The Virtues of Standardisation.

So we are currently moving to 10g fibre in our production cluster and then the nexus 1000v.

Its been a bit of a trial and I thought I would share the experience to date. We purchased 12 X Qlogic fibre cards and 12 X HP fibre cards. this would allow us to take advantage of the maximum amount of 10g ports allowed (4 per server) and we could then get rid of 12 copper cables per server, a total of 144 cables. We would also be using VMware’s own best practice of using cards from two different vendors.

We ran into this issue which was fixed with a firmware upgrade and later, after upgrading to 4.1, ran into the issue discussed in VMware KB 1026431.

I decided to get rid of the HP cards, gave them to the DBA’s, and replaced them with intel cards. The HP cards run really well under windows and have made the DBA’s happy.

The whole ordeal was very frustrating but made me take a closer look at the servers we have. It looks like our operations department hadn’t been very thorough when installing my servers. Of the 12 servers, half had different BIOS revisions. This is a major issue and the latest firmware can really make a difference where performance is concerned. It took a whole weekend to comb through the servers and make sure they were identical. This also included making sure the cards were in the same slots across all servers. Most of the time was spent waiting for Hosts to enter maintenance mode.

Now I know if I look at a host it is going to be the same as every other host. I also spoke to the operations team and gave them an exact how-to for setting up a new host including which firmware the host needs and the exact hardware layout.