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timwiser

Running Automate in Azure

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Has anyone here taken the plunge and are running their Automate server in Microsoft Azure?  We're considering it and would like to see how other partners are finding it.

We've got just over 4000 agents and have plenty of scripts running in the system.

I'd appreciate some feedback if you're using this platform - including number of agents you have in it and what spec/level Azure VM you're running with.  Also, are you split server or got your eggs in a single basket?

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We've Been running automate in azure for over 3 years now. Right at 4,000 agents today. Currently on a DS3v2 instance type. I'd love to have more ram but it starts getting pricey and so far this has worked quite well for us.

You absolutely MUST run on an instance with SSD storage to get acceptable I/o for automate. We took 3 SSD disks and pooled them with storage spaces for performance (raid 0 essentially).

Let me know if you have any other questions. I'm happy to share our lessons learned.

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On 10/30/2017 at 7:52 AM, tlphipps said:

We've Been running automate in azure for over 3 years now. Right at 4,000 agents today. Currently on a DS3v2 instance type. I'd love to have more ram but it starts getting pricey and so far this has worked quite well for us.

You absolutely MUST run on an instance with SSD storage to get acceptable I/o for automate. We took 3 SSD disks and pooled them with storage spaces for performance (raid 0 essentially).

Let me know if you have any other questions. I'm happy to share our lessons learned.

Sorry to resurrect an old post, however, we're contemplating shifting our Automate workload into Azure. If you had to re-do your setup, what would you use today? I was looking at the E2s V3 model (2 Core, 16GB RAM). We have approx. 1,300 endpoints. We will be going with the 3 SSD disks as well.

Also, one thing I've always been confused on, is support for Azure offered through the Microsoft partner hours, or is it necessary to purchase standard support? It's an extra $100/month so it adds up.

You still happy running it in Azure?

Any other advice you can give would be great.

Thanks!

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11 minutes ago, avdlaan said:

Sorry to resurrect an old post, however, we're contemplating shifting our Automate workload into Azure. If you had to re-do your setup, what would you use today? I was looking at the E2s V3 model (2 Core, 16GB RAM). We have approx. 1,300 endpoints. We will be going with the 3 SSD disks as well.

Also, one thing I've always been confused on, is support for Azure offered through the Microsoft partner hours, or is it necessary to purchase standard support? It's an extra $100/month so it adds up.

You still happy running it in Azure?

Any other advice you can give would be great.

Thanks!

We still run in Azure and really like it. It's still pricier than doing something on-prem, but tremendously flexible and I swear the performance of Azure VMs is faster than the "same specs" on a physical or Hyper-V VM on-prem. We're now above 5,000 agents and had to move up to a bigger VM instance type to get more CPU and RAM in the mix. (and probably need to start exploring a split server config)

I'd look into "managed disks" if I were starting over now as I understand you can get similar performance without needing to use Storage Spaces striping with multiple SSDs (which is how we're currently setup). Basically, find guidance on doing IaaS for SQL Server in Azure and assume you need to follow that same basic setup.

For support, to get actual Azure support, you need to pay for it. But I hear you can buy it, use it for a few days/weeks, then cancel it and they'll refund you unused time. We haven't needed to use it, so I haven't tried that.

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Hi Folks,

We are trying to deploy Automate to Azure - will have max 1500 agents for the next year or two we built a DS12 with managed premium SSD.

Automate came along to do the install and said disk performance is not good enough for Automate.

They are running a diskspd command - we went to Microsoft and they say that command is not valid for Azure they ran their command and we are getting as expected performance.

Anybody any thoughts on this I see tlphipps is running 5000 agents on Azure without an issue.

All seems mad to me

Cheers

Michael

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Actually really glad somebody else asked this. I recently ran the diskspd tool against our Azure instance as well and get results well below what CW recommends. But we're now at 5,400 agents and still see really great performance IMHO. I mentioned previously we're using striped disks in storage pools. I also mentioned increasing our instance size. We're up to an instance size with 56GB RAM and have 50GB available for MySQL. After some DB tuning to clear out crap, our DB size hovers around 46GB or so which means we're basically keeping the whole thing in RAM. When I look at disk performance using resource monitor, I rarely see spikes or queue build-up which says to me that we don't really have any disk performance issues despite what the CW recommended tool is saying.

For now I'm happy where we're at and after doing some DB cleanup and getting all the latest patches for CWA installed, our performance is better than ever. I'm definitely starting to look at split-server config as we continue growing. But based on what I've seen/heard from others on performance, I'm not sure I really expect much gain over what we have right now.

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14 minutes ago, tlphipps said:

But we're now at 5,400 agents and still see really great performance IMHO. I mentioned previously we're using striped disks in storage pools. I also mentioned increasing our instance size. We're up to an instance size with 56GB RAM and have 50GB available for MySQL.

Would you mind sharing what you're using? Michael Martin was using a DS12, I earlier spec'd a E2s V3 (2 Core, 16GB RAM). What are you running?

I'm just trying to get a handle on what others are doing as Azure spec'ing is still a bit of a mystery to me.

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Sure. We're currently running on a DS13 (8 vCPU; 56GB RAM).

I'm interested in some of the newer sizes and especially in managed disks, but sadly can't easily switch to either of those.
So if somebody else wanted to do some testing for me...…...that'd be awesome!

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36 minutes ago, tlphipps said:

Sure. We're currently running on a DS13 (8 vCPU; 56GB RAM).

Thanks for that!

Wow, I see that's $820/mth just for the server. That's pretty pricey. For that money it seems a heck of a lot cheaper to do it in-house, but perhaps that's short-sighted...

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Yeah, that's often a topic of conversation here.

For us we have to factor in hardware cost, colo cost (or redundancies added to office), we're already a multi-state organization so Azure helps with that some, We're pushing clients to Azure so being 'all in' ourselves helps a bit. And in the 4 years we've been in Azure, we've not had a single outage. Not that it CAN'T happen. But awfully nice never really worrying about our internal 'infrastructure.'

Pricey for sure, but as long as we're pricing our services correctly, if you spread that cost amongst 5,400 agents, it's not all that bad.

I'm seriously considering doing a reserved instance for this to really cut the cost down.

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Same here. We couldn't do what we do without the awesome sharing that takes place on this forum and in Slack. Anywhere I can give back in any way, I'm 100% in.

And I also love seeing/hearing what others are doing with Azure too so I know I'm not on an island!

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tlphipps do you think with Managed Premium SSD you need the storage spaces?

We had two managed Premium SSD - C was 127GB and D was 1TB - We contacted Microsoft and they ran diskspd and they were getting 125 Mib/s whereas when Connectwise ran their command they got 15 - 20 mib/s. MS said CW command was not suitable for cloud / virtual disks.

Stuck between a rock and hard place CW won't proceed with install and MS say nothing wrong my gut says there is nothing wrong and with 24GB Ram and max 1500 agents I just can't see it being an issue.

CW Command is - diskspd.exe -c10G -t4 -si16K -b16K -d30 -L -o1 -w100 -D -Sh c:\temp\testfile.dat

 

 

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My understanding is that 'managed disks' do NOT need storage space striping to achieve great I/o. But I don't have any VMs using them at this point to confirm that.

I CAN confirm that I get pretty dismal results when running that command from CW on my Azure system. Basically reporting 15.25MiB/s. I can also confirm that with 5,400 agents on our system, there's NO WAY that's indicative of our actual performance. Sorry I can't help with CW refusing to move forward though. No real ideas there.

 

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