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Tag Archives: Virtualization

New Architectures for Apache Spark™ and Big Data

Key Trends in Big Data Infrastructure:

Some of the key trends in big data infrastructure over the past couple of years are:

• Decoupling of Compute and Storage Clusters
• Separate compute virtual machines from storage VMs
• Data is processed and scaled independently of compute
• Dynamic Scaling of compute nodes used for analysis from dozens to hundreds
• SPARK and other newer Big Data platforms can work with regular filesystems
• Newer platforms store and process data in memory
• New platforms can leverage Distributed Filesystems that can use local or shared storage
• Need for High Availability & Fault Tolerance for master components

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Updated: Microsoft SQL Server on vSphere Best Practices Guide

Microsoft SQL server is the most virtualized enterprise mission critical application today. In recent years it has become a mainstream effort among VMware customers to virtualize critical databases to allow better agility and scale while increasing availability and operational efficiency.

This guide, now named “Architecting Microsoft SQL Server on VMware vSphere – Best Practices Guide” to reflect its focus on architecture and configurations of vSphere as well as SQL server for maximizing the benefits of virtualizing SQL server, is aimed at providing VMware customers and partners guidance on how to achieve best performance and efficiency with the latest versions of Microsoft SQL server and VMware vSphere.

In this guide there are also references to other VMware and third-party documents which we encourage the reader to consult for better understanding of the topics discussed.

Click here to download the guide.

Disabling TPS in vSphere – Impact on Critical Applications

Starting with update releases in December, 2014, VMware vSphere will default to a new configuration for the Transparent Page Sharing (TPS) feature. Unlike in prior versions of vSphere up to that point, TPS will be DISABLED by default. TPS will continued to be disabled for all future versions of vSphere.

In the interim, VMware has released a Patch for vSphere 5.5 which changes the behavior of (and provides additional configuration options for) TPS. Similar patches will also be released for prior versions at a later date.

Why are we doing this?

In a nutshell, independent research indicates that TPS can be abused to gain unauthorized access to data under certain highly controlled conditions. In line with its “secure by default” security posture, VMware has opted to change the default behavior of TPS and provide customers with a configurable option for selectively and more securely enabling TPS in their environment. Please read “Security considerations and disallowing inter-Virtual Machine Transparent Page Sharing (2080735)” for more detailed discussion of the security issues and VMware’s response. Continue reading

Critical Factors to consider when virtualizing Business Critical Applications: (Part 1 of 2)

Over the past few years, there has been significant acceleration in adoption of the VMware platform for virtualization of business critical applications. When vSphere 5 was introduced with its initial support for up to 32 vCPU many of the vertical scalability concerns that existed earlier were addressed. This has been increased to 64 processors with the later vSphere 5.x releases ensuring that more than 99% of all workloads will fit vertically.

Having personally worked in IT infrastructure for more than 20 years with a strong focus on implementing and managing business critical applications, I see a general reluctance from application owners to virtualize business critical applications. When virtualizing business applications there are many critical factors one should consider.  I seek to address the typical concerns of application owners about Virtualization with this multipart series on Virtualizing BCA. Continue reading

Which vSphere Operation Impacts Windows VM-Generation ID?

In Windows Server 2012 VM-Generation ID Support in vSphere, we introduced you to VMware’s support for the new Microsoft’s Windows VM-Generation ID features, discussing how they help address some of the challenges facing Active Directory administrators looking to virtualize domain controllers.

One of the common requests from customers in response to the referenced article is a list of events and conditions under which an administrator can expect the VM-Generation ID of a virtual machine to change in a VMware vSphere infrastructure. The table below presents this list. This table will be included in an upcoming Active Directory on VMware vSphere Best Practices Guide.

Scenario VM-Generation ID Change
VMware vSphere vMotion®/VMware vSphere Storage vMotion No
Virtual machine pause/resume No
Virtual machine reboot No
HA restart No
FT failover No
vSphere host reboot No
Import virtual machine Yes
Cold clone Yes
Hot clone
Hot cloning of virtual domain controllers is not supported by either Microsoft or VMware. Do not attempt hot cloning under any circumstances.
New virtual machine from VMware Virtual Disk Development Kit (VMDK) copy Yes
Cold snapshot revert (while powered off or while running and not taking a memory snapshot) Yes
Hot snapshot revert (while powered on with a memory snapshot) Yes
Restore from virtual machine level backup Yes
Virtual machine replication (using both host-based and array-level replication) Yes

If you have a specific operation or task that is not included in the table above, please be sure to ask in the comments section.

Thank you.

Virtualizing SAP—it’s a risk not to

by Elliot Fliesler, Director, SAP Alliance, VMware

There are business-critical applications—and then there’s SAP.  If you’re an IT manager in an SAP-based organization, you know first-hand the importance of this market-leading BCA system to every aspect of your operations.  Many large enterprises cannot run their businesses without SAP—it’s not just critical, it’s indispensable.

Is Virtualizing SAP Risky?

In years past, some IT managers were reluctant to virtualize SAP, and for good reasons.  The story is very different today, in part because of the increased emphasis on IT as a strategic function. A case in point is Hoya Corporation, a Tokyo-based manufacturer of optical products. Needing to respond more quickly to changes in the global marketplace, Hoya decided to become more agile in every aspect of its operations, including its SAP environment.  Therefore, in November 2010, the company migrated its entire production SAP environment[1] to a private cloud based on VMware vSphere.

Hoya has been reaping the benefits ever since.  SAP operating costs have been cut by 75 percent.  Peak workloads—for example, running consolidated financial reports—are handled much more effectively, thanks to streamlined provisioning.  The increased flexibility has allow the company to integrate several acquisitions with minimal disruption to ongoing operations.  And Hoya is leveraging its virtualized SAP environment to add additional capabilities in the near future: enhanced disaster recovery/business continuity and a chargeback system for cost transparency.

Organizations Benefit from Virtualizing SAP

The pressure to ensure high availability is intense for SAP managers—even a few minutes of downtime can unleash a barrage of angry phone calls from frustrated users.  VMware virtualization takes advantage of SAP’s high-availability features to ensure that the software stays running—and the phones stay quiet.

Upgrades are a fact of life for every SAP landscape and they can be complex and time-consuming. Often they take hours or days in a non-virtualized platform—if you have the hardware available. In a virtual environment, new virtual machines can be provisioned in minutes, and then deprovisioned rapidly, recovering the resources.    

As IT budgets continue to shrink, the imperative to lower operating costs gets more urgent—and virtualization can make a real difference.  Server consolidation translates directly into lower costs for power, cooling, and space—and boosts the organizations “green” profile in the bargain.

Timing the Move

Let’s say that you’ve decided to virtualize your SAP environment—now the question is timing.  In the course of helping literally thousands of customers make the transition from physical to virtual VMware has identified some opportune times to move.

A planned SAP upgrade can be a good time.  For example, Mazda took advantage of a planned move to SAP NetWeaver Process Integration to virtualize their entire SAP production environment[2]—and cut in half their capital expenses.

When approaching a hardware refresh, many customers take advantage of the changeover to consider a migration to virtualization at the same time.  Many system integrators know how to integrate the refresh and virtualization projects to minimize disruptions and combine staff training for new hardware and software.

New compliance and security imperatives often require substantial infrastructure changes, which can highlight the inherent inflexibility of the existing platform and persuade top management to invest in infrastructure.  In the wake of a natural or man-made disaster that impacts operations, top executives often order a review of the company’s disaster recovery/business continuity plans, exposing vulnerabilities that can be best addressed with virtualization.