Scott Drummonds on Virtualization



In today’s post I want to update and amplify thoughts from an old post on Storage IO Control (SIOC).  VMware customers that are using SIOC may sometimes see the following vCenter alarm:

Non-VI workload detected on the datastore

Or you may see the following warning in the vSphere client:

An external I/O activity is detected on datastore …

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Custom Alarms for VMware SIOC

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Over a year and a half ago I previewed VMware’s unreleased feature, Storage IO Control (SIOC).  SIOC creates new intelligent latency metrics to evaluate the health of VMFS volumes.  The same latency measurements are used in storage DRS, which VMware released in vSphere 5.  While automated performance correction is great, vCenter should warn VMware admins when latency crosses defined thresholds.  Custom vCenter alarms can do this.

With hardest work of making vSphere 5 generally available behind him, one of VMware’s engineers, Balaji Parimi, recently sent me scripts he wrote to create SIOC alarms.  These alarms can be used to tell administrators that SIOC is throttling some virtual machines to save high priority applications from ailing datastores.

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Virtual Storage Integrator Short Videos

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I have taken a long hiatus from blogging of late and am jumping back into the fold with a simple but important addition to the blogosphere. A few weeks ago Chad Sakac announced a new video showing the awesome vCenter plugin, the Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI). In this case the VSI was being used to demonstrate the capabilities of EMC’s new VNX array.

The VNX is awesome. The VSI is awesome. And the video is a potent demonstration of the combination of these two EMC products. But I firmly believe that most people consume internet content in 1-5 minute chunks. Weighing in at a hefty 16:50, I find this video a little cumbersome.

To that end, I broke up the video into a series of smaller parts and am presenting them here for anyone interested in these products.

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SIOC Event: Ignore or Panic?


A colleague of mine recently reported an alarming event witnessed at a customer of both EMC and VMware. After enabling Storage IO Control (SIOC), vCenter reported a possible problem with a datastore. The specific text of the event is:

External I/O workload detected on shared datastore running Storage I/O (SIOC) for congestion management

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Designing VMs with Performance SLAs


Consolidation amplifies the uncertainty of application performance. Still, VI administrators need a means of guaranteeing performance SLAs to their applications’ users. But the best VMware has been able to offer are resource controls, which are at best an indirect mechanism for sustaining application performance. With the acquisition of B-hive, now AppSpeed, VMware moved a step closer to allowing VI administrators to guarantee a performance SLA. As an application-aware latency measurement tool, AppSpeed may eventually provide feedback to vCenter to guarantee throughput levels. But it does not today. So how are VI administrators to guarantee application performance?

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vSphere 4.1: Performance Improvements


Last week I took my first vacation in a year and a half.  I had not missed a single day of work in 18 months.  So last week, when I was galavanting through Spain and running terrified, screaming, and covered in sangria through the streets of Pamplona, VMware made its biggest announcement in over a year: the launch of vSphere 4.1.  My old team put out what looks to be a wonderful “What’s New in Performance” paper so I want to take a few minutes to add my thoughts to some of the great work VMware has done.

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Storage IO Control Video

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The good folks at VMware have given another preview of a feature they are testing in their labs.  The Youtube video sets to music one of the coolest performance features being talked about right now, Storage IO Control.  I think it is perhaps the second hippest video ever made on an enterprise product from VMware.  But, hey, I am biased!

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Storage IO Control


Last year at VMworld 2009, Irfan Ahmad and Ajay Gulati presented a preview of an unreleased technology VMware is calling Storage IO Control (SIOC). SIOC is a feature aimed squarely at the number one cause of VMware performance problems: underperforming storage. Year after year I see misconfigured storage slowing virtualized applications with VMware blame for the problem. Now VMware hopes to add a new tool to our administrators’ toolboxes to help them identify and mitigate underperforming storage.

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