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My company develops, among other things, a Linux database and application server. The database backend is Sybase ASA. We treat it as a walled garden in order to help keep our support and test loads low.

We have a lot of customers asking us to make the machine available as a virtual appliance; I'm trying to decide what kind of training we need in order to move forward. What I do know is that I need to focus on :

  • Identifying the guest os as a VM rather than a physical device (yes, I've read read pill/blue pill, but it doesn't work in my test lab...)
  • Anti Piracy concerns; is there something like a machine GUID we can depend upon to help identify the machine..
  • Concerns of hosting a database engine on a virtual machine; write caching, system tuning
  • Supporting customers using VM .. and the list of what I don't know is n-1; hoping that the community can help me with a two part answer:

1) What classes do I need for my dev team, from your experience? VMWare offers a lot of classes, but without clear delineation re: what I need and what I don't.

2) What other concerns should I be aware of when making my course selections?

Be gentle, this is my first question on Stack Overflow. (Not the first answer, though; I've never asked before because I've never had to; always found what I needed. Stack Overflow rocks.)

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Dec 19 '11 at 19:06

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

    
I ll give you a +1 for your first question. –  user30597 Dec 19 '11 at 18:51
1  
Thank you, my master. –  JesseDyer Dec 19 '11 at 18:56
    
I'm not sure why this was migrated here as you're asking from a developer point of view rather than a sysadmin one. Still... I'd first ask why you want to know whether a guest OS is physical or virtual. As for piracy - the guest machine will be able to generate a guid as a VM just as it could as a physical machine. As for DB sizing, etc, nothing really changes there. How would you currently test a physical platform's performance right now? Carry on doing whatever you just answered; performance is either adequate or it is not regardless of platform, if you see what I mean. –  RobM Dec 19 '11 at 20:59

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

My best advice (albeit not the easiest) is:

  • To have a very specific defined criteria for what sort of a virtualization environment your software will run on
  • Test extensively with that criteria to make sure the application functions correctly
  • And make it clear to the customers that they are responsible for their own individual virtualization environment.
  • And that you can only provide support when their environment matches your spec.

Once you make that sort of a line in the sand, it becomes easier to understand what your own requirements are, and therefore understand what training is required.

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Thank you; that's where I'd been heading in my thinking. –  JesseDyer Mar 19 '12 at 20:34

What is the underlying distro of your company's db and app server? What sort of IOPS requirements do your DBs demand in their current setup? How much will that demand change in 18 months?

Just to give you an idea of the environment I support, we have over 120 VMs over four beefy (dual, six core procs, 96GBs memory) servers here (ESXi 4.1) all running 10GbE to our NetApp storage target, which serves out the VMs over NFS (including a DB server). We have several VMs that do compiling around the clock, their build drives are on a 4Gb LUN since we had IOPS issues when they were being accessed via NFS.

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Sybase and Apache tomcat. Sorry, still looking for an IOPS figure, but I don't believe it will change significantly in the next 18 months. –  JesseDyer Dec 19 '11 at 19:44

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