Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lab Manager 4.0 Best Practices & Design Considerations

New Version of this article here

Lab Manager is one of my favorite technologies in the market today, but before you install, beware of the limitations!

i. 8 ESX hosts max to connect to VMFS3 Datastore (each LUN), you can use NFS to get around this, but for our use case, this is not performant enough.

ii. 2TB vmfs3 size limit, and don’t start there, we started at 1.2TB Luns so we could expand as needed.  Avoid SSMOVE if at all possible (SSMOVE is slow and painful, but works well), if you fill up your Lun, create the extend and/or disable templates and move them to a new datastore.

iii. Only available backups are SAN Snapshots (well the only realistic one for us), and for this to be useful, see #1 below

1. Recommended to put vCenter & Lab Manager Servers on VM’s inside cluster on SAN with the guests

iv. vCenter limits

1. 32 bit has max of 2000 deployed machines and 3000 registered

2. 64 bit has max of 3000 deployed machines and 4500 registered

Best Practices & What we’ve learned

i. Make Luns 10x the size of your Template(s)

ii. Shared Storage is generally the first bottleneck.

1. I used all Raid 1+0 since we observed this on our first LBM deployment and our application is database driven (disk I/O intensive)

iii. We have averaged between 80-100 VM’s per blade, so this means our LBM 4.0 environment should top out at approximately 32 hosts (2 full HP c7000’s) (one cluster, otherwise you lose the advantages of Host Spanning Transport Networks)

iv. LOTS of IP addresses, I recommend at least a /20 for LBM installs = 4096 IP’s, you do not want to have to re-IP lab manager guests, we’ve done that before.

v. Create Gold Master Libraries for your users, helps prevent the 30 disk chain limit from being hit as often.

vi. Encourage Libraries, not snapshots

vii. Do not allow users to create\import templates, Export Only

viii. Do not allow users to modify Disk, CPU or Memory on VM’s.

ix. Storage and Deployment leases are the best thing since sliced bread. Recommend between 14-28 days for both.

x. Train your users, we even went as far as to have two access levels, one for trained, one for untrained, so the untrained are less dangerous, and if they want the advanced features it forces them to get training.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Update to HP Firmware issue

I just verified that you don't need to update the iSCSI on all 8 adaptors, just the 1st one should be enough.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Setting up Virtual Center 4 ( vCenter )

If using SQL 2005/2008 then setup two databases VirtCent & VUM before installing vCenter, they can share a DB, but VMware recommends against it for performance reasons.

When Installing, your ODBC may ask for a 32bit DSN, use this to configure that “Data Source”


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Update to HP BL490c Firmware Issue

After allot of troubleshooting and a very good suggestion in an email from someone reading my blog, I have a fix and a better understanding of the issue.  When you update from Firmware CD 8.6 to 8.7, the version of the Broadcom Nic goes from 2.2.2 to 2.2.4, however, more specifically, there are two subversions of code that make up 2.2.2 and 2.2.4.   There is “bootcode” and “iSCSI”, when you do an update from 2.2.2 to 2.2.4, you only update “bootcode” from 4.8.0 to 5.0.11 and not “iSCSI” since the version theoretically didn’t change from 3.1.5 to 3.1.5.  This seems to be the issue.  If while performing the FW update, you manually rewrite-reapply the iSCSI as well, then the firmware update applies, and everything works properly.  If you are already on 2.2.4, you can just reapply just the iSCSI or both, either works well.

In order to successfully update your ISCSI and have a working firmware, do the following:

1) Boot from the HP 8.7 firmware CD:


Choose “Installation Options”, then click “Click here to enable install options”, then click “Allow Rewrites”, then of course “OK”.


It will warn you that you must manually select NICS and options when doing NIC firmware rewrites and downgrades. Click “OK”.

Now under “HP NC-Series Broadcom Online Firmware Upgrade, Choose “Select Devices”, When you see the screen with your NICs in it, choose “Device Details” for your first NIC in the list"

You will then see a screen like this below, Select the “iSCSI” box to reapply 3.1.5


Click “OK” then Select your 2nd device, and repeat 8 times.

After that, reboot and everything should be upgraded and working properly.