Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An Intro So Say SMEs

At the end of 2011 I started participating in a video series called So Say SMEs with Kong Yang, who I've done lots of stuff with in the past.  The idea is to do an unscripted five to ten minute video that focuses on a single topic.  We are keeping it casual and fun but still trying to cover some key ideas for each topic.
We started off with a quick discussion of cloud and virtualization in episode 1. Please note that Kong is very fond of the word absolutely

In episodes 2 and 3 we covered high availability with virtualization.  Episode 2 was about the options available with VMware to do different aspects of high availability and Episode 3 covered some application / OS level stuff.  I finally remembered to wear a VMware shirt in episode 3.

 In our final episode for 2011 we each picked three predictions for 2012.  Kong accidentally introduces it as episode 5, even though it is actually only episode 4.  We are like George Lucas and release episodes out of order.

Looking forward to having lots of fun with this series next in year. 


Friday, December 16, 2011

DVD Store Adds Support for vPostgres and PostgreSQL

I am excited to announce that we have added support for the vPostgres and PostgreSQL databases to the DVD Store.  The DVD Store is an open source database test kit that was developed and is maintained by Dave Jaffe and myself.  It includes everything needed to create the DVD Store database and drive a workload against it.  This includes database build and load scripts, programs to create the load data, sample load data, client driver programs, and web tier applications.  See Dave's video for a detailed look at how to get everything installed and working.

Since the initial release of the DVD Store, in 2005, we have supported SQL Server, Oracle, and MySQL databases.  Last year we did a major enhancement that allows for the easy creation of any size test database, ability to drive multiple VMs from a single driver program, and an easy to use script that steps through things.

The release of support for PostgreSQL and vPostgres now expands the support to a new database type.  By adding support for PostgreSQL we also get support for vPostgres which is part of VMware vFabric Data Director.  This is VMware's new Database as a Service (DAAS) offering and you will now be able to use the DVD Store test application to try it out and put it under stress.

I would like to thank Jignesh Shah for his extensive contributions in getting this new PostgreSQL version completed and released.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Front Row Seats Are The Best

I went to see the UT men's basketball team play with my 10 year old son last week.  We had seats on the first row in the upper deck.  It was a mid-week game, so the attendance was pretty light.  I told him that after about 10 minutes into the game, we could go down to the lower level and get seats that were probably only 15 or 20 rows back from the floor.  He told me that he didn't want to change seats.  The seats we had were awesome because nobody was in front of him.  He could see great.

This reminds me to keep my perspective in context. Not everybody has the same

I have run many performance tests with a wide variety of applications in a wide variety of configurations on vSphere (ESX or ESXi).  I know that performance is great.  We spend most of our time figuring out how to improve that last few percentage points, analyzing the outliers, and testing new features and versions.  I don't consider performance to be an issue, but something that can be fine tuned and improved.

When I talk with customers that are relatively new to virtualization, I am reminded that not everybody has this same perspective.  We are still working to prove to them that it does perform very well. (Which is actually a pretty cool job!)  Fortunately, our performance has improved with every version and we have lots of success stories as well.  This makes it easier to show people and convince them why virtualization is a great platform. They can get all the advantages of virtualization and maintain great performance.

It turned out that those upper deck seats on the first row were pretty great.  We could see everything really well and we had a great time watching the game together.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Model for Oracle on vSphere

I've been working with some of the guys at EMC's IT group on testing Oracle RAC on vSphere 5 over the past year.  They recently published a comprehensive white paper on their deployment model for Oracle on vSphere, which was one of the results of the work that we did together.  The performance testing that we did was part of the evaluation that EMC used for Oracle on vSphere as they continue to move towards having more and more of their data centers virtualized.

The deployment model provides some great thoughts on how to evaluate which combination of components should be used for each deployment.  It takes into consideration the scalability, high availability, and relevant clustering options from both VMware and Oracle.  Good stuff.

In addition to the deployment model for Oracle on vSphere, the paper also includes some key parameters for tuning and running Oracle RAC on vSphere 5.  These were found as part of the testing we did using large 32 vCPU based VMs running a four node Oracle RAC cluster.  More good stuff.

A couple of quick things that I conclude from the white paper:

1. The deployment model clearly illustrates how Oracle RAC is becoming more and more of a corner case, that is only needed by a small percentage of databases.

2. EMC clearly believes that Oracle software is supported on VMware vSphere, and is already running a large percentage of their environment on it today.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Official With SAP SD Benchmarks

It is rare to see official traditional benchmarks published on virtualization, but in the case of SAP it is happening.

A couple of weeks ago, HP published an SAP Three-Tier SD benchmark on vSphere 5 and an HP VirtualSystem.  This was a big system made up of 11 physical servers, hosting one "Monster" database VM and 20 application server VMs.  The result was a 2x increase in the number of users vs the previous SAP three-tier benchmark that was published on vSphere 4.1 (which was also an awesome result).

If go back a couple more months, Fujitsu published an SAP two-tier SD benchmark on vSphere 5 that used a single "Monster" VM.  The rules and definition of what a two-tier benchmark limits it to a single VM, which in vSphere 5 can now support up to 32 vCPUs.  The really interesting wrinkle in this publication was that Fujitsu also published a native two-tier SD on the same hardware and software stack.  These two official results showed that virtual performance within 6% of native.

Using the official SAP SD benchmark results the capability and performance of vSphere as a platform for SAP can be considered.  The large three-tier environment clearly shows how much vSphere has grown in terms of capability from the previous version.  The two-tier results show a clear comparison between virtual and native, with the difference being relatively small.

These official benchmarks are strong proof points for running SAP (and other important stuff) on vSphere 5.