Thursday, September 30, 2010

How easy to Install & Configure Hyper-V P4000 Lefthand Virtual SAN Appliance

HP StorageWorks P4000 Virtual SAN Appliance Software (VSA) enables the benefits of a physical SAN with the ability to transform captive server disk drives and build a virtual iSCSI SAN and just a couple of days back HP Storage works P4000 Team has released Hyper-V Virtual SAN Appliance Software (VSA). Sometime back i blogged about the benefits of physical P4000 Lefthand SAN here. Today I tried my hands on this Hyper-V VSA and will share my experience and you will see how easy it is to install and configure the virtual SAN which provides you almost all feature of a Enterprise SAN including snapshots/snapclones & Multi site storage clustering.

You will prefer a Physical disk but for testing i choose Virtual disk

Minimum size needs to be at least 5GB

I manually turned on the Linux Virtual SAN appliance [VSA] Virtual machine but there is nothing more you need to do in Linux VM other than starting it up. [ My Hand is tight in Linux so i felt very happy about it ]

Now we need to install the Centralized Management Console

You see those required and available bytes in Hindi Language [ Not sure why-May be due to IST timezone? ]

Now we are about to find Storage nodes [ I only have one storage node VM deployed ]

Legacy NIC is only used during installation and later synthetic NIC is used

Now we need to create a Mangement Group and Volume

You can also create a multisite cluster as seen below

You can also create a thin provisoned volume

Now I have got my 100MB volume to be provisioned to Initiator, so i created an Initiator which is a 2008 R2 Server 

You can also investigate more about HP storage works P4000 SAN solutions at HP site and dont forget to try the trial edition here for both VMware and Hyper-V. This is atleast one SAN solution which supports Cluster shared volumes in Multi site Clustering. Hope you find this blog useful and thanks for your time.


Blog is based on my Personal understanding of the Technologies mentioned above and information provided is AS IS.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is Cloud Computing a growth driver for Enterprise Server & Server Platforms!

SMB spending on cloud computing would reach $100B by 2014.

Cloud computing market to reach $160 billion by 2011

By 2014, IDC predicts, sales of cloud computing products or services will generate almost $56 billion in annual revenues.

Virtualization was hot couple of years back as cloud computing is today and both are phenomenal approaches to make the IT lean. Virtualization has lead to easy and seamless agile deployment of applications and Virtual workloads. Though at same time it is agile and quick it does lead to resources sprawl if not planned and controlled well. Virtualization has definitely brought savings but not operational savings. In fact the resources sprawl and new technologies have led to higher operational expenditure and Technology education expenditure.  Cloud computing is in  focus more today as you can save on capital as well as some operational expenses by putting some of your IT workloads into a public, private or hybrid cloud model which again could be platform/software/infrastructure as service. Though cloud computing is very attractive approach but still it does not fit to all and has its own security challenges so in ideal world enterprises are planning to leverage different models of cloud depending on the workload and also are at same time using virtualized and physical workloads. Simple old golden rule..don’t put all eggs in same basket! Global IT is still in transition state.

So while Virtualization does require high compute servers so that you can consolidate your workloads and reduce carbon/space and improve resource utilization on other hand it does lead to server growth as IT budgets are being exercised on upgrading physical servers and also newer more productive and efficient Operating systems like windows server 2008 R2 which are more suitable for virtualization. Virtualization is a relatively new technology and has lead to more operational and in house IT worker training costs.

Cloud computing focuses more on reducing capital expenses while providing on demand resource elasticity as a measured service via Network access. On the cloud provider end he can do resource pooling for various customers in a secure fashion and can achieve better utilization of resources. As cloud computing is in nascent stage we are seeing various big players like Microsoft, VMware, Amazon, HP & IBM and other small cloud providers getting ready for providing cloud services and building their datacenters and hence again server growth.

The key is to reduce the Operational expenses of virtualized and physical workloads by capitalizing on infrastructure automation of datacenters. Large enterprises can consider workload/application migration to private clouds spanned across different divisions within Enterprise.

Microsoft not only provides its customers, Windows Azure cloud for Migrating applications to cloud [platform as a service model], it also has a complete system center suite for IT infrastructure management, monitoring & automation. At same time Microsoft and other large vendors are working together in enabling enterprises build their own private clouds for example Recent announcement of HP and Microsoft together showcasing a private cloud for their customers. Also, HP and Microsoft plan to release a limited production Windows Azure platform appliance for deployment in HP data centers by the end of the year. Recent release of System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal 2.0. will also help customers to build their own private clouds.

The good thing is that IT budgets being spent on new hardware is beneficial as both Intel and AMD processors now come with virtualization friendly features like secondary level address translation which improve performance as Hyper-V 2.0 capitalize on SLAT and provides improved performance and more VM density Coupled with Dynamic Memory. IT Infrastructure automation of datacenters with Microsoft system center suite coupled with windows server 2008 R2 features is a win for the customers for cost savings and at same time they can leverage windows Azure cloud for application hosting and testing. What I found more interesting is that even if you are not using a Microsoft cloud solution you will still end up using Microsoft platform i.e. server 2008/R2 as is the case with VMware VCloud Director which let users create their own private cloud.  So Microsoft is the only solution provider today which has both cloud and server Platform solutions. The unfolding time will tell us more about how clouds bring change in our day to day datacenter operations and management. These changing trends in Global IT is definitely making IT more lean, cost efficient and at same time not only cloud computing is growing but also propelling growth of servers and server platforms.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Dynamic Memory and Hyper-V Host memoryreserve Registry key

Continuing our discussion on Dynamic memory I will like to talk about Hyper-V memoryreserve option and as i mentioned about it in my Dynamic Memory and Trusted Task manager counters article, this registry key is suggested primarily where you are running more roles in parent partition [other than Hyper-V and failover clustering] against the recommended best practices. Ben Armstrong, Virtualization Program Manager spoke about same in his blog here. The only thing which i wanted to add was that there is a max limit on this registry key as per my testing and the screenshot below speaks all.

So the max value for this reg key is 4 Gb irrespective of what you specify in registry key. Hope this helps.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dynamic Memory and Trusted Task manager counters

So while we all are still waiting the RC version of SP1 there was an interesting observation which I wanted to share on dynamic memory. This is in reference to the information available in task manager of the Dynamic memory enabled guest OS. There are a few counters in task manger which cannot be trusted anymore and it is recommended to leverage information made available in Hyper-V GUI like “current memory” to see the actual amount of memory assigned to the guest OS.
To explain the same, I went and rebooted my Dynamic memory [DM] enabled guest machine LABW28R2FS1…just after the reboot, you can see the information of task manager and Hyper-V GUI, current memory counter matches and is identical.

However after manually reducing the memory buffer and memory priority of the VM, I made it release some memory dynamically and so the Dynamic memory virtualization service client DMVSC.sys took the memory from non paged pool and made it available to the Virtualization service provider [VSP] in host and hence the guest OS has no clue that memory was ever removed from it.

So the ballooned memory in fig 2 is 1755-512 =1243 MB . Now again by playing with memory buffer and priority settings I made memory available to VM and you can see when extra memory [more than what it had earlier]  is made available, task manger counter and current memory counter in Hyper-V GUI matches.

So in simple words we can very well see that guest OS task manager has no clue when memory is removed via DMVSC.sys and hence you should not rely on task manager for total memory counter. Similar kind of testing showed me that we even should not rely on “Commit(MB)” counter in guest task manager. We in fact should use information made available in Hyper-V GUI.
I must say I love dynamic memory feature and I am using it since it was made beta on my Test Hyper-V host cluster and its awesome. I am eagerly waiting for the RC version and soon after SP1 Release we will get an update for SCVMM 2008 R2. There is another interesting blog entry made by fellow MVP Aidan Finn on Reserve host memory and is a must read especially if you are not following best practices and running roles other than Hyper-V and clustering in parent partition. Hope you enjoyed reading this and have a good time ahead.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Knowledge Bytes Lunchbox for the week

Cloud computing is the hottest technology today and very recently both VMware and HP launched their cloud offerings however both are very different in their nature. I was reading a very interesting blog which talks about how VMware offering is different than Microsoft..and it is very obvious that as of now Microsoft has platform as a service cloud model offered by its Windows Azure and VMware is enabling private cloud solutions based on infrastructure as a service model. Via this blog i wanted to share some key announcements which occured this week and are mentioned below, hope you find them interesting.

1.Ben talks about memory reserve registry key for reserving memory for host parent partition when you have Dynamic memory feature enabled for server 2008 R2 SP1.

2. A new beta tool by Microsoft
P2V Migration for Software Assurance uses the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and Sysinternals Disk2VHD to convert a user’s existing Windows XP or newer client environment to a virtual hard disk then automates the delivery of an updated and personalized Windows 7 operating system containing a virtual machine with the user’s previous Windows environment, applications and Web browser. The user’s previous virtual desktop retains its existing management components, domain membership and policies. The process also publishes applications and the browser for the user to access them seamlessly within Windows 7’s start menu.

3. Jose Barreto talks about different configurations for Windows Server 2008 (and 2008 R2) on his blog where a file server uses multiple NICs. Next, he describe how the behavior of the SMB client can help distribute the load for a file server with multiple NICs. He also discusses SMB2 Durability and how it can recover from certain network failure in configuration where multiple network paths between clients and servers are available. Finally, look closely into the configuration of a Clustered File Server with multiple client-facing NICs.

4. Top Solutions RSS feeds for Windows Server and Client.
Windows Server:
Windows Client:
5. A very interesting read  on "If virtualization is growing and cloud computing is growing, how can the market for private enterprise servers also be growing?"
6. VMware Introduces VCloud Director, check here for VMware vCloud Director components.

7. HP offers private cloud solutions and performance optimized datacenters. Read here for more.

That's all for this week lunchbox..see you again soon.