Building a Virtual Infrastructure

Gary Wroblewski Application Coordinator The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions

 What is virtualization?
 Who are the major vendors

 Why do we need it or want it?
 Where can we use it?  How can we use virtualization to increase our customer responsiveness?

 How did we plan and deploy it?  Any lessons?

What is virtualization?
Virtualization is a term that refers to the abstraction of computer resources. This includes making a single physical resource (such as a server, an operating system, an application, or storage device) appear to function as multiple logical resources. The principal of virtualization was founded in the days of mainframe computers, and has been around since the 1960’s.

Virtualization software options
 Microsoft Virtual Server  VMware
 Workstation  VMware Server
 Free  Runs on top of Windows/Linux

 ESX server
 Datacenter class management and scalability  Redhat based Kernel

 Xen
 Linux based platform  Open Source  Only supports Linux VM’s currently.

Software that allocates portions of hardware to act as virtual servers, yet exist on the same physical machine.

Virtual Machine Ware

Who uses VMWare?

Why virtualize?
 Server Consolidation  Disaster Recovery  Software testing and validation

Nitty Gritty details…
 Partitioning  Multiple applications and operating systems can be supported within a single physical system  Servers can be consolidated into virtual machines on either a scale-up or scale-out architecture  Computing resources are treated as a uniform pool to be allocated to virtual machines in a controlled manner Encapsulation  Complete virtual machine environment is saved as a single file; easy to back up, move and copy  Standardized virtualized hardware is presented to the application - guaranteeing compatibility Isolation  Virtual machines are completely isolated from the host machine and other virtual machines. If a virtual machine crashes, all others are unaffected  Data does not leak across virtual machines and applications can only communicate over configured network connections

Our Business Case and Analysis
 Measures to evaluate our technology services
 Cost
 Manageability – does it fit our knowledge, skills and environment  Direct cost of HW/SW  Ongoing support costs

 R&R
 How Responsive are we to new customer requests  How Reliable is the service we provide

 Servers get old….
 Hardware failure:

Issues we faced.
 Days or weeks to purchase, install, configure new server.  Interruption of service.

 No “spare” server available to bring into service on failure…

 Expanding need for services
 Number of servers has grown from 4 to 7 since 2003….not including test and dev systems.

 Non-efficient use of resources:
 Server CPU utilization is low: 5-8% per server.  Software often does not play nice….
 Applications work best when isolated.  Easier to troubleshoot problems when isolated.

Performance chart…

Typical server deployments achieve an average utilization of only 10% to 15% of total capacity, according to International Data Corporation (IDC), a market research firm.

Why did we make the change?
 Video server crashed  How long will it take to buy, build, install and configure a new video server?  Easy to bring services up on existing virtual server.  Once we saw that it worked fine, no reason to go back.
 Testing on original physical server showed a peak streaming capacity of ~300 users…  Testing on new virtual server showed a capacity of ~250 users.

Network Performance of VM’s
90% of native performance for networking


What we learned
 Near native performance was more than enough to meet our day to day requirements.  Virtualization allows us much more flexibility and capabilities.
 Failover to another host.  Clone VM to new instance.  Snapshot system when making changes to allow rollback.

The future….
 New systems are provisioned as virtual machines.
 Typically new systems can be up and running in 2-4 hours from the request time.

 Pilots being run on virtualizing end user desktops.  Regular replacement, maintenance, and upgrades will be performed with near zero downtime.  Applications that can be provided as VM’s have clear advantage for deployment.

 Virtualization allows you to build flexibility into your IT environment.
 Backup and Recovery, Provisioning, Software testing and validation.

 Applications do not even know that they are running in a virtualized OS.
 Behavior is exactly as they would on physical box.  Resource allocation means you can give it exactly as much as it needs and no more.  Vmware ESX does not have capability to allocate bandwidth!

 Requires new skills and knowledge to setup and maintain.