Wednesday, August 28, 2013

VMworld HOL using VCVA (vCenter Virtual Appliance)

This is the first of a series of HOL posts about "how we did it".

For the primary workload, we used the vCenter Virtual Appliance using the local Postgres database.

Due to the unusually high churn rate of HOL, we need to have a high ratio of vCenters.  These vCenters needed to have a lot of horsepower behind them to survive this churn.

1) Paravirtualized SCSI adaptors for disk controllers for the VCVA vm.
2) Created 2 additional dedicated datastores (Luns) for each of the DB & Logs on the VCVA vm.
3) 4 CPU's x 32GB memory (we might have gone a bit high on memory)
4) Removed all long term logging and rollups, we are doing all stats in vC Ops.
5) Increased heap sizes to large for the SPS, tomcat inventory & vCenter process.

The only downside to the VCVA is the fact that it doesn't support linked mode, but you can get around that with the NGC & SSO.

ESXi 5.1vHost vDS ports on an stateless reverts to 512 after reboot

By default when you set the ports on hosts max to 1024, after reboot, it goes back to 512 on a stateless host. This is a known issue in the 5.1 release notes.
  • maxProxySwitchPorts setting not persistent after stateless host reboot 
  • The maximum number of ports on a host is reset to 512 after the host is rebooted and a host profile applied. When you set maxProxySwitchPorts on a specific stateless host on a distributed switch, the setting might not persist when the host is rebooted. This applies only to stateless hosts that are part of a distributed switch and have had themaxProxySwitchPorts setting changed.
  • Workaround: Manually change the maxProxySwitchPorts settings for the hosts after reboot.

There are 3 ways to make this change, i'll discuss them here.

1) vSphere Windows Client, this way seems to work, but does not.  The UI states that the host must be rebooted after the setting is changed. Some experimenting looked like the change did take effect immediately without a reboot and I've confirm in the API guide that a reboot is no longer needed for ESXi 5.1 hosts (, so the "must reboot" label just a UI artifact.

2) Workaround stated above in the release notes using PowerCLI, While changing the maxProxySwitchPorts with PowerCLI does work, it's a pain. 

3) Using the NGC (next gen web client).  We found the workaround to be setting the "Default max number of ports per host" via the NGC and this does persist between reboots. We tested this on a host that we rebooted and it did come up with 1024 ports. 

The credit for this goes to my members, Jacob RossJoe Keegan.