All posts by Mike Lyon

The vCenter Paradox

A few days ago, when I was preparing to update a HC3 cluster, I had an combination epiphany and flashback. I was thinking about a previous life as a VMware administrator, and the memories of the long nights, complexities, and gray hair that came about whenever an ESX update was required. The epiphany I had about updating a Scale cluster was simple: I don’t have to worry about ensuring that my vCenter host is updated and able to cope with the changes as well. Lets face it, its not impossible to manage an ESX cluster without vCenter, but without it, the principal beauty of ESX, or any clustered virtualization solution, is greatly minimized.

If you think about it, any OS, whether its your phone, your DVR, or your infrastructure servers, need to be updated. Maybe its a security vulnerability, maybe its a new feature, or maybe it is just a new UI, but updates are a fact of life in IT. Windows updates, prior to my tenure managing an ESX environment, were the bane of my existence. Another function of coping with those updates is dealing with the likelihood that a reboot/restart/powercycle is required; some type of outage is likely going to be required.

When you think about vCenter, the requirements for managing your manager of managers (yes, I think I said that right), become even more paramount. Not just because you have to ensure that your virtual host, should you be virtualizing your vCenter server VM, is updated in the proper order so your vCenter instance is safe, but because you have to deal with everything else that vCenter depends on. Some type of database is required, as well as a fairly specific set of patches or versions for those databases. Beyond that, other basic necessities including DNS, time and AD (if you’re using SSO), need to be cared for and properly handled during an update.

Just as much planning, caring, and feeing is given to managing your vCenter Server(s), as is managing your ESX cluster. You haven’t even touched the rest of the environment, the storage, or the network.

That’s just to update it or manage it; I didn’t even reach back into my memory to think about the installation…

How is this making my life easy again?

So, after shaking off the cold sweat of that nightmare, I was staring at a browser, a single interface that didn’t have a complicated set of APIs and backing database to ensure were all up and running.

Scale’s UI: nothing to install or set up, no database to configure, no client software. It is built-in, and accessible anywhere.

As I was preparing to update the cluster, I don’t have to take a maintenance window or notify my users, these updates are rolling…even if a node in the cluster needs a reboot, HyperCore distributes the running VMs elsewhere in the cluster. Zero-downtime updates.

That’s making my life easy.

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