VCSA - vCenter Server Appliance

I have to admit that I was very excited to hear the announcement of the VCSA. I've been working with this for a few months, and as a consultant I'm still excited about the VCSA, but not in an enterprise. The VCSA is great for getting your feet wet, doing proof of concepts and lab environments. It has several limitations that make it less than ideal for anything else:

VMA v. Powershell

With the deployment of ESX 5 comes the loss of the the ESX console. it actually happened with the advent of ESXi, but now with 5 there isn't an option to have a console. VMware addressed this with the creation of the Virtual Management Assistant (VMA). Powershell is Microsoft's answer to easier administration via CLI (Command Line Interface).

Setting the Storage Path Policy

This article is pretty much a reminder for me, and I hope useful for other people. I am always setting the preferred storage path from the default to Round Robin. I do this in two ways: the first is to log into the ESX console, or the "hidden" ESXi console and set the default to round robin; the second is to use a powershell script to make sure that all of the datastores are set to round robin.

Aligning VMFS and Linux using fdisk

The alignment procedure for VMFS and Linux is the same as any other Linux file system. Use fdisk’s expert mode to create a new partition with an aligned starting block and then format the file system. You should use this procedure for not only VMFS, but for your Linux virtual machines as well (changing the type in step 7 "fb" to 83.)

Preparing Windows for Disk Alignment

If you are installing Windows Server 2000, 2003 or Windows XP on a physical server or desktop, you cannot fix disk alignment at the time of installation with the Windows media. (This is not a problem with Windows 2008 or Windows 7). Once Windows has been installed, there is no way to fix the alignment, it must be done at the time the partition is created. You won't have the proper tools until after Windows is installed.

The Importance of Disk Alignment

Read of a Cluster may cause multiple SAN reads. - VMWare, Inc.

Disk performance is one of the bottlenecks that can adverse affect the performance computer system. This is true if you are running a physical system a Virtual Machine on datastore. All traditional rotating disks are divided into physical sectors. The operating systems and their components operate according to this sector logic. Since virtualization relies heavily on SAN storage, the alignment of the Virtual Machine's disk with the SAN become important. This is known as disk alignment. Some metrics will state a 9-15% improvement in performance with aligned disks vs.


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