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3 Generations of My Homelabs
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on August 15, 2017
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Sooner or later every single IT guy comes to the idea of having some lab. There are a million reasons why you would need a lab: learning new technologies, improving skills, trying crazy ideas you would never dare to try in the production network, you name it. Even though it is a work-related activity for most home labbers this is just another hobby for many of us.  That’s why people spend so many hours of their personal time building the homelab, investing significant funds into new hardware, thoroughly planning its setup, looking for a help in online communities or sharing their experience to help others. There is a whole universe of home labbers and I am happy to be part of this community.

In this post, I would like to share my experience with 3 generations of home labs I have had so far and the thoughts about next generation.

high-level network diagram

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Disaster Recovery and why hypervisor HA may not be best
Posted by Gary Williams on August 10, 2017
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A lot of the time I see and speak to people asking about DR solutions when what they really want is HA with a few backups so I wanted to use a blog article to go through some of the technical terms used in conjunction with DR.

When people say “I want DR”, I’ll ask them about the sort of disasters they are looking to protect against and most of the time the response is “I want to keep working if my hypervisor crashes”.

Linux VMs restart

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Design a ROBO infrastructure. Part 4: HCI solutions
Posted by Andrea Mauro on June 7, 2017
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2-nodes hyperconverged solution

As written in the previous post, for ROBO scenario the most interesting HCI (Hyper-Converged Infrastructure) configuration is a two nodes configuration, considering that two nodes could be enough to run dozen VMs (or also more).

For this reason, not all hyperconverged solutions could be suitable for this case (for example Nutanix or Simplivity need at least 3 nodes). And is not simple scale down an enterprise solution to a small size, due to the architecture constraints.

Actually, there are some interesting products specific for HCI in ROBO scenario:

  • VMware Virtual SAN in a 2 nodes clusters
  • StarWind Virtual Storage Appliance
  • StorMagic SvSAN

StarWind Virtual SAN overall architecture

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vSphere 6.5: HA & DRS improvements. Part I
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on March 2, 2017
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A number of improvements that have been introduced in vSphere HA and DRS in the last several years are impressive. vSphere 6.5 continues this tradition by bringing new features into HA Admission Control, by adding flexibility with HA Orchestrated Restart and by enabling DRS to make more intelligent balancing.

I will be trying a new format today. First, I will be explaining the challenges you might have had in previous vSphere releases and then I will show you how the new vSphere 6.5 HA & DRS features address those challenges.

vSphere admission control cluster resource percentage

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Design a ROBO infrastructure (Part 2): Design areas and technologies
Posted by Andrea Mauro on February 24, 2017
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In the previous post, we have explained and described business requirements and constraints in order to support design and implementation decisions suited for mission-critical applications, considering also how risk can affect design decisions.

Now we will match the following technology aspects to satisfy design requirements:

  • Availability
  • Manageability
  • Performance and scaling
  • Recoverability
  • Security
  • Risk and budget management

ROBO Design areas and technologies

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Storage HA on the Cheap: Fixing Synology DiskStation flaky Performance with StarWind Free. Part 1 (Architecture)
Posted by Vladislav Karaiev on January 4, 2017
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Introduction

DiskStation DS916+ is a further improvement of DS415+ model. Storage capacity in DS916+ can be scaled using DX513 expansion units, making a total of nine 3.5 disk bays. Given the relatively small form factor and impressive capacity potential, such configuration may become a great solution for small businesses and enthusiasts.

Synology DS916+ StarWind

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vCenter Server High Availability Review – Part 2
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on November 25, 2016
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In this second part of VCHA review I will be covering some ‘gotchas’ and configuration steps that are not covered in the VMware availability guide We will also go through all steps of Advanced Configuration.

Managment cluster

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vCenter Server High Availability Review – Part 1
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on November 24, 2016
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VCHA overview

High Availability for vCenter Server has never been as important as today when there are so many products dependant on vCenter, e.g. VMware NSX, vSAN, Horizon View, etc.

VMware tried different approaches to bring HA to the vCenter.

There has been vSphere HA for a long time. Although it can protect vCenter Server from hardware failure it doesn’t provide protection on the Guest OS level. So, if Postgres DB in vCenter Server Appliance gets corrupted you would have to restore vCSA from a backup copy or rebuild it from the scratch.

standard topology of VCHA

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Back to basics – RAID types
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on November 8, 2016
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If you ever worked in IT, you have heard the acronym RAID.  RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent (some call it Inexpensive) Disks. So, it basically refers to a group of disk logically presented as one or more volumes to the external system – a server, for instance.

The main two reasons to have RAID are Performance and Redundancy.  With RAID, you can minimize the access time and increase the throughput of data. RAID also allows one or more disks in the array to fail without losing any data.

hot spare disk

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The latest updates in vSphere 6.5 and VSAN 6.5
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on October 18, 2016
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This day has come – vSphere 6.5 has been just announced. As many of you I have been waiting for the presentation of new vSphere during VMworld event in the USA, but I guess VMware preferred to use vSphere 6.5 as a treat for those who were in doubt whether to attend VMworld Europe or not after all VMworld US were made available online to everyone; or perhaps VMware hasn’t decided what features should be included into the GA release.

In this post, I will try to cover all new features of vSphere 6.5 and VSAN 6.5, but if I missed something feel free to let me know by leaving a comment.

To be honest, there is so much to talk about and some of the new features require separate posts to be explained properly. Therefore, please don’t expect detailed review of the every single feature.. This is more ‘What’s new in vSphere 6.5 and VSAN 6.5′ overview, but in the future posts I will be talking about some of the most interesting improvements and enhancements in detail.

DB/File replication
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