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FlexPod Datacenter with Microsoft Private Cloud


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Cisco Technical Solutions Architect Frank Cicalese writes about the FlexPod Datacenter with Microsoft Private Cloud and how it is a premier integrated platform for mission critical Microsoft SQL Server implementations.

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FlexPod Datacenter with Microsoft Private Cloud

  1. 1.     FlexPod  Datacenter  with  Microsoft  Private  Cloud  -­‐  A   Premier  Integrated  Platform  for  Mission  Critical   Microsoft  SQL  Server  Implementations     Cisco  and  NetApp  have  been  teaming  for  several  years  developing  the   FlexPod  solution  portfolio.  This  portfolio  includes  architectures  that   combine  NetApp  storage  systems,  Cisco  Unified  Computing  System   servers,  and  Cisco  Nexus  fabric  into  an  architecture  that  provides  a   highly  efficient  operational  model  for  workload  deployments.    This   architecture  is  capable  of  hosting  mission  critical  SQL  Server   implementations  and  is  capable  of  providing  them  with  the  required   throughput  and  availability  for  even  the  most  demanding  business   requirements.   Recently,  Cisco  and  NetApp  contracted  Scalability  Experts  to   implement  a  performance  and  load  test  that  proves  my  claims  in  the   above  paragraph  beyond  any  doubt  in  my  mind.       Scalability  Experts,  for  readers  who  may  not  be  familiar  with  them,  is   a  triple  Gold  Microsoft  Partner,  and  highly  awarded  consulting   company  specializing  in  Data  Platforms,  Business  Intelligence  and   Infrastructure  Solutions.    Scalability  Experts  conducted  the   performance  and  load  testing  over  several  months  using  real  world   workloads.    More  information  on  Scalability  Experts  can  be  found  at     The  purpose  of  this  performance  and  load  test  was  to  validate  that  FlexPod  is  a  premiere  platform  for   the  most  demanding  applications.    This  performance  and  load  test  implements  a  real  world  gaming   workload  on  Microsoft  SQL  Server  2014.    Visual  Studio  2013  Ultimate  Edition  was  used  to  generate  and   run  the  performance  and  load  tests.    For  more  information  about  Visual  Studio  2013  Ultimate  Edition  
  2. 2. see­‐us/library/dd831853.aspx.    More  information  about  Microsoft  SQL   Server  2014  can  be  found  at­‐us/server-­‐cloud/products/sql-­‐server/.   The  tests  for  the  performance  and  load  test  were  created  using  Microsoft  Visual  Studio  to  record  user   actions  which  include  back  office,  new  player  creation,  gaming,  and  database  maintenance  activities.     The  gaming  activity  specifically  consisted  of  logging  on  to  the  system,  checking  the  player’s  current  cash   and  bonus  balance,  current  loyalty  point  balance,  playing  on-­‐line  slot  games  multiple  times  for  real   money,  reviewing  game  play  history  and  awarding  loyalty  points  accumulated  from  gaming  activity.       The  performance  and  load  test  revealed  that  the  FlexPod  architecture,  when  compared  to  other  systems   in  the  same  class,  can  provide  208%  faster  transaction  response  times,  250%  faster  page  response  times   to  end-­‐users,  and  4X  Concurrent  Capacity  Growth  with  0%  latency  up  to  40,000  concurrent  users  (with   bursts  up  to  50,000  users).    See  the  figure  below  for  additional  information  on  these  metrics:     As  you  can  see  by  the  metrics  above,  the  application  was  quite  demanding  and  I  am  sure  you  will  be   impressed  with  the  results  of  the  tests  presented  in  this  performance  and  load  test.    You  should  find   that  these  results  transfer  well  to  other  workload  scenarios  as  well.       Through  iterative  testing,  the  results  show  that  the  FlexPod  architecture  can  scale  linearly  and  provide   world-­‐class  performance  up  to  50,000  concurrent  users  while  maintaining  a  very  efficient  operational   model  that  can  help  to  reduce  the  complexity  of  datacenter  operations  –  the  complexities  that  many   companies  are  plagued  with  today  such  as  redundant,  time  consuming  processes,  long  or  delayed   deployment  times,  high  mean  time  to  recovery  (MTR)  times,  etc.    All  of  which  are  significantly  reduced   by  the  innate  capabilities  of  the  FlexPod  architecture  empowering  IT  workers  to  focus  on  more   proactive,  productive  tasks.      
  3. 3.   The  performance  and  load  test   was  implemented  on  standard   FlexPod  equipment  shown  in   this  figure.       It  is  important  to  note  the  goal   of  this  performance  and  load   test  was  not  to  compare   FlexPod  to  other  competing   architectures.    However,  the   results  do  provide  a  very   compelling  reason  for  architects   and  technical/  business  decision   makers  to  strongly  consider   FlexPod  for  their  mission  critical   Microsoft  SQL  Server   implementations.    Also,  as  I   mentioned,  NetApp  and  Cisco   have  been  teaming  on  and   developing  the  FlexPod  solution   for  a  while  now  so  the  results  of   this  testing  really  does  not   come  as  a  surprise.    FlexPod   was  designed  from  the  ground   up  with  stability,  flexibility  and   high  performance  top  of  mind.   Finally,  FlexPod  can  help   companies  provide  the  fastest   time  to  market  for  their   solutions.    IT  teams  will  not   have  to  worry  about  the  typical   configuration  details  which  can  be  a  monumental  task  by  itself  for  mission  critical  database   implementations.  FlexPod  provides  a  completely  integrated  and  configured  environment  that  enables   companies  to  deploy  their  solutions  with  known,  tested  and  validated  hardware  quickly,  efficiently  and   in  a  fashion  that  mitigates  risk.   To  learn  more  about  the  FlexPod  solution,  please  see  the  following  link  where  you  will  find  various   artifacts  including  Cisco  Validated  Designs,  Design  Guides  and  much  more:­‐center-­‐virtualization/flexpod/index.html.   Additional  information  for  NetApp  can  be  found  at    
  4. 4. This  guest  blog  was  authored  by  Frank  Cicalese  and  contains  summarized  content  from   various  articles  that  can  be  found  on  Cisco  and  NetApp’s  sites.    Blog  Published  Date:   April  8th ,  2015.   Frank  Cicalese  is  a  Technical  Solutions  Architect  with  Cisco’s  Data  Center  Architecture   Team  helping  customers  globally  with  their  Microsoft  solutions  on  Cisco  UCS.    Frank   also  worked  at  Microsoft  for  over  10  years  in  several  positions  that  required  deep   technical  knowledge  such  as  Services  Consultant,  Platform  Architect,  Database   Technology  Specialist,  Virtualization  Technology  Specialist  and  Datacenter  Technology  Specialist.    Frank   has  in-­‐depth  technical  knowledge  and  proficiency  with  database  design,  optimization,  replication  and   clustering  and  has  extensive  virtualization,  identity  and  access  management  and  application   development  skills.    He  is  also  a  writer  member  of  the  American  Society  of  Composers,  Authors  and   Publishers  with  published  musical  works  that  have  aired  on  well-­‐known  cable  and  news  networks.