1 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures
2 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures PAGE 2 Table f Cntents Intrductin: The Challenges f Virtual Infrastructures... 3 Understanding Virtual Infrastructures... 4 Achieving Cmplete End-t-End Visibility... 6 NimBUS in the Virtual Infrastructure... 7 Deplying NimBUS in the Virtual Infrastructure: 4 Steps t Success... 9 Step 1 Laying the Fundatin...9 Step 2 Adding the Physical Envirnment...9 Step 3 - Adding the Virtual Envirnment...9 Step 4 Putting it All Tgether...10 Next Steps: Other Cnsideratins? Running NimBUS as a Virtual Appliance?...10 VMware and NimBUS Autmatin Integratin...10 Managing SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) in Virtualized Envirnments...10 Cnsideratins fr Managed Service Prviders...10 Abut Nimsft... 12
3 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures PAGE 3 Intrductin: The Challenges f Virtual Infrastructures Many IT administratrs have already learned the hard way that managing the perfrmance and availability f services built n virtualizatin technlgies can be difficult, if nt impssible at times. All t ften, early adpters f virtualizatin have struggled with limited technlgy features and stability cnstraints, while learning new ways t effectively manage capacity requirements. Frtunately, sme platfrms nw ffer clustering slutins that are mature enugh t autmate the balancing f wrklads acrss physical resurces. When cmbined with disciplined capacity planning and sund deplyment cnfiguratins, it is pssible t achieve fast, scalable, and highly available IT services using virtualizatin platfrms. Initial virtualizatin deplyments are typically basic cnfiguratins that cnsist f a cuple physical servers and a dzen virtual machines n a shared, flat netwrk. Often, rganizatins find that these deplyments are nly suitable fr testing and develpment, and are nt able t meet the needs f demanding prductin envirnments very well. Cnsequently, IT teams need t invest in and effectively deply such slutins as centralized strage, cluster technlgies, netwrking, and systems management in rder t realize successful virtualizatin initiatives. Once these IT investments are made, the many benefits f virtualizatin, such as ease f management and use, are ften quickly realized. After these initial successes, hwever, IT management ften starts t be cncerned abut the grwing sprawl f business critical virtual machines and the lack f visibility required t effectively understand the perfrmance f these IT services. VM VM VM VM VM VM ESX ESX Administratin Netwrk Virtual Center Syslg Server Management Cnsle
4 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures PAGE 4 Understanding Virtual Infrastructures This sectin ffers an verview f all the infrastructure cmpnents that cmprise an effective, high-quality virtualized IT service. In this example, there is a minimum cluster cnfiguratin f three VMware ESX hsts hsting eight virtual machines. Hwever, the industry average fr ESX hsts is eight t twelve virtual machines each. It s cmmn practice t share a single CPU cre between tw r three virtual machines. Mre I/O intensive virtual machines shuld require a minimum f ne r tw cres each. Memry is very imprtant in virtualized envirnments. It s cmmn practice t install as much RAM as pssible n the ESX servers (e.g. 128GB r 256GB) and allcate enugh RAM t run each virtual machine in physical memry. Centralized strage is essential in virtualized envirnments. Fibre Channel cnnectivity is still recmmended fr best perfrmance, althugh iscsi is a ppular lw cst alternative that als perfrms very well. NFS NAS-based strage is best used fr backups, snapshts, lgs, shared files, data stres, etc. Using integrated SAN/NAS slutins enables ptimized backup/recvery features, but these implementatins must be carefully planned t ensure there is n impact n applicatin and systems perfrmance. Sme rganizatins address this challenge by deplying dedicated strage resurces fr virtualizatin and physical platfrms, and anther strage resurce dedicated t applicatins and databases.
5 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures PAGE 5 Netwrk bandwidth, cnnectivity, segmentatin, and traffic shaping cnfiguratins are als key t the perfrmance f virtualized envirnments. 1Gbps+ netwrk interface cards can be cmbined t lad balance netwrk traffic and prvide high availability. Segmentatin f the data access, VMtin, administrative, and prductin traffic imprves the reliability and security f cmmunicatins. Leveraging the new Cisc prtcl cmmunicatins supprt in ESX servers als imprves the perfrmance and management f the netwrk envirnment. Administratrs shuld als carefully cnsider the netwrk demands fr each virtual machine and the aggregate demand n the ESX hst. Virtual machines als perfrm better when they are gruped int resurce pls based n similar perating systems, applicatins, and wrklads. The careful distributin f resurce pls acrss DRS clusters is als essential t imprving perfrmance and scalability. The fllwing diagram depicts an ESX hst fr the sample infrastructure utlined abve. This cnfiguratin is ptimized fr high availability, perfrmance, and security. Each virtual netwrk is islated, redundant, and highly available.
6 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures PAGE 6 Achieving Cmplete End-t-End Visibility Althugh a finely tuned, clustered virtual infrastructure can balance the wrklad amng ESX hsts very effectively, IT service perfrmance and availability issues can still arise. While virtual machines can autmatically migrate between ESX hsts within a cluster, depending n defined CPU and memry requirements, this capability is nt always enugh t ensure reliable IT services. Perfrmance issues generally arise due t ne f tw issues. First, the cmbinatin f ineffective applicatin cnfiguratin r design and unexpected usage levels can be ne surce f perfrmance degradatin. Secnd, changes t r failures in the underlying virtual r physical platfrm infrastructure can als create perfrmance prblems. Cmplete end-t-end visibility is required fr effective capacity planning, trubleshting issues, as well as reprting the availability f the IT Services. Fr a cmplete picture f the perfrmance and capacity f a virtual infrastructure, administratrs must be able t cllect and analyze metrics frm all f the fllwing cmpnents: VMware ESX hsts VMware virtual machines Operating systems and applicatins running n virtual machines VMware Virtual Center Server health End user respnse times Netwrking devices and bandwidth Systems and applicatin lgs Strage devices, NAS, and SANs
7 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures PAGE 7 NimBUS in the Virtual Infrastructure NimBUS prducts frm Nimsft uniquely address the challenges f cmprehensive mnitring in virtualized envirnments. With NimBUS, administratrs can mnitr the entire ecsystem including the virtualizatin cmpnents, the resident business applicatins, and end user respnse times t effectively understand and manage service levels in virtualized envirnments. Deplyed in the same virtual infrastructure example prvided earlier, a typical NimBUS deplyment wuld cnsist f the hub server, which wuld be deplyed n a physical server and mnitr all the physical and virtual infrastructure cmpnents. In additin, CPU, disk, and memry (CDM) prbes and varius netwrk, OS, and applicatin prbes wuld be deplyed t cllect infrmatin frm all physical infrastructure cmpnents. The VMware prbe wuld be deplyed n the Virtual Center server (alng with CDM and OS prbes) t cllect all virtual infrastructure metrics. The VMware Lg Mnitring prbe wuld be installed n the Syslg server t alert n events recrded in the lgs. A secndary hub server culd be installed n a virtual machine (such as Linux r Windws) t cllect metrics frm the perating systems and applicatins in the virtual machines, then frward the data back t the primary hub server fr reprting, alerting, and analysis behind a firewall.
8 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures PAGE 8 The fllwing diagram illustrates the crrespnding ESX hst server cnfiguratin t the example virtual infrastructure discussed abve. The secndary NimBUS hub n the firewall virtual appliance interfaces between prductin and administratin netwrks t cmmunicate metrics back t the primary hub server. In this segment, multiple virtual appliances shuld be used t best secure the envirnment, using ne virtual machine per custmer prductin envirnment.
9 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures PAGE 9 Deplying NimBUS in the Virtual Infrastructure: 4 Steps t Success Step 1 Laying the Fundatin Install the NimBUS Primary Hub and Database Servers Traditinally, these have been deplyed n physical servers in the administratin netwrk, but they are nw cmmnly being deplyed as virtual machines. Step 2 Adding the Physical Envirnment Install the Netwrking and SNMP Prbes Traditinally installed n the primary NimBUS hub server, these prbes are used t cllect traffic and interface metrics n the administratin, data, and VMtin netwrks. Install Server CDM, OS, and Applicatin Prbes All servers in the supprting administratin netwrk shuld have the fllwing mnitred: CPU, disk, memry, OS, and applicatin. This shuld include the Virtual Center server, Syslg servers, and any ther management servers, such as Bladelgic r Opsware. Cnfigure SNMP Strage Mnitrs Nimsft currently nly supprts mnitring f strage resurces via SNMP. Real-time mnitring f the strage prcessrs and fibre channel switches (if used) are critical t understanding verall perfrmance and trubleshting issues. Step 3 - Adding the Virtual Envirnment NimBUS fr Vmware Prbe It is cnsidered best practice t install ne VMware prbe n each Virtual Center server. If nt using a Virtual Center server, this prbe is usually placed n the NimBUS primary hub server, with up t 32 ESX hsts registered t it. Virtual Center Health Installing the CDM, Windws OS (ntservices), and varius applicatin prbes in the previus step is nly the first step t mnitring the Virtual Center server. It is als critical t mnitr the lgs, events, and prcesses f the Virtual Center server. Virtual Servers Virtual Machine OS and Applicatin Prbes All virtual machines must als have OS and applicatin mnitring prbes t prvide visibility t applicatin issues. These prbes are usually cnfigured t reprt metrics t the secndary hub. VMware Lg Mnitring Prbe This prbe can be installed n the NimBUS hub server in cnjunctin with the integrated NimBUS syslg server, r it can be installed n a different syslg server. Since VMware des nt allw any prbes r agents t be installed n the ESX hst server, all VMware applicatin and hst system lgs must be frwarded t a syslg server.
10 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures PAGE 10 Step 4 Putting it All Tgether End User Experience Best practice guidelines advise that administratrs have the end user respnse prbes hsted in their wn dedicated virtual machine. These prbes can replay user sessins recrded n an applicatin. The scripts can be instrumented t substitute variables frm external surces, as well as reprt n the perfrmance f specific steps and bjects expected within the sessin. Administratrs shuld build and test this slutin in develpment and QA envirnments and then include this slutin in every applicatin released t prductin. This will ensure that any new changes t the applicatin will nt unexpectedly affect the prductin mnitring cnfiguratins. In additin, this apprach will prvide an essential tl fr validating the applicatins in develpment and QA envirnments. Alerting Cnfiguratins After all the agents, prbes, and assciated cnfiguratins have been made, the next step is t identify and cnfigure the alerting cnditins required t ntify the relevant IT peratins teams. Reprting Dashbards and SLAs After all the alerting cnditins have been cnfigured and tested, the last step is t create IT service dashbards, and perfrmance and service level management reprts. Included in this step is the setup and cnfiguratin f the service delivery prtal fr end users. This prtal can be used t display all the apprpriate dashbards, reprts, and alerts t users with prper credentials. Next Steps: Other Cnsideratins? Running NimBUS as a Virtual Appliance? While Nimsft des nt yet ffer an fficial NimBUS virtual appliance, custmers have been building their wn NimBUS virtual appliances instead f hsting them n dedicated physical servers. Thse wh take this apprach shuld be careful t ensure that the NimBUS hub server can cmmunicate cnsistently with the Virtual Center, netwrk, secndary hubs, etc. even if VMtin migrates prcessing t a different ESX hst. VMware and NimBUS Autmatin Integratin Nimsft recently annunced autmatin integratin supprt with the VMware platfrm. The published dcumentatin can be dwnladed n the Web site r by yur accunt representative. The same VMware API used by NimBUS t cllect perfrmance metrics frm the virtual infrastructure can nw als be used t trigger autmatin activities based n applicatin, OS, end user, and physical perfrmance cnditins. Managing SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) in Virtualized Envirnments As IT Operatins managers cntinue t adpt virtual appliances fr IT applicatin services, slutin architects are nw starting t design service riented architecture (SOA) applicatins using virtual machines. SOA mdels typically break dwn the applicatin int lgical mini-applicatins that service requests frm a cmmn universal bus. These mini-applicatin cmpnents are nw being hsted within light-weight virtual machines, which can be gruped tgether t prvide an IT service. Cnsideratins fr Managed Service Prviders While we ve already cvered many cnsideratins that benefit MSPs specifically, there are a few additinal factrs t cnsider in planning NimBUS deplyments: MSPs ften ffer the mnitring f applicatins in virtual machines as valuable add-n services. Cre underlying physical and virtual infrastructure cmpnents can be included in the base platfrm fr
11 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures PAGE 11 mnitring SLA s and services, using these additinal tiers fr further revenue generating pprtunities. MSPs can ffer physical servers and hardware-based appliances that cntain a cre virtual machine. This virtual machine can feature a NimBUS secndary hub server and ther imprtant services, such as VPN as well. When the physical server is pwered n, it autmatically launches the virtual machine stred n the appliance. This apprach has enabled sme Nimsft MSP custmers t ffer virtual machines and hardware appliances. Fr easier management and cnfiguratin, MSP s shuld use a NimBUS hub server fr each custmer. NimBUS is easily scaled using a hub and spke mdel, where the primary hub server is hsted within the MSP administratin netwrk and all secndary hub servers at the spke level represent custmer infrastructures. Spke hub servers are ften als stacked in a tplgy that represents gegraphic lcatins, like in varius MSP r custmer data centers.
12 Best Practices fr Optimizing Perfrmance and Availability in Virtual Infrastructures PAGE 12 Abut Nimsft Nimsft is the premier prvider f business-fcused IT infrastructure mnitring slutins that custmers can easily deply and use. The cmpany s mnitring slutin, NimBUS, is used by hundreds f cmpanies acrss diverse industries t manage cmplex netwrked systems t meet service level agreement targets. Nimsft slutins cmbine perfrmance and availability mnitring, advanced service level management functinality and brad platfrm cverage fr unprecedented ease f implementatin, deplyment and use. Fr mre infrmatin visit NimBUS, Nimsft and the Nimsft lg are trademarks r registered trademarks f Nimsft Inc. All ther cmpany and prduct names may be trademarks r registered trademarks f their respective cmpanies Nimsft Inc, all rights reserved. Nrth America and Rest f Wrld Natinal Tll Free: 877 SLA MGMT ( ) Phne: Eurpe, Middle East & Africa UK & Rest f EMEA +44 (0) Nrway & Nrthern Eurpe Spain Germany
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