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Official VMware Virtual SAN Blog Index

VMware Virtual SAN LogoIntroducing the OFFICIAL VMware Virtual SAN Blog Index page. This page will server as the centralized repository for all official VMware Virtual SAN related and supported information on for the following topics and more:

  • Official Announcements
  • Technical Information
  • Interoperability
  • Hardware
  • Performance Benchmark

The page will be frequently updated with all the content being released by the Virtual SAN team. Make sure to bookmark the page to stay up to date with the latest and greatest official and supported Virtual SAN characteristics.

VMware Virtual SAN Blog Index

VMware Virtual SAN Hardware

VMware Virtual SAN Interoperability & Recommendations

VMware Virtual SAN Performance Benchmarks

VMware Virtual SAN White Papers

-Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), Virtual Volumes (VVols), and other Software-defined Storage technologies as well as vSphere + OpenStack be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds

vSphere IAAS Interoperability: Virtual SAN, NSX, OpenStack

VSAN-NSX-OpenStackJust in time and right before everyone is off on a long 4th of July weekend here in the good old U.S. of A, I wanted to share a integration demo that I’ve been holding for some time now. Hopefully everyone can see the fireworks delivered by the demo as well.

In this demonstration we’re showcasing the advanced IAAS features and deep integration of vSphere with Virtual SAN, and NSX using Openstack as the Cloud Management Portal for a multi tenant IAAS platform.  To prove our point here, this is not just some isolated lab environment, this is a real environment running today and its leveraging currently available technologies.

The  environment utilized in this demonstration is actually the NSBU internal cloud which has over 200 environment as a mix of KVM and vSphere.  Virtual SAN is used for all vSphere data stores and NSX is used for all tenant connectivity with OpenStack providing a scalable and secure multi-tenant, multi-hypervisor environment.

This demonstration showcases the agility and flexibility of the integration capabilities of vSphere, NSX and Virtual SAN.  In the demonstration we rapidly standup of a two tier ‘application’ and demonstrate the connectivity between all elements of the virtual machines providing the applications.

When complete, all instances, networks and routers are decommissioned and the tenant is returned to an ‘empty state’.  The whole process takes less than 10 minutes (as can be seen in the instance uptime section in the horizon UI).

VMware vCenter Orchestrator – vCenter Invalid Credentials

There are a few errors I’ve run into over the years that just stump me. Like you, I start doing some web searches and piecing things together. I cross-reference what I find with people I think may have more details for me. Well, I have recently had the “Invalid credentials” error in VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) when viewing my vCenter Server instance in the vCO inventory. I hate to admit that it had me stumped for a while.

When adding my vCenter server in the vCO plugins section, the connection and credentials tested out just fine, so why was the VCO client giving me this error?  Continue reading

Update on Virtual Hardware Compatibility Guide

VMware is updating the VMware Virtual SAN Compatibility Guide (VCG) as part of our ongoing testing and certification efforts on Virtual SAN compatible hardware.

Specifically, we’re removing low-end IO controllers from the list, due to the impact these controllers have on Virtual SAN. The choice of IO controller in Virtual SAN really matters when it comes to sustained IO performance.  Even with a design like Virtual SAN where a flash device caches IOs, in case the flash device is behind a controller, all IOs go through the controller in each server. The outstanding IOs are managed using a queue on the controller, and the IOs are de-staged from the queue to various storage devices. IO controllers with low queue depths are not well suited for the type of workloads that Virtual SAN is designed to support. These controllers offer very low IO throughput, and hence the probability of the controller queue getting full is high. When the controller IO queue gets full, IO operations time out, and the VMs become unresponsive.

The situation is exacerbated in the case of re-build operations. Although Virtual SAN has a built-in throttling mechanism for rebuild operations, it is designed to make minimal progress in order to avoid Virtual SAN objects from being exposed to double component failures for a long time. In configurations with low queue-depth controllers, even this minimal progress can cause the controllers to get saturated, leading to high latency and IO time outs.

Given the above scenario, VMware has decided to remove controllers with queue depth of less than 256 from the Virtual SAN compatibility list. While fully functional, these controllers offer too low IO throughput to sustain the performance requirements of most VMware environments.

For a complete list of controllers that will be removed from the compatibility list, please refer to this Knowledge Base article.

If you have purchased Virtual SAN for use with these controllers, please contact VMware customer care for next steps.

Going forward, in order to make it easy for our customers and partners to put together the appropriate Virtual SAN solution for their specific scenario, we are working with our partners to list the queue depth of all controllers in the VCG in the coming weeks. For additional hardware guidance on Virtual SAN, please refer to Virtual SAN Hardware Guidance.

Virtual Volumes Beta

VVolsVMware has officially announced the launch of two beta programs:

While the beta programs are private, for the first time, and unlike previous beta cycles for vSphere, the vSphere beta and VVols beta are open for everyone to sign up. This approach allows participants to help define the direction of the world’s most widely adopted, trusted, and robust virtualization platform. With Virtual Volumes (VVols), VMware offers a new paradigm, one in which an individual virtual machine and its disks, rather than a LUN, become a unit of storage management for a storage system. Virtual volumes encapsulate virtual disks and other virtual machine files, and natively store the files on the storage system.

By using a special set of APIs called vSphere APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA), the storage system becomes aware of the virtual volumes and their associations with the relevant virtual machines. Through VASA, vSphere and the underlying storage system establish a two-way out-of-band communication to perform data services and offload certain virtual machine operations to the storage system. For example, such operations as snapshots and clones can be offloaded.

For in-band communication with Virtual Volumes storage systems, vSphere continues to use standard SCSI and NFS protocols. This results in support with Virtual Volumes for any type of storage, iSCSI, Fibre Channel, FCoE, and NFS.

These are the key benefits of Virtual Volumes:

  • Operational transformation with Virtual Volumes when data services are enabled at the application level
  • Improved storage utilization with granular level provisioning
  • Common management using Policy Based Management

Sign up for the vSphere beta and visit the Virtual Volumes dedicated page to learn more. Here are some of the early demos that have been developed by partners.

Tintri

SolidFire

HP

 NetApp

 EMC

 Nimble Storage

For larger list of contributing partner and more recent demos visit the virtual volumes beta community page.

- Enjoy

For future updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds

 

Now Open: VMware vSphere Beta Program

Today we are excited to announce the launch of the vSphere Beta Program. The vSphere Beta is open to everyone to sign up and allows participants to help define the direction of the world’s most widely adopted, trusted, and robust virtualization platform. Future releases of vSphere strive to expand vSphere 5.5 with new features and capabilities that improve IT’s efficiency, flexibility and agility to accelerate your journey to the Software Defined Enterprise. Your participation will help us continue to drive towards this goal.

This vSphere Beta Program leverages a private Beta community to download software and share information. We will provide discussion forums, webinars, and service requests to enable you to share your feedback with us.

You can expect to download, install, and test vSphere Beta software in your environment. All testing is free-form and we encourage you to use our software in ways that interest you. This will provide us with valuable insight into how you use vSphere in real-world conditions and with real-world test cases, enabling us to better align our product with your business needs.

The vSphere Beta Program has no established end date and you can provide comments throughout the program. But we strongly encourage your participation and feedback in the first 4-6 weeks of the program.
Some of the many reasons to participate in this vSphere Beta Program include:

  • Receive early access to the vSphere Beta products
  • Gain early knowledge of and visibility into product roadmap
  • Interact with the vSphere Beta team consisting of Product Managers, Engineers, Technical Support, and Technical Writers
  • Provide direct input on product functionality, configurability, usability, and performance
  • Provide feedback influencing future products, training, documentation, and services
  • Collaborate with other participants, learn about their use cases, and share advice and learnings

Sign up and join the vSphere Beta Program today at: https://communities.vmware.com/community/vmtn/vsphere-beta

Virtual SAN Partner Whitepapers

VSANAs Virtual SAN continues to gain adoption within the industry, VMware is partnering with technology partners to develop and expand Virtual SAN solution guidance on differing platforms. A couple of key Virtual SAN whitepapers have been developed in conjunction with our flash vendor partners Fusion-io and SanDisk.

  • VMware Virtual SAN and Fusion-io Reference Architecture

This provides a step-by-step reference architecture to simplify the process to deploy VMware’s Virtual SAN  technology using Fusion-io as the flash acceleration layer.

http://www.fusionio.com/white-papers/vmware-virtual-san-and-fusion-io-reference-architecture

  • High Performance VDI using SanDisk SSDs, VMware’s Horizon View, and Virtual SAN: A Deployment and Technical Considerations Guide

This whitepaper demonstrates a VMware Horizon View virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) on Virtual SAN, and provides View Planner performance metrics in a 100 desktop per node environment.

http://www.sandisk.com/assets/docs/high-performance-vdi-using-sandisk-ssds-vmware-horizon-view-and-virtual-san.pdf

 

Getting Started with VMware vCenter Orchestrator – Building Many Virtual Machines

I’ve recently been building and rebuilding some of our physical labs many, many times. I’ve found that I have a very common base configuration that I need to start with and it takes me a while to manually configure all of my components. While I won’t be going into the infrastructure configuration just yet, I’m writing this to show you how easy it is for you to use VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) to easily perform repetitive tasks with the built in workflows.

The point of this article is to get you started with something you either may not be aware of, or just have attempted before and didn’t know how or where to get started. We won’t be getting advanced so it should be easy to follow. Continue reading

SLES for VMware End of Availability Announcement

On June 25, 2014, VMware is announcing the End of Availability (EoA) of all SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for VMware offerings.  As a result, the SLES for VMware offering will be removed from the VMware price list on July 25, 2014.  After July 25, 2014, customers that purchase VMware vSphere Standard, vSphere Enterprise, or vSphere Enterprise+ (either standalone or as part of a suite) will no longer be eligible to a free SLES for VMware offering.

All Support and Subscription Services for the EoA product will be unaffected and will continue as per VMware’s Support Lifecycle Policy through the published support period until August 25, 2016.

Customers are not required to take any immediate action.  This notification in no ways impacts customer’s ability to use SLES for VMware past June 25, 2014.  However, if customers want to take advantage of their eligibility to receive SLES for VMware, they must do so before July 25, 2014.

For any further inquiries, please contact VMware Support.

Virtual SAN Ready Nodes – Ready, Set, Go!

What is the VMware Virtual SAN team announcing today?

The VMware Virtual SAN product team is very excited to announce 24 new Virtual SAN Ready Nodes from leading OEM vendors – Dell (3 Ready Nodes), Fujitsu (5 Ready Nodes), HP (10 Ready Nodes) and SuperMicro (6 Ready Nodes)!

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 3.29.34 PM

What is a Virtual SAN Ready Node?  How “Ready” is it?

Virtual SAN Ready Node is a hyper-converged ready-to-go hardware solution sold by server OEMs which has been pre-configured to run the Virtual SAN in a certified hardware form factor.

The Virtual SAN Ready Nodes include unique and optimized combination of hardware components from the OEM, and may also include software from the OEM for vSphere and Virtual SAN. Virtual SAN Ready Nodes are ideal as hyper-converged building blocks for large datacenter environments with strong automation and a need to customize hardware and software configurations.

OEM vendors offer Virtual SAN Ready Nodes that are unique to their server offerings and include optimized combination of hardware components (I/O controller, HDD, SSD) to run Virtual SAN.  In some cases, they also include pre-loaded software for vSphere and Virtual SAN.

So what does a Virtual SAN Ready Node look like?

Virtual SAN Ready Node is a preconfigured ready-to-go hardware solution.  Virtual SAN Ready Node is prescriptive in that it provides the size and quantity of CPU, Memory, Network, I/O Controller, HDD and SSD required to run a VDI or Server workload.

For a detailed list of available Ready Nodes from OEM vendors, please refer to the Virtual SAN Ready Node document

But what if I want to choose my own hardware components for Virtual SAN?

Sure, you can do that using the Build Your Own option on the VMware Virtual SAN Compatibility Guide.  Using this option, you can pick any certified server, I/O Controller, SSD and HDD from your vendor of choice, decide on the quantity of each components and build out your own Virtual SAN solution.

Alternately, if you are interested in a preconfigured and ready-to-go solution which can be procured faster using a single SKU/Reference ID, go for the Virtual SAN Ready Node!

Virtual SAN Ready Nodes are also prescriptive and are classified under different solution profiles for VDI and Server use cases so we have made it easy for you to pick the Ready Node that best matches your workload profile requirement.

What are the different solution profiles under which Ready Nodes are classified?  

Virtual SAN Ready Nodes are classified into Low, Medium and High profiles for Server workloads and Full Clone & Linked Clone profiles for VDI workloads.  The solution profiles provide prescriptive hardware recommendations to meet different levels of workload requirements based on the maximum number of VMs (assuming an average instance size for each VM) that can be run per host.

For more details on infrastructure sizing assumptions and design considerations that were made to define sample Ready Node configurations categorized into these solution profiles, please refer to the Virtual SAN Hardware Quick Reference Guide.   See snapshot of the document below:

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 3.06.27 PM

So how do I choose the right Ready Node for my Virtual SAN?

Visit the VMware Virtual SAN Compatibility Guide website and follow this simple process:

1.  Determine your Virtual SAN workload profile requirement for VDI or Server use case.

2.  Refer to the node profiles and guidance in Virtual SAN Hardware Quick Reference Guide  to determine the approximate configuration that meets your needs

3. Refer to the Virtual SAN Ready Nodes document to identify preconfigured and ready-to-go Virtual SAN Ready Nodes from OEM server vendors.

The server I want is not on the Ready Node list.  Will it be supported with Virtual SAN?

As long as the server is certified on the VMware vSphere Compatibility Guide, it will work with Virtual SAN and can be selected as part of the Build Your Own option to build out your Virtual SAN even if it is not one of the standard Virtual SAN Ready Node offerings.  This is also true for any certified component like I/O controller, HDD and SSD on the Virtual SAN compatibility guide.

How do I quote/order the Virtual SAN Ready Node from my vendor of choice?

Please contact your OEM sales representative and use the SKU/Reference ID listed for each Ready Node to quote/order the Ready Node from your vendor’s procurement system.

Note: For some of the vendors, the SKUs/Reference IDs are still under works and we expect to get these finalized soon.

Are there more Virtual SAN Ready Nodes from other server vendors to choose from? 

Yes, stay tuned.  We have more Virtual SAN Ready Nodes from other server vendors coming soon over the next few weeks.

Watch this space for more details!