This is a really cool development. There is now a docker volume driver for vSphere which we just made public last night, and is now available for tech preview. This will allow customers to address persistent storage requirements for Docker containers in vSphere environments. Basically, it allows you to create a VMDK, and use this VMDK as a persistent storage volume for containers. In the following posts, I will outline the steps involved in getting started with Docker Volume Driver for vSphere. In essence, there are 4 steps:
Install the docker volume plugin on ESXi host. I was running ESXi 6.0U2.
Deploy Photon OS VM (although you can also use Ubuntu)
Install the docker VMDK plugin on VM
Create docker volume and run container to consume it
There has been a lot of news recently about the availability of vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC) v0.1 on GitHub. VMware has being doing a lot of work around containers, container management and the whole area of cloud native applications over the last while. While many of these projects cannot be discussed publicly there are two projects that I am going to look at here :
Photon OS – a minimal Linux container host designed to boot extremely quickly on VMware platforms.
vSphere Integrated Containers – a way to deploy containers on vSphere. This allows developers to create applications using containers, but have the vSphere administrator manage the required resources needed for these containers.
As I said, this is by no means the limit of the work that is going on. Possibly the best write-up I have seen discussing the various work in progress in this one here on the Next Platform site.
I will admit that I’m not that well versed in containers or docker, but I will say that I found Nigel Poulton’s Docker Deep Dive on PluralSight very informative. If you need a primer on containers, I would highly recommend watching this.
So what I am going to this in this post? In this post, I will walk through the deployment of the Photon OS, and then deploy VIC afterwards. You can then see for yourself how containers can be deployed on vSphere, and perhaps managed by a vSphere administrator while the developer just worries about creating the app, and doesn’t have to worry about the underlying infrastructure.
A short post to let you know about some upcoming speaking engagements that I am doing over the next couple of weeks.
First up, I will be speaking at the TechUG, or Technology User Group event next week. This event will be held on Thursday, November 26th. It will be held in the Westin Hotel in the heart of Dublin city, Ireland. There is a really good agenda for this event (which is not a VMware centric event), that you can find at this link here. I personally will be speaking about Virtual SAN (VSAN), VMware’s hyper-converged compute and storage platform. This will be more of an introductory type session, but I’ll also be giving an overview of new and upcoming features and where we are thinking about going next with VSAN. You can find the Dublin TechUG registration link here.
My next session is at the VMUGDK Usercon or Nordics Usercon, which will be held on Tuesday, December 1st. This event will take place at the Scandic Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark. This year I will return to my roots and talk about core vSphere storage enhancements over the past few releases, and also a look at some upcoming plans. No VSAN, VVol or anything like that – this will be a discussion on VMFS, NFS, VAAI, PSA, etc. The Nordic UserCon details can be found at this link here. The registration link is at the same location.
If you are in the Dublin or Copenhagen area for any of these events, I’d love to see you there. I plan to spend most of the day at both events, so if there are any VSAN or vSphere storage questions or feedback that you’d like to give me, I’d be delighted to talk with you in person.
The advanced setting SunRPC.MaxConnPerIP defines the maximum number of unique TCP connections that can be opened for a given IP address. This is of particular interest to users of NFS. If the number of mounts to an IP address is more than SunRPC.MaxConnPerIP, then the existing connections for NFS mounts are shared with new mounts from the same IP address. Currently VMware supports a maximum of 128 unique TCP connections per ESXi host but also supports up to 256 mounts per host. So what options are available to configure ESXi hosts to allow the maximum number of NFS mounts?
Regular readers of my VMware Storage Blog will be no stranger to Nimble Storage. I’ve blogged about them on a number of occasions. I first came across them at a user group meeting in the UK & I also wrote an article about them when they certified on VMware’s Rapid Desktop Program for VDI.
Nimble Storage have been in touch with me again to share details about their new 2.0 storage architecture. After a very interesting and informative chat with Wen Yu of Nimble, I’m delighted to be able to share these new enhancements with you, in this first post on my new blog site.
Nimble Storage’s new enhancements can be categorized into two areas. The first of these is a new scale out architecture and the second is further integration with vSphere.
Scale to Fit
Scale to Fit architecture is how Nimble Storage describe their new elastic scaling feature. It basically allows customers to scale out their storage on a particular dimension, be it capacity or performance. This new architecture allows customers to start with a small footprint, and then to scale performance and capacity. This can be done without having to migrate any data and without any Virtual Machine/application downtime. The great advantage of this of course is that it avoids over-provisioning of storage up front, keeping initial costs down. When additional performance or capacity is needed, customers only need to grow on that dimension. This means that customers don’t pay for additional performance if they only need capacity, and vice-versa.
vSphere Integration Features
There are 3 new vSphere integration features to call out in this new release.
Nimble Storage have a new Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) for integrating with VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM). Business Continuance and Disaster Recovery are essential features for any enterprise class storage array, and it is great to see that Nimble now offer full integration with VMware’s BC/DR flagship product.
There are a number of additional VAAI offload primitives supported. The first of these is Hardware Assisted Locking (ATS) which enables ESXi hosts to offload VMFS volume locks to the Nimble storage array. The second is the UNMAP primitive, which enables VMFS volumes built on thin provisioned disks to do space reclamation after storage vMotion or VM deletion. If I remember correctly from previous conversations with Nimble, they already support the WRITE_SAME primitive.
This last feature is the one I am most excited about. Nimble Storage now offer their own Path Selection Plugin (PSP) into the Pluggable Storage Architecture of the VMkernel. This optimized multipathing plugin will load balance I/O, and provide linear performance scalability with a single Nimble storage array or multiple storage arrays in a scale-out cluster. The PSP is called Nimble_PSP_Directed.
Nimble Storage are a sponsor at the VMworld 2012. You’ll find them at booth 306 at the US conference this year.
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