Friday, 23 August 2013

VMworld Barcelona Schedule

I've finished (I think) scheduling my VMworld Barcelona trip so I thought I'd post it up.  I'm hoping there will be a vExpert and / or vBeers meetup on one of the evenings but so far it's looking pretty stacked:


If anyone fancies meeting up on any of the evenings then get in touch.

Friday, 16 August 2013

PernixData and their new FVP Technology

There has been quite a buzz around PernixData and their new FVP technology after they came out of stealth mode a while back.  Just this week they went GA with FVP 1.0 and I was finally able to get my hands on the 60 day free trial.  So, exactly what is FVP and what does it do?  FVP basically improves read and write performance for virtual machines by using SSD's in your ESXi hosts to cache the data for subsequent reads and de-stages to your storage for writes.  The software can be made fully redundant in the event of a host going down to ensure all data is consistent and written to back end storage.  Frank Denneman (blog / twitter)  has some great posts on how the technology works from the backend.  What I wanted to do was put it to the test to see what sort of results I received from my home lab.

Installation

Installation was pretty straight forward.  There is an .exe for the management server which I installed on a separate Windows 2012 server and a host extension package which needs to be installed on the ESXi hosts.  A back end SQL database is required but SQL Express is more than adequate.  The installation guide that comes with the software is very thorough and walks you through all the steps.  Once all the software has been installed and the management software has been configured to talk to your vCenter server then you simply install the plugin and a new PernixData tab is available within vCenter

Configuration

Configuration is very simple as well and Jason Nash (blog / twitter) has an excellent post and video which I recommend you watch as it shows you how to configure your first FVP cluster and start viewing the results.

Results

I've had FVP running in my lab for just over a day and the results speak for themselves


I've configured my FVP Cluster in write back mode which caches reads but also writes directly to the SSD without it having to wait for the the underlying storage to acknowledge the write and then de-stages the data through time


I'll write a bit more about it once I've had it running in the lab for a few more days but so far I'm extremely impressed with the software.  If you have a homelab and a few spare SSD's I recommend you give it a try. Now all we need is for PernixData to give vEXPERTS a few NFR licenses for home use.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Home Lab Upgrade - More Power!!!!

Recently I've been struggling to run more and more workloads so I decided it was time to upgrade my trusty lab to something with a bit more power.  I've had my current lab for well over a year and it has served it's purpose extremely well.  With the very generous vEXPERT licenses provided by VMware I've wanted to play around with vCloud Director and Horizon for a while now but obviously lacked the horse power to run these.  My current lab consisted of the following:

  • 3 x HP Microserver N36L (8GB Ram Each)
  • 1 x RouterBOARD RB751
  • 1 x Linksys SRW2016 16 Gigabit Switch
  • 1 x Synology DS412+ (4 x Crucial m4 256GB Sata 3 SSD)

After weighing up different options I finally decided on the HP ML310e G8 due to the following:

  • Lower power utilization
  • Dual onboard gigabit Nics (With shared ilo)
  • Ability to support 32GB Ram

The idea was to replace the 3 x Microservers with 2 x ML310e's and replace two of the 256GB SSD's in the DS412+ with 2 X 1TB drives and add the SSD's into the hosts.  Both hosts would be loaded up with 32GB ram and I've keet the 500GB drives that they came with as additional storage if needed.

So, what does the lab look like now and how much power does it consume:


Power consumption varies between 180w and 200w (Includes hosts, switch, routers, NAS, Cable modem and an IP Phone) which is pretty much what the Microservers were taking so I've very happy with the outcome.