Posts Tagged ‘performance’

Crowdsourcing Community Knowledge with CloudPhysics

August 22nd, 2016 No comments

Image result for cloudphysicsCloudPhysics is a SaaS based solution for sucking up all your on-premises vSphere metadata into its own data lake and performing any number of analytics crunching on it.

The Cloud Physics offering is built upon a system of displaying cards where you can correlate configuration and/or performance information to show you for example datastore utilisation or iSCSI LUNs.

One of the interesting aspects of CloudPhysics is how they can actively monitor the bloggosphere to crowd-source knowledge to help its customers. There are a whole bunch of built in cards which customers can use to report on their environments but something I didn’t realise was that CloudPhysics can also monitor blogs for issues plaguing vSphere environments. If the investigation involves gathering data from your vSphere deployment, CloudPhysics likely has that data already.

At its recent Tech Field Day 11 presentation, CloudPhysics showed how information from fellow delegate Andreas Lesslhumer’s blog which was about tracking down whether a vSphere Changed Block Tracking (CBT) bug which breaks backups affected you. CloudPhysics was able to code the information Andreas wrote about into a new card which customers could then use to report on their own infrastructure, so much easier than writing the code to gather the information yourself.

This could be even more important if you are not even aware of the bug. CloudPhysics or even any user can scan the VMware Knowledge Base as well as many other blogs and write a card to tell you for example that with the exact version of vSphere you are running on some or all of your hosts whether an issue affects you. Of course this wouldn’t apply to you if you were continually scanning all the official and community sites for all bugs reported and able to report on them! Thought you weren’t, well CloudPhysics may have your back.

I would have loved to have had this a few years ago when I had spent ages correlating vSphere versions with HP/Broadcom/Emulex Nic card drivers and firmware to track down the too many issues that plagued the HP Virtual Connect blade chassis networking at the time. I wrote a PowerCLI script which invoked Putty and SSH to connect to each ESXi host to gather the firmware version so I could check the support matrix, it was time consuming and cumbersome. CloudPhysics would have made this so much easier. I could have used the Developer Edition to create my own cards so much quicker and then this could have been made available to others by publishing it to the Card Store.

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Virtualisation Field Day 4 Preview: SolarWinds

January 8th, 2015 No comments

Virtualisation Field Day 4 is happening in Austin, Texas from 14th-16th January and I’m very lucky to be invited as a delegate.

I’ve been previewing the companies attending, have a look at my introductory post: Virtualisation Field Day 4 Preview.


logo for SolarWinds IT management software including server monitoring and network performance monitoringlogo for SolarWinds IT management software including server monitoring and network performance monitoring

Everyone has heard of SolarWinds and either used your seen their ubiquitous network monitoring product Orion but you may or may not be surprised to know that they do a lot more. They have a bunch more networking products apart from their monitoring product, know of Kiwi Syslog Server, that’s SolarWinds. They do server and application monitoring for over 150 apps as well as VMware, Hyper-V, Windows, AIX, UNIX, Solaris and Linux so fairly broad then.

They do security software with SIEM log and event management, Secure FTP, 3rd party patch deployment (Adobe, Java, Oracle etc.), firewall config management, database performance analysis (SQL, Oracle, DB2, Sybase)

So basically, SolarWinds provides products for monitoring every aspect of your infrastructure, I’m sure Docker is either done or on the roadmap!

This being Virtualisation Field Day, I would think SolarWinds will be talking about its Virtualization Manager to manage VMware and Hyper-V. You can monitor performance and capacity to your hearts content, manage VM Sprawl, track configuration changes, look at dashboards galore, map dependencies and use a module for VDI performance monitoring.

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Virtualisation Field Day 4 Preview: VMTurbo

January 8th, 2015 No comments

Virtualisation Field Day 4 is happening in Austin, Texas from 14th-16th January and I’m very lucky to be invited as a delegate.

I’ve been previewing the companies attending, have a look at my introductory post: Virtualisation Field Day 4 Preview.


VMTurbo presented at the last Virtualisation Field Day 3 with an update at the VMworld SFO compact edition so the Tech Field Day community know what they are about.

VMTurbo has an application called Operations Manager (bland name IMO). VM management is a very crowded market even harder to penetrate when vendors have their own offerings (VMware with vRealize Ops previously VCOPS and Microsoft with SCOM).

VMTurbo differentiates itself with an interesting take by modelling your data center as an economic market. VMs need resources and can be thought of as buyers of what they need be it CPU, RAM, IO, latency etc. Your infrastructure is the seller offering up goods to satisfy the sellers. This means everything can be associated with a price and can use the economic laws of supply and demand to set prices. As resources are more utilised and become scarce, their price goes up for the VMs so they should shop around for a better price where there is more supply capacity and therefore lower prices. This economic model allows VMTurbo to solve the problem of where to run VMs. This also translates directly into reporting on cost/benefits and an opportunity cost framework that seems very interesting.

Now economics are incredibly complex, just ask the financial wizards to despite thinking they knew everything let the market crash beneath them.

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What’s in PernixData FVP’s secret sauce

July 31st, 2014 No comments

Anyone who manages or architects a virtualisation environment battles against storage performance at some stage or another. If you run into compute resource constraints, it is very easy and fairly cheap to add more memory or perhaps another host to your cluster.

Being able to add to compute incrementally makes it very simple and cost effective to scale. Networking is similar, it is very easy to patch in another 1GB port and with 10GB becoming far more common, network bandwidth constraints seem to be the least of your worries. It’s not the same with storage. This is mainly down to a cost issue and the fact that spinning hard drives haven’t got any faster. You can’t just swap out a slow drive for a faster one in a drive array and a new array shelf is a large incremental cost.

imageSure, flash is revolutionising array storage but its going to take time to replace spinning rust with flash and again it often comes down to cost. Purchasing an all flash array or even just a shelf of flash for your existing array is expensive and a large incremental jump when perhaps you just need some more oomph during your month end job runs.

VDI environments have often borne the brunt of storage performance issues simply due to the number of VMs involved, poor client software that was never written to be careful with storage IO and latency along with operational update procedures used to mass updates of AV/patching etc. that simply kill any storage. VDI was often incorrectly justified with cost reduction as part of the benefit which meant you never had any money to spend on storage for what ultimately grew into a massive environment with annoyed users battling poor performance.

Large performance critical VMs are also affected by storage. Any IO that has to travel along a remote path to a storage array is going to be that little bit slower. Your big databases would benefit enormously by reducing this round trip time.



Along came PernixData at just the right time with what was such a simple solution called FVP. Install some flash SSD or PCIe into your ESXi host, cluster them as a pooled resource and then use software to offload IO from the storage array to the ESXi host. Even better, be able to cache writes as well and also protect them in the flash cluster. The best IO in the world is the IO you don’t have to do and you could give your storage array a little more breathing room. The benefit was you could use your existing array with its long update cycles and squeeze a little bit more life out of it without an expensive upgrade or even moving VM storage. FVP the name doesn’t stand for anything by the way, it doesn’t stand for Flash Virtualisation Platform if you were wondering which would be incorrect anyway as FVP accelerates more than flash.

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Optimise your VDI image with a new OS optimisation tool

July 31st, 2013 No comments

VMware has released a new Fling called the VMware OS Optimization Tool for Windows 7.

One of my bugbears with the whole VDI industry is the I in “VDI”, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Many people often focus too much time and effort designing the infrastructure part of delivering virtual desktops: hypervisors, clusters, brokers, security, storage, networks, streaming, provisioning etc. and don’t pay enough attention to the actual OS build.

The OS build is absolutely critical for the success of any VDI project. If you don’t optimise your OS image you will use more CPU, memory and critically storage IOPS than you actually need which can ramp up your costs or cause your whole project to fail.


VMware has released the VMware OS Optimization Tool to assist with just this for Windows 7 desktops and VMware Horizon View. There are customisable templates to enable or Windows services and features to ensure you have optimum performance.

There is also a Remote OS Optimization Tool which allows you to connect to a remote Horizon View broker to optimise images.

Although this tool is specifically written for VMware View and uses VMware’s recommendations and best practices, the OS settings are as applicable when using Citrix XenDesktop or other brokers or in fact when running any Windows 7 workstation even without a broker when your users connect using just RDC.

If you are wanting to get more information on your current Windows desktop (not only limited to VDI) performance, I would also suggest looking at Helge Klein’s fantastic UberAgent for Splunk which gives you all sorts of information to help find out what’s taking too long.

To really ensure you cover all bases I would suggest using this new VMware tool in conjunction with other scripts and tools:

VDI Optimizer

VMware Horizon View Optimization Guide for Windows 7 and Windows 8

IT Blood Pressure’s EUC Tips

Quest vWorkspace Desktop Optimizer

Citrix Windows 7 Optimization Guide for Desktop Virtualization

Project VRC White Papers (free registration required)

How to Optimize XenDesktop Machines

Best Practice: Group Policy for Virtual Desktops Infrastructure (VDI)

VDI Group Policy Optimisation Template and Script

VMware vCenter Operations Manager 5.6 released with new free Foundation edition

November 30th, 2012 No comments

imageVMware has released its latest update to vCenter Operations Manager Suite with some notable changes.

First of all there is now a vCenter Operations Manager Foundation edition which is included with every vSphere edition from Standard free of charge.

The Foundation edition includes basic vSphere Performance and Health monitoring just as Proactive Smart Alerts, Intelligent Operations Groups (New), vSphere Health Monitoring and Self-learning Performance Analytics. It’s a start to at least get you monitoring your environment but for any of the clever analysis and recommendations or capacity management you will need to look at a more feature rich edition or get it included as part of the VMware vCloud Suite.

There are 4 editions and they have had a feature list move around, the above mentioned Foundation (vSphere Performance and Health), Standard (vSphere Monitoring, Performance and Capacity Optimization), Advanced, (Virtual and Physical Infrastructure Operations including Monitoring, Performance, Capacity and Configuration Management) & Enterprise (Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure Operations including OS- and Application-level Monitoring, Performance, Capacity and Configuration Management)

The features of the old Advanced edition have now been incorporated into the Standard edition, the old Enterprise edition is now called Advanced and the old Enterprise Plus is now called Enterprise.

vCOPS 5.6 includes plenty of new integration including being part of the new Web Client which is a great (inevitable obviously) change.

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Categories: vCOPS, VMware Tags: , ,

VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite Released

January 25th, 2012 No comments

VMware vCenter Operations Management Suite has been released today. This was the major announcement and focus of VMworld Europe 2011 which was billed as “The Biggest VMware Management Launch Ever”.

To recap, the new vCenter Operations Management Suite is made up of two major components:

  • vCenter Operations Manager 5.0
  • vCenter Infrastructure Navigator 1.0 which is a new product

The suite aspect means there is tight integration between the two components. There are workflows to analyse performance which span both components. The suite now also allows seamless upgrades between different suite editions which are Standard, Advanced and Enterprise.

  • vCenter Operations Standard: Performance management with capacity and change awareness for VMware vSphere-virtualized and cloud environments.
  • vCenter Operations Advanced: Adds more advanced capacity analytics and planning to vCenter Operations Standard’s performance management for VMware vSphere-virtualized and cloud environments.
  • vCenter Operations Enterprise: Performance, capacity and configuration management capabilities for both virtual and physical environments and includes customizable dashboards, smart alerting and application awareness.

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VMworld Buzz: VMware announces vCenter Operations Management Suite

October 18th, 2011 1 comment

VMware’s major announcement at VMworld is billed as “The Biggest VMware Management Launch Ever”. What that means is VMware has announced its new version of vCenter Operations which it is now calling vCenter Operations Management Suite and will be released later this year or early 2012. vCOPS as it’s called is the technology VMware bought from Integrien in August 2010. vCOPS-Std vCOPS is used as a performance management application which gathers all the stats from your vCenter infrastructure and uses clever analytics to create powerful visualisations (pretty pictures) so you can more easily troubleshoot performance issues in your virtual environment.

Performance Management is extremely important in your virtual environment. Your infrastructure is only getting bigger as you keep adding more and bigger VMs and understanding and managing your performance capability becomes so important the bigger you get.

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Categories: VMware, VMworld Tags: ,

I’ve been served on vSoup!

January 25th, 2011 2 comments

I was honoured to be invited as the first guest on joining Chris Dearden (@chrisdearden), Ed Czerwin (@eczerwin) and Christian Mohn (@h0bbel) talking about virtualisation

We spoke about managing virtual desktops, VDI, HP Flex-10 switches and firmware issues, storage and plently of other things!

You can download the podcast from or even better subscribe through iTunes.

How slim is your OS build? VDI’s biggest loser!

December 1st, 2010 3 comments

Going virtual is all about sharing resources. You are no longer constrained by one server or workstation running on one physical piece of hardware. The benefit is less physical kit to look after and better utilisation of resources but the detriment is when you share, you need to share nicely. In a shared environment one VM can be greedy and take more than its fair share and your other VMs suffer.

It’s not just sharing nicely that you need to consider but also building your VMs so they need less so there’s more to go around.

VDI is all about maximising the use of your physical hardware. To be cost effective (if you can with VDI!), you want to run as many workstations on a physical host as you can without sacrificing individual VM performance.

So, if your VMs are greedy with what they need you are going to be paying more for hardware. Wasting resources on physical workstations may not cost that much more but move your workstation into your datacenter and then see how much money you will be wasting.

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