PernixData FVP in the Home Lab Part 3. (SUCCESS)

I must admit that I think I have made quite a few mistakes in this Install.

I was told that 6.0 is not supported by PernixData yet, but it has been known to work. So I installed a 5.5 VCSA instead, and voila it joined my AD without any problems that the 6.0 had. (Guess I need to try the 6.0 VCSA again).  Then Uninstalled and Reinstalled the PernixData Management Software, and still no plugin showed up. My friend @FrankBrix told me to look at the log files of the FVP software, and yes it would obviously there. The logfiles clearly showed that the software couldn’t connect to the SQL server, and I Discovered I had entered the wrong password!. One thing there, I do think the Installed could have checked that instead of just writing it to a config file. After correcting that, the FVP plugin worked on 5.5.

I thought that I would give 6.0 a shot again before configuring anything in FVP, and I could also get the FVP plugin to the 6.0 vCenter. However it kept giving me authentication errors, each time I tried anything with FVP. So I went back to 5.5 (now my vCenter install) and followed the guide to create an FVP cluster. After that I tried to add resources to my cluster, but it kept saying that “No PernixData compatible hosts have been detected…” So I double checked that the VIB was actually installed and I tried rebooting the ESXi, but to no avail.

Again @FrankBrix to the rescue. We setup a WebEx and in like 30 seconds after he took over my screen he had solved my problem. After reinstalling and creating datacenters and clusters 4 times, the last time I had accidently forgotten to put my host INTO the cluster. No wonder FVP couldnt get any hosts.

With that fixed PernixData started its magic. And WOW I must say, I can already feel a big difference from the last days without caching, and I’m looking forward to seeing the write Cache in action once I get all my machines up to speed again.

And damn here 1½ hours after it was created look at these stats

FVP in action

57.000 IOPS saved from my small little 4 disk Synology, no wonder I can feel a big difference.

FVP Latency

And the Latency really has gotten down as well. you can see a Big spike at around 10:22PM from the datastore, but the VM never saw it. And this is from a single cheap Kingston SSD. Will have to try this out in a heavier environment than my homelab sometime soon. I will post more stats when this has been running for some time.

Once again a big thanks to @frankbrix for the help.


Using vCenter Operations Manager to help in performance testing Part II

Just a quick follow-up post on how things went after the last post about this topic

So after finding that scaling the webservers up wasn’t the solution to the problems we experienced with the webservers, we started to look elsewhere, and actually found that a load balancer that was set to do round-robin load balancing instead of least used, caused all the hiccups. Once that was changed we started hitting the limits on bandwidth instead.

And may 14th the website was actually launched, and there hasn’t been any stress at all on the infrastructure since launch.

Here is a shot of how everything looks after launch.

Demand - Usage - Core Util 22 maj

The spikes around may 1st. is due to us stress testing the system before launch. And there is a tiny little spike on may 14th when the website went live. And there hasn’t even been anything that vCops found to be outside normal (no yellow boxes) after the website was launched.

Overall I’m really pleased with the fact that vCenter Operations Manager stores your performance stats for you to review at your pleasure, and the amounts of metrics you can pull out of the system is really amazing.


VMware Design Workshop

I’ve just spend 3 days at Arrow ECS attending this course. It was taught by Alistair Sutherland, and I must say I was very impressed by it.

The main goal of this course, by my guess, was to make us question our design choices, and be able to defend every choice we made. This was done by teaching us a methodology, that can actually be used on other things than VMware design.

In short this was AMPRSC, Availability, Manageability, Performance, Recoverability, Security and Cost. And if you rate each design choice by this its easy to do comparison.

An example could be dvSwitches. Going through AMPRSC we could rate this as

  • Availability could decrease a bit as a single error could tear down the entire dvSwitch.
  • Manageability would increase a lot due to only 1 place to manage your switch, and the more hosts you have the more this increases.
  • Performance I would rate as neutral
  • Recoverability would be positive as you’re able to back up and restore dvSwitch configurations.
  • Security I would also rate as neutral
  • Cost would be negative as this needs an E+ license.

If you then also document your assumptions all the time, in this case it could be that the costumer already had E+ licenses, then the choice becomes clear.

This also means that when someone reviews your design document 6 months from now, and asks “Why on earth did you do that!?!?”, you can easily point to your rationale for choosing something.

One other thing that set this course apart from any other VMware course I’ve taken is the Lab Exercises. Instead of each student sitting by himself and solving labs on his or her computer, we were split up into 2 teams and given a scenario and told to do their design for example on storage. So we went through the AMPRSC cycle for each choice we made in designing the storage for that scenario. When completed 1 team presented their design to the other team, who then challenged the decisions that had been made. Through the 3 days the teams got very good at defending their choices.

This is a very good course to take, especially if your job includes designing solutions for costumers. Even I as an internal IT-Architect had great benefit from this course, and i would give it my recommendations.