I have been revisiting my work towards some advanced datacenter certifications and decided to journal some of the thoughts I have during the process. After a 3 year break I decided it was time to start pushing toward some of these goals.
This may sound eerily similar to something I have said before. It is a constant fight in the infrastructure technology field to get so weighed down by speeds and feeds and features. You begin to lose sight as to why you actually put servers, switches, storage and software together in the first place. While looking at the requirements guide for the VCAP-DCD the very first thing that is mentioned is getting the business requirements. How do I actually do that? What does the business actually require?
- Know what the applications actually do.
Ask! What does this Microsoft SQL database do? How does email relate to our business doing deals? Find out how money goes in and out of the business. How does your company pay bills? How do you charge for whatever it is you produce? How do the MBA types make decisions about who, what, when, where and why for your business? In IT we often get so involved in rolling out a new widget from vendor X, Y and Z we often don’t realize what is the purpose to the business. Understand this from a high level first.
- Map technology to the impact on the business.
Who cares if I can do a million IOPS if all I do is check email all day? How do I consolidate servers with no plan on how they impact the bottom line? How do I provide cloud like capabilities if no one really needs them? So start to map the capabilities to the benefits to the business. If the decisions being made can be done with data that is 5 minutes old instead of a 24 hours how can that change the landscape of your business? Does this give an advantage over competitors?
- Know something about the Apps.
If your answer is I don’t know how are business runs or anything about SQL or Oracle I just make empty VM’s for people to put the apps on. I make sure they turn on and I move them around when they need performance or more capacity. Guess what? Those functions can be done by VMware Orchestrator. If you don’t know why you put 4 vCPU’s on a SQL VM because the batch jobs don’t ever use more than that and why, you need to learn. If you need tools to decipher the differences then get them. At least get the trial versions so you can see what happens. Get close to the queries that run at night. Do you know if they are CPU, Memory or Storage bound? Find out. Get off of reddit and check it out. Do you know if you put in faster servers will the app improve in a way that makes things better for business? Are you really going to gamble your budget on marginal improvements?
Can you connect how all of these things relate and benefit the business?
Just some small things I have been thinking about. In my job it is a constant temptation to push how many IOPS you can do with this thing or that. When I need to say “what process needs the performance? If that process is faster AND you get additional benefits of data reduction, floor tile reduction, power usage reduction what will it mean to your business users?”
I was assisting one of my local team members the other day with sizing a VM for Microsoft SQL. I usually always fall back to this guide from VMware. So I started out with the basic seperation of Data and Logs and TempDB.
Make it look like this:
VM Disk Layout
LSI SCSI Adapter
C: – Windows
Paravirtual SCSI Adapter
D: – Logs
E: – Data
F: – TempDB
Which is pretty standard. Then someone said, “Why do we need to do that?” I thought for a second or five. Why DO we need to do that? I knew the answer in the old school. Certain raid types were awesomer at the types of data written by the different parts of the SQL Database. We are in a total post-spindle count world. No Spindles Bro! So what are some reasons to still do it this way for an All Flash Array?
1. Disk Queues
I think of these like torpedo tubes. The more tubes the less people are waiting in line to load torpedoes. You can fire more, so to speak. Just make sure the array on the other end is able to keep up. Having 30 queues all going to one 2 Gbps Fiber Channel port would be no good. See number 3 for paths.
2. Logical Separation and OCD compliance (if using RDMs)
Don’t argue with the DBA. Just do it. If something horrifically bad happens the logs and data will be in different logical containers. So maybe that bad thing happens to one or the other, not both. I am not a proponent of RDM’s. SO much more to manage. If you can’t win or don’t want to fight that fight at least with RDM’s you will be able to label the LUN on the array “SQLSERVER10 Logs D” so you know the LUN matches to something in Windows. This also makes writing snapshot scripts much easier.
Each Datastore or RDM has its own paths, if you are using Round Robin (recommended for Pure Flash Array) more IO on more paths equals better usage of the iSCSI or FC interconnects. If you put it all on one LUN, you only get those queues (see #1) and those paths. Remember do what you can to limit waiting.
Am I going down the right path? How does this make it easier? Are there other reasons to separate the logs and data for a database other than making sure the Raid 10 flux capacitor is set correctly for 8k sequential writes? I don’t want to worry about that anymore. Pretty sure plenty other VM Admins and DBA’s don’t either.
For me a good exercise in questioning why I did things one way and if I should still do them this way now.
Thought that after 2 weeks I would put it on my blog. It is long past official as I have already done “New Hire” and I am officially part of the Puritan family. My Orange pants are on order. One thing I am excited about is getting to install the array for my customers. Not just talking about how awesome it is but getting to see it. This should definitely inspire blog posts to share what I learn along the way.
I know many people probably already knew this, but someday I would like my blog to be a FLASH of the progression through my career.
My planing for VMworld in Barcelona began right after Speed 2 Lead Megalaunch from EMC. First came the meetings about who should be staffing the booth. In years past EMC would staff the booth with mainly BU (business unit) experts. Great people, but this really made for a product centric style in the booth. Some vSpecialists would be floating around the booth having conversations that usually spanned across multiple EMC business units. (example: How do I configure iSCSI multipathing for VNX while backing up with Avamar and Data Domain?) This year our goal was to flip it around. Where there would be mainly pre-sales people that loved VMware and EMC together. Complimented by a few experts from the BU’s to answer the deepest of questions.
We found this worked great in San Francisco so it is back again. With all new specialists from the EMEA region. These awesome Advanced Software SE’ and vSpecialists will be able to lead conversations on:
- SDDC (Software Defined Datacenter)
- SDS (Software-defined Storage)
- Mission Critical Applications (and how to virtualize them)
- Management and Orchestration
- End User Computing
- Trusted IT
- Tech Previews (Next Generation type things)
After getting all the right people in place came the time to get all the right demos. While some of the demos are the same from San Francisco, expect to see a some really cool new things.
None of this would have worked without the help of several AWESOME people. Jim Sanzone and Paul Manning are amazing guys to work with and it is a pleasure to learn from you two.
Make sure to come see me and my friends in the EMC booth. It should not be hard to find.
As an add on project I will be participating with the EMCElect to he curate things at the show.
I didn’t get a chance to post this to the blog earlier this week. I wanted to share a demo I worked on this week showing how to install the new Web Client based Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI). We all know that the windows only client is in its last days (lived about a year too long in my opinion). So the new plugin to provision storage for the vSphere admin is a welcome addition. This very first version supports storage that is being Softwared-defined via ViPR.
Watch Full screen to see it better.
VSI is no extra charge and you can download if you have a valid EMC support contract from http://support.emc.com