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April 21, 2009



(Vmware user since pre 1.0 back in the late '90s)

Any idea if vSphere 4 fully supports round robin load balancing for storage? I have read hints that it would though I read through a bunch of stuff this morning on it but didn't see anything specifically called out for it. The two things I am looking for is this and ESXi boot from SAN(working on deploying a new Dell blade system for ESX/ESXi right now). It appears ESXi boot from SAN is in vSphere 4 it is called out in their features document.

Also fast SAN failover, talking sub 5 seconds here. I don't want my entire VM environment to freeze for a minute or more if a switch or a controller decides to die(or if e want to do a software update). With today's active-active controllers you should be able to fail over very fast(this works fine native in linux with device mapper on FC or iSCSI).

Until active-active multipathing and very fast storage failover vmware probably won't be the best for the
highest availability apps.

Our current vmware infrastructure is pretty small still, 3 servers doing the bulk of the work, the 4th is mostly idle (total 32 cores/ 220GB ram), CPU usage can kick up into the 25+Ghz range, memory usage around 120GB typically. Using Vmware Foundation.

I have 3 vmware data volumes, though I/O wise all 3 combined volumes average about 100 IOPS and about 1.8MBytes/second of data transfer(periodic spikes here and there). There are a few databases in the VMs but they are all using RDM, not VMFS volumes. About 55 VMs in total, about 310GB of data written(3x1 TB of thin provisioned volumes total), a good chunk of the I/O is from/to the NAS cluster(which shares the same spindles).

I suspect this new blade system(128 cores, 512GB memory) will drive that space usage by another couple TB over the near-mid term, most of this will be the basic ESXi, with a few systems running Foundation, everything fiber attached.

Chuck Hollis


You really, really want PowerPath/VE. See latest post. Most definitely worth looking at.

-- Chuck


"... with vSphere, VMware is now poised to containerize 99% of the workloads that are out there"

Unfortunately the real barrier will not be technical, but political. Support from those critical nitch application vendors who just will not support thier app on any virtualization solution even though they develop on that same virtualization solution. Customers are effectly being forced to assume that they should not have to. Win over the the nitch software vendors to get them onboard then we'll see about that 99%.

Chuck Hollis


Very valid point, so thanks. From a technology perspective, there are very few -- if any -- barriers left for the vast majority of IT workloads.

The software vendors have to come on board. There's also serious resistance from certain business users that demand "their server" -- I hear stories about this continuously.

I guess my point would be -- the technology is there. Now it's up to all of us to work through these barriers, and realize the potential of what's now possible.

Thanks for writing!

-- Chuck

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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