Top 6 VMware vSphere Design Questions


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This presentation on my "top 6" design questions for VMware vSphere designs, presented at the Midwest Regional VMUG on December 6, 2010.

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Top 6 VMware vSphere Design Questions

  1. 1. Top 6 VMware vSphere Design Questions<br />A discussion of design considerations<br />Scott Lowe, VCDX #39<br />vSpecialist, EMC Corporation<br />Author,Mastering VMware vSphere 4<br />Blogger,<br /><br />
  2. 2. My “top 6” vSphere design questions<br />Should I…<br />use a distributed or standard vSwitch?<br />run vCenter as a virtual machine?<br />use blades or rack mount servers?<br />choose ESX or ESXi?<br />put all my hosts into a single large cluster?<br />lump all my VMs into one big LUN?<br />
  3. 3. Question #1:<br />Should I use a distributed vSwitch or a standard vSwitch?<br />
  4. 4. Distributed vSwitch or standard vSwitch?<br />Do you need to delegate network configuration or the advanced functionality a dvSwitch offers?<br />Trade convenience for additional considerations<br />Network configuration now dependent upon vCenter Server<br />Affects running vCenter Server as a VM<br />Requires Enterprise Plus licensing<br />A “hybrid” approach utilizing both vSwitches, where possible, provides the best of both worlds<br />
  5. 5. Question #2:<br />Should I run vCenter Server as a virtual machine?<br />
  6. 6. vCenter Server physical or virtual?<br />Both options are fully supported by VMware<br />Virtual has advantages (can leverage HA, for example)<br />Physical has advantages (no dependencies on the infrastructure it manages)<br />Virtual introduces new considerations:<br />Need vCenter for dvSwitch control plane<br />What if vCenter is VM and runs across dvSwitch?<br />Creates circular dependency<br />Operational concerns with DRS, EVC, VUM<br />
  7. 7. Question #3:<br />Should I use blades or rack mount servers?<br />
  8. 8. Blades or rack mount servers?<br />From a compute perspective, it’s a wash<br />The impact falls primarily in high availability<br />Must consider HA cluster size and cluster members per chassis<br />Can’t use redundant cards in blades in many instances (no redundant NICs or HBAs)<br />Newer blades offer as much connectivity as many rack mount servers (12 NICs, dual HBAs)<br />More exotic connectivity (InfiniBand, FCoE, PCIe extenders) not as widespread<br />
  9. 9. Question #4:<br />Should I choose VMware ESX or VMware ESXi?<br />
  10. 10. VMware ESX or VMware ESXi?<br />A common but not long-lived question<br />vSphere 4.1 is the last version to contain VMware ESX; all future versions will use only ESXi<br />So, perhaps a better question is, “How can I transition to ESXi?”<br />One step is to familiarize yourself with the vSphere CLI and/or the vSphere Management Assistant<br />If you’re a CLI junkie, get used to “vicfg-” instead of “esxcfg-”<br />
  11. 11. Question #5:<br />Should I put all my hosts into a single large cluster?<br />
  12. 12. Large Clusters or Small Clusters?<br />There is no one right answer!<br />Are you using blades?<br />Keep <5 cluster members per chassis<br />Must scale number of chassis to scale cluster size<br /> With vSphere 4.1 and VAAI, SCSI reservation conflicts are not a gating factor<br />Clusters are not vMotion boundaries, only DRS/HA/FT organizational units<br />
  13. 13. Question #6:<br />Should I lump all my VMs together in one big LUN?<br />
  14. 14. Few Big LUNs or Many Small LUNs?<br />LUN layout should be driven more by I/O profile than capacity or number of VMs<br />VAAI hardware-assisted locking eliminates SCSI reservation conflicts<br />There are potential performance benefits to multiple LUNs (multiple queues per LUN)<br />Less management overhead with fewer LUNs<br />The key is proper storage design to accommodate I/O requirements<br />
  15. 15. Q&A<br />