6 Responses

  1. Angelo Luciani (@AngeloLuciani)

    Simple, yet effective!

  2. Jonathan Frappier @jfrappier
    Jonathan Frappier @jfrappier at |

    Love it!

  3. Shane Williford
    Shane Williford at |

    Nice idea indeed! Thanks for sharing!


  4. Paul Miller
    Paul Miller at |

    I see a problem with the article – the author does not take into account the number of VMs running in the cluster, just the number of VMs running in the resource pool. This means that his VMs will not necessarily be assigned resources as noted.

    Resources in vSphere are allocated by proportional share. Proportional share means that out of a total number of shares available in a root resource pool (cluster, host, or resource pool), the resources running under that root resource pool (eg. VMs) are assigned “at least” that many shares. For example, from the article:

    Bronze 50 shares
    Silver 100 shares
    Gold 200 shares

    In this configuration, there are 350 shares (total). Under contention (either memory or CPU) this means that bronze is given (50/350 = 14.3% resources), silver is given (100 / 350 = 28.6% resources), and gold is given 57.1% of the resources – this is irregardless of the number of machines running in that resource pool. This, as Randy claims, is a longstanding problem. I tend to disagree. Let me show you why –

    Consider the following configuration:

    1 VMs in bronze (total shares in bronze 50), VM gets 14.3% resources (under contention)
    1 VM in Silver (total shares in silver 100), VM gets 28.6% resources (under contention)
    1 VM in Gold (total shares in gold 200), VM gets 57.1% resources (under contention)

    Now consider that we add another VM to bronze and double the shares allocated to bronze (note now there will be 400 shares available instead of 350. As always, proportional share will be enforced, so we get the following:

    2 VMs in bronze (total shares in bronze 100), each VM gets (50/400 = 12.5% resources)
    1 VM in silver (total shares in silver 100), each VM gets (100/400 = 25% resources)
    1 VM in gold (total shares in gold 200), each VM gets (200/400 = 50% resources)

    See how adding one VM in bronze reduced the resources available under contention to gold by 7.1%? Also see how each VM in bronze now only gets 6.25% resources (each) (under contention)? If we take this argument to its logical conclusion, consider the following configuration:

    200 VMs in bronze (total shares in bronze 10000), each VM gets (50/10300 = 0.484% resources)
    1 VM in silver (total shares in silver 100), each VM gets (100/10300 = 0.97% resources)
    1 VM in gold (total shares in gold 200), each VM gets (200/10300 = 1.94% resources)

    Now consider this: the bronze pool now controls 97% of all cluster resources. You just starved silver and gold out by assigning all resources to bronze.

    This is bad. When contention happens, you’ve now ensured that the VMs that you wanted to give more resources now have effectively very little.

    So the question is now: When will this methodology that the article has recommended work properly? Generally speaking, if we have a roughly equal number of VMs per resource pool, this configuration will work as desired – the weights of the pools will remain roughly the same.

    Wait a second… This puts us right back at the proportional share methodology that is actually recommended by VMware! To conclude, resource pools are great, but don’t try to outsmart them – you’ll shoot yourself in the foot.

    To illustrate, consider proportional share with the original 50/100/200 configuration without multiplying that number by VM:

    200 VMs in bronze (total shares 50) each VM gets 0.0714% resources
    1 VM in silver (total shares 100) each VM gets 28.6% resources
    1 VM in gold (total shares 200) each VM gets 57.1% resources

    Now we haven’t starved our important VMs. Phew. The takeaway here is that the VMware shares calculation (High, Medium, Low) may not provide the breakdown that you need for proportional shares. Create your own custom shares levels to figure out percentages allocated to a tier (eg. gold, silver and bronze), but don’t multiply that number per VM – you’ll end up starving some subset of the resources in your cluster when things get unbalanced.

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