Last week I had the opportunity to drop down to San Jose and catch up with our friends on the FlashSoft team at SanDisk. In case you were not aware, this team has been developing a cache acceleration I/O filter as part of the VAIO program (VAIO is short for vSphere APIs for I/O Filters). SanDisk were also one of the design partners chosen by VMware for VAIO. This program allows for our partners to plug directly into the VM I/O path, and add third-party data services, such as replication, encryption, quality of service and so on. An interesting observation made by the FlashSoft team is that implementing their acceleration data service via VAIO gives much greater performance than their previous product version which plugs into the Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA) stack.
The guys were also kind enough to give me access to the components and some evaluation licenses, so I could test it out in my own labs. The documentation is pretty good so I won’t go into too much detail. However these are the steps to get going:
It has been some time since I last looked at Horizon View on Virtual SAN. The last time was when we first released VSAN, back in the 5.5 days. This was with Horizon View 5.3.1, which was the first release that inter-operated with Virtual SAN. At the time, there was some funkiness with policies. View could only use the default policy at the time, and the default policy used to show up as “none” in the UI. The other issue is that you could not change the default policy via the UI, only through CLI commands. Thankfully, things have come a long way since then. In this post, I will look at how Horizon View 7 inter-operates with Virtual SAN 6.2, concentrating mostly on policies. However, Horizon View 7 also has new vmFork/Instant Clone technology and AppVolumes, and I hope to be able to do some posts on those features running on top of VSAN going forward.
I’ve already written a few articles around this, notably on stretched cluster upgrades and on-disk format issues. In this post, I just wanted to run through the 3 distinct upgrade steps in a little more detail, and show you some useful commands that you can use to monitor the progress. In a nutshell, the steps are:
Upgrade vCenter Server to 6.0U2 (VSAN 6.2)
Upgrade ESXi hosts to ESXi 6.0U2 (VSAN 6.2)
Perform rolling upgrade of on-disk format from V2 to V3 across all hosts
Our friends over at Pearson and VMware Press have informed us that the second edition of the Essential Virtual SAN book (that I wrote with Duncan Epping) is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It looks like it will be available on June 13th, but VMware Press have told us that they will do what they can to pull the date in a little closer. This new edition covers all of the new features added to Virtual SAN, up to the latest (yet to be released) VSAN 6.2. Here’s some blurb on the new edition, which gives a little insight into the new content:
Fully updated for the newest versions of VMware Virtual SAN, this guide show how to scale VMware’s fully distributed storage architecture to meet any enterprise storage requirement. World-class Virtual SAN experts Cormac Hogan and Duncan Epping thoroughly explain how Virtual SAN integrates into vSphere 6.x and enables the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC). You’ll learn how to take full advantage of Virtual SAN, and get up-to-the-minute insider guidance for architecture, implementation, and management.
If you want to order it at a local book store, here are the ISBN details:
Hope you find it useful. And thanks to my co-author Duncan, a consummate professional. It has been great working with you once again on this new edition of the book.
I got a bit of a surprise a few weeks back when I noticed a register article by Chris Mellor stating that PrimaryIO (previously CacheBox) had announced a new cache acceleration I/O filter for vSphere. We first announced plans for VAIO (vSphere APIs for I/O Filters) back at VMworld 2014. VAIO allows VMware partners to plug their products/features directly into the VM I/O Path which in turn will give our customers access to 3rd party storage services/features like deduplication, compression, replication or encryption which may not be available on their storage array. Or in this case, a cache acceleration feature. I wasn’t aware of any announcement internally at VMware, so reading it on the register came as a bit of a surprise. I know that other partners such as SanDisk and Infinio are also working on cache acceleration products. However this was the first time I heard of PrimaryIO developing a cache acceleration filter.
If you’ve been following my series on VSAN 6.2 blog posts, you’ll be aware of a considerable number of new features, especially around space efficiency, such as deduplication and compression. On top of this, there is a new on-disk format (v3) and a new software checksum mechanism. All of these features introduce some capacity overhead in their own right, so as to allow administrators track where the storage consumption is occurring a brand new capacity view has been introduced with VSAN 6.2.
Many seasoned VSAN administrators will know how heavily we rely on VSAN Observer to get an understanding of the underlying performance of VSAN. While VSAN Observer is a very powerful tool, it does have some drawbacks. For one, it does not provide historic performance data, it simply gives a real-time view of the state of the system as it is currently, not what it was like previously. VSAN Observer is also a separate tool and is not integrated with vSphere web client, thus you didn’t have a “single pane of glass” view of the system. The tool is also complex, providing a lot of metrics that are engineering level metrics, and not really customer consumable. It also has an impact on vCenter Server, as the tool is launched via RVC, the Ruby vSphere Console, and RVC typically resides on the vCenter Server. With these limitations in mind, VSAN 6.2 introduces a new service to assist administrators in getting a detailed understanding of VSAN performance without the limitations outlined here.