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InfiniBox Active-Active replication provides zero-RPO and zero-RTO, enabling mission critical business-services to keep operating even through a complete site failure:

  • Symmetric synchronous replication solution, applications can be geographically clustered.
  • Fully integrated into InfiniBox, allows simple management of application spread across data centers.

Terminology

  • Active-Active volume: a volume that is undergoing Active-Active replication.
  • Peers: a pair of volumes that are undergoing Active-Active replication relationship, are also referred as "peers".
    • Peer: one of the volumes in the pair. 
  • Active-Active datastore: a datastore that resides on an Active-Active volume. 

Prerequisites 

  • Requires two Infinibox systems version 5 or later.
  • Minimal ESXi version: 6.0 EP 20.
  • Supported using InfiniBox Docker SRA only.

Before you begin

Prior to setting up InfiniBox Active-Active replication it is advised to read the INFINIDAT InfiniBox documentation for Active-Active replication.

InfiniBox Configuration

Preparing ESXi hosts for Active-Active Volumes

When using Active-Active volumes on a vSphere environment it is required to set all the related ESXi hosts objects on InfiniBox to “ESXi” type.

"ESXi" type - Makes InfiniBox issue a PDL SCSI sense response to the host in case a mapped Active-Active peer no longer synchronized. (cannot serve R/W IO, becomes "offline")

  • If the host type is not set to "ESXi", vSphere HA cannot properly detect that a mapped Active-Active peer is no longer synchronized ("offline").
    • Therefore, in a non-uniform environment, vSphere HA will not try to recover affected VMs that are running on hosts which can access only the "offline" peer.
    • In a uniform environment, although all hosts should have access to both peers, settings this is still required for proper functioning of the ESXi servers.

To set ESXi hosts objects on InfiniBox to the “ESXi” type:

  1. Login to the InfiniBox systems (on both the protected and recovery sites) using the management console.
  2. Set the InfiniBox host objects which represents the ESXi hosts, to the "ESXi" type.
    • Use the following InfiniShell command:

      host.set_host_type host=<esxi-host-name> host_type=ESXi
    • This is settable only using InfiniShell or Host PowerTools for VMware.
    • The simplest method to set hosts to the "ESXi" type is by using Host PowerTools for VMware. For instruction see the following guide: Preparing ESXi hosts for Active-Active volumes

Replication

  1. InfiniBox Active-Active replication should be set for each desired datastores to protect.
    • Set the Preferred system of the Active-Active replication to the InfiniBox in the Protected Site.
      • InfiniBox Active-Active replication is set directly from the InfiniBox management consoles (InfiniShell, GUI).
      • Instructions for setting up replication using the InfiniBox management consoles, are available on the INFINIDAT support site: InfiniBox Replication
  2. Map the Active-Active datastore peers on the InfiniBox in the Recovery site to the ESXi hosts in the Recovery site.

The Active-Active replication Preferred system is set for the InfiniBox system in the Protected site.

  • Therefore in case of failing to the Recovery site, it is important to fallback as soon as possible to the original Protected site. (As soon as the original Protected site is up and running)

Viewing the replication status

The replication status is available directly from the InfiniBox management consoles.

SRM and vCenter Configuration

Once the InfiniBox replication is configured:

  • Validate that SRM successfully discovered the new replicated volumes. For instruction see: Discovering new replicated volumes
  • Create protection groups so that SRM can protect virtual machines, and a recovery plan which coordinates how virtual machines should be recovered. 

Some configurations are also required on the vCenters. 

Note:

  • To use SRM with Stretch Storage (Active-Active replication), SRM requires the Enterprise license.
    • InfiniBox and InfiniBox SRA does not requires any licence. 
  • To use the SRM vMotion feature, the vCenters of the site pair must be in Enhanced Link Mode.
    • For more information please refer to the VMware vCenter documentation.
    • InfiniBox SRA does not have any affect on that feature.
  • It is not recommended to have VMs running in both SRM sites on the same Active-Active datastore.
    • It is recommended that all VMs on the stretched storage (Active-Active volumes) are running on the protected site.

SRM Protection groups and Recovery plans

To protect using stretched storage, SRM requires that the protection groups will be created using a Storage Policy Protection Group (SPPG).

  • Creating protection groups and recovery plans is performed directly from the VMware SRM user interface.
    • For more information, please refer to VMware documentation for SRM.

Instructions

In vCenter:

  1. Tag the Active-Active datastores.
  2. Create a VM Storage Policy with the following settings: (required only if a VM Storage Policy was not already created)
    1. Storage type: Virtual Volumes or traditional storage.
    2. Policy Structure: Enable tag based placement rules.
    3. Tag based placement: Choose the Tag category and the Tag which the Active-Active datastores were tagged with. 
  3. Set the created VM Storage Policy for each VM that requires protection.

In SRM:

  1. Create a protection group using the "Storage policies (array-based replication)" type.
  2. Select the VM Storage Policy that was created earlier.


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