VMware Server Virtualization FAQ

Architecture

What type of disaster recovery (DR) solutions does Rackspace offer?

Rackspace offers two different solutions for DR:

  • Replication Manager:

    Replication Manager (SRM) is an add-on service for VMware® Server Virtualization that utilizes VMware vCenter™ Site Recover Manager™ (SRM) to automate portions of the customer’s disaster recovery (DR) plan.

  • VM Replication:

    VM Replication provides geographical redundancy and helps protect business-critical VMs in the event of a data center outage or unplanned downtime. Geographical redundancy is a key component to any sound DR strategy. VM Replication helps protect and recover VMware Server Virtualization VMs by easily and cost-effectively replicating VMs between our data centers.

Are imaged-based backups part of the VMware Server Virtualization offering?

  • Virtual Machine Recovery:

    Managed Backup Virtual Machine Recovery (VMR) is the Rackspace-productized version of VMware’s API for Data Protection (VADP) based backups to protect VMware Server Virtualization VMs. Managed Backup (MBU) VMR is a fully managed multi-tenant Backup and Recovery service for VMware Server Virtualization environments hosted in the Rackspace data centers.

What are the benefits of Rackspace VMware Server Virtualization?

With VMware Server Virtualization, you can use the MyRackspace Web Portal to easily administer your hosted environment and resources. Offload the maintenance and monitoring of the infrastructure, VMware stack, and Guest OS layer to your virtual IT team consisting of VMware Certified Professionals and experts in storage, networking and infrastructure, so you can focus more on your core business. With industry leading SLAs which include 100% Network Uptime Guarantees and 1-Hour Hardware Replacement Guarantees, we can help make sure your mission critical applications stay up and running.

With VMware Server Virtualization, can I log in to the hypervisor?

No. However, you are able to view the performance and other statistics through the MyRackspace® portal. Contact your Rackspace VMware support team for more details.

With VMware Server Virtualization, do I get API access to the virtual centers or hypervisors?

No. Rackspace does not provide API access. If you are interested in gaining access to the software, speak to your Rackspace account team about Rackspace Private Cloud powered by VMware.


Features

How do I re-image a VM?

You can request this through an action in the MyRackspace portal.

Are imaged-based backups part of the VMware Server Virtualization offering?

Yes, they are available for an additional service fee. This is accomplished via VM Recovery.

Can I use fault tolerance with my Rackspace VMs?

VMware Server Virtualization does not currently allow VMware vSphere® Storage vMotion® and therefore fault tolerance is not enabled.

Can I turn off utility billing for VMs?

You have the ability to suspend the utility billing of virtual machines when they are not in use by powering down VMs through the MyRackspace portal. By powering off a VM from within the OS you will not only generate an alert ticket for support to investigate, but the VM will continue billing at the daily utility rate. To power down VMs through the portal, see Powering a virtual machine on and off.

How are my VMs backed up?

Rackspace can back up VMs through Rackspace Managed Backup service. Guest OS agent-based backups are available along with image-level backup through the VM Recovery add-on Service.

What is a snapshot and how does it work?

Snapshot is a point-in-time delta file to track all changes to a virtual machine. Snapshots give you the ability to roll back (Windows patching at the disk level). Snapshots are not a permanent backup and generally should not be kept for more than 72 hours.

What can I use the MyRackspace portal for?

  • Ordering new or multiple VMs
  • Change the resources of a VM
  • Resize VMs
  • Request re-imaging of a VM
  • Cloning and copying VMs
  • Power on or off and reset VMs
  • Performance metrics for VMs, hypervisors, and clusters (CPU/RAM utilization, network, disk utilization)
  • Requesting deletion of VMs

Implementation

How do I appropriately size my VMs?

Less is better. It is more important to size VMs closer to what they need as opposed to loading in extra capacity that might not be used. Assigning too many CPUs slows performance down. Begin with two CPUs, and go to four if necessary. Very rarely start with four or more. Regardless of vendor recommendation for a physical environment, virtual CPUs do not map 1 to 1 to physical CPUs. It’s a completely different architecture.

Why does Rackspace require overhead storage?

This overhead is necessary to perform functions like cloning, snapshotting, or vMotion.


Maintenance

How do I add RAM or CPU to a VM?

To add RAM or CPU to your VM, request a ticket with your Rackspace VMware support team through the MyRackspace portal.

What are the differences between snapshot, clones, and templates?

  • Snapshot : A snapshot is a point-in-time instance of a VM that can be reverted or remerged (deleted). When a snapshot is taken, the hypervisor software begins recording changes in what is known as a delta disk. If the snapshot is reverted, the delta disk is removed and the parent disk is restored, which has the effect of taking the VM back to the instant the snapshot was created. Any subsequent changes after the snapshot no longer exist. If the snapshot is remerged (deleted), the delta disk is merged into the parent disk and the ability to jump back to the snapshot is no longer present. Snapshots are best used in situations such as patching, where a snapshot is reverted or remerged (deleted) depending on patch success. Snapshots are stored with the VM and therefore use your storage allocation. We recommend that you keep snapshots only for two to three days to prevent overuse of the disk.
  • Clone: A clone is a one-to-one image copy of an existing VM. It acts independently from a parent VM, but it is an exact copy of the parent VM when it is initially created. You can create new VMs from the clones. You can create one clone per VM on the Rackspace infrastructure. The clone is also stored on the Rackspace infrastructure, so it doesn’t use up your storage allocation. While clones can act and operate independently of the parent, snapshots cannot.
  • Template: A template is a clone that is designed for deployment of future VMs. A template is also stored on the Rackspace storage infrastructure. You can create one template per VM.

Where is data stored if I create a snapshot, copy as clone, or template?

  • Snapshots are stored with the parent disk of VM and consume your allocated storage infrastructure. Snapshots must be carefully managed to ensure that they don’t consume all the disk space.
  • Clones are stored on the Rackspace infrastructure, so they don’t use allocated disk resources. You can create one clone per VM.
  • Templates are stored on the Rackspace infrastructure. You can create one template per VM.

How can I expand or shrink my virtual disk?

You can expand your virtual disk but you can’t shrink it. To expand, submit a ticket and specify the virtual disk that you want expanded.

How do I view the performance or monitor my available resources of a VM or host?

You can use the MyRackspace portal to view hypervisor and virtual machine performance. For instructions on how to view performance, see the Viewing hypervisor and virtual machine performance section of the Server Virtualization Customer Handbook.

How do I create and delete clones or templates?

For information on how to create and delete clones or templates, see the Copy and cloning virtual machines section of the Server Virtualization Customer Handbook.

How do I create and delete snapshots?

For information on how to create and delete snapshots, see the Snapshotting a virtual machine section of the Server Virtualization Customer Handbook.

Can I have a copy of my Rackspace VM?

Due to our licensing agreements with vendors, we cannot provide a licensed VM image. If you want to have a copy of a Rackspace VM, we can export the VM and remove the licensing. Speak to your VMware support team for more information.

Do powered-down VMs count toward my available resources?

Yes. The Available RAM (or CPU) field in the portal takes into account all VMs, whether powered down or not. However, powered-down VMs prevent the VM from consuming resources on the hypervisor.

How many clones, templates, and snapshots can I have active?

You can have one clone, one template, and unlimited snapshots. Snapshots can be “unlimited” in that they take up to the original size of the original disk. The snapshots take up customer storage and do count toward the required 15% overhead.

IMPORTANT We do not recommend having more snapshots than is necessary. Snapshots can consume your resources and cause performance issues. Speak to your VMware support team for more information.

How long will it take to provision a VM?

Deployment times can vary based on the request, availability of resources or IP addresses, and storage or compute resources (CPU and RAM) and hypervisors.