About Me

I’m Pete Koehler, currently an IT Manager and Virtualization Architect for a software company in Bellevue, WA.  After being in IT for as long as I have, you pick up a thing or two along the way.  This is my little way of sharing what I’ve observed and learned.

My life in IT started about 20 years ago. Working for a large engineering firm as a Drafter, a few people noticed I had the ability to automate CAD software when nobody else did. I migrated over to the world of Information Systems with the graciousness of a Network Administrator who saw potential in me, and was a little overworked himself. Years of mentoring, self study, certification exams, and hard work landed me a Systems Administrator position for a software company in Bellevue, Washington.  For 13 years I had the opportunity to Administer every aspect of the environment, with eventually architecting it into a modern, virtualized infrastructure.  My focus now in virtualization, shared storage, networking, and the other glue that makes it all work.

Look for me on twitter at:  @vmpete

9 Responses to About Me

  1. Lance says:

    You have some great topics and information here, just wondering if you also have a Twitter account and post and share you thoughts there. If you do please send me an email with the info and I would like to follow you.

    Thanks,
    Lance

    @ServerKing on Twitter.

  2. Lance says:

    I read several of your posts about the EqualLogic SAN arrays around replication. Have you heard about the user conference they are hosting in San Diego in a couple weeks. Drop me a line via the email above and I can give you some more information about it. If you have already registered great, I am going to be there as well. Let me know what you think.

    Thanks,
    Lance

    • ITforMe says:

      Hey Lance,

      Unfortunately I spent all of my education budget for VMWorld, but would have loved to been able to attend the Equallogic stuff down in San Diego. Heard great things about it after last years event. Good luck, and share the latest when you get back.

  3. JamesA says:

    Hi Pete,
    I’ve found your blog very useful and interesting.
    I’m relatively new to the Equallogic space but we have purchased 4 members:
    PS6110XS and PS6110X at production.
    PS6110X x2 at DR.
    Performance has been great so far and we are using the Dell MEM.
    We also purchased VMware SRM to make failover and failback a bit easier, as well as providing some nice reports for compliance.
    It really does simplify any VMFS only workloads.
    However, we are utilising the ASM/ME for our Exchange and SQL Servers. This is not so easy to automate and tie in with SRM.
    I was wondering if you had any experience in this space where you are replicating the base OS partition with ASM/VE and the guest iSCSI volumes with ASM/ME.
    Any gotcha’s in this area would be valuable.
    I’ll be doing some testing with this over the next few days so will report back on anything I encounter.

    Cheers,
    J

    • vmPete says:

      Hi James. Congratulations on your arrays, and already using some of the great value-adds like the MEM and the HIT.

      As to your question, the HIT/ME offers a lot of flexibility on application protection, but obviously can only leverage those features when using guest attached volumes. On the other side of the fence, vSphere’s intelligence can only be fully leveraged when tools can hook into the API (e.g. Veeam, SRM, etc.) This leaves a big gap when attempting to try to use the two tools together. If we look at things like SRM versus ASM leveraging in-guest replication, their goals are completely different, not to mention how they go about doing it.

      With regards to your question about using ASM/VE and ASM/ME together, and if there were ever any issues. No, I haven’t run into issues. I’ve been able to successfully turn up a system at a remote site with it’s native C:\ replicated via ASM/VE, and it’s guest attached volumes via ASM/ME. There was some manual work in there, but it functioned as desired.

      Historically, the big advantage to protecting data by using ASM/ME on guest attached volumes was its great use of VSS to quiesce the file systems, and/or the applications. As vSphere has progressed, and as new Windows guest OSs have come out, the ability for vCenter to work with VSS has also increased. My recommendation would be to make the adjustments in your environment that most suite your need. SRM is a great tool that really helps orchestrate the process of remote site fail-over. Since you have already made that investment, I would probably lean toward converting those guest volumes into native VMDKs so that vCenter can recognize them, and that anything that leverages the API can work with them as well.

      • JamesA says:

        Thanks for the reply and advice.

        In this scenario,90% of our VMs are covered via the native VMDK/ASMVE/SRM replication.
        The additional features I gain through the ASMME for my SQL and Exchange servers are too great to revert back to a VMDK only model.

        For instance, we have two schedules in place at the moment for SQL:
        1 hourly smart copy (48 copies)
        replica schedule every 15 minutes (96 copies)

        For SQL being able to restore/clone individual databases to practically any time within the last 2 days in minutes in invaluable.Presenting the databases to an independant SQL server in the case of critical guest OS failure becomes possible within minutes as opposed to hours.

        All this and more with very little perfomance overhead to the server.

        While it would be nice to have everything automated for me via SRM, I am willing to complete some manual steps in order to retain these features. I will probably investigate scripting some of this process but my initial aim will be to just get it going manually.

        In the end this just comes down to competent and clear documentation and well drilled staff. We complete DR tests every quarter and share the management of these tests between multiple staff.

        I can’t wait to get this in to our full production environment.

        Cheers,
        J

      • vmPete says:

        Sounds like you have a good plan. Using them in combination will provide the most flexibility for sure. I often times had my guest attached volumes replicating at a much higher frequency than the OS that was serving them up. If your RTO/RPO is that frequent, then it sounds like what you describe will work well for you.

        Good luck.

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