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StarWind VSA preview edition

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StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby nbarsotti » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:37 pm

Hello,
I recently received the email about the new VSA preview beta. I am running a vSphere enviroment and downloaded the ESX zip file and management console. I would like to know what type of virtual machines I should configure to use the provided VMDK file.
Which OS type?
32 or 64 bit?
minimum number of CPUs for optimal performance?
minimum much ram for optimal performance?
Which type of virtual NIC?
how many NICS?
which type of virtual scsi card?
should I create any extra virtual hdd's?

Is there any documentation on how to setup and test the VSA?
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Re: StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby vogeldm » Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:20 pm

I was in a testing mood today as well.

It appears to be a Linux OS. In vSphere I picked "Other 32-bit" for Linux. I allocated 4 vCPU's and 8Gb of vRAM. Everything else I left default.

I watched for the IP address during the initial boot, through the Management Console was able to scan for it.

I created a 1Tb vDisk after allowing it to boot up.

Once connected in the management console I was able to scan for the storage, format and mount it. The console did crash on me while I was formatting the drive, and I had to wait for it to complete before I could reconnect properly.

I wasn't able to find any documentation either, so I hope some of this helps.

However, I can't seem to find a way to detect multiple NIC's withing the console. I created a couple of Virtual Network attached to some physical NIC's on my server, but the Appliance doesn't seem to recognize them. I'm doing my tests on the managment NIC, but I'd rather have it connected on a separate NIC. If anyone has any luck with that, please let me know.
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Re: StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby Bohdan (staff) » Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:43 pm

The document with instructions is available on the following link:
http://www.starwindsoftware.com/tmplink/VSA_ESX.pdf

vogeldm, what was the Adapter Type?
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Re: StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby vogeldm » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:18 pm

Bohdan (staff) wrote:The document with instructions is available on the following link:
http://www.starwindsoftware.com/tmplink/VSA_ESX.pdf

vogeldm, what was the Adapter Type?


Thanks for the documentation.

I'm using a PERC 6i storage adapter with 6 SATA drives in RAID10. It's formatted in VMWare to 2.0Tb. I have the VSA vmdk file installed there as well as the 1Tb storage VMDK.

I also installed an intel dual gigabit NIC in the server and setup 2 Virtual switches. It's directly connected to my test box. I setup 2 virtual switches in VMWare to each network port. 2 Network adapters were added to the VSA machine one on each virtual switch. The adapter type is set to "Flexible".

Using a Windows 2008 R2 test box and MPIO I'm able to connect to the storage, but the performance is considerably less than I was seeing from a full blown installation within Windows on the same host server.

The network on the test server seems to top out at much less than gigabit speeds. I don't have the numbers in front of me.

Any suggestions? Should I try a different Adapter type in VMWare? Any settings to the Virtual switchs I should consider?

Thanks!
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Re: StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby Bohdan (staff) » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:47 am

Was the VSA restarted after NIC adding?
Did you try to change the Adapter type to E1000?

Using a Windows 2008 R2 test box and MPIO I'm able to connect to the storage, but the performance is considerably less than I was seeing from a full blown installation within Windows on the same host server.

Are you talking about Windows VM on the same ESX host or Windows OS installation instead of ESX on the same hardware?
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Re: StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby vogeldm » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:22 pm

Bohdan (staff) wrote:Was the VSA restarted after NIC adding?
Did you try to change the Adapter type to E1000?


I have tried changing the adapter to E1000. I've rebooted a couple of times since changing the adapters. No change in performance. I seem to Max out at 25Mb/s transfer rates.

Bohdan (staff) wrote:
Using a Windows 2008 R2 test box and MPIO I'm able to connect to the storage, but the performance is considerably less than I was seeing from a full blown installation within Windows on the same host server.

Are you talking about Windows VM on the same ESX host or Windows OS installation instead of ESX on the same hardware?


I'm comparing performance to Windows Server 2008 R2 installed to the same hardware. I'm currently working on testing with Starwind 5.6 on Windows 2008 R2 on ESX to rule out a hardware problem introduced by ESX.

Also...

I've also noticed that after a period of time, the VSA Virtual Machine will max out the CPU resources allocated to it. I initially setup the VM with 4 cores and 8Gb of RAM, but resized it to 1Core and 512Mb as per the documentation. Both setups maxed out the CPU resources. RAM usages seems to remain minimal. Can VSA use RAM caching? I setup my target with a 1Gb Write-Back Cache and didn't see any difference in the memory usage from VMWare.
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Re: StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby Bohdan (staff) » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:59 pm

Yes, VSA uses RAM caching.
The performance of virtual machine is always worse than "real" one because of visualization layer. But it shouldn't show such results...
What is the number and type of iSCSI devices?
We'll try to reproduce the same configuration with dual-port Intel NIC in our testlab and let you know about the results soon. BTW, what is the NIC model?
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Re: StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby vogeldm » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:21 pm

I expected to see a drop in performance from the virtualization, but I didn't expect to see it drop by that much.

The test server is a Dell 2950 with 8cores and 16Gb of RAM.
~2Tb of RAID10 Storage on a PERC 6i (6x 7200RPM SATA Drives)
Intel Pro/1000 PT Dual Port PCI-Express adapter
ESXi 4.1 Update 1 installed to USB Drive.

VSA installed with 1 vCPU and 512Mb vRAM
1TB VMDK file on PERC 6i RAID Array

I'm tearing down the environment right now to test it in HyperV as a comparison. Let me know if you find something.

Thanks!
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Re: StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby Bohdan (staff) » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:34 am

OK. Thanks.
We are checking it in our testlab right now.
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Re: StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby Bohdan (staff) » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:30 am

We reproduced the problem. It will be fixed in the next VSA build with the new core based on StarWind 5.7
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Re: StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby vogeldm » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:11 pm

Sounds good. Glad to know it wasn't my mistake.
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Re: StarWind VSA preview edition

Postby anton (staff) » Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:03 pm

No it was not. We'll complete our homework and would notify you when we'd have this fixed. Thank you for cooperation!

vogeldm wrote:Sounds good. Glad to know it wasn't my mistake.
Regards,
Anton Kolomyeytsev

Chief Technology Officer & Chief Architect, StarWind Software

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