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Performance Tuning for VSA under Vsphere

Gregory J. Boehnlein
Occasional Advisor

Performance Tuning for VSA under Vsphere

Here is my setup. I am looking to optimize it for optimum performance, and am having some issues. Write speeds absolutely suck. The Average I/O latency on Writes to the server hosting the VIP for the cluster is like 30ms.

* 2 x Dell 1950 Servers (8 Cores, 16 Gigs Ram). Each server has a pair of 1TB SAS drives in RAID-1.

* Each Dell runs a VSA

* The VSA is stored on the local VMFS datastore.

* Each Dell has a dedicated Gig-E nic used for replication / vmotion

* Each volume on the VSA is setup for Two-Way replication w/ Availability

My questions are as follows:

1. On Vsphere, the service console is now held in a VMDK image, which is running on the same datastore that the VSAs are running. I have tried to change the installation parameters around for ESX so I can put it on it's own separate VMFS volume, but there does not appear to be a way to do that. Will this cause contention w/ the VSAs?

2. Is there a way to force the iSCSI initiator on each ESX host to preferentially access only the VSA that is local? I.E. Right now, all of my initiators are logged into the VIP and all session data seems to be going to a single server. Failover works, but there does not appear to be any "load balancing" going on. What I would like to see is the ability for ESX Host 1 to preferentially mount it's volumes off of VSA-1 running locally, and the same for the second ESX host.