Tuesday, 16 June 2009

vSphere - The littlest things make a difference

With the recent arrival of a DL380 G6 to test vSphere I have been able to see some of the extended features and also some available product functionality unleashed with the new Xeon 5500 Nehalem Chipset and its associated CPU extensions such as VT-d, VT-c etc. Some of the nice features l've noticed so far include;

Storage Views (Inventory > Inventory > Datastores > Select your DS > Right click on sort tabs)

This is real usefull especially when it comes to SWAP consumption and if you are operating with multiple LUN's and have multiple sized VM's that you have in the past tended to use rule of thumb sizing to calculate on each LUN what is needed to be reserved. New extended vCenter views enables you to visably see the amount of space consumed by the memory swap to disk.

VM Memory Options

I've always like AMD64 chipsets, they have always used NUMA, Intel originally on the other hand didnt, they decided to go with a North Bridge for RAM accessibility to CPU.

Intel with Core i7 (Nehalem) now has NUMA and this is definately going to mean better things for running Virtualised workloads on Intel chipsets. I've noticed the "NUMA memory affinity" option below to assign memory nodes to VM's in turn which I presume offers improved performance enhancements for VM's that would benefit by using certain dedicated memory banks rather than accessing memory on both.
Interested to know if anyone has used this with Vmotion and whether vmotioning to a Host that dosnt have NUMA i.e Xeon 7400 is allowed (I predict not).

Rescanning for Datastores

This is a real nice one, it enables mass rescan of new datastores which in ESX 3.x was a pig, you had to do it on each host. This now takes it up the heirachy, I expect this would be usefull when provisioning a new host or using in DR scenarios.

I'll feedback in the next week (I do have a day job you know) with some new and beneficial options, time to test newer features like FT and VMdirectpath I/O.



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