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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Benefit 6: Monster App Scalability with vSphere 5

This post is part of the 7-part series Seven Top Benefits of Virtualizing Business Critical Applications.

VMware supports running Monster VMs. Application performance is based on four infrastructure measures. Today, virtual machines on vSphere 5 can scale to 32 vCPUs, 1TB of memory, 36GB/s network, and 1 million storage IOPS.

These advances in performance are charted in Figure 13. And what they mean for you is that resource-intensive applications perform very well on vSphere. In fact, we have measured the resource requirements of more than 700,000 production applications running on x86 servers. vSphere is able to support more than 99 percent of those applications (Source: VMware Capacity Planner™ assessments).

In the below figure you can see that vSphere 5 Is ready for the most demanding applications.

vSphere is also improving its performance per operation in core areas, such as vMotion. For example, vSphere 5 decreased vMotion duration by 44 percent from vSphere 4.1. This benefits application owners by providing vMotion without downtime or delay.

See below Duration of vMotion on vSphere 4.1 and vSphere 5, for Single and Multiple Exhange Server Deployments (Source: VMware vSphere vMotion Architecture, Performance and Best Practices in VMware vSphere 5.)


Learn more: Virtualizing Business Critical Applications Whitepaper [39-page PDF]

Benefit 5: Unify App Monitoring with vCOps

This post is part of the 7-part series Seven Top Benefits of Virtualizing Business Critical Applications.

Performance, capacity, and configuration management are becoming inseparable due to the dynamic nature of converged infrastructure. Traditional tools and processes designed for siloed, static, physical infrastructures don’t provide the automation and control you need to effectively manage highly virtualized and private cloud environments.

vCenter Operations Management Suite (vCOps) sets the industry standard in operational efficiency and allows you to: proactively enable virtual/cloud infrastructure performance for your business-critical applications; provide continuous compliance with operational and regulatory requirements; and, optimize resource utilization and cost.

Through the use of adapters, VMware vCenter Operations Manager can collect performance, topology, and events data from Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM), Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), and many other third-party monitoring tools to provide a comprehensive and coordinated view across all of the data you collect in your environment.


Learn more: Virtualizing Business Critical Applications Whitepaper [39-page PDF]

Benefit 4: Protect Apps from Failure with HA

This post is part of the 7-part series Seven Top Benefits of Virtualizing Business Critical Applications.

Ensuring availability of your applications is difficult. Each application component must be made highly available, and operations teams often struggle with a proliferation of different clustering and availability options. The Web tier is fairly simple to protect using network load balancing, and the application tier can be clustered, but databases are typically the most difficult tier to protect. Databases can be protected using Microsoft Clustering, database mirroring, or high-end options such as Oracle RAC.

VMware provides a range of capabilities that can extend availability to 100 percent of applications including databases, without the complexity or cost of clustering. These capabilities are:

  • vMotion – Move running virtual machines from one physical server to another with no impact to end users. vMotion keeps your IT environment up and running, giving you unprecedented flexibility and availability to meet the increasing demands of your business and end users.
  • High Availability – Provides automated application restart in the event of host failure or OS failure within the virtual machine. It is automatically available for any application running on vSphere. VMware HA is simple and does not require OS- or app-level clustering. It is also very cost effective because it doesn’t rely on dedicated standby servers, and in many cases allows the use of lower-cost OS and application licenses.
  • App-Aware High Availability – Monitors the application and if it goes down, it can be restarted. App-Aware HA will run the failover only when the application doesn’t come back up again. The underlying technology depends on the VMware HA to automatically initiate the failover. App-Aware HA is an API that allows users to plug in one of two currently available third-party App-Aware products from Symantec or Neverfail.
  • Fault Tolerance – Protects any application against host failure with continuous availability, without data loss or downtime. VMware FT creates virtual machine “pairs” that run in lock step—essentially mirroring the execution state of a virtual machine. To the external world they appear as one instance (one IP address, one application)—but they are fully redundant instances.

The siloed example of availability methods shown in Figure 11 requires expensive licenses, dedicated standby infrastructure, and highly skilled staff to configure and manage. The alternative to this expensive approach is a standardized approach using vSphere technology, though some companies choose to implement both appspecific and VMware solutions running in tandem.

To prepare for availability issues affecting an entire datacenter, VMware vCenter™ Site Recovery Manager (SRM) enables datacenter teams to build, manage, and execute reliable disaster recovery plans for all applications, including business-critical apps. By taking full advantage of the encapsulation and isolation of virtual machines, SRM enables simplified automation of disaster recovery. SRM helps meet recovery time objectives, reduces costs traditionally associated with business continuance plans, and achieves low-risk and predictable results for recovery of a virtual environment.

Learn more: Virtualizing Business Critical Applications Whitepaper [39-page PDF]

Benefit 3: Juice up Apps with Hot-Add

This post is part of the 7-part series Seven Top Benefits of Virtualizing Business Critical Applications.

When the application running on VMs is business critical, the stakes are even higher to keep resources available while adding more capacity on the fly. It is this moment when Hot-Add CPU and RAM become necessary. Hot-Add features help you manage fluctuating workloads with less risk. The Hot-Add features allow you to add RAM and CPU dynamically, without shutting down the virtual machine or application. When running business-critical applications, downtime is not an option.

When increasing demand starts to impact performance, it is often necessary to scale an application to restore service levels. Unfortunately, when running on dedicated physical servers, re-sizing applications requires re-provisioning on larger physical hosts, which is a time-consuming and highly disruptive undertaking. Databases are a good example. Administrators have to forecast capacity requirements years in advance and translate that estimate into system specs, including CPU and memory. If conditions change, the app must be re-provisioned, causing downtime, disruption, and serious unhappiness in the corner offices.

Learn more: Virtualizing Business Critical Applications Whitepaper [39-page PDF]

Benefit 2: Guarantee Resource Reservations

This post is part of the 7-part series Seven Top Benefits of Virtualizing Business Critical Applications.

Key datacenter resources are compute, memory, network, and storage.
Application owners are sometimes reluctant to virtualize because they feel they no longer get 100 percent of server resources. As it turns out, features within VMware allow for business-critical applications to hold reservations and minimums to enable them to get the highest QoS in the datacenter, even if they are sharing physical resources with other less critical applications.

IT administrators are expected to achieve the business’ required service levels—for every single application and application tier. Features like Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), Network I/O Control, and Storage I/O
Control help you maintain service levels through intelligent allocation and performance.

  • DRS continuously monitors resource utilization and intelligently allocates across virtual machines. That means the applications that you’ve ranked as the highest priority get the resources they need, when they need them. vSphere DRS delivers the performance, scalability, and availability that may be impossible to achieve in a physical infrastructure. Beyond higher hardware utilization and reduced energy consumption, business units also gain dedicated IT resources, empowering them to build and manage virtual machines—all under centralized IT control.
  • Network I/O Control enables performance. Once you configure rules and policies to specify priorities of each VM, Network I/O Control automatically adjusts resources so you can improve service levels and virtualize more types of workloads.
  • Storage I/O Control enables a pre-programmed response when a storage resource becomes contentious. When congestion is detected, Storage I/O Control dynamically allocates available resources based on your policies. Further, Storage I/O Control enables performance for your most important VMs, and provides an additional level of isolation in a private or public cloud.
  • CPU Reservations and Memory Reservations provide resource levels for critical apps.

Benefit 1: Accelerate Upgrades with Cloning

This post is part of the 7-part series Seven Top Benefits of Virtualizing Business Critical Applications.

According to feedback from the DBAs we’ve worked with, the primary reason DBAs and IT architects virtualize Oracle or SAP is for cloning.

Application provisioning can be a cause of major inefficiencies. IT administrators must support the overhead of configuring each application tier, including the hardware, OS, and application. At the same time, configuration errors and configuration drift are very common, often leading to application downtime. To make matters worse, provisioning isn’t limited to production environments, but often includes test, development, and training systems. Over time, these systems often fall out of sync with production systems, resulting in inaccurate testing and QA cycles.

With vSphere, once an application is ready to be rolled out into production, application teams are able to package the application as a vApp, a golden image of the application that can be provisioned on demand onto the production infrastructure. A vApp is essentially a template of a multi-tier application. It includes multiple pre-configured virtual machines containing the different application tiers (e.g., Web, app, and database).

The virtual machines are pre-integrated through network fencing, and the virtual machine boot sequence can be customized.

Customer Case in Point
“In a physical server model, cloning our production Oracle Database for test and development was time consuming, complex, and expensive. Virtualizing our Oracle databases with vSphere allows us to quickly create many test and dev environments in minutes. Our ability to virtualize Oracle has saved the bank hundreds of thousands of euro.” – Andrei Maier, System Architect of Swedbank

Learn more: Virtualizing Business Critical Applications Whitepaper [39-page PDF]

Top Reasons To Virtualize Business Critical Applications on vSphere

The figure below lists some of the top business and technical reasons to virtualize business-critical applications.

Note: Consolidation rates are averages based on “VMware Customer Readiness Reviews.” Licensing savings are cited in the Licensing section of the below whitepaper.

Learn more: Virtualizing Business Critical Applications Whitepaper [39-page PDF]

The Virtualization Tax Is Greatly Exaggerated

vSphere delivers the performance required to run business-critical applications in large-scale environments. vSphere 5 provides 16 times (source Figure 14 in BCA Whitepaper)  the performance of VMware Infrastructure 3 while keeping virtualization overhead at a limited 2 to 5 percent. The fact is that the virtualization overhead or “tax” is often greatly exaggerated and many application owners are managing applications that have already been virtualized by the server and virtualization teams, and the applications owners don’t even know it.

Performance is a major factor in business-critical applications. Virtual machines perform the same as their physical equivalents, as witnessed in production by the app owners. The following set of graphs illustrates this performance across several applications.

Virtualized Oracle databases perform the same as native databases from the application owner’s perspective (source: Virtualizing Performance-Critical Database Applications in VMware vSphere).

In the figure below, Confio, a third-party company unaffiliated with VMware, compared virtual and physical servers in a side-by-side test, finding the performance would be the same to the DBA (Source: A Comparison of Oracle Performance on Physical and VMware Servers, 2012. Written by Confio, www.confio.com.)

In the figure below, Virtualized SQL databases perform the same as native databases from the application owner’s perspective (Source: Performance and Scalability of Microsoft SQL on vSphere.).

In the figure below, Virtualized SAP performs the same as native equivalents from the application owner’s perspective (Source: Virtualized SAP Performance with VMware vSphere 4.).

In the figure below, Virtualized Java performs the same as native equivalents from the application owner’s perspective (Source: Performance of Enterprise Java Applications on VMware vSphere 4.1 and SpringSource tc Server.).

In the figure below, Virtualized Hadoop performs the same as native equivalents from the application owner’s perspective (Source: Source: “A Benchmarking Case Study of Virtualized Hadoop Performance on VMware vSphere® 5”, 2012.)

Learn more: Virtualizing Business Critical Applications Whitepaper [39-page PDF]


Huge Brands Are Virtualizing Business Critical Applications on vSphere

Thousands of VMware customers have virtualized their Exchange, Oracle Databases, Oracle eBusiness Suite, SQL, SAP, and Java applications. These applications are often considered the six business-critical applications (BCAs). There are also business-critical apps that are industry specific (such as for retail, telecom, and healthcare industries) as well as newly emerging business-critical apps (such as Hadoop). According to a recent VMware survey (Source: VMware customer survey, June 2011), 75 percent of VMware customers report they virtualize at least one business-critical application in their production environment.

The figure below identifies many large companies that are currently virtualizing their business-critical applications with VMware. You will find additional virtualization success stories at www.vmware.com/customers.

Learn more: Virtualizing Business Critical Applications Whitepaper [39-page PDF]