San Diego VMUG: Overcome Challenges with Tier-1 Apps

This was the best session of the day at the San Diego VMUG! Dave Elliott and Dave Troutt from Symantec presented the detailed methodology Symantec used to define requirements essential to successfully virtualizing tier-1 apps like SQL Server, Exchange and SharePoint. Bottom line is you can virtualize nearly any app that doesn’t rely on unique hardware, but major tier-1 apps need special consideration. They actually built up a lab (based on HP hardware) and performed extensive testing. The 28-page Whitepaper is here. I also learned Symantec has an EMC PowerPath-like product, called Dynamic Multi-Pathing for VMware.

Virtualization Tailwinds

  • What’s driving the push to virtualize tier-1 applications?
  • Implementing a “virtual first” policy
  • Consolidate IT infrastructure
  • “90% of all enterprise applications will be virtualized within the next two years” – VMware
  • Virtualization Journey: Capex savings, Opex Saving, Self-service (IT as a service)

Virtualization Headwinds

  • Design challenges: High SLAs, security, Governance, Large Data, Performance
  • Five domains within the archtiecture: Data protection, storage management, high availability, security, archiving

Tier-1 App Platform Design Objectives

  • Ensuring SLAs for performance, scalability and availablity can be met. Parity with physical or better.
  • Support large databases
  • Provide non-disruptive, off host backups for all types of storage (VMDK, RDM)
  • Enable fast granular recovery of files
  • Reduce infrastructure and management costs
  • Security and compliance

Required Capabilities

  • Pools of fast, resilient, dynamic storage
  • Thin provisioning, thin reclamation, snapshots
  • SAN or iSCSI connectivity with multi-pathing
  • Support VMDK and RDM devices
  • Provide visibility, monitoring, reporting, management and chargeback
  • Provide visibility, reporting and management of availability across all application tiers
  • Security needs to harden, protect, and monitor the systems against unauthorized access and changes
  • Automatically archive historical data onto less expensive storage

TOGAF – The Open Group Architecture Framework. It is an excellent framework to properly document your IT architecture in a simple but meaningful manner.

Symantec Reference Architectures for SQL 2008, Exchange 2010, SharePoint 2010 is here:

  • Tested and validated by VMware on HP hardware (ProLiant servers and 3PAR storage)
  • Tested HA, disaster recovery, data protection, thin provisioning, security, reporting
  • Key products: NetBackup, VMware HA, Application HA, Veritas Cluster Server

Find out more at:

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