What's New with vSAN 7 Lightning Lab
Welcome to the What's New with vSAN 7 Lightning Lab.
We have developed Lightning Labs to help you learn about VMware products in small segments of time.
In this Lab, you will get an overview of the key features that have been introduced with vSAN 7.
If you have never taken a lab, please view the Appendix - Lab Guidance to see best practices and tips on how to use the lab environment console.
Disclaimer: For over a decade, we have collaborated with Intel® to deliver innovative solutions that enable IT to continually transform their data centers. We have incorporated Intel® product and technology information within this lab to help users understand the benefits of how both hardware and software technology matter when trying to deploy in VMware’s ecosystem. We believe that this collaboration will have tremendous benefits for our customers.
VMware vSAN 7 makes it even easier to adopt Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) and build a Digital Foundation.
vSAN 7 simplifies operations by streamlining the deployment process, improving lifecycle management, reducing disruptions during maintenance operations, and improving capacity reporting. These updates help administrators more quickly and easily deploy and extend infrastructure while minimizing disruptions while keeping the environment up to date.
In this lesson, we will:
Before you get started with your vSAN deployment, it’s important to consider the hardware infrastructure supporting your vSAN cluster. vSAN is only as powerful as the underlying hardware platform, and choices made during initial deployment could restrict future flexibility during later scaling of the cluster.
The server configuration should provide adequate compute capabilities for both the applications you anticipate running on the cluster, as well as the I/O and data efficiency technologies such as in-line deduplication, compression and encryption. Certain workloads are more memory intensive, including databases with a large in-memory component, or multiple workloads running simultaneously. So, consider scaling the memory size at the outset, or using advanced persistent memory options (such as Intel® Optane™ Persistent Memory, supported in 2nd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors) to size for the future
vSAN utilizes a two-tier storage architecture, with the fastest storage drives allocated to a caching tier, while the remaining drives provide capacity storage. All data is written to the cache drives, so it is essential that these drives provide high-throughput, low latency, and high endurance. In all-flash configurations, all reads of data come from the capacity drives, so performance plays a role here as well. Since the data is distributed across the capacity drives, these data reads are distributed, and endurance is less critical in this tier. Selecting drive type with an eye to modern interfaces like NVMe provides the best flexibility to handle future capacity and workload growth.
Network performance is important to prevent bottlenecks as data is written and read from various server nodes in the cluster. As the number of nodes in a cluster scales, the network bandwidth becomes essential for overall cluster performance.
In vSAN 7, we tackled the task of making the initial setup, as well as ongoing expansion of a cluster as intuitive as possible. Since vSAN 6.7 U1, we introduced a new “Quickstart” guided cluster creation and extension wizard in vCenter that guides the user through the deployment process for vSAN and non-vSAN clusters.
NOTE: When sizing an environment, careful consideration should be applied to the type of workloads that the cluster is intending to run. Some applications require higher CPU clock frequencies while other applications better utilize more CPU cores. It is also worth considering that some applications are licensed per CPU core resulting in a business desire to opt for a CPU with a lower core count, and the lower number of cores can be effectively offset with a higher frequency on some of these applications. Remember to also include overhead for any other software or hypervisor services that may be utilized in the environment; for example, VMware NSX.
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Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT), built into and enhanced in five successive generations of Intel® Xeon® processors, enables live migration of VMs across CPU generations, allowing you take advantage of technology advancements when you add hosts.
You will see it change 'Existing hosts (3 from 4)
In the next few steps, you will be manually configuring VMkernel interfaces for each one of your ESXi hosts participating in the VSAN cluster.
These configuration steps are atypical when using VSAN Quickstart wizard (it automates creating new vSphere Distributed Switch and VMotion and VSAN portgroups (and their IP address assignments)).
These steps are necessary only due to configuration limitations of the the Hands on Lab environment.
In this lab environment, your vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS) and its portgroups are already pre-created for you and all ESXi hosts are already added to the vDS.
Enter the following information for the Network configuration :
IPv4 address : 192.168.130.55 Subnet mask : 255.255.255.0 Override default gateway for this adapter : Enabled Default gateway : 192.168.130.1 DNS server addresses : 192.168.110.10
You will need to repeat the Networking Configuration for each hosts we added in the cluster (esx-06a.corp.local and esx-07a.corp.local).
Start at page 17, if you forgot how to do it.
Enter the following information for host, esx-06a.corp.local Network configuration :
IPv4 address : 192.168.130.56 Subnet mask : 255.255.255.0 Override default gateway for this adapter : Enabled Default gateway : 192.168.130.1 DNS server addresses : 192.168.110.10
Enter the following information for host, esx-07a.corp.local Network configuration:
IPv4 address : 192.168.130.57 Subnet mask : 255.255.255.0 Override default gateway for this adapter : Enabled Default gateway : 192.168.130.1 DNS server addresses : 192.168.110.10
A vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS) has already been pre-configured in the Lab environment, therefore:
Note: These disks will form a single disk group per host for the purposes of this lab. From a performance perspective, whilst fully supported, a single disk group configuration is not recommended. In a production environment, consider two or more disk groups. Adding more disk groups also means that in the unlikely event of a cache disk failure, the impact is limited to a single disk group rather than all the storage in that host.
NOTE: By default, we enable vSAN Support Insight which leverages the existing vCenter Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) to collect health, performance, and configuration information for the VMware Support and engineering teams.
Since the caching tier in vSAN is absorbing all the incoming writes, a high performance coupled with high endurance device is best suited to the cache tier. Devices such as Intel® Optane™ SSDs are an ideal choice, as they have a high performance and sustainable write capability as well as a high endurance factor of up to 60 Drive Writes Per Day. With the performance of Intel® Optane™ Technology, in most use cases a small capacity SSD is sufficient.
Figure 1: How Intel® Optane™ Technology and vSAN Work Together
NVMe is a modern protocol that was developed for SSDs. You may wish to consider a full NVMe deployment for delivering a more performant, more reliable, and future proof platform. Using Intel® 3D NAND based NVMe drives for capacity and Intel® Optane™ SSDs for cache, not only will you have a more predictable performance profile, but in most cases a lower cost versus the traditional SAS based architecture.
Note: This configuration may take up to 5 minutes to complete in Hands On Lab environment.
Once configuration process is completed, you should see a Green Check-mark in the top right corner of Configure hosts section.
Now that the vSAN Datastore has been enabled, let's examine the Health of the vSAN Environment:
NOTE: You will notice that the 'Online Health' is Disabled since we do not have outside connection.
NOTE: No actual customer data is phoned home and user enterable or identifiable data (Hostnames, VM names, subnets, IP addresses, Mac addresses) are obfuscated
vSAN has over 50 Health Checks Out of Box and the ability to leverage additional Online Health Checks.
Note: Hardware compatibility and Online health warnings are expected given the nested nature of the Lab and lack of external Internet access for online health checks.
You have successfully enabled vSAN via the new vSphere 7 Cluster Quickstart Wizard. This same wizard can be utilized to modify the Cluster in the future (e.g. Adding additional Hosts as one example).
Capacity utilization is a top of mind concern to those responsible for day-to-day administration of an environment. vSAN 7 introduces two new features to help administrators better understand the capacity usage of a vSAN cluster.
Note: We currently only have the Default vSAN (RAID1) policy in our lab; however, if there were additional policies like RAID5, for example, you could see the free space savings prior to actually switching to that policy.
These improvements to vSAN will provide better visibility and comprehension of storage utilization for smarter decision making.
The follow lesson reviews the improvements to Health Check and Recommendations.
The health check feature of vSAN continues to play a prominent role in its ability to ensure that an environment meets hardware and software configuration requirements. vSAN 7 extends this feature even more, with a more robust way of handling multiple approved firmware levels for storage controllers. A new Unicast network performance health check and test ensures that proper continuity is achieved between vSAN hosts, and will report network bandwidth results for the tests.
vSAN 7 also introduces functionality that is now accessible in the UI. Health checks can be silenced granularly, directly in the UI, as well as being able to purge inaccessible swap objects that are no longer needed.
These improvements improve the effectiveness of vSAN’s ability to not only recognize issues, but remediate them.
This lesson reviews improvements in space efficiency.
Modern guest operating systems have the ability to reclaim no longer used space once data is deleted inside of a guest operating system. Using commands known as TRIM/UNMAP for the respective ATA and SCSI protocols, this helps the guest operating systems be more efficient with storage space usage. vSAN 7 now has full awareness of TRIM/UNMAP commands sent from the guest OS, and can reclaim the previously allocated storage as free space.
We are unable to show you this feature in action in our nested virtualized lab; however, we thought it was important to make you aware of this new capability. This is an opportunistic space efficiency feature that can deliver much better storage capacity utilization in vSAN environments. Administrators may find in some cases, dramatic space savings in their production vSAN environments.
The following lesson reviews PowerCLI improvements.
A robust command line interface is important for not only automation at scale, it provides programmatic consistency across any size of an environment. With PowerCLI version 11, vSAN customers will see improvements to new PowerCLI cmdlets that are intended to replace Ruby vSphere Console commands.
Note: These cmdlets can be used to not only check the health of vSAN but also work towards automating tasks that you would otherwise perform manually via vCenter. There are many references online for additional information.
Get-VsanEvacuationPlan -entity esx-01a.corp.local
This new cmdlet simulates how host failures impact vSAN resource usage. This is just one example of the many other new cmdlets that there are to explore.
PowerCLI has proven to be a flexible way to interface with vSAN, and expanding its capabilities will improve efficiencies in administration of a vSAN environment. The ongoing PowerCLI improvements in vSAN 7 make vSAN even easier to administer using the wildly popular PowerCLI interface.
Improving time to resolution is a win for both the customer, and VMware. VMware has made great advances in improving the customer support experience with recent editions of vSAN. vSAN 6.6.1 introduced “vSAN Support Insight” which is VMware’s method of automatically collecting vital infrastructure telemetry data about an environment for the VMware technical support engineers in our global support services group. vSAN 7 continues with these improvements, introducing fine grained, deep level performance graphs for the explicit purpose of issue resolution.
NOTE: The VMware support diagnostics is a built-in tool to assist GSS in their troubleshooting efforts. This is designed to replace, a deprecated, external tool known as vSAN Observer. The tool is built-in to the UI and does not require anything to be enabled or disabled.
These advances help reduce the need to request log support bundles from the hosts, and when they are absolutely necessary, will contain even more critical data for better root cause analysis.
Since each vSAN host in a cluster contributes to the cluster storage capacity, entering a host into maintenance mode takes on an additional set of tasks when compared to a traditional architecture. vSAN 7 has improved the safeguards when performing maintenance and decommissioning activities on vSAN hosts. vSAN will now perform a full simulation of data movement to determine if the Enter Maintenance Mode (EMM) action will succeed for fail before it even starts. This will prevent unnecessary data movement, and provide a result more quickly to the administrator.
The use of Intel® Optane™ SSDs in the vSAN Cache tier can help accelerate data migrations during maintenance mode, resulting in a quicker maintenance mode cycle.
Note: There is a 'Go To Pre-Check'. We check to make sure you will be compliant before you attempt to move the host to Maintenance Mode.
All of these improvements are added to enhance the overall experience and predictability of host decommissioning activities like entering a host into maintenance mode.
Thank you for completing the What's New with vSAN 7 Lightning Lab!
Congratulations on completing the Lab.
In this lab you have learned how vSAN 7 simplifies operations by streamlining the deployment process, improving lifecycle management, reducing disruptions during maintenance operations, and improving capacity reporting. We have also provided some key learnings for hardware selection to build a powerful and flexible infrastructure for your vSAN cluster.
Intel and VMware have developed an Intel® Select Solution for vSAN, as a subset of the certified vSAN Ready Nodes. These Select Solution configurations are available from multiple server partners and verified to provide a high performing infrastructure. The solution is built on 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Intel Optane technology, Intel Solid State Drives (SSDs), and Intel Ethernet Network Adapters to accelerate your infrastructure evaluation and deployment timeline.
If you are looking for additional information on topic:
To end your lab click on the END button.
The Table of Contents can be accessed in the upper right-hand corner of the Lab Manual.
Lab Module List:
During this module, you will input text into the Main Console. Besides directly typing it in, there are two very helpful methods of entering data which make it easier to enter complex data.
You can also click and drag text and Command Line Interface (CLI) commands directly from the Lab Manual into the active window in the Main Console.
You can also use the Online International Keyboard found in the Main Console.
In this example, you will use the Online Keyboard to enter the "@" sign used in email addresses. The "@" sign is Shift-2 on US keyboard layouts.
Notice the @ sign entered in the active console window.
When you first start your lab, you may notice a watermark on the desktop indicating that Windows is not activated.
One of the major benefits of virtualization is that virtual machines can be moved and run on any platform. The Hands-on Labs utilizes this benefit and we are able to run the labs out of multiple datacenters. However, these datacenters may not have identical processors, which triggers a Microsoft activation check through the Internet.
Rest assured, VMware and the Hands-on Labs are in full compliance with Microsoft licensing requirements. The lab that you are using is a self-contained pod and does not have full access to the Internet, which is required for Windows to verify the activation. Without full access to the Internet, this automated process fails and you see this watermark.
This cosmetic issue has no effect on your lab.
Please check to see that your lab is finished all the startup routines and is ready for you to start. If you see anything other than "Ready", please wait a few minutes. If after 5 minutes your lab has not changed to "Ready", please ask for assistance.
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Lab SKU: HOL-2108-91-HCI