Part 3: Testing PernixData FVP 2.0

Part 3: Testing PernixData FVP 2.0

A while ago I did a write-up about PernixData FVP and their new 2.0 release. In blogpost “Part 2: My take on PernixData FVP2.0” I ran a couple of tests which were based on a Max IOPS load using I/O Analyzer.

This time ’round, I wanted to run some more ‘real-life’ workload tests in order to show the difference between a non-accelerated VM, a FVP accelerated VM using SSD and a FVP accelerated VM using RAM. So I’m not per se in search of  mega-high IOPS numbers, but looking to give a more realistic view on what PernixData FVP can do for your daily workloads. While testing I proved to myself it’s still pretty hard to simulate a real-life work-load but had a go at it nonetheless…  🙂

Equipment

As stated in previous posts, it is important to understand I ran these test on a homelab. Thus not representing decent enterprise server hardware. That said, it should still be able to show the differences in performance gain using FVP acceleration. Our so-called ‘nano-lab’ consists of:

Part 2: My take on PernixData FVP 2.0

In the blog post Part 1: My take on PernixData FVP I mentioned the release date on FVP version 2.0 to be very soon. Well… PernixData went GA status with FVP 2.0 on the 1st of October.

pernixdata

I liked the announcement e-mail from Jeff  Aaron (VP Marketing at PernixData) in which he first looks back at the release of version FVP 1.0 before he mentions the new features within FVP 2.0:


FVP version 1.0 took the world by storm a year ago with the following unique features:

  • Read and write acceleration with fault tolerance
  • Clustered platform, whereby any VM can remotely access data on any host
  • 100% seamless deployment inside the hypervisor using public APIs certified by VMware.

Now FVP version 2.0 raises the bar even higher with the following groundbreaking capabilities:

  • Distributed Fault Tolerant Memory (DFTM) – Listen to PernixData Co-founder and CTO, Satyam Vaghani, describe how we turn RAM into an enterprise class medium for storage acceleration in this recent VMUG webcast
  • Optimize any storage device (file, block or direct attached)
  • User defined fault domains
  • Adaptive network compression

 

We will take a look at PernixData FVP 2.0, how to upgrade from version 1.5 and explore the newly introduced features…

Part 1: My take on PernixData FVP

Having posted an article on Software Defined Storage a short while ago, I want to follow up with some posts on vendors/products I mentioned.

pernixdata

First of all we’ll have a closer look at PernixData. Their product FVP, stands for Flash Virtualization Platform, is a flash virtualization layer which enables read and write caching using serverside SSD or PCIe flash device(s). Almost sounds like other caching products which are out there, don’t it… Well, PernixData FVP has features which are really distinctive advantages over other vendors/products. With a new (2.0) version of FVP coming up I decided to do a dual post. Version 2.0 should be released very soon.

What will FVP do for you? PernixData states:

Decouple storage performance from capacity

So what does that mean? Well, it means we no longer must try to fulfill storage performance requirements by offering more spindles in order to reach the much demanded IOPS. Next to that we must try to keep a low as possible latency. Doing so, what better place for flash to reside on the server! Keeping the I/O path as short as possible is key!!
When storage performance is no longer an issue, capacity requirements are easily met.

SDS: Software Defined Storage solutions

SDS

Software Defined everythingStill a very hot item in the ever strong developing IT landscape.

In the year 2012 ‘Software Defined’ looked like just another buzzword, but the market is changing direction more and more towards software defined solutions. The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) is nowadays supported by Software Defined Storage (SDS), Software Defined Network (SDN) and security solutions. All very cool stuff!! I want to take a closer look at SDS in this blog post.

So…What is Software Defined Storage? Everybody has an idea on what it should be. My idea of SDS matches the quote below:

Software-defined storage (SDS) is the process of using software-based techniques to create, deploy and manage storage resources and infrastructure. It enables abstracting or separating storage services from hardware devices by using software or programmatic access to extract and manipulate storage resources

My NetApp Flashpool implementation

The other day I was designing and implementing an all new NetApp FAS3250 setup running Clustered ONTAP 8.2 supporting a vSphere environment. This setup contains a bunch of SAS 10K disks and a DS2246 shelf filled with 24x 200GB SSD’s.

Because of the requirements stated by the customer, most of the SSD’s are used for a SSD-only aggregate. But to accelerate the SAS disks, we opted to use 6 SSD’s to create a Flashpool. I guess Flashpool doesn’t need any further detailed introduction. It is a mechanism used by NetApp to utilize SSD’s to automatically cache random reads and random overwritten writes in a dedicated Flashpool aggregate. Note the bold ‘overwritten’! This cached data is available during a takeover or giveback.

netapp-flashpool

 

Although the implementation of a Flashpool is pretty straight forward, there are a few things I would like to point out. Things I encountered during the implementation: