Quick Tip 004: Installing IBM WebSphere Cast Iron Hypervisor EditionIn this post we will cover the steps necessary to configure VMWare for Cast Iron Hypervisor Edition.
Installing ESXi ServerIn order to run Cast Iron Hypervisor edition you will need a physical machine running ESX or ESXi version 4.0.0, Build 164009 or later. The ESXi software runs on a variety of platforms and is installed as the base operating system for the server, there is no need to install Linux or Windows. If you do have an HA requirement, all you need is the ESXi Server to run Cast Iron Hypervisor Edition. The installation process is extremely simple, download the version that corresponds to your hardware insert your bootable media into the machine and the installation will only ask you a few simple questions before installing and rebooting the machine. Once the software is installed configure the network parameters and download vSphere Client. vSphere Client is the tool which you will use to deploy the CIOS Virtual Machine and vSphere client is available as a download once you have installed ESXi server by navigating to the url presented at the end of the setup process.
Installing vCenter ServerIf you have a requirement for High Availability and want to create a cluster of ESXi nodes, you will need to install vCenter Server. An ESXi Cluster is a set of ESXi servers that run in tandem and allow you to migrate VMs between nodes manually or automatically even while they are running. vCenter Server is also very easy to install, for small deployments you can even run vCenter Server as a virtual machine deployed to your ESXi Cluster. vCenter Server is available for installation on top of Windows Server or as a linux based Virtual Appliance.
vMotion, vSphere HA, and Fault Tolerance
vMotion is the tool for migrating VMs from one node to another while they are running with no perceivable interruption to other systems. vMotion will copy the memory of your system while it is running to another server and then pause the system long enough to capture a delta of the memory changes that happened during the copy process and then resume the machine on the new server. vMotion will also take care of the networking changes in a way that is transparent above layer 2, so even network connections are not interrupted by vMotion. vSphere HA is a technology that monitors servers virtual machines and even applications running on your VMs for failures and responds to failures by restarting VMs or moving them to another node in your cluster. Fault Tolerance provides another level service that actually provides zero downtime by continuously replicating the state of your VM to a slave instance on another server, if the the master instance fails the slave will take over with virtually no interruptions. The fault tolerance architecture most closely represents the level of service that the Cast Iron hardware based High Availability Pair is designed to provide.
Server and Network Requirements for vMotion, vSphere HA, and Fault ToleranceIn addition to the networks required to support your Virtual Machines you will need a separate physical network for vMotion and HA, and if you intend to use Fault Tolerance a separate set of NICs should be used for Fault Tolerance. VMWare allows for redundant NICs so, if you want to use vMotion, vSphere HA and Fault Tolerance you will want a minimum of 8 physical NICs to create 4 separate networks (VM Management, VM Kernal for vMotion, Fault Tolerance, and finally the network for your virtual machines)
Installing Cast Iron
Cast Iron Hypervisor Edition is distributed for VMWare as an OVA file which can be loaded using vSphere Client. Follow these instructions in the Cast Iron documentation on how to load the OVA file. For information on the 188.8.131.52 release see this post. You will most likely want to apply the latest patches further information can be found here. (Note: As of the time of this post, there appears to be a problem with the download for the latest iFix for CIOS 184.108.40.206, it appears that the Hypervisor Edition patch is actually for a physical appliance, you will likely have to contact IBM Support in order to obtain the latest patch.)