MS Word style formatting shortcut keys for Mac

Recently I started to spend a lot of time in MS word again, and as a stickler for details I dislike a mishmash of font types throughout my document. I spend a lot of time on configuring the styles of the document, yet when I paste something from other documents, MS word tend to ignore these. Correcting the format burns a lot of time and it simply annoys the crap out of me.

To avoid this further, I started to dig around to find some font and style related shortcut keys. Yesterday I tweeted the shortcut key to apply the normal style and by the looks of retweets many of you are facing the same challenge.

Below is a short list of shortcut keys that I use. There are many more, share the common ones you like to use. As I use Mac I listed the Mac shortcut combination. Replace CTRL for CMD if you are using MS Word on a windows machine.

Select text:
Select all: CTRL+A
Select sentence: CMD + click
Select word: Double click
Select paragraph: Triple click

Formatting:
Clear formatting: CTRL+spacebar
Apply Normal Style: Shift+CMD+N
Header 1: CMD+ALT+1
Header 2: CMD+ALT+2
Header 3: CMD+ALT+3
Change Case: CMD+Option+C (repeat combination to cycle through options)
Indent paragraph: CTRL+Shift+M
Remove indent: CMD+Shift+M

Find and replace: F5

Future direction of disabling TPS by default and its impact on capacity planning

Eric Sloofs tweet alerted me to the following announcement of TPS being disabled by default in the upcoming vSphere release

In short TPS will no longer be enabled by default due to security concerns starting with the following releases:

ESXi 5.5 Update release – Q1 2015
ESXi 5.1 Update release – Q4 2014
ESXi 5.0 Update release – Q1 2015
The next major version of ESXi

More information here: Security considerations and disallowing inter-Virtual Machine Transparent Page Sharing (2080735)

After reading this announcement I hope architects review the commonly (mis) used over-commitment ratios during capacity planning exercises. It was always one of favorites topics to discuss at VCDX defense sessions.

It’s common to see a 20 to 30% over-commitment ratio in a vSphere design attributed to TPS. But in reality these ratios are never seen due to IT organization monitoring processes. Why? Because TPS is not used in the same frequency as in the older pre-vSphere infrastructures (ESX 2.x and 3.x) anymore. In reality vSphere have disintegrated the out-of-the-box over-commitment ratios. It only leverages TPS when certain memory usage thresholds are exceeded. Typically architects do not design their environments to reach the memory usage thresholds at 96%.

Large pages and processor architectures
When AMD and Intel introduced hardware-assisted memory virtualization features (RVI and EPT) VMware engineers quickly discovered that lead to increased virtual machine performance while reducing the memory consumption of the kernel. However there was some overhead involved but this could be solved by using large pages. A normal memory page is 4KB a large page is 2MB in size.

However large pages could not be combined with TPS as of the overhead introduced by scanning these 2MB block regions. The probability of finding identical large pages made them realize that the overhead was not worth the low potential of memory saving. The performance increase was calculated around 30% while the impact of sharing loss was perceived minimal, as memory footprints in physical machines tend to increase every year. Therefore virtual machines provisioned on vSphere are using a hardware-MMU leveraging the CPU hardware assisted memory virtualization features.

Although vSphere uses large pages, TPS still is active. It scans and hashes all pages inside a large page to decrease memory usage pressure when a memory threshold is reached. During my time at VMware I wrote an article on the VMkernel memory thresholds in vSphere 5.x Another interesting thing about large pages is the tendency to provide the best performance. The kernel will split up Large pages and share pages during memory pressure, but when no memory pressure is present new incoming pages will be stored in large pages. Potentially creating a cyclical process of constructing and deconstructing large pages.

NUMA
Another impact on the memory sharing potential is the NUMA processor architecture. NUMA allows the best memory performance by storing memory pages as close to a CPU as possible. TPS memory sharing could reduce the performance while pages are shared between two separate CPU systems. For more info about NUMA and TPS please read the article: “Sizing VMS and NUMA nodes

Capacity planning impact
Therefor the impact of disabling TPS by default will not be as big some might expect. What I do find interesting is the attention of security. I absolutely agree that security out of the box is crucial, but when regarding probability I would rather do a man-in-the-middle attack of the vMotion network, reading clear text memory across the network then wait for TPS to collapse memory. Which leads me to wonder when to expect encryption for vMotion traffic.

99 cents Promo to celebrate a major milestone of the vSphere Clustering Deepdive series

This week Duncan was looking at the sales numbers of the vSphere Clustering Deep Dive series and he noticed that we hit a major milestone in September. In September 2014 we passed the 45000 copies distributed of the vSphere Clustering Deep Dive. Duncan and I never ever expected this or even dared to dream to hit this milestone.

vSphere-clustering-booksWhen we first started writing the 4.1 book we had discussions around what to expect from a sales point of view and we placed a bet, I was happy if we sold 100 books, Duncan was more ambitious with 400 books. Needless to say we reset our expectations many times since then… We didn’t really follow it closely in the last 12-18 months, and as today we were discussing a potentially update of the book we figured it was time to look at the numbers again just to get an idea. 45000 copies distributed (ebook + printed) is just remarkable.

We’ve noticed that the ebook is still very popular, and decided to do a promo. As of Monday the 13th of October the 5.1 e-book will be available for only $ 0.99 for 72 hours, then after 72 hours the price will go up to $ 3.99 and then after 72 hours it will be back to the normal price. So make sure to get it while it is low priced!

Pick it up here on Amazon.com! The only other kindle store we could open the promotion up for was amazon.co.uk, so that is also an option!

Multi-FVP cluster design – using RAM and FLASH in the same vSphere cluster

A frequently asked question is whether RAM and Flash resources can be mixed in the same FVP Cluster? In FVP 2.0 we allow hosts to provide both RAM and Flash to FVP, time to provide some design considerations about FVP clusters.

One host resource per cluster
A FVP cluster only accepts one single type of acceleration resource from a host. If a host contains RAM and Flash, you can decide which resource is assigned to that particular cluster. When selecting one type of resource, FVP automatically removes the option of selecting the other resource available in the host.

01-Add acceleration resource

RAM and Flash in a single FVP cluster
A FVP Cluster can be comprised of different acceleration resources
You can have a FVP cluster configuration that one host provides RAM as an acceleration resource and another host provides Flash as an acceleration resource to the FVP Cluster.

02-Multiple acceleration resources in FVP Cluster

Symmetry equals predictability
Common architectural best practice is symmetry in resource design. Identical host, component and software configuration design provides reduction in management operations, simpler troubleshooting and above all consistent and predictable performance. Although a FVP cluster can contain RAM and Flash resources from multiple hosts, I would recommend only a mixed configuration as a transition state migrating to a new acceleration resource standard in the FVP cluster (moving from flash to RAM or vice versa).

One vSphere cluster, multiple FVP clusters
To leverage multiple acceleration resources, FVP allows you to create multiple FVP clusters within the same vSphere cluster. This allows you to create multiple acceleration tiers. Assign memory resources to a separate FVP cluster, for example “FVP Memory Cluster” and assign the Flash resources to the “FVP Flash Cluster”. As the atomic level of acceleration is the virtual machine level, a virtual machine can only be part of a single FVP cluster.

03-multi-fvp-clusters

Per VM-level Stats
One cool thing about FVP is the retention of stats. FVP collects stats on a per-VM level basis and retains it regardless of FVP cluster membership. This means that if you create a multiple FVP cluster design you can easily track the difference in performance. As FVP primary goal is to provide non-disruptive services, you can move virtual machines between different FVP clusters without having to reboot the virtual machine. Everything can be done on the fly without impacting service up times.

04-Add VM to cluster

One great use case is to set up a monitor FVP cluster, which contains no acceleration resources and allow FVP to monitor the I/O operations of that particular application.

00-Before-and-After

Once you decide which acceleration resource provides the best performance, you can easily move this virtual machine to the appropriate FVP cluster. To learn more about Monitor mode, please read the article: “Investigate your application performance by using FVP monitor capabilities”.

What’s new in PernixData FVP 2.0 – Adaptive network compression

Although FVP relies on the crossbar architecture of the network, the fast point-to-point connection we noticed that in some scenarios the network performance could be detrimental to the storage performance. This was especially true if a lot of virtual machines ran in write back with two replicas. Particularly 1Gb networks are susceptible for this when a lot of replication traffic was introduced.

32kb-iops

The diagram provided by Pete Koehler (vmpete.com) is showing this behavior, on the left the virtual machine is leveraging the power of the flash device. The application generates a workload of more than 5000 IOPS and the flash device (orange curve) happily provides that storage performance to the application. Once fault tolerance is enabled, sometimes the network becomes the bottleneck when the data is written to the remote flash device. The green curve, the network performance, overlays the orange (flash) curve and dictates the IO performance.

Introducing Adaptive Network Compression

What we wanted to do was to make sure that the bottleneck simply did not move from storage to network. Therefor we developed network compression, providing the ability to compress redundant write data before sending it over the network to remote flash devices. This allows FVP to consume the least amount of bandwidth possible; a byproduct of compression is the reduction of latency compared to sending uncompressed bigger blocks.

The thing that comes to the mind immediately, when thinking about compression is CPU cost. There is a CPU cost associated with compressing data and there is a CPU cost associated with decompressing data at the peer end. And then you have to figure out which cost is more detrimental to performance, CPU cost or network bandwidth cost? The graph shown below is the CPU compression cost introduced by FVP adaptive network compression. It shows that the cost incurred is minimal. And that is awesome because now you are able to get saving on network bandwidth without taking cost in terms of CPU.

ANC-cpu

The blue curve is the CPU cost the virtual machine incurs when using write back without replication. The orange curve is the CPU cost seen by the virtual machine with compression enabled. As you see the blue and orange curves are very close together, indicating that the CPU cost are minor.

To keep the CPU cost on the source host as low as possible is to use an adaptive algorithm that measures costs and benefit. Adaptive network compression makes sure that data can be compressed and that the cost of the compression does not exceed the benefit of bandwidth saved. Funny thing is that sometimes small blocks increase in size when compressing data, therefor it will review every bit of data and make sure compression provides benefits to the virtualized datacenter.

An interesting fact is that we do not decompress the data when it is written to the remote flash device. This provides two benefits. No CPU overhead involved and a reduction of remote flash footprint. The reason why we keep it in a compressed state is very simple. Typically environments perform well, meaning that the majority of time your environment should be up and running. Outages should be very infrequent. When a failure occurs and the task of writing data to the storage array falls on the peer host, we will incur the CPU cost of decompression. During normal operations, redundant write data lands on the flash device in a compressed state and will be moved out of the flash device once the data is written to the storage array. This process should impact the peer host as little as possible and keeping it in a compressed state accomplish that requirement.

Default-replication-traffic

The chart above illustrates the before and after state of write back with replication using a 1GbE connection. The performance on the left shows an average of 2700 IOPS, once replication is enabled the performance dropped to 1700 writes per second. The flat line perfectly shows the bottleneck introduced by bandwidth constraints. When running the same workload on a 10GbE network, it shows that the network provides compatible speed and bandwidth.

WB1-10GbE

The same workload test was done on a 1GbE network with network compression enabled. The compression showed performance to near native flash only performance results.

ANC-on-1GbE

To illustrate the benefit of adaptive network compression, the engineers disabled and enabled the feature. In FVP 2.0 adaptive network compression is enabled automatically when a 1GbE network connection is detected. No user intervention is required and for the curious minds, we do not offer a U.I. or Powershell option to enable or disable it. The adaptive nature will provide you the best performance with the lowest amount of overhead.

Hero Numbers

One of the cool things on the FVP cluster summary are the hero numbers, this shows the data saved from the storage array, the bandwidth saved from the storage area network and in FVP 2.0 you can monitor the amount of network bandwidth saved by Adaptive Network Compression. In order to make the screenshot I had to change my FVP network configuration from using a 10GbE to a 1GbE network. With FVP you can do this on the fly without impacting any uptime of hosts or virtual machines. I ran a test very quickly to generate some numbers hence the underwhelming total. In reality when using a 1GbE network with real application workload you will see quite impressive numbers.