My new private cloud setup

From the beginning of my experience with OpenNebula, I made some changes in storage technology and now I found a solution that works pretty well for my necessities.

First: there isn’t an “always ok” solution, every solution works in a particular situation. My situation is, simply, a budget situation where the pourpose is saving money and have a solution that can fit my I/O load necessity.

In my private cloud, I have 5 KVM servers and a total of 20-30 VM: some are computational only VM (mail scanner, DNS, ecc.), some are I/O intensive (MySQL server for LAMP, Syslog server, ecc.): the seconds are the problem because the previous solutions didn’t fits the I/O necessities.

My first solution was a storage server made with linux that exports an (c)LVM disk via AoE (just because has less overhead than iSCSI): the load of the server was very high and the I/O throughput not fast. Ok, the lesson I learned: if you have to make a shared storage, don’t use a commodity server, use an optimized one with high speed disks, powerful controllers, 10GB Ethernet… or simply, buy a FC SAN 😉

My second test was with a cluster storage with MooseFS: here I had conflicting results. I have a customer with a well working setup with 10 storage server and 10 XEN Hypervisors; in my private cloud, with only 3 storage server (one master and two chunk) the I/O is slow as the first solution: no benefit from using two server to balance the I/O load, and 2 1 Gb Ethernet card in bonding is another bottleneck. The lesson I learned here: to have a powerful cluster storage you have to use many servers.

My third (last) setup that work pretty well is… to not use only one shared storage, but distribute the storage across the hypervisors.

I thought of a thing: my old hypervisors are some Dell R410 with 2 quad-core CPU and 32 GB Ram; if I can fit in a Rack 1U cabinet, 2 Mini-ITX Motherboard with a Core i7 (not perfectly like the Xeon of R410 but not too far) and 16 GB Ram… it’s the same. And if I can fit also 4 high speed disk like WD Velociraptor for the data and two SSD disk for SO, I can use DRBD in Active/Active mode with cLVM or GFS2 to have a decent storage in HA for the VMs instantiated in this “double-server”.

Now I have 4 mini-itx double server each with this configuration; in OpenNebula, each double-server is a separate “cluster” and the DRBD disk is the datastore associated with the cluster.

Certainly I can’t migrate a VM across two cluster, but at the moment this solution fits pretty well my speed necessity, the costs of each “double-server” are less than a real 1U server and the power consumption in datacenter decreased.