2 Contents Introduction...1 Portable Datacenter Requirements...1 Solution Implementation...2 Physical System Layout...2 Hardware...3 Management Case...3 Virtualization Case...4 Storage Cases A and B...4 UPS Cases A and B...4 Tape Backup Case...4 Solution Benefits...4 Virtualization...5 High Availability...5 Portability...6 Results and Future Considerations...6 About Smartronix...6 Appendix: Components Used...7 Hardware Components...7 Software Infrastructure Components...7 Application Components...7 Contents i
3 Introduction With the growth and spread of knowledge-based solutions, the need for IT solutions outside the confines of a fixed datacenter has increased as well. Consider the following cases, in which IT services are required in an arbitrary location. Emergency response situations in which agencies set up operations with a complete remote datacenter in a disaster area. Responsiveness is a key requirement in providing effective emergency services. Military operations in which bases are generated on the fly and moved, sometimes without notice. Remote datacenters need to be portable and flexible to meet changing needs. Commercial operations such as mobile blood drives and bank branch offices that set up operations in a mobile unit with limited space and a need for access to data and applications. Scientific or engineering explorations established in some of the most remote regions of the world where access to a central IT datacenter is impossible. Major events and trade shows where setting up and tearing down are regular occurrences and remotely supporting systems that are continuously on the road is a constant challenge. These applications share a common requirement: a complete datacenter that is portable and easily transported to any location at a moment s notice. With VMware virtualization technology, organizations can reduce the size of the remote datacenter altogether build a portable datacenter in a box that is quickly deployed anywhere, easily replicated for multiple or future uses, and more effectively supported and reliable in the field when it gets there. Using VMware ESX Server, organizations put multiple server images the operating system, applications, and configurations into virtual machines, all running on a single physical computer. The portable datacenter solution also includes VMware VirtualCenter for managing multiple ESX Server hosts, load balancing, and maintaining a library of prebuilt virtual machines. An organization can then create one compact unit, containing ESX Server and VirtualCenter servers, shared storage, a backup server, and other components critical to the remote datacenter, all contained in one or more portable, self-contained, and field-ready cases. Desktops or laptops connect wirelessly or via cable to access the information in the portable datacenter, just as they do on a normal network. This paper documents the architecture of one specific instance of a portable datacenter. Smartronix, a global professional solutions provider specializing in information technology and business management, was hired by a Department of Defense client to produce a highly available, customizable, and mobile collaborative work suite to support field activities in a foreign theater of operations. Using VMware technology as a foundation, Smartronix created a solution that is able to meet all the requirements of their customer and lays the foundation for a host of other mobile solutions as well. Portable Datacenter Requirements The requirements from the customer for this project, though unique in their details, resemble needs that are typical of the example scenarios mentioned above. The system needed to be as mobile as possible, with the ability for individual suites to operate autonomously, then be resynchronized. Introduction 1
4 The system needed to provide standardized capabilities to simplify and standardize information management and exchange, by using the World Wide Web, , and specific collaborative tools, including Microsoft SharePoint The system needed to provide the highest levels of availability and redundancy due to the missioncritical nature of the services, with no single point of failure. The system should be easily manageable due to the necessity of quickly assigning personnel to the mission The solution should be able to manage and use limited bandwidth, while providing for adequate data storage, convergence, and mobility. The solution needed to be as self-contained and displacement-friendly as possible, so it did not depend on external services Smartronix was able to address these requirements, along with other design considerations related to specific software implementation requirements, and design a highly available, mobile datacenter. Solution Implementation The solution designed by Smartronix brings together Dell network servers, Cisco Gigabit Ethernet and Brocade Fibre Channel switches, and EMC storage fabric configured into nearly identical A, B and C suites that support several core enterprise services, including directory-based authentication, file sharing, messaging, antivirus services, Web services, database services, archiving services, document management, search services, and collaboration. These services were implemented utilizing Windows Server 2003 R2, Active Directory 2003, SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Exchange 2003, SQL Server 2000, Internet Information Server, Symantec Backup Exec, Symantec Corporate AntiVirus Server, and Live Communications Server. Altiris Server Management Suite was implemented for system deployment, management, and monitoring while Citrix Presentation Server was implemented to provide access to command and control (C2) government off-the-shelf (GOTS) applications. Suites A and B are hosted within Hardigg ruggedized cases and utilized for the client s mobile requirements while Suite C is rack integrated into datacenters based in the continental United States for continuity of operations, test and evaluation, simulation, and other tasks. Both suites A and B are housed in six 7U Hardigg cases, with Suite A receiving an additional tape backup case for disaster recovery and archival storage. Physical System Layout Smartronix developed a six-case configuration to allow for physical component grouping while minimizing weight per unit. One additional case per A-B configuration is shared and contains the tape backup unit. The cases vary in weight between 250 and 350 pounds and typically can be carried by two people. Power is distributed in each unit in such a way that failure of any single unit has minimal impact on the system. Units that have dual power supplies (such as the servers) are configured so each power plug is routed to a different power strip. Each case provides specific functionality for example, storage, power, or server management. This not only provides easier management and administration but provides the ability to substitute another case from a different suite if one is lost or damaged. Figure 1 shows the case layout. Solution Implementation 2
5 Figure 1: Case components and physical layout. Hardware Smartronix designer the physical hardware implementation within the system to provide as much redundancy as possible and still maintain the required mobile capabilities. The power to each suite is provided through four APC uninterruptible power supplies with all servers, switches, and storage redundantly wired. The system will remain fully operational in the event that any single UPS fails, protecting the data against corruption. The networking portion of the system uses two Cisco Catalyst 3750 switches that are in a stacked configuration for redundancy. Teamed physical server Ethernet adapter connections to both switches coupled with the configuration of ESX Server allow the failure of one switch to have minimal effect on service operations. The SAN storage array utilizes multiple RAID 5 sets that provide the ability to drop as many as two drives in any set without affecting the system. This provides a maximum amount of usable disk space while maintaining the capability to withstand hardware failure. Management Case This case provides management capabilities for all the components of the solution. The VMware ESX Server systems are managed and monitored via VMware VirtualCenter. The EMC SAN management utility is used to manage the SAN. Altiris Server Management Suite provides deployment, management, monitoring, and image management for the suite. Backup Exec allows for short-term disaster recovery and for long-term data archival purposes. Symantec AntiVirus Server provides the required enterprise protection for the system. Solution Implementation 3
6 Virtualization Case The virtualization case holds the physical servers that are configured as an ESX Server 2.5 server farm for virtual machine hosting. Each of the ESX Server hosts is connected to a Fibre Channel switch so the SAN storage can host the virtual machine disk files. This allows the fron-end servers to be used strictly for processing and makes them interchangeable should a server fail. VMotion technology makes it possible to migrate the virtual machines dynamically across physical processor and machine boundaries. This enables preventative maintenance on servers without requiring any downtime, such as the scheduled downing of servers to be blown of debris accumulated in environmentally challenging areas, such as the deserts of the Middle East. Storage Cases A and B Storage cases A and B provide the back-end SAN storage for all virtual disk files as well as various components of the ESX Server implementation, including ISO file and virtual machine template storage. The SAN storage utilizes a RAID 5 configuration coupled with redundant hardware in the form of multiple fiber connections to create a high availability storage solution. UPS Cases A and B The UPS cases use four 20 amp APC uninterruptible power supplies. The UPS system works in conjunction with a well-designed power cable layout to provide power fault tolerance to the entire suite. The UPS also provides protection against surges and power spikes from deployed power systems, which have proved to be unstable. Tape Backup Case A single backup and recovery tape backup unit is provided per A-B suite. The tape backup unit has two functions archiving data for long-term storage and providing a means of transporting data between suites. Solution Benefits The Smartronix solution provides a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and GOTS collaborative capability, featuring Microsoft SharePoint Portal, built around a highly available, redundant, and deployable system that uses virtual technologies with integrated movement and disaster recovery capabilities. The key benefits are discussed below. Solution Benefits 4
7 VMware Virtualization Figure 2 is an example of the system s hardware architecture and virtualization environment. Figure 2: Logical Systems within the virtualized infrastructure. Each of the systems (including domain controller, file and print, SQL Server, SharePoint, Exchange, GOTS, utility) represented in Figure 2 is a virtual machine running on one of the ESX Server hosts. Virtualization of application servers has a multitude of benefits. The most obvious is enabling server consolidation. Specifically for this solution, virtualization provided a 25-to-5 reduction in the number of physical servers. This reduction also greatly decreased the overall power requirements. The reduced number of system components also reduces the expected mean time between failures (MTBF) that is critical due to the austere environments in which these systems are deployed. The hardware independence afforded by virtualization allows administrators to port the virtual machine to any other server platform supported by ESX Server, allowing for easy replacement of failed servers. Quick deployment of new applications can be achieved with the use of VirtualCenter templates. This not only speeds up deployment but removes the concern of making room for another physical server, which again would affect power, cooling, and space needs. Encapsulation of virtual machines in files allows for easy archiving and retrieval of logical server configurations. High Availability Smartronix used NeverFail technology, a product of NeverFail Group Ltd., to provide high availability. This technology allows the customer to replicate data for Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server from suite A to suite B. This flexibility provides the capability to have an alternate datacenter failover should they have a catastrophic failure at their primary site. It also provides manual failover capabilities for maintenance purposes as well as jump scenarios, where services are extended quickly from the rear main site to a forward deployed site. Solution Benefits 5
8 Portability Portability of data was one of the top concerns for the customer. The Smartronix solution provides the ability to move data easily from one place to another with minimum administrative overhead. Besides harnessing NeverFail to replicate Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server, the system also utilizes Microsoft DFS services available in Windows Server 2003 R2 to replicate file services from suite to suite. These technologies can be used to move data into and out of the deployed datacenters. The solution was also designed logically to work either in an existing Active Directory forest or as a self-sustained forest. This particular implementation was integrated into the existing forest that was established in the area where the solution was deployed. Results and Future Considerations A Department of Defense client put out a requirement for a versatile, highly available, resilient, mobile datacenter. Smartronix accepted this mission and designed a system that met all the criteria specified by the customer. The system is highly available and resilient to failure due both to the design of the hardware architecture and to the application networks. It is mobile, easily managed, and application-portable due to the use of VMware virtualization and is capable of hosting a multitude of applications in an independent, self-contained manner. Smartronix is currently making design modifications to integrate the latest technology to provide even more reliability and flexibility in the system. They also are investigating the design of smaller form factors to reduce weight and cost for more affordable mobile solutions. The advanced capabilities of VMware ESX Server 3 for resource management will have a large effect on the future design of this system. VMware High Availability will allow for instantaneous recovery from hardware failure within a site, which will provide the end user with zero downtime. VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler will also ensure a high-performance system base for any applications hosted in virtual machines by automatically balancing resources and allocating them where needed. The implementation of iscsi support in ESX Server 3 will remove the need to use Fibre Channel, allowing for a less-fragile storage architecture. This may also allow for a redesign of various disaster recovery scenarios within the system, as well. Smartronix has provided a portable datacenter solution for this client, but the implementation of this solution is only one example of what is possible with VMware virtualization technology. This solution could easily be harnessed to provide complete support for all IT data systems in a wide range of challenging mobile environments. About Smartronix Smartronix is a global professional solutions provider specializing in networking and systems management, information systems security, application integration and development, software and hardware engineering, and business management services. Smartronix, an ISO 9001:2000 and CMMI Maturity Level 3 organization, is headquartered in California, Maryland, with operating offices in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and Arizona and employees throughout the United States and the Pacific Rim. The company has been recognized as one of the Fastest 50 growing companies in the greater Washington area and one of the top 500 nationally as ranked by the Washington Post and Inc 500 media, respectively. Results and Future Considerations 6
9 Appendix: Components Used The following is a list of hardware and software components used by Smartronix to build the version of the portable datacenter solution described in this paper. Hardware Components The following hardware components comprise a suite in the system: 1 Dell PowerEdge 2850 (management server, VirtualCenter, Symantec AV, Backup Exec, Altiris) 4 Dell PowerEdge 1850s (ESX Server hosts) 1 EMC Clariion CX500 Fibre Channel SAN 4.5TB 3 EMC disk enclosures 13.5TB 2 Brocade Fibre Channel switches 2 Cisco 3750 Gigabit Ethernet switches 1 IP-based KVM 4 APC uninterruptible power supplies 1 PowerVault tape library 7 Hardigg cases (including one case for tape backup) 8 Smartronix-customized storage compartments Software Infrastructure Components The following software components provide the infrastructure for hosting and managing the collaborative applications: VMware ESX Server Windows Server 2003 (Active Directory and Web services) Windows Server 2003 R2 (file servers replicated via DFS) VMware VirtualCenter 1.3 Altiris Management Suite NeverFail (Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server 2000) Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition Symantec BackupExec Citrix Presentation Server Application Components The following application components were used to provide the end-user services: SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Internet Information Server Exchange 2003 Enterprise Server SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Appendix: Components Used 7
10 Revision: Item: RA-007-SLN VMware, Inc Porter Drive Palo Alto CA USA Tel Fax VMware, Inc. All rights reserved. Protected by one or more of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,397,242, 6,496,847, 6,704,925, 6,711,672, 6,725,289, 6,735,601, 6,785,886, 6,789,156 and 6,795,966; patents pending. VMware, the VMware boxes logo and design, Virtual SMP and VMotion are registered trademarks or trademarks of VMware, Inc. in the United States and/or other jurisdictions. Microsoft, Windows and Windows NT are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. All other marks and names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective companies.
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