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Moving to F5 LTM virtual appliance from physical appliances

I am moving from physical F5 LTMs to virtual appliances running on VMware. What kind of testing would you do to assure a smooth transition operationally?

I am concerned about access, throughput, resource use. Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Steve
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Steve Jennings
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Steve Jennings
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The same test plan you used when you implemented the physical F5!
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Steve JenningsIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
HA! I will accept that as comical bias.

Ok . . . access is different, now I have direct access into the box. Diagnostics are different; resources are not fixed. Bandwidth is different: now I have 8 physical interfaces on some boxes, but on the virtual box I will have a 20GB interface that I will share with 15 other blades. I proxy SSL now on a dedicated chip on dedicated hardware, but the virtual appliance will be using the VMware CPUs for SSL offload.

That's just the stuff I can think of . . . what else am I missing?

By the way, you said exactly the same thing our virtualization team said. "No difference."

Thanks,
Steve
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Your test plan service should be the same irrelevant of the platform

If it fails test plan it FAILS!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
The hardware may be different that's a given.

And that may be a concern but if your test plan is written correctly the test plan could fail
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Steve JenningsIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
While I respect your observation that "a test plan is a test plan" I have to respectfully (as much respect as you can demonstrate on a text based forum) disagree. The vendor supplies performance and throughput expectations for the hardware appliance, but does not supply the same information for the virtual appliance because it is dependent on the underlying hardware. So I have to request resources from my enterprise Virtualization Consultant who will tell me emphatically that the vendor overstates resource requirements and will then give me what he thinks I need, and I will have to run performance tests with what I am given. I also have to support a wide range of applications, some of them in protected, isolated tiers that run weaker ciphers that are handled ok by a hardware appliance, but will suck the life out of a server CPU.

Thanks,
Steve
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What does the specs of hardware versus virtual compare?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Okay let's rewind a bit having been involved in many physical to virtual appliances also including F5 at a Service level is it Industrial Level Service is term we use

We seen many organisations and Teams fight over physical versus virtual and it would seem that existing Administrators of physical appliances have their noses put out of joint because someone or management has decided to retire such physical appliance and replace with a virtual appliance.

Virtual Infrastructure is managed by other teams and will say yes we have ALL the resources required

We've been involved with Enterprise Virtualization for 19 years and generally it's a good thing and works well and we are in favour of it HOWEVER badly resourced maintained administered vSphere can be problematic also some platforms should remain physical

No with all that in mind I truly feel your pain of the move to virtual

Compared to physical

So we have tested and compared physical versus virtual implementations

And then let Managers decide what they want to keep

UNLESS THIS IS A DONE DEAL AND SERVICE SUFFERS

and we've seen that as well

So test.....

What would happen if all your tests fail?

Are you allowed to remain physical?

Virtualization is not the answer for everything it's a compromise normally on money and sometimes service!
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Steve JenningsIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the response.

I think I could have been a little more explicit with my question, but I feared that would put off respondents. Here's why: I am not really looking for a text book comparison of virtual vs physical because I don't live in a text book world. Fact is, during some testing, one of the VMware techs bounced my virtual instance without trying to take a snapshot when the "tool" he was using said my instance was in trouble. You would be right to observe that was improper behavior, and I have said as much to his manager. And you are also on the right track, though it smacked sadly of a little too much bias, when you say that my nose is put out of joint because, etc. I would phrase it this way: I have tools and experience with the physical appliance along with direct control over the box. Now some of my tools have been obviated and I am getting push back from the virtual team because I want access to some of the tools they use to monitor the health of my virtual appliance. And, on investigation, by my way of thinking, they are sadly under-tooled for the environment they are managing. And last, any comment I make about concern over performance seems to send them into a defensive tizzy as if I were accusing them of technical incompetence.

So I was looking for information on the operational realities surrounding migrating from phys to virt and I seem to be hitting the same wall. "There's no difference" and that's flatly and demonstrably inaccurate. Just pump 10Gb of UDP at wire speed toward a virtual box and see how well it behaves as compared to a physical box if you are still of the opinion that there's no difference.

Honestly hope I did not offend.

Thanks for your words.

Steve
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Steve JenningsIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thanks!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Not offended and you are Correct but what you need to do is prove virtual is WRONG for your environment!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Also too add we see the deskilling in IT every week because management has given the VSphere Boys Management on new enterprise services!

And they vSphere Boys cannot manage or administrate!

We would not recommend snapshots anyway

Good Luck let me know how it proceeds
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