vSphere Design Pocketbook v3.0 is now available

Posted by Paul Braren on Apr 25 2016 in
  • ESXi
  • Virtualization
  • HomeLab
  • I found a great deal of value reading through this April 12 2016 publication, knowing that I'll be using this as a handy reference in the future. Note this distinguished list of just some of the prominent authors that contributed to these 153 pages of goodness:

    • Chris Wahl
    • William Lam
    • Christian Mohn
    • Anthony Spiteri
    • Frank Denneman


    Download the 153 page PDF here.


    Here's an excerpt from the Foreward, by Frank Denneman of PernixData:

    This edition (version three) is the best of both worlds. It contains
    informative blog articles with in-depth design descriptions, as well
    as short tweet-sized snippets of advice. With over 10,000 copies
    of the previous versions distributed, it has big shoes to fill. But we
    know it is up to the task, and I hope you enjoy it

    Here's the blurb from PernixData that announced the download:

    We are excited to announce the newest edition of the vSphere Design Pocketbook is now available for free download.

    This book is a “must read” for IT professionals, as it provides best practice advice (in Tweet and blog format) from the industry’s top experts on how to best architect a virtualized data center.
    Strategic Topics Covered by the vSphere Design Pocketbook 3.0:
    • Host, Storage and VM configuration
    • Cluster and vCenter design
    • Network and Security design
    Over 10,000 copies of the vSphere Design Pocketbooks have been distributed to date! Version 3 is sizzling hot, so download your copy now.

    Missed the previous Pocketbooks? Download version 1 and version 2.


    Here's some topics that I found are likely the most relevant for home lab enthusiasts. I've included some teasers, but you'll really want to read the whole section of the PDF, to be sure to get the full details and context.

    VMware ESXi – Async Drivers

    Patrick Schulz (Section 1-6)

    Recently we got some storage problems with a couple of ESXi
    hosts and one of the recommendations of the VMware support
    was to update the async drivers. I think that there isn’t much
    awareness about those drivers as it actually should be, that’s why I
    wrote this short post.

    Don’t Forget the Logs

    Steve Wood (Section 1-10)

    You may be aware that if you do use Autodeploy, a SD or USB
    device to boot your hosts then the scratch partition runs on the
    Ramdisk which is lost after a host reboot for obvious reasons as its

    Hyper-Threading Gotcha with Virtual Machine vCPU Sizing

    Chris Wahl (Section 5-8)

    Just be careful that you don’t abuse the logical processors by
    creating a virtual machine that has more vCPUs than there are
    physical cores available. A

    Make Sure Time Service for Your vSphere Infrastructure is Robust

    Ather Beg (Section 5-12)

    Also when configuring it, avoid pointing the ESXi host towards the
    Windows domain FQDN. Instead, add each time source’s FQDN
    or IP address individually to the configuration.

    VCSA vs Windows vCenter - Which One do I Chose, and Why?

    Christian Mohn (Section 6-9)

    In my opinion, unless there are specific reasons to not use the
    appliance, it should be the default choice for all greenfield

    vSphere and NFV Tuning Consideration

    Niels Hagoort (Section 4-25)

    In order to ensure optimal performance from you host hardware.
    Power management should always be set to ‘high performance’.
    Other considerations with regards to CPU C-states and Turbo
    boost are noted in VMware documentation:

    Servers with Intel Nehalem class and newer (Intel Xeon 55xx and
    newer) CPUs also offer two other power management options:
    C-states and Intel Turbo Boost. Leaving C-states enabled can
    increase memory latency and is therefore not recommended for
    low-latency workloads. Even the enhanced C-state known as C1E
    introduces longer latencies to wake up the CPUs from halt (idle)
    states to full-power, so disabling C1E in the BIOS can further lower
    latencies. Intel Turbo Boost, on the other hand, will step up the
    internal frequency of the processor should the workload demand
    more power, and should be left enabled for low-latency, high-performance
    workloads. However, since Turbo Boost can over-clock
    portions of the CPU, it should be left disabled if the applications
    require stable, predictable performance and low latency with
    minimal jitter.

    The Ultimate IOPS Cheat Sheet

    Bas van Kaam (Section 3-2)

    An overview:

    1. 0 to 12 milliseconds – Looking good, the lower the number
      the better off you are.
    2. 10 to 15 milliseconds – Still acceptable in most cases, user
      might notice a small delay.
    3. 15 to 20 milliseconds – Step up and take action, most of your
      users won’t be happy.
    4. 20 to 25 milliseconds – Get your pen and paper out and shut
      it all down


    Here are some more interesting tools for you to have a look
    at, they will either calculate your current IOPS load or help you
    predict the configuration and IOPS needed based on your needs
    and wishes.

    1. IOMeter – measures IOPS for a certain workload
    2. ESXTOP – specific to ESX, provides certain disk states, totals,
      reads and writes.
    3. WMAROW – web interface, used to calculate performance,
      capacity, random IOPS.
    4. The Cloud Calculator – web interface, disk RAID and IOPS
    5. Process Monitor – general analyses of IOPS
    6. Login VSI – VDI workload generator, simulate user activity on
      your infrastructure.

    See also at TinkerTry