Cisco WebEx Meetings Server Administration Guide Release 2.0
Using VMware vSphere With Your System
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Using VMware vSphere With Your System

Using VMware vSphere With Your System

Using VMware vSphere

The virtual machines for your system are deployed with VMware vSphere. Cisco WebEx Meetings Server must be installed on VMware virtual machines, subject to the following constraints:

  • Use VMware vSphere 5.0, 5.0 Update 1, 5.0 Update 2, 5.1, or 5.1 Update 1.

    Earlier releases of vSphere are not supported.

  • Use VMware ESXi 5.0, 5.0 Update 1, 5.0 Update 2, 5.1, or 5.1 Update 1.

    Use of earlier ESXi releases results in confusing error messages about unsupported hardware that do not explicitly list the problem.

  • Verify that the DNS server configured with the ESXi host can resolve the hostnames of the virtual machines that are deployed on that ESXi host.

  • You must use VMware vCenter to manage the ESXi hosts on which the Cisco WebEx Meetings Server system is deployed.

  • When powering down a virtual machine, always select Power > Shut Down Guest for each virtual machine. (Do not use the Power Off option.)

Note


For details on supported VMware configurations, see the Cisco WebEx Meetings Server Planning Guide and System Requirements.


Configuring the ESXi Host to Use an NTP Server

Configure the ESXi host to use Network Time Protocol (NTP) for device clock synchronization and verify that the NTP servers are reachable. For detailed instructions, see the VMware ESXi documentation.

Procedure
    Step 1   Using the vSphere client, select the ESXi host in the inventory panel.
    Step 2   Select Configuration > Time Configuration in the Software section.
    Step 3   Select Properties.
    Step 4   Select NTP Client Enabled.
    Step 5   Select Options to configure the NTP server settings.

    We recommend that you select Start and stop with host to reduce the possibility of the ESXi host time becoming incorrect.


    Creating a Backup by using VMware vCenter

    Backups are traditional file systems that leverage VMware technology and SAN‐based data transfer. VMware® Data Recovery creates backups of virtual machines without interrupting their use or the data and services they provide. Data Recovery uses a virtual machine appliance and a client plug-in to manage and restore backups. The backup appliance is provided in open virtualization format (OVF). The Data Recovery plug-in requires the VMware vSphere Client.

    Data Recovery manages existing backups, removing backups as they become older. It also supports de-duplication to remove redundant data. Before doing any system-altering procedure, we recommend that you create a backup of each of the virtual machines by using VMware Data Recovery (available in VMware vSphere Release 5.0) or vSphere Data Protection (available in vSphere Release 5.1). (VMware Data Recovery/vSphere Data Protection is included with VMware vSphere, except in the vSphere Essentials Kit. See http:/​/​www.vmware.com/​pdf/​vdr_​11_​admin.pdf for more information.)

    Backups can also be created by using a storage server. See Adding a Storage Server for more information.

    Virtual machine snapshots are pictures of your system at a specific point in time, and are not the same as backups. For performance reasons, we recommend that you use backups and keep your virtual machine backups in a storage location that is different from the physical drives that contain your virtual machines. For more information on snapshots and known performance issues, see Taking a Snapshot by using VMware vCenter.

    Procedure
      Step 1   Turn on Maintenance Mode. See Turning Maintenance Mode On or Off for Version 2.0 and Before.

      Unless you are expanding a system, we recommend that you take a snapshot of each virtual machine. (See Taking a Snapshot by using VMware vCenter.)

      Turning on Maintenance Mode on all active data centers shuts down conferencing activity and prevents users from signing in to the WebEx site, scheduling meetings, joining meetings, or playing meeting recordings. See About Maintenance Mode for information about which system tasks require Maintenance Mode to be turned on.

      Step 2   Follow the instructions in your VMware vSphere documentation and use VMware Data Recovery (called VMware vSphere Data Protection starting with vSphere Release 5.1) to create a backup of the system and each of your virtual machines.

      For complete details on this backup, see the VMware Data Recovery Administration Guide or the vSphere Data Protection Administration Guide.

      Note   

      We recommend that you delete backups after a system-altering procedure is complete, you have tested the system, and you are satisfied with the results. Restoring a data center from old backups or snapshots might cause unexpected behavior.


      Taking a Snapshot by using VMware vCenter

      Virtual machine snapshots are used to quickly recover a virtual machine after a system-altering procedure. Snapshots are pictures of your system at a specific point in time, and are not the same as backups (see Creating a Backup by using VMware vCenter). If the original virtual machine disk file is lost, you cannot recover the virtual machine with the snapshot. We recommend that in addition to taking snapshots, that you backup your system.

      Snapshots are stored on the physical drives containing your virtual machines. If you do not delete these snapshots in a timely manner, end users might experience degraded audio and video due to a known issue that affects virtual machine performance. Therefore, we recommend that you use backups and keep your virtual machine backups in a storage location that is different from the physical drives that contain your virtual machines. Also, snapshots can be used for updates, but for system upgrades we recommend that you delete all snapshots and backup the original system before performing an upgrade.

      For more information on this known issue with VMware snapshots, go to the VMware web site and read the white paper, Best Practices for Running VMware vSphere on Network Attached Storage. You can also search the VMware KnowledgeBase for snapshot impact performance for additional information.

      Before doing most system-altering procedures, we recommend that you backup the system (especially when performing an upgrade or expansion) and take a snapshot (when performing an update) of each of the virtual machines. You can backup your system by using VMware Data Recovery (VMware vSphere Data Protection) starting with vSphere Release 5.1 or take a snapshot of each virtual machine. (VMware Data Recovery/vSphere Data Protection is included with VMware vSphere, except in the vSphere Essentials Kit.)

      Be sure to read the preparation section for the specific procedure. We list specific considerations for each procedure.

      We recommend you keep snapshots no longer than 24 hours. If you want to keep them longer, we recommend that you create a backup instead. For more information on VMware Data Recovery (VMware vSphere Data Protection starting with vSphere Release 5.1) see Creating a Backup by using VMware vCenter.

      Procedure
        Step 1   Sign in to the Administration site.
        Step 2   Turn on Maintenance Mode. See Turning Maintenance Mode On or Off for Version 2.0 and Before.

        Unless you are expanding a system, we recommend that you take a snapshot of each virtual machine. (See Taking a Snapshot by using VMware vCenter.)

        Turning on Maintenance Mode on all active data centers shuts down conferencing activity and prevents users from signing in to the WebEx site, scheduling meetings, joining meetings, or playing meeting recordings. See About Maintenance Mode for information about which system tasks require Maintenance Mode to be turned on.

        Step 3   On VMware vCenter, select Power > Shut Down Guest for each of the virtual machines.
        Step 4   Select Snapshot > Take Snapshot for each virtual machine.
        Step 5   Enter a name for the snapshot and select OK.

        Label the snapshot for each virtual machine with the same prefix, for example, August 20, so you know that these snapshots were done at the same time.

        Step 6   Turn off Maintenance Mode. See Turning Maintenance Mode On or Off for Version 2.0 and Before.

        When you turn off Maintenance Mode, the system determines if a restart (takes approximately 3 - 5 minutes) or a reboot (takes approximately 30 minutes) is required and displays the appropriate message.

        Meeting service for users on this data center is restored.

        What to Do Next

        • Test your system to confirm that it is successful.

        • If you must revert to a snapshot, be sure the snapshot for each virtual machine was taken at the same time. Powering on a system with mismatched snapshots might result in database corruption.

        Removing a Snapshot

        Removal of snapshots while the system is active will cause performance issues. To avoid a reduction of system performance, take the system offline before removing snapshots:

        Procedure
          Step 1   Sign in to the Administration site.
          Step 2   Turn on Maintenance Mode. See Turning Maintenance Mode On or Off for Version 2.0 and Before.

          Turning on Maintenance Mode on all active data centers shuts down conferencing activity and prevents users from signing in to the WebEx site, scheduling meetings, joining meetings, or playing meeting recordings. See About Maintenance Mode for information about which system tasks require Maintenance Mode to be turned on.

          Step 3   In the VMware vCenter, select VM > Power > Shut Down Guest on each of the virtual machines in the data center.

          For complete details on using vSphere, see the VMware ESXi and vCenter Server documentation.

          Step 4   To remove the snapshots for all the VMs, right-click VM > Snapshot > Snapshot Manager.
          Step 5   Select the snapshot and select Delete.
          Step 6   Select Yes to confirm this action.
          Step 7   Turn off Maintenance Mode. See Turning Maintenance Mode On or Off for Version 2.0 and Before.

          When you turn off Maintenance Mode, the system determines if a restart (takes approximately 3 - 5 minutes) or a reboot (takes approximately 30 minutes) is required and displays the appropriate message.

          Meeting service for users on this data center is restored.

          Attaching an Existing VMDK File to a New Virtual Machine

          This section describes how to attach a Virtual Machine Disk (VMDK) from an existing Administration virtual machine to a new Administration virtual machine by using VMware vCenter. This procedure is used when you expand or upgrade your system. (We reuse the system data stored on Hard disk 4 of the Admin virtual machine.)


          Caution


          Make a copy of the Hard disk 4 base VMDK file and copy that file to the virtual machine folder of the Admin virtual machine in the upgraded or expanded system. If you simply attach Hard disk 4, the data is still stored in the virtual machine folder of the old Admin virtual machine. If you accidentally delete the existing Admin virtual machine in the vCenter inventory, the current system loses access to Hard disk 4.


          Important:

          Be sure to copy the original base VMDK file for Hard disk 4, and not a snapshot of this VMDK file.


          Note


          If you are using Direct-attached storage (DAS), you must migrate the VMDK to a logical unit number (LUN) where the new Admin virtual machine can access it.



          Note


          We refer to the Admin virtual machine before the system-altering procedure as the current Admin virtual machine. The Admin virtual machine following expansion or upgrade, is named the upgrade Admin virtual machine.


          Procedure
            Step 1   Navigate the inventory in VMware vCenter and find the current Admin virtual machine for your system.
            Step 2   Right-click the virtual machine name and select Edit Settings....

            The Virtual Machine Properties window is displayed.

            Step 3   Select the Hardware tab, then select Hard disk 4.
            Step 4   For future reference, copy and paste into another document, the Disk File location.

            This specifies the location of the VMDK in VMware vCenter.

            The string is similar to [EMC-LUN10-RAID5] webex-sysA-admin/webex-sysA-admin_3.vmdk. If you have previously upgraded your system, the filename does not follow the naming convention of the existing virtual machine.

            Step 5   Write down the storage location for Hard disk 4 and the virtual machine folder name.

            The folder name string is similar to [EMC-LUN8-RAID5] webex-sysB-admin.

            Step 6   Close the Edit Settings... window without making any changes.
            Step 7   Change the vCenter view into the Datastore and Datastore Cluster view. Select View > Inventory > Datastores and Datastore Clusters.
            Step 8   Select the storage location where your existing Admin virtual machine is located (from Step 5) and select Browse this datastore.
            Step 9   Select the storage location where your newly deployed (for the expanded or upgraded system) Admin virtual machine is located and select Browse this datastore.
            Step 10   Arrange the two datastore browser windows (for the current and expanded or upgraded Admin virtual machine) side-by-side so that you can see both Admin virtual machine folders.
            Step 11   Open both virtual machine folders and copy the VMDK from the current Admin virtual machine folder to the expanded or updated Admin virtual machine folder.
            1. In the current Admin virtual machine folder, locate the VMDK that is associated with Hard disk 4. Refer to the file location you wrote down in Step 4 to confirm accuracy.
            2. Right-click on the file and select Copy.
            3. Right-click inside the expanded or upgraded Admin virtual machine folder and select Paste. When the paste operation is completed, close both datastore windows.
            4. Return the vCenter view to a list of hosts and clusters by selecting View > Inventory > Hosts and Clusters.
            Step 12   Navigate the inventory in VMware vCenter and find the expanded or upgraded Admin virtual machine for your system.
            Step 13   Right-click the expanded or updated virtual machine name and select Edit Settings....

            The Virtual Machine Properties window is displayed.

            Step 14   Select the Hardware tab, then select Hard disk 4.
            Step 15   Select Remove.

            This action does not remove the virtual disk immediately. Instead, the existing virtual disk is scheduled for removal.

            Step 16   Select Add.

            The Add Hardware wizard is displayed.

            Step 17   Select Hard Disk, then Next.
            Step 18   Select Use an existing virtual disk, then Next.
            Step 19   Select Browse, and navigate to the datastore where the expanded or upgraded Admin virtual machine is located. Navigate to the new Admin virtual machine folder. Double-click this folder, then select the virtual disk you copied over in Step 11. Select OK.
            Step 20   In the Virtual Device Node drop-down list select SCSI (0:3), then select Next.
            Step 21   Review your changes and if they are correct, select Finish. Otherwise, select Back and fix any errors.

            Once the wizard is complete, a new disk marked for addition in the Hardware tab is shown.

            Step 22   Commit both the Add and Remove operations by selecting OK.
            Step 23   View this virtual machine reconfiguration task in the VMware vCenter Recent Tasks pane to ensure there are no errors.