We are heavy users of VMs. Infact 95% of our servers are on VMs. The benefits an IT professional has with this technology are incredible. Needing a complete Development environment I decided to leverage the technology of Virtual Machines…
Ok here is the theory:
Take snapshots of all of the VMs in an environment. (mostly application servers and database servers)
Stand up a VM with a console (vSphere) on it to set up another virtual environment of the complete set up of the current environment.
Use that as test environment.
things to determine:
Can we have all of the VMs communicate inside this VM just like being in the current environment.
things we are hoping:
You would be able to do a standup upgrade on the same machine with absolutely no impact to users.
The funny thing is I only know of a couple of places where this is currently still an issue. I would be curious to find out how many people could actually find this an epiphany. I know it was for me. I now have to derive a way to put it in action. I feel like I don’t want to do another project till this one gets done.
I am going to come back to this. Lets see if I actually do this. time stamp: January 23, 2011
Wow getting started on this right away. Today January 25, 2011 we stood up a VM that is ready to house our VMware with a sound ecosystem of my current production environments.
Still don’t know if the servers will even be able to talk to each other, we first must determine whether or not you can actually run a names server like this. Well it is on its way.
Being in a small shop often times it is difficult to warrant the expense in time to create such environments, but I anticipate this will be one of those situations where I will be forever grateful for taking the time to set this up. I have two major system upgrades in the next two quarters. One of which I will need to extensive training with my users BEFORE cross over. This will give us that enviroment as well.
January 25 2011
Well we started putting the vms on VM and came to our first obstacle. How to transfer the data. First we have to move the 10gb file across the wire. Love that term.
To fill out the rest of the timeline Feb 18, 2011 it was determined to make this truly useful we need one more VM to sit the vSphere on so anyone can have access. We do not want everyone to have to load vSphere on their machine.
Feb 18, 2011 and on.
Things to remember.
Take the first snapshot once you get the system in the closest spot to your PROD environment.
Keep careful notes on what has been done as you snapshot through any major upgrades or tests.
So far this has proven to be an extremely useful way to work a small company through large changes that are coming with the least amount of impact to our users. The current upgrade we are working through has had a number of issues. We could not have taken this long in our PROD environment to make these changes.
One added perk to using vSphere. I have a nice birds eye view to the VM while others are on it by running the system on my local machine in the vSphere.
So it has been done as of the day of publishing this post a complete Development environment that completely replicates my production environment with the flexibility to take snapshots and work through issues in the comfort of an ever forgiving environment.