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CloudPhysics: Enhanced Storage Analytics Cards [Part 1] – Datastore Contention

The guys at CloudPhysics have been busy behind the scenes of late working on improving an already great Analytic and Monitoring platform and recently I was able to preview a new enhanced set of Storage Analytic Cards. These cards are currently in Preview and with an official write up here by @esxtopGuru Which goes through the different

What’s in a name?

Time fly’s where you are having fun! Two years ago I was privileged to be awarded my first vExpert Award…In that time I have been able to keep up my community related activities and have been awarded the vExpert for 2014. But this post isn’t about the award as such…the title to the post is

VMware VSAN: VSPP Pricing Revealed

Just after the release of VSAN a couple weeks back, I wrote this post talking about the need for VSAN to appear on the VSPP pricelist. At the time there only a little info on dates and more importantly pricing. A few days later it was confirmed that VSPP pricing would appear in Q2 of this

Quick Thought: VSAN Pricing…We need a VSPP Option

UPDATE: Looks like we will be seeing some VSPP Pricing for VSAN in Q2 vCenter and ESXi 5.5 Update 1 has reached GA, and we now have v1.0 of VSAN officially ready for production use. Technically it’s a winner, and from an industry maturity standpoint…it clearly sets a new direction in how storage is consumed

CloudPhysics: Enhanced Storage Analytics Cards [Part 1] – Datastore Contention

The guys at CloudPhysics have been busy behind the scenes of late working on improving an already great Analytic and Monitoring platform and recently I was able to preview a new enhanced set of Storage Analytic Cards. These cards are currently in Preview and with an official write up here by @esxtopGuru Which goes through the different cards on offer.

Coming from Service Provider land, I am always extremely interested in being able to find out how my datastores are performing and which VMs are causing or have caused trouble…I am also interested in SnapShots and if any have the potential to do harm on our platform. In this post i’ll be going through the Datastore Contention v2 Card…followed by Part 2 which will go through the Snapshots Gone Wild v2 Card.

cp_s_1

Below is the new interface to the Datastore Contention v2 Card and you can see off the bat that there is a lot more going when compared to the v1 Cards

cp_s_2

The initial Card View will show you Datastores across your environment that need Attention and those that are of interest. This is based on an algorithm that CloudPhysics have created that dictates acceptable levels of contention on VMs on datastores. You will get an overview of Throughput, IOPS and Latency metrics as well as total VMs and how many are potentially affected by storage contention.

cp_s_4

While the actual metrics haven’t changed here from the v1 Card the way in which you can manipulate the data has been enhanced. For a period going back the lat 24 hours (It would be nice to go back further…something I’ve mentioned as a feature request) you can dynamically change the graph to display Bandwidth, Latency, IOPS, Outstanding IOs and choose to display Average, Read and/or Write Values.

As you click on the Active Red Zones in the Graph the list of Culprit VMs and Victim VMs changes to match the time period. By Clicking on the Blue Show Culprits and Victims Button you can further drill down into the list and view VM specific storage metrics for that period as shown below.

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You also now have the ability to export each graph in a variety of usable formats which is excellent for reporting purposes. In fact exporting has been enabled at all levels and you can export to CSV the entire Card View of data by clicking on the ALL Tab that lists all datastores in your environment. As a side note…the left hand search menu drop box sorting has been added to by a dynamic search bar which allows you to search for datastores…it even takes regular expression for those that are that way inclined!

Heading back to the top of the Card View you get an overall Aggregate picture of the currently selected datastores in the main presentation area…this dynamically adjusts based on what datastore(s) are in focus at the time.

cp_s_7

Wrapping Part 1 up the new Datastore Contention card is brilliant…not only does it better give you access to potential problem datastores and VMs but it’s able to let you visualize and export data quickly and efficiently…The enhancements in the visual representation of data shows that the guys at CloudPhysics are looking at more dynamic style of data view which makes the overall experience and usability that much more enhanced.

http://blog.cloudphysics.com/blog/whos-minding-your-storage-zoo

http://blog.cloudphysics.com/blog/2014/4/7/noisy-neighbor-where-art-thou-performance-culprit-and-victim-analysis-using-cloudphysics-storage-analytics

 

What’s in a name?

Time fly’s where you are having fun! Two years ago I was privileged to be awarded my first vExpert Award…In that time I have been able to keep up my community related activities and have been awarded the vExpert for 2014.

But this post isn’t about the award as such…the title to the post is “What’s in a name?”. So, when I launched this blog in April of 2012, I came up with the Blog title of “Hosting is Life!”. This is a play on one of my other passions, Golf…of which some believe that Golf is Life…

golfislife

At the time, I was still very much involved in my previous role as a Hosting guy…the passion I had for the hosting work I did was almost unhealthy. I was also heavily involved in Virtualization, but my day to day was looking after my previous employers Hosting and Cloud arm of the business. So, the title of the blog became Hosting if Life! cause at the time, it was.

Fast forward 2 years and I had been thinking for a while that I need to modify the title of this blog to make it more reflective of where I now dedicate my working passion towards…that is of course all things virtual. But the sealer for me in changing the title of this blog came as the Top Virtualization Blogs list for 2014 was released last week…I did ok in getting a few votes, but I realized when I was voting that the title of my blog didn’t really stand out and reflect what this blog is all about…so not so much as to boost my rankings next year (though thats something I would like to do) but more as to complete a journey that I started a couple of years back, I have rebranded this site “Virtualization is Life!

So as symbolic as one can get…the change has occurred and hopefully I can continue to add half decent content to this blog around the world of Virtualization…it’s certainly a world that changing rapidly…but that’s what excites me and keeps me seriously enthused to be part of this great VMware Community. Thanks to all in the vExpert Program for the award this year…perfect timing today to use this as a springboard for the title change!

VMware-vExpert-2014-400x57

ps: Even though I am Australian, I still use a Z over an S in the spelling of Virtualization. What can I say…I grew up watching Sesame Street :)

VMware VSAN: VSPP Pricing Revealed

Just after the release of VSAN a couple weeks back, I wrote this post talking about the need for VSAN to appear on the VSPP pricelist. At the time there only a little info on dates and more importantly pricing. A few days later it was confirmed that VSPP pricing would appear in Q2 of this year. Fast forward a couple weeks and I received word through @g_mulholland and @Euge_IT from VMware Australia that VSAN pricing had dropped on the VSPP Pricelist.

For those not familiar with VSPP pricing…based on Reserved vRAM, there are a number of different points levels which makes the overall value of a point decrease as reportable volume grows. That is to say that as you step up points level, you pay less per point for vRAM and other products listed on the VSPP pricelist.

As I predicted, for VSAN pricing is based on points per GB per month, and as you can see below (taken from the latest VSPP Product Usage Guide - not yet released online) we are looking at 0.08 points per GB per month for allocated capacity of a VM.

vsan_vspp_1

So in a nutshell you pay for as much VMDK storage you allocate to VMs living on a VSAN datastore…not the total size of your VSAN datastore, which is great news. From a Service Providers perspective it would have been nice to have this as provisioned/consumed storage so that we could take advantage of Thin Provisioning and Overcommiting Policies that gives SP economy’s of scale.

I read with interest that in describing VSAN, VMware is still suggesting that its ideally suited for several use cases in VDI, test/development, and disaster recovery…is there confidence to run critical workloads such are line of business application or VMware management stacks?

Finishing off this post, Depending what region you are in and who you get your VSPP through, point value can differ, but the pricing when compared to outright per socket pricing seems extremely competitive…especially when VSPP participants are on the higher Points Levels which reduces the overall cost per point. In my initial calculations over a 36 month period we would reduce the VSAN license cost per month by almost 50%. Exactly how much $$ wise you ask…I will write up another post over the next couple of days with actual pricing examples and comparisons to buying VSAN through non VSPP channels.

Quick Thought: VSAN Pricing…We need a VSPP Option

UPDATE: Looks like we will be seeing some VSPP Pricing for VSAN in Q2

vCenter and ESXi 5.5 Update 1 has reached GA, and we now have v1.0 of VSAN officially ready for production use. Technically it’s a winner, and from an industry maturity standpoint…it clearly sets a new direction in how storage is consumed on the back of other SDS vendors.

https://www.vmware.com/support/vsphere5/doc/vsphere-esxi-55u1-release-notes.html

  • VMware Virtual SAN  Virtual SAN 5.5 is a new hypervisor-converged storage tier that extends the vSphere Hypervisor to pool server-side magnetic disks (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs). By clustering server-side HDDs and SSDs, Virtual SAN creates a distributed shared datastore designed and optimized for virtual environments. Virtual SAN is a standalone product that is sold separate from vSphere and requires its own license key.

In what many people in the community thought was a strange move, pricing for VSAN was held back even after the binaries went live. VMware have just released official pricing of VSAN, and even through those with NDA links knew of the approx. pricing structure I think the US$2495/CPU Socket pricing has still taken most by surprise.

Basically in addition to the pure licensing costs you need to consider how to design and build the other key components that makes a VSAN Cluster…namely compute and storage. This is where I think VSAN will prove a winner…ultimately, not withstanding the per socket price the rest of the cost is up to those that will ultimately consume it. However having a think about a typical Dual Socket Server these days, plus the minimum of 3 hosts in a VSAN Cluster, you are looking at $US14,970 before adding the compute, storage and other overhead costs…again, deciding if that is expensive of not is relative to how the rest is stacked out.

VSPP Option:

If VMware are still serious about supporting their VSPP pricing and vCloud Powered Partners they must look at releasing a pricing option that’s on the VSPP price list. This should be based similar to how those on the VSPP consume and pay for vRAM. (yes, in the SP world vRAM is not a bad four letter word) Ultimately Server Providers can consume VSAN per GB or TB used. Total monthly costs are worked out based on your points level and then multiplied by however many points VMware wants to make that per GB/TB unit worth.

I see massive potential to provide my clients with a VSAN backed tier of storage that can be exposed via Storage Profiles into client Virtual Data Centers. It’s a no brainier for mine and I am sure most of you in the VSPP world would agree the uptake of VSAN would be greatly enhanced by a move like this.

I won’t say more on VSAN, as there is plenty of Social Comment happening and million and one blog posts…however for a great post, check out @ChrisWahl‘s Post below…it covers all aspects of VSAN. Also check out the other links below…

http://wahlnetwork.com/2014/03/12/exploring-vmware-vsan-ready-nodes-per-socket-pricing-design-guides/

VSAN RESOURCES: http://virtualpatel.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/vsan-resources.html?spref=tw

PowerCli IOPS Metrics: vCloud Org and VPS Reporting

We have recently been working through a product where knowing and reporting on VM Max Read/Write IOPS was critical. We needed a way to be able to provide reporting on our clients VPSs and vCloud Organisation VMs.

vCOPs is a seriously great monitoring and analytics tool, but it has got a flaw in it’s reporting in that you can’t search, export or manipulate metrics relating to VM IOPS in a useful way. VeeamOne gives you a Top 10 list of IOPS, CloudPhysics has a great card showing DataStore/VM performance…but again, not exportable or granular enough for what we needed.

If you search on Google for IOPS Reporting you will find a number of guys who have created excellent PowerCLI Scripts. Problem I found was that most worked in some cases, but not for what we required. One particular post I came across this Post on the VMware Community Forums gave a quick and dirty script to gather IOPS stats for all VMs. This lead me to the Alpacapowered Blog. So initial credit for the following goes to MKguy…I merely hacked around it to provide us with additional functionality.

Before You Start:

Depending on your Logging Level in vCenter (I have run this against vCenter 5.1 with PowerCLI 5.5) you may not be collecting the stats required to get Read/Write IOPS. To check this run the following in PowerCLI connected to your vCenter

If you don’t get the output it means your logging level is set to a lower level than is required. Read through this Post to have vCenter logging the required metrics on a granular level. Once thats been done, give vCenter about 30 minutes to collect its 5 minute samples. If you ever want to check individually how many samples you have for a particular VM you can run the following command. It will also show you the Min/Max Count plus the average.

The Script:

I’ve created two versions of the script (one for Single VMs and on for vCloud Org VMs) and as you can see below, I added in a couple niceties to make this more user friendly and easy to trigger for our internal support staff. Idea is that anyone with the right access to vCenter can double-click on the .ps1 script, and with the right details produce a report for either a single VM or a vCloud Organisation.

Script Notes:

Line 1: Adds the PowerCLI Snap-In to be able to call ESXi Commandlets from PowerShell on click of the .ps1

Line 3: Without notes from MKguy, i’m assuming this is telling us to use the last 30 days of stats if they exist.

Line 7: I discovered the -menu flag for Connect-VIServer which lists a 10 list of your most recently connects vCenter or ESXi servers…from there you enter a number to connect (ease of use for helpdesk)

Line 16: Does uses the Get-Folder command to allow us to get all the VMs in a vCloud Org…you can obviously enter in your own preferred search flags here.

Lines 17-22 are the ones I picked up form the Community post which basically takes the command we used above to check for samples metrics and feeds it into a read/write variable which is then displayed in a series of columns as shown below.

Script Output:

Executing the .ps1 will open a PowerShell window, Ask you to enter in the vCenter/Host and finally the VM name or vCloud Org Description. If you have a folder with a number of VMs, the script can take a little time going through the math and spit out the values.

From there you can do a select and copy to export the values out for manipulation…I haven’t done a csv export option due to time constraints, however if anyone want to add that to the end of the script, please do and let me know :)

Hope this script is useful for some!