This week I am at San Francisco for VMworld 2015. This is my first time at VMworld, and I am really enjoying the event. This past Sunday we had a really busy and long day. The day started with a nice breakfast at Mel’s, thanks to Simplivity for picking up the tab. Then I continued my day with some Best Practices, I try to stay away from marketing sessions as much as possible. My first stop was at session #PAR6421, Best Practices for Deploying IaaS with vCloud Suite and vRealize Automation. The session discussion was around Process, Architecture, Backup, and Upgrading. The basic idea is not too different than any other consulting engagement. The first and most important advice is to ask the customer what is it that they want, then design for that aligning your solution and products with those needs. For automation, is important to understand the day to day tasks of the administrator, and try to automate those first. Pay attention to repetitive tasks, automating those will lower the errors due to a manual process. The basic idea here is to understand the processes and make sure that these processes are good, it is a huge mistake to automate a bad process (garbage in, garbage out).
For the architecture part, make sure that you are using the reference architecture documents and identify the kind of use or expected functionality from the system. If the client is expecting to use HA and a system that can’t go down or have downtime, then choose the appropriate reference architecture for this (medium). If the client can handle an RTO of 24 hours, then you can be confident that the small core reference architecture will be enough.
I am not ging to discuss backup in depth because it follows common sense, like backing up everything after the installation, but before the actual customization begins. Also make sure that a backup is consistent across the platform, don’t backup one part now, and wait 20 minutes to backup another.
In terms of upgrading, if you are in version 5.x there is not a direct path upgrade, it would require a new installation and then a migration. Keep in mind that customizations might not carry on with the upgrade.
Moving on to the general session, we find the theme of magic phrase for VMworld, One Cloud, any application, any device. The concept of Hybrid Applications comes up and we go back to old catch phrases like The network is the computer (how I miss Sun Micro), but now the application is the network. The software is the wine and the hardware is the bottle.
Next I go across the street for the VMundergriund panels, I realize that is much more interesting to sit down and listen to a panel of experts talk about relevant topics than sit down and watch powerpoints for an hour. Anyway, it was nice to see Duncan in a 30-minute talk about VSAN use cases, then also later at the Solution Exchange see him talking about it again.
The real deal came at the Mark “A” session, on maximizing vSphere performance, here are some bullet points that might help:
- Use Chrome as your web browser to connect to the vSphere Web client.
- Install your vCenter close to its DB and in a TIER 1 storage.
- Don’t change statistics levels in the vCenter, they are useless anyway,
- Check you Java Virtual Machine size (previous to 6) KB2021302
- Rightsize, not oversize and never undersize.
- Don’t Use vCPU hot add, it will disable vNUMA
- Select High performance in the BIOS
- Always enable Hyper threading
- Use the latest Virtual Machine hardware.
- Keep VM tools updated (this one is mine)
- Use vmxnet3
- Disable Interrupt Coalescing
- Use Jumbo Frames for thing like the iSCSI.
- Use multiple vSCSI adapters
- Don’t use RDM’s
At this point, I started being lazy and started using my phone as my documentation tool. Here is a picture of the performance for virtualized DB’s best practices
Finally, the best advice when troubleshooting performance is to know the key performance indicators and define the acceptable values, in other words, don’t accept a performance problem with a vague or subjective description. At the end of the day, we crashed into the VMunderground party for some more networking and socializing.