CIM1644: Lab Manager to vCloud for SAP

We know that Lab Manager is End of Life.  It is just a matter of time.   vCloud Director has most of the features and functionality to start migrating over.

Some of the nice new benefits are:

  • Everything in vCloud Director is full vSphere standard approach.  No more missing data in vCenter like Lab Manager.
  • VMs/vApps can be exported out as OVF and sent somewhere to start working immediately in a different environment.
  • No more SSMOVE needed.. just use Storage VMotion.
  • No more lab manager tools.  Straight up VMware Tools and using APIs instead.

Some issues and limitations on Lab Manager of no more than 8 nodes per cluster.   There are some limits to vCloud Director.   Be sure to take those limits into account.

Overall this session really covered much of the very high level view.

 

BCA1360 – Global Enterprise virtualizing Exchange 2010

Exchange 2010 can be virtualized and this session covers how they did it.

Some of the design points that need to be covered are:

  • DAS vs SAN
  • Scale up or Scale out

The choices made here are arbitrary and dependent on how you manage your datacenter and what you like/don’t like.

Their layout is:

  • 4 datacenters, 2 DCs in US & 2 in Europe
  • If they have a DC failure, can run around 25% reduced capacity
  • 3 Hosts per datacenter
  • 2 Hosts are active, 1 failover
  • SAN backend with 1TB 7k rpm SATA disks

How did they do it?

  1. Virtuals are manually balanced across the hosts per role
  2. DRS set to level 1 – don’t VMotion naturally
  3. No Reservations
  4. Dedicated Farm versus using the general farm
    • Exchange, all roles, all support systems etc

The Exchange 2010 Role layout is defined per OS instance, minimal sharing here.

CAS Role

  • 4 G, 2 vCPUs
  • VMDK based

Hub Role

  • 4G , 4 vCPUs
  • VMDK based

MBX Role

  • 2000 mailboxes per server
  • 6 vCPU
  • 36G of RAM
  • 3 NIC (MAPI, Backup & Replication)
  • VMDK for OS & Pagefile
  • RDM for Log & DB disks
  • For the 1TB LUN sizes use the 8MB block size format

SAN configuration

  • EMC Clarion CX4, 1TB 7200rpm SAT disk
  • RAID 6
  • Datastores in 8MB
  • Presented as 500GB and 1TB
  • OS, Pagefiles, & Misc Storage are VMDK
  • Logfile & Databases are RDM

LoadGen Physical versus Virtual

They ran some testing with VMware Assistance and the performance numbers were significantly under where Microsoft states are required.  In most cases significantly under.

Lessons Learned:

Backups and disk contention as things grew did start to become an issue as load was added.   Symptoms would be dropped connections.  Moved the backups to the passive copies instead.  This addressed much of the concerns.

When doing the migrations, take breaks in between each batch of migrations to iron out any issues.   Found problems like pocket of users had unique issues and needed to have time to iron out the gotchas.

Database sizes introduce issues around backup, replication etc.   Make sure you can manage them for the demands for your environment.

Some interesting discussions is that Hyper-Threading is not supported for production.   It complicates performance discussions by Microsoft.  VMware can do either so be sure to follow the Microsoft standards at the VM level.

Memory is a big question.  Basically set

Storage.. the main points are make sure you have appropriate IOP capability behind the scenes.  The other is if setting up VMDK files, should eagerZeroThick the VMDKs.   If you check the box for enabling FT during creatio, this will eagerZeroThick is automatically.  Otherwise this should be done when the machine is powered off and run VMKFSTOOLS from the command line.

16 months later…

  • Success doing VMotions and DAG failovers
  • Backups are running lights out
  • Will add more hosts to expand the environment
  • Pain Points:
  • Service Desk new process adoptions
  • Integration with legacy tools in house.

After all is said and done this has done quite a bit for the company.

  1. Datacenter savings
  2. TCO is down and has been passed on to the business
  3. much greater flexibility
  4. Scale out or Scale up very quickly
  5. Lower Administrative overhead so far
  6. More options for disaster recovery and scenarios

Exchange 2010 is possible.

VMworld 2011 – General Session #2 with Steve Herrod

Live Blog and notes taken during the session

Steve Herrod, VMware CTO, presenting for the General Session 2.

One of the great changes is the shift from servers and technology to End Devices and Services.   Universal access to the environment is critical part of this.  As such these have high expectations compared to past environments in computing.   DUH! (Devices, Universal Access, High Expectations).

Directions that need to address the DUH is IT needs to simplify, manage and connect the end folks to the services they care about.   Desktop services will be need to be contained and compartmentalized.   This includes the full Desktop (View) or just the applications (Thinapp).   Now if we can separate the Desktop, the Applications and the Data apart from each other, powerful policies can do quite a bit.   Once this is done User/Application/Data policies can take place.

View is the direct solution to handle the Desktop Service.  Well known and announced View 5.0.

To handle applications ThinApp is the direction being followed.   There is a new service called ThinApp Factory as part of the application store.   This tool will help auto create ThinApp packages.   Fully automated creations of these packages following some recipes.

Project Octopus deals with the data service layer.  This is built around providing a dropbox equivalent services in an enterprise.  http://www.vmwareoctopus.com

Horizon has a Mobile piece that allows IT to securely gain access to the application space.   Along with that is the Mobile Virtual Machine space.   As part of pushing the access/application, can have a controlled/contained environment on the phone.

One of the great things coming is a feature called AppBlast.   It can present the application, not a full desktop to devices like an iThing.  This works on HTML5, not a custom unique protocol to deliver it.  So to edit an Excel presentation on an iPad, just connect to the internal IT and work with Excel.

vSphere 5 is the basis for all of this.   The HyperVisor is still not a commodity as many of these powerful features come from the fact that the base is solid and functional.

vSphere 5 can now handle 32 vCPUs, 1,000GB RAM, 1 Million per Host.  Melvin the Monster VM has come.

Some of the other great features are around performance guarantees. Storage IO assurance is good.   By creating Storage Pools, can organize by application, purpose, performance and other validations.  Once a pool is created, automation on placement can take place.   Along with that can perform DRS with Storage now using Storage VMotion.   This can be done automatically.   Setup the policies and forget about it as the infrastructure deals with it.

vSphere 5 allows the IT admin to now set Storage I/O Control to assure performance.  Dealing with the noisy neighbor is a significant issue to control as the central system in the hypervisor.  Along with that network I/O control has arrived also.

As the future comes to pass, one of the largest challenges is the IP problem.   Right now networking in the TCP/IP stack is built with Location = Identifier.   If a machine wants to move around, the location and Identifier are tied together.  For example moving a VM from an internal Cloud to an External Cloud the VM needs to be given a new IP.  This can be a very disruptive activity.

VMware has a solution now called VXLAN which is Virtual eXtensible LAN.   This technology has been worked on with Intel, Emulex, Cisco, Arista, Broadcom.   The spec has been sent to IETF.   This is a big step on the virtualization solution.   Once this tie has been broken cloud mobility becomes feasible and deliverable.

Management is the end game after a solid reportable infrastructure is available.   From there the approach is

  1. Monitor
  2. Correlate
  3. Remediate
At the end the focus is that End User Computing is making a major shift soon.   This shift is coming with massive improvements in the client experience into something that the clients actually want.  All this is possible by simplifying the layers under neath so time can be spent on this new functionality.   To do that management of these spaces needs to be come more automated.

VMworld 2011 – Keynote with Paul Maritz

Live blog taken during the keynote.

The keynote started off with a beautiful Tron-3D stylized video talking about computing, virtualization, automation and ultimately the cloud.  Your cloud.  My cloud.

Hands on Labs started off as a private cloud onsite in 2008.   It went to a hybrid cloud solution using some offsite datacenters in 2009.  This year the labs are 100% public cloud in 3 datacenters in both US & Europe.   The goal is to handle 25,000 labs with over 250,000 VMs created and destroyed in less than 5 days. A truly scalable solution.

Another big point is the VMUG is over 60,000 strong across the entire world.  Thanks to all leaders for the great work they do.

Paul Maritz’s started off with some amazing information.   2009 was the first milestone where there is more virtual machines than physical machines.   This year the milestone broken is that more than 50% of workloads are now running on virtuals.

Some amazing achivements with some number playing:

  • 1 VM every 6 seconds
  • 20 million VMs
  • A VMotion every 5.5 seconds
  • 800,000 vSphere Admins
  • 68,000 VMware Certified Professionals

So what really is the cloud today?  Is this something new or something recycled?

A quick history lesson.

MainFrame
Applications started as glorified bookkeeping for finance.

Client Server
Relational Databases Started.   Whole new set of applications
New programing languages.   Primarily PC users.  Java, HTML, IP
ERP, CRM, Non-Real-Time analytics possible.

When the applications change, then the IT industry really changes.

Cloud
In less than 3 years, the primary device connecting to the networks will be non-Windows OS instances. iPad, Droid, Etc.
New Data Fabrics, new frameworks, HTML5,
Real-time, high scale analytics and commerce – The Facebook generation

A fundamental shift is IT needs to shift from supporting the client server era & the mainframe era to renewing the applications into cloud frameworks and capabilities.   Spending in Client Server must become easier and cheaper.   In the meantime IT will bridge from existing modes of end-user access.

Server Virtualization is successful since we can add these functionality improvements without changing the apps.

vSphere 5.0 needs to just work.   To accomplish this VMware QA is extensively done:

  • >1 million engineering hours
  • >2 million QA hours
  • 200 new features
  • 2,000 partner certifications

By delivering this heavily QAed solution, less effort must be taken to keep the infrastructure up and running which in turn means less cost to the businesses.   They can spend the money on new features, new frameworks and redeveloped applications instead of back end support costs.

In the vCloud, Service Providers are creating powerful vertical clouds for their industries.   New York Stock Exchange is a good example.  High end solutions that are gaining large interest by many clients.  On the smaller end, Small Business Solutions are coming as “datacenter in a box” with the Storage Virtual Appliance now.  Another vertical cloud is the SMB space and one solution there is the VMware GO.   SaaS solution to provide functionality for the small SMBs.

New programs are written by young programmers, not older ones (>35).  They are developing new frameworks and tools to make things easier.   As such tools like Spring in vFabric 5 with things like tc server, GemFire & SQLFire, VMware aims to offer a full solution of ways to modernize applications along with creating a data fabrics.  The newly announced tool is VMware Data Director to automatically provision and manage databases.  The other third is the PaaS suite to deliver the new application.   Cloud Foundry covers this space.   It supports all sorts of frameworks and tools.

Moving up the stack for support of end user computing/Existing PC usage.   View 5.0 officially announced.  Horizon is the other piece in this layer.  Windows offered some great functionality to the end clients.  Delivery of the applications is a huge piece of that functionality.   Horizon offers a new way to deliver applications.  How do you deliver this to a iPhone, Droid, iPad etc?

Paul believes that we are entering a post document world.

VMworld 2011 – Its on

After much work and challenge, I have been able to get a VMworld Pass, a Plane Ticket and by the generosity of some wonderful VMware Peeps, a room to crash in.  At this point I’m digging into and attempting to find sessions that I’d like to try to go to and getting packed to go.   The late entry obviously will make getting into some of these great sessions nearly impossible, and I’ll just have to make due.

After it’s all said and done, this trip will still be worth it all.  I look forward to seeing all the vExperts, Wizards, Stalkers and vEverything folks that I’ve met and look forward to meeting new ones.  See you there.

Vendor Minimum Requirements

Recently I was pulled into a slow performance issue with a VM. After looking at the standard metrics of value and seeing that none of them were really bad, I started asking some more questions.  We contacted the vendor and they asked a bunch of questions back.  Of course we responded being very transparent and the vendor came back and said your performance problem is due to the fact that your CPUs aren’t 3.0Ghz or better.  Now since we use AMD, this doesn’t surprise me though none of our testing matched up to the claims the vendor made around 30% increase by using this new functionality.  Our numbers say zero change in performance.  So I pushed back and started reading on the requirements and this is what they list.

Vendor Minimum Requirements
3.0Ghz Minimum

 

This is great to say and is a wonderful cop out by the support team.

“Oh wait, you don’t have a 3.0Ghz box”
“Ok, what model?”
“Doesn’t matter, must be 3.0Ghz or faster”
“Alright, so will my 3.0Ghz Pentium 4 that’s 5+ years old be fast enough?”

Try again vendor.   Be accurate and precise with your data and information at time of document creation with the expectation to deliver the right information to deliver a functional, quality product.