They can be known as “virtual” or high availability clusters, but they involve some pretty tangible complexities when it comes to safe management during power outages, such as the need to migrate virtual machines from one physical host to another.
Virtualization is the abstraction of physical network, server, and storage resources to allow for greater utilization and scalability of physical computing assets. But when you have high availability virtual clusters, as more customers do, there is a growing need to be able to safely and easily migrate or shutdown these virtual machines during extended power outages to ensure IT availability for as long as possible, as well as to avoid possible damage from a hard shutdown.
In the past, managing virtual machine migration and shutdown for virtual clusters required more complex remedies such as the need to write scripts, but now the market has a new and simpler way of doing things. This simplicity comes in the form of enhanced virtualization support in Schneider Electric’s recently released PowerChute Network Shutdown v3.1 software.
PowerChute Network Shutdown v3.1 works in conjunction with the APC by Schneider Electric Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Network Management Card to enable automatic virtual machine migration and graceful virtual machine and host shutdown in VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V clusters. The new version offers several key features for protecting virtual cluster environments during disruptions, according to Sarah Jane Hannon, software product line manager for home and business networks with APC by Schneider Electric.
Among the key advantages resellers should be aware of with v3.1:
- Built-in integration with VMware’s vCenter Server to support shutdown and migration tasks for virtual clusters. Rather than having to use complex scripting, users can use a step-by-step wizard in v3.1 to guide them through the configuration needed to safely manage these environments and extend availability during outages.
- PowerChute Network Shutdown v3.1 can be easily deployed as a virtual appliance.
- Users can now make use of a plug-in option that creates a PowerChute tab to allow seamless access to the PowerChute Agent via the vSphere Client.
- The new version also offers support for MicrosoftHyper-V clusters. A PowerChute agent can be deployed in each host in a cluster, allowing for shutdown and migration capability for the cluster via PowerChute Network Shutdown.
- PowerChute Network Shutdown v3.1 is also the only UPS software capable of triggering virtual machine migration without needing to leverage technologies such as VMware DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) In the event of a power failure, the software automatically checks if DRS is available and if so, will leverage it. If not, PowerChute will perform the migration.
- Lastly, this version of PowerChute Network Shutdown has been certified VMware Ready.
Ease of use was a key focus in the development of v3.1, says Hannon. Attention was paid to the look and function of the setup wizard to make configuration as straightforward as possible. Users can also map which host is protected by each UPS from a single screen providing a unique view of how their hosts are protected in a virtual cluster.
Schneider Electric also listened closely to input from resellers, says Hannon. One partner suggested the need to be able to stagger the shutdown of different servers based on UPS runtime remaining so that the most critical systems remained online longest. The result, says Hannon, was a feature in v3.1 called “Runtime Remaining below Threshold Event” that handles this sequencing.
The bottom line with the new version, says Hannon, is more advanced capabilities and precision for protecting virtual clusters with simpler set-up and configuration. “It’s a simpler means of taking care of these important tasks, it’s more efficient, and much easier to configure and deploy,” says Hannon.
To find out more about PowerChute Network Shutdown, check out its product brochure. Additionally, there is a FAQ page about the new version, including a rundown of which UPS configurations it is suited for.