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Category Archives: Storage

VMware Virtual SAN Performance Testing – Part III

Virtual SAN ObserverIn the previous VMware Virtual SAN Performance Testing blog post we reviewed the benefits of running performance tests utilizing I/O trace files  to more accurately characterize the performance Virtual SAN cluster than is possible using synthetic workload tools such as IOmeter. The VMware I/O Analyzer includes pre-created trace files of specific application profiles that allows you to quickly perform scale-out testing utilizing a mix of industry standard workloads But what if you want to characterize the performance of your existing vSphere virtualized environment within a new Virtual SAN configuration? This is were the use of custom I/O Trace replays can be useful. Continue reading

vSphere PowerCLI 5.8 SPBM – Part3: Associating vSphere Storage Policies

powercli 5.8 icon
In our last article we demonstrated how to use the new vSphere PowerCLI 5.8 SPBM cmdlets to create vSphere Storage Policies. In this article we will demonstrate how to quickly associate a vSphere Storage Policy with  a new or existing VM.

Example Provisioning Scenariospbm_1vmdk_vsan

To illustrate how to leverage PowerCLI to associate vSphere Storage Policies with VMs we will continue with the provisioning example from our previous article.

  • Virtual machine
  • Single virtual disk
  • Virtual SAN datastore

Follow these links for more information on creating vSphere Storage Policies for Virtual SAN:

Previously in order to create, manage, and associate vSphere Storage Policies with VMs using PowerCLI, one would need to leverage an intermediary method as well (e.g. Esxcli, RVC, REST API, etc). Often this could require the use of third party applications to bridge the gap in interfacing with the vSphere Storage Policy Based Management service. This resulted in added complexities and additional processing time for workflows that were automated with PowerCLI.

With the new PowerCLI 5.8 cmdlets for vSphere Storage Policy Based Management we are able to greatly reduce the complexity of vSphere Storage Policies with PowerCLI now by using PowerCLI exclusively. In the example below, we will demonstrate how to enhance the VM provisioning process by associating a vSphere Storage Policy with a virtual machine.

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vSphere PowerCLI 5.8 SPBM Walkthrough (Part 2): Creating vSphere Storage Policies

powercli 5.8 icon
Greetings and welcome to our next article in the PowerCLI 5.8 series for the new vSphere Policy Based Management cmdlets. In today’s article we are going to dive right in and start building our own vSphere storage policies leveraging the new SPBM cmdlets within PowerCLI.


Before we begin though, if you have not yet had an opportunity to familiarize yourself with vSphere Storage Policy Based Management, here are a few key blog articles that can help you build a good foundation.

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What’s New in vSphere Big Data Extensions version 2.1

Big Data Extensions enables the deployment of Hadoop and HBase clusters in virtual machines on the VMware vSphere platform. This article gives you a brief introduction to the new features in BDE version 2.1. BDE ships as a virtual appliance (an OVA file) and it is a free download for users of vSphere Enterprise or Enterprise Plus.

BDE users are interested in using their favorite management tools from their Hadoop distro vendors, along with BDE and vCenter, to manage their newly created virtualized Hadoop clusters. The 2.1 release of BDE implements this feature in an elegant way!

Now you can use BDE and Cloudera Manager or Ambari together to install and manage your Hadoop clusters without leaving your Web Client BDE seat. You can also use the earlier styles of provisioning a Hadoop cluster as shown under the “BDE Only” and “BDE 2.0″ headings below.  The first method on the left allows BDE to use a repository to install the Hadoop vendor’s software on to the virtual machines. BDE does the whole job of provisioning everything in this case – hence referred to as “BDE Only”.

Using BDE 2.0 (shown in the center column) you can create a basic cluster, i.e. one with no Hadoop software in it. Then you can use the Hadoop vendors’ installation and configuration tool to install the Hadoop software on those virtual machines. With BDE 2.1 you don’t have to go between the different tools; the full Hadoop installation can be done inside BDE’s user interface, but using the vendor’s APIs under the covers to do that. The difference between the BDE 2.0 and 2.1 methods is that in 2.1 the management tool from the Hadoop vendor is called by BDE directly.

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VMware Virtual SAN Operations: Disk Group Management

VSAN-Ops-LogoThis new blog series will focus on Virtual SAN day-to-day operations related tasks and their recommended operating procedures. I will start the series by covering one of the key and most important aspects of Virtual SAN, which is the management of disk groups.

Managing Disk Groups

Disk groups are logical management constructs designed to aggregate and manage locally attached flash devices and magnetic disks on ESXi hosts. When disk groups are created the flash devices are utilized to create a performance (caching) layer, while magnetic disks are utilized to create the persistent storage layer and provide storage capacity.

Creating Disk Groups

Disk groups are individually created on every host that is a member of a Virtual SAN enabled cluster. Creating a disk group requires the existence of a single flash device and a single magnetic disk at the very least. A disk group supports a maximum of one flash device, and up to seven magnetic disks.

Disk groups can be created through the vSphere Web Client as well as the command line interface utilities such as esxcli after the Virtual SAN feature has been enabled in a cluster. The vSphere Web Client presents the simplest method for small environments, while command line utilities such as esxcli can provide automation capabilities for large environments.

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vSphere Storage Policy Based Management Overview (part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of the vSphere Storage Policy Based Management Overview. In our previous article, we looked at challenges with traditional storage provisioning models, the advantages of the Software-Defined Storage model, as well as an introduction and background to VMware vSphere Storage Policy Based Management. If you have not yet had opportunity to read it, it might be beneficial to glance through before continuing on.

In today’s article, we will be carrying on with the vSphere Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) theme as we look to understand the components of the vSphere Storage Policy. Afterwards we will display a few policy examples for single VM provisioning and options for a collection of VMs as well.

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Virtual SAN Observer – Offline Monitoring Bundle Issue

Virtual SAN ObserverI recently published an article describing the procedure to configure and enable the VMware Virtual SAN Observer tool to work without the requirement of Internet access. This operating mode is known as the offline-mode.

VMware Virtual SAN Observer Offline Mode article

The Virtual SAN Observer tool provides three different options for monitoring statistics. The offline monitoring option is probably the most utilized option out of the three as it presents the most flexibility for archiving and data transportability. A brief description of the Virtual SAN Observer monitoring modes is listed below.

Virtual SAN Observer Monitoring Modes

  • Live Monitoring – This mode displays the performance statistics in real time as they are being generated by the system.
  • Offline Monitoring – This mode provides the ability to create a tar.gz package with html bundle which can be utilized for archiving purposes or future inspection.
  • Full raw status bundle – This mode provides the ability to collect all the stats into a large JSON file for deeper analysis.

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vSphere PowerCLI 5.8 SPBM Walkthrough (Part 1): Introduction

powercli 5.8 icon

Welcome to a new blog series for the all new vSphere PowerCLI 5.8 Release 1. In this series we will be exploring the new vSphere PowerCLI cmdlets for vSphere Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM).

With this release, we now have the ability to interface with the vSphere Storage Policy Manager through the addition of the new VMware.VimAutomation.Storage snap-in. This snap-in provides PowerCLI cmdlets that let you manage vSphere policy-based storage from the PowerCLI command line or by automating through PowerCLI scripting.

In this blog series we will look to provide indepth coverage along with real-world scripting examples for each of the cmdlets. All scripts provided will be examples only and unsupported however I do validate each script with great scrutiny in multiple testing environments so you may not require much adaptation, if any, if you choose to leverage them in your own environments. As always, please ensure all coding is validated in a non-production environment prior to production deployment.

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Virtual SAN Troubleshooting: Automating Multicast Configuration

powercli 5.8 iconWelcome to another episode of our Virtual SAN Troubleshooting series. In our last article we detailed guidelines and troubleshooting steps around the Virtual SAN networking requirement for layer 2 multicast. In today’s article we will show you how to quickly automate the modification of the Virtual SAN multicast group address in the event the need arises.

Requirements

  • PowerCLI 5.8 release 1
    - (Note: It is likely to work with PowerCLI version 5.5 or above however I just happened to have version 5.8 on my test system).
  • Microsoft .Net 2.0 or higher Continue reading

Virtual SAN Troubleshooting: Multicast

Hello and welcome to the Virtual SAN Troubleshooting blog series. This series of articles is dedicated to and driven by requests from you our readers. Today we will be focusing upon one of our most requested troubleshooting topics, Layer 2 Multicast functionality from the Virtual SAN Networking requirements.

You are probably familiar with the Virtual SAN networking requirement of Layer 2 Multicast but today we would like to discuss why Virtual SAN leverages multicast forwarding for a portion of its network traffic as well as provide troubleshooting steps when it seems as though multicast traffic is not being received by the Virtual SAN VMkernels. The goal of this article is to educate the networking novice as well as provide clarification for the networking experts so we will be taking a thorough, ground up approach for our discussion.

Click the link if you need to jump directly to the testing examples Testing Multicast functionality. You will also want to make sure that you are following the guidelines below.

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