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VSA for for DR

imc_2
Occasional Contributor

VSA for for DR

My organization is looking at purchasing a P4300 for a server virtualization project. I plan to carve the P4300 up into LUNs for vmware virtual machines, and then some of the storage will be carved out to be iscsi storage for our Novell HA cluster. Currently, the HA cluster has physical nodes which will be moved to virtual machines.

I'm under the impression that I can mirror two P4300 starter kits at remote sites for data duplication. So I have a few questions. I'm having difficulty getting someone from HP on the phone so I figured I'd start here.

- Can I save some money and go with a basic server will a lot of storage and use VSA instead of having to go for another physical P4300?

- Do I need VMWare on the hardware where VSA will live?

- Does anyone have any experience with this setup? Do you think I'm going about this the wrong way?

Ultimately I want to be able to have my critical data from the physical P4300 off site in the event of a major disaster. I'm not looking for automatic high availability, but rather, be able to recover from a complete data loss on the production side. Thanks for any information you could provide.
3 REPLIES
BennyO
Advisor

Re: VSA for for DR

Hello -

Yes you can implement VSA's on servers with lots of local storage, or either FC or iSCSI connected storage. Make sure the server and storage are on the VMware HCL. Note, you said 'physical P4300' which I am going to take as a single node. Nodes should never be installed alone, they should be installed at minimum with (2). The Starter Kits are actually (2) nodes and the actual disk space that can be utilized can be confusing.

The VSA runs as a VM, so you will need VMware, but ESXi works fine, does not have to be a licensed copy of ESX/ESXi from the VSA standpoint.

I am currently doing this type of setup for customers and our corporate office. We use the hardware based P4000's in our corporate data center and then replicate the critical volumes to VSAs.

If there was a failure on the production side you can turn the remote snapshots into volumes and then present them to your ESX hosts, register the VM's in inventory and power them on. Note, there is a significant performance decrease when using the VSAs, so plan your load accordingly. Typically in our designs we use SATA/MDL SAS drives for the VSA storage and then have additional SAS based storage sitting there ready to be used. In the event of a failure you can bring the VM's up on the VSA's and then use VMware Storage vMotion to migrate the VM's to the SAS based storage running directly on a SAN without the VSA overhead. This lets us restore connectivity to the servers in the DR site and then move them while they are running to dedicated storage for better performance.
imc_2
Occasional Contributor

Re: VSA for for DR

Benny,

Thanks for the info. I did know that it was two units, but I was under the impression that the two "parts" couldn't be mirrored but rather just combined into one logical SAN. I'm thinking I have that wrong.

If that's the case, I could opt to put bigger disks in the starter kit and move one of the units to the remote site. I would still be bonding the built in Ethernet ports for redundancy on each unit.
BennyO
Advisor

Re: VSA for for DR

The nodes should be grouped together logically so it is one SAN. When you build the volumes you will want to set them as RAID 10 so the data is mirrored on both nodes. Physically they can be separated as long as there is at least 1Gbps between nodes.

Note, you cannot change the drives in the nodes after they are purchased. If you need larger drives you will need to buy the starter kit that has larger drives, possibly the P4500 G2 Virtualization bundle is what you should be looking at. You defintely want to setup a bond on each node on the network side so you get the best performance.