Objective – Create a multi platform environment utilizating physical and virtual servers.

Create a multi platform environment (Linux – BSD – VMwareESXi – Windows) utilizating physical and virtual servers. The environment will use a broad spectrum of technologies  such as NAS,  DNS, NFS, FailOver Clustering, Active Directory, VLANs, iptables, rSync,  Samba,Puppuet,  Oracle, SQL, SSH. This online document will show from start all the steps needed to setup this environment, from installing the Operating Systems to configuration that is needed to setup all these technologies.

Summare of Tasks: The tasks below follow a logical progression. There is a purpose to the order they are executed which aims to provide a transparent use of different technologies.

  • Install Fedora17 (will be referring to as Host) to host VMware Workstation 9 and within Workstation 9 to host the ESXi server. Reason for this setup is because there was a need for this machine (imposed by technical and budget reasons) to serve dual roles versus only being a VMware ESXi server exclusively.
  • Install two virtual Domain Controllers and integrate the VMware ESXi servers to the Active Directory. Enter DNS records as needed.
  • Install a virtual BSD FreeNAS and create iSCSI storage volumes.
  • Create a virtual Failover Cluster for SQL 2012 by using the iSCSI storage volume created with FreeNAS.
  •  Use the Host Fedora17 to create a NFS drive that will be used by all virtual Linux CentOS .
  • Use a second physical server to install DNS running on CentosOS.
  • The same second physical server will be also used as an rSync server for incremental net-backups of the Host Fedora17 server purposes.
  • The same second physical server will also be used a script server, as a Puppet server and as a SAMBA server.
  • Create a Linux FailOver Cluster for two Oracle database nodes.
  • Create a Linux FailOver Cluster for two  Apache nodes.
  • Create scripts that will maintain the environment.
  • Use a third physical server to run ClearOS which will be used as a router for our LAN for all physical and virtual servers.
  • ……….whatever else comes to mind 🙂

Why use Linux and Windows?

In almost all organizations both co-exist to fill in different needs created by business demands. What differs is the degree to which are used. This project tries to emulate a mixed environment; and even though this specific setup is anything but optimal in a production environment, it servers as a very good learning ground in a plethora of technologies. In addition, the concepts of Fail Over Clustering, SQL, Networking, DNS and so on are similar regardless the platform. What changes is the execution. Most importantly is….why not ? 🙂

Operating Systems used:

  • Physical Servers: Linux Fedora17, Linux CentOS 6.3, Linux ClearOS.
  • On Virtual Servers: VMwareESXi, BSD-FreeNAS, Linux CentosOS 6.3, Windows2012.

Technologies used:

  • NAS – iSCSI, FailOver Clustering, NFS, Active Directory, VMwareESXi, VLANs, iptables, rSync,  Samba,Puppuet,  Oracle, SQL, SSH, packet sniffing.

Layout of Servers:

  • BSD FreeNAS (Network Attached Storage) – This is a virtual server that is used to to create Network storage volumes such iSCSI and NFS to support FailOver Clustering.
  • VMware ESXi, is a virtual server that will host all of the servers covered.
  • Linux CentOS, will be all virtual servers. Each will be built accordingly to serve as NFS server, or Puppet server, or Oracle Failover Clusters and so on.
  • Windows 2012 will be used to in order to deploy Active directory in order to integrate the ESXi server to it and to also create a SQL fail over cluster.

Technologies used to support the environment as a whole and in a transperant way.
LVM – NFS – DNS – SSH – Samba – Windows Failover Clustering forSQL – Active Directory – FTP – Puppet – SMTP, Oracle, MS-SQL, VCenter, VMware Converter, Custom made Bash scripts to monitor all servers (Linux – VMware – Windows).

Part 1: Setup Fedora17 in order to install VMware Workstation 9.

Part 2 – VMware Workstation 9 – Setup VMware Workstation 9 for the ESXi5 install

Part 3 – Install VMware ESXi 5 within VMware Workstation 9

Part 4 – Install Linux and Windows Virtual guests within ESXi and create OVF templates to reduce deployment time

Part 5 – Windows2012 – Install Active Directory and DNS server – Poweshell Option Install of ActiveDirectory

Part 6 – Add another Domain Controller to your existing Domain for redundancy

Part 7 – Enter DNS entries for all servers and setup replication of DNS entries to secondary Domain Controller

Part 8 – Join the ESXi server to your Domain.

Part 9 – BSD FreeNAS: Create a Shared Storage Device for your fail over cluster SQL Nodes.

Part 10 – Create a Windows 2012 Fail Over Cluster

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ESXi – Create OVF templates and Deploy a Virtual Server though OVF- Example: OVFs of: Oracle server, SQL-2008 server, Windows DNS server.

How to back up your virtual images and rapidly deploy them for future use.  This is done with the use of OVF (Open Virtualization Format) templates.  OVF is platform independent and allows for streamline deployment of virtual images even with a complex setup. Case in point in this example I am creating three OVFs. One for an Oracle Database Server, one for a SQL-2008/2012 server and one for a Windows-2008R2 DNS server.  This will allow me to quickly deploy these images on my ESXi server. They also serve as a backup in case for some reason I completely lose these virtual images from my ESXi host.

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ESXi – Convert a live machine to a virtual machine.

You can convert your physical machine to a virtual machine. The software you will need for this is VMware vCenter Converter Standalone. You can convert the Operating System along with whatever hard drives/partitions are attached to the Operating System.

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VMware ESXi – How to login to Vshphere with your Active Directory account.

You can login to your ESXi servers using your Windows Active Directory account.  In order for this to work though you will have to enable the Active Directory Authentication Services, link.  Here is how you can login to VSphere using your Active Directory account.

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VMware ESXi: Automatic shutdown/startup of Virtual Guests/images

When there is a time you have to shutdown/startup your actual ESXi hosts you can automate a graceful shutdown of your virtual images before your ESXi  host goes down. Upon starting up your ESXi server your virtual images can setup to automatically start up.

This automatic procedure can be setup in a linear fashion as in you can decide in which order your guest images can shutdown and in which order you want them to come up again.  You can exclude guests from this automated procedure if you do not want certain guests to come up at all for example.

Here is how.

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VMware ESXi: Select Authentication Services type.

You can enable Active Directory Authentication Services in VShphere by following the instructions below.  This will allow you to setup VShphere to use Active Directory accounts. Note however that in order to actually use your Active Directory account you will have to specify it in the in the “Permissions” tab.  Instructions to do so are located http://www.sfentona.net/?p=811.

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ESXi 5 – How to change the network hostname of your ESXi server

You can either change the name via the vSphere client or by editing the /etc/hosts file.

1st) Edit file via vSphere.

– Select your ESXi server on the tree of machines on the left side of vSphere.

– Go to configuration Tab and select DNS and Routing.

Select Properties.

On the DNS configuration check the “Use the following DNS server address”. Make sure it is pointing to your DNS server.

– Under “Name” enter the name of your choice and whatever domain you wish to enter.


2nd) Edit the /etc/hosts file.

Vi your /etc/hosts file

Here is how my config file looks like  VirtualMayhem2.localdomain  VirtualMayhem2

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ESXi 5 and how to start SSH – NTP – ESXi Shell – Active Directory Service and so on.

In previous versions users had to access directly the ESXi server in order to re-configure configuration files to enable services that VMware did not want to support. However in ESXi5 these services can be enabled/disabled by using the vSphere Client. It is very simple.

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Join a VMware ESXi server to an Active Directory

This tutorial will show how to add an ESXi Hypervisor 5.0 server to a Windows 2008-R2  Active Directory by using vSphere Client.

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