Jasmine McTigue

Network Computing Blogger

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Where the Cloud Touches Down: Simplifying Data Center Infrastructure Management

Thursday, July 25, 2013
10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET

In most data centers, DCIM rests on a shaky foundation of manual record keeping and scattered documentation. OpManager replaces data center documentation with a single repository for data, QRCodes for asset tracking, accurate 3D mapping of asset locations, and a configuration management database (CMDB). In this webcast, sponsored by ManageEngine, you will see how a real-world datacenter mapping stored in racktables gets imported into OpManager, which then provides a 3D visualization of where assets actually are. You'll also see how the QR Code generator helps you make the link between real assets and the monitoring world, and how the layered CMDB provides a single point of view for all your configuration data.

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A Network Computing Webinar:
SDN First Steps

Thursday, August 8, 2013
11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will help attendees understand the overall concept of SDN and its benefits, describe the different conceptual approaches to SDN, and examine the various technologies, both proprietary and open source, that are emerging. It will also help users decide whether SDN makes sense in their environment, and outline the first steps IT can take for testing SDN technologies.

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The Do's And Don'ts Of Virtualizing Database Servers

Given the fact that a typical virtualization host system has abundant CPU and memory resources available, let's talk about minimizing hypervisor involvement in disk writes and assuring that your database has enough resources to handle whatever we're going to throw at it. By following the following recommendations, you can relax about database issues on virtual platforms.

First, we need to minimize the involvement of the hypervisor in making writes to storage. There are two ways to accomplish this: we can either allow the virtual machine exclusive access to the raid datastore, or we can give the database virtual machine a Raw Device Mapping (RDM) to the storage. Giving the VM exclusive access to the datastore is just that, we create a datastore on top of the physical array or LUN, and we provision all the available space into in a single disk. This minimizes hypervisor involvement in storage I/O because there are no other virtual machines using the array. The second option is to grant the virtual machine a Raw Device Mapping. Raw device mappings in vSphere allow a particular virtual machine unrestricted and exclusive access to an underlying storage medium. In short, the RDM prevents nearly any interference by the hypervisor in storage utilization. For moderately utilized databases, the first method is probably sufficient, but if your database is a monster, then RDMs are your only option. RDMs require additional configuration and zoning or masking to implement on the storage side, but VMware makes it easy to allocate them to a virtual machine.

Finally, we need to make sure your database server has the CPU and memory resources necessary to do its job. In VMware, we can do this with simple CPU and Memory reservations. Windows Perfmon and VMware capacity planner are both great for getting a starting point for what's required on a physical database server, and the next step is just to set a reservation for disk and CPU commensurate with your sample data. If you're really dead set on giving exclusive CPU access to your database server, set affinity for the server to a particular core or cores and unset affinity on all other virtual machines from that core or cores; this prevents any other machines from using that CPU and guarantees exclusive access.

Jasmine McTigue is the IT manager for Carwild Corp. She is responsible for IT infrastructure and has worked on numerous customer projects as well as ongoing network management and support throughout her 10-plus-year career.

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