vSAN on HPE Synergy Composeable Infrastructure – Part 2


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Firstly, Apologies for the delay in getting the follow up to this series posted. I am getting all these together now to post in quicker succession. Hopefully will have all these posted around VMworld US!

So, this blog post is going to dive into the configuration and components of our vSAN setup using HPE Synergy, based on the overview in Part 1 where I mentioned this would be supporting VDI workloads.

Firstly, a little terminology to help you follow along with the rest of the blog articles:
Frame – Enclosure chassis which can hold up to 12 compute modules, and 8 interconnect modules.
Interconnect – Linkage between blade connectivity and datacentre such as Fibre Channel, Ethernet, and SAS.
Compute Module – Blade server containing CPU, Memory, PCI Expansion cards, and optionally Disk.
Storage Module – Storage chassis within above frame which can hold up to 40 SFF drives (SAS / SATA / SSD). Each storage module occupies 2 compute slots.
Stack – Between 1 and 3 Synergy frames combined together to form a single logical enclosure. Allows sharing of Ethernet uplinks to datacentre with Virtual Connect.
Virtual Connect – HPE technology to allow multiple compute nodes to share a smaller set of uplinks to datacentre networking infrastructure. Acts similar to a switch internal to the Synergy stack.

All of the vSAN nodes are contained within a single Synergy frame or chassis. Main reason behind this is that today, HPE do not support SAS connectivity across multiple frames within a stack, therefore the compute nodes accessing storage must be in the same frame as the storage module. You can mix the density of storage vs. compute within Synergy how you like. So, using a single storage module will leave 10 bays for compute.

Our vSAN configuration is set out as so:
1 x 12000 Synergy Frame with:

2 x SAS Interconnect Modules
2 x Synergy 20Gb Interconnect Link Modules
1 x D3940 Storage module with:

10 x 800GB SAS SSDs for Cache
30 x 3.84TB SATA SSDs for Capacity
2 x I/O Modules

10 x SY480 Gen 10 computer modules with:

768GB RAM (24 x 32GB DDR4 Sticks)
2 x Intel Xeon Gold 6140 CPUs (2.3Ghz x 18 cores)
2 x 300GB SSDs (for ESXi Installation)
Synergy 3820C CNA / Network Adapter
P416ie-m SmartArray Controller

The above frame is actually housed within a logical enclosure or stack containing 3 frames. This means the entire stack shares 2 redundant Virtual Connect Interconnects out to the physical switching infrastructure – but in our configuration these are in a different frame to that containing the vSAN nodes. The stack is interconnected with 20GB Interconnect modules to a pair of master Virtual Connects. For our environment, we have 4 x 40Gbe uplinks to the physical switching infrastructure per stack (2 per redundant Interconnect).

We keep our datacentre networking relatively simple, so all VLANs are trunked through the Virtual Connect switches directly to ESXi. We decided not to have any separation of networking, or internal networking configured within Virtual Connect. Therefore, vSAN replication traffic, and vMotion traffic will traverse out to the physical switching infrastructure, and hairpin back in, however this is of little concern given the bandwidth available to the stack.

That’s all for an overview of the hardware. But do let me know if there is any other detail you would like to see surrounding this topic! The next post will detail how a blade is ‘cabled’ to use the storage and network in a profile.

vSAN on HPE Synergy Composeable Infrastructure – Part 1


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It’s been a while since I have posted, been pulled in many different directions with work priorities so blogging took a temporary side-line! I am now back and going to blog about a project I am currently working on to build out an extended VDI vSAN environment.

Our existing vSAN environment is running on DL380 G9 rackmounts, which whilst we had some initial teething issues have been particularly solid and reliable of late!

We are almost to the point of exhausting our CPU and Memory resources for this environment, along with about 60% utilized on the vSAN datastores across the 3 clusters. So with this it felt a natural fit to expand our vSAN environment as we continue the migration to Windows 10, and manage the explosive growth of the environment – aided by recently implementing Microsoft Azure MFA authentication vs 2-factor using a VPN connection.

As an organization, we are about to a refresh a number of HP Gen8 blades in our datacentre, and in looking at going to Gen10 knowing that this could be the last generation to support C7000 chassis, we thought it would be a good time to look at other solutions. This is where HPE Synergy composable infrastructure came in! After an initial purchase of 4 frames, and a business requirement causing us to expand this further – we felt that expanding vSAN could be a good fit into Synergy with the D3940 storage module.

Now we have the hardware in the datacentre and finally racked up, I am going to be going through a series of blogs on how vSAN looks in HPE Synergy composable infrastructure, our configuration, and some of the Synergy features / automation capabilities which make this easier to implement vs the traditional DL380 Gen9 rackmount hardware we have in place today. Stay tuned or follow my twitter handle for notifications for more on this series.