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VMware vCenter Server Appliance Homelab tips
Posted by Vladan Seget on June 15, 2017
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Many IT administrators or virtualization guys runs their homelabs at home. It is a good way to learn new technologies, be able to break things in a lab to get stronger skills.

It is sometimes a challenge, to squeeze as much RAM as possible from it. The main challenge is always a memory utilization. VMware VMs are getting memory hungry all the time and they are not “optimized” for Homelab use, but rather for production environments. Yes, it is the main purpose of those VMs after all.

One of the large VMs, but most critical, is VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA). This product is becoming very popular within VMware communities and it is very easy to setup. Today we will have a look if we can do some optimizations and some “tweaks” to make it less memory hungry.

Set service startup manual

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Design a ROBO infrastructure. Part 4: HCI solutions
Posted by Andrea Mauro on June 7, 2017
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2-nodes hyperconverged solution

As written in the previous post, for ROBO scenario the most interesting HCI (Hyper-Converged Infrastructure) configuration is a two nodes configuration, considering that two nodes could be enough to run dozen VMs (or also more).

For this reason, not all hyperconverged solutions could be suitable for this case (for example Nutanix or Simplivity need at least 3 nodes). And is not simple scale down an enterprise solution to a small size, due to the architecture constraints.

Actually, there are some interesting products specific for HCI in ROBO scenario:

  • VMware Virtual SAN in a 2 nodes clusters
  • StarWind Virtual Storage Appliance
  • StorMagic SvSAN

StarWind Virtual SAN overall architecture

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Why do we always see Responder CQE Errors with RoCE RDMA?
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on June 2, 2017
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Why do we always see Responder CQE Errors with RoCE RDMA?

Anyone who has configured and used SMB Direct with RoCE RDMA Mellanox cards appreciates the excellent diagnostic counters Mellanox provides for use with Windows Performance Monitor. They are instrumental when it comes to finding issues and verifying everything is working correctly.

Many have complained about the complexity of DCB configuration but in all earnest, any large network under congestion which needs specialized configurations has challenges due to scale. This is no different for DCB. You need the will to tackle the job at hand and do it right. Doing anything at scale reliable and consistent means automating it.  Lossless Ethernet, mandatory or not, requires DCB to shine. There is little other choice today until networking technology & newer hardware solutions take an evolutionary step forward. I hope to address this in a future article. But, this I not what we are going to discuss here. We’ve moved beyond that challenge. We’ll talk about one of the issues that confuse a lot of people.

Responder CQE errors report after virtual machines migration from Hyper-V cluster

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Integrating StarWind Virtual Tape Library (VTL) with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager
Posted by Dmytro Khomenko on April 28, 2017
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Introduction

The reason for writing this article was the goal of eliminating any possible confusion in the process of configuring the StarWind Virtual Tape Library in pair with the Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager.

The integration of SCDPM provides a benefit of consolidating the view of alerts across all your DPM 2016 servers. Alerts are grouped by disk or tape, data source, protection group and replica volumes, which simplifies troubleshooting. The grouping functionality is further completed with the console capable of separating issues that only affect one data source from problems that impact multiple data sources. Alerts are also separated into backup failure or infrastructure problems.

StarWind VTL configuration with SCDPM

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Supermicro SuperServer E200-8D/E300-8D review
Posted by Alex Khorolets on April 21, 2017
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These days, more and more companies need high-quality, reliable and efficient server hardware.  Home labs used by enthusiasts and professionals in the IT sphere for software developing and testing, studying for an IT certification, and configuring virtual environments became popular as well. Small companies are also interested in cheap and compact servers, the production of which is based on a couple of virtual machines or networking applications.

Supermicro company ranks one of the leading positions in server development for a long time. Supermicro products range from the Hi-End clusters to microservers. Recently the company released two compact servers: SuperServer E200-8D and its younger model – SuperServer E300-8D.

Supermicro SuperServers

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Data Management Moves to the Fore. Part 2: Data Management Has Many Moving Parts
Posted by Jon Toigo on April 4, 2017
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In the previous blog, we established that there is a growing need to focus on Capacity Utilization Efficiency in order to “bend the cost curve” in storage.  Just balancing data placement across repositories (Capacity Allocation Efficiency) is insufficient to cope with the impact of data growth and generally poor management.  Only by placing data on infrastructure in a deliberative manner that optimizes data access and storage services and costs, can IT pros possibly cope with the coming data deluge anticipated by industry analysts.

The problem with data management is that it hasn’t been advocated or encouraged by vendors in the storage industry.  Mismanaged data, simply put, drives the need for more capacity – and sells more kit.

COMPONENTS OF A COGNITIVE DATA MANAGEMENT SOLUTION

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Design a ROBO infrastructure (Part 3): Infrastructure at remote office side
Posted by Andrea Mauro on March 30, 2017
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Design a ROBO scenario must match finally the reality of the customers’ needs, its constraints but also the type of workload and the possible availability solutions of them.

Logical design of a ROBO scenario

When can found the different type of approaches:

  • No server(s) at
  • Few servers (that maybe can fail)
  • Some servers with “relaxed” availability requirements
  • Some servers with reasonable availability

Let’s analyze each of them.

Design a ROBO scenario must match finally the reality of the customers’ needs, its constraints but also the type of workload and the possible availability solutions of them.

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure structure

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vRealize Operations Manager Gems
Posted by Michael Ryom on March 29, 2017
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Working with vRops over the last years has taught me one thing. The development of vRops goes so fast. Sometimes so fast that you do not realize when or what has changed. However, there are many “hidden” gems in vRops, which will make you and the product shine even more.

So come along, as I will show you my top ten hidden gems of vRops…

Datastore KPI view

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Benchmarking Samsung NVMe SSD 960 EVO M.2
Posted by Taras Shved on March 24, 2017
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Everyone knows that, currently, the SSDs are one of the best storage devices that allow you to upgrade your architecture and significantly accelerate the performance of the computer. SSD accelerates the loading speed of your PC, applications opening and files searching speed, and generally increases the performance of your system. Despite the fact that solid-state drives are more expensive than standard hard drives, the performance improvement can hardly be overlooked.

The modern market is represented by a variety of storage devices that differ depending on the volume, interface, memory type, and vendor. The SATA SSDs are replaced by PCIe NVMe SSDs that deliver an increase in performance by connecting directly to the PCIe bus. A few months ago, Samsung announced the release of SSD 960 PRO and SSD 960 EVO NVMe,  which will be discussed in this post. As well as 950 Pro, which was released last year,  Samsung 960 Pro and 960 EVO are PCIe 3.0 x4 drives that utilize the latest version of the NVMe protocol for data transfer, designed to reduce delays, and utilize flash memory with maximum efficiency. Therefore, Samsung 960 EVO delivers performance close to 960 PRO, but at a much more affordable price.

Samsung SSD 960 EVO

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Hyper-V Networking 101. Part 1: NICs and Switches
Posted by Thorsten Windrath on March 22, 2017
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Network cables

Source: pixabay.com

Introduction

There are lots of posts regarding Hyper-V networking. But there doesn’t seem to be a single compiled and up to date guide covering fundamentals and some advanced topics alike. This article aims to fill that gap, without a wall of text but a few easy to understand diagrams, tables, and PowerShell snippets. We will take a look at Hyper-V’s basic networking concept, NIC teaming (Network Interface Card) and different approaches to let VMs (Virtual Machines) talk to specific VLANs or even VLAN trunks.

The first article in the Hyper-V Networking 101 series will cover everything you need to know about virtual switches and NICs. The last post is planned as a real-world example: A way to implement a secure Wi-Fi (and/or wired) guest network on top of a virtual firewall.

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