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Joint paper with Microsoft, Dell and Blackboard covering the flexibility and scalability of our deployment reference architecture.

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Bb sql serverdell

  1. 1. TMBlackboard Learn™High AvailabilityBlueprint withDell and MicrosoftMAKING CONTINUOUS SYSTEMAVAILABILITY AFFORDABLE1 blackboard.com
  2. 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY With online learning taking a more central role in education, continuous system availability has become a critical requirement. Many institutions are implementing their Blackboard Learn™ environments with cluster configurations to reduce the risk of service outages. This paper discusses how Blackboard Learn service levels can be increased using Windows 2008 R2 cluster services for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 running on Dell PowerEdge servers, Dell EqualLogic and Dell PowerVault storage. Utilizing the capabilities of the Dell Public Solutions Center, Blackboard, Dell, and Microsoft partnered to create a solution architecture blueprint that delivers high availability for Blackboard Learn. This paper describes the solution architecture and provides configuration guidelines as well as recommended best practices. Benefits of the Solution Architecture The solution architecture is designed to help customers achieve: Reduced risk of downtime through a reliable technology infrastructure, jointly developed and tested by Dell, Blackboard and Microsoft. The reliable infrastructure translates into continuous learning as everyone on campus has access to the data they need. Increased uptime through high availability features in Dell server and storage systems, replicated components in the application tier, a storage configuration with RAID 5 or 10 protection, and a failover cluster service for the database server. Investment protection through the scalable Dell server and storage com- ponents as well as the ability to use Microsoft Windows and Microsoft SQL server technologies and to leverage existing staff expertise. Lower TCO due to outstanding price/performance of the virtualized envi- ronment and simplified management of virtualized resources, including VM cloning techniques that enable rapid provisioning.2
  3. 3. CONTENTS Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Benefits of the Solution Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Dell and Microsoft Highly Available Architecture for Blackboard Learn™ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Virtualization with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Building Availability into the Virtualized Environment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 How Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Failover Clustering Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Recommended Dell Server Configurations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Storage Architecture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Blackboard Learn File Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Recommended Storage Configurations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Additional Best Practices and Configuration Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Application Tier Configuration Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Storage Tier Configuration Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Network Configuration Guidelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 For More Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Appendix A—Hardware and Software Component Descriptions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11TABLES Table 1: Standard and Advanced Sizing configuration examples. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Table 2: Storage configuration examples. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Table 3: Web Links for Additional Information.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Table 4: Recommended Server and Storage Components. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Table 5: Key Software Components. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12FIGURES Figure 1: Logical diagram of the solution architecture. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Figure 2: VMs can be deployed across multiple physical servers for maximum availability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Figure 3: Database server cluster failover process.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Figure 4: Logical storage architecture. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 blackboard.com
  4. 4. IntroductionThe Blackboard Learn architecture has built-in availability for the application tier when implemented using horizontallyscaled application instances. Adding clustering to the database server is the recommended method for improving servicelevel availability even further. Clustering enables failover between redundant physical servers or between redundantvirtual machines (VMs) on the same physical server. Many customers today are deploying their application tier instancesin a virtualized manner and a similar approach can also be taken with the database tier when deploying a database cluster.The two primary benefits for deploying the database in a clustered configuration are: Service level availability When a hardware or software failure occurs on one database server node, the SQL Server database can failover to the other node with minimal impact to end users. Often end users don’t even notice the slight delay or tempo- rary slow down in performance during the failover process, which takes a matter of seconds. Simplified management A single point of administration for the cluster and its resources makes the cluster easier to manage than manag- ing two servers or VMs individually.The solution architecture blueprint is based on Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2,Dell PowerEdge servers, Dell EqualLogic storage, and Blackboard Learn. The hardware and software components inthe architecture have been tested together and are validated to achieve optimal performance for supporting the twoworkloads, Standard and Advanced Sizing configurations for Blackboard Learn.DELL AND MICROSOFT HIGHLY AVAILABLE ARCHITECTURE FORBLACKBOARD LEARN™The virtualized highly available architecture from Dell, architecture utilizes server virtualization with MicrosoftMicrosoft, and Blackboard offers increased availability Hyper-V to deliver maximum throughput on multicoreat an affordable price. Delivering the solution on a pure Dell PowerEdge servers.Microsoft platform enables institutions to deploy the Figure 1 shows a logical representation of the virtualizedBlackboard Learn platform in a consistent and scalable architecture. Solution components are deployed across anmanner with other enterprise solutions that may already application tier, a database tier, and a storage tier. It shouldbe running on a Microsoft platform. be noted that while this paper provides specific Dell serverThe solution is built on a robust server and storage archi- and storage recommendations for two Blackboard Learntecture based on virtualized Dell PowerEdge servers with configurations, Dell offers numerous server and storageIntel Xeon Processor E7 family CPUs and Dell EqualLogic options. A Dell representative can design a customizediSCSI and Dell PowerVault CIFS storage systems. The configuration to meet any unique customer requirements.4
  5. 5. VIRTUALIZATION WITHVIRTUALIZED DELL AND MICROSOFT MICROSOFT WINDOWS SERVERARCHITECTURE FOR BLACKBOARD LEARN 2008 R2 HYPER-V The virtualization infrastructure is implemented Application Tier using Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper- VM # 1 Microsoft Hyper-V V, which provides a dynamic, reliable, and scal- Blackboard Learn Virtualization able virtualization platform. It also offers a single VM # n Blackboard Learn set of integrated management tools to manage Storage Tier Dell PowerEdge both physical and virtual resources, enabling the R810 Servers creation of agile and dynamic data centers. Dell PowerVault NX3100 Some of the key features of Hyper-V R2 that Dell EqualLogic Database Tier PS6000 Family Storage Systems Dell PowerVault NX1950 make it a good fit for the Blackboard Learn solu- VM # 1 Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R Dell PowerVault NX1950 Dell PowerVault NX1950 tion include: VM # n Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R Virtual Machine Live Migration so that VMs can be migrated from one server to another R2 Dell PowerEdge R810 Servers without disruption. Support for Cluster Share Volumes (CSV) that enable clustered VMs to easily share aFigure 1: Logical diagram of the solution architecture. single disk volume. Dynamic reallocation of memory between different VMs in response to changing workloads.SERVER VIRTUALIZATION FLEXIBILITY Integration with System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 (SCVMM 2008 Virtual Machine # A-1: App Server Virtual Machine # B-n: Database Server R2) for simplified management of both 8-32 GB memory 64-256 GB memory One virtual CPU thread virtual and physical server resources. 2 -4 virtual CPU threads for every two in App tier Blackboard Learn Windows Server 2008 R2 Web/App server SQL Server 2008 R2 Building Availability into the Virtual Machine # A-2: App Server Virtualized Environment Virtual Machine # B-2: App Server 8-32 GB memory 8-32 GB memory 2-4 virtual CPU threads 2-4 Virtual CPU threads Blackboard Learn Blackboard Learn For maximum availability, it is recommended to Web/App server Web/App server have at least two physical servers in the archi- tecture so that the loss of one physical server Virtual Machine # A-n: Database Server Virtual Machine # B-n: App Server 64-256 GB memory will not bring down all instances of the database 8-32 GB memory One virtual CPU thread for every two in App tier 2-4 Virtual CPU threads nor all application tier instances. Figure 2 shows Windows Server 2008 R2 Blackboard Learn SQL Server 2008 R2 Web/App server an example of how database and application tier instances can be spread across two Dell Power- Edge R810 servers to avoid having a single pointDell PowerEdge R810 Server A Dell PowerEdge R810 Server B of failure.Figure 2: VMs can be deployed across multiple physical servers formaximum availability. blackboard.com
  6. 6. HOW MICROSOFT SQL SERVER 2008 Failover can be initiated automatically in the event of a failureFAILOVER CLUSTERING WORKS (e.g. hardware, operating system, application, or serviceSQL Server failover clustering provides high-availability failure), or manually such as for a planned upgrade. Duringsupport for an entire SQL Server instance and is built on a failover, the ownership of the cluster resource group istop of an established Windows Server failover cluster. transferred to another node in the cluster. In the case of theA Windows Server failover cluster aims to provide high Blackboard Learn database server, only two cluster nodesavailability for services or applications that run within the are required, so ownership is simply transferred to the otherfailover cluster. It contains a group of independent cluster identically configured database server node.nodes (physical servers or virtual machines) that work The Windows Server failover cluster service monitors andtogether to increase the availability of applications and ser- manages the SQL Server 2008 instances and assigns theirvices. Failover clustering can protect against hardware and network names and IP addresses. A virtual name and IPsoftware failures by failing over resources from one cluster address is assigned to the entire cluster resource group,node to another as required. providing a unique identifier that clients (applicationFailover is the process of taking a clustered service or servers) can use to connect to the SQL Server instanceapplication offline on one node and bringing it back online regardless of which node is currently the active instance. Ason another node. This process is typically transparent to illustrated in Figure 3, when the resource group fails over,the users, who should experience a minimal disruption of the virtual name and IP address are redirected to the newservice when a failover occurs. active node. This process is transparent to clients so that there is no need to change the name or IP address that theyFrom a logical standpoint, a SQL Server failover cluster are using to connect to the SQL Server database.appears on the network as a single SQL Server instance ona single computer. The cluster nodes even use a common One important new feature of Windows Server 2008 toLUN for accessing shared storage as described in the improve availability is the removal of the previous depen-storage architecture section below. At any point in time, dency on a single shared disk to establish a quorum. Inonly one of the cluster nodes is active and owns the cluster cluster configurations, the term quorum is used to defineresource group including the shared storage resources. All the list of components that must be online for that clusterclient requests are served by the active SQL Server instance to continue running. In Windows Server 2003, a nodeand the other SQL Server instance is in passive mode until could continue participating in the cluster only as long asa failover is initiated. it remained in communication with a shared disk known Active Database Connections Are Blackboard Blackboard Server Node Fails Users Users Re-established to New Active Node Failover Blackboard Blackboard Application Instances Results Application Instances in Role Reversal for DB Server Nodes Database Database Database Database Server Instance # 1 Server Instance # 2 Server Instance # 1 Server Instance # 2 Active Passive Passive Active Cluster Cluster Shared Shared Storage StorageFigure 3: Database server cluster failover process.6
  7. 7. as the quorum disk. This quorum disk was the same for all The Dell PowerEdge servers can be configured to supportnodes, thus making it a single point of failure. This single either a Standard Sizing configuration or an Advancedpoint of failure was removed in Windows Server 2008 by Sizing configuration. The Standard Sizing configuration isadding support for four quorum modes that give increased recommended for institutions that have minimal deploy-flexibility for how quorums are established. ment of distance learning or connected classroom initia- tives (less than 5%). It is designed to balance availabilityThe Blackboard Learn database server employs a cluster and performance using cost-effective platforms.of two or more virtual or physical nodes. Each node runsan instance of the SQL Server database as shown in Figure The Advanced Sizing configuration is designed for institu-2 in the above section. In the event of a failover, users may tions of varying sizes that are deploying distance learningnotice a brief delay of a few seconds, but can continue their programs or connected classroom initiatives to a portion ofBlackboard Learn session from wherever they were before their communities. The configuration is designed to deliverthe failover. There is no need for users to login again or to both high-availability and high-performance.restart their Blackboard Learn session. If a user is in the The performance capacity of both the Standard andmiddle of a task during a failover, it will appear completely Advanced Sizing configurations can be scaled by addingseamless with the unlikely loss of connectivity to the appli- more VMs with Blackboard Learn application instances tocation or loss of data. the application tier and simultaneously increasing the CPURECOMMENDED DELL SERVER and memory that is allocated to the database instances.CONFIGURATIONS The same standardized VM is deployed for the applicationThe entire solution architecture runs on Dell PowerEdge tier in both configurations. The standardized applicationR810 servers, which offer outstanding density for virtualized tier VM runs a single Blackboard Learn application instanceworkloads because of their large memory footprint and and a Web/application server instance, and is configuredsupport for up to four, ten-core CPUs from the Intel® Xeon® with 2-4 CPUs and 8-32 GB of memory. These standardizedprocessor E7 family. The Intel Xeon processor E7 family sup- VMs are then used as building blocks for adding scalableports hyper-threading technology, which means that each of performance and availability to the application tier.the ten CPU cores on a single processor provide two threads.Thus a single CPU with 10 cores provides 20 CPU threads. Description Standard Sizing Configuration Advanced Sizing Configuration Requirements for a Single • 2-4 CPU threads or 1-2 processor cores • 2-4 CPU threads or 1-2 processor cores Application Tier VM • 8-32 GB memory • 8-32 GB memory instance Number of VMs in the 2-6 6-12 Application Tier Requirements for each • 1 CPU thread for every 2 CPU threads in • 1 CPU thread for every 2 CPU threads in identical Database Tier VM the application tier the application tier instance • 32 GB memory plus 3 GB for every VM • 32 GB memory plus 3 GB for every VM in the application tier in the application tier Number of VMs in the 2 2 Database Tier Total hardware requirements Two Dell PowerEdge R810 servers Three Dell PowerEdge R810 servers • Two 10-core Intel Xeon E7 Processors • Two 10-core Intel Xeon E7 Processors for a total of 40 CPU threads per server for a total of 40 CPU threads per server • 64 to 256 GB memory per server • 64 to 256 GB memory per server Supported number of 20,000 40,000 concurrent user sessionsTable 1: Standard and Advanced Sizing configuration examples. blackboard.com
  8. 8. Table 1 provides the sizing guidelines for the Standard and STORAGE ARCHITECTUREAdvanced Sizing configurations. The ranges shown for CPU Storage architecture is a critical design consideration forthreads, memory requirements, and number of VMs in the Hyper-V cloud solutions. One of the key principles in theapplication tier indicate the minimum and desired amounts. storage architecture of this solution is the use of ClusterThe stated user loads supported by each configuration are Share Volumes. Volumes that are configured as Clusterbased on deployments with four CPU threads and 32 GB of Shared Volumes can be accessed by all nodes of a failovermemory per application tier VM. A total of four such VMs cluster. This is what enables all Blackboard Learn databasein the Standard Sizing configuration will support 20,000 server nodes or VMs to open and manage files on the sameconcurrent user sessions for a peak hour. A total of eight storage volume.such VMs in the Advanced Sizing configuration will support Another key design feature of this storage architecture is40,000 concurrent user sessions for a peak hour. A concur- the use of a network attached storage (NAS) gateway. Inrent session is a user who has logged into the application this example configuration, the Dell PowerVault NX3100within the last hour. acts as a front-end to the Dell EqualLogic storage arrays,For sizing the database tier, the rule of thumb is that each enabling them to be accessed via an NFS mount from VMs indatabase server instance needs half as many CPU threads the application tier. The NFS mount enables the Blackboardas there are total CPU threads in the application tier and it Learncontent file system as well as system infrastructureneeds an additional 3 GB of memory (beyond the base 32 files such as operating system and VM configuration files toGB) for every VM deployed in the application tier. Thus if be accessed via the CIFS protocol.there are four application tier VMs and each application tier The Dell EqualLogic storage arrays are also set up as directVM is configured with four CPU threads (16 threads total), attached storage for the Blackboard Learn database serverthe database tier would need 8 CPU threads and at least 44 VMs. This enables the database server VMs to gain accessGB of memory. to the shared cluster storage via an iSCSI connection.LOGICAL STORAGE ARCHITECTURE Pool of VM servers Dell EqualLogic PS Series storage pool Common LUNs for accessing Cluster Share Volumes Cluster Share Volumes with iSCSI connections DB tier VM containing via Hyper-V Disk Volume #1 Blackboard DB Server Instance System Infrastructure (Hyper-V VM Images) DB tier VM containing Disk Volume #2 Blackboard DB Server Instance Blackboard Database Hyper-V R2 App tier VM containing Disk Volume #3 Blackboard Application Instance System Infrastructure (Windows OS Images) App tier VM containing Dell PowerVault Disk Volume #4 Blackboard Application Instance NX3100 iSCSI connections Blackboard Content File System NFS exports to Dell EqualLogic Storage App tier VM containing Disk Volume #n Blackboard Application Instance Blackboard Content File SystemFigure 4 Illustrates the logical design of the storage architecture. The following section explains the Blackboard Learn file systems thatare highlighted in the figure.8
  9. 9. Blackboard Learn File Systems Recommended StorageThe Blackboard Learn storage environment consists of three Configurationsprimary file systems as follows: There are two primary aspects for sizing the storage arrays. The arrays must support a high Blackboard Learn content file system—This file system con- tains course data that is accessed by teachers and students enough throughput of IOPS (I/O operations per when using the Blackboard Learn application. The stored second) so that the database server or Black- artifacts can be large files such as videos or graphics so board Learn application instances will not be idle cost effective storage capacity is important. File access is waiting for storage. Secondly, the storage arrays occasional, making I/O throughput less critical than capac- must have enough capacity to store the expected ity. It is recommended to use high capacity SATA drives for data files. this file system and the storage area must be configured for network access via the CIFS protocol. Table 2 shows the recommended Dell storage Blackboard Learn database—The Blackboard Learn data- solutions to match the performance and capacity base generally requires only about 20% of the capacity of needs for Blackboard Learn Standard Sizing and the Blackboard Learn content file system. However, it can Advanced Sizing configurations. The Blackboard have a high volume of I/O activity and thus requires a high Learn database and the system infrastructure files performance storage solution, especially when there are share the same physical storage array and thus more users as in the Advanced Sizing configuration. The are listed together in the first row of the table. storage system used to maintain the database files must However, these file systems will each have their have a direct connection to the physical server that houses the Blackboard Learn database. own volume on the shared storage array. System infrastructure files—The Blackboard Learn virtual- As mentioned above, a Dell NAS device is used as ized server architecture requires a shared storage area a gateway to the Dell EqualLogic storage arrays. where the Microsoft Windows operating system files and The final row of Table 2 shows the recommended Hyper-V virtual machine images can be maintained. These Dell PowerVault NX3100 network attached files do not take up much space, but must have reasonable storage system. It communicates with the Dell I/O performance for access by virtual machines in the EqualLogic storage arrays via the iSCSI protocol application tier using the CIFS protocol. It is recommended to place this file system on the same physical storage and then presents the appropriate disk volumes to environment with the Blackboard Learn database. the application tier via an NFS mount. Description Standard Sizing Configuration Advanced Sizing Configuration Blackboard Learn Dell EqualLogic PS6000XV iSCSI SAN Dell EqualLogic PS6000XVS virtualized database and system Storage iSCSI storage array infrastructure files • Approximately 3,400 IOPS • Approximately 7,000 IOPS • Approximately 3.7 TB usable space • Approximately 2.5 TB usable space with RAID 10 with RAID 6 Blackboard Learn Dell EqualLogic PS6000E iSCSI Array Dell EqualLogic PS6500E iSCSI Array content file system • Approximately 1,000 IOPS • Approximately 2,600 IOPS • Approximately 12.6 TB usable space • Approximately 18.0 TB usable space with RAID 10 with RAID 5 Network Attached Dell PowerVault NX3100 Network Dell PowerVault NX3100 Network Storage gateway Attached Storage Attached Storage Table 2: Storage configuration examples. blackboard.com
  10. 10. ADDITIONAL BEST PRACTICES AND CONFIGURATION GUIDELINESThe guidelines in this section represent best practices not only for high availability, but also for configuring the environment toachieve the stated performance for the Standard and Advanced Sizing workloads. The guidelines are listed below by category.Application Tier Configuration Guidelines RAID 10 configuration is recommended for the disk Allocate four to 32 GB of memory for the Java Heap drives that store database files. in each VM in the application tier. Most configurations RAID 5 or RAID 10 can be used for the disk drives run with eight to 16 GB of heap. that store the Blackboard Learn content file system. In The Blackboard Learn content system files are recom- cases where the selected storage solution offers more mended to be stored on a filer on the network rather than adequate I/O throughput, use RAID 5. Otherwise, than in local storage on a server to make it easy to move use RAID 10. Blackboard Learn application tier VM instances between For best database performance, use separate drives (on servers without having to remount the file systems. the same storage device) to store database data files vs. log files and tempdb files. This allows these files to beStorage Tier Configuration Guidelines read/written in parallel (reducing I/O wait time) The consolidated storage environment should have dual connections between all servers and storage Network Configuration Guidelines devices for high availability Servers that will be housing application tier VMs While storage capacity requirements for the should have at least two NIC ports dedicated to iSCSI Blackboard Learn content file system are significant, traffic. This provides redundancy for iSCSI com- access speed is less important. Therefore 7200 or munication between the Hyper-V R2 hosts and the 10K RPM SATA drives are generally sufficient for the EqualLogic PS storage array. Blackboard Learn content file system. Servers that will be housing database server instances The database files require high performance access. should have four NIC ports dedicated to iSCSI traffic. This can either be achieved by using 15,000 RPM SAS The unified network storage system should have four drives for the file system containing the database files NIC ports dedicated to iSCSI traffic and two NIC ports or by combining solid-state drives (SSDs) with SAS dedicated to NFS file server traffic. drives such as in the award winning Dell EqualLogic Jumbo frames should be enabled on the network switch. PS6000XVS virtualized iSCSI storage array.SUMMARYThis solution architecture blueprint is a result of the combined efforts of Blackboard, Dell, and Microsoft to design a costeffective virtualized infrastructure that offers high service levels and predictable scalability. Customers can leverage thissolution to: Reduce risk by deploying a reliable technology infrastructure in which the components have been tested together Increase uptime through high availability features and a highly available architecture Protect investments through scalable Dell systems and the ability to leverage a Microsoft infrastructure Reduce TCO with an affordable approach to high availability and outstanding price/performance10
  11. 11. For More InformationTo find out more about Blackboard, Dell, and Microsoft offerings for highly available online learning solutions, contact aBlackboard representative or visit the Web sites listed in Table 3 below. URL Description http://www.blackboard.com Blackboard Inc. home page http://library.blackboard. Blackboard Learn Hardware Sizing Guide for Dell com/d/?bfb0e63e-4ef7-44de-b86b-86e8c74f6f08 Deployments (Release 9.1, June 2010) http://www.dell.com/hied Dell solutions for higher education http://www.dell.com/poweredge Dell PowerEdge servers http://www.dell.com/equallogic Dell EqualLogic PS6000 Series iSCSI SAN array http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/ Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/ Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V hyperv-overview.aspx http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/R2.aspx Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2Table 3: Web Links for Additional Information.APPENDIX A—HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE COMPONENT DESCRIPTIONSTables 4 and 5 describe the recommended hardware and software components within the solution architecture. Hardware Component Description Dell PowerEdge R810 The large memory footprint of the Dell PowerEdge R810 server along with advanced reliability and server availability features make it a great fit for virtualized environments. These servers, which support up to four, ten-core CPUs from the Intel® Xeon® processor E7 family, are used in both the application tier and the database tier. Dell EqualLogic The Dell EqualLogic PS6000E is a virtualized iSCSI SAN that combines intelligence and automation PS6000E iSCSI Array with fault tolerance to provide simplified administration, rapid deployment, enterprise performance and reliability, and seamless scalability. With SATA disk drives the PS6000E delivers good cost-per- Gigabyte with up to 32TB s of storage, making it a good fit for the Blackboard Learn content file system. Dell EqualLogic The Dell EqualLogic PS6500E is a high-density, virtualized iSCSI SAN that combines intelligence and PS6500E iSCSI Array automation with fault tolerance to provide simplified administration, rapid deployment, enterprise performance and reliability, and seamless scalability. With the lowest cost-per-GB in the EqualLogic line, the EqualLogic PS6500E provides up to 48TB of SATA storage in a dense 4U chassis, making it a good fit for storing the Blackboard Learn content file system for Advanced Sizing configurations. Dell EqualLogic The Dell EqualLogic PS5000XV array is a virtualized iSCSI SAN solution that combines intelligence PS6000XV iSCSI SAN and automation with fault tolerance to provide simplified administration, rapid deployment, enterprise Storage performance and reliability, and seamless scalability. With 15,000 RPM SAS disk drives and automated load balancing, the PS6000XV array is an ideal SAN platform for the database server in the standard configuration. Dell EqualLogic The PS6000XVS virtualized iSCSI storage array is ideal for optimizing responsiveness of I/O intensive PS6000XVS iSCSI applications such as the Blackboard Learn database server. It provides intelligent data tiering within Storage Array the array by combining low-latency solid-state drives (SSDs) with performance-sensitive 15,000 rpm SAS hard disks to deliver more IOPS. Dell PowerVault The Dell PowerVault NX3100 is a unified network storage solution that simultaneously stores both NX3100 Network file and application data. It can be used as an integrated storage solution or a NAS gateway and is Attached Storage deployed in this solution architecture as a NAS gateway connecting to the Dell EqualLogic storage systems to enable access by application tier VMs.Table 4: Recommended Server and Storage Components. blackboard.com
  12. 12. Software Component Description Version All Blackboard Learn license holders install the same Blackboard Learn software. The available capabilities are controlled by the institution Blackboard Learn license. In addition to Blackboard Learn course delivery capabilities, Release 9.1 software the following capabilities are available to be licensed: community engagement, content management, and outcomes assessment. Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 is a scalable operating system with high performance, availability and security for mission-critical applications, as well as built-in, enhanced Web capabilities and Microsoft Windows virtualization technology. New features and tools for virtualization include 2008 R2 with SP1 Server 2008 R2 an updated version of Hyper-V with Live Migration and Dynamic Memory, Remote Fx in Remote Desktop Services, improved power management, and added features with Windows 7 integration such as BranchCache and Direct Access. Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V provides a dynamic, Microsoft Windows reliable, and scalable virtualization platform combined with a single set 2008 R2 Server 2008 R2 Hyper V of integrated management tools to manage both physical and virtual resources, enabling the creation of agile and dynamic data centers. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 is a reliable, scalable platform for Microsoft SQL Server supporting data consistency and developer efficiency. It furnishes support 2008 R2 Standard 2008 R2 for virtualization through Hyper-V with Live Migration in Windows Server Edition 2008 R2.Table 5: Key Software Components.blackboard.com • 650 Massachusetts Avenue, NW 6th Floor Washington, DC 20001 • 1.800.424.9299, ext. 4Copyright © 1997-2011. Blackboard Inc. All rights reserved. Blackboard, the Blackboard logo, Blackboard Connect, Connect-ED, Behind the Blackboard, and Connect-ED are trademarks orregistered trademarks of Blackboard Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. Blackboard products and services may be covered U.S. Patent 7,816,878.

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