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Lab Validation: EMC Symmetrix VMAX and Microsoft Server Virtualization Scalability


ESG Lab Validation Highlights

  • ESG Lab confirmed that 16 servers running Hyper-V R2 connected to a six-frame EMC Symmetrix VMAX can be used to support up to 1,024 virtual machines.

  • EMC VMAX TimeFinder replicas and CSVs were used to automate the deployment of 64 Hyper-V R2 virtual machines.

  • A TimeFinder-enabled deployment of 64 virtual machines completed in 26 minutes.

  • The TimeFinder cloning method, which was scripted for fully automatic VM deployment using Microsoft PowerShell, was more than 27 times faster than a traditional LAN-based VM template deployment.

  • An IO-intensive workload designed to measure the maximum performance capabilities of single CSV residing within an EMC VMAX achieved excellent response times (1 to 7 milliseconds) as the number of virtual machines was scaled from eight to 64.

  • Live Migration was used to move a running virtual machine from one physical server to another.

  • A server power failure triggered a Microsoft Cluster Failover for active virtual machines.

  • Pulling an active drive triggered an automated recovery of CSVs residing on a 2-way mirrored volume in the Symmetrix VMAX.

Issues to Consider

  • While not tested during this ESG Lab Validation, one of the more compelling capabilities of Microsoft’s integrated suite of virtualization management tools is the ability to manage physical and virtual servers— including virtual servers running over a VMware hypervisor—from a single pane of glass.

  • While Microsoft PowerShell scripts were used to rapidly deploy virtual machines using EMC Symmetrix VMAX TimeFinder technology during ESG Lab testing, this deployment method is not supported from the Microsoft SCVMM graphical user interface. EMC professional services are recommended for IT managers that lack experience with PowerShell scripting and EMC command line interfaces.

  • The 1,024 virtual machine configuration documented in this report was tested in a controlled environment. Due to the many variables in each production data center environment, the number of virtual machines that can be consolidated with the test bed presented in this report may vary according to the size and resource requirements of the virtualized applications in your organization.

© 2010, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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