Cool Tools: VHDCopy, VHDCopEE and VMProv from Dilip Naik   Leave a comment

 

Yesterday I had a nice chat with  Dilip Naik he made a special tools for VM’s and the virtualboy  Made an excellent blog item about dilip’s product.

Whit his product you can bring up a VM in just a few seconds , in case of a dissaster you need to copy your 1TB VM back to your LUN and wait untill te copieng is don to boot up the VM, but with his tool you don’t have to wait just start the copy and boot up the VM it checks the source and do the process simultaneously.

Tools that Rocks.

Source: http://blogs.technet.com/mattmcspirit

Cool Tools: VHDCopy, VHDCopEE and VMProv

If I said there was a tool that could accelerate fixed-sized VHD copies by 10 times, would you be interested?  If I said you could instantly provision and boot a new VM from a currently copying VHD file, would you be interested?  Well, if the answer is yes, to either of those questions, then I have a couple of tools that you may find useful.

Hat-tip to Dilip, one of our MVPs for File Systems/Storage and author of ‘Inside Windows Storage, for providing the link to VMUtil.

VHDCopy

When you think about it, a fixed-sized VHD, typically, contains a lot of nothing.  What I mean by that is, think about it, if you have a 100GB fixed-size VHD, and inside that VHD, you’re only using say, 30GB, why should you have to transfer (for whatever reason) the full 100GB, when only 30GB is actually useful stuff?  You could apply the same example to a backup drive – if I had a new backup drive of 1TB, and I’d only backed up 50GB so far, and I needed to move the files somewhere else, what would be quicker to transfer, 50GB or 1TB?

This is just one of many inefficiencies that exist within a file copy of a VM, that VHDCopy solves, by refraining from copying the meaningless portions that exist within a VHD.

Advantages include:

  • Significant reduction in disk I/O – typical savings may range from 20% to 90% reduction in disk I/O – your mileage will vary
  • Significant reduction in file copy time – typically order of 2X to 10X faster – your mileage will vary
  • Scriptable command line tool that requires no installation
  • Use VHDCopy to migrate from Windows Server 2008 based Hyper-V to Windows Server 2008 R2 based Hyper-V and its Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV)

There’s a datasheet here for more information, and you can always head over to the VHDCopy page for more stuff, including download links.

VHDCopEE

Building on VHDCopy, but providing more functionality, particularly around network transfers, as you can see from the table below:

image

Although it’s not quite clear from the website, depending on the page you’re looking at, both VHDCopy and VHDCopEE do run on the latest Windows OS’s, both Server and Desktop, yet VHDCopy will only accelerate local transfers, rather than network transfers, for which you’ll need VHDCopEE.

Advantages include:

  • Significant reduction in disk I/O of up to 90% depending upon VHD contents
  • Significant reduction in file copy time – up to 10 X faster based on VHD file contents
  • Scriptable command line tool that requires no installation
  • Use VHDCopy to migrate from Windows Server 2008 based Hyper-V to Windows Server 2008 R2 based Hyper-V and its Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV)
  • Use VHDCopEE with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 and its Rapid Provisioning feature
  • Get SAN storage features such as Instant Clones and Instant Provisioning while using low cost non SAN storage

More on the ‘bolded’ ones later…

Again, there’s a datasheet here, and you can head over to the VHDCopEE page for more info.  You can grab the download here.

VMProv

This one’s pretty darn clever too.  Think about it, you want to create a VM from say, a VHD that already exists.  So, you copy, and past the VHD, and it takes x-minutes to copy.  Using the above technologies, it’ll be quicker, but we’re still going to have to wait until the copy has finished to start the VM, right?  Wrong.

VMProv allows a VM to be provisioned and available for use within seconds, well before the accelerated file copy has finished. Once the file copy finishes, the provisioned VM is no different than if it had been utilized after the file copy operation had finished. While the file copy is happening, the VM is fully available, and you may install any updates or new software. All changes made to the VM while the file copy is happening are preserved.

Cool hey?

On top of that, and going back to the bolded points under VHDCopEE, VMprov is designed to be used with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager R2 and its Rapid Provisioning feature.

scvmm_soln

Think about using SCVMM – whenever you’re sending out a VHD from the library, it’s typically going to be a file copy process, and the bigger the file, the longer it will take.  Using VHDCopEE will speed up the transfer, and combining that with VMProv will mean you can start the VM up without waiting for the VHD to finish copying.  Combine that with a Rapid Provisioning PowerShell script, found here, and you’re going to accelerate stuff considerably.

You can read the VMProv datasheet here, and check out the VMProv page for further info.  If you want to download it, you can, here.

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Posted February 16, 2010 by Robert Smit [MVP] in Hyper-V, Windows 2008 R2

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