Top 10 Tips for Surviving in a Virtualized World

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Eric Siebert, VMware® vExpert, vSphere-Land.com blogger and published author provides his “Top 10 Tips for Surviving in a Virtualized World.” As virtualization becomes increasingly central to operating a datacenter, the ability to effectively implement, operate and optimize an extended virtual environment that touches other domains like applications and storage becomes critical. The webcast will provide a number of tips to avoid common problems that should help practitioners not only survive but thrive in a virtualized world.

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Top 10 Tips for Surviving in a Virtualized World

  1. 1. Top 10 Tips for Surviving in a Virtualized World 5/14/2014 © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  2. 2. About the speaker » Eric Siebert  25+ years experience in the IT industry  6 time VMware® vExpert  Author of 2 books on virtualization  Top virtualization blogger » Follow me on Twitter® @ericsiebert » Visit my website: http://vsphere-land.com 2 © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  3. 3. Survival agenda 1. Rule #1, It’s all about the apps, Rule #2, never forget Rule #1 2. Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups 3. Measure twice, cut once 4. Don’t rely on a Magic 8 Ball® to predict your future 5. What do VM management & birth control have in common 6. Lessons learned from the 3 Little Pigs 7. What to do if you don’t have a goose that lays golden eggs 8. Waste not, want not 9. Beware the Zombie Apocalypse 10. Don’t Panic! © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  4. 4. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 1) Rule #1, It’s all about the apps, Rule #2, never forget Rule #1 » Q: What is the fundamental reason that computing exists? » A: To run applications » What good is a city without people? » What good is computer hardware without an operating system? » What good is an operating system without applications? » Applications are at the bottom of the computing stack but they’re the most important part of it
  5. 5. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 1) Rule #1, It’s all about the apps, Rule #2, never forget Rule #1 » Don’t fixate on the virtualization layer » Effective monitoring should be end to end » Every layer is important and has unique monitoring needs » Stats can become blurred between layers » You get different viewpoints at different layers » Virtualization can have hidden impacts on apps » User experience is one of the best measuring sticks for apps » Good monitoring product will look at all layers and be able to correlate between them #1 App
  6. 6. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 2) Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups » You know what they say about the word assume » Never taken anything for granted, it will come back to haunt you eventually » Don’t assume the sky is blue, look at it to make sure you’re not about to get rained on » Virtualization can mask underlying problems » You may have bottlenecks and not know it » You would probably notice 50% performance degradation but would you notice 20%?
  7. 7. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 2) Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups » Nobody has ESP that can sense latency » Relying on your users to report problems won’t make you look good » Be proactive and stomp out problems when they are still small » Stay vigilant, understand trends, always monitor, always look » Good monitoring solution will make sure you’re constantly informed » Dashboards are a great way to see at a glance important info
  8. 8. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 3) Measure twice, cut once » Sizing hardware for virtualization can be very complicated » If you under-estimate resource sizing it will cost you » If you over-estimate resource sizing it will cost you » If you have to cut twice it can be costly » Never wing it and always make sure you understand resource relationships » Need to ensure your physical resources are balanced properly
  9. 9. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 3) Measure twice, cut once » Use tools to measure workloads before you virtualize them » Don’t estimate or use averages and never assume » Don’t forget to factor in spare capacity for host failures » Also factor in virtualization overhead and resource controls » Sizing storage can be tricky, need to balance performance and capacity » Need to think about future growth as well
  10. 10. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 4) Don’t rely on a Magic 8 Ball to predict your future » Virtual environments are always growing, they rarely stay the same size or shrink » Do you know when you will run out of physical resources? » Do you know what resources to add and when you need to add them? » Every company has budgets, you need to plan ahead to get money » Also need to justify capital expenses, your CFO is going to ask why you need more Will my virtual environment have enough resources in 6 months?
  11. 11. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 4) Don’t rely on a Magic 8 Ball to predict your future » Before predicting future resource needs right-size and optimize current resources » Clean your house first before putting on a new addition or buying a bigger one » Capacity planning/chargeback tools will help you answer how much, when, where and why » Need to ensure that you are adding the right balance of each type of resource » Again factor in spare capacity for host failures » Good monitoring tool will allow you to do capacity planning what-if scenarios based on historical growth and trends
  12. 12. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 5) What do VM management & birth control have in common? » Answer: They both help control population » VM Sprawl is the uncontrolled growth of VMs » Not obvious and doesn’t occur over night » It’s way to easy to create VM’s, requests for new VMs typically meet little resistance » Many consider VMs as “free” servers » In non-virtualized environment if a new server is needed you typically have to go through a process:  Requirements, PO, Approval, Order, Wait, Assemble, Connect » Start to finish can take weeks and cost many thousands of dollars » Remember VMs do have a resource cost » Virtual environments are expensive and have limited resources
  13. 13. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 5) What do VM management & birth control have in common? » Use same justifications and processes that you would use when new physical servers are requested » Ways to prevent VM Sprawl  Limit access for creating VMs, don’t be afraid to say no!  Be stingy when assigning resources to a new VM  Actively monitor VM resource usage, workloads can change over time  Document the who, what, why and when of a new VM  Use resource pools to segregate a host’s resources  Implement a formal process for requesting new VMs that requires justification & approvals  Use a good reporting & chargeback tool so you can help the business understand the cost of VMs
  14. 14. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 6) Lessons learned from the 3 Little Pigs » Which house would you want to live in when a storm is coming? » Virtual environment is only as strong as its weakest component » Storage is typically the weakest link, why?  Only remote resource  Only shared resource  Slowest resource » Storage failures & bottlenecks have big impacts » Storage can be the biggest barrier to success with virtualization
  15. 15. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 6) Lessons learned from the 3 Little Pigs » Having a good foundation is critical! » Your storage will dictate how strong your virtual environment is » Storage bandwidth is important but storage architecture is more important » Make sure you foundation stays strong and doesn’t start cracking » Look at high availability solutions to eliminate storage as a SPOF » Keep a close watch on latency, the silent killer of performance » Monitor MB/s and IOPS to see your storage stress level » Use proper monitoring tools and know what you’re looking at
  16. 16. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 7) What to do if you don’t have a goose that lays golden eggs » Virtualization can easily become a money pit » Remember we’re virtualizing to save money » Need to spend wisely and don’t spend unless you have to » You may have fewer servers but a virtual infrastructure isn’t cheap » Servers are more $ because they have to be bigger and stronger » Storage arrays are not cheap either » To get the most value out of virtualization you must try and keep costs down
  17. 17. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 7) What to do if you don’t have a goose that lays golden eggs » How can you save money on virtualization?  Clean-up your environment  Use resource controls  Use thin provisioning  Use power conservation features  Implement process for creating VMs  Use VM lifecycle management  Maximize resource usage  Reclaim disk space  Use licensing to your advantage  Leverage budget friendly 3rd party tools
  18. 18. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 8) Waste not, want not » Virtualization is all about efficiency, wasted resources reduce ROI and decrease efficiency » Don’t get lazy on efficiency after you virtualize » You can be virtualized and not maximizing your efficiency (I guarantee you aren’t) » Over-allocation of resources to VMs defeats the purpose of virtualization » VMs need to be right-sized to avoid wasting resources » Problem is knowing what right-sized is for each and every VM
  19. 19. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 8) Waste not, want not » Key to right-sizing is to have enough resources to handle demand without overspending on resources that just sit idle » Careful not to cut too deep, watch for under-sized VMs also » Push back on application owners, it’s easy to add more resources to a VM if needed » Actively monitor VM resource usage, workloads can change over time » To be effective you also need to look inside VMs » For CPUs, most VMs will work well with just 1 » For memory, watch VM swap file usage » For storage, always use thin provisioning
  20. 20. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 9) Beware the Zombie Apocalypse » Do you really know what every VM in your environment does? » Just because a VM is powered on doesn’t mean it’s actively being used » A powered on VM that has no purpose anymore is a Zombie VM » Zombie VMs suck away resources from hungry VMs that need it » Here’s a handy formula:  Powered on VM = resource consumption = $$$ » More Zombie VMs you have, the more resources are being flushed down the drain
  21. 21. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 9) Beware the Zombie Apocalypse » How do you hunt Zombie VMs and destroy them? » Hint: A shotgun or chainsaw might ruin your data center » Use a tool that can look for the Zombie VM characteristics  No recent logins  Very low resource usage (mostly idle)  Files not modified  Out of disk space  Not recently powered on » Don’t forget Zombie snapshots! » Eliminating Zombie VMs will free up resources for VMs that need them
  22. 22. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 10) Don’t Panic! » Surviving in a virtualized world is easy with the right tools » SolarWinds® Virtualization Manager has dashboards to track alerts, key metrics and dozens of built-in trend reports See key information at a glance with customizable dashboards
  23. 23. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 10) Don’t Panic! » Calculate how much money is being wasted by the over- allocation of resources » Quickly tell where you have wasted resources and VMs that are no longer needed See idle VMs (Zombies), Oversized VMs and Undersized VMs
  24. 24. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 10) Don’t Panic! Simulate “What-If” scenarios for capacity planning Keep a close eye on critical storage resources
  25. 25. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 10) Don’t Panic! » Couple this with Storage Manager and Server and Application Monitor for a cost-effective, complete end-to-end solution » SolarWinds has all the tools you need to survive in a virtualized world
  26. 26. © 2014 SOLARWINDS WORLDWIDE, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Thank You! The SOLARWINDS and SOLARWINDS & Design marks are the exclusive property of SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC, are registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and may be registered or pending registration in other countries. All other SolarWinds trademarks, service marks, and logos may be common law marks, registered or pending registration in the United States or in other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are used for identification purposes only and may be or are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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