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2nd opinion on VMWare connectivity

I had a thought for a client for backup of the virtualized environment and SAN.

Currently, they have:
12TB in SAN storage HP P4000 with two HP 4Gig fiber switchses
2 ESX hosts in an HA cluster and one vCentre with 30 guests(Windows/Linux)
The ESX Hosts are HP DL 380G6 with 32GB RAM
The ESX hosts, connect to the SAN over 4GB fiber
They have a separate backup server that has 48TB of disk space for 5 weeks of online b/u
The Backup server is an HP DL380G7 with 32GB RAM
The ESX hosts connect to the LAN and the LAN via a single gigE link
A full backup takes them nearly 3 days to complete.

I think the bottleneck is the gigE LAN connection.

I suggested they implement 10GigE for backups but the proiblem is that while they can afford the 10GigE NICs, the cost for a 10GigE blade is over 10 000 and out of their budget scope right now.

Here is my suggestion:
Create another VMWare kernel port and assign the 10GigE NICs to this kernel port
Use crossover cables between their ESX servers and the backup servers
They should now be able improve their backup window by at least 30%

Do you think this would work and work well for backups?
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nappy_d
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nappy_d
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2 Solutions
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I think the bottleneck is the gigE LAN connection.

have you confirmed this?

One of the biggest management holes in vCenter of ESX is the vSphere Client can indicate that VM network traffic is causing a 1 GB Ethernet adapter to have a 99% utilization rate. But strangely, it doesn't display which kind of traffic is going across the virtual networks, where it came from or where it's going.

To learn which traffic is going across a virtual network, there's another free tool for vSphere: Xangati for ESX, a virtual appliance that tracks conversations on the virtual network. It's great for troubleshooting any virtual network issue, analyzing virtual desktop infrastructure and correlating vCenter performance stats with virtual network stats.

and then you can really check what traffic from your VMs for free is causing network issues.

It's available as a fanastic FREE download here.

http://xangati.com/try-it-free/
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pgm554Commented:
Which version of ESX?

What are you backing up?(SQL,Exchange,lot's of small files)

What backup software are you using?

You running jumbo frames in the gig link?

Have you run something like iperf and tested the bandwdth across the network?
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Author Commented:
@hancocka
Thanks I will look those tools up.

@pgm554
Yes they have lots of small files.  One 5TB volume has over 1.5 millions small files, according to their backup reports.

They are currently using CA Arcserve r15 D2D

I don't recall checking to see if jumbo frames is enabled but I will check.

However, to my idea of creating a kernel port for the 10GigE NICs what you all think, would this be a decent idea?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Does the software run traditional backups and backup folders and files or virtual machine disks?

If they are using traditional backup software, with Agents in VMs, it will be slow, and not very efficient. Time to change to a Virtual Machine aware Backup Product, that can backup the entire virtual machine disks.
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Author Commented:
While I don't disagree, it's all about budgets and what can be done now.

They are currently using VCB and VDDK and it works.

The issue is trying to improve throughput above and beyone the current 2500MB/minute they are achieving over the singe GigE link.

Any more thoughts on the 10GigE option I mentioned?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If 10GigE is available, I would certainly test it, and see if performance is better. If network is the bottleneck.
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pgm554Commented:
Well,one of the issues with backing up tons of small files,is it will slow down the backup considerably.

Just the nature of the beast.

You could try an offline defrag of the VM.s and see if it makes a difference or set up link aggregation on the gig ports.

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1001938
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Author Commented:
Thanks.  I have a the 10GigE NIC on order.  Will folllowup when it arrives.
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nappy_dThere are a 1000 ways to skin the technology cat.Author Commented:
Thanks sorry lost track of this thread :)
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