Disaster Recovery Planning | Data Center Disaster Recovery using Novell PlateSpin Products



By: battala

April 14, 2010 4:00 pm

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By Rajesh Battala

What is Disaster Recovery Planning?

Novell offers disaster recovery and business continuity solutions for large enterprises to plan for the worst. Planning for disaster recovery now ensures your data center is protected and prevents the loss of productivity and money. Rajesh Battala explains how they use PlateSpin products to prepare for disasters in their data center.

Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP), or Business Continuity Planning, is the processes, policies and procedures that recover IT systems and data from a disaster. DRP results helps the business to continue operations without any interruption of their business processes.

Disaster can happen in many ways, like a fire accident, or short-circuit , power or UPS interruption, earthquake or by some human errors. Whatever the reason for a disaster to happen, there should be a solution which will help the business to run without or with minimal impact on the business.

Novell offers a portfolio of products which will help customers to do their Disaster Recovery Planning, or Business Continuity Plan, well, and run their business with ease.

What is the need for Disaster Recovery Planning?

Emerson says, “dollars spent in prevention are worth more than dollars spent in recovery.”

Disaster Recovery Planning helps organizations and enterprises reduce operational risk associated to Information Management Systems. You should always bear in mind that risk, speed of recovery, and completeness of recovery have to be balanced against cost.

The products which help with Disaster Recovery Planning are:

  1. Novell PlateSpin Recon
  2. Novell PlateSpin Migrate
  3. Novell PlateSpin Forge
  4. Novell PlateSpin Orchestrate

This article gives an overview of how Novell PlateSpin products will help organizations and enterprises to execute their Disaster Recovery Plan.

The Disaster Recovery Plan or Business Continuity Plan Overview Process:

  1. Analysis of the workloads
  2. Designing Solutions
  3. Implementation

From here we will see how the above steps can be performed with Novell PlateSpin products.

Analysis of the workloads:

Analysis of the workloads will be done using Novell PlateSpin Recon. PlateSpin Recon is not only a good monitoring product but also a great server consolidation and workload protection analysis reporter. It collects workloads inventory and their resource usage statistics.

PlateSpin Recon supports a high and rich number of platforms. Recon supports Windows, Linux, Novell NetWare, Unix and different Hypervisors.

NOTE: for more information on platform support refer to this page http://www.novell.com/products/recon/techspecs.html

How to create a workload protection plan using PlateSpin Recon:

The steps to implementing Workload Protection with PlateSpin Recon are:

  1. Inventory the resources and workloads in the Data Center
  2. Monitor the workloads for a period of time
  3. Analyze the workload usage from their monitoring data
  4. Generate a Server Consolidation plan

Step 1: Inventory the resources and workloads in the Data Center

The following inventory methods are supported by Recon

  1. Individual machines
  2. Virtual Center
  3. IP Range
  4. Windows Domain
  5. CVS File
  6. SNMP
  7. subnet

Step 2: Monitor the workloads for a period of time

To monitor the workload, right-click and click “Start Monitoring”. It gets the Performance Data of the server. To monitor a group of machines select all the machines and right-click and click “Start Monitoring”. At any time, if you want to stop monitoring right-click and click “Stop Monitoring”. Any time monitoring fails, an associated log will be shown in the client which will provide necessary information about the problems.

Recon collects several detail metrics of a workload depending on the inventory type. For example, tracking detailed metrics on storage usage over time, versus a simple point-in-time snapshot, PlateSpin Recon shows how and when physical servers consume local and remote storage resources iSCSI and FC SAN (at both the physical disk and logical volume level).

Step 3: Analyze the workloads usage from their monitoring data

Data must be collected at least one hour before Analysis Reports.

To view the monitoring data or usage of the resources, Recon provides a chart where the monitoring data of the machines will be shown graphically.

Step 4: Generate a Workload Protection plan

Monitor the machines for at least 30 days to generate good workload protection. Workload protection scenarios use the performance data captured during monitoring to generate server consolidation scenarios.

The hardware, virtualization, and power and cooling information, as well as total cost of ownership and utilization thresholds, are values associated with PlateSpin Recon Server Templates.

Before starting on generating workload protection reports, the target hardware servers and virtualization technology should be determined.

Server Templates play a major role in a workload protection plan. By default there will be some commonly used server templates in Recon. Provisions are there to create or edit the server templates.

How to determine the protection of workloads

After monitoring the workloads for a period of time, go to Project Explorer and create a new project.

Select the Project Type “Workload Protection.”

Click Next and select all the machines for workload protection.

Click Next to specify the Date Range and the business days.

Click Next to enter the Forecast options.

Click Next to specify whether to enable the power and cooling factors and their values.

Now we are ready to create the project.

Click Create to create the project.

Once the project is created, it will be shown in the Project Explorer. Under the project

  • Scenarios: User created scenarios will be shown
  • Existing Target Server: Contains the list of server class machines added to the project
  • Consolidate: Workloads to be consolidated will be shown
  • Protect: Workloads that can be protected will be shown

Some of scenarios are:

  1. Determine the number of servers (selected from the server templates) required for Workload protection.
  2. User can specify the servers ( from server templates or existing servers) and Recon will generate a Workload protection report accordingly.

In the first case, Recon server will generate a report of how many specified servers are required to protect the workloads and how to group them also.

In the second case it will fit workloads well in the provided servers by the user.

The output of Workload protection reports are very optimal.

This is how PlateSpin Recon helps to generate the Workload protection reports to the administrator.

From this point PlateSpin Migrate takes control of implementing the scenarios generated using Recon.

One of the Scenario Reports looks like this.

PlateSpin Migrate

As businesses grow rapidly there is a rapid increase in the computer systems in terms of size and management. These computer systems will have different configurations such as operating system, applications running on it and hardware capabilities.

PlateSpin Recon helps provide reports on how these computer machines are being used in the Data Center. Implementing the Server Consolidation generated by Recon, depending on the user’s needs, helps the administrators to manage and protect these workloads.

Protecting or moving the workloads is not a simple task, as it involves lots of tasks to be done very carefully and sometimes without disruption of the workloads.

PlateSpin Migrate safely moves and protects workloads in the Data Center with ease.

Migration of the workloads is either moving the workload on a physical machine to a virtual machine or from a virtual machine to a physical machine.

Protection of the workloads is to take the backups of the workloads into different images, so when a particular workloads get corrupted or got damaged the protected workloads will start running to provide the services.

Inventory Supported by PlateSpin Migrate
Please see the link http://www.novell.com/products/migrate/techspecs.html

Conversions supported by PlateSpin Migrate:

PlateSpin Migrate conversions support multiple physical to virtual infrastructures, and vice versa, as well as heterogeneous virtual infrastructures.

PlateSpin Migrate can do Machine to Physical (P2V and V2V), Physical to Machine (V2P and P2P), Capturing the Image of a workload(X2I) and Image Deployment.

PlateSpin Migrate will let you customize the configuration of the target machine before it gets migrated. When the migration is over then the workload will be ready with the customized configuration and will be ready to provide the services.

PlateSpin Migrate can do migration of Windows/Linux workloads across Physical to Virtual and Virtual to Physical and across different virtual infrastructures like VMware, Citrix Xen, Xen, etc.

Migrating will solve the problem of Server Consolidation, and protecting the workloads solves the problem of Disaster Recovery.

PlateSpin Migrate helps disaster recovery by the methods of Copying/Moving the workload to different image formats. The supported image formats are specified in the above table clearly.

PlateSpin Migrate lets the administrators schedule the conversions after doing the configuration and customization.

PlateSpin Recon and PlateSpin Migrate can be used together or independently for Workload protection.

With PlateSpin Recon we can get the Workload Protection plan and workload protection can be done either manually or with some third-party tools.

Similarly, we can determine the workload protection plan manually or with some third-party tools. The plan can be determined and the plan can be implemented well with PlateSpin Migrate.

But using these two together will give good results. Some reasons why PlateSpin Recon should be used to generate the Workload protection plan are:

  1. PlateSpin Recon is a sophisticated workload analysis, planning and management solution that provides new levels of intelligence, visual analysis and forecasting for optimizing the data center.
  2. Recon supports a very large matrix of Inventory and monitors the usage.
  3. Enterprise-level Scalability
  4. PlateSpin Recon provides several licensing options
    1. Per Use: This license limits the amount of time and the number of servers that can be monitored. For example, 10 server-days allows monitoring 1 server for 10 days or 2 servers for 5 days

    2. Per Core: Licenses are tied to physical cores for monitoring, regardless of the operating system, platform, or the number of servers involved. If you inventory both the host and the VMs, the PlateSpin Recon licenses are calculated based on the cores of the host only, and the virtual CPU count is ignored. If you inventory only the VMs and not the host, the PlateSpin Recon counts one core per one virtual CPU, and the licenses are consumed based on the number of virtual CPUs assigned to the VM.

      Unlimited Inventory support.

  5. For many more features please follow this link http://www.novell.com/products/recon/

Why PlateSpin Migrate should be used for Workload Protection.

  1. Anywhere to Anywhere Migration of workloads in Data Center ( P2V, I2p, P2I, V2P, I2V, V2I conversions ).
  2. Migration of 64-bit Windows and Linux workloads are very well supported
  3. Role-Based Access
  4. Multiple Image Support – Reuse and redeploy PlateSpin Flexible Images or leverage existing third-party image inventories over and over, across different hardware for quick conversion deployment. Capture the image once, reuse it repeatedly.
  5. Block-level and File Replication
  6. Scalability – On high-performance server hardware, PlateSpin Migrate enables up to 40 simultaneous workload migrations to dramatically reduce the time required to complete data center initiatives such as server consolidation or hardware migration.
  7. Industry-leading Automation

For more details please click here: PlateSpin Migrate Details

With the combination of the above products we can do a very good job of workload protection.

When PlateSpin Orchestrate comes into the picture it will let you provision the workload in time.
For example, when we protect the workloads with PlateSpin Migrate, there should be a tool which should provision the protected workload when the real one gets into a disaster. For this orchestration, PlateSpin Orchestrate helps administrators to write jdl Jobs which can do the tasks well.

The administrator can write a job, so that when a particular workload goes down, the job will provision the protected workload of it into another available host. When a workload is down, it will send an event to the server, then the server will provision the job to up the protected workload so that the services provided by the workload will be resumed in a very short span of time.

All the above products can be used in implementing a Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

Novell PlateSpin Forge is a best Disaster Recovery Hardware Appliance that provides a smarter, faster and more affordable way to replicate and protect server workloads in the data center.
“The great advantage of PlateSpin Forge is that you just plug it in and it works. It’s so easy to use that the training requirements for IT staff are minimal.” Steve Frost Infrastructure Manager HPS Pharmacies

When the workloads go down, PlateSpin Forge Recovery will quickly power on in the PlateSpin Forge recovery environment and continue to run normally. When the actual environment gets repaired, rectified or replaced, the workloads will be running in the PlateSpin Forge recovery environment.

When PlateSpin Forge is deployed in an organization, it can protect workloads across geographically dispersed sites and rapidly recover in the event of server downtime or a site disaster. The main advantage is, there is no need to invest in costly hardware or redundant OS and Software licenses. This will make the organizations choose PlateSpin Forge to achieve Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Planning with less cost.

Below is the PlateSpin Forge Models Information:

Model Number 310 325 510 525
Workloads
Number of workloads 10 25 10 25
Expandable workloads† Yes Yes
Storage
Base 2.5 TB 2.5 TB
Expandable (iSCSI or fiber channel) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hot swap disks Yes Yes Yes Yes
Memory
Base RAM 16 GB 16 GB 16 GB 16 GB
Expandable memory 32 GB 32 GB 32 GB 32 GB
Processor
CPUs 2 2 2 2
Total cores 8 8 8 8
Networking
Replication bandwidth 6 Gbits/s 6 Gbits/s 6 Gbits/s 6 Gbits/s
Number of gigE ports 6 6 6 6
Physical
Rack Units 1U 1U 2U 2U

† For the 10-workload appliance only, customers are able to purchase five-workload add-on packages up to a maximum of 25 workloads.

Why enterprises and organizations should purchase and use PlateSpin Forge.

Some of the Key Features and Benefits of Forge:

Cost Effective Solution for Disaster Recovery

Forge will consolidate all the workloads (physical and virtual) on a single recovery hardware. This will reduce redundant costly hardware which helps enterprises and organizations to save money. Forge will save all the workloads completely (OS, Data and Applications) within a single bootable Recovery Environment.

Avoid Regular Testing of Workloads

When a workload is taken back up, it should be verified frequently to check whether the current running workload and the backup are consistent. Manual testing of this process is cumbersome. Forge will allow you to take the virtual snapshot of the recovery workload and run it in the private network to check the integrity and quickly validate the recovery plan.

Fast Recovery
The recovery workload will be in service very quickly when there is a outage of the workload.
Forge can be managed from a single point of control.

The web-based interface of Forge provides a dashboard that enables the administrator to view and monitor the status of the workload protection plans. Forge will send notifications to the administrators via email about the alerts.

Complete workload backup
Forge will take the backup of an entire workload which means OS, Applications and Data within the single bootable recovery environment

SAN Integration:
PlateSpin Forge integrates with existing SAN to accommodate current and future recovery requirements. Powerful dashboard and management capabilities allow enterprise to seamlessly protect workloads across the SAN.

“Plug In and protect” workloads:
PlateSpin Forge provides complete protection for up to 25 physical or virtual workloads straight out of the box. All the necessary hardware, storage, consolidate recovery software and virtulization technologies are prepackaged and pre-configured, reducing implementation time and effort.

Conclusion

Novell has rich products to implement the Disaster Recovery plan or Business Continuity Plan with ease and flexible cost.

PlateSpin Recon, Migrate and Orchestrator, PlateSpin Forge helps the enterprises and organizations to continue their businesses with ease.

PlateSpin Forge puts workload protection and recovery within reach for small and medium-sized enterprises as well as departments and branch offices within larger enterprises. For larger implementations, multiple PlateSpin Forge appliances can be deployed and centrally managed through a “single pane of glass” management console.

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Disclaimer: As with everything else at NetIQ Cool Solutions, this content is definitely not supported by NetIQ, so Customer Support will not be able to help you if it has any adverse effect on your environment.  It just worked for at least one person, and perhaps it will be useful for you too.  Be sure to test in a non-production environment.

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