The first session of the day was BC8274 - "VMware Fault Tolerance - Best Practices, Usage Scenarios and Performance." The session began with the question of how many people in the audience are currently using FT and then another of how many aren't using it specifically because of the lack of SMP support. We were then told that FT SMP support is being actively worked on and that it will be available in a future release. This session then went on for far too long with general availability marketing and background information on FT and how it works. I feel like a session whose title started with "Best Practices" is clearly geared towards people that are already familiar with the product. With that being said, the technical information was good and explained well. Some interesting stats that came out of this session were that 20% of VMware customers use FT in Production, and 90% of VMware customers use HA in Production. That means there are 38,000 customers using FT in their production environments, based on the customer numbers stated yesterday in the general session. It was also stated that databases (mostly smaller SQL Servers) are the most common workload used with FT currently.
My second session on the day was TA7121 - "Next Generation VM Storage Solutions with vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI)." This was an excellent session and it offered up a lot of information around the current state of the VAAI and two sneak peaks at future technologies. I learned that a new VMFS driver (3.46) ships with 4.1 that contains new algorithms for hardware accelerated functions. Now I need to find out if this version of VMFS is required for the VAAI features to work - one more thing to do. The futures section of the presentation focused on vStorage API for Thin Provisioning and vStorage API for Storage Awareness. Both of these technologies focus on giving more responsibility to the storage arrays and taking the work away from VMware hosts and ultimately away from VMware administrators. In the Q&A portion of this session, a question was asked about when the (2 TB - 512 bytes) limitation in VMFS was going away. The presenter could not answer this question, but responded with, "you will be happy very soon." This was actually one of the questions I had hoped to have answered this week, and since VMware doesn't officially talk futures this answer is close enough for me.
I spent some time after lunch walking around the Solutions Exchange, now that it isn't quite so crowded down there. There are some really cool demos and booth candy in there. After a stop by the Social Media and Blogger Lounge, it was off to TA8065 - "Storage Best Practices, Performance Tuning and Troubleshooting." This was another great
session that was packed and contained a lot of valuable information. Topics covered included sizing LUNs for performance, limits on VMs per datastores, queue depths, latencies, balanced paths, partition alignment, esxtop for troubleshooting and more. This was one of the better sessions I have attended, for pure information, and I have a few more things to do for it.
My final session of the day was supposed to be TA7743 - "ESX iSCSI News, Configuration, and Best Practices." Unfortunately, I had to miss it since the previous session ran over. The next stop is the St. Regis Hotel for the vExpert meeting and then off to the VMworld party.
Day three is almost done! Looking forward to day four already!