Thursday, February 18, 2016

Big Data Extension – virtual disk options

Today I will write about the virtual disk behavior on vSphere Big Data Extension where it relates to SCSI Controllers and Thin X Thick type of disks.

*** SCSI Controller ***

Every time you create a new BDE node the VM will present, at least, two SCSI Controllers; one for the O.S and swap disks and another one for Data disks.
The O.S SCSI Controller will be the same as what’s already configured on BDE Template, which by default is LSI Logical Parallel

Now, for the Data SCSI Controller, it will always be Paravirtual SCSI Controllers (PVSCSI), which performs better in high I/O situations, like Big Data systems, here’s the Paravirtual performance study case If you want to read more about it.

Starting with BDE 2.3 you can specify controller type of O.S and swap disks:

- Change BDE’s template SCSI disk to Paravirtual and on BDE Server edit:

- Look for the following entry and adjust accordingly:

- Restart tomcat

*** Disk Type ***

There was always discussion about disk performance between Thin and Thick disks, while there’s definitely some performance benefits on Thick Earger zeroed disks, it’s negligible, see the vStorage performance study here for more details.

To start with lest examine the O.S. disk; when you create a new node the O.S disk type will be the same as the BDE Template, which by default it Thick.

TIP: I figured out if you Storage vMotion the BDE template to another datastore and choose to convert the O.S disk to Thin, new nodes will also have O.S Thin disks.

Now about Data Disk; When you configure the Datastores available for BDE consumption will need to configure them as Local or Shared:

- Local mean for disks locally attached to the hosts ESXi;
- Shared mean for external disks managed by storage systems.

So, when you create a new BDE node on a Local datastore the data disks will be Thick.

When you create a new BDE Node on a Shared datastore the data disk will be Thin.

Well, nothing prevents you from setting up Local disks as Shared to have Thin disks on the nodes, be aware that it could cause some vSphere HA issues
BDE might enables vSphere HA on nodes running on Shared disks, but since in reality those disks are local, HA wont be able to restart the VM on another host in case of host’s failure.

See you guys next.

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I’m an IT specialist with over 15 years of experience, working from IT infrastructure to management products, troubleshooting and project management skills from medium to large environments. Nowadays I'm working for VMware as a Consulting Architect, helping customers to embrace the Cloud Era and make them successfully on their journey. Despite the fact I'm a VMware employee these postings reflect my own opinion and do not represents VMware's position, strategies or opinions. Reach me at @dumeirell

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