Posts Tagged Lab

Awesome Home Lab Giveaway at the September 16th DFW VMUG Regional User Conference

I’m excited I got a chance to build an awesome home lab giveaway for one lucky winner at the UC coming up! I have to give a huge thanks out to all the partners that helped financially with this, including Justin Hakimi @justinhakimi at Tintri, John Lucio at Micron, and Tim Harless at Sigma Solutions.
Here is the details on the hardware and software. BTW, everything is on VMware’s compatibility list.

VMware licenses

A huge thanks to Corey Romero @vCommunityGuy at VMware for a license bundle. It includes everything to pass any test:
  • IT Business Management Suite 8
  • vCloud Suite 5
  • Horizon 6
  • vCenter Log Insight 2
  • vCenter Operations Manager 5 for View
  • vCenter Site Recovery Manager
  • vCenter Operations Suite 5.6
  • vCenter Server 5
  • Virtual SAN 5.5

PernixData

As usual, Brad Farmer @bfarmdawg and Tee Glasgow @teeglasgow are helping out the DFW VMUG with a PernixData license.

Networking

My own home lab uses Cisco Meraki, and I just had to score a Meraki Lab Kit for the giveaway. It is so easy to use, I would be worried if I was a Network guy. It’s a complete Cloud-based networking kit- the config is blown down to the devices from Cisco’s cloud. It comes with:
MX60
  • Stateful firewall
  • Auto VPN™ self-configuring site-to-site VPN
  • Active Directory integration
  • Identity-based policies
  • Client VPN (IPsec)
  • 3G / 4G failover via USB modem
  • Layer 7 application visibility and traffic shaping
  • Application prioritization
  • It even has MDM! Manage your kids iPads!
MS220-8P (eight port) managed switch (trunking, yea!)
  • 8 port gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 × SFP for 1G uplink, non-shared
  • MS220-8P includes 124 W PoE / PoE+
MR16
  • Wireless access point
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n
SG 200-08
  • Consumer grade switching, for added ports.

Servers

2 x ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 Ultra Micro Tower Servers
The boxes have 16GB of RAM and I added SSDs for running PernixData. After adding a 4 port NIC card there is 7 ports, including an iLo port. This can be used in a variety of configurations. If the winner gets another Gen8 down the road, they could easily get vSAN rocking.
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Storage

I owe a huge thanks to Chase over at Synology for making it possible to include a DiskStation DS1813+ 8 bay enclosure. Combining this with a PernixData FVP clustering will just scream.
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Miscellaneous

Also included are patch cables, power strips, and bootable USB thumb drives on the board. I went ahead and installed ESXi already, mainly to make sure everything worked. It’ll be up to you to get the rest working!
One final thing. Whoever wins this owes me 4 blog posts about their experience settings this up at home.
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Tintri Lab Setup Part 1

I was recently lucky enough to get ahold of a Tintri VMstore T540 (here are the specifications) to use in my test lab, so I thought some unboxing and setup pics would be appreciated. The plan is to beat on the T540 a while and get a good idea of how long it takes to setup and how many IOPS it can deliver. I’ll be using Horizon View and vCAC on it over the coming weeks and see how it handles noisy neighbors. Hat tip to Justin Hakimi over at Tintri for setting this up.

I was originally going to use this in my home lab, but it was too loud, so I worked with Brett Wish @vrazorback to get it setup in our Austin office.

It took longer to grab the pics and do this write up than it took to set the unit up. If you’re not doing anything fancy like link aggregation, its a half hour, tops.

Unboxing

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Yes, it was heavy.

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Top view of one of the two controller blades.

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Here is the motherboard model number, X8DTS-F. This is an older demo unit, however, so your milage may vary.

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The fans are LOUD. My wife got pretty pissed.

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The unit comes with 8 x 300 GB (MLC) RAID6 hot-plug 3.5” carriers and 8 x 3 TB RAID6 hot-plug 3.5” carriers for 13.5TB usable. The promised IO from flash is > 99%, i’ll be putting this to the test in the next few posts.

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Rack and stack complete.

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Pardon the glare. Here is the Tintri unit mounted in the fishbowl at our Austin office. One of the beauties of working for a VAR/Integrator is that we are truly hardware neutral (we get to play with all the nice toys).

Initial Setup

The setup is pretty straight-forward. Use the KVM dongle that is provided and connect to the blade on the right (from the rear). There is a short console session required to give the appliance a management IP address and the usual other network details- there is an idiot-proof set of instructions for this part. Open a browser and hit the address you entered.

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The main page comes up with a Getting Started window. This makes it simple to see the NFS mount info you need for vSphere.

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The array was previously configured, so we’ll need to change the IP address for the NFS ports. We are waiting some new Arista 10G switches, so we will be leaving Jumbo Frames off and use a 1GB switch and see how it performs (it was instantly obvious that the network was the bottleneck)

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Here is the main console before we messed it up with a bunch of VMs.

Connect to vCenter

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I’ll list the steps, but this is really easy.

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We have some security options, I’ll use to keep VDI hosts separate from server stuff.

Replication

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We don’t have a replication license or a second array to use for a replication partner. We’d love to detail a SRM deployment on Tintri. Justin, do you have another one of these laying around? Just kidding. Well, kinda.

Alerts

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The alerts section is a little different. You can set the types of email alerts that are sent by moving a slider bar. There are three settings:

  1. Get Alerts Only
  2. ???
  3. Alerts & All Notices

Add the usual To/From email addresses and an internal relay server. Optionally, click on “more” to configure mail server login and SSL settings.

The array can also send SNMP traps and do Syslog forwarding.

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Autosupport is no longer optional- they’re virtually expected these days. Enabling it is as simple click to a check box. I think we’ll leave this unchecked during stress testing.

LACP

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Configure DNS and then check out the LACP options. We’ll be playing with these at both 1GB and 10GB.

Add the Tintri Datastore to vCenter

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Add a Network File System and click Next.

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Enter the server address, the folder name and a meaningful datastore name.

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And Finish.

As you can see, it’s dead easy to add a pretty significant amount of fast storage to your virtualized datacenter. I’ll be doing some follow up posts on stress testing this puppy and how it interacts with Horizon View and vCloud Automation Center. We’ll also compare and contrast with some other storage platforms out there.

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