FTfeature

Lab test: vSphere Fault Tolerance performance impact

Triggered by some feedback on the VMware reddit channel, I was wondering what is holding us back in adopting the vSphere Fault Tolerance (FT) feature. Comments on Reddit stated that although the increased availability is desirable, the performance impact is holding them back to actually use it in production environments.

Use cases for FT could be, according to the vSphere 6 documentation center:

  • Applications that need to be available at all times, especially those that have long-lasting client connections that users want to maintain during hardware failure.
  • Custom applications that have no other way of doing clustering or other forms of application resiliency.
  • Cases where high availability might be provided through custom clustering solutions, which are too complicated to configure and maintain.

However, the stated use cases only focus on availability and do not seem to incorporate a performance impact when enabling FT. Is there a sweet-spot for applications that do need high resiliency, but do not require immense performance and could coop with a latency impact due to FT? It really depends on the application workload. A SQL server typically generates more FT traffic then for instance a webserver that primarily transmits. So the impact of enabling FT will impact some workloads more then other.

Requirements

Since the introduction of vSphere 6: Multi-Processor Fault Tolerance (SMP-FT), the requirements for FT are a bit more flexible. The compute maximums for a FT enabled VM are 4 vCPUs and 64GB memory. The use of eager zero thick disks is no longer a requirement. So thin, lazy zeroed thick and eager zero thick provisioned disks are all supported in SMP-FT!
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Niels Hagoort
I am a virtualization enthusiast with a love for virtual datacenters! About 15 years of experience in IT. VMware VCDX #212. Working at YaWorks as a Sr. Virtualization Consultant.

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vmworld2016feature

Our VMworld 2016 session (#8430)

Oh how do I look forward to VMworld 2016!! Once more I’m able to visit both VMworld US in Las Vegas and VMworld EMEA in Barcelona. This year it’s not all about listening and peering though as I am presenting together with the one and only Frank Denneman!

Next to the fact that presenting at VMworld will be an awesome experience, it’ll also be good to already convey some thoughts & content from our upcoming book in our VMworld session!!

vmworldvegas

Our VMworld session

It is difficult to get a VMworld session accepted. If I remember correctly, there were 1550+ abstracts submitted and only 611 made it into the catalog.  Setting up a good abstract is critical, so I figured it might help to share our submitted abstract. Still, I’m pretty sure even very good abstracts/sessions were rejected which is a shame. I sincerely hope we still get to see this content at your local VMUG or in a vBrownBag TechTalk at VMworld US or EMEA.

Our submitted abstract:
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Niels Hagoort
I am a virtualization enthusiast with a love for virtual datacenters! About 15 years of experience in IT. VMware VCDX #212. Working at YaWorks as a Sr. Virtualization Consultant.

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vmce-feature

My VMCE v9 experience

As I am currently working on an Veeam implementation in a large Hyper-V environment, I decided to update my knowledge by following the Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE) Certification v9 training (Link) and subsequently take the exam to become certified. I also hoped to especially learn more about Veeam on Hyper-V, because my experience with that is very little in comparison with Veeam on VMware.

vmce_logo

This short article gives a short overview of my VMCE experience, some tips on great information to pass the exam and some ramblings about what I think could be improved.

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Robert Verdam
My main focus is infrastructure (Storage, Networking and Computing), but I'm also very interested in designing and implementing VDI and Server Based Computing-environments.

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LEinterviewseries-feature

Interview Series: Rutger Vossebeld

Meet our next participant in the Cloudfix Interview Series! Enjoy the read, feedback is always welcome!!


rutgervossebeld

Full Name:Rutger Vossebeld
Company:Sioux-CCM
Twitter:@rutgervossebeld
LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/rutgervossebeld

 

 


Questions

Who is Rutger Vossebeld?

I have started my IT career in 1995 configuring and building Novell 2.x, 3.x and 4.x networks, for a company in Boxtel with customers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. After 2 years I decided to switch jobs and started at Sioux-CCM in Nuenen with a project to migrate the Novel 3.12 servers to a Windows NT4 environment.

Between 1997 and 2015 I have implemented several Microsoft server applications, VMware, Citrix, Juniper and Checkpoint solutions in our network infrastructure. In addition to server side applications I manage a PDM application Team center that maintains CAD data for the Siemens NX application which is used in at Sioux-CCM.


Can you tell us something about your employer/company?

CCM is a company founded in 1969 by Professor Alexandre Horowitz, and specialized in developing high tech mechatronic products and production systems for our customers. We are facilitated to complete an entire project, including design, realization and integration. This is done with about 100 employees in a village called Nuenen nearby Eindhoven.

CCM is since 2014 part of the Sioux Group.

Can you describe your IT infrastructure in short?

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vote2016feature

Top vBlog & VMworld session voting

It is that time of the year again! The annual top vBlog 2016 voting is open to show your appreciation for all the virtualization bloggers out there. I hope we at Cloudfix have created enough useful and diverse content in order to earn your vote. We sure love what we do, and we will strive to have another successful year of writing interesting blogs.

So click here to start your voting survey which will only takes a few moments. A big shout-out goes out to vSphere-land.com / Eric Siebert and sponsor VMturbo for making it all happen!

If you are willing to vote for us, we are listed in the main voting on the left side (blogs are listed in alphabetical order) and in the independent blogger section.

votevblog2016


In other news, the content catalog for the upcoming VMworld 2016 in Las Vegas is live! Make sure to check it out here! While doing so, it is also possible to cast your vote for your favorite sessions.

Our session (I will be speaking alongside Frank Denneman) is included in the catalog:

votesession2016

 

Thank you in advance for considering us!!

 

 

Niels Hagoort
I am a virtualization enthusiast with a love for virtual datacenters! About 15 years of experience in IT. VMware VCDX #212. Working at YaWorks as a Sr. Virtualization Consultant.

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jumboframesfeature

Jumbo frames and the risks involved

Even though the jumbo frame and the possible gain and risk trade-offs discussion is not new, we found ourselves discussing it yet again. Because we had different opinions, it seems like a good idea to elaborate on this topic.

Let’s have a quick recap on what jumbo frames actually are. Your default MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) for a ethernet frame is 1500. A MTU of 9000 is referred to as a jumbo frame.

Jumbo frames or 9000-byte payload frames have the potential to reduce overheads and CPU cycles.

Typically, jumbo frames are considered for IP storage networks or vMotion networks. A lot of performance benchmarking is already described on the web. It is funny to see a variety of opinions whether to adopt jumbo frames or not. Check this blogpost and this blogpost on jumbo frames performance compared to a standard MTU size. The discussion if ‘jumbo frames provide a significant performance advantage’ is still up in the air.

There are other techniques to improve network throughput and lower CPU utilization next to jumbo frames. A modern NIC will support the Large Segment Offload (LSO) and Large Receive Offload (LRO) offloading mechanisms. Note: LSO is also referenced as TSO (TCP Segmentation Offload). Both are configurable. LSO/TSO is enabled by default if the used NIC hardware supports it. LRO is enabled by default when using VMXNET virtual machine adapters.

Risks?

Let’s put the performance aspects aside, and let us look into the possible risks involved when implementing jumbo frames. The thing is, in order to be effective, jumbo frames must be enabled end to end in the network path. The main risk when adopting jumbo frames, is that if one component in the network path is not properly configured for jumbo frames, a MTU mismatch occurs.
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Niels Hagoort
I am a virtualization enthusiast with a love for virtual datacenters! About 15 years of experience in IT. VMware VCDX #212. Working at YaWorks as a Sr. Virtualization Consultant.

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Interview Series: Mark Brookfield

Meet our next participant in the Cloudfix Interview Series! Enjoy the read, feedback is always welcome!!


 

markbrookfield

Full Name:Mark Brookfield
Company:NIU
Certifications:VCAP5-DCA, VCAP5-DCD, VCP4/5/6-DCV, VCP5/6-DT(M), MCITP, MCTS, MCSE w/Security/Messsaging, CCNA, ITIL
Blog:www.virtualhobbit.com
Twitter:@virtualhobbit
LinkedIn:https://uk.linkedin.com/in/markbrookfield

 

 


Questions

Who is Mark Brookfield?

I’m an IT architect who’s been in IT for eighteen years. I’ve lived in the UK, the US, and currently I live in The Netherlands.

I don’t see what I do as “work” or “my job” – it’s something I do that people are kind enough to pay me for. I’m almost tempted to say I’d do my job for free, but I don’t want to give my boss any ideas…

Can you tell us something about your employer/company?

My current role is Technical Evangelist for NIU, a managed services provider in the UK. I report directly to the CTO and am tasked with finding new and innovative ways in which technology can make the business more successful. Fortunately, I’m not “hands-on” operational anymore, so I don’t break as much stuff 😉

NIU designs and builds solutions for a wide-range of clients, ranging from financial services to retail. We have approximately two hundred employees and our headquarters is in central London.

 

Can you describe your IT infrastructure in short?

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stretchedcluster-nsx-feature

Stretched cluster with NSX

Last NLVMUG I was talking about stretched clusters. My presentation elaborated somewhat on how VMware NSX can help you deal with challenges that arise when deploying a stretched cluster solution. In this blogpost I want to have a closer look at this specific topic.

A quick understanding about what a stretched cluster solution actually is; it is a vSphere cluster configured in one vCenter instance containing an equal number of hosts from both sites. This allows for disaster avoidance (vMotion) and disaster recovery (vSphere HA) between two geographical separated sites. From the backend infrastructure perspective, your (synchronous replicated) storage and network solutions must span both sites.

Looking into network designs used for stretched clusters, you will typically face challenges like:

  • How do you design for VM mobility over 2 sites, requiring Layer-2 networks between the 2 sites?
  • Stretched Layer-2 networks (VLANs) introduce a higher risk of failure (think Layer-2 loops).
  • How to properly segment applications and/or tentants (customers/business units)?
  • Netwerk flows. What about your egress and ingress connections?

Let’s begin with how a VMware NSX install-base could look like if it is deployed within stretched cluster infrastructure.

Stretched cluster with NSX architecture

A stretched cluster with VMware NSX could look like the following logical overview.
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Niels Hagoort
I am a virtualization enthusiast with a love for virtual datacenters! About 15 years of experience in IT. VMware VCDX #212. Working at YaWorks as a Sr. Virtualization Consultant.

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synologyVLANfeature

Synology DSM6.0 VLAN support

I’ve noticed some distress on the web because, with the release of Synology DSM version 6.0, it is no longer possible to use the vconfig command. This command was used to configure VLAN tagging on your interfaces.

It is however still perfectly possible to create multiple sub-interfaces on a physical interface or bond without using the vconfig command. All you need to do is create additional config-files for each of you sub-interfaces. Each sub-interface represents a VLAN ID. The config-files are found in /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/.

Note: shell access is required to your Synology. So you should enable SSH for instance.

In the example below, you will see my Synology has a bond using eth0 and eth1. My setup required to have some additional VLAN tagged sub-interfaces on top of my physical bond interface.

synologyVLAN
As you can see, I have a sub-interface for VLAN 100, 120, 130 and 20. You only need to copy a config-file using the naming format ifcfg-<phy int>.<vlan-id>, and adjust it to your needs. A (copied) config-file looks like this:

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Niels Hagoort
I am a virtualization enthusiast with a love for virtual datacenters! About 15 years of experience in IT. VMware VCDX #212. Working at YaWorks as a Sr. Virtualization Consultant.

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VMaffinityfeature

Stretched cluster VM & datastore affinity

When using a vSphere stretched cluster solution, it is important to have your VM(s) and its VMDK(s) affinity aligned in the same datacenter. So if the storage controller in datacenter 1 serves the read/write copy of the datastore, you would like the VM to run on a vSphere host in the same datacenter. This will avoid the storage read IO’s to traverse the inter-datacenter connections, resulting in an obvious impact on performance. With the VM – datastore affinity in place, you will also mitigate the risk of potential VM outage if a datacenter partition (aka split-brain scenario) will occur.

Let me show you what I mean by using a simple logical overview of a stretched cluster infrastructure. The following example is based on an uniform storage backend. More information on uniform and non-uniform metro storage solutions is read here.

What you don’t want:

VM affinity

What you do want:

VM affinity

 

It is perfectly possible to automate the alignment upon… VM creation for example. Needless to say, you will require DRS to run. Preferably in fully automated mode.

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Niels Hagoort
I am a virtualization enthusiast with a love for virtual datacenters! About 15 years of experience in IT. VMware VCDX #212. Working at YaWorks as a Sr. Virtualization Consultant.

TwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus

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