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Questions about using cloned volumes for production VMware server vms

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housingit69
Occasional Visitor

Questions about using cloned volumes for production VMware server vms

I've been using Win2012R2 vms based on a cloned master image nimble volume for about a year now with no problems. Since the master volume is about a year old and many MS patches have been applied to it's children since then I know I'm not saving as much space as I could if I created a fresh fully patched master image volume.

I'm pretty sure that I should not try to patch the original correct?

I think I have the following options:

1) Create a new clone master image from scratch and base new production servers off of that.

OR

2) Clone the old master image volume from a fresh snapshot, apply the latest MS patches and then make it my new master image volume.

Should I be doing cloned images at all. I am saving about 8 GB per vm server by using them.

Thanks for your attention. I always learn something interesting when I come here.

Rob

8 REPLIES
csatola128
Occasional Advisor

Re: Questions about using cloned volumes for production VMware server vms

We routinely turn our master templates on and run updates on them. I don't see a problem with doing that. Saves us a ton of time with future clones.

yannb50
Occasional Visitor

Re: Questions about using cloned volumes for production VMware server vms

Hi Guys,

I'm curious to know how you did you setup. When I implemented my Nimble this year, I was looking into using the cloned volumes but I was afraid of hitting the datastore limit in Vsphere 6.0

Thanks,

Yann

csatola128
Occasional Advisor

Re: Questions about using cloned volumes for production VMware server vms

We were previously with another SAN vendor who didn't have such cool snapshot capabilities. So what we do is have some "storage buckets". We then create templates in VMWare and make heavy usage of the "Deploy from template" functionality. We use Veeam for backups. With our setup, we have a small count of volumes for a bunch of VMs. So far, SCSI queueing hasn't been a problem, but is something we watch for.

housingit69
Occasional Visitor

Re: Questions about using cloned volumes for production VMware server vms

Hi Yann,

We're a small shop. I do not anticipate hitting the the datastore limit. We only have 40 vms and I do not anticipate very many more. I don't think we will ever hit 120 datastores or 256 luns. If we start to get close I will start consolidating using storage vmotion.

Rob

housingit69
Occasional Visitor

Re: Questions about using cloned volumes for production VMware server vms

Hi Chris, I guess I have some misconceptions about volumes that have been cloned.

My reasoning is this:

1) Once I have the master nimble system volume created every clone of that volume will use a the same copy of bits on the array as the master.

2) As I use the clones in production I'm only using space for new bits as they deviate from the master bits.

So I thought if I made changes to the master volume after I had deployed clones of it the clones would become corrupt if the master was changed.  I guess this is not correct. I must have some misunderstanding of how it works?

Thanks

Rob

csatola128
Occasional Advisor
Solution

Re: Questions about using cloned volumes for production VMware server vms

Ah, you're doing something different than us. We're using VMWare to handle cloning, not Nimble. I don't think what we are doing will help you out any.

With Nimble, the clones are coming from your snapshot. You can take that snapshot, mount it as a Zero Copy Clone - which essentially becomes a read/write copy of that master VM. You can still boot your master, and update it. The VMs your copied first should be unaffected by the changes to the master. Then, future clones will have your latest changes. Does that make sense?

housingit69
Occasional Visitor

Re: Questions about using cloned volumes for production VMware server vms

Yes, I'm not using the traditional vm template tech built into vsphere. I'm using cloned nimble volumes using the method illustrated on pages 19 and 20 of the document titled "Nimble Best Practices Guide: VMWare VSphere 5 on Nimble Storage" (Nimble Storage InfoSight).

Yes, that does make sense as long as all my clones are based on a snapshot of the master it should be ok. I would assume if it were not ok the Nimble management interface would not let me. It does not allow deletion of a volume when it has clones I assume.

csatola128
Occasional Advisor

Re: Questions about using cloned volumes for production VMware server vms

It should allow you to delete the master, actually. Once you mount a Zero Copy Clone, it's an independent VM.