it has been confirmed that Platespin does not support LVM volumes.
Migration of these servers (= approx. 40 Linux servers) will therefore consist of deploying a new VM based on our standard SLES template and then copying everything over. Fortunately for us most of the data on our Linux servers already resides on the SAN so the time lost by not being able to automate the migration with Platespin is not that much but it will mean extra effort per server.
We’ll have to do some tests on the impact of this on our planning.
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Posted by martijnl on August 31, 2006
I’m glad to report that the Platespin issue we had wasn’t a license issue but an error on our part. Although the documentation that Platespin provides is a little sparse in certain areas, their customer support talked us through and we found out what we were doing wrong.
What we did was to try to deploy a P2I image of a server to the Virtual Center Management server instead of deploying it to one of the VM host cluster members. Second problem was that the user that we used to discover the ESX server with did not have the correct access rights to complete that process successfully (because you can’t use root for that). You need a user that is allowed to log on through ssh and has the correct rights to the management console.
After resolving this problem deploying the image worked with the addition that Smartstart deployed servers (in this case: Proliant DL360) have a lot of HP/Compaq device drivers that load on startup (as service). As that hardware no longer exists in the VM you get the Windows error message about services that failed to load on startup.
Solution was to remove these programs after conversion as we don’t need them anymore.
This concluded the test conversion of a bog standard Windows box with SQL server on it. Having gone through all the steps the test conversion of a SLES9 box went smoother, at least for the first part.
This particular server (and 90% of our other Linux boxes) has LVM on it to manage the diskstorage and PowerConvert seems to be incompatibel with that. First try delivered a kernel panic to suggest that. After removing the LVM partition and making it a reiserfs volume conversion worked to the point that the new VM server saw it’s own storage and could eventually boot.
We don’t know yet if and when LVM support will be added to PowerConvert so until that time only the Windows servers can be PowerConverted. Which is unfortunate as roughly 50 servers are Linux (50% of the total). A call has been placed with Platespin and our distributor to find out about the LVM support.
We’ve been thinking about a workaround for the Linux servers and so far can only think of just deploying a bunch of new VM’s based on our working SLES9 image and then copying the config files and data over. It’s not really creative and has the potential of becoming a lot of manual work so we’ll keep on looking for alternatives.
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Posted by martijnl on August 25, 2006
PowerConvert has been giving us some headaches with the licensing. We have a Proof of Concept package but the license doesn’t allow us to deploy it. A call has been entered with Platespin and we are awaiting their information.
Also the decision on storage has not been taken yet because of political issues. EMC has our preference but there are other factors at play.
The final configuration looks like this:
- Clariion CX3-40 with:
- 2 cages with 146GB 10k FC disks (for transaction systems and VM’s)
- 1 cage with 300GB 10k FC disks (mostly for fileserver data)
- 1 cage with 500GB LC FC disks (LC = LowCost / for archiving of data and diskbased backup)
- 2 Cisco MDS 9020 SAN Switches
- EMC DiskXtender
- This is software that does policy based file server archiving (if it goes to EMC we’ll be adding EmailXtender in 2007 for policy based e-mail archiving)
- This is software to make array based copies between different SAN’s.
- This is software to make snapshots and clones
Archiving for now will happen straight to the 500GB disks. In the future and taking into account changes that could happen in the field of data retention and new legislation we have the option of adding more near-line storage or adding Centera’s.
We will keep our MSL5026 robot for now and do backup and e-mailarchiving in 2007. We wouldn’t have the personnel for it anyway and it saves some serious money in the budget.
I consider myself lucky that we do not have to be SOX compliant or overly apprehensive because of liability. There is some privacy law that we have to live with but the consequence for the infrastructure is minimal. For example: BCM and our ISO27001:2005 certification are more important at the moment.
Have good weekend,
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Posted by martijnl on August 7, 2006
Once we finish testing PowerConvert and some last loadtests we will start with setting up our production environment. The definitive decision on the new SAN has not been taken yet so that could still become exciting should we have some unexpected external influence.
EMC has our preference but there could be some political influence in the direction of IBM. We’re hoping to strike the right deal financially with EMC so the discussion can focus on functionality again.
The purchase of the storage environment has now been classified as being “on the critical path” because it will make or break our planning. Our escape route is to buy yet another disk cage to attach to one of the MSA1000′s we currently have but that would be a waste of the money in the long term and we would only be able to run production on that for a very short time (no redundancy).
Our milestones for the coming period are:
- Ordering production VM hosts: 15-8-06
- Decision on storage: between now and 25-8-06
- First storage array online: between 12-9-06 and 18-9-06
- Writing migration plan: from 7-8-06 to Fri 8-9-06
- Start of migration: Mon 18-9-06
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