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Thread: Recommendations for Virtualizing Zimbra with VMware vSphere 4

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  1. #1
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    Default Recommendations for Virtualizing Zimbra with VMware vSphere 4

    The new Zimbra Wiki article linked below will be of particular interest to Zimbra Partners deploying ZCS in a virtualized manner in a customers' data center, or in the partners' own hosted environment.

    The article includes a short list of essential best practices and recommendations to ensure a high performing Zimbra deployment on the VMware's vSphere virtualization platform. Also we’ve provided a list of recommended reference material to build and deploy a vSphere virtualization platform with performance in mind, as well as troubleshooting steps to resolve performance-related issues.

    Performance Recommendations for Virtualizing Zimbra with VMware vSphere 4 - Zimbra :: Wiki

    Andy Pflaum
    Zimbra Global Channels & Business Development
    andy.pflaum@zimbra.com
    Bugzilla - Wiki - Downloads - Before posting... Search!

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    I have a question about these recommendations.

    From what I understood, the "best sized" VM is one 4-vcores and 16 GB of RAM.

    Considering nowadays hardware, it's quite easy to get 8-cores or 12-cores servers with 32, 48 or 64 GB (and even more).

    From a VMware-ZCS point of view, on a single hardware server with 12 cores and 48 GB of RAM (considering the SAN fits) is it better to:
    • use it bare metal as a huge mailbox server?
    • use vSphere with 2 big mailbox servers (6-vcores and 24 GB memory)?
    • use vSphere with 3 mailbox servers (4-vcores and 16 GB memory, as suggested as "best sized")?

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    When virtualizing, this really all depends on the hardware layout (NUMA nodes)

    If the hardware is a 12 core (2x6) then the largest virtual machines would consume a single NUMA node of 6 cores and 24GB of system memory. This would prevent NUMA cross-talk.

    In the case of today's more powerful processors, I generally recommend starting with 2 vCPUs and increasing vCPUS if the load is running hot (60 - 70%) during peak times. If the SAN is configured properly, we have seen through testing the ability to get about 8000 users on a 4vCPU/32GB virtual machine running at about 42% user and about 7% sys utilization with a SendMsg latency of about 203ms which is well under the 1000ms max for a good enduser experience.

    Hope This Helps,
    cwindomsr

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    Quote Originally Posted by cwindomsr View Post
    When virtualizing, this really all depends on the hardware layout (NUMA nodes)

    If the hardware is a 12 core (2x6) then the largest virtual machines would consume a single NUMA node of 6 cores and 24GB of system memory. This would prevent NUMA cross-talk.

    In the case of today's more powerful processors, I generally recommend starting with 2 vCPUs and increasing vCPUS if the load is running hot (60 - 70%) during peak times. If the SAN is configured properly, we have seen through testing the ability to get about 8000 users on a 4vCPU/32GB virtual machine running at about 42% user and about 7% sys utilization with a SendMsg latency of about 203ms which is well under the 1000ms max for a good enduser experience.

    Hope This Helps,
    cwindomsr
    Presumably that's a mailbox-only server? No MTA, LDAP, Logger, etc., yes?

    Thanks,
    Mark

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    Mark,

    You are in fact correct. Follow the appropriate monitoring and data-gathering procedures for determining your organization's messaging requirements. As mentioned in my previous reply, start with a 2vCPU 4GB VM for the LDAP, and MTA VMs. The logger and proxy servers might require less in which case you can reduce the memory and vCPU counts with just a reboot.

    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by cwindomsr View Post
    Mark,

    You are in fact correct. Follow the appropriate monitoring and data-gathering procedures for determining your organization's messaging requirements. As mentioned in my previous reply, start with a 2vCPU 4GB VM for the LDAP, and MTA VMs. The logger and proxy servers might require less in which case you can reduce the memory and vCPU counts with just a reboot.

    Cheers
    We have found we can comfortably run MTA-only w/ LDAP-replica servers with 4GB of RAM, 2 cores, and aggressive anti-spam with the only performance tweak comprising 512MB or more allocated to a RAM disk for Amavis's temp directory. Throughput at full load is 18K-30K emails/hour depending on the mix of emails, attachments and the types of CPU cores, and provided that the DNS server can keep up with all of the queries.

    Hope that helps,
    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by cwindomsr View Post
    When virtualizing, this really all depends on the hardware layout (NUMA nodes)

    If the hardware is a 12 core (2x6) then the largest virtual machines would consume a single NUMA node of 6 cores and 24GB of system memory. This would prevent NUMA cross-talk.

    In the case of today's more powerful processors, I generally recommend starting with 2 vCPUs and increasing vCPUS if the load is running hot (60 - 70%) during peak times. If the SAN is configured properly, we have seen through testing the ability to get about 8000 users on a 4vCPU/32GB virtual machine running at about 42% user and about 7% sys utilization with a SendMsg latency of about 203ms which is well under the 1000ms max for a good enduser experience.

    Hope This Helps,
    cwindomsr
    Sorry was that 8000 users figure a simultaneous activity with all 8000 users logged in? Or you are referring to a Zimbra deployment with 8000 accounts?

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    You can obtain the performance metrics for the host using either ESXtop or vCenter. To obtain the performance metrics for the application, you can use the Zimbra performance utilities which use sysstat and other related linux performance utilities. In any case, you have lots of headroom to grown your MBX server.

    Hope This Helps,
    cwindomsr

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    Hi Cwindomsr, I took the performance metrics from our vCenter. Just that it wasn't clear if it is in relationship with it's VM resources or the host resources.

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    Default Zimbra mail setup

    The Zimbra mail box server has not been installed yet, we have just set up the Operating System for the mail box server which is CentOS 6.0 and added the shared storage to them, and wish to check the feature of shared storage synchronising before actually deploying the mail box Zimbra

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