VSP1926 Getting Started with VMware vSphere Design

For those coming here from Scott Lowe, thanks for stopping by and see all my other VMworld 2011 posts (many other sessions).

This conflicts with another session I already had scheduled but I wanted to hear Scott Lowe speak a bit….always like to hear good speakers (regardless of content) and see what things I might be able to adapt into my own style.

I got here 10 minutes early and Scott is working the crowd….very impressive. All other sessions I’ve been at the speakers sit on the stage…Scott is walking down the aisle slowly meeting people, shaking hands, asking a few questions (what they’re here for), etc. etc.

Summary from Scott = The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. (Aristotle)

What’s below is a mix of what’s in the PowerPoint and some of my own notes from Scott speaking (he’s not just reading his slides).

  • Viewing Design Holistically
    • Viewing a vSphere design as a collection of independent technology decisions will lead to problems.
      • Must account for how the technologies are interrelated and interdependent.
      • Must account for how the technologies are linked to business decisions and business needs.
    • One key to resilient, flexible vSphere designs is understanding the impact of decisions on other technology areas and the underlying theme.
    • Discussion about how many of us are geeks….we like to do stuff just because it’s fun to do….or because we can (Scott hacked his XBox for instance).
      • But we have to harness that desire to do us and align to business needs.
  • Seeing the underlying theme
    • Underlying theme is the functional requirements.
    • Decisions must map back to the functional requirements.
    • Decisions should further the functional requirements.
    • At the very least, design decisions must not adversely impact them.
    • Creating functional requirements isn’t fun….just stuff we have to slog through much of the time.
    • Design Constraints = decisions made for you….stuff you can’t control.
    • Layer 8 = humans….have to design for Layer 8 too.
  • Some major areas of design
    • Designing for security
    • Selecting the physical servers that will run vSphere
    • Architecting a shared storage solution
    • Establishing your virtual network connectivity.
    • 2 others.
  • Major Design Area: Security
    • This should be in the functional requirements to begin with.
    • Security isn’t really a design decision ironically….maps right back to the requirements.
    • Not all requirements in a physical world make sense in a virtual world.
      • Question asking to elaborate about this – data residing on separate disks (can’t do in a virtual environment or might be too high $$ to be worth it).
      • Many design principles must be applied differently.
  • Major Design Area: Physical Servers
    • Selection Criteria should include….
      • Form factor (blade servers vs. rack servers), Power Consumption, Manageability, Supportability/Compatibility, Number & Type of CPUs, Amount of RAM, Expandability, Vendor, Cost/budget
      • From audience = networking design, storage and I/O, networking, licensing, scale up vs. scale out, location of the server itself, weight.
        • Ex. EMC datacenter in Denver office is weight constrained.
    • How does physical server selection affect other areas?
      • Form factor affects network connectivity and therefore virtual network design (vSwitches, port groups, uplinks).
      • Form factor may affect cluster design or overall hardware needs.
      • Vendor affects existing management infrastructure or operational procedures.
      • Amount of RAM affects overall VM density and budget.
      • Expandability could limit current design and affect future growth.
      • Soft costs around switching vendors – new tools to learn.
    • Example: vSphere design specifics to use 1U rack-mount servers (2 CPU, 96 GB RAM, 4 onboard 1 Gb Ethernet NICs, 2 PCIe expansion slots, mirrored local drives). What are some of the potential impacts?
      • Storage networking options.
      • Virtual networking design.
      • Security
      • Backups
      • Lease Cycle, Hardware Release Cycle
  • Major Design Area: Shared storage
    • Selection criteria should include….
      • Protocol Support (FC, FCoE, iSCSI, NFS), Array architecture (active/passive, active/active), Manageability, Supportability/Compatibility, Capacity (GB/TB/PB), Performance (IOps, as well as MBps), Flexibility, Vendor, Cost/budget.
      • From audience = upgrade process for storage software, thin provisioning support, auto-tierinng.
    • Storage design will impact these areas….
      • Protocol choice will affect networking design.
      • Protocol choice will affect numerous operational procedures.
      • Failing to accommodate both capacity and performance (IOPs/Mbps) will degrade the entire design.
      • Vendor selection will affect operational procedures and may add complexity to implementation (switching vendors).
      • Protocol and vendor selections can impact vSphere integration via VASA or VAAI.
    • Example: You decide to use NFS as the primary storage protocol for a vSphere implementation. What are the potential impact?
      • Storage vendor/array selection.
      • Virtual networking
      • VM storage
      • VAAI support
  • Major Design Area: Physical networking
    • Key design criteria…
      • Speed/Performance (1 GB/10 Gb), Feature Support (LAG), Security, Supportability/Compatibility, Vendor, Cost/Budget, Existing network infrastructure, Interoperability, Redundancy.
      • From Audience = form factors and connections.
    • Impacts….
      • Physical network topology and equipment has a profound impact on virtual networking design.
      • Physical server selection could be affected.
      • Power/space/cooling in data center could be affected due to cabling limitations.
      • Cost of cabling affected (1 Gb vs. 10 Gb).
    • Example: An architect specifics the use of 10 Gb ethernet in vSphere design. What are the impacts?
      • Switch selection, virtual network design, budget, security/multi-tenancy.
      • vDS Licensing if you want NIOC to carve up 10 GigE
  • Major design area: Virtual networking
    • Key design criteria…
      • Operational Consideratoins, many of the same.
      • Trunking, Compliance.

I had to leave early to head to another session but very very good (and I contributed a couple items during the audience responses).


One thought on “VSP1926 Getting Started with VMware vSphere Design

  1. Pingback: VMworld 2011 « vmnick

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