Virtualization Pro

Jan 11 2010   3:33PM GMT

The Law of Unintended Consequences and SiteSurvey 2.0

Makking Mak King Profile: Makking

Perhaps you have heard of “The Law of Unintended Consequences.” Though it isn’t an actual law of science, such as the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, it is a phenomenon that we all have no doubt experienced, sometimes daily.

The Law of Unintended Consequences explains that in any endeavor, actions will have unanticipated results. These results can fall into the categories of positive, neutral or negative (with the negative usually attracting the biggest spotlight, and the subsequent blame).

Today, for example, I encountered this law, but in the all-too-rare, positive consequence. As I was researching some processors for their Fault Tolerance compatibilities on the VMware website (riveting, I know), I happened across a new software tool that was released just hours previously, SiteSurvey 2.0.  Hey, something new to try out — and it’s free!

Having the irresistible compulsion to try out new things, I immediately downloaded it and installed it on my XP machine.  Starting up the application, it looks for your vCenter (or in this case, Virtual Center) to authenticate to, and a cluster to run against. Having completed the fields, it began cranking away (thus giving me time to contemplate the wisdom of running a new tool without spending sufficient time on the documentation; at least it isn’t a production environment).

The resulting report was far more useful than I could have imagined! Displayed in a browser, the page contained the following information:

  • CPU type and speed for each host in the cluster
  • BIOS Compatibility
  • CPU Stepping
  • NIC faster than 1 Gb/S
  • ESX Version
  • VMotion NIC
  • ESX Licensed for FT
  • Logging NIC
  • Shared storage; volumes and other hosts that share the storage

The above results alone would have been more than sufficient to justify keeping the tool close at hand.

Alas, this is where The Law of Unintended Consquences comes in. It turns out that SiteSurvey 2.0 produces other very useful data. The tool reports the FT compatibility on the following categories for each virtual guest machine within the cluster, displayed in an easy to read matrix, with big red “X”s for items that require attention:

  • Storage
  • CPU
  • Disk
  • Snapshots (OK, now this is the icing on the cake)
  • OS
  • PRDM
  • PV
  • NPIV
  • Drives
  • Drivers
  • NIC

For FT to work properly, all snapshots must be removed. This tool provides the unintended happy benefit of providing a list of hitherto unknown snapshots that were still resident on the cluster. Using the VIC, I immediately removed the offending snapshots. Don’t get me wrong, I love snapshots; I just don’t like keeping track of them, particularly in ESX 3.5, as well as what they can do to your storage if they are forgotten.

So, if you haven’t tried out the new version of SiteSurvey, I encourage you to jump over to VMware and give it a whirl.  Who knows what may happen?


Mak King

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  • Pking02
    This advice has value!! I always like a good tool that's easy to use. Thanks for finding it and sharing it's content.
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