HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10 and HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen10 servers: based on AMD EPYC and built for virtualisation

HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10 and HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen10 servers are ideal for virtualisation.4 They deliver immediate cost savings from consolidation while providing superior security and simplified management that enhances productivity. Based on the AMD EPYC™ 7000 series processors, both the HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10 1P and the HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen10 2P servers are game changers for virtualisation performance, total cost of ownership (TCO), and security. Both provide the balance of compute, memory and I/O to create an optimal virtualised environment for running multiple workloads.

With support for up to 32 cores and 2 TB of memory using 128 GB DIMMs and 40 TBs of NVMe storage, the HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10 is the right choice for smaller scale virtualisation; in fact, it sets the bar with #1 single-socket virtualisation performance.5 For those seeking a lower cost solution without compromising your I/O and features, when you select the HPE ProLiant DL325 server you only need to purchase a single licence per server. The HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen10, supporting up to 64 cores and 4 TB of memory using 128 GB DIMMs, provides unrivalled scale for virtualisation in a dual-socket server. Both servers scale very linearly with respect to virtualisation price/performance and price/virtual machine (VM), with up to a 27% lower price per VM than the leading 2P competitor for virtualisation.

Virtual machine migration scenarios using VMware tools

VMware vSphere® is a virtualisation platform with two core components: VMware ESXi and VMware vCenter Server®. ESXi is the virtualisation platform on which you can create and run VMs. vCenter Server is a service that acts as a central administrator for ESXi servers connected in a network. When migrating VMs between server platforms running ESXi, administrators have several options:

Cold migration: Cold migration refers to migrating VMs between servers by powering off the VM on the source server, moving it to a target server, and then powering it back up on the target server. By definition, cold migration incurs downtime.

Live migration: Live migration is defined as moving a running VM between the target and source servers without disconnecting the client or application. Live migration allows you to take VMs offline for maintenance or upgrade, or to transfer VMs between on- and off-premises, without system downtime. Well-known tools for live migration of VMs are included with your VMware vSphere licence:

  • VMware vSphere® vMotion® can be used for migrating between servers with the same processor vendor and generation. vMotion transfers the running state of a VM between source and target servers that are running ESXi. Successful migration requires that the processors of the target server be able to execute using the equivalent instructions that the source server processors were using. Processor clock speeds and cache sizes, and the number of processor cores can vary between the source and target servers, but the processors must come from the same vendor (for example, all from AMD or all from Intel) and use compatible feature sets to be compatible for migration with vMotion.
  • Enhanced vMotion Compatibility (EVC) allows you to mix older and newer server generations in the same cluster (such as servers using Intel® Xeon® E5 and servers using Intel Xeon Scalable family processors or servers using AMD Opteron® and servers using AMD EPYC processors) and then migrate VMs between these servers using vMotion. With EVC, full cluster upgrades can be achieved with no VM downtime. As you add new servers to the cluster, you can migrate your VMs to the new servers and retire the older ones. 

Important considerations when using EVC to migrate VMs

Despite its benefits, there are several considerations to understand when deciding if EVC is the right migration method for your situation:

  • An EVC-enabled cluster only allows CPUs from a single vendor in the cluster. vCenter Server does not allow you to add a server from a different CPU vendor into an EVC-enabled cluster. For more information on vMotion CPU compatibility requirements, refer to the VMware knowledgebase.
  • EVC enables live migration between different generations of processors through the use of a baseline CPU feature set, which hides CPU features, not natively supported by all hosts in the cluster from the VMs, regardless of which server they are running on. This ensures CPU compatibility for vMotion even though the underlying hardware might be different from server to server.
  • The baseline CPU feature set does not prevent VMs from accessing the latest clock frequencies and deeper core counts of the newer CPUs, but it does mask any CPU instructions that are unique to the newer CPUs, which can impact performance. 
  • If an application isn’t written according to VMware standards, it may not be blocked from accessing the hidden CPU instructions and could potentially cause crashes when moved from a newer CPU with an extended instruction set to a CPU without, even if EVC is enabled.
  • Once all the servers in the cluster have been upgraded to a newer processor family, you can raise the EVC mode to enable VMs to access the new baseline processor features. However, this requires powering the VMs off and on; a reboot of the VM operating system is not sufficient, because a VM determines which features are available to it at power on and therefore cannot access any new processor features until it is powered cycled. 
  • vCenter Server performs several compatibility checks before allowing migration to ensure that the VM is compatible with the target server. It is important to understand that more factors than just CPU compatibility are used to determine vMotion compatibility. For example, if the VM does not reside on storage shared by the source and target servers, then migration with vMotion will fail and cold migration is the only option.

Migrating VMs between Intel- and AMD-based servers using VMware vCenter Server: As stated earlier, VMware does not support live migration between servers with different processor types (e.g., from Intel-based platforms to AMD-based platforms, or vice versa); cold migration is required to migrate between Intel- and AMD-based servers.

Considerations

Cold migration provides the option of moving the associated disks from one datastore to another. The VMs are not required to be on shared storage.

General process

  1. The VM on the source server must be powered off prior to beginning the cold migration process.
  2. If the VM is configured with a 64-bit operating system, vCenter Server generates a warning if it is set to be migrated to a target server that does not support 64-bit operating systems. Otherwise, CPU compatibility checks do not apply.
  3. If the option to move to a different datastore was chosen, the configuration files, including the NVRAM file (BIOS settings), and log files are moved from the source server to the target server’s associated storage area. If the VM’s disks are selected, these are also moved.
  4. The VM is registered with the target server and powered on.
  5. After the migration is complete, the old version of the VM is deleted from the source server, if the option to move to a different datastore was chosen.
Migrating VMs between Intel- and AMD-based servers using VMware vCenter Server
Migrating VMs between Intel- and AMD-based servers using VMware vCenter Server

Migrating VMs between Intel- and AMD-based servers using Carbonite Migrate

The Carbonite Migrate console orchestrates migrations, regardless of source or target, from the initial server discovery to provisioning target VMs, and ultimately cutting over.

General process

  1. After installing Carbonite Migrate, the administrator selects the source and target servers through the console.
  2. The administrator chooses how to migrate data, with options from fully automated cloud orchestration workflows to “do-it-yourself” with a robust software development kit (SDK).
  3. Once initiated, Carbonite Migrate performs an initial mirror of the VM to begin synchronisation, by replicating the source system to the target system using real-time, byte-level replication and AES 256-bit encryption for security.
  4. Throughout the migration process, Carbonite Migrate continuously replicates changes from the source, automatically preserving an exact copy of data and configuration settings on the target server. The replica is kept in sync, mirroring changes such as permissions, attributes, file names, deletions, and encryption settings.
  5. Cutting over to the target can be initiated manually or automated immediately upon completion of initial synchronisation. Test cut-overs can be performed anytime without impacting production systems. End users can continue working on the source system until the final cut-over. The actual cutover takes just seconds or minutes.

Choosing a migration method

The method you choose to migrate VMs between Intel- and AMD-based servers will depend on your specific environment and needs. Both methods enable migrating VMs from older platforms to the new HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10 and HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen10 servers, which are based on AMD EPYC processors. You may wish to take the following benefits of each method into consideration when making your decision.

Benefits of VMware migration tools

  • Capability included with VMware vSphere licence
  • Familiar vSphere toolset; no need for admins to learn new software

Benefits of Carbonite Migrate

  • Migrate VMs, data, and systems between any combination of physical, virtual, and cloud-based platforms.
  • Easy-to-use console automates and orchestrates migration configuration and management.
  • Scalable continuous replication with minimal performance or bandwidth impact.
  • Offers freedom from lock-in to any specific hypervisor, cloud vendor, or hardware. 
  • AES 256-bit encryption secures data.
  • Comprehensive SDK for integration, automation, and orchestration
  • 24×7 award-winning customer support delivered by Carbonite.

Using VMware vSphere or Carbonite Migrate, virtualisation administrators now have more choice when it comes to what platforms to use for running VMware VMs. Adopting AMD-powered HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10 and HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen10 servers for virtualisation is easy and efficient with multiple options for migrating from Intel-based platforms to AMD-based platforms.

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Migrate virtual machines from Intel- to AMD-based server platforms

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