Category: VMware

Step-by-Step – Deploying Azure Site Recovery (ASR) OVF Template (VMware On-Premises)

In the following tutorial, I will go through a step-by-step walk-through on deploying the Azure Site Recovery (ASR) VMware OVF template. This OVF template is a critical step as it bridges the connection between your On-Premises datacenter and the Azure Site Recovery Vault. Obviously there are a handful of prerequisites, as we need to prepare our VMware environment in addition, prepare our Azure workspace. I have created similar posts for Hyper-V and Azure to Azure (A2A) ASR Migrations, please visit the following link for the detailed setups of the Azure Recovery Services Vault HERE.

Let’s begin…  The first step is to download and install the VMware OVF template. The VMware OVF template can be found at the Microsoft Download Center.

Next, we need to deploy the OVF template within vCenter.

Note, this template will consuming about 1.5TB of space. This is a result of Microsoft consolidating the Configuration server and Process server into one workload.

Once the template is deployed, start the appliance and let’s begin registering our vCenter with ASR vault.

Note, the licence provided with OVF template is an evaluation licence valid for 180 days. You as the customer need to activate the windows with a procured licence.

Now we need to provide the server with some local administrative credentials.

Once you have given it some credentials, the server will auto login. The ASR wizard should launch on its own, if not, you can launch it manually — the icon should be on the desktop.

Once the ASR wizard starts, we will now need to complete the setup for this server following by registering the server with ASR.

Give the server some name, ie. VMwareASR01

Next, we need to validate the server can go over the Internet, ie. Azure and communicate as needed. If you are using a proxy, here is the time to set that up.

One thing to note, having the proxy settings configured within Internet Explorer should be removed.

Once an Internet connection has been established, we can then sign into the Azure Portal.

Now we need to sign into Azure with some credentials, ideally with a privileged/Global Administrator account.

Once you have logged into Azure successfully, you will need to reboot the server.

Once the server is back online, the next steps is to configure the Configuration server. 🙂 This step we will register this server/vCenter appliance with our Recovery Services vault. Let’s begin!

The server will auto-launch the ASR wizard, if not, launch it from the desktop icon.

Now that we have established an internet connection, we can configure our Network Interface Card(s) (NICs). Note, you can add as many as NICs needed, however, this needs to be done at the vSphere level. Once the server has been configured, you cannot add and/or remove those NICs. So, make sure you have it configured exactly as you need it. In my case, we will only need one, so, we will configure the NIC here.

Next, we need to sign into our Azure account, and select the corresponding subscription, resource group and select the appropriate recovery services vault. All of these should be available, and should have been created well before we began configure this server, as per the prerequisites…

Next, our server will download, install and configure MySQL on the server, along with the vSphere PowerCLI tools.

Gotcha, here, the appliance did not provide the vSphere PowerCLI tools, so we had to manually download, and install it.

Once we downloaded VMware’s vSphere PowerCLI toolset, we were able to continue. As mentioned, this was not provided, although it should have been. If we continued forward, the wizard would have thrown an error at the end of validation.

Next, we need to now provide the credentials and information with regards to our vCenter server(s).

Please read the prerequisites with regards to the needed permissions to allow our ASR Configuration server to communicate with the vCenter server(s).

Next we need to provide Windows and Linux based credentials to deploy install the ASR Mobility Service to all machines that will need to be replicated to Azure.

For this exercise, we are not replicating Linux machines to Azure, however if we were, similar to the Windows Mobility Service, we would need to provide some credentials that have elevated access to each of the Linux machines.

Once we have provided all the information above, we should now be able to validate some of the settings we have provided, and register our server with Azure and the Recovery Services vault. Give this a few minutes, as it took about 5 minutes to establish the communication/trust.

Once the registration of the server is complete, and the ASR appliance is officially configured with our Azure Recovery Services vault, we should now be able to see the vCenter/Configuration Server within our Azure Recovery Services vault.

If we click on the server, we can get some additional information, such as the server’s health, configuration, heartbeat, and so on…

We can also now click on the Process Server and get some additional information as well.

Now we are able to select the VMs we want to begin replicating to Azure and start testing failovers, either real, or simulated.

I hope this was helpful! Thanks, and until next time…

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How to Increase ASR (Azure Site Recovery) Replication and Failback Default Settings

Now that you have deployed ASR (Azure Site Recovery), for Hyper-V and have started to up being replication, you notice the replication process just might take forever, as there are several VMs still queued. That is right, by default, ASR will replicate 4 (four) VMs at a given time. This value can be increased (to a maximum of 32), however, where to change this setting?

In order to increase the number of replication threads from 4 to 32, or whatever in between, you first need to launch the Registry and navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Azure Backup\Replication

From there, you will need to create the key, if the key does not exist (I have never see it by default in any of my deployments…). Create the key, “UploadThreadsPerVM” and set its value to whatever you see fit. Again, the maximum is 32.

Likewise, you can increase the default (4) number of threads used for data transfer during failback. This value represents the maximum number of VMs that will failback from ASR. That path is the same, and the Registry Key is,”DownloadThreadsPerVM“, and again, can be set to a maximum of 32.

After that is completed, your Hyper-V Registry Keys, would look something like this. Please note, this change is fully supported by the ASR/Microsoft team. However, do note, this change can saturate your network due to the increase in uploads to Azure. You can also increase and change the schedule for the bandwidth throttle settings, you can see that previous post here, see Step 10.

 

For additional information on this, please visit, https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/site-recovery/site-recovery-plan-capacity-vmware#control-network-bandwidth.

Monitoring VMware (ESX/ESXi) with OMS

We all know monitoring Hyper-V and/or SCVMM with OMS is rather straight forward, and native. However, what about VMware (ESX/ESXi)?

In my VMware environment, I am using ESXi Host version 5.5 and vCenter version 6.0.

The following post is to help you monitor your ESX/ESXi environment with OMS.

  • First, you will need to enable the ESXi Shell, or SSH on your ESXi host, see HERE how
  • Next, you will need to configure the syslog(s) on your ESXi host, see HERE how

My ESXi server’s IP 10.10.10.30, and I will be forwarding the syslog(s) to my vCenter Windows Server IP 10.10.10.34. To be safe, I am going to configure both port 514 UDP and TCP .

ConfiguringSyslogOnESXiviaSSH

  • Remember to disable the firewall(s) on your vCenter Windows server
  • Now on your vCenter Windows Server, you will need to deploy the OMS Agent (Microsoft Monitoring Agent), see HERE how
    • Once your vCenter server is communicating with OMS, we can move on to the next step
  • Within OMS, if you haven’t already, you will need to enable “Custom Logs“; Settings > Preview Features > Enabled Custom Logs

EnableCustomLogs

  • Next, set up the following syslog file as your custom log on your vCenter server. In my case, my ESXi hostname is ‘RaviESXi’ and its IP is 10.10.10.30.
  • Followed by importing your syslog into OMS for the first time (see below for instructions)

C:\ProgramData\VMware\vCenterServer\data\vmsyslogcollector\yourESXiHostnameHere\syslog.log

For me, that path translates to, “C:\ProgramData\VMware\vCenterServer\data\vmsyslogcollector\RaviESXi\syslog.log

In my example, I then created an OMS custom log named “VMwareWin” for ESXi syslog. (By default, _CL suffix will be automatically added, which will result as, “VMwareWin_CL”) If you are unfamiliar with OMS’ Custom Logs, see HERE.

Once you have completed this step, it make take some time for your data to start showing up in OMS. Give it an hour or so…

  • Now we can start creating some custom fields within OMS. For example, ESXi Hostname, vmkernel, hostd, etc. See HERE about OMS’ custom fields in log analytics.
    • If you have done everything correctly, you should have custom logs and custom fields similar to this:

CreatingCustomLogs(2)

CreatingCustomFields

  • Now  you can start creating some dashboards with some custom queries!

For example, here’s one query I tested with and thought was worthy for its own dashboard:

All events and number of occurrences:

Type=VMwareWin_CL | measure count() by VMwareProp_CFDashboard1Example

Of course the number of queries and dashboards is endless at this point. Feel free to let me know your thoughts and some queries/dashboards you have come up with!

Lastly, don’t forget to add some important syslog OMS Data Log Collection, here is what I have configured:

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Cheers!

Azure Site Recovery (ASR) – Windows 2016 (TP4)

In the event you are running a lab/demo for Azure ASR (Azure Site Recovery) and want to use the latest and greatest Windows 2016… STOP! Turns out Windows Server 2016 – Technical Preview 4 (TP4) is not supported at this time. So, hopefully you read this and don’t waste your time, like me. 🙂 Note, Windows Server 2012 R2 is supported, and works just fine (obviously). I will (soon) be posting a complete Azure ASR setup for Windows Server 2012R2 (VMs) on VMware ESX 6.0.

Of course the ASR Wizard did not indicate any issues at the time of running the installer, but definitely got this error nearing completion.

7 - Install OnPrem Components Wizard (3) 7 - Install OnPrem Components Wizard (Error)

Adding ESX/vCenter to SCVMM

Adding a Hyper-V host to SCVMM is pretty straight forward, I would only hope so, since they are both Microsoft products. Well, as quick as it is to add a Hyper-V host, adding an ESX/vCenter is just as quick. Here are the steps I took to add an ESX host and vCenter appliance to SCVMM 2012 R2.

Some prerequisites, well, I am assuming you have already deployed an ESX/ESXi server which also has a vCenter appliance installed and configured with a static IP and hostname. In my lab, I have vCenter installed on the ESX host itself. I am also assuming your SCVMM and ESX/ESXi environment(s) are able to communicate with one another.

  • Launch the SCVMM console
  • Create a Run As account, here I used the default VMware credentials (root/vmware)
  • Under the Fabric pane, and under the Servers > Infrastructure Node, right click on vCenter Servers, and add a new VMware vCenter Server

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  • Input the vCenter IP address, leaving the TCP/IP port as default (443)
  • Also, specify the Run As account, select the one you created back at Step 2
  • Keep Communicate with VMware ESX host in secure mode enabled

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  • Next, if the Run As account validated successfully, you should now get an Import Certificate prompt. Select Import

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  • You can view the status of the new addition within the Jobs window

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  • If all went smoothly, your vCenter appliance/server should now be within the vCenter Servers view!

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  • Next, you will want to essentially the same steps above, but this time, we will add the ESX host
  • Select, Add VMware ESX Hosts and Clusters

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  • Hopefully here it should auto populate the search with the host, if not, search for it, using its IP or hostname

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  • If all went went, proper Run As account, etc. etc, then it should soon be visible within the Server > All  Hosts view. Confirm by viewing the Jobs window for any errors/messages.

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