Moving zones between machines/hosts

I would just like to share some interesting things one can do with various tools to accomplish the moving of zones. First I need to talk a little bit about the terminology. We have Zone Migration and Zone Move, which in then accomplishes the same result but it is handled and performed differently. One assumption that I am making through out this article is that the zones are running on a exclusive drive or network LUN.


Zone Migration:  
This copies all files from the given Zone to a new host machine. Once all the data is there it will shutdown the first Zone and then startup the new one. Hence, the zone has moved, by copying all the data. This example does not need to have a shared storage, since the data would be copied over the network.

Zone Move:   
This in essence shuts down the zone, unmount the disk, re-mount on a new host, zone attach and then start it up. This in the end also performs the same as Zone Migration, except it is the very same data that is being re-used.

 

Now that this is all cleared up, so what tools or solutions exists to perform all of this?



  • The first one to mention is of course Sun Management Center with the Solaris Container Manager module. This can perform Zone Migration. It can also perform Zone Moving. Some of these features requires a specific version of Solaris 10 of course.


  • One which seems a bit overkill but works nicely is Solaris Cluster. One can easily cluster a zone, and then this zone can be started on various nodes when so wanted. This would then complete a Zone Move every time.


  • Another solution is the N1AA. In the name it says SAP, but can be really be used for a lot more. It is running N1SPS under the covers with a nice front end for all the operational tasks. This solution also supports zone moving. The solution was of course made primarily for SAP, but as I mentioned, it can be used creatively for more things and applications thanks to the GDS feature.


  • We have a partner that created something called; VDCF, which is a local Swiss solution via a partner called Jomasoft, but performs all of this as well with a command line interface. It can do a lot more than just moving of zones, but it is one of the examples.



I am sure that there are a lot more solutions out there to accomplish this, but this is just a hint of what is possible.

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