Querying SRM for Protected VMs with PowerCLI

I was recently asked how to query SRM for protected VMs and I decided it would make a good quick blog post. There is a great post here on using PowerCLI with SRM, but it doesn’t show the information to return per virtual machine information by default. Needs a bit more.

All it returns is a SRM-based virtual machine ID which doesn’t relate to what a user is probably looking for (a virtual machine name). So it needs a few more simple steps. The following script which can be found on my GitHub page here that does the following things:

  1. Connects to a vCenter
  2. Connects to SRM
  3. Creates a log folder with a time stamp in the name
  4. Iterates through each Protection Group
  5. Logs every virtual machine in that protection group

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Site Recovery Manager 6 and Storage DRS Tagging: Part II–FlashArray SRA

The first post in this two-part series was about the general new feature of VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 6.0 and Storage DRS. Read about it here. In this post, I am going to take a bit more of a specific look at this when it comes to the FlashArray and our Storage Replication Adapter (SRA).

flashrecover_benefits_04

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Site Recovery Manager 6 and Storage DRS Tagging: Part I–The Basics

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 6.0 was mostly a compatibility release–getting it to work right with vCenter 6.0 essentially. That being said, there were a few new features (and some nice tweaks in the GUI) included in the release. One of the new features that sparked my interest was SRM and Storage DRS compatibility enhancements.

Ben Meadowcroft a VMware PM who works on amongst other things, SRM, blogged about this new feature here. Find the VMware KB here.

srmspash

Ben covers most of the history of this in his post so I will skip over that. Let’s take a look though a little closer at this functionality. So to overview there are three tags that SRM introduces to a datastore:

  • SRM-com.vmware.vcDr:::status (indicates that the datastore is replicated)
  • SRM-com.vmware.vcDr:::consistencyGroup (indicates what CG the datastore belongs to, if any)
  • SRM-com.vmware.vcDr:::protectionGroup (indicates what PG the datastore belongs to, if any)

Replication status is assigned as soon as SRM (and it’s respective Storage Replication Adapter) discovers it to be replicated through a Device Discovery operation. Upon this discovery a consistency group tag is also assigned. If the volume is not advertised by the SRA as being in a consistency group a unique one will be created for that volume–basically indicating it is in its own consistency group.

nopg

npogsrm

A protection tag is not assigned until the volume is actually added to a protection group. Once the datastore is assigned to a protection group it will receive the tag (remember a volume can only be in one PG and SRM only supports being in one CG so there will always only be one to assign).

yespg

So what do these tags do? Well Storage DRS will note these tags and not make any automatic moves if a Storage vMotion would violate any of them, this means it will not move from one datastore to another if:

1) Source datastore is replicated and target is not

tononreplicated

2) Source datastore is NOT replicated and target is

toreplicatedfromnon

3) Source datastore is in a different consistency group than the target

differentCG

4) Source datastore is replicated AND in a protection group but target is replicated but NOT in an protection group

notinPG

Basically Storage DRS will not move a VM from one datastore to another if it deems it to cause a change in the configuration of the protection group or consistency of a virtual machine.

So automatic Storage DRS will never make these moves. It may suggest them if it cannot find a better option, but it will never make a move that will violate these rules. If for some reason you want this to occur you can always override the warning and execute the operation.

overridesdrs

Let’s take a look now at the relevant configurable behavior in SRM.

There are four options:

Setting Name Description and Default Value
storage.enableSdrsStandardTagCategoryCreation This creates the three tag categories in vCenter for you.
storage.enableSdrsTagging This actually applies the tags to the datastores when discovered etc.
storage.enableSdrsTaggingRepair This allows SRM to fix datastore tag when something has changed (PG/CG membership changes for instance).
storage.sdrsTaggingPollInterval How often SRM checks tags to make sure they are accurate.

srmsdrsoptions

All of these options are enabled by default, well, kinda, the last one is just set to 50 seconds.

So like the table says the enableSdrsStandardTagCategoryCreation option is pretty straight forward. Creates the three categories. You can, of course, create them yourself if you choose to, not sure why you would though with the exception of the reason stated in the option description:

“In Federated SSO setups, this flag should be disabled and the tags and tag categories should be manually created.”

When enableSdrsTagging is enabled, SRM will place the correct tags at the appropriate times. So when a new device is discovered or its protection group membership changes.

The option enableSdrsTaggingRepair is a little more to think about. New tags will still be placed on datastores, replicated/cg tags during device discovery, pg tags upon adding it to a new or different pg. But it will not fix or remove them, if you remove it from a PG or delete the PG, the tag will remain. If you delete the SRM provided tag and replace it with you own, it will not fix it. Though if you add it to a new PG it will remove an old one if it exists and then give it the correct one. But it won’t ever do that unless you make that PG change.

A note about the repair functionality. If you decide to delete a SRM-provided tag and make you own, it will not last long if this feature is enabled. SRM will right things quite quickly (50 seconds or less). So if you want more control over this tagging for SRM-related devices, disabling this is an option. Of course disabling this can easily lead to stale information in the tags, so do so at your own risk.

In general, I think this is a great enhancement. I would like to see more granular control from the SRM side of things (enable/disable CG auto-tagging when a CG doesn’t exist for that device for instance. This also should have a play in non-SRM environments, it’s just a bit more work because you have to do the tagging yourself.

In Part II, I will take a look at how this works with the FlashArray SRA and what’s involved in that.

Add Storage Wizard Slowness and Unresolved VMFS Volumes

This week I received a question from a customer about some slowness in the vSphere “Add Storage” wizard they were seeing. This is a problem that has occurred over the years quite a few times for a variety of different reasons. VMware has fixed most of them, this latest reason luckily was known and has a relatively simple solution. An option called VMFS.UnresolvedVolumeLiveCheck.

option

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Pure Storage FlashArray SRA for Site Recovery Manager

I’ve have been working with VMware’s vCenter Site Recovery Manager since the tail end of the 1.x release and I have to say this is the most excited I have been about a Storage Replication Adapter release that I can remember. Since I started with Pure in late April 2014 I have been working with our development team and product management to design and shape this initial release of the Pure Storage SRA. I have to say it has been a blast–a really great team that does some really amazing work! It is now officially approved and posted on VMware’s  compatibility guide and SRA download site:

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/detail.php?productid=38264&deviceCategory=sra&details=1&partner=399

https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/details?downloadGroup=SRM_SRA55&productId=451

srmpure

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FlashRecover replication on the Pure Storage FlashArray

Last year Pure Storage introduced built-in replication on the FlashArray 400 series in our Purity Operating Environment version 4.0. Our replication offers a variety of benefits–they center around two things. First it is completely free. There is no license charge for replication itself or by capacity. If you need to have is two FlashArrays and a TCP/IP network between the two of them to replicate over. No additional hardware to buy for the array or license packages required (all of our software is always free). Secondly, it is very easy to use–from a green field array to replicating volumes takes maybe five minutes–in reality probably far less than that. So I wanted to take some time to review how our replication is setup and how it works. I went over replication briefly when we released Purity 4.0, but I think it is time for a closer look.

replication

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Site Recovery Manager with PowerCLI Automation Gotcha

Quick post here. So I have been reviewing some great posts from @vmKen and @BenMeadowcroft about automating Site Recovery Manager operations with PowerCLI and wanted to give it a try myself. They outlined the process rather clearly in their blogs so it was a breeze to get most of the stuff up and running. But when I went to actually execute a test recovery or a recovery etc. it kept failing! The PowerCLI command to start the recovery  was $VMrp.Start($RPmode)–the $VMrp being my recovery plan and the $RPMode being the recovery plan mode of a recovery. The command was accepted but the recovery plan never started.

I got the following error in vCenter:

Unable to start the requested operation. Another operation may be in progress. Please wait for it to finish and try again.

Hmm…weird. I could kick off a test from the GUI with no issue so nothing was “interfering” from what I could tell. I thought maybe since I was using Site Recovery Manager 5.8 maybe something had changed so I tried it with my 5.5 environment and got the same result.

srm55

webclient

After I was about to lose my mind it finally occurred to me that I was connecting to the protected vCenter and the protected SRM server (I did enter in remote credentials for the recovery SRM server though). While I could query the recovery plan etc without issue from here, maybe SRM didn’t allow a recovery plan to be started unless you directly connected to the recovery vCenter/SRM server.

So I reconnected to the recovery site and it worked! So I guess it makes a difference, so FYI. Now there might be a workaround to this and it is definitely possible I missed something that allows this but this seems to be what you need to do. If you find this isn’t true please let me know!

Thanks Ken and Ben for getting me started!! Cool stuff. Kens posts:

http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2014/05/automate-failover-with-srm.html

http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2014/05/srm-powercli-reporting.html

http://blogs.vmware.com/vsphere/2014/05/powercli-and-the-srm-api.html

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.8

As people are probably aware, VMware just released the slew of new product updates that was announced at VMworld. vSphere 5.5 U2 at the core, but essentially all of the major products had updates–the one in particular interest to me was vCenter Site Recovery Manager. This latest release, numbered 5.8 is probably the biggest update to SRM since probably 5.0 moving to 5.1, arguably bigger. I am still playing around with it, but I wanted to share some of the things I found of interest in it.

schema_vmware_site_recovery_manager

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Symmetrix VMAX and Splunk introduction

My colleague Jonas Rosland (@virtualswede) has been doing some great work with Splunk recently (check out a post from his blog here) and it got me to want to get my own hands a little dirty. So far I’ve only scratched the surface on what can be done with Splunk but I decided to put a post together on some basics. For this post I am going to talk about Symmetrix VMAX logs and how to get those into Splunk.

vmax_splunk

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Minor update to the SRDF and SRM techbook

Quick post here. As some of you may or may not know, the SRDF and VMware Site Recovery Manager techbook that I have “owned” for four years or so is now out of my hands since I moved onto a different role within EMC. Drew Tonnesen (drewtonnesen.wordpress.com) from Symmetrix Engineering is now the author of the book. Anyways the techbook has been updated to include the latest changes included in the SRDF SRA version 5.5.1 which we released a few weeks ago.

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