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Entries in VMWORLD (7)


#vBrisket Meat Up

Our fellow virtualization community friends over at #vBrisket are doing a cross-country road trip to VMworld US 2016, from Chicago to Las Vegas. One of their stops is in Kansas City, on Wednesday, August 24th.

The timing is a bit fluid—it’ll depend on when the bus arrives from Chicago in the early evening—but the plan is for a “meat up” for the travellers to sample some award-winning bar-b-que at The Woodyard BBQ in KCKS, and anyone from the KC metro area is invited to join in the fun…

If you’re interested, register here: Kansas City Meat-up

Hope to see you there!!!


VMworld 2012 Registration is OPEN

Registration is now open for the San Francisco-hosted conference.

VMUG members holding Advantage subscriptions will receive a $100 discount on top of selected other discounts (eg, Alumni).

Most of the leadership for the KC VMUG will be attending the show, so you can expect the October meeting to be full of information and stories if you aren’t able to attend.


Registration Open for 22-Sept-2011 Meeting

With all the chaos of going to Las Vegas for VMworld, your leaders at the KC VMUG did the unthinkable: we forgot to get the registration page opened for the next meeting!

That’s been corrected, and you can register now. We meet at Boulevard Brewing Company’s Muehlbach Suite, and we kick it all off at 1:30pm with “vBeers with vBen,” an open discussion session primarily aimed at new users, but everyone is invited.

The agenda includes a presentation from EMC’s backup team on leveraging “changed block tracking” to supercharge your VM backup scheme.

We’ll also have a rundown of VMware’s recent announcements, directions and a recap of other cool bits from VMworld 2011.

See you there!


VMworld 2011 session: VSP1823, Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler

DRS—Distributed Resource Scheduler—for VM workloads has been a part of VMware since VI3. The concept is that vCenter can evaluate the utilization of the compute and memory resource consumption for each host in a cluster (with DRS enabled). Based on policies you set, DRS can automatically initiate vMotion to migrate VMs to balance the workload across hosts in the cluster or evacuate guests from a host in order to place it into standby.

Storage DRS (sDRS) is one of the new features added to vSphere 5 Enterprise Plus, and its impact on storage utilization should be just as ground-breaking as it’s predecessor, Host DRS (hDRS).

I attended the breakout VSP1823/sDRS by Manish Lohani and Anne Holler, VMware Product Manager and Engineering, respectively.

As one might expect, sDRS is the logical product of Storage vMotion under the control of DRS. In conjunction with SIOC (storage I/O control)—which helps to throttle the storage access within the confines of a single datastore—sDRS takes historical and instantaneous data on storage performance and redistributes VMDKs for a VM to different datastores within a storage cluster.

The sDRS product team started with a basic problem statement: storage placement is not automated. This applies for both VM creation as well as VM growth. In summary, sDRS intends to solve the following three problems that otherwise must be managed manually.

  • VMDK Placement
  • Avoiding out-of-space conditions
  • I/O load balancing

In a well-balanced cluster and storage environment, it’s possible to create a new workload on a datastore that then causes that datastore to become a performance bottleneck. Other than removing the offending workload completely, the administrator must determine the new location for the load without merely tranferring the problem along with the VMDKs. Today, that process can be trial-and-error, or the use of such over-powered datastores that one never gets into the problem in the first place.

Further, a cluster & storage that is well-balanced today may become unbalanced through utilization, when no new workloads have been added to the system.

Finally, I/O load patterns may be “bursty” or otherwise cyclic; without a history, a datastore could be performing acceptably when administrators are making storage decisions, while peak utilization could make the performance of the datastore unacceptable.

In order to perform its magic, sDRS introduces “datastore cluster” as a new management object. Like a host cluster, multiple datastores can be added to a cluster that is then managed by vCenter as a single resource pool. For that reason, clusters you create should be comprised of similar-performing datastores; in the hDRS analogy, you don’t put dissimilar hosts (e.g. Intel & AMD based systems) together in a host cluster.

The relationship between host clusters and storage clusters is many-to-many; the boundaries for both are the vCenter instance. Ideally, the configuration would include fully-connected hosts and datastores, but it is not a requirement; sDRS “understands” the partially-connected environment, however, and takes that into account when making recommendations.

In almost every other way, sDRS is equivalent to hDRS:

  • Affinity rules for maintaining two (or more) VMDKs on the same datastore.
  • Anti-affinity rules for separating two (or more) VMDKs across different datastores in the cluster.
  • Maintenance mode on a member datastore will cause sDRS to evacuate the VMDKs to other datastores in the cluster.

Unlike hDRS, the creation of a VM on sDRS-enabled datastores offers a wealth of options for suggesting a target for VMDKs, all of which can be overridden.

Another way that sDRS differs from hDRS is the way the automation is “tuned”; with hDRS, the administrator has a setting for “how aggressive” it will manage the load on the hosts. sDRS gives more granular controls than hDRS with it’s “stars rating”.

Finally, sDRS differs from hDRS by defaulting to non-automatic operations, where hDRS defaults to “full auto.” In fact, automation is actively discouraged for certain types of SAN environments; environments where optimization and load balancing are done “in the background” (e.g., EMC FAST or Equallogic multi-member storage pools).

And, as one might expect, the implementation of sDRS means a number of new managemet views and performance graphs have been added to vCenter.


Guest Post: Traveling to Conferences

In the IT field, continuing education is critical to both personal and professional success; professional success should also translate into success for the businesses for which we work. Education can come in many forms, from reading books and trade magazines to attending classes and seminars. Doing any of these things on-line is fine; getting out of the office and sitting down next to your peers adds the additional benefit of connecting you with folks who may be struggling with the same challenges as you. You may also find that you are doing the helping, instead of being helped.

Attending a good conference is a way to get a concentrated dose of seminars and classes with a chaser of networking thrown in for good measure. And traveling out-of-town gives you the additional opportunity to set aside your normal routine and get immersed in the environs.

I typically budget for a couple of conferences each year, and I’ve been going to the same ones for a while. Contrary to any belief that “the same old stuff” is presented at annual meetings, the ones I’ve attended have updated, fresh things to learn every time; and as a bonus, I tend to see the same folks coming back, year after year. Not only does that make for great networking and friendships, it helps validate that the conference is a good one.

VMworld is one of those conferences, and I’m back for my fourth year.

It’s early yet for the schedule as I write this post; registration isn’t open for another 7 hours. But in the 14+ hours that I’ve already been here, I’ve reconnected with guys I’ve known for a while and met a bunch of cool, new folks who share my passion for IT and VMware. I’ve already learned some things, too.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’m here for the tech. But in the course of relaxing before the business of the conference gets going, I joined a number of fellow attendees at a sushi bar. For the folks that know me, I’m sure you’re surprised. I’m a straight-up steak-and-potatoes kind of guy, and the thought of eating little bits of raw fish and seaweed is kind of nauseating.

So I followed my own advice: when you get out for a conference, you set aside the routine and push yourself to learn something new.

As it turns out, I learned that sushi isn’t all bad; in fact, the “spicy tuna” was pretty darned good.

So this conference is off to an auspicious beginning: my travel wasn’t marred by weather problems (my condolences to all those folks affected by Irene!), and I’ve learned something that I’d have never learned had I skipped the conference and stayed home.

(In the spirit of full disclosure: after the sushi bar, I went to another restaurant and made a filling meal out of a more substantial dish.)

Jim Millard is a member of the KC VMUG Leadership team. You can follow his exploits in his blog or on twitter.