Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Gopala Krishna Behara, Sridhar Chalasani

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Post

Be the Victor in the Hunger Games of Your Virtualization Environment

Thoughts From the Mind of a Previous VMware Admin (aka Game Master)

Thoughts From the Mind of a Previous VMware Admin (aka Game Master)

Do you ever feel like your Windows server is not performing well in the VMware environment, as if it were a sponsor-less contestant in the arena of the annual hunger games?  As a VMware admin and consultant I witnessed first hand the fine art of deception for presenting restricted resources to virtual machines.  An application owner or Windows admin would come to my cube or put in a help desk ticket asking for a new virtual machine.  They would often ask me for an insane amount of resources for this VM because the application vendor demanded it.  So just like in the Hunger Games, I would plop the new VM into the environment but at the same time I would unleash harsh conditions on the VM without the requestor ever knowing.  In my defense, I was kind of forced to be one Mean Game Master!

Memory Restrictions are like Surviving in the Arena with Heavy Wounds

To limit : something that bounds, restrains, or confines.

Windows administrators use Task Manager or other tools to gauge performance in virtual machines, and while this is great for looking into each process for CPU and Memory usage percentages, the data is highly inaccurate.  For instance, you can look at the resources tab and see that your virtual machine has 4GB of RAM.  Feeling confident in this number meeting the application requirements, you then fire up the application.  At first things seem to be humming along as if your chariot has entered the arena with trailing flames of speed, but then intermittently the application speed goes downhill with no apparent reason.  Chances are that your VM Admin(aka the Game Master) has implemented a obstacle in the arena known as a Memory Limit.

  • Ask your VM Admin for a screenshot of the Resources tab of the Virtual Machine, specifically the Memory settings area.
  • If you see that a value has been given other than the amount of RAM you expect, you are a victim of a Memory Limit.
  • The only good values on this screen would be the exact allocated memory or having the checkbox set for “Unlimited.”

So what does this mean to you?  Memory Limits are designed to aid VMware Admins in restricting the amount of physical memory actually allocated to virtual machines.   For instance, you request a 4GB of RAM machine but the VMware admin implements a 2GB limitation.  Your virtual machine is actually using what is known as a balloon mechanism so as to mask the memory limit from the operating system.  So as you gaze at the resources tab, you would see 4GB of RAM available for use, however in the background, you are paging the remaining necessary memory to disk!  The only “sponsor care package” you can receive in this scenario would be in the form of having insanely fast storage underlying the virtual machine disk files.

  • Plead with the Game Master to remove the constraints!
  • Set the Memory Limit to Unlimited or the exact amount of Memory Allocated.

Now if you have survived this long, we need to investigate the VMware ESX Host memory utilization.  How over-subscribed is the host holding your VMs? If many virtual machines are fighting for memory, the ESX Host will implement what is known as Memory Swapping. There is no tool built into the operating system that you the OS admin can use to detect this is occurring against your VM’s fight for power. If Memory Swapping is in fact occurring you now have a major issue.  All VMs on the host are experiencing latency when utilizing memory because a big chunk of that memory is virtualized on the host disk drives or Storage Area Network.

  • Petition for your workload to be moved to a less contentious host!

Continue reading in part 2 of this series here where I discuss more havoc in the arena surrounding processor restrictions!

More Stories By Tommy Patterson

Tommy Patterson began his virtualization adventure during the launch of VMware's ESX Server's initial release. At a time when most admins were only adopting virtualization as a lab-only solution, he pushed through the performance hurdles to quickly bring production applications into virtualization. Since the early 2000s, Tommy has spent most of his career in a consulting role providing assessments, engineering, planning, and implementation assistance to many members of the Fortune 500. Troubleshooting complicated scenarios, and incorporating best practices into customer's production virtualization systems has been his passion for many years. Now he share his knowledge of virtualization and cloud computing as a Technology Evangelist in the Microsoft US Developer and Platform Evangelism team.

Microservices Articles
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
Traditional IT, great for stable systems of record, is struggling to cope with newer, agile systems of engagement requirements coming straight from the business. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, William Morrish, General Manager of Product Sales at Interoute, will outline ways of exploiting new architectures to enable both systems and building them to support your existing platforms, with an eye for the future. Technologies such as Docker and the hyper-convergence of computing, networking and...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
As Enterprise business moves from Monoliths to Microservices, adoption and successful implementations of Microservices become more evident. The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Documenting hurdles and problems for the use of Microservices will help consultants, architects and specialists to avoid repeating the same mistakes and learn how and when to use (or not use) Microservices at the enterprise level. The circumstance w...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes how...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
"We do one of the best file systems in the world. We learned how to deal with Big Data many years ago and we implemented this knowledge into our software," explained Jakub Ratajczak, Business Development Manager at MooseFS, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Containers, microservices and DevOps are all the rage lately. You can read about how great they are and how they’ll change your life and the industry everywhere. So naturally when we started a new company and were deciding how to architect our app, we went with microservices, containers and DevOps. About now you’re expecting a story of how everything went so smoothly, we’re now pushing out code ten times a day, but the reality is quite different.