Recovering VMware Infrastructure Management Stacks Like a Champ! Under 20 Minutes with Cohesity

When was the last time your organization was able to safely and successfully test and validate the recoverability of all the management components of an enterprise size VMware infrastructure under 20 minutes? Maybe never? If so why?

The reality is that this is a difficult task to achieve especially when having to adhere to strict recovery time objectives. The difficulty of the task may be due to the task complexity, time consumption, operations, dependencies, etc. There are lots of critical reasons as to why this is a challenge.

Business Continuity

VMware recommends organizations to run and maintain all the infrastructure management components that manage services or features for business applications (management stack) such as orchestration, auditing, authentication, automation, service catalogs, etc. in a separate and dedicated cluster. The cluster is typically referred to as the management cluster. This recommendation helps to prevent contention between business and infrastructure related applications, and it is also beneficial for business continuity planning.

When planning business continuity for enterprise organizations, in the event of a disaster or failure the primary focus is always on the line of business applications. I’m not advocating against it, but what I want to point out is the fact that without the managing infrastructure components that support and provides all of the different infrastructure and management services to the lines of business applications, it will be much tougher to bring back the applications and get the business back on track. The business applications may not be able to function until the management stack is online.

Test and Development

In today’s enterprise organizations, there is a demand for the test and development of applications to be as close and as accurate as possible to the application and data found in the production environments. That can be challenging to achieve at times for many reasons. It is now simple to restore a VM or an application to the infrastructure, but in a lot of cases, applications depend on core infrastructure services that won’t be available in the test and development environments.

That is yet again another tough challenge in the data center that is also worth thinking about and explores opportunities to identify a way or a solution that can help.

What if I say that Cohesity provides a solution that can potentially address the challenges described above? Cohesity’s converged data protection & recovery solution with near-instant recovery capabilities presents a compelling solution to the problems mentioned here.

As an example, take a look at the demonstration below based on a solution we have developed VMware Cloud Foundation. The demonstration highlights the recoverability of the VMware Cloud Foundation management stack in under 20 minutes. The solution and approach can be applied to both business continuity as well as test and development scenarios.

Pay attention as this is a recoverability scenario and not necessarily availability. The demonstration showcases the complete loss and deletion of all of the VMs that are stored and running in the vSAN Datastore.

This solution can be applied to management infrastructures that aren’t necessarily based on VMware Cloud Foundation. This has been tested and validated to works with any VMware vSphere related infrastructure.
For some extended reading, here is a link to a VMware and Cohesity white paper that was published on this solution.

Enterprise Protection and Recoverability for VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) with Cohesity

-Enjoy

For future updates about Cohesity, Hyperconverged Secondary Storage, Cloud Computing, Networking, VMware vSAN, vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol), vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Applications (CNA), and anything in our wonderful world of technology be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds.

Cohesity’s Strict Consistency Implementation and What It Means to VMware vSphere and VMware Cloud Foundation for Data Resiliency and High Availability

This year at VMworld during my “Enterprise Protection and Reliability for VMware Cloud Foundation with Cohesity” presentation in both Las Vegas and Barcelona, I discussed the topic of consistency models and the different implementation options applied in distributed computing and storage systems. One of the reasons I included this topic as part of my presentation was that I wanted to raise awareness around the importance of the implementation of consistency models in general from architecture and technology perspective. I feel that this is an important concept to understand when looking to the use or procuring any data protection and recovery solution based on distributed storage architectures.

Consistency models are resiliency and availability techniques implemented in distributed systems for data accessibility and availability. I’m going to cover two consistency models in particular – Eventual Consistency and Strict Consistency. I will describe and demonstrate their concepts and behavior and their applicability in the context of VMware vSphere and VMware Cloud Foundation and Cohesity. While I will cover the logical implementation and behavior of the consistency models from the Cohesity implementation perspective, It is crucial for everyone to consider this as a general technological approach that applies to any suitable traditional and modern data protection and recovery product sold by any vendor.

For specific details on this topic of Eventual and Strict consistency for the Cohesity DataPlatform check out the article Strict vs. Eventual Consistency written by Apurv Gupta, Chief Architect at Cohesity. Now to set the context, I will begin by providing an abbreviated description for both consistency models, and then I will present a logical illustration their functions before mapping them to what they mean to a VMware vSphere and VMware Cloud Foundation environments.

Eventual Consistency – implemented to achieve high availability that is informally guaranteed. Data updates are typically written and acknowledged onto a single node within a cluster. This model doesn’t assure that data writes and their updates are being distributed throughout the cluster.

Logical Illustration and workflow Animation of Eventual Consistency

Strick Consistency – is the most reliable model to implement as it guarantees data writes and updates are acknowledged and distributed throughout the cluster. All data is accessible from any node in the cluster.

Logical Illustration and workflow Animation of Strict Consistency

Now that I have provided the brief description for the two consistency models let me move on to the points I want to highlight and map them to the VMware vSphere, and VMware Cloud Foundation context. I will zoom in on the risks and problems that organization using traditional and even modern data protection, and recovery solutions are exposed based on the implementation of the consistency model of their solution.

My goal is to present and illustrate this in the most practical way possible so that everyone can understand and realize the risks they may be exposed to because of lack of awareness and understanding on this topic. Traditional and modern data protection and recovery solutions offered by many vendors provide the ability to quickly restore a VM or data with a feature often called Instant Recovery.

The restoration workflow and implementation details are different based on the vendor and product specific details.  From a vSphere environment perspective, there are a series of recovery functions that are performed (manual or automatic) to restore the necessary VM. Typically, the data protection and recovery solution where a copy of the VM or data is stored provides some form of a storage abstraction that is mounted onto vSphere. This is part of the reason the VM is recovered instantaneously. At this point, vSphere will provide the compute resources to run the VM if its necessary.

After the VM is recovered a time comes when the VM has to be migrated to the primary storage platform where it formerly resided.

In vSphere, Storage vMotion is used to migrate data over the network. Now while there are technologies and different features that make it possible to recover and instantiate a VM in minutes, those capabilities don’t exist when it comes to potentially moving hundreds of gigabytes across a network. Depending on the size and capacity being transferred across the network, the process can take a long time to complete depending on network bandwidth, interface saturation, etc.

The logical illustrations below describe the behavior and procedure of what happens in a recovery scenario similar to the one described above and what the impact of the implementation of the different consistency models.

Impact of Data Protection and Recovery Solutions with Eventual Consistency in VMware vSphere and VMware Cloud Foundation environments when a VM needs to be restored:
  1. Prepare and restore the VM locally onto a storage abstraction that is presented to vSphere in the form of an NFS volume. The abstraction is presented from a single node based on eventual consistency.
  2. Automatically present and mount the storage abstraction to vSphere (NFS) from one of the nodes in the data protection and recovery cluster VM is instantiated and accessible on vSphere. Read and write I/O are directed to the VM stored on the storage abstraction (NFS) presented from a single node.
  3. New data being created is not protected nor is it being distributed across the other nodes in the data protection and recovery cluster.
  4. SvMotion starts the migration of the VM back to the primary storage platform – this can take a long time
  5. If the node in the data protection and recovery cluster from where the storage abstraction (NFS) is being presented to vSphere fails the following happens:
  • The storage abstraction (NFS) becomes inaccessible to vSphere
  • The VM is no longer available or accessible
  • SvMotion fails
  • Any newly created data can be lost

That is not an acceptable outcome when you depend on a data protection and recovery solution as your insurance policy. The results of this depending on the magnitude of the failure can put a company out of business or at the very least cost someone their jobs.

Impact of Cohesity with Strict Consistency in VMware vSphere and VMware Cloud Foundation environments when a VM needs to be restored:
  1. Prepare and restore the VM locally onto a storage abstraction that is presented to vSphere in the form of an NFS volume. The abstraction is presented from the Cohesity cluster via virtual IP enforcing strict consistency model.
  2. Automatically present and mount the storage abstraction to vSphere (NFS) from a virtual IP from the Cohesity cluster. The VM is instantiated and accessible on vSphere. Read and write I/O are directed to the VM stored on the storage abstraction (NFS) presented from the virtual IP of the Cohesity cluster.
  3. New data being created is being distributed and acknowledge across the other nodes in the Cohesity cluster.
  4. SvMotion starts the migration of the VM back to the primary storage platform – this can take a long time
  5. if a node in the Cohesity cluster fails the storage abstraction (NFS) being presented to vSphere remains available, the SvMotions will continue until completed because the SvMotion will continue until completed because of the use of virtual IPs and strict consistency which together mitigate the risk of data loss.

That is the outcome enterprise organizations should expect and demand from their data protection and recovery solution when looking to leverage features such as instant recovery.

In order to mitigate the risks of data inaccessibility and potential data loss in the event of a node failure Cohesity data resiliency and high availability, consistency implementation is based on strict consistency. All of Cohesity’s features and capabilities and modern architectures were designed to meet today’s current business requirements without any affinity to business requirements collected two to three decades ago. I hope this information is useful and educational. Now take a look at this these concepts in action in the demonstration below. Get some popcorn and sit back, this is a long one but you’re going to love it!!

Cohesity Instant Recovery of VMware Cloud Foundation Management Stack with Strict Consistency validation

-Enjoy

For future updates about Cohesity, Hyperconverged Secondary Storage, Cloud Computing, Networking, VMware vSAN, vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol), vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Applications (CNA), and anything in our wonderful world of technology be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds.

Enterprise Hyperconverged Juggernauts: Cohesity and VMware Deliver the Ultimate Reliable Recoverability Solution for SDDC

The evolution of the enterprise data center is happening now, and it’s being led by the principals and advancements of hyperconverged solutions. In the era of public and private cloud based architectures, organizations are looking to implement the operational efficiencies, availability, and recoverability capabilities of public clouds into their private cloud infrastructures. Unfortunately, for years enterprise organizations have struggled with architectures and products that are based on expensive and antiquated capabilities to provide agility, availability, and protection for their business.

With the current state of the world’s digital transformation, “Data is the new Oil” it’s imperative for organizations to treat the utilization and management of their data and information as such. The demands for modern, efficient, cost effective data center solutions that are based on modern architectures suited to provide the infrastructures support to host critical lines of business application. Infrastructure availability and recoverability are of the up most importance for any business. From a virtualization perspective, the architecture of VMware’s Software-Defined Data Center is design for high availability and recoverability for pillars of its foundation.

High availability can be designed and implemented in many different ways and with different solutions and technologies. Recoverability is discipline in the data center that is much tougher to achieve. Recoverability is driven by infrastructure and information accessibility that are defined based on business service level and requirements. Today, recoverability faces many challenges partly due to the management of a vast number of point solutions that were built and designed based on older architectures and technologies from about a decade ago. These challenges apply to all physical, virtual, and application based infrastructures. Recoverability is one of the many major challenges organizations are facing with their cloud infrastructures.

Failures are a given event in any modern cloud infrastructure, and lengthy outages are conditions that most modern enterprises cannot tolerate in today’s economy. For years organizations have been struggling except for the vSphere hypervisor, all the VMware Cloud Foundation components run as virtual appliances.

VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) delivers the VMware enterprise cloud in a natively integrated stack for both private and public clouds. The joint VMware and Cohesity solution extends VMware Cloud Foundation with the Cohesity Hyperconverged Secondary Storage platform. The solution delivers simple data protection, instant recovery, and a multi-cloud data fabric to complement VCF. With VMware Cloud Foundation, an organization can successfully begin their journey and move into the modern era of the data center and consume and manage business critical applications that reside on-premise as well as off-premise. Of protecting and recover the components provide the infrastructure services for the VMware SDDC at the speeds the business demand.

Cohesity’s converged data protection solution and recovers VCF along with management infrastructure services in a very fast, simple, and risk adverse matter. Cohesity provides modern solutions capable of satisfying the protection and recovery requirements for the VCF management stack as well as applications. Cohesity itself can run either as a VM in the SDDC or as a physical appliance. With VMware Cloud Foundation and Cohesity’s recoverability capabilities, organizations can effectively address the challenges of their infrastructure and information accessibility and recoverability.

Download the Enterprise Protection and Recoverability for VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) with Cohesity

-Enjoy

For future updates about Cohesity, Hyperconverged Secondary Storage, Cloud Computing, Networking, VMware vSAN, vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol), vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Applications (CNA), and anything in our wonderful world of technology be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds.

Hyperconverged Secondary Storage VMworld 2017 Sessions

Oh yeah ladies and gentleman, It’s time to get down!!! and #GetYourNerdOn in Las Vegas. VMworld 2017 is right around the corner. There are so many things to be excited about from all aspects of the industry. It will be great to see and catch up with friends and share ideas and learn from everyone attending the event.

For the past 6 years while at VMware I’ve deliver some pretty ground braking solutions and demonstrations which have been showcased during the executive keynotes. This year I have something very special and impactful that I will be showcasing and trust me when I say you do not want to miss it.

I will be presenting a couple sessions which I think that anyone that is interested on the hottest storage industry topic today “Hyperconverged Secondary Storage” should not miss. The sessions are filling up fast to make sure you sign up ASAP to reserve your spot:

Session ID: LHC3390BUS – Enable data mobility from on-premises to the cloud with Cohesity DataPlatform
Monday, Aug 28, 5:30PM – 6:30PM – Register Here
Enterprises are looking to leverage the public cloud to extend their private data centers for application mobility and data storage. But moving applications and managing data in the cloud is hard. Cohesity makes cloud easy! With Cohesity, enterprises can consolidate all their secondary data on one web-scale platform on-premises. Cohesity enables enterprises to seamlessly integrate with all the leading public clouds (Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud) and extend their data to the public cloud for archival, tiering and replication. Cohesity manages the data in the public cloud to support disaster recovery, provisioning of test/dev instances, and analytics. Attend this session to learn about how Cohesity’s cloud integration provides you with a hybrid cloud data protection and mobility strategy that spans on-premises and the cloud.

FEATURED SPEAKERS
Rawlinson Rivera, Chief Technology Officer, Global Field, Cohesity
Ben Price, Director, IT, UCSB

Session ID: PBO2073BU – Enterprise Protection and Reliability for VMware Cloud Foundation with Cohesity
Tuesday, Aug 29, 2:30PM – 3:30PM – Register Here
VMware Cloud Foundation unifies the most powerful software-defined data center platform in the enterprise that spans a common control plane for IT across private, public, and hybrid clouds. The infrastructure stack is composed of several virtual appliances that work together to provide the required services. To keep pace with escalating business demands for service availability, security, and recoverability, enterprise organizations need modern solutions capable of supporting service-oriented IT models that can provide protection and fast recovery for the VMware Cloud Foundation that can be leveraged in private, public, and hybrid clouds. While failures are a given in modern network infrastructures, lengthy outages are conditions that most modern enterprises running cannot tolerate in today’s economies. I will demonstrate something here that has never been done in an enterprise data center. You don’t want to miss it!!!

FEATURED SPEAKERS
Alberto Farronato, Sr. Director Product Marketing, VMware
Rawlinson Rivera, Chief Technology Officer, Global Field, Cohesity

Session ID: VIRT1630BU – Wrangling and Taming Your Database’s Storage, Availability, and Disaster Recovery Monsters
Thursday, Aug 31, 10:30AM – 11:30AM – Register Here
Storage infrastructures can often be the most complex and confusing challenges faced by data professionals and architects in today’s enterprises. Every organization strives to achieve the right balance among the multitudes of necessary requirements to ensure optimal performance, security, reliability, availability, and (yes) protection of important data. Although failures are a given in modern network infrastructures, frequent and lengthy data/database performance degradation and outages are conditions that most modern enterprises cannot tolerate in today’s economies. This session provides a comprehensive discussion of the ways data professionals and architects can design a VMware vSphere infrastructure to provide the most resilient, risk-averse, and optimal designs for storage infrastructures and mission-critical databases.

FEATURED SPEAKERS
Deji Akomolafe, Staff Solutions Architect, VMware
Rawlinson Rivera, Chief Technology Officer, Global Field, Cohesity

I hope to see everyone at VMworld and defiantly during the breakout session. You don’t want to miss my big surprise.

– Enjoy

For future updates about Cohesity, Hyperconverged Secondary Storage, Cloud Computing, Networking, VMware vSAN, vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol), vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Applications (CNA), and anything in our wonderful world of technology be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds.

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