Jun 20

New Book – VMware vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive

Just ordered a copy of Host Resources Deep Dive by @FrankDenneman and @NHagoort. It is on the way!!!

“The VMware vSphere 6.5 Host Resources Deep Dive is a guide to building consistent high-performing ESXi hosts. A book that people can’t put down. Written for administrators, architects, consultants, aspiring VCDX-es and people eager to learn more about the elements that control the behavior of CPU, memory, storage and network resources.”

I have really been looking forward to this one. Can’t wait to dive in 🙂

Jun 19

Using vSphere HA to Protect vCenter

Had a interesting “discussion” the other day with someone who wasis convinced that it is a best practice is to always deploy vCenter as a separate physical Windows server. One of the reasons for this, in his opinion, was that the vCenter Server could not be protected with vSphere High Availability (HA) since vCenter is required for vSphere HA to function. This is a common misunderstanding of how vSphere HA functions. vCenter is required to configure vSphere HA but once vSphere HA is configured vCenter is NOT required for vSphere HA to protect virtual machines in the cluster.

The ability to provide HA protection of the vCenter Server is one of benefit of deploying vCenter as a virtual machine. Virtualizing vCenter Server also allows you to use the vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) which saves you a Windows license. vSphere HA can also be used to protect a vCenter Server deployed on a Windows Virtual Machine.

Here is a quick video I did in my lab environment running vSphere 6.5 (I have also tested this on 5.5 and 6.0) which demonstrates how vSphere HA will restart the PSC and vCenter Server in the event of a host failure.

I am running the VCSA in the lab with two VCSAs deployed, one as an external PSC and one a the vCenter Server. For the purpose of the demo I have vSphere DRS set to partially automated to keep VMs from moving around and I have both the VCSA running the PSC and the VCSA running the vCenter Server on the same host. The vSphere HA configuration is the default, except I have disabled admission control due to my resource constraints in the lab. When I power off the host running the VCSAs, they restart on the surviving host in my management cluster.

The little Python script I used in the demo to check if the servers were up or down can be found here: https://github.com/herseyc/PythonScripts/blob/master/upordown.py

Post any questions in the comments. Thanks!

Jun 14

It’s been a while…

It has been a good bit since I posted anything new. Just busy with work, family, and other stuff. Some new stuff coming soon. I promise.

Apr 23

Setting up the Weathervane Benchmarking Tool in the Home Lab

If you are looking for something to do in your vSphere home lab this is a neat little project: Weathervane Open Source Benchmarking Tool. Standing up Weathervane in the home lab will provide hands-on for developing skills including creating a template VM, creating a guest customization specification, working with some basic Linux commands, working with an app with multiple tiers, cloning VMs, and monitoring performance metrics.

The architecture of Weathervane can be as simple or complex as you want to make it. The tool provides a way to generate a predictable load to help you gain some experience with deploying a multi-tier application, benchmarking the application, and monitoring performance in a virtualized environment.

Weathervane includes an Auction application made up of different services: workload driver (simulates users accessing the application), web services, database services, application services, etc. All services can be run from a single VM or can be provided across several VMs. This allows for things to be configured more like a “real world” environment and to spread load across multiple guests which can be spread across multiple hosts in a cluster. Here is the logical layout of how I have Weathervane deployed in my home lab:

The Weathervane user guide, located on github, is very detailed and provides step-by-step instructions for deploying, configuring, and running Weathervane. This post provides an overview of how I set up Weathervane in my home lab, an example of the results generated from the Weathervane runs, and a look at the performance metrics I observed in lab during the Weathervane runs.
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Apr 03

Copy SimpliVity Backups to another SimpliVity Cluster

Recently a fellow SA, @agoelammohamed, had a customer who deployed a new production SimpliVity cluster and was planning to decommission and re-purpose the original SimpliVity cluster. Migrating the VMs from the original cluster to the new cluster was easy enough, but they also needed to move around 700 SimpliVity backups, which need to be kept through the configured retention periods, to the new cluster. This can be done from the vSphere Web Client, but @agoelammohamed was looking to see if there was an easy way to automate this process. There is! The SimpliVity REST API includes an operation to copy backups from one OmniStack Cluster to another.

There are a couple other situations where this may come in handy, @agoelammohamed‘s is one and another could be that customer originally deployed SimpliVity for production and later added a DR site and wants to get the existing backups to the DR site.

I put together a powershell script which uses the SimpliVity REST API to automate copying backups from one OmniStack Cluster to another OmniStack Cluster. The script, SVT-CopyBackups.ps1, can be found here: https://github.com/herseyc/SVT/blob/master/SVT-CopyBackups.ps1
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Mar 23

Checking VMs for SimpliVity Storage HA

When performing maintenance, upgrades, etc, on a SimpliVity host it is important to verify SimpliVity VMs are in a safe Storage HA state. A safe Storage HA state, or Storage HA equal to Yes, means the virtual machine’s data is fully synchronized and protected in a multi-node SimpliVity cluster.

Verifying the Storage HA state of a VM can be accomplished using a number of different methods:

  1. Using the SimpliVity Management functions in the vSphere Web Client
  2. Using the SimpliVity CLI
  3. Using the SimpliVity REST API

This post provides an overview of verifying Storage HA of SimpliVity virtual machines using the different methods.
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Mar 17

Quick SimpliVity OmniStack Capacity Script

This is a quick script, SVT-Fed-Capactiy.ps1, I put together using Powershell and the SimpliVity REST API to report available, free, and used capacity information for OmniStack Clusters in a SimpliVity Federation, and the OmniStack hosts in each Cluster.

Get the script here: https://github.com/herseyc/SVT/blob/master/SVT-Fed-Capacity.ps1

Just set a couple of simple configuration variables:

  • Line 12-14 – set the OVC mgmt IP ($ovc), username to use ($username), and password ($pass)
  • Line 22 – Here you can set what you want to convert the capacity information to, the REST API returns capacity information in Bytes. Just change the variable to one of the ones above the line. This is set to TiB in the script.
  • Line 23 – Set the number of decimal places to round the capacity conversion to. It is set to 2 in the script.

The script will output the total capacity of each SimpliVity OmniStack Cluster and the physical capacity of each host in the OmniStack Cluster. It looks a little something like this:

Happy Friday! Enjoy.

Mar 13

Collect Virtual Disk IOPS with PowerCLI

I was messing around with PowerCLI and the real-time statistics to collect the IOPS used by virtual machines/virtual machine disks in my my home lab. Virtual disk performance counters are available in the real-time performance stats but at the default statistics level, Level 1, the IOPS statistics are not rolled up into the historical performance statistics (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly). To get per device level statistics the statistics level has to be set to at least Level 3.

Here is an example of the real-time chart in the vSphere Web Client which shows the read/write requests per second, and the read/write latency for a single virtual disks:

I adjusted the virtual disk chart options selecting counters for NumberReadAveraged, NumberWriteAverage, TotalReadLatency, and TotalWriteLatency for virtual disk scsi0:1 on LABFILE01. If the the default statistics level has not been changed these counters are only available real-time and are only kept for the past hour.

To collect these counters past the hour which displays in the real-time statistics I put together a PowerCLI script, collect-iops.ps1, which uses the Get-Stat Cmdlet to collect the real-time samples and save each sample for each virtual machine, and each virtual disk, to a csv file.
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Mar 08

Microsoft Failover Cluster in a Box on SimpliVity

This is a White Paper I worked on with SimpliVity‘s Product Management to provide details on how to implement and operate a Microsoft Windows Server Failover Cluster in a Box (CIB) on a SimpliVity OmniStack system. It provides information on configuration and also details how availability is provided across different failure scenarios.

The White Paper is available here: Windows Server Failover Clustering and here: Windows Server Failover Clustering on SimpliVity and also here: Windows Server Failover Clustering on SimpliVity

You can also check out other SimpliVity Solution White Papers.


Feb 28

SimpliVity Getting Started Guide

This “getting started” guide introduces you to the SimpliVity hyperconverged infrastructure. It also steps you through performing common management tasks on deployed OmniStack hosts using the SimpliVity Extension for vSphere Web Client. The online guide is searchable to allow you to easily find the SimpliVity task or feature you are looking for.

Beyond common tasks there is also an introduction to SimpliVity terminology and links to additional resources for SimpliVity administrators.

The guide is accessible online or can be downloaded as a PDF. You can access the SimpliVity Getting Started Guide here.

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