storage VMware Infrastructure 3

New SAN cookbook hits shelves to good reviews

Alessandro Perilli of called it "remarkable" and said "It’s a worthwhile reading before your first project, the VCP certification exam, and even non-virtualized implementations." Vincent Vlieghe of Virtrix called it "a fine read." Joseph Foran of the new Server Virtualization Blog says "Overall, the paper gets 8 pokers." Magnus of the VMTN Forums says "It looks really good."

What are all these people raving about? It’s the new 219 page cookbook from VMware,  SAN System Design and Deployment Guide. It describes Storage Area Network (SAN) options supported with VMware Infrastructure 3 and
also describes benefits, implications, and disadvantages of various
design choices.

Now Joseph does point out one reason why we published this guide:

Most of the reason that VMware published this document can be summed up by this quote from page 130:

“Many of the support requests that VMware receives
concern performance optimization for specific applications. VMware has
found that a majority of the performance problems are self-inflicted,
with problems caused by misconfiguration or less-than-optimal
configuration settings for the particular mix of virtual machines, post
processors, and applications deployed in the environment.”

I have to admit, that had me laughing. It was the whole “blame the
user” mentality that I found funny – I’m glad VMware put the paper out
there, but really, they had to expect that the 80/20 rule of
troubleshooting would apply to them too – 80% of all problems are human
error. The guide does a good job of helping avoid those pitfalls, and
goes into detail on setting up your SAN to perform well.

Joseph seems to be laughing with us, not at us, but I do want to clarify this is not ‘blame the user." Blaming the user would be telling them to go take a long walk off a short pier to the nearest bookstore and get educated on SANs before touching VMware Infrastructure. Blaming the user would be just finger pointing at their hardware or storage vendor when they call support telling us their virtual infrastructure is slow. This is helping the user.

VMware Infrastructure is a powerful tool and a new architecture for the data center. It’s like any power tool — you can cut down a lot of trees with a chain saw, but you can also slice off your own limbs. Many companies are buying their first shared storage when they go virtual, and others have to rethink how that shared storage is used. That’s why we work with a channel of resellers and consultants to help you succeed. That’s why a VCP exam requires a hands-on class, to make sure we don’t have "paper VCPs" running around. That’s why we offer education and professional services. I was reading our business continuity jumpstart curriculum the other day, and it touches on every single layer of your data center — it’s practically a survey course on the entirety of modern IT. That’s why 9 times out of 10 on the VMTN Forums when somebody’s infrastructure isn’t performing correctly, the expert troubleshooters who hang out there help the poster find out it’s the application or the OS that is misconfigured, not the virtual machine. (The tenth time it’s a workload that should never have been virtualized.)

We want you to succeed and get big raises, all while VMotioning your virtual machines around the data center while you’re eating your lunch at your desk, not at midnight when your spouse is wondering when you’ll be home. And to do that, your SAN needs to be set up correctly, so go read up on it


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  1. I admit I haven’t heard of VMware before, but it sounds like the company is doing everything right. One of the most annoying things about large software companies (stereotypically Microsoft) is that so much is left untold to the user yet at the same time, the user is blamed for many of the software’s issues. I really like the idea of a hands-on VCP exam and all of the educational services that go with it. If more users were trained properly or even knew where to go to find the resources they need, help desks and IT departments would have so much more free time on their hands. I guess a lot of companies assume that if you’re using their software, you have some idea of what you’re doing, but I’ve learned that hard way that not everyone does…that’s when your mentioned chainsaw of incompetence starts slicing off heads as well as tree limbs.

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