DefinIT

PernixData FVP 3.0 GA and Lab Install

pernixdataI’ve been running “Pernix-less” since vSphere 6 was released, simply because I can’t afford to wait on learning new versions until 3rd party software catches up. It makes you truly appreciate the awesome power of FVP, even on my less than spectacular hardware in my lab, when it’s taken away for a while.

Now that FVP 3.0 has GA’d, I’m looking forward to getting my lab storage accelerated – it makes a huge difference.

What’s new in FVP 3.0? Well, to quote the release notes:

A stand alone, browser based FVP Management Console.

Support for vSphere 6.0

Performance and scalability improvements.

Ability to rename the PRNXMS database.

Online and offline license activation via the new standalone UI.

Obviously support for vSphere 6.0 was the big one I was waiting for, but don’t discount the rather understated “Performance and scalability improvements”. Not sure if renaming the database is a headline for release, but I’ll let that go. I’m really, really, REALLY hoping the license activation has improved because I found it a little clunky and frustrating before…we’ll see… (more…)

Unable to start PernixData FVP Management Server – service-specific error code 0

Having finally got some SSDs to be able to use my PernixPro/PernixPrime NFR license, I thought it was about time to get PernixData’s FVP 2.0 running in my lab again. I haven’t used FVP in my lab since it was running in beta, so I was keen to see the awesome new features in action. It really is an easy install process and took me less than an hour to get my cluster up and running with VMs I/O being accelerated.

That was Friday evening – over the weekend my lab patched, and when I rebooted my FVP Management Server, the service refused to start:

Windows could not start the PernixData FVP Management Server on Local Computer

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On checking the Event Log, it was as useful as a chocolate teapot:

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Next, I checked the PernixData FVP log files (located in C:\Program Files\PernixData\FVP Management Server\Server\log, or your install location). Within the commons-daemon log file, a little more useful information:

[2014-10-27 09:31:17] [error] Failed creating java
[2014-10-27 09:31:17] [error] ServiceStart returned 1

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At this point I double-checked the version of the Java run-time I had installed and noticed that it was the 32-bit version, rather than the required 64-bit.

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PernixData FVP actually installs the correct Java runtime when you install it. My mistake was that when I went to activate my PernixData license, I installed the 32-bit JRE in order to run the activation process in the browser – at which point my FVP service would no longer start. I completely removed the 32-bit version and installed the 64-bit JRE and the service started perfectly!

Another fantastic South West UK VMUG

| 08/06/2014 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

vmug_logoOn the 3rd of June we had our second South West UK VMUG and I am pleased to say it went superbly well.

As before we held it at the Mshed facilities in Bristol.

We had a great day with many sessions from sponsors,vendors and community speakers alike!

Big thanks go to our speakers that day who were..

  • Justin Rohan – @justinrohan – Nimble Storage – Sponsor
  • James Smith – @james55smith – PernixData – Sponsor
  • Julian Regel – @jr_on_the_cloud – Community session on vCD
  • Adam Bohle – @adambohle – VMware – vCAC session
  • Jonathan Medd – @jonathanmedd – Community session on PowerCLI/Automation
  • Richard Munro – @RikMunro – VMware – vCHS Session

One of the South West UK VMUG leaders Barry Coombs took a fantastic time lapse video of the day which can be viewed on his blog site.

Here are a few shots from the day

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Blogger briefing with Satyam Vaghani – PernixData

Recently I had the good fortune to be invited along to a blogger briefing with Satyam Vaghani CTO and Co-founder of PernixData.satyamvaghani-304

Those of you not in the know Satyam already has quite the track record, more notably for authoring 50+ patents, Principle engineer and Storage CTO for VMware (10 years). So it is safe to say he knows a thing or two about storage and related technology!

Nine of us (bloggers) were in attendance. (@dawoo @Archie_Hendryx @Craig_Kilborn @GreggRobertson5 @dellock6 @egrigson @julian_wood @simoneady @virtualisedgeek)

At the time of meeting Satyam, PernixData was 2 years and 2 months old and already has had a large impact on the storage industry.

FVP was of course at the forefront of discussion and how it stands unique in the  storage market place by providing clustered read and write acceleration of any shared storage.

Satyam was very clear, he believes customers should be less focused on renewing/replacing your shared storage in an effort to maintain or improve existing performance but rather focus on simply increasing the overall shared storage capacity and scale out your caching system (clustered flash) to deliver that consistent predictable high performance applications and end users demand and expect. He also highlighted how right now the storage industry has never been more fluid, after 20 years of predictable changes and advances the emergence of SSD and flash has turned the industry upside down. Flash based technologies have already been proven to exceed the performance limitations of well known products like SQL Server where the code is now having to be reviewed to take advantage of the new speeds available.

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Path Selection Policies after removing PernixData

pernixdataRecently I have had the pleasure to use PernixData but I did come across a bit of a ‘gotcha’ after uninstalling it from my hosts.

If like me you use iSCSI then you will likely spend a bit of time setting up your Path Selection Polices to suit your specific needs, so it was interesting to note the following.

When you do uninstall and remove PernixData from your hosts your Path Selection Polices do not revert back to your original configuration rather they revert back to the default vSphere setting of MRU (Most recently used).

This is worth noting as this is not mentioned in the documentation PernixData provide.

UPDATE – After being contacted by the guys at PernixData I can confirm they will be updating their documentation shortly to reflect this outcome.

Pernixdata – ICM and initial impressions – part 1

| 28/02/2014 | Tags: , , , ,

pernixdataSince the keynote by Frank Denneman at the LonVMUG many months ago the PernixData product has been something I wanted to test to see what benefits it may or may not bring to our SQL environment, I did have the good fortune to briefly beta test it last year but this blog post will cover the current full version (FVP 1.0.2.0). I am aware that 1.5 is just around the corner and with it comes full support for vSphere 5.5 whereas the current version that I will be installing supports ESXi hosts on 5.0 or 5.1 and vCenter 5.5 (not mentioned in the minimum requirements)

Environment

  • 3x Dell R715
  • 3x Dell SSD (1 installed in each host)
  • iSCSI connected SAN

ESXi Host preparation

The first job is to install the PernixData host extensions to the hosts, I opted to copy the extension to a data store that was accessible to all the hosts. After putting the first host into maintenance mode I quickly encounter my first issue.

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This was simply as a result of not removing the previous install from this particular host so it was easy enough to fix by simply removing the previous installation with the following command cp /opt/pernixdata/bin/prnxuninstall.sh /tmp/ && /tmp/prnxuninstall.sh (as outlined in the PernixData FVP install guide)

After a reboot of the host (just to make sure) I reran the installation with success.

Management server install

As per the PernixData documentation I created a new AD account which had the appropriate admin permissions on vCenter and  local admin rights on the dedicated VM for the FVP management server.

Because this environment uses a vCenter 5.5 Appliance I created a small dedicated VM (Server 2008 R2) for the FVP management server, I installed SQL Express 2008 R2 and then the SQL Express management studio. Once SQL was installed I proceeded to install the FVP Management server, the installation went ahead with no problems. I rebooted the VM (just to be sure) and then once back up I reopened my vSphere client hoping to see the Management plugin listed in the Plugins, however it was not there. I checked the PernixData Windows service which had indeed started successfully.

Checking the logs (<INSTALLDIR>\server\log\prnxms.log) there was clearly a problem.

2014-02-28 11:50:53,371 [pool-3-thread-1] ERROR Context – Logging by SSPI failed
javax.xml.ws.soap.SOAPFaultException: A general system error occurred: User mydomain\pernixuseraccount, cause: N3Vpx6Common3Sso23DomainNotFoundExceptionE(No Domain found with ID: mydomain)

I went and double checked the username and its credentials, everything seemed perfectly fine, I restarted the service still the same error.

I wanted to see what configuration was actually being used so I took a quick look at the Configuration file (<INSTALLDIR>\server\conf\prnxms.config)

The following lines in the config file were empty

prnxms.vcserver.username=
prnxms.vcserver.password=

So as a test I populated the fields with the correct information

prnxms.vcserver.username=username@domain
prnxms.vcserver.password=userpassword

It is also important to ensure the following line is set to cleartext (as shown) before restarting the service

prnxms.vcserver.password.format=cleartext

After restarting the Management server service it will encrypt the password text and reset the line entry to the following

prnxms.vcserver.password.format=encrypted

I then closed and reopened the vSphere client and voila! the FVP Management plug was listed as an available plugin.

After installing the plugin I created a flash Cluster but at this point did not add any SSD devices to the cluster, this will allow us to then add any targeted VMs and gather existing metrics for a few days so we can then compare how much benefit the targetted VMs actually get after “switching it on”.

In my next post I will go over the results and my overall experience of using the PernixData product.