Home > C6100, ESXi, PernixData, SSD, vSphere > PernixData FVP v1.5 GA on vSphere v5.5 First Look

PernixData FVP v1.5 GA on vSphere v5.5 First Look

So one of my most recent posts was about fixing my UUID issue on my Dell C6100 series server.  Of course, what prompted that initially and identified the problem, was PernixData’s FVP product – way back in the 0.9 Beta if I recall.  Now that I’ve gotten this solved, of course, I wanted to give FVP a try again. 

So out goes some e-mails to PernixData with a request for download (http://www.pernixdata.com/trial/ – go request a trial!  You’ll like it…)  A quick chat with Chris Floyd (@phloider) and Peter Chang (@virtualbacon) gets me set up with the trial again.  However, a quick look says “.. vSphere v5.0 and v5.1…”  Well that’s no good, I’m on v5.5.0 U1 (of course, why not be an early adopter Smile).  So that looks like it’s out of the question.  Then they tell me the new version is supposed to GA on Monday March 17.  Well I can wait that long I figure.  That lasted until about 7PM on Friday, at which point I went to download the beta anyway.

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Not being up on the current version number (I hadn’t been keeping track, what with the UUID issue, why disappoint myself further that my hardware doesn’t like their software), so I go ahead and download the ‘beta’ figuring I’ll give it a try.  Not 10 minutes later I get an e-mail from Chris with a subject line of “New plans for the weekend…” the body of which stated: “You were the first person to download 1.5 GA. Let me know what you think.”

Well dammit.  I’m not waiting till Monday now Smile 

First, nothing in this post should supersede what’s in the documentation – which is actually really good.  This is my notes version, and cheat sheet.  If you follow my notes and didn’t read their documentation at all – that’s on you.  With that said… let’s begin!

 

1) Install and configure the Management Server

 

I’ve chosen to install this in my lab on my vCenter server using the same svcVMware AD account.  Run PernixData FVP Management Server – 1.5.03869.0.exe and start the installation.

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This really is the first screen that isn’t “Next, Next, Finish-y”. 

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I’ve opted to use the same SQL_EXPRESS instance used by my vCenter Server – probably not the best way to go if in Production, but works good enough here.

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Next we tell the FVP Management Server how it should be found on the network.

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And then click INSTALL.

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A JRE?  Yeah, go ahead and install that too if it’s needed.

 

2) Configure FVP

 

Next, you’d normally install the plug in.  The vSphere Client Plug-in for FVP v1.5 is only for vSphere v5.0 or v5.1.  For v5.5 the plug in is installed in the vSphere Web Client – and there’s nothing to do, as the installer added it to vCenter Server. 

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So log in to the vSphere web client and click on vCenter.  You’ll see a PernixData FVP section at the bottom.  Click on FLASH CLUSTERS.

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Click CREATE

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Name your cluster and select the cluster you want to attach it to.  Click OK.

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Next you’ll see the Getting Started tab.  Click on the MANAGE tab.

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It will show FLASH DEVICES.  Click ADD DEVICE.  You’ll quickly get prompted that you’re a fool and haven’t installed the software on the hosts.  Duly noted. 

 

3) (should have been 2) Add the FVP Extensions to

the host(s)

 

Installation is either via uploading to the host and installation via SSH or VUM – which is “Experimental” at this state.  However, I would like to see the VUM method work as it is more automated, so let’s give that a try.

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In the vSphere Client, browse to HOME –> SOLUTIONS –> UPDATE MANAGER.  Click on the PATCH REPOSITORY tab.  Click IMPORT PATCHES.

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Browse to where you’ve unpacked your FVP v1.5 software, and select the ESXi v5.5 update.  Click NEXT.  You may get prompted to install/accept/ignore a certificate – do so.

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Click FINISH.

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I’d never seen the patches not show up right away, but apparently my vCenter was busy.  Watch the RECENT TASKS pane to ensure the patches are Confirm Imported. 

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Then confirm by entering PERNIX in the search box.

Click on the BASELINES AND GROUPS tab, and click CREATE on the BASELINE side.

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Name your baseline and select HOST EXTENTION.  Click NEXT.

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Search for Pernix, click the down arrow to add it to the lower window, and click NEXT.

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On the READY TO COMPLETE screen, click FINISH.

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If you have a Baseline Group you may want to add the Extension to your Baseline Group.  Click COMPLIANCE VIEW in the upper right to return to your hosts and clusters view.  Select your cluster and click SCAN to check for updates required.

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Click REMEDIATE.  Then select only the EXTENTIONS BASELINE and select the PERNIXDATA FVP v1.5 GA baseline.  Check all applicable hosts and click NEXT.

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Click NEXT, NEXT, then set your remediation options.  I like to disable removable media and set my retries for every 1 minute and 33 retries –largely because it’s easy to type/change with one hand.  Click NEXT.

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Choose whatever remediation options make you happy and click NEXT and FINISH.  Then wait for the magic to happen.

 

4) NOW configure FVP 🙂

 

Now that you’ve added the extensions, let’s go back adding devices:

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Only 2 of my 4 hosts are showing up right now – that’s fine.  I’m going to choose to add my Kingston V300 120GB SSD’s (here’s hoping they work and are on the HCL), and click OK.

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Now that the devices show up, click on DATASTORES/VM’s

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Next we’ll click ADD DATASTORE.

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Only one of my datastores is ISCSI, and FVP only accelerates block devices – FCP, FCoE, or ISCSI- no local DAS data stores obviously either.  So select the appropriate ISCSI (in my case in the lab) datastore and caching method (Write Through or Write Back) and click OK.  As I want maximum performance I’m going to choose Write Back.

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Except when I try that, it tells me all my hosts need to be ready.  So I’ll finish my FVP Extension installations and then retry.  Okay, and there we go Smile

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Now we can not only select Write Back, but also select the Write Redundancy.  In order for Write Back to be safe, we need to select a mirror/parity for that cache on another host in case of the host with the primary cache failing.  For my lab, HOST+1 is more than enough.

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Understandably, it will take a little bit of time for VM’s to start caching, and then for that cache to populate on the additional nodes.  Here you can see some VM’s are CONFIGURED for Write Back, but have a current status of Write Through. 

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If we go click on MONITOR and PERFORMANCE we can start to see some stats on what’s happening.  Note that my lab isn’t very busy, so we shouldn’t expect to see much.

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We can see the IOPS as well. 

So lets go log into a VM on the datastore and run a benchmark.  I’ll use Atto Bench32 which is what I use for quick and dirty throughput tests.  Note that this is not a good IOPS test, but it does give a decently quick indication as to performance and health.

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Here you can see some pretty amazing numbers.   At 4.0KB, we’re seeing 2.5x write and 2x read numbers.  By the 16.0KB block size, it’s not even fair any more.  That’s not bad for a couple of $70 SSD’s.

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But let’s look at what the FVP console gives us.  First we get a wealth of metrics that the vSphere performance monitor alone doesn’t give us.  You can clearly see that the VM was able to observe almost 9000 IOPS – which is nothing to bitch about. 

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So based on this, I’m pretty happy.  I do have to do more testing, get some tweaks in, and better understand the settings.  But clearly I’m going to be able to push the lab a little harder. 

 

Observations and Conclusion:

 

For my needs, in my lab, speed is critical.  While I’m by no means business centric, “time is money” and the faster the equipment is, the more things I can do, which means the more I can test and the more I can learn.  I already know how to watch progress bars – so anything I can do to reduce that, will maximize my time.

Secondly, this is pretty amazing for the cost of 4x $70 120GB SSD’s.  Would you use this class of consumer grade MLC in Production with FVP?  Probably (hopefully) not.  But you could make an argument to do so, and just treat them like printer toner cartridges and replace them periodically – as long as that period didn’t fail at the worst time or require a large amount of time swapping SSD’s.

Clearly, I’ve sold the C6100 duplicate UUID/Service Tag problem Smile 

I’ll be doing additional testing in a bit.  But after hearing I was the first to download the GA code, I wanted to be the first to get something up about it.  Hopefully this will help someone else get started up quickly and easily. 

It’s late – time for bed.  But this post was a long time coming – damned C6100 UUIDs…

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Categories: C6100, ESXi, PernixData, SSD, vSphere
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  1. May 1, 2014 at 6:00 AM

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