VMware view The platform of choice for Windows 7?

•January 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It has been a interesting Quarter a lot of interest and buzz around VMware view and the PCoE concept. In essence many companies in need of desktop refresh are taking a more pro active look at the virtual desktop, VMware’s key feature being the ability to lend out a virtual desktop for days or weeks at a time while the computer is disconnected from the network. The other major benefit is the control of licensing applications. Thin App allows a greater control of who uses what application and eliminates the need for potentially mess app installs.

With the majority of the enterprise market place using VMware in some form or another The natural progression to the Virtual desktop seems more and more appealing, Many companies adopting a  “bring your Technology to work” policy VMware View seems to be a perfect fit.

While workstations will still have their place in engineering firms where AutoCAD and other 3D Modeling software are staples of productivity general computing needs can easily be replaced by a virtual solution.

2008 R2 and exchange 2007 not perfect together?

•December 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This is more of a observation than a post after several ours trying to get exchange 2007 to work on a MS 2008 r2 server I finally gave in and called Microsoft.  There answer was less a less than inspiring “no” exchange 2007 will NOT work with 2008R2 they recommended installing exchange 2010 instead … Blink … Blink. Um no thanks one bleeding edge product out less than 3 months is more than enough for me. Needless to say we wiped the box and started over with r1.

I was recently correct by a friend that Exchange 2007 without the service pack runs fine on 2008 r2, I would be remiss if I didn’t include that and he would be correct thanks Tom.

Flash drives the future of SAN

•June 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Flash drives bring a revolutionary level of disk technology. Because in a effect it is not a disk. They handle 2500 iops 30 times faster than a fiber channel SAS drive. Requires 98% less power, De-Duplication duplicates the bit level differential De Dup replication is 500 to 1.

The Evolving Data Center

•June 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Solutions in todays economy require addressing the issues and challenges of the data center as a whole. There is a unprecedented amount of collaboration between vendors in a effort to provide packaged solutions. Still challenges exist such as the fact that 50% of Enterprise class data centers will be obsolete within 24 months. 15-25% of servers are underutilized. So how do we address these issues? The common phrase used is Datacenter 3.0 it is the ERA of virtualization less hardware, faster provisioning, Less power, less cooling, and less underutilized resources. Less is more, more control, more redundancy, more reachable goals and attainable deliverables.
Intel servers typically run between 5-15% wasting 80% of their CPU power. Data center ready real estate is at a premium. Data in the average data center is expected to grow 10X over the next 5 years. Consolidation and virtualization driving higher bandwidth requirements in the data center, WAN continues to be the performance bottle neck for consolidation. Providing reliable power, cooling for higher and higher cabinet load densities. Insufficient data center space.

Cisco Vmware Green sustainable IT conference

•June 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

New Cisco IPS now has a impressive reputation list filter. Reputation stops 10-25% of attackers. Unkown attackers that are stopped at the IPS have their info forwarded to Cisco to add them to the reputation filter.

Botnet traffic Filter: Detects infected client devices by monitoring bot activities. Facebook is largest spreader of current Botnets. If Bot tries to send info to someone on the reputation filter the bot is automatically trapped and removed.

I/O Wars performance vs disk space

•May 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

One of the things that cause the greatest amoutn of issues in SAN performance especially in the virtual space is of course lack of IO availability. That is to say IO issues with either reading data or writing it. The problem comes in when the idea of disk space vs disk utilization (performance) rears its ugly head, The problem is a understandable one A department lets say purchases 2 TB of disk space with the idea that this will be enough to accomodate their data as a raid 5 volume. The problem comes it when you ask the following questions.

1. What disk group will this go into?

As a standard storage best practice there should always be at least three disk groups. What the breakout of these disk groups does is create buffered sections of disk that are not being tapped polled or affected in any way at the SAN level. This means high IO and threshold maximization on on disk group will not leave the others out to dry. 

2. What will the VM guests be used for? 

A VM that is a functioning as a IIS server will probably not have the same I/O load as the database server on the back end or worse a MS Exchange server which is constantly sending or recieving mail.

So what do you do if you are faced with a application server or database server that is going to be a I/O hog? This is where breaking out your disk groups comes into play. One disk group is made into a raid ten disk group using up four or more of your disks. This storage group is where your SQL, Exchange  or app, transaction logs will go as well as any other drive that you think may be capable of generating high usage.

The other disk group will be where the base OS disk and non Intensive disks such as data stores or data drives in SQL. these can be left on a standard raid five configuration.

3. Raw data Mappings or Vmdk? 

No one will argue that is exceptionally neat to have everything one a drive in one file and be able to make VMware shots on the fly. But when you are dealing with mission critical servers that need performance you need to make the hard choices and one of those is Raw data mappings This means of course that the disk is carved out and presnted to the VM as if it was a LUN being presented to physical sever. there are of course ups and downs to this Idea one being that you instantly loose the portability that you gain using VMware tools such as storage vmotion a feature I have used to move vm’s off one old failing cluster to another almost seemlesly

What you gain though is that you have removed on layer of complexity in server performance issues in this scenario VMware itself is no longer a factor for these disks.

Next post will discuss Still having issues?

Is Dell enterprise level?

•May 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I realize this is a much debated topic to sum but not so much to others, A year ago I had the oppertunity to work with dell’s new 4 Proc offering the R900, This was their first foray into the world of quad processor servers in a while and I was interested in seeing if they had learned from their previous mistakes, sadly they did not. Although they were given four quad core processors and 128 gig of ram the difference in performance between the dual Processor quad cores with 64 gig of ram was not as significant as advertised we ran into a ceiling of 54 vms on the r900’s but the ceiling for the 2970’s were at 44. No what you would expect from a server with supposedly twice the computing power as the other. It was baffling and very disappointing.  Dells 2970 series performs as well as expected with the exception of their rate of hardware failure. Three months after purchase 8 of 40 host suffered significant hardware issues and required replacement parts, replacement parts that when they had arrived we were shocked to discover had already been used.

Their response was the refurbished parts were perfectly acceptable replacement parts. Our retort was that some of the “refurbish” did not work after they were installed by the Dell technician. And yes we had platinum support.   In conclusion I feel as well as my colleagues, is Dell enterprise ready? The answer is a resounding no!