Check this ad for Hyper-V R2
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Check this ad for Hyper-V R2
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My colleague Bert de Reus sent me a stimulating email. He has been implementing Hyper-V R2 at a customer site with HP ProLiant G6 servers and HP LeftHand storage (virtualization bundle).
The customer had an aging HP ProLiant ML350 G3 with seven U320 SCSI disks and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 holding several databases. A typical query on a 70GB database located on a Hyper-V Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) lasted 1 hour and 38 minutes.
The newly implemented infrastructure consists of a 3-node Hyper-V R2 cluster using HP ProLiant DL380 G6 with 8 cores and 64GB of memory and two HP LeftHand P4500 boxes with a total of 24 450GB 15K SAS disks. The databases were moved to a VM with 4 vCPU’s and 4GB of RAM. The operating system was Windows Server 2008 x64 SP2 and the database was leveled up to SQL Server 2008 x64 SP1.
The exact same query took only 7 minutes.
The customer was extremely impressed with this 14-fold performance improvement.
Extra information (November 11th, 2009)
A second database test was even more rewarding: A query which normally took 2,5 hours was cut back to only 12 minutes (15.8x faster)
Databases were consolidated from several physical servers to four virtual SL Server 2008 SP1 x64 virtual machines.
Today I was present at the opening day of Microsoft TechEd Europe 2009 in Berlin.
Whilst there were large scale festivities around the fall of the wall, Microsoft let Exchange 2010 and ForeFront Protection 2010 out of the door. Together with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 including Hyper-V R2 plus the full System Center suite, we have an impressive set of domino stones which can set the new efficiency into motion.
Right at this moment I watch the domino stones fall at the Berlin wall, to the great excitement of a huge crowd consisting of people from east and west. Today Berlin is a modern city and not a shadow of what it was twenty years ago. There is abundant pride, joy, hope and a celebration of freedom. Why do I see so many parallels? TechEd 2009 could not have been held at a better place and at a better time.
We now have all the building blocks for a phenomenal redesign of current IT infrastructures in which the wall between on premises and the cloud is virtually nonexistent. Exchange mailboxes and SQL databases can be local, hosted or somewhere in Azure. There is no wall keeping you from returning a service from the cloud back to on premises. It is your own free choice and all that matters is cost, flexibility, availability and scalability.
Many large companies have already started migrating to Windows 7. They save somewhere between 75 and 125 euro per year per workstation, for instance by setting a power saving group policy. Do more with less is now rephrased to With less do more. A subtle change with large possibilities, especially in challenging times like these. Early adopters of Exchange 2010 claim 8 times bigger mailboxes at 50% of the cost. Again with less do more.
The inherent power saving options of Windows Server 2008 R2, especially combined with HP Dynamic Power Control, will save companies significantly on there power bills.
Virtualizing servers and applications by Hyper-V and App-V respectively means serious cost reduction as well. With less servers do more. Deployment is made really easy. We were shown the strong library and template functionality of Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 and integration with SCOM and SCCM. Really good stuff!
I expect large scale adoption of the new Microsoft technologies and I am more than happy with the high quality of the software. No need to wait! Go go go!
This was in fact the motto of the keynote.
Quick and handy slideshow on 10 little known features of Windows Server 2008 R2:
Another much anticipated beta has arrived: the new version of System Center Essentials in the 2010 wave. A perfect match for medium and small businesses.
With SCE2010 management of virtual environments has been added. A welcome addition. Here are the features relevant to Hyper-V and Virtual Server.
Virtualization management features—The virtualization management component in Essentials 2010, built on System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) technology, now provides centralized administration for managing your virtual machine infrastructure. Virtualization management tasks you can perform from within Essentials 2010 include the following:
Today the Data Protection Manager development team released the public beta of Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM2010), the third generation of Microsoft backup software. Actually backup is not the right word since it is data protection and guaranteed data recovery what makes DPM really stand out. It was really designed for backup to disk.
The first generation (DPM2006) was a first but limited attempt to offer protection and easy recovery for file servers. Much like the volume shadowcopy for shared folders, it was easier to protect fileservers from a central location, creating replica’s and recovery points to a DPM storage pool. With DPMv1 there was no direct tape support and a second backup product was required for long term protection.
Towards the end of 2007 the second generation arrived with DPM2007. It added other data source protection such as SQL Server, Exchange, Sharepoint Portal Server, Virtual Server and SystemState. An important missing data source was Hyper-V. Even though Hyper-V R1, as we can call it now, arrived in February 2009 as a beta with the RTM of Windows Server 2008 and the RTM of Hyper-V R1 in June 2008, we had to wait until January 2009 before Hyper-V data sources could be protected at the host level with SP1 of DPM2007. Microsoft Office SharePoint System (MOSS) and SQL Server 2008 were also added.
However, having to wait for seven months before being able to protect a very strategic product like Hyper-V is unacceptable to say the least. There was also no clear message when Hyper-V protection would arrive. Compared to the 60 days after Hyper-V R2 message from the Virtual Machine Manager team, this leaves room for improvement.
Hopefully the gap between Hyper-V R2 RTM and DPM2010 RTM will be smaller, although I have reason to doubt this. Expect the final version of the third generation DPM somewhere in the first quarter of 2010. Again much too late for customers who want to protect virtual machines which are placed on Cluster Shared Volumes.
This leaves us with adding a DPM Agent to the virtual machines only and forgetting about the host until April 2010 or so. But that’s enough for the criticism.
We can finally lay our hands on the beta of DPM2010 after about 50 customers have been able to test the new data protection product in a Technical Adoption Program. Apparently DPM2010 is ready to show to the world and welcome it is. The majority of our customers have abandoned their traditional Symantec Backup Exec, NetBackup and HP Data Protector backup programs in favor of DPM and I must say the product has become notably better in the last few months with SP1 and a couple of hotfixes. Nevertheless there were plenty of product improvements I have been able to share with the development team and hopefully most of these have made it in the product.
In the light of this Hyper-V blog we are of course most focused on protection of Microsoft virtualized environments and specifically Hyper-V R2.
Here is a quote from the DPM blog:
“This has been one of the biggest investments that we made in DPM 2010, and we hope that you will absolutely love the features. First and foremost, DPM 2010 Beta protects highly available virtual machines (VM) deployed on Windows Server 2008 R2 using Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) clusters — in addition to standalone Hyper-V servers and Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V clusters. For all above mentioned server configurations, DPM 2010 Beta supports:
Seamless protection of Live Migrating VMs (For Windows Server 2008 R2): DPM 2010 is Live Migration aware and seamlessly protects a VM after it migrates to another node of the Hyper-V R2 cluster to another without manual intervention.
Item Level Recovery from host level backup: DPM 2010 Beta supports item level recovery (ILR) which allows you to do granular recovery of files and folders, volumes and virtual hard disks (VHD) from a host level backup of Hyper-V VMs to a network share or a volume on a DPM protected server.
Original Location Recovery: DPM 2010 Beta supports online recovery of the protected VM to the original location.
Alternate Host Recovery: DPM 2010 Beta supports alternate location recovery (ALR) which allows you to recover a Hyper-V VM to an alternate stand-alone or clustered Hyper-V host.”
Notable the Item Level Recovery from host level backup is a really fantastic feature which for certain can not be matched by any product in the VMware world. We have Bare Metal Recovery of virtual machines including the ability to perform a specific restore of selected items within the host level backup of the virtual hard disk (VHD).
Of course there is a shipload of improvements to the product which can be found at the following locations:
I don’t normally read Linux magazines, but Twitter has more than opened the world to me. Someone referred to a blog from Ken Hess in Linux Magazine. Ken wondered why a VM could not be fully hypervisor aware, meaning not only for one hypervisor but for all the major players.
If you take Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2, they are aware of the Hyper-V R2 hypervisor. No need to install any Hyper-V guest components at all until the next service pack I presume.
Today it was announced that the Hyper-V guest components were accepted in the Linux kernel only two months after Microsoft made them available to the Open Source.
“A hypervisor aware operating system is an interesting concept. From the most basic bits, this OS is built for hypervisor-based virtualization. In fact, in a perfect world, the OS would detect the hypervisor type and offer its own set of optimizations for that platform. Native or near-native performance is what we’re after by using hypervisor-based virtualization so why not have the best possible selections already made”
I think Hess hits a major point, strongly offsetting those who are still fighting hypervisor wars. Thanks for the insight!
In my previous blog I asked what CSV sizes were used in Hyper-V R2 environments. One of my Twitter contacts, James Price (@SpinMasterJP) replied he was starting out at 2TB if the array supports Thin Provisioning. James also mentioned having discussed with the Microsoft Cluster Team over 500 VM’s per CSV while seeing good IO and seamless IO scalability leveraging Active/Active IO with MPIO.
How do Cluster Shared Volumes stack up to VMwares NTFS3?
Borrowing from Jason Perlow at http://blogs.zdnet.com/perlow/?p=10743:
“Clustered Shared Volumes, or CSV, provides a shared file system overlay on top of Windows 2008 R2’s NTFS for multiple Hyper-V hosts to centrally store virtual machines. A CSV provides a consistent file namespace, much in the same way VMWare ESX uses VMFS-3 datastores.
However, unlike a VMFS-3 datastore, which is limited to 2TB each, can only hold up to 256 VMs per volume (with a practical limitation of 32 per due to I/O constraints) and must use VMWare’s proprietary multi-path I/O (MPIO). NTFS CSV can be up to 256 terabytes in size, it can use a variety of MPIO solutions including EMC PowerPath, and has no limitation on the number of VMs per volume. CSV’s will also directly integrate with existing Windows-based backup solutions and not require “Proxied” backups, such as with VMWare’s Consolidated Backup for ESX.”
If I calculate right, it would take 1000 VM’s with 250GB VHD’s each to eat up the 256TB disk space. With a limit of 384 VM’s per Hyper-V R2 host, it would take only 4 Hyper-V hosts including a cluster reserve of 1. I guess we will need a storage array with a large number of spindles and multiple IO paths, preferably at the speed of a 4 or 8Gb Fibre Channel SAN.
[Correction Sept 14th 2009: I learnt from Matthijs van Seldam’s blog that only single Hyper-V R2 servers support 384 VM’s, at least when the host has 64 processor cores and enough memory to support them. A clustered Hyper-V server is limited to 64VM’s which means that a 16 node cluster can support 1024 VM’s per cluster. Big clusters like these should have a cluster reserve of 2 which limits a Hyper-V R2 cluster to 14 x 64 = 896 VM’s. Still awesome!
With VMFS3 you cannot extend a VMFS partition. However you can create another VMFS partition and add it as an extent. This will show as one larger VMFS partition but is not a best practice. With VMware it is advised to create separate VMFS partitions and spread the VM’s over these LUNS to avoid SCSI locks.
With CSV not only the maximum size of a contiguous partition is much larger than VMFS3, it also much easier to dynamically increase or decrease the size the underlying disk and partition which make up the CSV.
For limits of Hyper-V R2 see:
Storage improvements from Windows Server 2008 SP1 Hyper-V to Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V
The following table shows changes in storage. Some of the changes are performance related like hot add of storage. This helps performance by reducing the time it takes to add new storage. The big things to note are increases in IO Sizes passed from VM’s and huge improvements in Dynamic VHDs.
Learning from the other guy
In a Dutch article on disk IO optimization for VMware environments the following best practices are suggested:
VMFS-3, How Do I Despise Thee
Jason Perlow’s frustration on the closed nature of VMFS3
Monitoring disk performance of a VM
How to monitor virtual machine disk performance on a Windows Server 2008-based computer that has the Hyper-V role installed:
Peformance Tuning Guidelines for Windows Server 2008 R2
I welcome your feedback and experience from the field!
[update September 14th 2009: HP ProLiant Support Pack v8.30 supporting Windows Server 2008 R2 has been released ]
Gradually drivers and programs for HP ProLiant servers are beginning to show up on the HP Software and Driver pages for several Proliant models. There is not yet a separate entry for R2, but if you take a careful look at the driver section for the 64bit version of Windows Server 2008, you will find several drivers and support applications dated August 18th, 2009. Notably the new HP Network Configuration Utility now supports R2 and also offers iSCSI jumbo support for Broadcom multifunction adapters.
I expect to see the complete HP ProLiant Support Pack v8.30, which fully supports R2, very soon now.
When taking a closer look at the new HP ProLiant ROM documentation, an interesting new feature is described:
Collaborative Power Control.
Added support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Release 2.
Added support for Collaborative Power Control. This feature, when using an operating system that supports this functionality (such as Windows Server 2008 Release 2), provides improved power management when HP Power Regulator is configured for HP Dynamic Power Savings Mode by allowing the operating system and platform firmware to work together to provide optimum control of processor frequency for improved power efficiency. This functionality has no impact on system operation if using an operating system that does not support this feature or if HP Power Regulator is not configured for HP Dynamic Power Savings Mode. The Collaborative Power Control selection in the Advanced Power Management Options of the ROM-Based Setup Utility (RBSU) provides the capability to disable this feature. Only operating systems that support the PCC interface allow for Collaborative Power Control. At the time of release of this firmware, Windows Server 2008 Release 2 is the only operating system that supports the PCC interface.
Added support to allow an operating system to read power usage and the configured power cap value (configured power cap value available only when using HP Dynamic Power Capping). This functionality requires HP integrated Lights-Out 2 Firmware revision 1.79 or later. This functionality is only available when using an operating system that supports the ACPI Power Meter Device defined in the ACPI 4.0 specification. At the time of release of this firmware, Windows Server 2008 Release 2 is the only operating system that supports this functionality.
The drivers for DL380 G6 and Windows Server 2008 x64 and R2 can be found here:
HP ProLiant Support Pack 8.30:
A HP Whitepaper on NIC Teaming in Hyper-V (take care of the installation order!)
I’d like to call your attention to a newly released support blog for SCVMM2008. It is called SCVMM Callback by J.C. Hornbeck.
It contains many references to other SCVMM sources and discusses a number of well known problems, hotfixes, pre-requisites, troubleshooting info, how-to’s, etc.
The blog can be found at:
In a presentation at the recent VMworld conference, the VMware product marketing director Eric Horschman, talked about the unique advantages of VMware ESX. During his presentation All Hypervisors Are Not Created Equal, an erudite reference to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, he showed his audience a slide on the “Unparalleled x86 Reliability of VMware ESX”. In the slide an ESX server hosting virtual machine is shown with 1516 days of uptime.
Should we be impressed or should we wonder why this virtual machine was never patched in the past four years? This pharmaceutical firm would have a hard time getting a security audit passed.
It took me less than five minutes to break this record with Hyper-V :-)
Almost five years of uptime for these VM’s. It’s hard to believe isn’t it? Well, after Orwell: “Some hypervisors are more equal than others”.
As you can see I was already running a very early beta of Windows 7 in 2004 :-)
Footnote: George Orwell’s Animal Farm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Farm