Continuous Maintenance for Cloudforms Management Engine VMDB to maintain Responsiveness

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Issue

The CloudForms Management Engine (CFME) product is the successor product of the ManageIQ Enterprise Virtualization Management (EVM) Version 4 product.

Both of these products are highly dependent on a responsive database environment in order to maintain responsive User Interface (UI) interactions.

There are significant schema changes between the EVM V4 and CFME products which tend to reduce the need for periodic maintenance of the Virtual Management Data Base (VMDB) in the CFME environment, however there are still elements which will benefit from more frequent targeted table and index maintenance to extend the interval between full database reorganizations that might otherwise be necessary to maintain a responsive CFME environment. The use of the recommendations contained in this document will not adversely impact the operation of the CFME 3.x operation but has not been evaluated for use in any other environment.

While this document references locations that exist within a CFME appliance, it is expected that these materials only be installed and activated on one appliance within a CFME domain, that appliance on which the VMDB is hosted and where the PostgreSQL server itself is executing. The initiation of the PostgreSQL 'psql' command line utility is used in such a way that it is assumed that no requirement for user-id or password is required based on the standard 'pg_hpa.conf' file installed with the CFME release. If this is not the environment into which you propose to introduce these materials, it will be necessary for you to modify the use of the 'psql' command line to adapt to the requirements of your specific environment.

Maintaining well organized SQL tables and indices is a well-known and well documented requirement for database responsiveness. The intent of this database maintenance is to address the known effects of frequent updates to tables and to their associated indices by periodically compressing the base table and/or indices into the smallest amount of space needed to represent the table and index data in the filesystem on which that information is stored and to reduce the necessary memory requirements to keep that same information in memory where there is sufficient frequency of access to warrant such action by the database management system.

The postgresql.conf file provided with the CFME 3.x installation is such that those files which are subject to the most frequent update are frequently and automatically processed by daemons that attempt to do much of this work. However, the current version of Postgresql (9.x) does not yet offer tools that do for the indices what these daemons do for tables. The materials referenced in this article are intended to address this issue.

From an operational perspective, the recommendation to periodically perform a full database reorganization as found in "ManageIQ: PostgreSQL VMDB Monthly Database Maintenance Best Practice" , the recommended database backup and restore script “cfme_5.2_vmdb_backup_and_restore_scripts_20131206.tgz” found in Migrating ManageIQ EVM 5.x or CloudForms 2.0 - CloudForms Management Engine 5.1 to CloudForms 3.0 - CloudForms Management Engine 5.2 is one that generally isn't discovered until there is a problem with the UI response time for some set of UI requests. Generally these are requests that access either event timelines or performance history for some element within the VMDB. Organizing and performing this maintenance can be problematic. This process requires exclusive access to the database with no read or write activity from any agent other than from that portion of the database management system which is performing the reorganization and this can run for long periods of time, on the order of several hours. Operationally, this means an outage to customers and may require scheduling downtime which becomes additionally extended as all appliances referencing the VMDB must be quiesced before the reorganization and then restarted after the reorganization completes. The reorganization itself may run for many hours resulting in an extended outage that many organizations may require to be scheduled during weekend or other non-peak usage periods.

Environment

  • Red Hat CloudForms 3.x
  • Red Hat CloudForms 4.0
  • Red Hat CloudForms 4.1

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