VirtuBytes

Bytes of virtualization with bits of other technology.

How to Install VMware vRealize Orchestrator 7.x

VMware vRealize Orchestrator is an automation tool that utilizes workflows to simplify complex IT tasks. vRealize Orchestrator is natively integrated into vRealize Automation or it can be deployed stand-alone as a Linux appliance. At first glance, the lines between vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) and vRealize Automation (vRA) may seem blurred. To clear up any confusion, vRO is a general-purpose run book tool to automate IT tasks. vRA, on the other hand, is cloud management tool that relies on policy based governance to deliver IT service. As its central automation tool, Automation leverages Orchestrator workflows.

NOTE  – Version releases prior to 7.0.1 also allowed for a Windows-based installer. If you are still using a Windows version, you can migrate from Windows to the appliance.

For the purpose of this post, we will be deploying the Linux-based appliance and configuring vRealize Orchestrator 7.3 as a Standalone Server using vSphere Authentication.

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Suspect Database upon Zerto Failover

Here is an issue more on the obscure side; nevertheless, it may prove beneficial to someone, somewhere, at some point. The issue pertains to a SQL database going Suspect after a Zerto Failover. To adequately explain the cause, we will first look at Microsoft SQL Server best practices for both VMware and Zerto.

Zerto Suspect DB

Let’s start with VMware best practices. Assuming the back-end storage is spinning disks and the virtual disks reside on VMFS volumes, VMware recommends separating SQL files. Meaning, SQL Server binaries, SQL data (mdf), SQL transaction logs (ldf), and tempdb files are placed on separate VMDKs. Since SQL Server accesses all that data in different I/O patterns, separating their files helps minimize disk head movements and limits I/O contention; thus optimizing storage performance. The disk configuration in the affected environment looked like this:

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Online Upgrade to ESXi 6.5 Using ESXCLi

A few months back, we discussed how to upgrade ESXi hosts using VMware Update Manager. However, if you do not employ VUM, hosts can also be upgraded via ESXCLi commands using an online repository.

In this tutorial, we will upgrade an ESXi host from 6.0 to 6.5 using VMware Online Depot. In addition, I will discuss how to differentiate image profiles within the depot.  If you are unfamiliar with the VMware Online Depot, it’s an online repository that provides access to a set of VIBs and image profiles.

Let’s start with that overview on image profiles and how to distinguish them in the online depot. This information could have easily been a post in itself, but if you are new to image profiles and the online depot, it may prove beneficial to be all in one place. If you already know the deal, feel free to skip ahead.

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Zerto Support for VMware Host Remediation

In the past, I’ve discussed a few of my favorite features in Zerto; however, a recent feature that flew under my radar was the support for Host Remediation using VMware Virtual Update Manager. If you utilize Zerto in your VMware environment, you may have run into an issue using maintenance mode on hosts with Virtual Replication Appliances (VRA).

First, a quick background. Zerto VRAs are virtual appliances deployed to handle the continuous replication between protected and recovery sites. These VRA’s are typically installed on each ESXi host to perform data compression and transportation across your WAN.

Versions prior to 5.0 required VRAs to be manually shut down for a host to successfully enter maintenance mode. As you can probably tell, this manual shut down process posed an issue for admins who were automating maintenance mode tasks across their environments; notably remediation through Update Manager.

To address this matter, Zerto has incorporated support for host remediation in release 5.0 U1. Now, when a host is put in maintenance mode, Zerto monitors the host’s workload to ensure all machines have been migrated or powered down. Once the workload fits maintenance criteria, Zerto will signal the VRA to shut down; thus, allowing the host to enter maintenance mode. Conversely, once the host exits maintenance mode, Zerto automates the power on of the VRA. As machines are migrated back to the host through further remediation, the powered on VRA is prepared to handle their replication.

Enabling this feature is simple and can be done directly from the Zerto Virtual Manager.

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