Condusiv Technologies Blog

Condusiv Technologies Blog

Blogging @Condusiv

The Condusiv blog shares insight into the issues surrounding system and application performance—and how I/O optimization software is breaking new ground in solving those issues.

The Student Enrollment Blues

by Scott Thomas 21. January 2014 06:58

It was a bad day for Steve Bettoni, Tech Support and IT Procurement Officer of Stockport College. Steve is responsible for the infrastructure that supports the college's enrollment apps, SAP, and Exchange, so you can imagine his level of anxiety on enrollment day—the busiest day for any education institution—when the system crashed and the finance director got involved.

Steve's team had already spent hours, days, and weeks troubleshooting helpdesk calls related to poor application performance. The team virtualized to get more from legacy systems, but with the increase in I/O traffic, application response time began to suffer.

Steve heard about Condusiv’s V-locity acceleration software and its ability to solve the toughest application performance challenges without adding new hardware. A bit skeptical, he decided to evaluate the solution—and dropped enrollment processing times from 15 minutes down to 5. Convinced of what V-locity could do for their applications, he deployed on other VMs and saw a 522% improvement with SAP and 85% improvement with Exchange.

Read the full story: Stockport College case study.

The Summer Blockbuster Sequel: V-locity 3.0

by Michael 24. June 2011 07:00

Coming Soon: V-locity 3.0 (virtual platform optimizer)  has some fantastic new features in it we're sure you’ll like, including:

+Full Support for ESXi Server (in addition to existing support for ESX and Hyper-V)

+Reduced installation effort for ESX Servers (no installation on Host)

+New CogniSAN technology (for storage area networks)

+New V-Aware technology (for any virtualization platform)

+Automatic zeroing of free space (for thin/dynamic virtual disks)

+Added support for virtualization platforms such as XenServer, RHEV, Oracle VM and more

We are just a few short weeks from releasing it, and could use your help. If your interested in catching a “sneak peak” (our final release candidate build), and are interested and able to install, evaluate and then comment (fill out a 10 minute online survey) on this software, simply fill-out a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) located here.

Fax the signed NDA to:
Fax: 818-252-5514

Please add the following to the Fax cover page:
Attn: Field Test Administrator/V-locity Field Test

Alternatively you can email the signed NDA (scan in the pages with your signature) to our Field Test administrator. Please add "V-locity Field Test" in the subject line.

UPDATE July 28, 2011:

Congrats to Benjie Henderson, Virtualization Architect at SS&C, winner of the iPad2 raffle held for release candidate testers! 

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Hyper-V | SAN | virtualization | V-Locity | VMware

Best Practices for CSV defrag in Hyper-V (Windows Server 2008R2)

by Michael 28. March 2011 04:33

One of the most significant features in Windows 2008R2 (for Hyper-V) is Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) for virtual disks (vhd). This allows NTFS to behave similar to a clustered file system, addressing many limitations found in Hyper-V storage with the original release (Windows 2008).  

There are three online modes/states for CSV:
  • Direct Access: In this state, the CSV is available to all nodes in the cluster (i.e. all your VMs) for direct high performance storage access. This is the state you want in production.  
  • Redirected Access: In this state, the CSV is still available to all nodes in the cluster, but all I/O is redirected through a single "coordinator" node. Redirected access is used in planned situations where you need to perform certain disk actions that can't have multiple nodes accessing and locking files concurrently, such as a VSS backup or defrag. Channeling all I/O through a coordinator slows I/O and is more likely to cause bottlenecks for production demands.
  • Maintenance mode: enabling this mode is a safe means to get to a state where processes that require exclusive access to a volume can be used, such as a maintenance routine like chkdsk.

Best Practice: 

  • On the Hyper-V system volume,  pass-through volumes and any other non-CSV volumes, leave Automatic Defragmentation on at all times.
  • Given the performance benefits of Direct Access for cluster shared volumes, leave IntelliWrite on and run an occasional scheduled defrag. This is because of the requirement to use the coordinator node and place the volume into a Redirect Access state. Automatically changing from direct to redirect and back is all part of the file system control (kernel code we co-wrote with MS in the mid 90’s – as a Windows source code licensee), and the mechanism all defragmenters use today - you do not need to do anything special.
  • Correction (June 30, 2011): In the process of testing for the V-locity 3.0 release, we discovered that defagmentation does NOT cause a state change to Redirected Access. This is true for any defragmenter. So, defragment CSVs as you would any other volume. [Apologies on making this statement without validation - we should know better :-)] 

Diskeeper and V-locity are fully compatible with CSVs as confirmed by Windows IT Pro here. The file system control built into Windows is used to defrag, but not used for prevention in the design of IntelliWrite, which is a CSV-compatible file system filter driver (it's very important for drivers to be CSV-compatible) residing at a low altitude, expect on XP (where its altitude is much higher). You can view all file system minifilters and their allocated altitudes here.

IntelliWrite is “DKRtWrt” (its code names in development stages was WriteRight and then later RightWrite -hence "RtWrt"). To see or load/unload filter drivers, use the Filter Manager Control Program (fltmc):

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Defrag | Hyper-V | IntelliWrite | V-Locity

Just Released: V-locity 2.0!

by Colleen Toumayan 20. July 2010 06:12
BURBANK, CA -- 07/20/10 -- Diskeeper Corporation has officially shipped V-locity™ 2.0, a new virtual platform disk optimizer designed to deliver invisible background optimization of all Windows® Guest operating systems running on the VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V platforms. New to V-locity 2.0, is the addition of the breakthrough IntelliWrite™ fragmentation prevention technology originally introduced with Diskeeper 2010. Utilizing IntelliWrite technology, V-locity writes files to the disk to prevent up to 85 percent of fragmentation from occurring before it even happens.

Already a VMware and Microsoft partner for its Diskeeper® performance software, V-locity was made to create a virtual-specific product that not only performs defragmentation functions, but also synchronizes the complex and ongoing activity between host and multiple guest operating systems in a virtualized environment.

As virtualization platforms begin to age, fragmentation of files in Windows host and guest operating systems generates more disk I/O than should be necessary. Fragmentation creates more overhead on the OS and file system. While CPU, Network, and memory resources may allow for greater VM density, the disk subsystem can become a virtualization "high" hurdle.

"Fragmentation clogged disk subsystems can lead to an inability to run more VMs on given hardware infrastructure, and lead to disk performance bottlenecks for VMs that share a common storage subsystem," notes Diskeeper Product Manager, Michael Materie. "V-locity is designed to alleviate the 'virtual' disk bottleneck for VMs and provide a faster and more efficient computing platform for new consolidation and provisioning initiatives, without having to add more hardware."

"First of all, when building out my environment I make sure to have fast hard drives, controllers, etc., in order to make sure not to suffer bottlenecks. In addition, I am very careful about not over-committing resources. However, I was shocked to see, after deploying V-locity, how much performance increased on the servers I had hosting disk-intensive operations. This includes our database server, our Exchange server, and to a certain extent, two terminal servers," stated Bill Philpot Manager of Information Technology at Mesa Industries, Inc.

Diskeeper Corporation's proprietary technology, IntelliWrite writes files in a non-fragmented condition. Copy on write solutions (e.g. as used by Snapshots) take action on changes to data at a block level. Moving data, as is done in a defragmentation job to consolidate file fragments in a logical file system, can trigger copy on write solutions to take extra actions such as using more storage capacity, unnecessarily. Writing a file contiguously eliminates the need to defragment it after it has been created.

InvisiTasking® technology, another Diskeeper Corporation proprietary technology, is specifically engineered to allow "background" applications to operate with zero impact/overhead on a system. With V-locity 2, the InvisiTasking technology has been "enlightened" to operate across a virtual platform. Even as more VMs are added to a host platform or dynamically migrated to new hosts (e.g. vMotion, Live Migration), the enlightened InvisiTasking will continue to dynamically adjust to changing environments, providing V-locity 2.0 users with "Set It and Forget It" ® optimization of their virtual disk platforms.

V-locity also frees up vital storage resources by eliminating virtual disk "bloat." This is the wasted disk space that takes place when virtual disks are set to dynamically grow but don't then shrink when users or applications remove data. V-locity actually compacts the virtual disk, thereby preventing waste and allowing IT Managers to better allocate their virtual storage resources.

V-locity has four unique solution sets:

  • InvisiTasking - coordinates resource usage to ensure defrag is 100% invisible

  • IntelliWrite - prevent fragmentation and offer 100% compatibility in all environments

  • Virtual Disk Intelligence - automatically detects and configures based on virtual disk type

  • Virtual Disk Compaction - shrinks/compacts virtual disks that are set to grow-as-needed

V-locity consists of three components:

  • V-locity Host installed in the VMware ESX Host or Windows Server 2008/R2 operating system running Hyper-V.

  • V-locity Guest installed in all Windows virtual machines.

  • For VMware ESX platforms: V-locity includes a small application that allows you to remotely connect from your Windows desktop to the V-locity Host component on an ESX system.

Note: On Windows platforms, each component will optimize its respective OS; performing defragmentation of files and consolidation of free space. This minimizes unnecessary I/O passed from the OS to the disk subsystem and aligns data on the drives for optimal access.

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Press Release | virtualization | V-Locity

Coming Soon to a virtualization platform near you

by Michael 20. May 2009 08:01

Find out (a little bit) more here at Microsoft's Virtualization Partner site.

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