Friday Oct 17, 2014

Oracle VM Server for SPARC Best Practices White Paper

I'm very pleased to announce a new white paper has been published: Oracle VM Server for SPARC Best Practices.

This paper shows how to configure to meet demanding performance and availability requirements. Topics include:

  • Oracle VM Server for SPARC definitions, concepts and deployment options.
  • Software, hardware, and firmware requirements.
  • Best Practices for optimal performance.
  • Best Practices for resiliency and availability.

The paper includes specific recommendations, describes the reasons behind them, and illustrates them with examples taken from actual systems.

Tuesday Sep 23, 2014

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1.1.1 Released

A new maintenance release to Oracle VM Server for SPARC has been released, providing several enhancements described in the What's New page. This update adds support for private VLANs and relieves virtual I/O scalability constraints. This was already announced in the Virtualization Blog, but the I/O scalability improvement deserves further discussion.

Previous blog entries have described scalability improvements that improve virtual disk and network I/O performance. This new update adds scalability in a different context, by increasing the number of virtual I/O devices a domain can have.

Every virtual I/O device requires a Logical Domain Channel (LDC) endpoint. Previous product versions had a limit of 768 LDCs (or 512 on UltraSPARC T2 systems) per domain (not per system) that constrained growth. This set a maximum number of virtual I/O devices in a domain, which impeded migration of large configurations that might have hundreds of disk devices or network connections. While this could be addressed in a number of ways, such as using physical I/O or consolidating many small LUNs onto fewer large LUNs, it was an impediment to adopting Oracle VM Server for SPARC. It especially affected how service domains could be used, since each service domain has LDC endpoints for each of the virtual devices it provides to guests.

With this new update, and with associated system firmware levels, LDC endpoints are arranged into a large pool which can be shared among domains. As described in Using Logical Domain Channels, each domain can have 1,984 LDC endpoints on SPARC T4, SPARC T5, M5, and M6 systems, out of a pool of 98,304 LDC endpoints in total. The required system firmware to support the LDC endpoint pool is 8.5.1.b for SPARC T4 and 9.2.1.b for SPARC T5, SPARC M5, and SPARC M6.

This more than doubles the number of I/O devices available to a guest domain, and can be implemented by installing the current firmware and moving to the Oracle VM Server for SPARC update.

Wednesday Aug 27, 2014

Best Practices for Oracle Solaris Network Performance with Oracle VM Server for SPARC

A new document has been published on OTN: "How to Get the Best Performance from Oracle VM Server for SPARC" by Jon Anderson, Pradhap Devarajan, Darrin Johnson, Narayana Janga, Raghuram Kothakota, Justin Hatch, Ravi Nallan, and Jeff Savit.

Wednesday Jul 02, 2014

Announcing Oracle VM 3.3

Oracle VM 3.3.1 was announced today, with many product improvements. This article highlights some of those, in particular the ones most of interest to SPARC customers. Bonus - a video![Read More]

Wednesday May 21, 2014

Virtual Disk Performance Improvement for Oracle VM Server for SPARC

A new Solaris update dramatically improves performance for virtual disks on Oracle VM Server for SPARC, providing near-native I/O performance. With this change, virtual I/O is suitable for the most demanding I/O intensive applications under Oracle VM Server for SPARC. Read the full article to see more details.[Read More]

Friday Mar 28, 2014

Best Practices - Top Ten Tuning Tips Updated

Oracle VM Server for SPARC can be configured to provide optimal CPU and I/O performance - this blog entry updates a previous version to reflect improvements and new capabilities introduced into the product.[Read More]

Thursday Mar 20, 2014

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1.1 Now Available

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1.1 is now available. This release extends SR-IOV function to Fibre Channel devices, and adds support for controlling guest network bandwidth.[Read More]

Thursday Nov 21, 2013

Disk dynamic reconfiguration in Oracle VM Server for SPARC

Oracle VM Server for SPARC lets you add and remove I/O devices in guest domains (virtual machines) while they are running. This blog entry shows a simple example of adding and removing a disk while the guest runs.[Read More]

Thursday Oct 24, 2013

Best Practices - updated: which domain types should be used to run applications

Continued enhancements to SPARC servers and Oracle VM Server for SPARC open up options for deploying applications with the highest performance requirements. This blog updates an article originally published in October 2012, and reviews domain roles and describes how to choose when to use guest domains with virtual I/O, and I/O domains that use physical I/O.[Read More]

Sunday Oct 13, 2013

Availability Best Practices - using a mirrored ZFS pool with virtual disks

Previous Availability Best Practices blog entries emphasized service domain and path resiliency, rather than redundancy for disk media. This blog shows how to configure a mirrored ZFS pool with virtual disks from different service domains and virtual disk timeouts to provide media and service domain resiliency.[Read More]

Wednesday Aug 21, 2013

Upgrading to Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1 using Solaris 11.1

The last blog post listed some of the benefits of upgrading to Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1. This post shows how easy it is to perform that upgrade with an example from Solaris 11.1 systems.[Read More]

Tuesday Aug 20, 2013

Oracle VM Server for SPARC 3.1

A new version of Oracle VM Server for SPARC has been released, with significant performance and improved flexibility - read here for the news![Read More]

Saturday Aug 10, 2013

Announcing Whitepaper: "READ_ME_FIRST: What Do I Do With All of Those SPARC Threads?"

A new whitepaper READ_ME_FIRST: What Do I Do With All of Those SPARC Threads? describes how to make use of the large number of CPU threads on new SPARC servers.[Read More]

Friday Jul 19, 2013

Availability Best Practices - Example configuring a T5-8

This post gives a detailed example of configuring Oracle VM Server for SPARC for redundancy, illustrated on a T5-8.[Read More]

Wednesday Jul 17, 2013

Availability Best Practices - Availability Using Multiple Service Domains

Oracle VM Server for SPARC lets you configure multiple service and I/O domains in order to provide resilient I/O services to guests. This article shows how to configure I/O resources and set up a redundant I/O domain to provide virtual I/O services[Read More]
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