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My college uses VMware. To what extent I am not sure.

The issue is that they have the main student access website down every night from 12am to 6am for upgrades.

To my understanding using VMware will allow you to keep the site up while upgrades are being performed on another instance, then just switched over when upgrades have passed testing.

Am I correct in my understanding of this?

I use VMware Player and find it quite amazing, but have not had any experience with the business side of VMware.

Thank you for any advice in this. I am writing an email to the administration and would like to have something quantitative to say about the operations of VMware.


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The VMWare feature you are referring to is called "vMotion", which is made available by their vSphere product. From their website, VMotion lets you:

Eliminate application downtime from planned server maintenance by migrating running virtual machines between hosts.

So you're correct in thinking that

  • if it's the host infrastructure that needed maintenance, and
  • if your University is using VMWhare vSphere, and
  • if the daily maintenance is done in phases that keeps other hosts up, and
  • if there were enough of those other hosts, and
  • if the operations was designed, configured, and staffed for this, and
  • then its certainly possible that vMotion would let you continue to have access to VMs while maintenance was performed.

But that's an awful lot of speculation. Why don't you just ask them what they are really doing for six hours each night, and what you could do to help make sure some systems are still available?

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ckhan, thank you very much for your help. I just came across vMotion on the VMware website and included a link in my email to the administration. It was difficult coming up with the right Google query. I have been attending this school for three years now and they are always doing "planned maintenance". It is very frustrating when you need access to student files. Thanks again. SUB – subcan Apr 29 '13 at 9:02
@subcan - Clearly they feel that planned maintentance is required to prevent unplanned downtime. I will never understand people getting upset over downtime that is planned for. – Ramhound Apr 29 '13 at 10:58
Ramhound - I understand planned maintenance, but right now it is every day from 12am to 6am is excessive under any plan. There just is not that much that could possibly need to be done. If this were only to happen once or twice a year then fine. My whole point is that a better maintenance plan is possible. – subcan Apr 30 '13 at 14:38

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