Exchange Failover in a StarWind Virtual SAN using a vSphere VI with Virtualized iSCSI Devices on DAS

Published: February 2015

This document gives an insight into particular High Availability configurations and their balance between performance and cost-effectiveness. It is intended for advanced StarWind users who seek to deepen their practical skills and develop a keen understanding of the latest virtualization trends.

In this analysis, openBench Labs assesses the High Availability (HA) performance of a StarWind Virtual Storage Area Network (Virtual SAN or Virtual SAN) in a VMware® vSphereTM 5.5 HA Cluster using an HA Virtual SAN using three StarWind virtual machines (VMs) as a foundation for a 2-node vSphere cluster in a VMware vCenterTM with automated vMotion® failover. This layered HA configuration was implemented for testing the ability to scale-out the performance of HA storage features using a common IT scenario: an email service configured with Exchange 2010 running on a VM server and a primary domain controller (PDC) supporting Active Directory (AD) for users of Exchange on another VM server.

The paper focuses on the following activities:

Driving HA Through Virtualization:
Transforming internal direct attached storage (DAS) on a server into a shared storage resource – an essential prerequisite for providing continuous access to data, eliminating single points of failure, and enabling VM migration via vSphere vMotion®.

Analyzing HA Data Traffic Patterns:
Analysis of the results of two I/O tests on a VM file server running Windows Server 2012 R2 and represented by 105GB of VMFS data.

iSCSI I/O Virtualization:
Assessing iSCSI virtualization using vMotion to move the file server VM from the datastore on the 3-node HA Virtual SAN to a datastore on a 1-node Virtual SAN.

Direct Virtual SAN Backup:
Testing backup throughput for our Exchange VM server, we ran LAN-free backups of the Exchange VM on datastores provisioned on a 1-node and a 3-node Virtual SAN.

Enterprise Email Stress Test:
Testing the ability of HA StarWind Virtual SAN to provide near-FT protection for a business-critical application via configuring an Exchange email service using two VMs: one VM running Exchange 2010 sp3, the other acting as a Primary Domain Controller handling 2,000 user accounts in Active Directory.

StarWind HA Dynamics:
Testing StarWind HA with following scenarios: Crash, Synchronize, Full Recovery, Fast Virtual SAN Synchronization, and Full Virtual SAN Synchronization.

The document summarises that StarWind provides storage administrators with all of the tools needed to automate key storage functions, including thin provisioning, data deduplication and disk replication, in addition to providing multiple levels of HA functionality to support business continuity.

Exchange Failover in a StarWind Virtual SAN using a vSphere VI with Virtualized iSCSI Devices on DAS

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