All posts by SIOS Admin

Are You Over Provisioning Your Virtual Infrastructure?

Right-Sizing VMware Environments with Machine Learning

According to leading analysts, today’s virtual data centers are as much as 80 percent overprovisioned – an issue that is wasting tens of thousands of dollars annually. The risks of overprovisioning virtual environments are urgent and immediate. IT managers face a variety of challenges related to correctly provisioning a virtual infrastructure. They need to stay within budget while avoiding downtime, delivering high performance for end-user productivity, ensuring high availability and meeting a variety of other service requirements. IT often deals with their fear of application performance issues by simply throwing hardware at the problem and avoiding any possibility of under-provisioning.  However, this strategy is driving costly over spending and draining precious IT time.  And even worse, when it comes time to compare the economics of on-premises hosting vs cloud, the costs of on-premises infrastructures are greatly inflated when the resources aren’t efficiently being used.  This can lead to poor decisions when planning a move to the cloud.

With all of these risks in play, how do IT teams know when their VMware environment is optimized?

Having access to accurate information that is simple to understand is essential.  The first step in right-sizing application workloads is understanding the patterns of the workloads and the resources they consume over time.  However, most tools take a simplistic approach when recommending resource optimization.  They use simple averages of metrics about a virtual machine.  This approach doesn’t give accurate information. Peaks and valleys of usage and interrelationships of resources cause unanticipated consequences for other applications when you reconfigure them.  To get the right information and make the right decisions for right-sizing, you need a solution such as SIOS Iq.  SIOS iQ applies machine learning to learn patterns of behavior of interrelated objects over time and across the infrastructure to accurately recommend optimizations that help operations, not hurt them.  Intelligent analytics beats averaging every time.

The second step towards a right-sizing strategy is eliminating the fear of dealing with performance issues when a problem happens or even preventing one in the first place.  This means having confidence that you have the accurate information needed to rapidly identify and fix an issue instead of simply throwing hardware at it and hoping it goes away.

Today’s tools are not very accurate. They lead IT through a maze of graphs and metrics without clear answers to key questions. IT teams typically operate and manage environments in separate silos — storage, networks, applications and hosts each with its own tools. To understand the relationships among of all the infrastructure components requires a lot of manual work and digging.  Further, these tools don’t deliver information, they only deliver marginally accurate data. And they require IT to do a lot of work to get that inaccurate data. That’s because they are threshold-based. IT has to set individual thresholds for each metric they want to measure –  CPU utilization, memory utilization, network latency, etc.. A single environment may need to set, monitor, and continuously tune thousands of individual thresholds. Every time the environment is changed, such as when a workload is moved or a new VM is created, the thresholds have to be readjusted. When a threshold is exceeded, these tools often create thousands of alerts, burying important information in “alert storms” with no root cause identified or resolution recommended.

Even more importantly, because these alerts are triggered off measurements of a single metric on a single resource, IT has to interpret the meaning and importance.  Ultimately the accuracy of interpretation is left to the skill and experience of the admin. When systems are changing and growing so fast and IT simply can’t keep up with it all- and the easiest course of action is to over-provision; wasting time and money in the process. Moreover, the actual root cause of the problem is often never fully addressed.

IT teams need smart tools that leverage advanced machine learning analytics to provide an aggregated, analyzed view of their entire infrastructure. A solution such as SIOS iQ helps to optimize provisioning, characterize underlying issues and identify and prioritize problems in virtual environments. SIOS iQ doesn’t use thresholds. It automatically analyzes the dynamic patterns of behavior between the related components in your environment over time. It automatically identifies a wide variety of wasted resources (rogue vmdks, snapshot waste, idle VMs). It also recommends changes to right-size all over- and under-provisioned VMs.

When it detects anomalous patterns of behavior, it provides a complete analysis of the root cause of the problem, the components affected by the problem, and recommended solutions to fix the problem. It not only recommends optimal provisioning of vCPU, vMem, and VMs, but also provides a detailed analysis of cost savings that its recommendations can deliver. Learn more about the SIOS iQ Savings and ROI calculator.

Here are three ways machine learning analytics can help avoid overprovisioning:

  1. Understand the causes of poor performance: By automatically and continuously observing resource utilization patterns in real-time, machine learning analytics can identify over- and undersized VMs and recommended configuration settings to right-size the VM for performance. If there’s a change, machine learning can dynamically update the recommendations.
  2. Reduce dependency on IT teams for resource sizing: App owners are often requesting as much storage capacity as possible, while VMware admins want to limit storage as much as possible. Machine learning analytics takes the guess work out of resource sizing and eliminates the finger-pointing that often happens among enterprise IT teams when there’s a problem.
  3. Eliminate unused or wasted IT resources: SIOS iQ will provide a saving and ROI analysis of wasted resources, including over-provisioned VMs, rogue VMDKs, unused VMs, and snapshot waste. It also provides recommendations for eliminating them and calculates the associated costs saving in both CapEx and Opex.
  4. Determine whether a cluster can tolerate host failure: With machine learning analytics, IT pros can easily right-size CPU and storage without putting SQL Server or end user productivity at risk. IT teams gain a deeper understanding into the capacity of the organization’s hosts and know whether a cluster can tolerate failure or other issues.

To learn more about how right-sizing your VMware environment with machine learning can save time and resources, check out our webinar: “Save Big by Right Sizing Your SQL Server VMware Environment.

What You Need to Know About the Emerging field of AIOps – Part 1

This is the first post in a two-part series. We are highlighting how AIOps is changing IT performance optimization. The original text of this series appeared in an article on Information Management.

During the next two years, companies are set to spend $31.3 billion on cognitive systems tools. Today, companies are using tools based on these technologies (i.e., data analytics and machine learning) to solve problems in a wide range of areas. For example, companies are using artificial intelligence (AI)-powered customer service bots and trucking routes that data scientist design. Ironically, information technology (IT) departments have not yet fully leveraged the power of machine-learning based analytics — IT.

Survey Shows More Critical Apps in VMware

HoweAIOPs Surveyver, that is changing because IT environments are becoming increasingly complex. They are moving from physical servers to virtual environments. According to a recent study from SIOS Technology, 81 percent of IT teams are running business-critical applications in VMware environments.

Virtual environments are made up of components, such as VMs, applications, storage and network that are highly interrelated and constantly changing. To manage and optimize these environments, IT managers have to analyze an enormous volume of data. They learn the patterns of behavior between component. This lets them accurately correlate application service issues to the root cause of the problem in the virtual environment.  As a result, a new field has emerged – AIOps.

What is AIOps?

AIOps (algorithmic IT operations platforms) is a new term that Gartner uses to describe the next phase of IT operations analytics. These platforms use machine learning and deep learning technology to automate the process of finding performance issues in IT operations.

Right now, Gartner estimates only five percent of businesses have an AIOps platform in place. However, more businesses will adopt these platform during the next two years, bringing that number to 25 percent. Importantly, AIOps replaces human intelligence with machine intelligence. It deciphers interactions within virtual IT environments. Consequently, they can uncover infrastructure issues, correlate them to application operations problems and recommend solutions.

AIOps platforms use machine learning to understand how these environments behave over time to identify abnormal behavior. Furthermore, IT can even use AIOps platforms to find and stop potential threats before they become application performance issues.

Roadblocks to Optimizing Application Performance in VMware Environments – Part II

This is the second blog post in a two-part series examining challenges IT teams face in optimizing application performance and other issues in VMware environments. The original text of this series appeared in an article on Data Informed.  

In part one of this series, we uncovered that IT teams are currently using multiple tools to understand application performance issues in VMware. Read on to learn about the other challenges IT teams are facing in virtual environments

Application Performance Issues Are Eating Away at Time and Resources

While IT professionals are consulting their VMware environment application monitoring tools, critical hours are ticking by. For smaller businesses that have limited IT staff, this can cause considerable delays in day-to-day operations. IT teams cannot afford to waste time chasing false positives or focusing their energy on areas of the environment that are not truly the root cause of their application performance issue. Additionally, many IT teams are inundated by alerts from their VMware environment monitoring tools, making it difficult to pinpoint which alerts are meaningless and which are worth diagnosing to solve a potential application performance issue.Application Performance Labor Hours

These interruptions are significant, considering that our recent survey found more than half of IT professionals are facing applications performance issues every month. Additionally, 44 percent indicated that it takes them more than three hours to resolve application performance issues as they arise. Overall, it’s clear that IT teams are frequently facing issues in VMware environments, and they are wasting critical manpower and resources solving these issues.

The Causes of Application Performance Issues Remains a Mystery.

Despite the wide variety of tools available and the volume of time spent solving business-critical application performance issues, IT professionals remain uncertain they can attack these problems head-on. Of the IT professionals surveyed, only 20 percent believe the strategies they implement to resolve application performance issues are 100 percent accurate the first time. Even more alarming, seven percent would characterize their application performance issue resolutions as an “educated guess.” And across the board, it is rare for IT teams to implement a perfect solution to a performance issue– they frequently require a level of adjustment or even a complete rework.

What’s Next?

This trend towards moving business-critical data off of physical servers and onto virtual environments will continue for the foreseeable future, and the relationships between VM applications, network devices, storage devices and services will only grow more complex. Many CIOs are turning to machine learning solutions to help them better understand their infrastructure and learn to optimize the relationships that exists between the different IT disciplines. As a result, the core approach used by IT professionals are changing from a traditional computer science approach to a data science-centric approach. We’ve also seen the rise of “AIOps” or algorithmic IT operations platforms in the last year. A term coined by Gartner to describe machine learning applications in IT, Gartner estimates only five percent of businesses currently have AIOps platforms in place. However, that number is expected to mushroom to 25 percent in the next two years as IT becomes increasingly complex and difficult to manage.

Read Roadblocks to Optimizing Application Performance in VMware Environments part one

Expert Advice on High Availability SQL Server and Machine Learning Analytics – Blogs, Webinars and Live Events

SIOS experts in high availability SQL Server cluster protection routinely share their knowledge and provide expert advice through webinars, blogs, and live events.

Blog Post: Step-by-Step Guide to High Availability SQL Server v.Next Linux High Availability
Click here to learn how to deploy a Linux VM in Azure running SQL Server and how to configure a 2-node failover cluster to make it highly available without the need for shared storage. https://clusteringformeremortals.com/category/high-availability/

Blog Post:  Deploying a Highly Available File Server in Azure IAAS (ARM) with SIOS DataKeeper This blog is a step-by-step guide to deploying a two-node File Server Failover Cluster in a single region of Azure using Azure Resource Manager.

Live Webinar: December 15, 2016 –  Webinar: Keeping the Peace with Your Sys Admins while Providing High Availability SQL Server. Join SQL Server MVP Dave Bermingham as he walks through common use cases that cause conflict between SQL DB Admins and VM Admins when SQL Server HA is involved. He will also describe a simple, conflict-free way for SQL Server admins to get what they need for a successful implementation of SQL Server. Register here.

Live Webinar: December 8, 2016 – Understanding vSphere Analytics: Machine Learning vs Threshold-basedJoin David Davis, 8-time vExpert and Partner at ActualTechMedia and Experts from SIOS Technology in this real-world, practical, hands-on webinar! Find out the differences between different vSphere analytics approaches and how to choose a solution that’s best for you. Register here.

Recorded Webinar – VMware Guest Based SQL Server High Availability Clusters – Ways to Protect SQL and Maintain Flexibility. Watch this recorded webinar and hear Dave Bermingham, Microsoft Clustering and Datacenter MVP and Tony Tomarchio, Director of Field Engineering at SIOS discuss ways to create a high availability cluster to protect SQL in a VMware environment without sacrificing IT flexibility or important VMware features, and whether you can have a cluster and multi-site replication with VMware. Register here.

SIOS_iQ-Machine_Learning_IT-Analytics_hololense

Optimize SQL Server Performance and 5 Other Things to Do at VMworld 2016

#1. Experience an Augmented Reality Guided Tour of SIOS iQ Machine Learning Analytics Solution for SQL Server Performance

Root cause of SQL Server performance issues with SIOS iQ machine learning analytics
SIOS iQ machine learning analytics with enhanced reality headset.

Try to improve your SQL Server performance in this fun augmented reality demo. See how you can save money by solving performance issues in one click. Identify wasted virtual resources.  Optimize your VMware application environment.

#2. Attend Breakout Session

SIOS CTO Sergey Razin, Ph.D., and SQL Sentry’s Brian Davis present – Use Cases in Performance Root Cause Resolution for SQL Server. They show you how to use vRealize Operations Manager, SIOS iQ Analytics, and SQL Sentry Performance Advisor. Learn best practices for identifying and resolving application performance issues in SQL Server. Identify SQL Server performance issues using VMware vRealize Operations Manager, characterize infrastructure root causes and recommended solutions with SIOS iQ machine learning analytics solutions, and define application-specific root causes with SQL Sentry Performance Advisor.  9/1/2016 for Use Cases in SQL Server Performance Root Cause Resolution.


#3.  Stop by SIOS Speaking Session in Tegile Booth #2057 to Learn Keys for Implementing Cost-Efficient Storage Accelerationtegile performance

SIOS Director of Field Engineering will be a guest presenter in the
Tegile booth #2057. He will talk about using machine learning analytics for a successful storage acceleration strategy. He will show how to use it to accelerate SQL Server performance.


#4.  Stop by Book Signing with vExpert Michael Corey in SIOS Booth #2361corey book

VMware vExpert and noted author Michael Corey will be in the SIOS booth on August 30 to sign his book Virtualizing SQL Server with VMware: Doing IT Right. The first 10 attendees to arrive at the book signing will receive a free copy. The book is also available in the show bookstore.


#5. Join Guest Presenter: SQL Sentry in SIOS Booth #2361 for Demo of Integration of SIOS iQ and SQL Sentry Performance Advisor

SQL_Sentry

Stop by SIOS Booth #2361 on Monday, August 29 at 2:00 PM-3:00 PM and Tuesday, August 30 at 11:00 AM to noon to see a demonstration by SQL Sentry’s Brian Davis for a live demonstration of integration of SIOS iQ with SQL Sentry Performance Advisor. Learn how this integration bridges a critical gap between IT infrastructure administrators and SQL Server administrators. See how easy it is to find and resolve SQL Server performance issues with SIOS iQ and SQL Sentry.

It’s Time To Demystify Quorums

As I read through the SQL Server forums and field questions from IT pros, it surprises me how many are simply off-put by the mention of the word quorum. It’s a six-letter word treated like a part of our collective four letter vocabulary.

Quorum Defined: A voting mechanism to ensure correct ownership of cluster resources.A “quorum” in an IT-sense is simply a voting mechanism to ensure the correct ownership of a cluster. Most commonly, it’s used in conjunction with Always On (both Failover Cluster Instances and Availability Groups), Hyper-V Clusters and all Windows Server Failover Clusters.

The key isn’t to know where to use them it’s how to use them. I put together a short 30 minute webcast that dives into the a variety of quorum types most commonly used — including the pros, cons, and illustrations to demystify quorums and, dare I say, make them easy to understand. I also suggest tuning in after the 30 minute mark — we had some great questions come in as part of the Q&A.

View the webinar now

Additional Resources

High Availability in Under an Hour  

That was my challenge. My client had a mission critical SQL Server Replication Distributor that couldn’t be down for more than an hour. Their highly transactional healthcare application demanded high performance. They wanted me to add high availability protection. SIOS DataKeeper was the solution. I used SIOS DataKeeper and a few simple Powershell scripts to implement a high performance SANLess cluster in under an hour. Learn how I met this challenge in this on-demand webinar.

View the webinar now

Additional Resources

Press Release: Using SANLess Window Server Failover Clustering to Achieve High Availability without Disruption is the Featured Topic of the Next SIOS Clustering 101 Webinar Series

SAN MATEO, CA – June 17, 2015 – SIOS Technology Corp. (www.us.sios.com), maker of SAN and #SANLess clustering software products, today announced Microsoft Clustering MVP and SIOS Senior Technical Evangelist Dave Bermingham will unveil strategies for quickly and cost-efficiently using SANLess Window Server Failover Clustering to implement high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) in the next session of its Clustering 101 webinar series.

Titled “HA Implementation without Disruption or Delay,” this webinar will be held on Wednesday, June 24 at 10:00 AM PDT / 1:00 PM EDT. To register, please visit: http://us.sios.com/2015-06-clustering101

In this month’s Clustering 101 webinar Dave Bermingham will review strategies for implementing HA and DR for SQL Server without disrupting ongoing business operations. He will discuss real-world scenarios, key preparations, and the necessary steps for installing and configuring a SANLess Window Server Failover clustering quickly and efficiently.

Dave Bermingham is recognized within the technology community as a high availability expert and has been honored by his peers by being elected to be a Microsoft MVP in clustering since 2010. Dave’s work as director, technical evangelist at SIOS Technology Corp. has him focused on Microsoft high availability and disaster recovery solutions as well as providing hands on support, training and professional services for cluster implementations. Dave holds numerous technical certifications and draws from more than twenty years of experience in IT, including work in the finance, healthcare and education fields, to help organizations design solutions to meet their high availability and disaster recovery needs. Learn more at http://us.sios.com

About Clustering 101

Clustering 101 is a webinar series hosted by Microsoft MVP Dave Bermingham focused on addressing the numerous facets of clustering for high availability, data replication and any combination thereof. This series will air monthly, the fourth Wednesday of the month at 10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET. Check our events page for details: http://us.sios.com/about/news-events/

About About SIOS Technology Corp.

SIOS Technology Corp. makes SAN and #SANLess software solutions that make clusters easy to use and easy to own. An essential part of any cluster solution, SIOS SAN and #SANLess software provides the flexibility to build Clusters Your Way™ to protect your choice of Windows or Linux environment in any configuration (or combination) of physical, virtual and cloud (public, private, and hybrid) without sacrificing performance or availability. The unique SIOS #SANLess clustering solution allows you to configure clusters with local storage, eliminating both the cost and the single-point-of-failure risk of traditional shared (SAN) storage.

Founded in 1999, SIOS Technology Corp. (www.us.sios.com) is headquartered in San Mateo, California, and has offices throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Japan.

SIOS, SIOS Technology, SIOS DataKeeper, SIOS Protection Suite, Clusters Your Way, and associated logos are registered trademarks or trademarks of SIOS Technology Corp. and/or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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Contact:

Beth Winkowski
Winkowski Public Relations, LLC for SIOS
Phone: 978-649-7189
Email: bethwinkowski@US.SIOS.com

Press Release: Implementing a SANLess Cluster in Under an Hour Will be the Focus of the Next SIOS Webinar

SAN MATEO, CA – June 11, 2015 – SIOS Technology Corp. (www.us.sios.com), maker of SAN and #SANLess clustering software products, today announced that MS SQL Server MVP Kendal Van Dyke will be the featured presenter in a live webinar that will teach attendees how to implement a SANLess SQL Server clustered instance in less than an hour.

Titled, “Implementing a SANLess SQL Server Cluster in Under an Hour,” this webinar will be held on Thursday, June 18 at 10:00 AM PDT / 1:00 PM EDT. To register, please visit: http://us.sios.com/2015-06-webinar

In this webinar, Kendal Van Dyke will share how to migrate a replication distributor from a standalone instance to a clustered instance in under an hour. Drawing from real world experience, Kendal’s use case is a company that needed to implement a failover cluster to protect their SQL Server replication distributor and the applications that rely on it during a strict one-hour window and without causing disruption to ongoing business processes or slowing performance. Kendal will describe the customer’s HA needs, options and why a SIOS SANLess cluster was the solution of choice.

About the Speaker

Kendal Van Dyke is a principal consultant at UpSearch, a Microsoft Cloud and Database Platform Partner. Kendal is passionate about helping leaders use Microsoft’s SQL Server to solve complex problems that protect, unlock and optimize data’s value. Since 1999, Kendal has specialized in SQL Server database management solutions. He excels at disaster recovery, high availability planning/implementation and debugging/troubleshooting mission critical SQL Server environments. He currently serves the SQL Server community as founder and president of MagicPass, the Orlando, FL based chapter of the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS). Since 2008, Kendal has operated a SQL Server focused blog at http://www.kendalvandyke.com/.

About SIOS Technology Corp.

SIOS Technology Corp. makes SAN and #SANLess software solutions that make clusters easy to use and easy to own. An essential part of any cluster solution, SIOS SAN and #SANLess software provides the flexibility to build Clusters Your Way™ to protect your choice of Windows or Linux environment in any configuration (or combination) of physical, virtual and cloud (public, private, and hybrid) without sacrificing performance or availability. The unique SIOS #SANLess clustering solution allows you to configure clusters with local storage, eliminating both the cost and the single-point-of-failure risk of traditional shared (SAN) storage.

Founded in 1999, SIOS Technology Corp. (www.us.sios.com) is headquartered in San Mateo, California, and has offices throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Japan.

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SIOS, SIOS Technology, SIOS DataKeeper, SIOS Protection Suite, Clusters Your Way, and associated logos are registered trademarks or trademarks of SIOS Technology Corp. and/or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Contact:

Beth Winkowski
Winkowski Public Relations, LLC for SIOS
Phone: 978-649-7189
Email: bethwinkowski@US.SIOS.com

Press Release: SIOS Technical Evangelist to Discuss Protecting Business Critical Applications in Cloud Environments at Cloud Expo

SAN MATEO, CA – June 4, 2015 – SIOS Technology Corp. (www.us.sios.com), maker of SAN and #SANLess clustering software products, today announced that SIOS Senior Technical Evangelist and Microsoft Clustering MVP, David Bermingham will present a session about protecting business critical applications in cloud environments at Cloud Expo taking place next week in New York, NY.

Titled, “Protecting mission critical applications in cloud environments,” David’s session is scheduled for Thursday, June 11 at 4:50 pm at the Javits Center, New York, NY. For more information about the Cloud Expo or to register, visit here.

Gartner predicts that the bulk of new IT spending by 2016 will be for cloud platforms and applications and that nearly half of large enterprises will have cloud deployments by the end of 2017. The benefits of the cloud may be clear for applications that can tolerate brief periods of downtime, but for critical applications like SQL Server, Oracle and SAP, companies need a strategy for HA and DR protection. By adding SANLess clustering software as an ingredient to Windows Server Failover Clustering, companies can provide HA and DR protection in a cloud where traditional shared-storage clusters may be impractical or impossible. Attendees at David’s session will learn the truths and myths of HA and DR in cloud deployments that can dramatically reduce data center costs and risks.

About the Speaker

David Bermingham is recognized as a high availability expert and has been honored by his peers by being elected to be a Microsoft MVP in Clustering since 2010. David’s work as Senior Technical Evangelist at SIOS Technology Corp. has him focused on helping enterprise companies provide high availability and disaster recovery solutions for their business critical applications.

About SIOS Technology Corp.

SIOS Technology Corp. makes SAN and #SANLess software solutions that make clusters easy to use and easy to own. An essential part of any cluster solution, SIOS SAN and #SANLess software provides the flexibility to build Clusters Your Way™ to protect your choice of Windows or Linux environment in any configuration (or combination) of physical, virtual and cloud (public, private, and hybrid) without sacrificing performance or availability. The unique SIOS #SANLess clustering solution allows you to configure clusters with local storage, eliminating both the cost and the single-point-of-failure risk of traditional shared (SAN) storage.

Founded in 1999, SIOS Technology Corp. (www.us.sios.com) is headquartered in San Mateo, California, and has offices throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Japan.

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SIOS, SIOS Technology, SIOS DataKeeper, SIOS Protection Suite, Clusters Your Way, and associated logos are registered trademarks or trademarks of SIOS Technology Corp. and/or its affiliates in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Contact:

Beth Winkowski
Winkowski Public Relations, LLC for SIOS
Phone: 978-649-7189
Email: bethwinkowski@US.SIOS.com