The past month has been categorized as something of a performance and upgrades challenge as one of the constant calls I hear is “application X is going to slow”, of course, a month ago it was fine but today it isn’t and normally this is just down to increasing load.
One of the common fixes for increasing load is to add more vCPU and RAM but often that can cause its own set of problems especially when NUMA boundaries are crossed and when vCPU contention pushes things a little too far.
The second part of the challenge is the upgrade challenge where various applications need upgrading but there are dependency chains to take into account, this is the sort of thing where application X needs a very specific version of application y. In those cases, an upgrade is much easier to do by reinstalling the OS and starting again then transferring the data across!
As a potential solution to these issues that I’ve been exploring is Docker on VMWare’s Photon OS.
It is not new that VMware vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA) is a very popular option, especially for small businesses which can save money on an additional Windows Server license.
It is a prepackaged and preconfigured virtual appliance with PostgreSQL database, vCenter server 6.5 components and also (in case you deploy “all-in-one” VM) Platform services Controller that contain all of the necessary services for running vCenter Server such as vCenter Single Sign-On, License service, and VMware Certificate Authority.
The VCSA is running Photon OS which is a VMware own lightweight distribution, optimized for fast booting, security, and scalability. During a long time, VMware was using Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) distribution, but the fact that VMware did not own the stack was a break to faster development.
Many of you know that VMware has a technology called vSphere Integrated Containers (VIC). It involves launch of Docker (and others) virtualized containers in small virtual machines with a lightweight operating system based on Linux distribution.
This operating system is VMware Photon OS 1.0, which has been finally released just recently. This is the first release version of this operating system from VMware, but in the long view it can become the main platform for virtual appliances by replacing the everlasting SUSE Linux.