vSME Challenge #2 – Being the troubleshooter of Virtualized environments


images.jpgIn my two previous blog posts, I have introduced you to the idea of a vSME (blog post 1 and blog post 2), in this blog post we will discuss about vSME (Virtualization Subject Matter Expert) as a troubleshooter. Why should we call a vSME a troubleshooter? One of the key roles that a vSME performs is to troubleshoot performance issues that are seen in Virtualized environments. These issues are not straight forward, and as a result, require specific skills and expertise.


What are the kinds of issues typically seen in  Virtualized environments?


Some of the common issues seen in Virtualized environments usually involve poor VM performance due to CPU bottlenecks, memory contention ,  storage IO or network  contention.



detec.jpgTake for example a VM suffering from a performance issue and the vSME takes control of detecting root of the issue.  Here the vSME’s role can be compared to that of a lead detective. Just as a detective has his tools for investigation, the vSME has his vSME tool which can provide him leads.


To begin with, the vSME needs information about the configuration of the VM. He will use his vSME tool to get configuration of the VM.  In this case the vSME checks the configuration of the VM and host — 6 vCPUs  and  4 GB memory allocated to VM , sufficient storage space available  and also takes note of 4 physical CPU cores on the host.  Everything looks perfect with respect to configuration, yet the application running on the VM is suffering from a performance issue.


The vSME further uses the tool to deep dive into the investigation. He will look into various metrics for memory, storage and CPU – including their current and historic values. The tool gives him the ability to see the metrics in near real time and also the ability to go back in time. For instance, he will look at following metrics:


  • CPU utilization
  • CPU ready percentage
  • Memory ballooning
  • Swapping  
  • Total latency for read/write requests from the VM 


Using the vSME tool, he checks how metrics were performing the previous day and how metrics are showing up currently -  tool helps him graph various metrics over time.  When he looks at all the metrics in a single pane, and by moving the time slider, he observes that the CPU ready time percentage for the VM was around 1 percent couple of days back and has increased to over 5 percent since the previous day. On further investigation, he finds that VM vCPU assignment was increased from 2 vCPUs to 6 vCPUs by the application admin. The application admin did not realize that additional vCPU has increased CPU scheduling overhead, thus degrading the performance.


The vSME was able to get to the root of the issue in no time and advised reducing the vCPUs assigned to the VM for better performance – “Problem solved”.


As you notice apart from vSME’s skill and expertise, the vSME tool helped him to look at various metrics at the same time and it played a key role in identifying the root of the issue.


From the performance troubleshooting perspective vSME tool should:


  1. Provide a deep metric set for various system resources  
  2. Ability to visualized metrics – real time and historically  
  3. Ease of use – “Drag and drop”  metrics , time slider to easily move back in time
  4. Performance workbench – Place where the vSME can analyze  metrics in a single pane. 


large.pngHP Virtualization Performance viewer (vPV) provides a performance work bench for the vSME to investigate any complex issues in Virtualized environments.  The time slider provides ability to go back in time intuitively and look at the various metrics. vPV also provides a metric drag and drop capability with near real-time granularity of up to five minutes.  The vSME can also save the view he created during investigation, in case he needs to use it for future.



I will encourage you to have a look at the  below Video ,  which talks about vPV’s capabilities in context of the vSME as a troubleshooter of virtualized environments.


Perform rapid triage analysis and troubleshoot problems in virtualized environment using the workbench




In my next blog post I will talk about the next challenge of a vSME and how the vSME tool can help meet capacity-related challenges. I also encourage you to learn more about vPV at our homepage here


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