Atlanta VMUG Conference

On September 25th, the 2014 Atlanta VMUG User Conference will be here!! Make sure and register soon as this year is shaping up to be one the biggest and best in recent years!! 

A couple highlights you don't want to miss:

During the morning registration from 7:30 am - 8:30 am, Frank Denneman and I will be handing out the new vSphere Pocketbook 2.0 Blog Edition. We have limited quantity, so come early and get your FREE copy signed by Frank and myself.

Frank Denneman will also drop some knowledge from 2:00 - 2:40 pm - "Re-Thinking Storage Performance by Virtualizing Flash and RAM" 

Stop also by table #53 in the Exhibit Hall to meet the rest of our prestigious PernixData team!! We will have prizes and awesome give aways! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

QuadStor - An Update

It’s been awhile since I did a post on QuadStor, a now open source storage virtualization product. Since my last post, several new features and changes have been made to this unique storage product. 

QuadStor is now free and under the GPL v2 licensing. This opens up access to the product and allows more flexibility for those that want to use this in your home lab as an example! http://www.quadstor.com/open-source.html

QuadStor has also created a Google group for support questions that is monitored and supported by QuadStor support. They also have a paid support model as well, if interested! 

http://groups.google.com/group/quadstor-virt

 A couple notes that I found interesting. When installing Quadstor on a supported platform. (FreeBSD 8.2/9.0 release, RHEL/Centos 5.x/6.x, SLES 11 SP1/SP2, Debian squeeze 6.0x)

  • A resource recommendation is to add 2 GB of memory for every 1 TB of storage, or 4 VDisks, or 2 physical disks configured. Some of the reasoning behind this is that Quadstor assumes ownership of 80% of the total memory of the server. You have to keep this in mind, with regards to the base operating system requirements.
  • Storage pools are a new feature released in 3.0.5. Where different disks can be pooled together like a SSD pool for performance tiering!
  •  QuadStor does not do RAID management. If RAID is needed configure the RAID from the base system used.

I should also note, that I have tested QuadStor with PernixData in my virtual lab, where Pernix gave me the performance and QuadStor was my capacity and data service play!

Basic Primer: IOPS

If you are a Virtualization Admin then you most likely have had to get your feet wet when it came to learning the ever-expanding storage market. As the virtualization market has grown so has the amount of storage in the datacenter. This has put a renewed focus on understanding how storage operates in a virtualized cluster. 

In the past Memory and CPU has been something that most have gravitated toward when performance problems arose. While the ticking time bomb in the growth of the virtualized datacenter has been storage performance.

The goal of this post is to give a snapshot understanding why IOPs are one important metric to evaluate when looking at storage performance.

I’m not going to get into the detailed performance characteristics, as that’s not my intent of this post.

Basic Primer:

  • IOPS means: input/output operations per second (A way to measure storage performance on a disk, SAN, SSD, etc.)
  • As a general rule the higher IOPS the better or faster the storage is operating at.
  • The closer a disk is to CPU/Memory the faster the processing time. Network latency can be a huge factor in performance.
  • IOPs are not the only performance metric to look at: Throughput, and Latency is also very important and can affect performance. Best scenario is high IOPs, low latency and high throughput. 

One can classify the input or output operation as a chunk of data that needs to be written or read from disk. As an example, suppose an Exchange database needs to retrieve a list of mailbox objects (Get-MailboxDatabase). This transaction/workload requires information to be accessed from the disk/vmdk in the form of a set amount of inputs and outputs, which the CPU/Memory of the host system will process. How fast this happens is dependent on many things, but it can be measured through the number operations per second it takes for acknowledgement to the application.

This simple example hopefully gave you a better understanding of I/O and why it can be an area easily over looked in regards to application performance.

 If you would like to do a deep dive in understanding storage performance metrics, there is no need for me to recreate the wheel, as others have done an awesome job at telling this part of the story. 

http://www.petri.co.il/avoid-stroage-io-bottlenecks.htm

http://vmtoday.com/2009/12/storage-basics-part-ii-iops/

http://www.symantec.com/connect/articles/getting-hang-iops

http://storageioblog.com

 

 

 

Pernixdata - Solving the I/O Bottleneck

As some of you already know Pernixdata came out of stealth yesterday. I have been eagerly waiting for this time to share how I think Poojan Kumar (CEO) & Satyam Vaghani (CTO) and their great team plan to take the lead in a new market opportunity.

I have had the privilege and opportunity of testing the Flash Virtualization Platform from Pernixdata and I can honestly tell you that it works and it works well. The technology is truly revolutionary and thus plan to post several times over the coming weeks and months about this new innovation.

The best way to describe the “FVP –Flash Virtualization Platform” is to look at it from a data tier perspective instead of just a caching solution. It’s easy just to call it a caching solution, because there isn’t anything like it. Its the breadth of this new platform that masters the I/O workloads and commoditizes the use of Flash in compute. 

 

The I/O bottleneck between storage and compute has hampered the industry for sometime. This started to change when VMware released their VAAI API, but adoption was slow and expensive. Purchasing additional arrays was not the answer from a financial or technological perspective. There really needed to be a new technology to bring everything together. This is where Pernixdata comes in to play, solving the scale and performance problems that have plagued many in the industry. This is done without vendor lock in and architectural changes to the datacenter, saving organizations thousands of dollars.

To join the beta program, send an email request to beta@pernixdata.com

Congratulations Pernixdata for creating a solution for the SMB, and Enterprise market that solves a known virtualization/Cloud problem. 

The Power of "V"

I was recently reading something about the power of the "V" formation that migratory geese do when flying. There is a certain magical and scientific process that these birds have when flying in a "V" formation that we all can learn from. This made me think about the "V" that is ubiquitous when it comes to the Virtualization industry. We see this letter everywhere now, we put it in our twitter, blog, and product names. The question is to ask ourselves, do we really live up to the power of the "V"? In order to understand if we do or not, we need to look at why migratory geese fly in the "V" formation. 

  1. Flying in a "V" formation adds a greater flying range.
  2. When the lead bird gets tired, they rotate back and another bird takes the lead. 
  3. When a bird becomes sick or injured and falls out of the "V" formation, at least two birds will stay with him to help and protect. They actually stay with him until he can fly again or until he is dead. 
This process has leadership, teamwork, and synergy qualities that I think we can all learn from. My hope for the Virtualization industry in 2013 is to institute the power of "V" in my life, and be a model for others. 

 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! :)