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Category: Virtualization

Dockerizing ASP.Net Applications

Elton Stoneman shows how to package an ASP.Net web application into a Docker image:

It’s how you start to package “legacy” ASP.NET apps in Docker images, so you can run them in containers on Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016. Once you’ve packaged your app into a container image you have:

  • a central artifact which dev and ops teams can work with, which helps you transition to DevOps;

  • an app that runs the same on your laptop, on the server, on Azure, on AWS, which helps you move to the cloud;

  • an app platform which supports distributed systems, which helps you break down the monolith into microservices.

This is part one of a series, but if you read through this post, you’ll end up with a fully-functional app.

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Docker On Windows Server

Elton Stoneman walks us through how to run Docker on Windows Server 2016:

There are two Windows Base images on the Docker Hub – microsoft/nanoserver andmicrosoft/windowsservercore. We’ll be using an IIS image shortly, but you should start with Nano Server just to make sure all is well – it’s a 250MB download, compared to 4GB for Server Core.

docker pull microsoft/nanoserver 

Check the output and if all is well, you can run an interactive container, firing up PowerShell in a Nano Server container:

Docker will also run on Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, or Education editions.  That’s sad news for people who upgraded for free to Home Edition.

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VMware Configuration Reports

Allen McGuire has a few Reporting Services reports that he created against vCenter Database:

So you are a DBA and you are in a virtual environment – VMware in particular.  You are curious to know the health of the VMware hosts in terms of CPU and RAM, but you really don’t know how to get the data you need and you’re not certain if the information you are asking for is entirely accurate.  Well, chances are you have access to the VMware databases themselves – if that is the case, you can create these reports based on a blog post from Jonathan Kehayias: “Querying the VMware vCenter Database (VCDB) for Performance and Configuration Information“.

I have created five reports that are based on Jonathan’s queries and you can download the RDL for the SSRS reports below – enjoy!

Click through for the reports.

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Private Clouds

James Serra argues that virtualization does not by itself make for a private cloud:

Since virtualization only solves #3, a lot more should be done to create a private cloud.  Also, a cloud should also support Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) to allow for application innovation.  Fortunately there are products to add the other characteristics to give you a private cloud, such as Microsoft’s Azure Stack.  And of course you can always use a public cloud.

Read James’s post to get the full listing of what makes for a “cloud” offering.

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Diagnosing Virtual Machine Cloning Issues

Jack Li walks through a few common problems when creating Azure VMs based off of captured images:

When you create VM from a captured image, the drive letters for data disks may not preserved.  For example if you have system database files on E: drive, it may get swapped to H: drive.  If this is the case, SQL Server can’t find system database files and will not start.  If the driver letter mismatch occurs on user database files, then the user databases will not recover.   After VM is created, you just need to go to disk management to change the drive letters to match your original configuration.

Read the whole thing if you’re thinking about copying your on-premise server to an Azure VM.

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Availability Groups And VMs

John Martin looks at combining Availability Groups with a virtualized environment:

Much of the time there is a systems team and a DBA team, and when the DBAs need to build out a new set of SQL Servers, they request X number of virtual servers from the systems team. The servers are handed over and the DBA team works its magic, and then we have our Failover Cluster Instance or Availability Group High Availability solution. But, is it really Highly Available?

The reason I ask is twofold:

  • Which physical hosts are your Virtual Machines are located on?
  • Which data stores are your virtual disks are located in?

If the answer to either of these questions results in the same answer for any of your Virtual Machines in an Availability Group, or Failover Cluster Instance for that matter. Then you potentially have a massive flaw in your implementation that can affect availability.

The moral of the story is to communicate with the network administrators and SAN folks.

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CPU Co-Stop

David Klee discusses an important hypervisor-level metric:

VMware’s CPU Co-Stop metric shows you the amount of time that a parallelized request spends trying to line up the vCPU schedulers for the simultaneous execution of a task on multiple vCPUs. It’s measured in milliseconds spent in the queue per vCPU per polling interval. Higher is bad. Very bad. The operating system is constantly reviewing the running processes, and checking their runtime states. It can detect that a CPU isn’t keeping up with the others, and might actually flag a CPU is actually BAD if it can’t keep up and the difference is too great.

This is extremely useful information for DBAs in virtualized environments.  My crude and overly simplistic answer is, don’t over-book vCPUs on hosts running important VMs like your SQL Server instances.

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Multiple Instances On A VM

David Klee answers the question, when should you have multiple named instances on a single VM?

I am personally partial to having just one instance per VM, as long as the situation allows for it. The resource management area between SQL Server and Windows allows me to manage the overall resource consumption at the VM level, and en mass, managing at this layer rather than multiple layers is usually preferable. I claim that the extra overhead of managing more VMs is worth the resource management flexibility.

I agree with this.  The biggest advantage I see is in licensing, but if your environment is of a non-trivial size, you’re probably going to license the host instead of individual VMs.  Nevertheless, check out David’s pro-and-con list and see where your situation lies.

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