Click here to close now.


Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Putting Some VMware ESX Storage Tips Together | Part 1

How to make a Hybrid Hard disk drive (HHDD) that is faster than a regular Hard Disk Drive (HDD) on reads

Have you spent time searching the VMware documentation, on-line forums, venues and books to decide how to make a local dedicated direct attached storage (DAS) type device (e.g., SATA or SAS) be Raw Device Mappings (RDM)? Part two of this post looks at how to make an RDM using an internal SATA HDD.

Or how about how to make a Hybrid Hard disk drive (HHDD) that is faster than a regular Hard Disk Drive (HDD) on reads, however, more capacity and less cost than a Solid State Device (SSD) actually appear to VMware as a SSD?

Recently I had these and some other questions and spent some time looking around, thus this post highlights some great information I have found for addressing the above VMware challenges and some others.

VMware vExpert image

The SSD solution is via a post I found on fellow VMware vExpert Duncan Epping's yellow-brick site which if you are into VMware or server virtualization in general, and particular a fan of high-availability in general or virtual specific, add Duncan's site to your reading list. Duncan also has some great books to add to your bookshelves including VMware vSphere 5.1 Clustering Deepdive (Volume 1) and VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive that you can find at

VMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive book imageVMware vSphere 5 Clustering Technical Deepdive book image

Duncan's post shows how to fake into thinking that a HDD was a SSD for testing or other purposes. Since I have some Seagate Momentus XT HHDDs that combine the capacity of a traditional HDD (and cost) with the read performance closer to a SSD (without the cost or capacity penalty), I was interested in trying Duncan's tip (here is a link to his tip). Essential Duncan's tip shows how to use esxcli storage nmp satp and esxcli storage core commands to make a non-SSD look like a SSD.

The commands that were used from the VMware shell per Duncan's tip:

esxcli storage nmp satp rule add --satp VMW_SATP_LOCAL --device mpx.vmhba0:C0:T1:L0 --option "enable_local enable_ssd"
esxcli storage core claiming reclaim -d mpx.vmhba0:C0:T1:L0
esxcli storage core device list --device=mpx.vmhba0:C0:T1:L0

After all, if the HHDD is actually doing some of the work to boost and thus fool the OS or hypervisor that it is faster than a HDD, why not tell the OS or hypervisor in this case VMware ESX that it is a SSD. So far have not seen nor do I expect to notice anything different in terms of performance as that already occurred going from a 7,200RPM (7.2K) HDD to the HHDD.

If you know how to decide what type of a HDD or SSD a device is by reading its sense code and model number information, you will recognize the circled device as a Seagate Momentus XT HHDD. This particular model is Seagate Momentus XT II 750GB with 8GB SLC nand flash SSD memory integrated inside the 2.5-inch drive device.

Normally the Seagate HHDDs appear to the host operating system or whatever it is attached to as a Momentus 7200 RPM SATA type disk drive. Since there are not special device drivers, controllers, adapters or anything else, essentially the Momentus XT type HHDD are plug and play. After a bit of time they start learning and caching things to boost read performance (read more about boosting read performance including Windows boot testing here).

Image of VMware vSphere vClient storage devices
Screen shot showing Seagate Momentus XT appearing as a SSD

Note that the HHDD (a Seagate Momentus XT II) is a 750GB 2.5 inch SATA drive that boost read performance with the current firmware. Seagate has hinted that there could be a future firmware version to enable write caching or optimization however, I have waited for a year.

Disclosure: Seagate gave me an evaluation copy of my first HHDD a couple of years ago and I then went on to buy several more from I have not had a chance to try any Western Digital (WD) HHDDs yet, however I do have some of their HDDs. Perhaps I will hear something from them sometime in the future.

For those who are SSD fans or that actually have them, yes, I know SSD's are faster all around and that is why I have some including in my Lenovo X1. Thus for write intensive go with a full SSD today if you can afford them as I have with my Lenovo X1 which enables me to save large files faster (less time waiting). However if you want the best of both worlds for lab or other system that is doing more reads vs. writes as well as need as much capacity as possible without breaking the budget, check out the HHDDs.

Thanks for the great tip and information Duncan, in part II of this post, read how to make an RDM using an internal SATA HDD.


Ok, nuff said (for now)...

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

twitter @storageio

All Comments, (C) and (TM) belong to their owners/posters, Other content (C) Copyright 2006-2013 StorageIO All Rights Reserved

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, a principal architect at CoreOS, will examine how CoreOS helps teams run in production. Attende...
The APN DevOps Competency highlights APN Partners who demonstrate deep capabilities delivering continuous integration, continuous delivery, and configuration management. They help customers transform their business to be more efficient and agile by leveraging the AWS platform and DevOps principles.
Containers are changing the security landscape for software development and deployment. As with any security solutions, security approaches that work for developers, operations personnel and security professionals is a requirement. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Kevin Gilpin, CTO and Co-Founder of Conjur, will discuss various security considerations for container-based infrastructure and related DevOps workflows.
In their session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, co-founder and the VP of Product at, and Tomer Levy, co-founder and CEO of, will explore the entire process that they have undergone – through research, benchmarking, implementation, optimization, and customer success – in developing a processing engine that can handle petabytes of data. They will also discuss the requirements of such an engine in terms of scalability, resilience, security, and availability along with how the archi...
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult - let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and li...
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
“All our customers are looking at the cloud ecosystem as an important part of their overall product strategy. Some see it evolve as a multi-cloud / hybrid cloud strategy, while others are embracing all forms of cloud offerings like PaaS, IaaS and SaaS in their solutions,” noted Suhas Joshi, Vice President – Technology, at Harbinger Group, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff.
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how busine...
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, will explore HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
IT data is typically silo'd by the various tools in place. Unifying all the log, metric and event data in one analytics platform stops finger pointing and provides the end-to-end correlation. Logs, metrics and custom event data can be joined to tell the holistic story of your software and operations. For example, users can correlate code deploys to system performance to application error codes.
Manufacturing has widely adopted standardized and automated processes to create designs, build them, and maintain them through their life cycle. However, many modern manufacturing systems go beyond mechanized workflows to introduce empowered workers, flexible collaboration, and rapid iteration. Such behaviors also characterize open source software development and are at the heart of DevOps culture, processes, and tooling.
Application availability is not just the measure of “being up”. Many apps can claim that status. Technically they are running and responding to requests, but at a rate which users would certainly interpret as being down. That’s because excessive load times can (and will be) interpreted as “not available.” That’s why it’s important to view ensuring application availability as requiring attention to all its composite parts: scalability, performance, and security.
Saviynt Inc. has announced the availability of the next release of Saviynt for AWS. The comprehensive security and compliance solution provides a Command-and-Control center to gain visibility into risks in AWS, enforce real-time protection of critical workloads as well as data and automate access life-cycle governance. The solution enables AWS customers to meet their compliance mandates such as ITAR, SOX, PCI, etc. by including an extensive risk and controls library to detect known threats and b...
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud wit...
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
At DevOps Summit NY there’s been a whole lot of talk about not just DevOps, but containers, IoT, and microservices. Sessions focused not just on the cultural shift needed to grow at scale with a DevOps approach, but also made sure to include the network ”plumbing” needed to ensure success as applications decompose into the microservice architectures enabling rapid growth and support for the Internet of (Every)Things.
For it to be SOA – let alone SOA done right – we need to pin down just what "SOA done wrong" might be. First-generation SOA with Web Services and ESBs, perhaps? But then there's second-generation, REST-based SOA. More lightweight and cloud-friendly, but many REST-based SOA practices predate the microservices wave. Today, microservices and containers go hand in hand – only the details of "container-oriented architecture" are largely on the drawing board – and are not likely to look much like S...
The web app is agile. The REST API is agile. The testing and planning are agile. But alas, data infrastructures certainly are not. Once an application matures, changing the shape or indexing scheme of data often forces at best a top down planning exercise and at worst includes schema changes that force downtime. The time has come for a new approach that fundamentally advances the agility of distributed data infrastructures. Come learn about a new solution to the problems faced by software organ...
Our guest on the podcast this week is Jason Bloomberg, President at Intellyx. When we build services we want them to be lightweight, stateless and scalable while doing one thing really well. In today's cloud world, we're revisiting what to takes to make a good service in the first place. Listen in to learn why following "the book" doesn't necessarily mean that you're solving key business problems.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, ...