Infrastructure management solution and configuring the operating system lies in moving to a single platform ESXi managed by vCenter with subsequent configuration via the solution from VMWare – Orchestrator.
- Server resources are allocated only for the work of the VM (in contrast with OS virtualization system).
- Centralized management of all physical servers and ESXi
- Support of primary automation “out of the box”.
- Enhanced logging and auditing.
- Easy integration with Active Directory
- The availability of such tools as vSphere Command Line Interface (vCLI) and PowerCLI, PowerCLI automation where management is performed by using cmdlet elements and scripts of Windows PowerShell.
- VMWare products over the years have proved as reliable, and therefore malfunction is nullified.
- The great community and responsive technical support is an insurance for calmness for many years.
Benefits of ESXi in comparison to other hypervisors:
- Advanced automation with VMware Orchestrator
- Fault tolerance technologies (HA, VM Monitoring, FT, DRS, SRM)
- Migration of running virtual machines from one physical server to another one without downtime (vMotion).
- Multiple OS support (Windows, Linux, BSD, Solaris, etc.);
- Optimized file system for virtualization
- Net interfaces fault tolerance and load balancing (NIC Teaming)
- Advanced memory management (Memory Overcommitment, Transparent Page Sharing)
vCenter Orchestrator is a workflow-based tool for automation that allows producing self-service interfaces for employees who do not have direct access to the vSphere.
vCenter Orchestrator has the following functions: moving applications between equipment within the computer network; administration of corporate assets, change management. The flexibility and openness of the modular infrastructure allows fast and easy integration with existing software. There is a system of prioritization and adjustment of software processes. vCenter Orchestrator is capable to automate more than 800 tasks. Tasks and processes can be made in advance by the schedule. Using the this software helps to speed up the deployment, launch, support and maintenance of virtual machines.
In general, vCenter Orchestrator is a framework with the GUI, which was used by VMware and other products (VMware vCloud Director, VMware Lifecycle Manager). The difference is that the functionality of Orchestrator extends through all kinds of plug-ins. They enable integration with third-party applications (for example, Active Directory), and with the virtual infrastructure devices (ESXi, etc.). That is an extremely user-friendly application that could be useful for administrators of many companies. Recently, 4 new plug-ins have been released for vCenter Orchestrator. One of them and the most anticipated one is a plug-In for Microsoft Windows PowerShell. It enables to add PowerCLI scripts to the workflow. As a result, since the actions will be based on scripts, you will not have to hire programmers to extend the fuctional of the software. Anyone familiar with the PowerShell command will be able to handle this. But the most wonderful is the fact that only one vendor will be necessary which increases the compatibility / reliability and reduces maintenance costs.
Disadvantages of the current architecture:
- OS maintenance with VMWare Workstation is 10-30% more expensive than ESXi (1-3%).
- There is no optimization for the virtualization environment (no extended memory management, adjusting traffic priorities, etc).
- There is no limit for consumption of CPU and IO.
- Any virus attack on the server, can result in VM downtime
- There is no fail-safe technology
- Limited VM management through CLI, which leads to restrictions or even the inability to automate the service of VMs and guests’ VMs
- The complexity of managing different servers in contrast with ESXi.
- The use of several vendors results in increased maintenance and problem solution costs
Draft Work Plan
Transfer to ESXi does not take much time, since conversion of OS located on the physical server is has already been provided by VMWare.
In order to transfer of VM from VMWare Workstation to ESXi hypervisor you can use one of two options:
- Directly connect to the ESXi hypervisor from VMWare Workstation and run the migration.
- Take advantage of the special (free) software VMware vCenter Converter
The plan consists of the following stages:
- Configuration / server hardware choice
- Install ESXi hypervisor
- Setting up ESXi hypervisor and the infrastructure
- Choice of the central hypervisor and installing vCenter for centralized management
- Transfer of VM from VMWare Workstation to ESXi hypervisor
- Installation of vCenter Orchestrator
- Scripting vCenter Orchestrator in order to service VM (start, stop, cloning, deleting) and guest operating systems (file editing, running, stopping services, etc.) as well as their testing
- I stage
- Elaboration of infrastructure and its approval – 1-2 days.
- Configuration of server hardware depends on the availability of the servers themselves and their components, as well as their physical accessibility. Time for all 8 servers, depending on their configuration preferences – 2 days, provided that 100% of components are available.
- II stage
- Hypervisor installation is performed during 2 hours per 2 days in total.
- ESXi hypervisor and infrastructure setting up fluctuates from 2 to 10 days, depending on the complexity of the network infrastructure and future values of the parameters for fault tolerance and server priority.
- Installation and configuration of vCenter – 1 day
- III stage
- VM transfer mainly depends on the bandwidth and the size of VM. In average – 3 hours each 30 GB. If we take 8 servers for every 15 VM, with minimum volume of 30 GB, we need 45 hours. If there is no critical data the transfer time will be decreased by transferring the “golden image” and its cloning.
- IV stage
- Installation and configuration of vCenter Orchestrator – 1 day
- Scripting vCenter Orchestrator – 5-10 days
As a result, from 20 to 30 days. All testing is performed in parallel during the configuration, as well as at the end of each stage and on completion of the project as a whole.