VMotion on HiPSerStor & A5808 – Better Together II

Trying VMotion was a natural next step after our success in initial tests with VMWare ESX on A5808-32. iSCSI services on HiPerStor provide for a very affordable shared storage for VMWare ESX. Well, lets jump right in.

Test Setup:

A5808-32 – 32 core AMD Opteron system, VMWare ESX 3.5

A1403 – 16 core AMD Opteron system, VMWare ESX 3.5

HiPerStor – File store providing NAS, iSCSI, CIFS services

A1204 – 8 core AMD Opteron system, Windows 2003, Virtual Center server, License server


Dell DVD Store application on a Windows 2003 / IIS / SQL Server Virtual Machine – 1 CPU, 512 MB RAM, 10 GB HDD, one Gigabit NIC

Number of clients: Two, 8 threads each

Here is an illustration of the test setup.

VMotion Setup

Test Methodology:

We boot up the Windows VM on A5808-32 initially. Next we fire up two clients for the DVD Store application – one on SUSE Linux and another on Windows Vista. Each client has 8 threads accessing the DVD Store web site on the Windows VM.

To make sure that the clients are actually exercising the web site, open up the Windows performance monitor on the Windows Server 2003 VM and monitor the CPU usage graph. We connect to the Windows VM using Windows RDP.

At this moment, Widnows Server 2003 is having multiple types of connections to multiple services hosted – IIS( HTTP/HTTPS), SQL Server, RDP. We now login to the VMWare Virtual Center and initiate a live migration (VMotion) of this virtual machine from A5808-32 to A1403. Both A5808-32 and A1403 are registered with our Virtual Center. While the migration is in progress, we will continue to monitor the CPU usage and also the clients accessing the DVD Store application. If everything goes well, DVD Store clients and our RDP client should not experience any problems. and the CPU usage on the VM itself should stay roughly the same except at two instances – start of VMotion and successful completion of VMotion. There might be slight change in the Operations per minute (OPM) reported by the clients. We then move the VM back to A5808-32 from A1403. We will continue to monitor clients, CPU usage and network as described above.

Here is a video of the test:

VMotion was successful on this setup. Clients did not see any connection issues, RDP was smooth, no connectivity issues, CPU usage was normal, nothing abnormal.

This test illustrates a very important point – It is not needed to have a costly server / storage infrastructure to have a virtualized IT infrastructure. You can beef up the HiPerStor system as per your needs – Multiple GbE connections, 10 GbE connections, SAS or SATA drives or direct / SAN attached Fibre Disks, larger caches.

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