February 2015 Server StorageIO Update Newsletter

February 27, 2015 – 2:55 pm
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VMware announces vSphere V6 and associated virtualization technologies

February 2, 2015 – 3:06 pm
VMware announces vSphere V6 and associated virtualization technologies VMware has announced version 6 (V6) of its software defined data center (SDDC) server virtualization hypervisor called vSphere aka ESXi. In addition to a new version of its software defined server hypervisor along with companion software defined management and convergence tools. VMware vSphere Refresh As a refresh for those whose world does not revolve around VMware, vSphere and software defined data centers (believe it or not there are some who exist ;), ESXi is the hypervisor that virtualizes underlying physical machines (PM's) known as hosts. The path to software defined data center convergence Guest operating systems (or other hypervisors using nesting) run as virtual machines (VM's) on top of the vSphere hypervisor host (e.g. ESXi software). Various VMware management tools (or third-party) are used for managing the virtualized data center from initial configuration, ...

Server and Storage I/O Benchmarking 101 for Smarties

February 1, 2015 – 12:12 pm
Server Storage I/O Benchmarking 101 for Smarties or dummies ;) This is the first of a series of posts and links to resources on server storage I/O performance and benchmarking (view more and follow-up posts here). The best I/O is the I/O that you do not have to do, the second best is the one with the least impact as well as low overhead. Drew Robb (@robbdrew) has a Data Storage Benchmarking Guide article over at Enterprise Storage Forum that provides a good framework and summary quick guide to server storage I/O benchmarking. Via Drew: Data storage benchmarking can be quite esoteric in that vast complexity awaits anyone attempting to get to the heart of a particular benchmark. Case in point: The Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) has developed the Emerald benchmark to measure power consumption. This invaluable benchmark has ...

Server and Storage I/O Benchmark Tools: Microsoft Diskspd (Part I)

February 1, 2015 – 12:12 pm
Server and Storage I/O Benchmark Tools: Microsoft Diskspd (Part I) This is part-one of a two-part post pertaining Microsoft Diskspd.that is also part of a broader series focused on server storage I/O benchmarking, performance, capacity planning, tools and related technologies. You can view part-two of this post here, along with companion links here. Background Many people use Iometer for creating synthetic (artificial) workloads to support benchmarking for testing, validation and other activities. While Iometer with its GUI is relatively easy to use and available across many operating system (OS) environments, the tool also has its limits. One of the bigger limits for Iometer is that it has become dated with little to no new development for a long time, while other tools including some new ones continue to evolve in functionality, along with extensibility. Some of these tools have optional GUI for easy of use or configuration, while others simple have ...

Microsoft Diskspd (Part II): Server Storage I/O Benchmark Tools

February 1, 2015 – 12:11 pm
Microsoft Diskspd (Part II): Server Storage I/O Benchmark Tools This is part-two of a two-part post pertaining Microsoft Diskspd.that is also part of a broader series focused on server storage I/O benchmarking, performance, capacity planning, tools and related technologies. You can view part-one of this post here, along with companion links here. Microsoft Diskspd StorageIO lab test drive Talking about tools and technologies is one thing, installing as well as trying them is the next step for gaining experience so how about some quick hands-on time with Microsoft Diskspd (download your copy here). The following commands all specify an I/O size of 8Kbytes doing I/O to a 45GByte file called diskspd.dat located on the F: drive. Note that a 45GByte file is on the small size for general performance testing, however it was used for simplicity in this example. Ideally a larger target storage area (file, partition, device) would be used, otoh, ...

Server and Storage I/O Benchmarking and Performance Resources

February 1, 2015 – 12:57 am
Server and Storage I/O Benchmarking and Performance Resources Updated 2/26/15 The following are a list of various articles, tips, post and other resources about server storage I/O performance benchmarking for legacy, virtual, cloud and software defined environments along with associated tools. The best server and storage I/O (input/output operation) is the one that you do not have to do, the second best is the one with the least impact. This is where the idea of locality of reference (e.g. how close is the data to where your application is running) comes into play which is implemented via tiered memory, storage and caching shown in the figure above. Server storage I/O performance applies to cloud, virtual, software defined and legacy environments What this has to do with server storage I/O (and networking) performance benchmarking is keeping the idea of locality of reference, context and the application workload in perspective regardless of if cloud, virtual, software ...

I/O, I/O how well do you know about good or bad server and storage I/Os?

February 1, 2015 – 12:57 am
How well do you know about good or bad server and storage I/Os? The best IO is one you do not have to do. What about all the cloud, virtual, software defined and legacy based application that still need to do I/O? If no IO operation is the best IO, then the second best IO is the one that can be done as close to the application and processor as possible with the best locality of reference. Also keep in mind that aggregation (e.g. consolidation) can cause aggravation (server storage I/O performance bottlenecks). Example of aggregation (consolidation) causing aggravation (server storage i/o blender bottlenecks) And the third best? It's the one that can be done in less time or at least cost or effect to the requesting application, which means moving further down the memory and storage stack. Leveraging flash SSD and cache technologies to find and fix server storage I/O bottlenecks On the other ...

Green and Virtual IT Data Center Primer

January 31, 2015 – 2:56 pm
Green and Virtual Data Center Primer Moving beyond Green Hype and Green washing Green IT is about enabling efficient, effective and productive information services delivery. There is a growing green gap between green hype messaging or green washing and IT pain point issues including limits on availability or rising costs of power, cooling, floor-space as well as e-waste and environmental health and safety (PCFE). To close the gap will involve addressing green messaging and rhetoric closer to where IT organizations pain points are and where budget dollars exists that can address PCFE and other green related issues as a by-product. The green gap will also be narrowed as awareness of broader green related topics coincide with IT data center pain points, in other words, alignment of messaging with IT issues that have or will have budget dollars allocated towards them to sustain business and ...

Green and Virtual Data Center: Productive Economical Efficient Effective Flexible

January 31, 2015 – 2:56 pm
Green and Virtual Data Center A Green and Virtual IT Data Center (e.g. an information factory) means an environment comprising: Habitat for technology or physical infrastructure (e.g. physical data center, yours, co-lo, managed service or cloud) Power, cooling, communication networks, HVAC, smoke and fire suppression, physical security IT data information infrastructure (e.g. hardware, software, valueware, cloud, virtual, physical, servers, storage, network) Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) along with IT Service Management (ITSM) software defined management tools Tools for monitoring, resource tracking and usage, reporting, diagnostics, provisioning and resource orchestration Portals and service catalogs for automated, user initiated and assisted operation or access to IT resources Processes, procedures, best-practices, work-flows and templates (including data protection with HA, BC, BR, DR, backup/restore, logical and physical security) Metrics that matter for management insight and awareness People and skill sets among other items Green and Virtual Data Center Resources ...

Green and Virtual Data Center Links

January 31, 2015 – 2:56 pm
Green and Virtual IT Data Center Links Moving beyond Green Hype and Green washing Green hype and green washing may be on the endangered species list and going away, however, green IT for servers, storage, networks, facilities as well as related software and management techniques that address energy efficiency including power and cooling along with e-waste, environmental health and safety related issues are topics that wont be going away anytime soon. There is a growing green gap between green hype messaging or green washing and IT pain point issues including limits on availability or rising costs of power, cooling, floor-space as well as e-waste and environmental health and safety (PCFE). To close the gap will involve addressing green messaging and rhetoric closer to where IT organizations pain points are and where budget dollars exists that can address PCFE and other green related issues as a by-product. The green gap will also be ...

January 2015 Server StorageIO Industry Trends Newsletter

January 30, 2015 – 12:25 pm
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Server storage I/O Intel NUC nick knack notes – First impressions

January 6, 2015 – 5:35 pm
Server storage I/O Intel NUC nick knack notes - First impressions This is the first of a two-part (part II here) series of my experiences (and impressions) using an Intel NUC ( a 4th generation model) for various things about cloud, virtual, physical and software defined server storage I/O networking. The NUC has been around new for a few years and continues to evolve and recently I bought my first one (e.g. a 4th generation model) to join some other servers that I have. My reason for getting a NUC is to use it as a simple low-power platform to run different software on including bare-metal OS, hypervisors, cloud, virtual and software defined server storage and networking applications on that might otherwise be on an old laptop or mini-tower. Intel® NUC with Intel® Core™ i5 Processor and 2.5-Inch Drive Support (NUC5i5RYH) via Intel.com Introducing Intel Next Unit Computing aka NUC For those ...

Server storage I/O Intel NUC nick knack notes – Second impressions

January 6, 2015 – 5:35 pm
Server storage I/O Intel NUC nick knack notes - Second impressions This is the second of a two-part series about my first and second impressions of the Intel NUC (Next Unit Computing). In the first post (here) I give an overview and my first impressions while in this post lets look at options added to my NUC model 54250, first deployment use and more impressions. Intel® NUC with Intel® Core™ i5 Processor and 2.5-Inch Drive Support (NUC5i5RYH) via Intel.com What you will want to add to a NUC Since the NUC is a basic brick with a processor mounted on its mother board, you will need to add memory, some type of persistent storage device (mSATA, SATA or USB based) and optionally a WiFi card. One of the nice things about the NUC is that in many ways it is the equivalent functionality of a laptop or mini-tower ...

Revisiting RAID storage remains relevant and resources

December 23, 2014 – 12:36 am
Revisiting RAID storage remains relevant and resources If RAID were really not relevant anymore (e.g. actually dead), why do some people spend so much time trying to convince others that it is dead or to use a different RAID level or enhanced RAID or beyond raid with related advanced approaches? When you hear RAID, what comes to mind? A legacy monolithic storage system that supports narrow 4, 5 or 6 drive wide stripe sets or a modern system support dozens of drives in a RAID group with different options? RAID means many things, likewise there are different implementations (hardware, software, systems, adapters, operating systems) with various functionality, some better than others. For example, which of the items in the following figure come to mind, or perhaps are new to your RAID vocabulary? There are Many Variations of RAID Storage some for the enterprise, some for SMB, SOHO or consumer. Some have better performance than ...