I have a wide scope of interests in IT, which includes hyper-v private cloud, remote desktop services, server clustering, PKI, network security, routing & switching, enterprise network management, MPLS VPN on enterprise network etc. Started this blog for my quick reference and to share technical knowledge with our team members.
Traditional server clustering has always been one of the main 'bottlenecks' and complaints for most IT project roll-outs. The most common excuses from server admins: too complex, too expensive, taking too much power, rack space, air-con and the list goes on. To address these issues, there is a new breed of servers - not 1U or 2U rack mountable server and monstrous server blade - it's "Cluster-in-a-Box" or CiB in short.
Simply put, all server clustering components, including computing, storage, clustering software and network, are pre-fabricated and pre-installed in a single box when deliver to your data centers. You don't have to worry about what kind of detailed specifications that you should put in your procurement tenders. Most importantly, most products claim to save power, cooling, and rack space. Take Nutanix for example. It claims to do away with expensive SAN storage and simplify cluster setup in 30 min. Furthermore, a 4-node cluster in a 2U rack mountable chassis. Compare Nutanix 1450 against traditional server clustering, the Dell equivalent would look something like:
4 x Dell R610 servers
2 x Intel 6-core Xeon E5-2620
2 x GE and 2 x 10GE
2 x HBA controllers
2 x FC SAN switches
1 x FC SAN storage
16 x 1 TB SATA HDD
Adding up all components would take up about 8U of rack spaces with 7 different boxes or about 400% in saving in rack spaces against a single 2U Nutanix box.
Of course, traditional server vendors are not sitting back. Now, we are seeing new server product offerings like:
Answer: Yes, but it's not official. It's best effort (due to its low cost as compared to its high cost Compellent counterpart).
Hardware VSS snapshot provides an efficient way for DPM to backup Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs) on Hyper-V cluster. Without hardware assisted snapshot, the CSV access would be placed under Redirect I/O mode as long as the backup process is taking place (which can be a long process). This can significantly reduce the I/O performance for other VMs on the same LUN. That's why it's more efficient to keep as small number of VMs per CSV as possible for software VSS. With hardware assisted VSS, a temporary snapshot is instead created on the free space on the SAN volume. CSV would only be placed on Redirect mode for a couple of minutes.
Screenshot of VSS Hardware Snapshot (new virtual disk temporarily created denoted with a clock icon) on MD Storage Manager during DPM backup:
How do we configure VSS setting on Dell MD storage?
Step 1: Install the VSS provider given on the Dell MD Storage Manager DVD or ISO image.
Step 2: Confirm Dell hardware VSS provider is installed on the system
C:\> vssadmin list providers
vssadmin 1.1 - Volume Shadow Copy Service administrative command-line tool
(C) Copyright 2001-2012 Microsoft Corp.
Step 3: Configure the default VSS behavior on the storage as shown below. Run "C:\Program Files (x86)\Dell\SMprovider\provider\SmRegTool.exe" on the console installed with Dell Storage Manager. Connect to the storage using OOB Management IP addresses.