Documenting a virtualization project

Experiences in Virtualization

Posts Tagged ‘project’

Deployment follow up

Posted by martijnl on December 17, 2008

I would have liked to have a lot to write about today but the reality was that a lot of configuration still needed to be done on the part of the ICT outsourcing partner. The connection server installation was the proverbial next-next-finish job and adding the license and connecting to the VC server all went without a hitch. Composor can be installed after the VC and VI are upgraded to Update 3 but that has to be planned by the outsourcing partner.

Now it is waiting until there is access to the right VLAN so I can start working on the templates and desktop configurations in View. Time was not entirely waisted because I could check some things like the state of the multipathing, network configurations etc. and performed a mini-audit for the client which resulted in a couple of good HA and configuration recommendations.

I like the new pool features in View as they give some extra flexibility on the way desktops are provisioned. For this installation though we will mostly be working with the automatic non-persistent desktops that already existed in VDM2. They will be configured to be destroyed after first use so the student always has a nice clean training desktop.


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VMware View 3 deployment

Posted by martijnl on December 4, 2008

I am preparing a VMware View 3 deployment where we also want to start using the View Composer component. Will start testing the install in my own demo environment today, very interested in what it will turn up.

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All is well and we still love ESX

Posted by martijnl on December 18, 2006

Well, in the end it didn’t need an official response from VMware to solve the problem:

It seems that our troubleshooting efforts (rescanning, resignaturing and rebooting the servers somehow fixed the problem). We checked the /var/log/vmkernel and found that after setting LVM.EnableResignature to on and LVM.DisallowSnapshotLUN to off the host already saw the LUN’s as regular LUN’s in stead of snapshots but we weren’t able to rename them.

At first we thought the two problems to be related but this morning (after sleeping over it) we started to look in another direction and found an orphaned Shared Storage resource that probably wasn’t cleaned up correctly by ESX with the rescan of the storage.

After deleting this orphan we were able to rename all the Shared Storage resources. After a final reboot of the host all Shared Storage resources were detected as normal LUN’s so everything is fixed now. I have made a post in the VMWare forums with more details.

The fun thing this morning was that we were running full production while fixing one host. We just VMotioned everything over to the other host ! And then when we were done we just VMotioned everything back. And we had no complaints from users while doing that !

I mean, taking 40 servers down for maintenance in the middle of the morning would normally be impossible. After hating it yesterday when it was giving us problems, I am loving it today.

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Current project status

Posted by martijnl on November 13, 2006

After 6 weeks of this project we have reached the following status:

  • 2 ESX 3.0.1 hosts online and clustered
  • 24 VM’s in production of which there are:
    • 6 Linux servers
    • 18 Windows servers
  • Average CPU resource use: 2Ghz of a total available of 38Ghz

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VMWare VI3 Enterprise licenses ordered

Posted by martijnl on September 15, 2006

To continue the trend of the recent days:

The VMWare Virtual Infrastructure 3 Enterprise and Virtual Center Management server licenses have been ordered. Initial order is for 8 CPU licenses VI3 and one VC server.

Delivery is expected in three working days so well enough in advance of the delivery of the host servers.

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Point of no return

Posted by martijnl on August 31, 2006

Well, we have reached it and passed it. The production servers have been ordered as of 5 minutes ago.
Although PowerConvert will probably only help with the Windows servers we have enough confidence in VI3 Enterprise to go ahead with the migration of our production data centers.

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The joys of project planning

Posted by martijnl on August 30, 2006

I always get a little edgy when people state that “project plans are there to be changed” but it seems we’ll be using that quote quite often this period.

Because we still have the license problem with Platespin we made zero progress on that side and there has also not been a decision about the storage environment.

As I will be off for a week starting next Friday so I am hoping Platespin can resolve the issue and get us a working Proof of Concept license tomorrow. If all goes well (we have made successful P2I conversions so the only thing standing in the way of a successful test is the I2V deployment) then the orders can go out to Platespin and HP for the hardware and software before I leave.

Planning now looks like this:

  • Ordering production VM hosts: 31-8-06
  • Decision on storage: hopefully 1-9-06
  • VM host cluster online: 18-9-06
  • Production tests: 18-9-06 to 1-10-06
  • First storage array online: 1-10-06
  • Writing migration plan: from 7-8-06 to 18-9-06
  • Start of migration: 1-10-06

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What not to virtualize

Posted by martijnl on August 7, 2006

Just a quick update to let you know that we will start testing PowerConvert this week. Tests will probably continue into next week but things are a bit slow due to the holidays at the moment. If all goes well with PowerConvert I will start ordering the first two production environment machines from HP.

We have also made a list of the things we will not be migrating:

  • The Faxserver
  • The Exchange Servers (not until full 64 bit host support so we can upgrade to Exchange 2007)
  • The Cisco Callmanager servers

These are the things we know for sure. If anything changes I will post it here ofcourse.

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Application Licensing

Posted by martijnl on July 14, 2006

The reason for making a post about licensing is the possible pitfall that could exist in your software vendor’s licensing terms.

While VMWare itself doesn’t make a big deal out of multiple core processors we nearly fell into the trap of Oracle’s dual core and virtualization standpoint. For us, having about half the servers on Microsoft Windows 2000 or 2003 we will have to keep an accurate licensing count but for the sake of the example I’ll just stick with Oracle.

Oracle’s general licensing terms are described in the Oracle Software Investment Guide (SIG) which is currently located at: This is a 56 page document outlining everything there is to know about the different Oracle products.

To make life easier….. Oracle uses different metrics and licensing criteria for virtually each product. We use both Oracle 9i Enterprise database software and Oracle 10g Application Server software (which is version 9 release 4 to make it simple). In our situation there were two important criteria in determining the licensing:

1. Processor Metric

Because of the size of the company we use perpetual per processor licensing. Because we are currently using single core servers but are switching to dual-core Opteron servers it is important to keep track of Oracle’s definition of the Processor Metric. The SIG describes this as follows: “…………..For the purposes of counting the number of processors which require licensing for AMD and Intel multicore chips, “n” cores shall be determined by multiplying the total number of cores by a core processor licensing factor of .50“.

2. Partitioning Servers

Oracle doesn’t mention virtualization as a criterium in the SIG document. The wider definition used there is “Partitioning”. The SIG gives the following definition for partitioning in relation to Oracle licensing:

Oracle recognizes that customers may elect to partition servers for various reasons. These might include achieving lowered costs and simplified management by running multiple operating systems, such as Windows NT and UNIX, on the same server, or improving the workload balancing and distribution by managing processor allocations within applications and among users on the server. While there are two broad categories of partitioning – software partitioning and hardware partitioning – for licensing purposes, Oracle only recognizes hardware partitioning as a mean to install and license Oracle on fewer than the total number of processors in the box.

In short this means that for our DL585’s the Processor Metric is:

8 cores * 0.50 = 4

So if you are thinking (like we were) about ditching a two way Oracle server for a single vCPU Virtual Machine on a 4-way server which you then give extra resources to achieve the same performance and use that to save on Oracle licensing then you will see that’s not possible given Oracle’s current licensing position with regards to software partition / virtualization.

In the preparation for the project I am fortunate that I only have to check this for a limited amount of apps but keep this in mind if you have this form of licensing for other applications.

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The testlab

Posted by martijnl on July 13, 2006

The testing lab gave us some headaches because of the capital involved with the hardware. We did the ESX3 beta on one spare IBM xSeries 346 (our standard 2U server) but for all the advanced options in the VI3 release (such as DRS and HA) and for vMotion testing we needed two dual CPU servers with some extra internal memory.

At first we looked at renting the servers for a few months but the pricetag for two HP DL 385’s for 10 weeks was a whopping € 3500,-. Combined with the fact that the impact of a one time renting fee on our budget is rather heavy (compared to just the two or three months depreciation for a server that we own) this was not an option for us.

After some creative thinking we ended up upgrading the testing server and buying a second X346 for which we both have a use after the VMWare testing is over.

The first server will become our VirtualCenter management server. We got the tip that having the management server outside of the cluster of VMWare servers is the better option should the cluster fail.

The second server will become our monitoring server (we use NimBUS from NimSoft). Having the monitoring server outside of the cluster seemed a good idea for the same reason.

In the end the testing servers were configured as follows:

  • IBM xSeries 346
  • Dual Intel Xeon 3,6Ghz CPU
  • 7GB internal memory each
  • 2x 36 GB 15k SCSI disk for VMWare ESX installation
  • IBM 2Gb Fiber HBA
  • Intel Dual Gbit NIC

As I wrote earlier everything is installed and running. We have some VM’s online at the moment to get some load going. The biggest applications running now are Exchange 2003 Enterprise (which we use to do restores on, sometimes that’s easier than restore groups in Exchange) and the server we use for configurating the NimBUS monitoring application. To be added in the near future are testing environments for CODA, Oracle 10g Application server and Oracle 9i database, Tridion CMS and SuperOffice CRM.

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