Please note that this blog post is not about discussing the results, as these will vary from environment to environment due to the open nature of VSAN’s HCL. This blog is more of a primer to assist the reader in getting started with HCIbench.
Step 1 – Deploy the OVA
To get started, you deploy a single HCIbench appliance called Auto-Perf-Tool. There’s nothing special about the appliance itself. It comes as an OVA, and if you’ve deployed an OVA appliance before, then this is no different. You provide the usual information such as where to place the appliance. For those of you wishing to test VSAN performance, you’ll be deploying this appliance to a VSAN datastore most likely.
Step 2 – Point a browser at the appliance, and add vSphere environment info
The next step is to open the console and populate some information on the appliance, such as a root password and some network details. This is even easier if you use DHCP. When this information is provided, the appliance completes its boot process. At this point, you open a browser and point it to the IP Address of the appliance and port 8080, and you are now presented with a template/form to populate. The first section of the form looks for information such as the vCenter server and credentials, data center, cluster name, network, datastore, etc. Note that in the current version, the VM Network must be on a standard vSwitch. You cannot use a distributed switch (DVS) portgroup this time. The network defaults to “VM Network” and datastore defaults to “VSAN datastore” automatically if these are not provided:
[Update: 21-Oct-2015] Ensure that the Datastore Name field is populated in the most recent appliance. Although it is shown as not being required, in the latest release we support multi-datastores deployments so this field must be specified, even if it is the VSAN datatstore that is being tested. If you do not add this, the benchmark will fail with “A required parameter is NULL, please re-check your configuration file !”
Step 3 – Add host and benchmark VM info
The next section is about the hosts, and the VMs that are going to run the benchmark. You add a list of ESXi hosts (the hosts that are participating in the VSAN Cluster), one line at a time, and then supply information about the VM workload, including number of VMs you wish to deploy, number of disks and size of disks. In this example, I have 4 hosts so I will deploy 8 VMs, each with 4 disks, and each disk 10GB in size. These VMs will be distributed across all hosts in the cluster, leveraging the distributed nature of VSAN’s compute and storage.
Once this is done, users need to provide access to the vdbench tool. Due to licensing issues, we are not allowed to distribute the vdbench benchmarking tool, so it needs to be downloaded from Oracle if you do not have it already. There is a link provided to the Oracle website to down the vdbench zip file, but you will need to have an account on Oracle’s site to access it. Once the vdbench zip file has been downloaded locally, you must then uploaded to the appliance. The next part of the setup is to generate a vdbench parameter file, which has information such as I/O size, R/W ratio and whether the I/O should be random or sequential in nature. You should also state how long you want the test to run (3600 seconds = 1 hour below), as well as whether you want to dd the storage first (initialize it). Finally, decide if you want the benchmark VMs cleaned up once the test completes. Save the configuration. To make sure that everything is OK, run the validate test. This will verify that all the configuration parameters are correct, and will state whether it is OK to start the test.
Click on the Test button to start the benchmark. The tool next deploys a bunch of VMs as per the configuration, each of which will run an instance of vdbench.
You can now click on the results button, and navigate via the browser to where the results are stored. There is a text file for each VM which contains a lot of information regarding IOPS, Latency and Throughput information. Here is an example of such a results output taken from my environment:
If things are not going right for some reason, there are 4 places to check.
- Has the vdbench zip file uploaded to the appliance successfully? It should be found in /opt/output/vdbench-source. If something isn’t correct, you can always delete it, refresh the browser and upload a new version.
- Has the vdbench parameter file been created correctly? It should be located in the /opt/automation/vdbench-param-files. the name varies based on what configuration options are chosen. If it doesn’t look correct, you can always delete it and generate a new one.
- Has the complete configuration file, including vCenter and Host information been created correctly? It should be location in /opt/automation/conf and is called perf-conf.yaml. If it doesn’t look correct, you can delete it an recreate a new one.
- Finally, the logs of the performance test runs are located in /opt/automation/logs. If the tests are behaving, and you cannot see why from the messages in the browser, this is a good place to look.
Where do I get the bits?
- [Update: 8/23/16] Here is a link to the latest HCIbench appliance OVA.
- The user guide can be downloaded by clicking here.