A journey towards software defined datacenters...
Veka AG produces and distributes uPVC profiles globally with a yearly turnover of more 650 million euro. There IT is operated from the german head quarter where a small number of people ensures that the three datacenter operating VMware globally are up and running. comdivision supports Veka globally since 2010 developing a strategy towards a cloud and software defined datacenter services.
One major step twoards a fully automated and software defined datacenter was taken end of 2012 were comdivision helped Veka to exchange the existing IBM servers with newer models whilst removing the need for internal storage and implementing VMware vSphere Auto Deploy to ease deployment procedures. At the same time the existing disaster recovery strategy (read below) was enhanced. A modern vCenter HeartBeat service was implemented to keep two independent vCenter Servers in both datacenters which would also provide services like Auto Deploy. ESXi hosts are purely set to operate of a Auto Deploy plus use a local cahce based on USB sticks inside each physical host.
During the move towards autodeploy a new level of antivirus and security was integrated by deploying vCloud Network and Security as well as a vShield Endpoint based anti virus solution.
Based on the deployment of these new technologies Veka AG is now able to deploy additional physical hosts within minutes whilst having them 100% compliant with the predefined master image. Load on desktop and server systems could be dramatically reduced due to the use of a modern vShield Endpoint based anti virus solution which removes the need for local anti virus software on each host.
In a first step the current existing operations management and disaster recovery infrastructure was revalidated. One of the first issues identified was the need for a highly agile monitoring solution fitting to the private cloud setup Veka operates. Secondly the upgrade path to vSphere 5 identified the need for a fully redundant vCenter installation.
In a multiple step approach comdivision worked with the internal Veka IT team to fix these issues. In phase one a new monitoring based on vCenter Operations Manager was integrated for future operations monitoring and better capacity management. Phase two was to solve the need for a high available and reliable vCenter, this was achieved by the setup of vCenter Server Heartbeat to split the vCenter to operate from two datacenters in parallel, a critical demand to use the vSphere Auto Deploy feature. Phase 3 was to ensure that a datacenter failover is easy to achieve, eventhough the implementation of Site Recovery Manager was identified as not applicable we solved the issues with a custom PowerCLI development.