Native vCenter High Availability – I wanted to explore this feature since vSphere 6.5 was announced in VMworld Europe this year. With VMware announcing general availability of vSPhere 6.5 I was able to setup test environment in my lab and I am very exited about implementing the same in production at later point. Traditionally there was no out of the box solution available for vCenter high availability but there were other solutions to provide high availability to vCenter services such as vSphere HA, vSphere Fault Tolerence, Microsoft Clustering and now retired vCenter Server Heartbeat. With the new release VMware provides Native High Availability for vCenter Servers, as of now this feature is available only for vCSA based deployments. The new VCHA architecture is made of three node cluster. Active, Passive and a Witness node. Passive is full clone of the original Active node, witness node is clone of the original Active node. Witness node will never become Active in event of failure. Prerequisites to setup VCHA is fully functional DRS/HA cluster with minimum of 2-3 nodes. Continuous file level replication takes place between active and passive nodes using Linux RSYNC which keeps all the configurations and services state in sync. Native Native vPostgres DB replication will handle replication of VCDB and VUMDB.
First I will demonstrate how to deploy vCSA 6.5 beofre we go into enabling Native high availability. vCSA deployment is now two step process (In previous versions, vCenter appliance deployment would fail if any typo). In step 1 UI installer deploys the appliance and followed by configuration of the appliance setup in step 2 (IP Address, Hostname, DNS, SSO etc). You can still deploy appliance like previous version in step 1 and configure the appliance at later point by accessing vCenter Server Appliance Manager Interface.
13. You will be presented with below screen once the deployment is successful, you can either continue with stage 2 or revisit later to configure the appliance using VAMI UI. I will proceed with stage 2 by clicking Continue.
16. Enter the SSO domain name, credentials and SSO site name and click Next to continue.
19. You will receive the final screen with URL to launch the web client once the configuration is successful.
Launch the vCenter server and configure networking, shared storage and HA/DRS cluster to configure VCHA. Lets procced with configuring VCHA once all prerequisites are configured.
- Launch vCenter Server, navigate to Configure >> Click on vCenter HA in Settings section and finally click on Configure option to launch the VCHA configuration options.
2. Select the basic option since this method is easy and automates cloning and configurations options for you and also sets DRS rules.
3. This step will add second NIC for the active vCenter appliance which will be used for internal communication between active and passive nodes. Enter the IP address and click on browse to select the network adapter.
4. Select the network adapter from the list required for step 3 above in this post.
5. You will see similar screen once the network adapter is selected.
6. Click on Advanced option to enter the IP addresses for Passive and Witness nodes internal communication.
7. Enter the IP address for Passive node internal communication adapter.
8. Repeat the steps 6 – 7 for Witness node.
9. You may see compatibility errors in deployment wizard which is due to data store and compute being the same for Passive and Witness nodes in the cluster. Change these by clicking on edit for each node.
10. Select the data center , compute, storage and networking for peer (Passive node) required in step 9 of this post. Please refer the images below.
At this point vCenter will start the configuration with cloning of existing Active vCenter appliance, you can track the progress through vCenter server UI.
Thanks for reading.