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Oct
20
How vCPUs Interact With Physical CPUs – Resources
Posted by Philip Elder on 20 October 2014 02:28 PM

Original Published Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: How vCPUs Interact With Physical CPUs – Resources

Here are some excellent resources on how a hypervisor such as Hyper-V interacts with the CPU pipeline.

Essentially, having a bit of time while waiting for some things to complete I’ve done a bit of digging to figure out if the premise “All VM threads (vCPUs) must be processed in parallel” still applies to the CPU pipelines and architectures of today.

Check out the conversation I’ve been having with Brian Elhert on his blog with the videos as it seems that the premise no longer holds true.

There are other VM performance thoughts that we have had since day one that need to be tested or verified based on Brian’s responses.

In our experience the following can have an impact on a VM’s performance:

  • Assigning more vCPUs to a VM than physical cores (threads) available on one CPU

  • Assigning vCPU count to a VM as the number of physical cores (threads) on one CPU
  • Assigning enough vRAM to a VM to force its contents to be split between memory controllers

Hat Tip: @BrianEh (Brian Elhert)

Further reading on tuning Windows Server 2012 R2:

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Mar
27
A Hyper-V Hardware and Software Configuration Guide
Posted by Philip Elder on 27 March 2014 10:16 AM

Original Posted Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: A Hyper-V Hardware and Software Configuration Guide

We install iDRAC Enterprise, iLO Advanced, or Intel RMM in the server for out-of-band KVM over IP management. Of course one needs to set a static IP address to that unit in order to gain access when DHCP goes offline. :)

The host should have a static IP address. We add the host to DNS so we can resolve the name while the guest DC is online.

We do _not_ join the guest’s domain. We use John Howard’s HVRemote to configure the host and a desktop OS based machine on the domain that has RSAT installed to manage that host. The Windows desktop OS machine or VM will also have a static IP address.

We plug a bootable USB flash drive with the host OS installer files, drivers, and management utilities into the host and _leave it there_ for the host’s entire life. With the KVM over IP we are able to re-install the host OS and reconfigure it in short order if there is a need.

  • System Configuration
    • BIOS: Disable C3/C6 States
    • Fastest GHz on CPU over number of Cores
    • Correct memory speed for that CPU
    • 1 memory stick per channel (16GB sticks are not that expensive anymore)
    • Populate slot 0 on _all_ memory channels with same stick size for best performance
    • Hardware RAID on Chip with 1GB of Non-Volatile or flash backed cache
    • RAID 6 across (8) 10K SAS (blog post on why we only use SAS) spindles minimum
    • Two Logical Drives set up on RAID Controller
      • 90GB for host OS
      • Balance to VHDX files
    • A minimum of two (2) Intel Gigabit Server NICs
      • Port 0 on both teamed for management
      • Port 1+ on both teamed for exclusive vSwitch usage

We set a static page file of 4,192MB on the system partition as one of our first steps. A Hyper-V Role only server should never need the swap file. That would just kill the system.

We do not use Broadcom NICs. They get disabled in the BIOS.

We always have a standalone DC in a cluster setting. Some will forgo such a step but that DC can be critical to keeping time on the domain for guest OS DCs and especially high load SQL, Exchange, and other data driven Line-of-Business applications. It can also be critical to bringing a cluster back online of something goes awry.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen ASP Project
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Feb
10
Hyper-V Standalone or Cluster Node BIOS Settings
Posted by Philip Elder on 10 February 2014 10:14 AM

Original Post Here: MPECS Inc. Blog: Hyper-V Standalone or Cluster Node BIOS Settings

We we set up a new Hyper-V server whether standalone or cluster node we always walk through the BIOS settings on every server to verify that they are set correctly.

image

We make sure to disable the C States (this BIOS shows C3/C6) as they somehow interfere with performance as well as Live Migration throughput.

We are leaving Hyper-Threading enabled and Turbo Boost enabled for Windows Server 2012 and newer versions as the OS is now more than capable of dealing with vCPU threads being shifted out of parallel by a Core speed change.

image

If one is experiencing performance anomalies with a cluster setup then the first place to start is the BIOS settings as one of the nodes probably has an incorrect setting.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Cluster MVP
MPECS Inc.
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
Third Tier: Enterprise Solutions for Small Business


Read more »



Sep
20
System Uptime on an SQL Server
Posted by Reprinted Article on 20 September 2013 05:55 PM

We are in the process of running some maintenance on a series of servers we rarely get to touch.

image

We have the LoBs offline or in limited usage at the moment:

image

This particular physical server’s sole purpose in life is to host SQL database instances.

So, while it is has been a good run for the server we are about to terminate the close to two year run. :)

For obvious reasons it is our preference to keep things up to date in the server operating system and the server services running on top of that OS. However, sometimes business dictates that we do not touch unless there is a very good reason to.

We do have a number of such situations. In this case, the LoBs provided us with the opportunity to reboot, run some updates, reboot, and then service pack the various SQL instances.

We now have a fairly happy SQL server that will probably keep running for another year or so until we move this particular client over to a Hyper-V failover cluster.

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for reading. :)

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »



Sep
20
System Uptime on an SQL Server
Posted by Reprinted Article on 20 September 2013 05:55 PM

We are in the process of running some maintenance on a series of servers we rarely get to touch.

image

We have the LoBs offline or in limited usage at the moment:

image

This particular physical server’s sole purpose in life is to host SQL database instances.

So, while it is has been a good run for the server we are about to terminate the close to two year run. :)

For obvious reasons it is our preference to keep things up to date in the server operating system and the server services running on top of that OS. However, sometimes business dictates that we do not touch unless there is a very good reason to.

We do have a number of such situations. In this case, the LoBs provided us with the opportunity to reboot, run some updates, reboot, and then service pack the various SQL instances.

We now have a fairly happy SQL server that will probably keep running for another year or so until we move this particular client over to a Hyper-V failover cluster.

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for reading. :)

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »



Sep
13
Why We Never Dedicate a NIC Port to a VM
Posted by Reprinted Article on 13 September 2013 09:39 AM

We never dedicate a NIC port to a VM. We always _team_ NIC ports. Generally there are two teams in standalone and cluster setups.

Team0: Management (Port 0 on NIC 0 and 1)

Team 1: vSwitch (Ports 1+ on NIC 0 and 1) – Dedicated

I kinda understand the logic of doing that, that is dedicating a NIC port to a VM. However, the whole purpose of virtualization is to separate the guest operating system from the hardware. So, one needs to break from that mindset.

There is no reason why the dual Intel quad-port configurations (8 ports total with 6 for the vSwitch) we do would have a problem with the in some cases 20+ VMs running on the host.

Team configuration exception to the rule would be for CAD/CAM/High Bandwidth needs:

  • Team0: Management (Port 0 on NIC 0 and 1)
  • Team1: vSwitch High I/O (Port 1 on NIC 0 and 1)
  • Team2: vSwitch General VMs (Ports 2+ on NIC 0 and 1)

That leaves a dedicated pair to the higher network bandwidth VM or VMs. We would leave VM density on Team1 at two or three maximum.

BTW, in a disaster recovery scenario having things teamed makes recovery a lot simpler. Trying to keep track of all of those vSwitch names mapped to what VM would be a real PITA when things were tense. Plus, getting all that configured would be that much more time wasted getting things back. Keep It Simple Sir

Oh, and one more thing: Why would one use a dedicated physical port on each node in a cluster for a highly available guest hosted on that cluster?

That leaves a single point of failure and yet we see that it is quite common for NIC teaming to not be used.

With NIC teaming now built into Windows Server 2012 RTM and newer there is no real reason to avoid teaming NICs or NIC Port groups to avoid that single point of failure.

So, when architecting a cluster setup please use NIC Teaming.

Philip Elder
MPECS Inc.
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

Chef de partie in the SMBKitchen
Find out more at
www.thirdtier.net/enterprise-solutions-for-small-business/

Windows Live Writer


Read more »




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