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Virtualizing Mission-Critical Applications


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To create the infrastructure for a private enterprise cloud, Intel IT has set a goal of virtualizing up to 75 percent of our office and enterprise computing environments. To achieve this goal, Intel …

To create the infrastructure for a private enterprise cloud, Intel IT has set a goal of virtualizing up to 75 percent of our office and enterprise computing environments. To achieve this goal, Intel IT will need to virtualize mission-critical application, which is challenging due to rigorous performance, availability, and other requirements.

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  • 1. IT@Intel White PaperIntel ITIT Best PracticesCloud ComputingJanuary 2011Virtualizing Mission-Critical Applications Executive Overview Following the successful To create the infrastructure for a private enterprise cloud, Intel IT has set a proof of concept, Intel IT goal of virtualizing up to 75 percent of our office and enterprise computing environments. To achieve this goal, Intel IT will need to virtualize mission-critical plans to start virtualizing the applications, which is challenging due to rigorous performance, availability, and first of many mission-critical other requirements.applications in 2011 as part of our private cloud environment. To determine the feasibility of virtualizing by up to 40 percent by enabling mission-critical applications and identify Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology. optimum server consolidation ratios, • Achieved a 5:1 server consolidation Intel IT and Intel Architecture Group ratio in the tests. conducted proof-of-concept (PoC) testing. • Greatly reduced unplanned downtime The testing focused on an enterprise due to server failure; downtime was application integration (EAI) platform used five minutes in the virtualized to exchange confidential, sensitive, and environment compared to 30 minutes essential business information between in the physical environment. Intel and its customers and suppliers. We compared performance, availability, • Could more quickly accommodate increases and deployment time with physical and in workload by deploying new EAI Nickie Lee virtualized configurations. We found that components in four hours, compared with EAI Architect the virtualized configuration: two weeks in the physical environment. Intel IT • Delivered 1.4x the maximum throughput Following the successful PoC, Intel IT plans Uttam Shetty of the physical configuration and 5x to start virtualizing this EAI platform, the first Private Cloud Engineering the average throughput observed in the of many mission-critical applications, in 2011. Intel Architecture Group production environment, demonstrating The PoC opens the door to virtualization of the ability to meet performance other mission-critical applications at Intel Raghuram Yeluri service-level agreements (SLAs) and and represents a significant step toward Private Cloud Architect accommodate anticipated growth. We the goal of virtualizing 75 percent of the Intel Architecture Group also improved virtualization performance Intel IT office and enterprise environments.
  • 2. I T@Intel White Paper Virtualizing Mission-Critical Applications Contents BUSINESS CHALLENGE benefits outweighed the risks. Another key objective was to establish optimum server Executive Overview.. ............................ 1 Intel IT is implementing a private consolidation ratios. Our testing focused cloud based on flexible, energy- Business Challenge ............................. 2 on areas such as performance, availability, efficient virtualized infrastructure to speed of application deployment, and total Proof of Concept. . ................................. 2 realize cloud computing benefits such cost of ownership (TCO). PoC Objectives. . .................................. 3 as increased agility and reduced cost. PoC Architecture................................ 3 As a first step to building our private cloud, we are rapidly virtualizing Results ................................................ 4 our existing office and enterprise PROOF OF CONCEPT Next Steps.............................................. 6 computing environments, with the For our PoC, we focused on a goal of virtualizing up to 75 percent Conclusion . . ............................................ 6 mission-critical enterprise application of applications. integration (EAI) platform. This enables and automates the exchange We have focused initial efforts on of essential business documents, applications that lend themselves most such as purchase orders, between readily to virtualization, yielding the greatest Intel’s internal business applications benefit with the lowest risk. Examples and Intel’s customers and suppliers. include departmental and line-of-business It accepts information from these applications. We are achieving consolidation trading partners, translates the data ratios of up to 20:1 when virtualizing older into formats Intel uses internally, servers running these applications and and then passes it to our enterprise consolidating them onto servers based on resource planning (ERP) and other the latest Intel® Xeon® processors. internal applications. The platform In order to achieve the ultimate goal also translates information passing in of virtualizing up to 75 percent of our the reverse direction—from internal environment, we will eventually have applications to Intel customers and to virtualize mission-critical applications suppliers. A high level-overview is as well. This is perceived as much more shown in Figure 1. challenging, with significant risks. Mission- critical applications must meet very high Because the platform handles information performance and availability requirements, that directly affects Intel’s revenue, its defined in service-level agreements (SLAs) performance and availability are critical. Each with Intel’s business groups. business document generates one or more IT@INTEL Performance is a key concern. Because messages that must be processed by the The IT@Intel program connects IT EAI platform. The platform currently handles virtualization involves moving applications professionals around the world with their about 1 million messages per day, and this from dedicated physical servers to a shared peers inside our organization – sharing number is expected to increase over time environment, there is a risk of performance lessons learned, methods and strategies. to 3 million messages per day. The number Our goal is simple: Share Intel IT best degradation due to the need to share of users is expected to increase from about practices that create business value and storage and network resources. make IT a competitive advantage. Visit 600 to approximately 2,000. Intel IT, with Intel Architecture Group, us today at or contact This mission-critical platform has a 99.99 your local Intel representative if you’d conducted proof-of-concept (PoC) testing percent uptime requirement. It processes like to learn more. to assess the feasibility of virtualizing many different types of information from mission-critical applications within Intel multiple trading partners; the SLAs for and to determine whether the potential
  • 3. Virtualizing Mission-Critical Applications IT@Intel White Paper Business-to-Business Enterprise Application Internal Applications Gateways Integration Platform Enterprise Resource RosettaNet* Application Server Tier Planning Line of Business Intel Customers Adapter and Suppliers File Shares Electronic Data Interchange Database Tier Other Database Adapter File Transfer Service Storage DatabasesFigure 1. Role of the mission-critical enterprise application integration platform within the Intel IT environment.some of these transactions stipulate CONSOLIDATION RATIOS The implementation that we tested inthat messages must be processed and We also designed our testing to determine the PoC is complex: It handles more thantransmitted within five minutes of receipt. server consolidation ratios that optimize 100 different document types from performance and resource utilization. If our multiple trading partners.PoC Objectives testing was successful, the design could • Database tier. In addition to theA key goal of the PoC was to determine be used as a template for virtualizing other application tiers above, the platformwhether the benefits of virtualizing a EAI instances within Intel. EAI platforms are includes databases that store themission-critical platform outweigh the risks. used for many purposes at Intel, running on message boxes and track progress.We focused on several specific areas. a total of about 100 physical servers. Each of these tiers is deployed on one or more servers. Within each tier, throughputFEASIBILITY OF VIRTUALIZING PoC ArchitectureMISSION-CRITICAL APPLICATIONS can be increased using a scale-out approach— The EAI platform includes an integrationWe needed to determine whether a creating new instances of the EAI component engine consisting of three application servervirtualized implementation could: and deploying them on additional servers. tiers (receiving, transmitting and orchestration).• Achieve performance equal to or The platform also includes a database tier. TEST ENVIRONMENT better than the physical production • Receiving tier. Processes incoming For the PoC, we created a physical test environment. messages and stores them in one or configuration that matched our production• Accommodate the expected growth more message boxes located on a configuration. As shown in Figure 2, this in message volume. database server. consisted of the application and database• Reduce unplanned and planned downtime. • Transmitting tier. Retrieves messages tiers deployed across 10 physical servers, each from a message box and routes them to based on Intel® Xeon® processor 5400 series.RETURN ON INVESTMENT AND AGILITY destination systems. We compared this physical setup with aWe assessed additional potential benefits • Orchestration tier. Defines and applies virtualized configuration on a dedicatedsuch as faster application deployment and actions to each message in order to network representing the Intel privatereduced cost due to server consolidation. implement specific business processes. cloud environment, also shown in Figure 2. 3
  • 4. I T@Intel White Paper Virtualizing Mission-Critical Applications Physical Environment Virtual Environment 10 Dual-socket Servers Based on Intel® Xeon® Processor L5410 2 Dual-socket Servers Based on Intel® Xeon® Processor X5570 Virtualization Host Virtualization Host R O M T T MB2 R R T T O O O R O MB1 T O Ethernet MB 10 Gigabit Ethernet M 1/2 T (GbE) Connection Data Center Fibre Channel Switch Connection (1Gigabit [Gb]) Fibre Channel Connection (8 Gb) Shared Storage Area Network Storage Area Network/ Network Attached Storage Pool Application Server Tier, R Receive, T Transmit, O Orchestrate Database Server Tier, M Master MessageBox, MB Publication MessageBox, T TrackingFigure 2. Proof of concept architecture.To create this configuration, we virtualized TEST PROCEDURE Resultseach of the application and database We created test scripts to generate In our tests, the virtualized configurationservers and consolidated them onto two representative transaction workloads. We provided greater throughput than thephysical virtualization host servers. This compared peak and average throughput physical configuration, demonstrating therepresented a 5:1 consolidation ratio. in the physical and virtualized test capacity to handle anticipated productionEach of the virtualization hosts was a dual- environments. workload growth. Tests also indicated thatsocket server based on Intel® Xeon® processor We also simulated planned and unplanned the virtualized configuration could reduce5500 series, which includes features that downtime scenarios, and compared the time downtime and accelerate deployment.increase virtualization performance such as required to deploy new server instances Results are summarized in Table 2.Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) to increase throughput and accommodateand Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology demand growth. PERFORMANCE AND UTILIZATION(Intel® HT Technology). Maximum throughput of the virtualized Preliminary testing indicated that enabling configuration was 436,000 messages perWe determined the resources that should Intel HT Technology in the virtualization hour, 1.4x the maximum throughput ofbe allocated to each virtualized server by host servers based on Intel Xeon processor 259,000 messages obtained using theanalyzing utilization of the corresponding 5500 series increased throughput by up to physical setup and about 5x the averagephysical server in the current production 40 percent. We therefore enabled Intel HT throughout (86,000) in the currentenvironment. Detailed specifications are Technology on these servers throughout production environment.shown in Table 1. the PoC.
  • 5. Virtualizing Mission-Critical Applications IT@Intel White PaperTable 1. Proof of Concept System Specifications Physical Configuration Virtual Configuration Specification Utilization Resources Allocated Application Server Tier CPU • Dual-socket servers • 15 to 20% of 8 cores = • 2 virtual CPUs on a dual-socket server (Specifications for with 2x Intel® Xeon® 2 cores with 2x Intel® Xeon® processor X5570 each server) processor L5410 (2.93 GHz, quad-core) • Orchestrating Tier (2.33 GHz, quad-core) • Receiving Tier Memory • 8 GB • 32-bit OS; maximum use • 72 GB; 6 GB per virtual machine (VM) 5.5 GB • Transmitting Tier Network • 3x 100 Mb network • 10 Mb – production • 1x 1-Gb NIC interface cards (NICs) • 50 Mb – backup • 1x 10-Gb NIC • 5 Mb – remote management Local Storage • 40 GB • 40 GB • None Database Tier CPU • Dual-socket servers with 2x • 52% of 8 cores = 4 cores • 2 virtual CPUs on a dual-socket server Intel Xeon processor L5410 with 2x Intel Xeon processor X5570 (2.33 GHz, quad-core) (2.93 GHz, quad-core) Memory • 8 GB • 32-bit OS; maximum use • 72 GB; 6 GB per VM 5.5 GB Network • 100 Mb • 20 Mb – production NIC • 1x 1-Gb NIC • 20 Mb – backup • 1x 10-Gb NIC • 20 Mb – remote management Storage • 2x 2 Gb host bus adapter • Storage IOPS: 150 to 200 • 2x 8 Gb HBA (HBA) (for SAN access) on average; peak:1000 (for SAN access) • Local storage: 20 GBBased on this result, the virtualized PLANNED DOWNTIME Unplanned Downtimeconfiguration could accommodate the In the physical environment, server In the physical environment, a databaseanticipated growth in the production maintenance requires application or application server failure impactsworkload to 3 million messages per day, downtime, which must be scheduled performance as workloads are redirectedor 375,000 messages per hour. in advance with business groups. In to the remaining servers in an application a virtualized environment, the hosts or database cluster. In addition, a failureThe servers were utilized more efficiently running the EAI platform are part of a can require rebooting physical servers,in the virtualized environment. CPU utilization virtualization cluster, and live migration which can take up to 30 minutes. In theon the virtualization host servers based on can be used to move the EAI platform virtualized environment, in the event ofIntel Xeon processor 5500 series averaged off one host and onto another host a crash, we can restore VMs to another35 to 42 percent, reaching a maximum of within the cluster. This provides the server, reducing the unplanned downtime56 percent. This was comparable with ability to perform maintenance on the required. For the PoC, we simulated autilization of 15 to 20 percent for application original host without the need for crash by powering off VMs using theservers and 52 percent for database servers application downtime. virtualization software managementin the physical configuration. console. Successfully restoring all the VMs During the PoC, we validated thisAVAILABILITY took five minutes—one-sixth the time approach by seamlessly moving four required for a physical server reboot.Testing indicated that virtualization virtual machines (VMs) off one of thecould significantly reduce unplanned host servers and onto another server. We AGILITYdowntime. It could also eliminate the verified that transactions continued to run In both the physical and virtualizedneed for planned downtime when server during the migration, without interruption environments, it is possible to accommodatemaintenance is required. to service. 5
  • 6. I T@Intel White Paper Virtualizing Mission-Critical ApplicationsTable 2. Summary Results Physical Servers Virtual Servers Improvement Number of Servers Required 10 2 80% reduction Maximum Throughput (Messages per hour) 259,000 436,000 1.4x increase Average Utilization 15 to 20% for application 35 to 42% Approximately 2x improvement servers; 52% for database for application servers servers Approximate Time to Restart Application or 30 minutes 5 minutes 83% reduction Database Server Following Failure Time to Deploy New Platform Component 80 hours 4 hours 95% reductiondemand growth by scaling out—adding NEXT STEPS In our tests, the virtualized configurationmore servers within a tier. In the virtualized delivered greater throughput than the Due to the success of our PoC, weenvironment, this can be completed current physical production configuration, plan to virtualize the mission-criticalmuch more quickly, in about four hours demonstrating that the virtualized platform production EAI application in 2011,compared with two weeks in the physical can meet existing SLAs and provide once the necessary private cloudenvironment. headroom for growth. Virtualization infrastructure is in place and we performance improved up to 40 percentIntel IT application requirements are have conducted further performance using Intel HT Technology.complex; the platform includes about testing in a shared network and100 different interfaces to handle storage environment. The virtualized configuration deliveredinformation from different trading partners. this performance while achieving a 5:1In a physical environment, deploying all We are analyzing the potential for further consolidation ratio compared to thethese interfaces on a new server is time- optimization using Intel® architecture features current physical production configuration,consuming and labor-intensive; because such as Intel® Turbo Boost Technology, demonstrating the potential to reducethe interfaces are provided by a variety of included in the latest Intel Xeon processors, server TCO. We also observed significantdifferent developers, we cannot automate and Intel® Virtualization Technology Extended improvements in availability and the speedthe process with a single script. As a result, Page Tables, a feature of Intel VT that can of application can take two weeks—80 work hours— increase virtualization performance with The success of our PoC is a significantdeploy a new physical server and install all memory-intensive application workloads. step toward the ultimate goal of virtualizingthese interfaces. up to 75 percent of the Intel IT environment.In the virtual environment, it is possible We plan to move ahead with virtualizingto simply clone a new VM from an CONCLUSION this EAI application during 2011, and weexisting VM, which guarantees that all are also preparing to virtualize other EAI Our PoC demonstrated that virtualizingcomponents are installed in the new VM. servers. The successful tests also open the business-critical applications is notIn our tests, this required approximately door to virtualization of other mission-critical only feasible but offers considerablefour hours. applications at Intel, including externally benefits that outweigh the risks. facing applications.For more information on Intel IT best practices,visit
  • 7. CONTRIBUTORS ACRONYMS Chris Black EAI enterprise application integration Private Cloud Infrastructure Engineer, Intel IT ERP enterprise resource planning Ajay Chandramouly Gb gigabit Industry Engagement Manager, Intel IT GbE gigabit Ethernet Vishwa Hassan IT Research and Technology Development, Intel IT HBA host bus adapter Ashish Khare Intel® HT Technology Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology EAI Engineering, Intel IT Intel® VT Intel® Virtualization Technology Bharat Mohla NIC network interface card EAI Engineering Manager, Intel IT PoC proof of concept Sanjay Rungta SLA service-level agreement Principal Engineer and Network Architect, Intel IT TCO total cost of ownership Terry Yoshi Storage Architect, Intel IT VM virtual machinePerformance tests and ratings are measured using specific computer systems ARISING OUT OF ANY PROPOSAL, SPECIFICATION OR SAMPLE. Inteland/or components and reflect the approximate performance of Intel products disclaims all liability, including liability for infringement of any proprietaryas measured by those tests. Any difference in system hardware or software rights, relating to use of information in this specification. No license, expressdesign or configuration may affect actual performance. Buyers should or implied, by estoppel or otherwise, to any intellectual property rights isconsult other sources of information to evaluate the performance of systems granted herein.or components they are considering purchasing. For more information on Intel, the Intel logo, and Xeon are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S.performance tests and on the performance of Intel products, reference www. and other or call (U.S.)1-800-628-8686 or 1-916-356-3104. * Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.This paper is for informational purposes only. THIS DOCUMENT IS Copyright © 2011 Intel Corporation. All rights reserved.PROVIDED “AS IS” WITH NO WARRANTIES WHATSOEVER, INCLUDINGANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY, NONINFRINGEMENT, FITNESS Printed in USA Please RecycleFOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR ANY WARRANTY OTHERWISE 0111/ABC/KC/PDF 324168-001US