Archives for December 2011

Dec
29

VMware User Group Leader for Saskatoon No More

I will be giving up my role as VMware User Group Leader for Saskatoon. I am going to try a vBeers in Lloydminster and see what the interest would be to have a User Group here in Lloydminster. I would like to move it a closer to home and do more networking in my local area. I am thinking starting something in Lloydmisnter will allow for more focus on local industries in the area like Oil and Gas. I hope that there will be enough interest in Lloydminster to get one off the ground. I may have to broaden the appeal of it but I am thinking it should pan out.

I’ve had to drive 2.5 hours there and back for meetings and usually take a whole or part day off work to attend plus hotel costs. It wasn’t a problem in the past but a new job and twin girls make it a little harder to do. The holiday season has reinstated the importance of family and spending the most time you can with them.

I still hope to be involved with the user groups because they do provide a lot of value to the community. Let me know in the mean time if I can help out with anything else for my lair in Lloydminster. I would still be willing to speak if you have a topic that I can address.

It was great to meet and talk to all the people in the Saskatoon User Group. I hope we can stay in touch.

Thanks for the great experience.

Dec
11

Nimble Wants To Be King of the CASL

Nimble Storage is an iSCSI hybrid storage array but I think you could almost call it an appliance. They have taken a page out of the Equallogic play book with ease of use management and all the features are included. The company being founded and run by storage industry veterans from NetApp and Data Domain offer the best of those companies into arrray as well. Optimized writes with thier file system called CASL (Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout) and instant high performance compression with there Data Domain background. Nimble Storage is pegging thier CS Storage line as storage, backup and DR. Below is some information that was presented during the Saskatoon VMUG

CASL

Being a new company the get the benfits of not having legacy issues to deal and has allowed them to use today’s multi-core CPUs. The multi-core CPUs and thier natively supported variable block length all them to achiveve compression without suffering the cost of performance. I am told the current controllers on the CS line have two slots for CPU’s but they are only currently using one. It looks like they have planned for some future growth.

The flow of date on the storage array:

    Data Comes into NVRAM amd is acknowledged(72 Hour Battery backed)

    Data Moves to 12G of DRAM and CRC check sums that ensures application integrity.The Data is LZ compressed 2-4X

    CASL writes sequential Stripes to SSD & SATA based on data characteristics and ensures no white space

    SSDs are 100% cache for Reads

A copy of all active or “hot” data (and even “semi-active” data) is held in the large flash layer, enabling very fast random read performance. CASL’s index tracks hot data blocks in real time, adapting to hot spot and application workload changes in a real time fashion. The flash works a JBOD since all the writes are comitted. This is great feature since you get use all of the disk lowering the total cost.

Snapshots

The CASL snapshots stores compressed, incremental snapshot data on high capacity disk. The are positioning the arrays to also removed the need for backup due to having 60-90 days of snapshots on the array with not taking up much space. I know as old Equallogic customer this was a big problem in the past. I would say NetApp if good at this today. They also want you to pair it with another CS array to provide compressed, deuped replication. The replication is only asynchronous for right now but they noted you could can replicate as often as you want to a second system.

Network

You can have 6 1 Gb\s connections (4 for workload, 1 for target discovery and 1 for management). You also have the option of 2 1 GB for target discovery and management with 2 10 Gb\s connections.N imble arrays come with dual (redundant), hot swappable controllers.

Some Features I liked:

Perofmance Policies:
The ability to easily manage and match your applications to optimize the experince. For example the Exchange log policy would not cache any of the data.

VM consistent instant snapshots, by coordinating with Microsoft VSS and VMware APIs

vCebter plug-in that allows for zero copy

Nimble mentioned only needing 12 disks to achive 20,000 exchange mailboxes

Nimble works with VMware SRM

Thoughts to think about:

What happens when you want to just to add capacity? I got into the pickle with other vendors.

Lots of IP invested into the file system for speed. What happens in 5+ year when could be all SSD?

Would be great when the cluster nodes together to you the DRAM as one single shared Cache

VDI numbers per appliance seemed low, look to another blog post for information directly related to this.

Thanks to Nimble Storage for sponsoring the Saskatoon VMUG. I look forward to seeing how your company grows in 2012.

Nimble Storage VDI Benchmarking by Dan Brinkmann: http://blog.danbrinkmann.com/2012/04/10/nimble-storage-performance-testing/

Dec
10

#VDI Tip 54: Getting Aero to Work with VMware View 5

All the cool kids are using Aero. Make sure you are and that you don’t get stumped with these possible snap-fu’s.

Enable Aero
On the Desktop Image:
Right-click on the virtual machine desktop, click Personalize, and select one of the Aero themes available in the window.
The desktops must be Windows 7 or later
The desktops must have virtual hardware v8 or later

Pool Settings:
The pool must use the PCoIP as the default display protocol

Users can’t choose their own protocol

When you enable the Windows 7 3D Rendering setting, the default VRAM size is 64MB, the minimum size. The max VMRAM is 128MB

Bad Performance with IE9 with non Aero Themes
To fix:
1.In the Windows 7 Control Panel, open Performance Information and Tools -> Adjust visual effects.
2.In the Performance Options window, select “Adjust for best performance.”

Bad Performance with IE9 in general
Don’t use a GPU rendering when you don’t have one!


Can’t enable Windows Aero themes after switching back and forth

If you enable Windows Aero by selecting a Windows Aero theme, and then disable Windows Aero by choosing the Windows 7 Basic theme, and then continue switching between Windows 7 Basic and Aero, the Windows Aero themes might become disabled. This can happen if you are using a single monitor or multiple monitors. If the Aero Themes become disabled, select the Windows Classic theme, and then select an Aero theme.

2 CPU’s
If you’re going to use Aero I would recommend two vCPU’s unless you have plans on getting an Teradici APEX offload card(not avialble yet). The screen may look pretty but you want your applications still to work.

Video RAM Storage sizing
With 3D enabled VMware View 5.0 will ask for the amount of RAM to be assigned to video. Follow this great aritcle by Andre Leibovici, ***VMware View 5.0 Video RAM Storage sizing***

Remember to disable the screen saver as well, it will cauing re-connect issues as well not to mention the extra overhead of having it running.

Aero Registry Keys
Added January 30th
Registry Settings to force Aero
Registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM

If the DWM registry key is not found, right click on Windows and then select New –> Key to create new branch and name it as DWM.
3. In the right details pane, create a new DWORD (32-bit value) named UseMachineCheck, and set its value to 0.
4. In the right details pane, create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value named Blur, and set its value to 0.
5. In the right details pane, create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value named Animations, and set its value to 0.
6. Restart the Desktop Window Manager Session Manager in Services in Control Panel (type Services.msc in Start Search), or run the following commands in a command prompt with administrator privileges:

net stop uxsms
net start uxsms

7. Attempt to enable and apply Windows Aero in Windows 7. Restart the computer if required.

Dec
06

#VDI Tip 53: Load Application\ThinApp Data in the background #Persona

Use VMware View 5 included Persona Management to enhance ThinApp application startup time. Confgure Folders to background download to include the ThinApp sandbox for any ThinApp application that has large fles. This reduces the time to start up the ThinApp package because the sandbox is already loaded.