Virtualization - Yea or Nay

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Virtualization - Yea or Nay

4D Tech mailing list
My reason for posting this message is to solicit feedback on the pros and
cons of moving an existing system to a virtual environment. The IT
department at a client site is pushing a client to virtualize their 4D
system and I've been asked to provide input.

I have done a bit of research into the pros and cons of this issue over the
last few years and realize that are many reasons to virtualize and that
there can be a benefit to the end user.

The current system supports 10 LAN users, plus 25 remote users who
synchronize over a VPN. They're running 4D V13 on a newish, dedicated i7
Win7 install with SSD's and plenty of RAM. The system does not undergo
heavy load except during the synchronization process. The synch code will
be optimized after the V15 upgrade later this year.

I do not know the proposed configuration of the virtual environment.

In a short, my understanding is that 4D can work well in a virtual
environment providing that the VM is configured for OLTP. The hallmarks of
that configuration appears to be use of SSD's as the primary drives,
apparently acting in a caching function, and as well as optimization to
support small block transfers (2k? 8k?).

The company underwent an unsuccessful virtualization effort a few years ago
(prior to my involvement) when they were using 4D 2004. The IT personnel
involved with that effort are not longer with the company and the current
staff has assured my client that they will "do it right this time".

I would appreciate your thoughts, insights, and real-world experiences on
this topic.

--
Douglas von Roeder
949-336-2902
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Re: Virtualization - Yea or Nay

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Doug,

My gut feeling has always been no but provided the VM is appropriately
configured and is running on hardware that is not overtaxed then I
think you will be okay.

The new feature introduced in 16r2 makes this option increasingly attractive.

http://blog.4d.com/enterprise-virtual-machine-snapshot-support/


Regards,

Wayne


Wayne Stewart
about.me/waynestewart




On 27 February 2017 at 07:46, Douglas von Roeder via 4D_Tech
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> My reason for posting this message is to solicit feedback on the pros and
> cons of moving an existing system to a virtual environment. The IT
> department at a client site is pushing a client to virtualize their 4D
> system and I've been asked to provide input.
>
> I have done a bit of research into the pros and cons of this issue over the
> last few years and realize that are many reasons to virtualize and that
> there can be a benefit to the end user.
>
> The current system supports 10 LAN users, plus 25 remote users who
> synchronize over a VPN. They're running 4D V13 on a newish, dedicated i7
> Win7 install with SSD's and plenty of RAM. The system does not undergo
> heavy load except during the synchronization process. The synch code will
> be optimized after the V15 upgrade later this year.
>
> I do not know the proposed configuration of the virtual environment.
>
> In a short, my understanding is that 4D can work well in a virtual
> environment providing that the VM is configured for OLTP. The hallmarks of
> that configuration appears to be use of SSD's as the primary drives,
> apparently acting in a caching function, and as well as optimization to
> support small block transfers (2k? 8k?).
>
> The company underwent an unsuccessful virtualization effort a few years ago
> (prior to my involvement) when they were using 4D 2004. The IT personnel
> involved with that effort are not longer with the company and the current
> staff has assured my client that they will "do it right this time".
>
> I would appreciate your thoughts, insights, and real-world experiences on
> this topic.
>
> --
> Douglas von Roeder
> 949-336-2902
> **********************************************************************
> 4D Internet Users Group (4D iNUG)
> FAQ:  http://lists.4d.com/faqnug.html
> Archive:  http://lists.4d.com/archives.html
> Options: http://lists.4d.com/mailman/options/4d_tech
> Unsub:  mailto:[hidden email]
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RE: Virtualization - Yea or Nay

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In reply to this post by 4D Tech mailing list
> I would appreciate your thoughts, insights, and real-world experiences on this topic.

I'm running a v15 server with a VM Windows Server (2008 R2), SAN Disk (not SSD), 64GB memory, Xeon processor. We have concurrent usage over 130 users (and not an optimized application). All users are remote but connect with Citrix (4D server sees the clients as local)

Application runs well but we are always looking to improve speed. I would say, try out your configuration and see if it works.


Neil









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Re: Virtualization - Yea or Nay

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In reply to this post by 4D Tech mailing list
Hi Doug,

>My reason for posting this message is to solicit feedback on the pros and cons of moving
>an existing system to a virtual environment. The IT department at a client site is pushing
>a client to virtualize their 4D system and I've been asked to provide input.

>In a short, my understanding is that 4D can work well in a virtual environment providing
>that the VM is configured for OLTP. The hallmarks of that configuration appears to be
>use of SSD's as the primary drives, apparently acting in a caching function, and as well
>as optimization to support small block transfers (2k? 8k?).

It's works great, especially if, as you've stated, sufficient resources are allocated to 4D. That really is the key. Also, make sure that the primary resources are dedicated to 4D. VM is extremely smart and, unless specifically told not to, will divert resources away from 'idle' applications. So if 4D Server is 'quiet' for a period of time, it may 'lose' it's priority with respect to resources (CPUs, caches, SSDs etc) and performance will go down the tube. And it may take 10-15 minutes for those resources to be 'moved' back to 4D Server, once 4D activity resumes. This can be avoided by dedicating resources.

The other key is to have lots of experience with VM management and configuration in the IT team. Hopefully, your app is not going to be their first VM. Also, if they say they are doing it to save money on hardware, be very suspicious. Enterprize grade VM hardware is extremely expensive. The savings is in the flexibility, fault tolerance and redundancy it provides. Adding a server is a task measured in minutes rather than days. Moving a server is a completely transparent operation done while the wheels are spinning. It's really quite remarkable.

We have a 250 user 150 GB 4D Server fully virtualized. Along with a number of Test and Dev servers. It pretty much just works. One thing we still use hardware for is monthly data file compacts (via MSC). The VM system isn't optimized for that kind of activity evidently. Other than that, it works great.

HTH,

Tom Benedict
Optum
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Re: Virtualization - Yea or Nay

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In reply to this post by 4D Tech mailing list
On Feb 27, 2017, at 2:00 PM, Douglas von Roeder wrote:

> The company underwent an unsuccessful virtualization effort a few years ago
> (prior to my involvement) when they were using 4D 2004. The IT personnel
> involved with that effort are not longer with the company and the current
> staff has assured my client that they will "do it right this time".
>
> I would appreciate your thoughts, insights, and real-world experiences on
> this topic.

The line that sent chills down my spine was “they will ‘do it right this time’”. This is a very telling comment.

I have death with 3 virtual environments that are running 4D Server applications. 2 were custom designed and installed by a third party vendor. The vendor chose all the equipment, their personnel installed all the hardware and software, they configured everything. They solved all the problems and performance issues with the new setup. These two virtual environments are fast and 4D Server runs great on them. Everyone was happy with the final result. They paid big 5 figures for the VM, but it was worth it.

But one environment was built by the in-house “IT guys”. Long story short, performance is not as good. They have periods durning the day when things “just get slow for a while” then they get better. Network problems. Some things work fine. Some things don’t works so fine. The “IT guys” built it, so they have to fix it, and they don’t know what more they can do to make it better. (And heaven forbid they call an “expert” to help out.)

You can be certain that 4D Server/4D Client runs just fine in a good VM. But a bad VM or a marginal VM can result in poor performance and other problems with 4D. And the “IT guys” will always say “it is just a 4D issue, 4D is crap software that is why it runs bad in our VM”. That will be a false statement. But the “IT guys” built this VM so it is fantastic and can not be made better than how it is now. So you will just have to live with the way 4D runs in the VM.

I hope your “IT guys” are atypical and much better than most.

Tim

********************************************
Tim Nevels
Innovative Solutions
785-749-3444
[hidden email]
********************************************

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Re: Virtualization - Yea or Nay

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Chills indeed… hope that’s a typo… ;-)

> On Feb 27, 2017, at 1:41 PM, Tim Nevels via 4D_Tech <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I have death with 3 virtual environments that are running 4D Server applications


Later,
Guy

--
Guy Algot, Solutions Specialist
Edmonton, Alberta
(780) 974-8538

hardware, installation, training, support, programming, internet
specializing in 4th Dimension
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Re: Virtualization - Yea or Nay

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In reply to this post by 4D Tech mailing list
My thoughts exactly. I had a client that was using VMs for both development and production. All was AOK until they wrote a custom plugin. While testing the plugin on my machine single user all worked great. While testing on virtual. It simply did not work. I spent about 4 weeks trying to fix a problem that was fixed when we changed the test server to run in a non virtual mode. Voila everything worked. Any time VM’s are used for production I would very  leery  unless the support for the VM is very very experienced in setup, maintenance, and fixes.

Regards

Chuck
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Chuck Miller Voice: (617) 739-0306
 Informed Solutions, Inc. Fax: (617) 232-1064      
 mailto:cjmiller<AT SIGN>informed-solutions.com
 Brookline, MA 02446 USA Registered 4D Developer                
       Providers of 4D and Sybase connectivity
          http://www.informed-solutions.com 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This message and any attached documents contain information which may be confidential, subject to privilege or exempt from disclosure under applicable law.  These materials are intended only for the use of the intended recipient. If you are not the intended recipient of this transmission, you are hereby notified that any distribution, disclosure, printing, copying, storage, modification or the taking of any action in reliance upon this transmission is strictly prohibited.  Delivery of this message to any person other than the intended recipient shall not compromise or waive such confidentiality, privilege or exemption from disclosure as to this communication.

> On Feb 27, 2017, at 3:41 PM, Tim Nevels via 4D_Tech <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On Feb 27, 2017, at 2:00 PM, Douglas von Roeder wrote:
>
>> The company underwent an unsuccessful virtualization effort a few years ago
>> (prior to my involvement) when they were using 4D 2004. The IT personnel
>> involved with that effort are not longer with the company and the current
>> staff has assured my client that they will "do it right this time".
>>
>> I would appreciate your thoughts, insights, and real-world experiences on
>> this topic.
>
> The line that sent chills down my spine was “they will ‘do it right this time’”. This is a very telling comment.
>
> I have death with 3 virtual environments that are running 4D Server applications. 2 were custom designed and installed by a third party vendor. The vendor chose all the equipment, their personnel installed all the hardware and software, they configured everything. They solved all the problems and performance issues with the new setup. These two virtual environments are fast and 4D Server runs great on them. Everyone was happy with the final result. They paid big 5 figures for the VM, but it was worth it.
>
> But one environment was built by the in-house “IT guys”. Long story short, performance is not as good. They have periods durning the day when things “just get slow for a while” then they get better. Network problems. Some things work fine. Some things don’t works so fine. The “IT guys” built it, so they have to fix it, and they don’t know what more they can do to make it better. (And heaven forbid they call an “expert” to help out.)
>
> You can be certain that 4D Server/4D Client runs just fine in a good VM. But a bad VM or a marginal VM can result in poor performance and other problems with 4D. And the “IT guys” will always say “it is just a 4D issue, 4D is crap software that is why it runs bad in our VM”. That will be a false statement. But the “IT guys” built this VM so it is fantastic and can not be made better than how it is now. So you will just have to live with the way 4D runs in the VM.
>
> I hope your “IT guys” are atypical and much better than most.
>
> Tim
>
> ********************************************
> Tim Nevels
> Innovative Solutions
> 785-749-3444
> [hidden email]
> ********************************************
>
> **********************************************************************
> 4D Internet Users Group (4D iNUG)
> FAQ:  http://lists.4d.com/faqnug.html
> Archive:  http://lists.4d.com/archives.html
> Options: http://lists.4d.com/mailman/options/4d_tech
> Unsub:  mailto:[hidden email]
> **********************************************************************

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Re: Virtualization - Yea or Nay

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Many thanks to everyone who replied.
The consensus appears to be that 4D can work well as long as the resources
(dollars and expertise) are expended to make it work. I'm *all* for that.
Based on the feedback here, I think I've can provide my client with a sound
basis to make a technological decision.

--
Douglas von Roeder
949-336-2902

On Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 1:41 PM, Chuck Miller via 4D_Tech <
[hidden email]> wrote:

> My thoughts exactly. I had a client that was using VMs for both
> development and production. All was AOK until they wrote a custom plugin.
> While testing the plugin on my machine single user all worked great. While
> testing on virtual. It simply did not work. I spent about 4 weeks trying to
> fix a problem that was fixed when we changed the test server to run in a
> non virtual mode. Voila everything worked. Any time VM’s are used for
> production I would very  leery  unless the support for the VM is very very
> experienced in setup, maintenance, and fixes.
>
> Regards
>
> Chuck
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> ------------------------------------
>  Chuck Miller Voice: (617) 739-0306
>  Informed Solutions, Inc. Fax: (617) 232-1064
>  mailto:cjmiller<AT SIGN>informed-solutions.com
>  Brookline, MA 02446 USA Registered 4D Developer
>        Providers of 4D and Sybase connectivity
>           http://www.informed-solutions.com
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> ------------------------------------
> This message and any attached documents contain information which may be
> confidential, subject to privilege or exempt from disclosure under
> applicable law.  These materials are intended only for the use of the
> intended recipient. If you are not the intended recipient of this
> transmission, you are hereby notified that any distribution, disclosure,
> printing, copying, storage, modification or the taking of any action in
> reliance upon this transmission is strictly prohibited.  Delivery of this
> message to any person other than the intended recipient shall not
> compromise or waive such confidentiality, privilege or exemption from
> disclosure as to this communication.
>
> > On Feb 27, 2017, at 3:41 PM, Tim Nevels via 4D_Tech <
> [hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > On Feb 27, 2017, at 2:00 PM, Douglas von Roeder wrote:
> >
> >> The company underwent an unsuccessful virtualization effort a few years
> ago
> >> (prior to my involvement) when they were using 4D 2004. The IT personnel
> >> involved with that effort are not longer with the company and the
> current
> >> staff has assured my client that they will "do it right this time".
> >>
> >> I would appreciate your thoughts, insights, and real-world experiences
> on
> >> this topic.
> >
> > The line that sent chills down my spine was “they will ‘do it right this
> time’”. This is a very telling comment.
> >
> > I have death with 3 virtual environments that are running 4D Server
> applications. 2 were custom designed and installed by a third party vendor.
> The vendor chose all the equipment, their personnel installed all the
> hardware and software, they configured everything. They solved all the
> problems and performance issues with the new setup. These two virtual
> environments are fast and 4D Server runs great on them. Everyone was happy
> with the final result. They paid big 5 figures for the VM, but it was worth
> it.
> >
> > But one environment was built by the in-house “IT guys”. Long story
> short, performance is not as good. They have periods durning the day when
> things “just get slow for a while” then they get better. Network problems.
> Some things work fine. Some things don’t works so fine. The “IT guys” built
> it, so they have to fix it, and they don’t know what more they can do to
> make it better. (And heaven forbid they call an “expert” to help out.)
> >
> > You can be certain that 4D Server/4D Client runs just fine in a good VM.
> But a bad VM or a marginal VM can result in poor performance and other
> problems with 4D. And the “IT guys” will always say “it is just a 4D issue,
> 4D is crap software that is why it runs bad in our VM”. That will be a
> false statement. But the “IT guys” built this VM so it is fantastic and can
> not be made better than how it is now. So you will just have to live with
> the way 4D runs in the VM.
> >
> > I hope your “IT guys” are atypical and much better than most.
> >
> > Tim
> >
> > ********************************************
> > Tim Nevels
> > Innovative Solutions
> > 785-749-3444
> > [hidden email]
> > ********************************************
> >
> > **********************************************************************
> > 4D Internet Users Group (4D iNUG)
> > FAQ:  http://lists.4d.com/faqnug.html
> > Archive:  http://lists.4d.com/archives.html
> > Options: http://lists.4d.com/mailman/options/4d_tech
> > Unsub:  mailto:[hidden email]
> > **********************************************************************
>
> **********************************************************************
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> **********************************************************************
>
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