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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Storage I/O control for critical apps is a great idea

Recently, I have been asked this question: should we enable Storage I/O control on datastores used by our production databases considering it could prevent my VMs from consuming all the resources they need? The answer is yes, SIOC will not harm your performance, actually it can save you from a very bad day in IT land, and it’s all about the threshold.

Before I dive deeper into that a bit of background:

Storage I/O control is a technology which provides I/O prioritization for VMDKs that reside on a shared datastore, the VMDKs can reside on different hosts but have to be managed by the same vCenter. This is to contrast with adaptive queuing which is an ESXi technology.  Anyway, back to SIOC, when a latency threshold is crossed for a shared datastore Storage I/O control will kick in and will start prioritizing access to that datastore based on the proportional shares mechanism, the outcome will be that VMs with higher shares will get more throughput (IOPS) in lower latency than VMs with lower shares.  By default all VMs have the same amount of shares and a fair access to the datastore, in that case SIOC will protect from the “noisy neighbor” issue from happening making sure that no one VM monopolizes access to that datastore. Continue reading

Virtual Volumes and Storage Policy-Based Management for Databases

 Virtual Volumes and Storage Policy-Based Management for Databases

In the first part of this series we provided a high level view of the benefits of using Virtual Volumes enabled storage for database operations. In the second part of this series we examined in more detail how Virtual Volumes can improve the backup and recovery capabilities for business critical databases, specifically Oracle .In the third part of this series we examined in more detail how Virtual Volumes works in a crash consistent manner for backup and for cloning operations.

Virtual Volumes integrates with Storage Policy-Based Management, the same framework to manage data services in vSphere. In this part we will look at how Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) can be leveraged to manage mission critical databases.

The Setup:

 The setup of the infrastructure is the same as discussed in the second part of this series. Please refer to setup section for details of the infrastructure and the database configuration.

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Oracle Real Application Clusters on VMware Virtual SAN

Oracle Real Application Clusters on VMware Virtual SAN

VMware Virtual SAN

VMware Virtual SAN is VMware’s software-defined storage solution for hyper-converged infrastructure, a software-driven architecture that delivers tightly integrated computing, networking, and shared storage from a single virtualized x86 server. Virtual SAN delivers high performance, highly resilient shared storage by clustering server-attached flash devices and hard disks (HDDs).

Virtual SAN delivers enterprise-class storage services for virtualized production environments along with predictable scalability and all-flash performance—all at a fraction of the price of traditional, purpose-built storage arrays. Just like vSphere, Virtual SAN provides users the flexibility and control to choose from a wide range of hardware options and easily deploy and manage it for a variety of IT workloads and use cases. Virtual SAN can be configured as all-flash or hybrid storage.

With more and more production servers being virtualized, the demand for highly converged server-based storage is surging. VMware Virtual SAN aims at providing a highly scalable, available, reliable, and high performance storage using cost-effective hardware, specifically direct-attached disks in VMware ESXi hosts. Virtual SAN adheres to a new policy-based storage management paradigm, which simplifies and automates complex management workflows that exist in traditional enterprise storage systems with respect to configuration and clustering

Extended Oracle Real Application Clusters

Customers deploying Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC) have requirements such as stringent SLA’s continued high performance, and application availability. It is a major challenge for business organizations to manage data storage in these environments due to the stringent business requirement. Common issues in using traditional storage solutions for Business Critical Application (BCA) include inadequate performance, scale-in/scale-out, storage inefficiency, complex management, and high deployment and operating costs.

RAC on Extended distance is an architecture that provides extremely fast recovery from a site failure and allows all the nodes at all sites to actively process transactions as part of a single database cluster. The Storage and the Network layer is “stretched” across the sites making them universally accessible from all sites.

It provides greater availability than a local RAC would but under no circumstances should we assume that RAC is a Disaster Recovery solution, it’s a Disaster Avoidance Solution.

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