VMware: Infrastructure Updates While The Gears Keep Grinding #workingfortheweekend

By April 6, 2011VMware

After 6 years working with VMware… they still manage to impress me.

Last week I was upgrading a client’s network to a Nexus based solution. Part of the deployment included switching their entire ESX infrastructure to a FCoE based solution, utilizing the Nexus 5000 & Qlogic CNA’s.

To speed up the deployment we decided to do the ESX server changes during production hours, utilizing VMotion. One by one, each ESX server was put into maintenance mode, and reconfigured with CNA’s and connectivity to the Nexus 5000.

The plan was simple…
• Remove existing HBA & NIC cards, and upload the latest CNA drivers.
• Bring the server back online and assign the new 10 Gbps based vmnics to the existing vSwitches.
• Update the existing SAN alias to reflect the new WWN.
• Register the new WWN with the storage array.
• Rescan the SCSI bus.
• Take the ESX server out of maintenance mode.
• Migrate a VM, and test the new connectivity.

Each transition took a little over an hour, with the majority of the time spent removing the old cabling (about 10 cables each). A day and half later, the ESX cluster was running using the new Nexus infrastructure, and there was zero downtime to the 100+ VM’s running on the infrastructure.

Not only were we able to upgrade the infrastructure, we were able to do it during the weekday, and not after hours or working through the weekend!

Photo Credit: ralphbijker