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VMware/ ESXi 4.1 Configuration Opinion

Posted on 2011-09-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-11
Hello Experts,
I'm looking for opinions about a configuration.  I work for a small school district that has recently gone virtual.

I'm new to this whole VMware/ESX idea, but forged through this design and deployment and I'm curious if I've made any terrible decisions.  Again I'm new and had a small budget.

-HP C3000 Enclosure
1 -  bl460 G7 with (2x 2.9Ghz - 6core/CPU)
2 - 600GB 10k SAS (Raid 1)
- 72GB

I loaded ESXi 4.1 on the entire RAID 1.
I've deployed a couple 2008r2 VM's (2-3cpu/ 6-8GB ram/ 50gb storage) all properly vlan'd.
I've deployed a VM from within to run Vcenter.
I've setup a couple 2008R2 VM templates.

Honestly the setup was pretty straightforward for being my first out of the box setup.

I need opinions of wrong steps or advice in general.
- I'm concerned with bottlenecks.  
- The majority of the VMs will be a type of terminal server for a nComputing solution.  I've heard that the IOPS could be an issue?
- My "Deploy VM from Template" is painfully slow.  Like 3-4hrs to deploy a single vm.
- The VMs are running well so far under lite testing.
- Final VM count will hopefully be 8-10.

Before I unleash into full production are there any tips you have?

Thanks for any advice or suggestions in advance.



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Question by:irishmic33
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36584861
Now that I re-read, the enclosure is intended for future growth of the VMs.  Eventually deploying additional 460s.  We could not pull the trigger on the costly flex10 portion of the enclosure.  Hence I was forced to go with the SAS ports on the 460.  I do have a separate DL380 with ample storage, but I'm unsure how to tie the storage together to make it accessible to the 460 (if even possible).
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ID: 36586115
A few things, you need more disks, more disks, more spindles = more performance, either RAID 5 or RAID 10. That's why your template deployment is slow.

Also to be honest with you, we do not like deploying Terminal Server/Citrix Server thin server based computing solutions "under" a Hypervisor, because it reduces the performance of the Thin Client Server too much. e.g. we've found that after approx 25 users, the CPU will be the bottleneck, and service will be slow.

If you use a physical server, you will get double or triple the number of users per physical box, so if you decide to go the virtual route, and there's no issues with that, you must understand, that you may have to expand you virtual farm of Terminal Servers, and the cost of additional Windows OS licenses.
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36586271
Thankyou for the reply.
 Yes I'm finding that very situation.  CPU% is skyrocketing while the memory is barely being touched.

Ok, more disks... gotcha.
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ID: 36586312
CPU will also be increasing, because of lack of IOPS.

just as an example of 5,400 rpm SATA disks, not on a particular fast system

two disks - 84.5 MB/s Write,  150 MB/s Read
four disks - 196 MB/s Write, 276 MB/s Read
eight disks - 212 MB/s Write,  287 MB/s Read
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36586513
Totally agree with @hanccocka here...need more disks! Since you're running ESXi, and since this is (seemingly) a fairly new install. I would stop and get ESXi installed on a SD card to separate the hypervisor install from your datastore storage. This will cause you less headaches in the future if you're needing to do something with the hypervisor install (reinstall?), or even the datastore (separation is always good).

Secondly, how much RAM do you have in the host? Get as much as you can 1. since it's so cheap, and 2. for further growth/expansion. You have plenty of CPU power, but as mentioned above, will need more CPU resources to compensate for disk utilization.

Also, keep in mind this regarding your datastores. If you need to create a virtual disk for a VM greater than 256GB, you will need to be aware of block sizing for your datastore as follows:
1MB (default block size upon datastore adding/creation) - 256GB virt disk maximum
2MB - 512GB virt disk max
4MB - 1TB virt disk max
8MB - 2TB virt disk max

The only thing I can gather why your Deploy VM from Template is slow is only having a 2-disk RAID. Wow...3-4hrs. Ouch! Mine is like 10mins or less, and that's on a RAID5 (4-5 disks).

Hope that helps.

~coolsport00
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36586530
Here is a KB on installing ESXi on USB/SD: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1020655

You can b/u your ESXi Configs using vCLI, or just document them; I will assume that since this is a new'ish install, there aren't much configs anyway? A couple articles to help with b/u & restore if you go that route:
http://professionalvmware.com/2010/05/how-to-backup-esxi-configuration-the-missing-piece/
http://www.vmware.com/support/developer/vcli/vcli41/doc/reference/vicfg-cfgbackup.html

~coolsport00
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36586531
The SAS drives are 10k, but I understand what you mean.  More disks definitely = more read/writes.

It would have been nice to pop for the storage blade in the enclosure.

Do you know if it's possible to utilize a separate server for storage through the ESX?  Basically utilizing the dl380 for it's disks and RAID capability?  I'm guessing like some glorified NAS.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36586538
No...can't think off-hand how that can be done. I guess you have no more slots in your current host to add more disks?
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by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 36586561
The problem you've got here as this is a BLADE, you've only got two disks, and those are usually used to BOOT an OS, not for datastores.

Do you have a SAN/NAS, that you would use Shared Storage?

You have got the option on the Blade, to Install a USB Flash Drive or SD card for the ESXi 4.1 Hypervisor, which I would recommend. But a Two Disk RAID 1 Datastore is going to be a bottleneck.

Here is the VMware KB on installing 4.1 on USB/SD:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1020655

Normally, in a Blade Enclosure, we used to boot ESXi from SAN, but we shifted to USB/SD card installations, many years ago, as SAN storage was too expensive.

But you really need SAN storage, or Purchase two SDDs for your Blade.

or do you have a SAN somewhere that's not configured?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 36586569
Yes, you can add iSCSI and NFS storage.

These are JUST FOR YOU!

New HD Video - Adding iSCSI storage to a VMware vSphere ESX/ESXi 4.x host server
http://andysworld.org.uk/2011/06/24/new-hd-video-adding-iscsi-storage-to-a-vmware-vsphere-esxesxi-4x-host-server/

New HD Video - Eazy Peezy Lemon Squeezy iSCSI Storage by StarWind iSCSI SAN Software
http://andysworld.org.uk/2011/06/22/new-hd-video-eazy-peezy-lemon-squeezy-iscsi-storage-by-starwind-iscsi-san-software/

Creating an NFS Datastore using Windows 2008 R2 for VMware vSphere ESX/ESX 4.x
http://andysworld.org.uk/2011/06/21/new-hd-video-creating-an-nfs-server-using-windows-2008-r2-for-vmware-vsphere-esxesxi-41/

Adding an NFS Datastore to a VMware vSphere ESX/ESXi 4.x host server
http://andysworld.org.uk/2011/06/21/new-hd-video-adding-an-nfs-datastore-to-a-vmware-vsphere-esxesxi-4x-host-server/
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ID: 36586577
@coolsport00: It's a Blade Enclosure, it only has two slots!
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ID: 36586581
Blade Enclosures are designed to attach to Shared Storage.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36586583
Yep...just saw..thx :)
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ID: 36586589
Why did you purchase Blade Enclosure? DL360/380G7 would have been a better choice, with more disks!
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36586593
But, how can you connect another server to it to use as storage?
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ID: 36586627
Many options exist, if you want to stick with Windows on DL380, see above links for creating iSCSI (SAN) or NAS (NFS) - for free.

If you want better performance trash the Windows OS, and replace with Solaris Express 11, OpenIndiana or The Nexenta Project, which offer iSCSI and NFS performance using ZFS. Fastest NAS/SANs around on ZFS.

Do not bother with FreeNAS or Openfiler - there are ****! poor performance.

some test results

http://andysworld.org.uk/2011/08/25/oracle-solaris-express-11-versus-freenas-quick-cifs-performance-tests/

Other iSCSI for Windows software does exist.
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ID: 36586633
@coolsport00: Easy, you Add NFS Server or iSCSI Target software to your WIndows Server.

Add Datastores to ESXi - NFS or iSCSI LUN
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36586639
Ok...gotcha; I've not used NFS before, so makes sense now.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 36586673
Windows Storage Server is just gloirifed Windows with NFS and iSCSI Target software and it's HP NAS!

and Microsoft this year released

iSCSI Software Target is an optional Windows Server component that provides centralized, software-based and hardware-independent iSCSI disk subsystems in storage area networks (SANs).

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=19867

So plenty of options to use shared network storage for free. (needs tweaking to get good performance).

Just replaced our 2GB FC SAN with NFS datastores!
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36586889
Wow, so much to read.  Let jump into the links and I'll post back in a bit.

Thanks for the direction.

- Ha... Nope no SAN laying around unfortunately.
- USB as hypervisor... Never took that into consideration.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36586896
Yeah, installing on USB is really way to go here. Easy to do and easy to make a b/u.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 36586981
Well, if you've got no SAN, you've got some choices to make.

1. Stick with poor performing RAID 1.
2. Purchase SSD for the two slots.
3. Add iSCSI shared storage datastore.
4. Add NFS shared storage datastore.
5. Test Current Datastore and Benchmark in current OS. Use CrystalDiskMark - http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html

Post screenshot here, just run in the VM, select Drive C: and hit ALL tests.

Use my article to Backup USB/SD installation.

How to Backup an ESXi installation on an USB Flash Drive or SD card, for security or redundancy.

But to be honest, with you before you DO anything, I would check and test benchmarks between RAID 1 (as is) and iSCSI/NFS datastore.

Because RAID 1 is actually quite fast, compared to RAID 5. But disks will be the bottleneck, but trying to achieve fast read/write across a Network connection si going to need tweaking.
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ID: 36586988
Also do you have the Battery Backup Write Cache Module for your Blade? Configure as 75% Write and 25% Read, and this can have significant improvements for your server, for very little money!
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36587004
Yes, this is exactly why I asked the question.  Though I'm kicking myself for not posting this last monday.

As I sit here "staring the dragon in the face."   It's a daunting task to do a complete re-config as production hits Monday morning when I have a functional but slow system now.

Honestly the worst part is rebuilding the VM's.  If I'm melting everything back down in a reconfig I think I need to somehow export at least the templates in order to feasibly allow for testing time.  

In your minds is a rebuild feasible in 48hrs?   (keeping in mind my experience with vm.)
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36587020
I'll grab the benchmark software and post shortly.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36587024
Well, how vast is your host Config? I reinstall only takes (literally) 7mins; re-config'ing host another 10mins. The longest part of the rebuild is moving VMs around. How many VMs do you have installed now? How large are the disks on them? Since you currently only have 72GB disks, I would think the virt disks aren't too big?
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ID: 36587034
Seriosuly Production on Monday!

Cancel It!
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LVL 118
ID: 36587052
The last thing YOU WANT, is the Client getting a POOR PERCEPTION of Virtualisation or the Project because it's slow!

(and worse is to come belive us with Terminal Server under a Hypervisor!).

Sorry to give you bad news, if you think this is bad!
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ID: 36587056
@coolsport00: but with respect you know what your doing, and your a vEXPERT!
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36587058
Yeah, I agree...you're really wanting to do this right, @irishmic33. You don't wanna have to back-track everything after it's all setup.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36587066
Well, true, but an install is an install. The Configs are already there. It's just about documenting them then re-doing them. I think the longest part would be moving the VMs around, and potentially adding an NFS connection as you mentioned.
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ID: 36587103
Have you got a BBWC module?

Well if it takes 3-4 hours to deploy a template, that's a long copy time anywhere.

To be honest with you get NFS working, and you can MOVE the VMs off onto NFS Datastore, and then trash and rebuild configs.

But first check READ/WRITE speeds of a remote datastore, because otherwise you are wasting time by building NFS/iSCSI, and finding it still slow.

Some Backup Options?
VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36587187
Again this is exactly what I need to hear.

Correction on the above information:  the two SAS drives are 600Gb drives...  72Gb was the installed memory.

None of this is bad news, it's an unfortunate situation I've dug, but I'm the only one who can correct it (if that's possible, which if feels that it has potential).   Honesty is always better than sugar coating.

(I'm a bit foggy on the separation between ESXi hypervisor and the VMware Vsphere 4.1 software.  Obviously I struggle to keep them straight in my mind.)

So let me talk out loud and you correct where you think.  

1- Backup existing config via your links earlier.
2- Reinstall ESXi hypervisor onto a usb flash drive.  (now that the hypervisor is on the USB do I need to format the 600GB RAID 1 datastore?)  (this is because of the space that the current hypervisor is allocating?)
3- Utilizing win server 2008 install and get configured the iSCSI software to attach as a LUN to the ESXi
4- Attach the LUN to the ESXi?  or through Vsphere?
5- Get the VMs recreated and operational while existing on the iSCSI LUN.

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by:irishmic33
ID: 36587218
I just read about the BBWC module last night.  My SIM is offline and taking down the ESX to check in the BIOS isn't an option as I'm currently copying another VM.  (yes 3-4hrs)

I'm not sure how to check otherwise.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36587221
1. Yes, as well as your VMs. You can use Veeam FastSCP or the Datastore Browser to copy your VMs
2. Yes - but MAKE SURE YOU MOVE VMs/Templates OFF THE DATASTORE because re-adding the disks will REFORMAT it and you'll lose what you've done thus far
3/4. Yes -> @hanccocka provided links for that
5. Yes

The hypervisor is the ESXi install. It *is* the vSphere software actually. No worries...it'll take some time to grasp things.
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ID: 36587262
VMware vSphere Hypervisor is the posh name for ESXi 4.1.

VMware vSphere 4.1 is the purchased version, which includes VMware vSphere Hypervisor and vSphere vCenter 4.1 Management Server.

But, you here people call it VMware vSphere 4.1 to mean the PAID version of ESXi 4.1, and the unpaid version VMware likes to call VMware vSphere Hypervisor.

Personally, I would STOP, and do the following:-

3,4,5 in that order, workout what you are going to use iSCSI or NFS. Which NFS software, Which iSCSI software.

TEST TEST TEST and TEST this, and when you've finished TESTING TEST again. Benchmark, and check if the speed is ANY different to your Local 600GB disks.

1. Backup
2. Copy and Move VMs to new iSCSI or NFS datastores based on above.
3. REBUILD on USB.
4. Once Booted from USB, format datastore or LEAVE! (no hurry to do this!) (and it leaves you with a backup of your VMs, on both Local and Shared Storage).

That's how we would do it!

LUN/NFS datastore get added to ESXi server, see my videos.

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by:irishmic33
ID: 36587293
Ok, sounds good.  I have plenty of material in front of me.  A huge thanks for all the leads.

Now I need to restock on redbull and get comfy cause the work has just begun.
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36587825
Here are the results from the Crystal Disk.  This was taken when the system is basically idle.  All VMs are powered on, but no users anywhere on the system.  

I have dug up an old 14 bay shelf with a 5300 controller.  I'll pack it full of whatever I have available... probably 14- 73.8Gb 10k SCSI drives and see if the iSCSI install helps.

I'll post a new screen once I get it all powered, attached, copied, and running a vm on it.

 Crystal Disk Results (Original Config)
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LVL 118
ID: 36587878
yes, the writes are quite poor. Did you check if you had a BBWC option ? It would help the writes?

So that's what you need to benchmark against.

These are my NFS based Results, with no tweaking, with four disks! (5,400rpm SATA disks!)


 NFS-results.jpg
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36588013
According to a random article: http://communities.vmware.com/message/1557728

I have to boot to the SS CD in order to adjust it.  I'll check in when I'm able to reboot.
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ID: 36588066
That's correct if you have one!
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36591169
Well after 12hrs of hammering, the results are mixed.

- I did bring up the 14 - 72Gb drives and attached them via the iSCSI software by StarWind.
- I added a 4gb usb to the bl460G7 blade.
- I verified that there is not a battery backup installed on the G7.
- I also found that my G5 DL380 did not have one either.
- The old SCSI 5300 controller does have a battery backup (go figure) but due to it being a "full-size" card it will only fit in an extra ML570G2.  *sigh*... so I fired that old beast up with 2003 to run the StarWind iSCSI
- I've placed an order for the battery backups for both the G5 & G7, but they wont arrive until monday at best.
- I forgot to take the benchmark while the G2 was sitting idle and started the VM transfer.  The numbers weren't pleasing, but potentially they are directly effected by the transfer inbound on the RAID set.  Possibly it's just the max throughput that the old card can give...

So overall... I'll say it's a success at this point, but really I feel like i've just traded pawns.  The one good thing is I've tripled my knowledge of the entire process.  

I'm currently transferring the only template I'm really concerned about to the new datastore due the transfer rate (approx 4hrs) *ugh*... once that is done then I'll fire up the USB and convert over to it as the main ESX.

One question though is how do I transfer my VSphere which is currently sitting on the original datastore?  Or do I just recreate it on the new datastore?

I'll be checking out for a couple hours... need sleep.

Thanks again for all the help.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36591180
Are you gonna install it on USB? You can document the configs, then just reconfigure or use vCLI to b/u restore it.
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36591186
Yes I will be installing and then converting to that as my main ESXi deployment.  Of course this is all after the completed template transfer.

In the back of my mind I feel that something is still not right.  The template at most is 8GB of raw data. Even if I just copied 8 gigs of data it shouldn't take that long.  Also when I attempt to do anything else in the vsphere vm while transferring it's sluggish.  It won't populate it's own performance charts.  

Is it also normal to only transfer 1 vm at a time?  When I attempt a second the vclient spits an error.
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36592370
Can you tell me what the standard practice is for the Vsphere server?  

Is it better to have the Vsphere install on a server outside of the VMhost that it is managing?
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ID: 36592434
vSphere vCenter Server can be a physical or virtual server. Both are supported by VMware.

We always install a virtual server to install vCenter Server on, because it easier for DR, because you can backup all the VIrtual VMs using your Third Party Backup Product.

But it's Organisation Choice, physical or virtual.
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36592524

Understood, and you are correct.  I meant VCenter.  :)

Thanks.
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36592639
Well I'm attempting to install ESXi on the USB it is telling me this:

"The system has found a problem on your machine and cannot continue.  Two filesystems with the same UUID have been detected.  Make sure you do not have two ESXi installations."

I think I have two options then.

1.) Blow away the original 600Gb RAID on the blade (knowing that the iSCSI datastore is still running with the copied VMs) and then install on the USB.

or

2.) Figure out a way to transfer the current ESXi deployment to the USB drive.

Do you have a good way to recreate or transfer the current ESXi to the USB?  

The WinImage solution isn't viable as I do not have direct access to the filesystem of the ESXi blade server from a windows box.  The ESXi was directly installed on the RAID 1 set on the blade from the cd-rom.  

At this point I truly don't have a problem just blowing it away as long as there isn't some underlying connection to the vm's on the iSCSI which cannot be reconnected by the new installation on the USB, and thus loosing all VMs in all datastores.
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36592644
To clarify:

I powered the blade down.
I plugged in the USB into the bl460 blade and threw in the original ESXi 4.1 install cd.  
I then proceeded to boot to the cdrom and install ESXi onto the USB.

Then the message above is displayed.
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36592765
As explained before the results from the iSCSI host aren't great.  This was with the server idle.

 Crystal-Disk-Results--iSCSI-Host
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 36592969
See here to fix your

"The system has found a problem on your machine and cannot continue.  Two filesystems with the same UUID have been detected.  Make sure you do not have two ESXi installations."

To resolve this issue:

    Restart the system.
    During the reboot, when the hypervisor screen appears, press Shift+O.
    In the boot option, type overrideDuplicateImageDetection and press Enter.

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1035107
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36592992
Looking over the link, which hypervisor screen should I allow to boot?  

1.) allow the system to boot to the hard disk and then hit shift-o?
or
2.) hit shift-o when booting to the cd-rom for the USB install?
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ID: 36592998
which one do you wish to run and configure?

if you are wanting to install to a USB flash drive

2)
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36593198
So far so good.  

Currently operating from the USB flash as the running ESX.  Setting up a new VCenter VM on the new iSCSI datastore.  

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by:irishmic33
ID: 36593555
Things are going better.

Just to bring you up to speed:
- I'm successfully running ESX from the USB.
- I've created a new VM in order to run Vcenter.
- I've connected both datastores (local SAS drives, and iSCSI)
- I can browse and see the data in both datastores.

I'm a bit stuck on how to activate the VM's from the datastores.  I'm logged in to the new VCenter VM via the vSphere Client so I'm able to create "new" vms.  But I can not figure out how to get the VM's out of storage.  (if that makes sense).

It feels like I need to import the VMs in the datastore in order to make them live and able to "power on".

I know my terminology is probably terrible, but thats the best description I have.

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by:irishmic33
ID: 36593567
Ahh...

1.) browse the datastore
2.) find the .vmx
3.) "add to inventory"

Is that accurate?
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ID: 36593574
Yes, that's accurate.
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36593618
Ok, well I'm pretty sure I've beaten this horse to death.

The final results are disappointing, but at least I know what I need to do and understand how to do it.

 


This result was from the VM running on the new iSCSI connection.

At this point I'm going to have to forge forward with what I have and try to spread out a couple datastores on servers.  The next round of purchasing will undoubtedly involve a separate storage server or attached storage of some kind.

I've learned a ton, and this has been a nice crash course on VM for me.

Thanks so much for you help hanccocka & coolsport00.
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Good Luck.
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by:coolsport00
ID: 36658803
Hey @irishmic33...glad to see you're to a point to implement. Sorry couldn't respond more...was outta town over the weekend. Knew you were in good hands with @hanccocka though :)

Regards,
~coolsport00
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36665801
Absolutely,
Talk about a crash course in VM 101 and a skunkworks style weekend.  We ended up going live today after a complete overhaul over the weekend.  The system runs great as a result of moving to the USB boot and to the iSCSI storage.

The change to the old storage shelf with the iSCSI connections has read/write datastore latencies peaking at 20-30ms during a load which is completely acceptable.

Thanks for jumping on the question quickly.

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by:coolsport00
ID: 36666394
You betcha; I even learned something too! :)
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ID: 36666885
Be careful you do not exceed what your iSCSI storage is capable of delivering!

what I mean, is do not get carried away with VMs, because you will overload it!
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36671252
Yep, found that out the hard way.

Luckily the connection to the datastore drops but the .img remains stable (at least in my case).  I ended up re configuring twice because 3 iSCSi connections over the 1gps copper did fail under test loads.  

I ended up loosing a template playing the "shell game" with the datastores.  

I also found setting the software write-through cache with a 1024mb buffer helped during the LUN setup.

My VM deployment times are now in the 10-12min range.  Thats manageable, but the original RAID1 600gb datastore is still a dog.  I'm not sure if it's the size of the array vs the number of disks, or maybe I have underlying hardware issues but just copying to/from that datastore is terrible.

I know it's lacking BBWC, but it's a brand new G7 bl460.  You would think it would be a little more snappy.

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by:coolsport00
ID: 36676516
Well, I can tell you it's not the size of the datastore that matters. For speed, it'll be on # of disks you have IMO. Gosh, 10-12mins from 3-4hrs? Nice! :)
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LVL 118
ID: 36677038
bung in BBWC you will be surpised how much difference this can make!!!! 75% write, 25% read

What iSCSI Target are you using, just out of interest?
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by:irishmic33
ID: 36680998
I went with your suggestion of StarWind.

I have 2 - iSCSi "Rockets"

Controller 5304 Series 133mhz PCI-X with (25/75 read/write)
LUN1 - 400GB RAID5 (126Gb x4 ultra320)
LUN2 - 800GB RAID5 (72Gb x14 ultra320)

Those are running on a ML560 G2.

The network (1gpbs copper) link carrying the iSCSI connection runs about 25% saturated but like before I believe the most important indicator is the latency of the datastore.  

We're running a little over 60 - 2008R2 TS sessions across 8 VMs.  It really has turned into a spiffy setup.  A far cry from where we started only 3days ago.
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ID: 36683486
Ah Good StarWind, another conversion!

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by:irishmic33
ID: 36979552
Just wanted to follow-up for anyone looking at this post.

I finally received the BBWC for the G7 (which is actually a 1Gb flash memory cache with a battery backup).  HP has moved in this direction instead of the battery backup directly attached to the controller.

The results speak for themselves.

Remember this is a G7 bl460c with a 600Gb RAID 1 setup.

Here is the original result without the write cache:
without write cache
Here are the results after the write cache was added and the controller set to 25/75 Read/Write.
 with write cache & 25/75 controller
Needless to say, the system is running much faster.
Thanks again for the help guys.

-M
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