Turbocharging Application Response

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If it takes more than a few seconds for an application or website to respond, staff productivity can erode and customers will move on. Dell Fluid Cache for SAN enables remarkable I/O performance to keep IT operating at the speed of business. Find out more: http://del.ly/Turbocharge

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Turbocharging Application Response

  1. 1. 56 2014 Issue 02 | Dell.com/powersolutions Features Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2014 Issue 2. Copyright © 2014 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. B y concentrating on technology advances that raise the bar for application performance, enterprise leaders aim to engage customers with a quick, responsive experience and meet line-of-business user demands for a sharper competitive edge. For example, in an online transaction processing (OLTP) scenario for a retail online store, customers expect minimal wait times and the assurance that their transactions have been successfully completed. In a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) scenario, power users require high performance and fast virtual desktop access to optimize productivity and collaboration. These requirements shape important considerations for delivering IT services to enable companies to have the best strategic advantage. High latency between storage and compute resources is a particular concern because it leads to slow responses and long wait times during periods of steady-state as well as heavy-peak usage. Organizations can minimize latency and accelerate applications using a server-based, write-back cache pool together with a storage area network (SAN). For this approach to succeed, however, the cache pool data must be safeguarded to ensure high availability. Dell addresses this challenge with an innovative solution designed to deliver the stability of a highly available, write-back pooled caching solution at the compute layer that helps reduce latency dramatically in a SAN environment. Accelerating performance while protecting data Dell Fluid Cache for SAN is a scale-out caching solution designed to maximize computational horsepower for multiple servers deployed in a cache pool that is connected If it takes more than a few seconds for an application or website to respond, staff productivity can erode and customers will move on. Dell Fluid Cache for SAN enables remarkable I/O performance to keep IT operating at the speed of business. By Kishore Gagrani and Karen Makransky Turbocharging application response
  2. 2. Dell.com/powersolutions | 2014 Issue 02 57Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2014 Issue 2. Copyright © 2014 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. to a Dell Compellent SAN. This end-to- end solution uses Dell PowerEdge servers containing either PowerEdge Express Flash PCI Express (PCIe) solid-state drives (SSDs) or non-volatile memory express (NVM Express) drives. The servers are connected to Dell Compellent storage to bring the most frequently accessed data close to compute resources and create a shared global cache for compatible servers. In this way, Dell Fluid Cache for SAN helps improve response time and transactions per second while supporting a high number of simultaneous users. The solution also offers unified management through Dell Compellent Enterprise Manager 2014 and supports storage volume snapshots. The Dell Compellent ability to migrate active data up and move passive data down through multiple tiers of storage helps avoid performance bottlenecks. A Dell Fluid Cache for SAN architecture requires a minimum of three validated PowerEdge servers that include PCIe SSDs (see figure). These servers, also known as cache contributor servers, provide the cache for all servers connected to the cache pool. Not every server, however, must have cache. In the scenario shown in the figure, five servers do not have cache. These servers, called cache client servers, can gain I/O application performance boosts from an established cache pool. All servers in the cache pool require Dell Fluid Cache for SAN software. They must be connected to a 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) or 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40GbE) private cache network. SAN storage is accessed through either a Fibre Channel or Internet SCSI (iSCSI) connection. The SAN for this solution comprises a Dell Compellent SC8000 controller and a Dell Compellent SC220 storage array. Dell Fluid Cache for SAN accelerates application response by bringing data closer to compute resources. Dell Fluid Cache for SAN is a scale-out caching solution designed to maximize computational horsepower for multiple servers deployed in a cache pool that is connected to a Dell Compellent SAN. Dell PowerEdge cache contributor servers* Cache client servers** Storage network (Fibre Channel or iSCSI) Private cache network (10GbE/40GbE) PCIe SSD cache pool Dell Compellent SC8000 and storage array *A minimum of three validated Dell servers are required to establish the cache pool. **Cache client servers can be a mix of Dell and other servers that run a supported OS and have an available PCIe slot. BreMcGee/LonLeviton
  3. 3. 58 2014 Issue 02 | Dell.com/powersolutions Features Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, 2014 Issue 2. Copyright © 2014 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. The low-latency private cache network requires a validated Dell Networking 10GbE or 40GbE switch; a second switch can be used to support a failover architecture. Each server participating in the private cache network requires an available PCIe slot for a network interface card to connect into the switch. To safeguard data from server to SAN, Dell Fluid Cache for SAN utilizes innovative write-back caching. The solution replicates data in the caching layer, helping ensure data integrity. In the event of a cache server outage, data remains highly available and persistent in the cache pool cluster. Transitory data from the cache is automatically flushed to the back-end SAN. Enhancing IT flexibility Dell Fluid Cache for SAN enables other compatible infrastructure components to be included in the deployment, heightening IT flexibility. Organizations can leverage investments in a variety of existing infrastructure components by using them within an adaptive Fluid Cache cluster connected to Dell Compellent storage. For example, IT professionals can revitalize existing compatible servers running virtually any application by including them in the cache pool for an application performance boost. Database and virtualization performance of an existing cache pool also can be scaled by adding validated PowerEdge cache contributor servers and hot-swappable PowerEdge Express Flash PCIe SSDs on the fly, without taking down a live cache cluster. Achieving real-world results The acceleration provided by Dell Fluid Cache for SAN helps deliver exceptionally fast response times, which can translate to real-world results. (For more information, see the sidebar, “By the numbers.”) For education, more students can concurrently log on and access their files at central virtual desktops faster than before. In healthcare, customers can simultaneously sign up for health insurance during enrollment periods with minimal site time-out issues. Online retailers can minimize wait times for an enhanced customer experience and high conversion rates. And in VDI environments, delays in storage performance caused by boot storms and other periods of high I/O activity are significantly diminished for end users. These types of results ultimately mean a high return on an organization’s IT investment — helping enterprises reach their full potential. By the numbers In December 2013, Dell engineers at Dell Labs ran an online transaction processing test using an Oracle workload for retail on an eight-node cluster stack of Dell hardware. Dell Fluid Cache for SAN achieved a 6 millisecond average response time with 12,609 transactions/second while supporting 14,000 users. These results represent 99 percent faster response time, a fourfold increase in transactions per second and a sixfold increase in concurrent users, compared to the same test on the same Dell hardware stack without Dell Fluid Cache for SAN. Full speed ahead Learn how organizations gain a competitive advantage by meeting end-user demand for fast application response. qrs.ly/j641rm7 Authors Kishore Gagrani is global product director for Fluid Cache at Dell. Karen Makransky is product marketing manager for Fluid Cache at Dell. Learn more Dell Fluid Cache for SAN: Dell.com/fluidcache Dell, Compellent and PowerEdge are trademarks of Dell Inc. Organizations can leverage investments in a variety of existing infrastructure components by using them within an adaptive Fluid Cache cluster connected to Dell Compellent storage.

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