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how to "partition" a bladecenter - or - how to do cloud computing right

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hello,

some customer is planning a large bladecenter setup with vmware enterprise and attached san storage.

from the organizational point of view, the customer is divided into several, independent and small departments with own little IT teams, but also has a centralized IT department.

now , the "issue" is - how to divide the bladecenter up for the different teams.

the current planning is, that the central IT department should manage the virtual center and the storage and have the "datacenter admin role" - and each team get`s their own 2 or 3 dedicated blades and getting fewer rights in virtual center.

i think assigning dedicated blades to subdivisions is nonsense (e.g. from a load and availability perspective) - and buying vmware enterprise here is sorta "casting pearls before swine".

shouldn`t they better take the "cloud" approach and partition up the whole bladecenter up via ressource-pools, so each team don`t need to care which blade they are on ?

if so, how to convince them proceeding this way ?

regards

roland

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Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Never sell the concept that it's a good idea to divide the actual blades between the department, that defeats several of the big advantages with virtualization, like failover and load balancing functions. If they can agree to let their VM's share data (which they already do if it's on the same SAN) then have the central IT be administrators in the environment and use the vCenter roles (that you can also create yourself to your liking) for the departments to limit their access to other department's machines. For almost every object in vCenter (clusters, resource pools, folders, VM's) you can assign roles and the users in that role won't see anything outside of that object. Resource pools would help you balance the host resources evenly between the departments. You could even go so far as to let central IT and only them create VM's and then let the departments manage them.

If you haven't already, I highly recommend setting up an evaluation version of Infrastructure/vSphere to see these things in action if you haven't already, it will help you understand the possibilities you can offer your customer. Good luck!

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Why blades?

Active Backplane !!! Very risky , when chassis is going doen. A big insurance company had this trouble. 400 VM's were done!!!

Hot Shot
Hot Shot

Never sell the concept that it's a good idea to divide the actual blades between the department, that defeats several of the big advantages with virtualization, like failover and load balancing functions. If they can agree to let their VM's share data (which they already do if it's on the same SAN) then have the central IT be administrators in the environment and use the vCenter roles (that you can also create yourself to your liking) for the departments to limit their access to other department's machines. For almost every object in vCenter (clusters, resource pools, folders, VM's) you can assign roles and the users in that role won't see anything outside of that object. Resource pools would help you balance the host resources evenly between the departments. You could even go so far as to let central IT and only them create VM's and then let the departments manage them.

If you haven't already, I highly recommend setting up an evaluation version of Infrastructure/vSphere to see these things in action if you haven't already, it will help you understand the possibilities you can offer your customer. Good luck!

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one more argument coming to my mind would be "hardware oversubscription" as every department can use the whole bladecenter if there is idle ressources around - they could be given a guaranteed amount of memory/cpu (2 or 3 blades summed up) and may use more if there are some free resources. so each one can have more ram and more cpu. having only dedicated blades would mean more overhead for each of them and the need of more blades in the end....

some more arguments to convince them?

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the bladecenter has redundant architecture and it`s out of my scope to tell them to buy something different. this thread is about using vmware and partition the hardware. too late to discuss the other stuff.

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Champion
Champion

Hi Roland,

Haven't seen much of you around here lately...welcome back!

You're exactly right - you do not want to parse out the blades to individual users/groups. It would defeat that purpose behind using a virtual infrastructure in the first place. I would suggest that you follow your gut and use resource pools to divide the resources up. You could set a Reservation for CPU and RAM, if you really felt the need (be careful with expandable reservation). You could then have the central IT department be responsible for managing the physical infrastructure (ESX hosts, vCenter, network & SAN interconnects, etc.) and delegate control of the resource pools out to the distributed IT departments.

If you set the reservations, you are dedicating a portion of the infrastructure to the resource pool - but it's not necessarily an individual blade. The "slice" could be (probably would be) taken from multiple blades.

Here's an argument for you: you will need to perform maintenance on the hosts at some point (ESX patches, firmware updates, HW failures, etc.). If you give each group dedicated resources, what happens when you need to shut down a host for service? The group loses 25%/33%/50%/etc. of their capacity! If you use resource pools, you can plan the environment with a couple extra hosts to allow for the eventual maintenance windows, and the users will still have their reserved capacity available (as long as you don't reserve too much capacity!).

HTH,

KLC

Ken Cline

VMware vExpert 2009

VMware Communities User Moderator

Blogging at: http://KensVirtualReality.wordpress.com/

Ken Cline VMware vExpert 2009 VMware Communities User Moderator Blogging at: http://KensVirtualReality.wordpress.com/
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Hello Ken,

yes, you`re right, i have not been that active and passionate here like in former times - too much other threads and also reduced spending private time on IT stuff....

but thanks very much for that warm "welcome back" and especially for your comment, as this is very very helpful !

regards

roland

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