VMworld 2010: TA8133 Best practices to increase availability and throughput for VMware

This session was very popular. The hall was completly full with I guess 600 seats occupied. Co-presented by Chad Sakac of EMC and Vaughn Stewart of NetApp. Chad has one of the best if not the best website on storage called Virtual Geek http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/. Vaughn has a website called the Virtual Storage Guy at http://blogs.netapp.com/virtualstorageguy/ Both sites deserve to be bookmarked for ever or to be added to your RSS-feeds.

The presentation was quite funny. Chad and Vaughn call themselves frenemies, friends and enemies at the same time. It was clear they are good friends even working for competing companies. They explained FiberChannel, iSCSI and NFS are all three good solutions. Just pick the one you are most comfortable with or which suits your budget and demands best.

I guess the most important lesson in this presentation was aligment. It has been said and written about many times. Make sure your datastores are aligned with the underlying storage and that the virtual machine disk files are aligned with the  datastore. If a VMFS datastore is created using vSphere Client it is aligned automatically. Windows Server 2008 aligns automatically as well, older operating systems do not.

If you know thst virtualization will cost around 10 to 30% of performance compared to physical servers a lot of people will reconsider virtualization. But for storage they seems to less care. In fact not aligning will cost in worse case 10 to 30 % of storage performance. Using tools like diskpart aligment can be done.
When performing physical to virtual (P2V) conversions make sure the tool you are using aligns properly. Most free tools do not align. PlateSpin Migrate for example aligns the virtuals disk of the vitual machines. More on alignment here http://vmtoday.com/2010/06/storage-basics-part-vii-storage-alignment/ and here https://up2v.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/platespin-migrate-best-practises/

Chad and Vaughn talked about MPIO and settings like round robin and MRU. Also Asymmetric logical unit access (ALUA) was mentioned. Make sure you know what this does!
Interesting enough and opposite I always believed was that the use of Jumbo Frames does not matter much in performance benefit. Chad and Vaughn advised not to use it. For Jumbo Frames to be effective you will need the network adapter, switch and storage array.

As a frequent reader of the blogs of Chad and Vaughn I did not learn much new during this session but I think a lot of others did.

The PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded here http://www.google.nl/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=7&ved=0CDoQFjAG&url=ftp%3A%2F%2Fftp.documentum.com%2Fvmwarechampion%2FEvents%2FVMworld%2FVMworld_2010%2FAmericas%2FTA8133_Sakac_Stewart%2Ffinal%2520content%2FTA8133_Sakac_Stewart_Final.pptx&ei=x1rETKDcGYeWOtjn7PQL&usg=AFQjCNE4RgEMKmNhhdt2Iyp87Z-3d3NkMw

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About Marcel van den Berg
I am a technical consultant with a strong focus on server virtualization, desktop virtualization, cloud computing and business continuity/disaster recovery.

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