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Application Report: Virtualizing Tier-1 Workloads using FC SANs



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Application Report: Virtualizing Tier-1 Workloads using FC SANs

  1. 1. Where IT perceptions are reality Application Report Virtualizing Big Tier-1 Workloads Featuring HD Supply XXL SAP Environment VMware Infrastructure Refresh QLogic 8Gb Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters High Performance Networks and SSD Document # APP2013015 v1 August, 2013 Copyright 2013© IT Brand Pulse. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. One of North America’s largest industrial distributors Do-it-yourselfers shop Home Depot or Lowe's, but the pros do business at HD Supply, one of the largest industrial distributors in North America. Formerly the professional services division of Home Depot, HD Supply was formed in 1997 when big-box retailer Home Depot bought Maintenance Warehouse. HD Supply operates about 630 locations across some 45 US states and nine Canadian provinces that distribute building materials and tools and provide installation services to professionals in the construction, maintenance and repair, and energy and infrastructure markets. The company operates about 10 business units, including HD Supply Waterworks, HD Supply Facilities Maintenance, and HD Supply Canada. Growth for HD Supply accelerated in 2012 with sales of $8.0 billion, an increase of $1.0 billion, or 14.3 percent. IT is key to a lean operating cost structure at HD Supply Facilities Maintenance HD Supply Facilities Maintenance in San Diego, California is a leading supplier of maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) products to owners of multifamily, hospitality, educational and commercial properties; healthcare providers; and municipal and government facilities. HD Supply Facilities Maintenance offers more than 22,000 items in stock, strategically positioned distribution centers, and a fleet of more than 600 vehicles to deliver MRO supplies on site, and on time. Profitable growth for HD Supply Facilities Maintenance requires flawless execution of the fundamentals of the MRO business. The areas requiring flawless execution are led by a lean operating cost structure, constantly hammered down by the efficiencies of advanced ERP technologies. MRO Specialist MR&O (Maintenance, Repair and Operations) Suppliers can save manufacturers cost and time in spare parts procurement Document # APP2013015 v1 August, 2013 Page 2 of 7
  3. 3. Driving the Need for Agility Databases grew 2x in last 18 months HD Supply operates two data centers, a production site in San Diego and a backup site in Orlando, to ensure business continuity and real-time disaster recovery. They support a transaction-intensive IBM WebSphere eCommerce environment for online supplies sales, and an SAP R/3 based Enterprise Resource Management system virtualized on a VMware vSphere (ESXi) platform. Click the video link to hear IT Director Frank Olszewski highlighting The philosophy of the IT team at HD Supply Facilities the core applications and databases that power HD Supply’s Maintenance in San Diego, is to stay one step ahead of customer and internal facing business operations. growth. That means deploying servers, storage, networking and operating platforms that can keep pace with the growth of business-critical databases which doubled in size during the last 18 months. Fast Growing Databases APO The fastest growing is the SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization (APO) database which went live in Oct 2012 and is anticipated to grow from 2.5TB to about 6-7 terabytes by the end of 2013 ERP The SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) database holds 8.5 terabytes of data and is highly archived to keep the size down to a manageable level. CRM The customer resource management (CRM) database has 2.5 TB of business information. BW The SAP Business Warehouse (BW) database that has grown from 7.5TB to about 12 TB. Goals Manage the growth of multiple databases concurrently with the virtualization of Tier-1 enterprise application workloads Document # APP2013015 v1 August, 2013 Page 3 of 7
  4. 4. Blueprint for Growth Virtualizing the XXL SAP Environment The HD Supply blueprint for getting ahead, and staying ahead, of relentless database growth included virtualization of the SAP database servers. Only with an advanced hypervisor could HD Supply achieve the level of efficiency needed to address their priorities: automated system copies, system refreshes, snapshots, and backups. The project required the migration of mission-critical, Tier-1, SAP and eCommerce workloads onto the VMware vSphere ESXi platform resulting in over 1,000 virtual machines (VMs) at each location. In addition, management capability was enhanced with the deployment storage aware SAP Landscape Virtualization Management (LVM). SAP Database Virtual Server Extensive performance testing and run-time in a pre-production environment proved to HD Supply that VMware vSphere was up to the task of hosting their multi-terabyte databases. They now expect to reap the following benefits:        Agility to add or remove application server capacity on demand by bringing up or bringing down VMs Automation and improved management of system builds and system refreshes Increased frequency of SAP system refreshes Simplification by removing cluster technologies Simplification by reduction in the number of tools Agility and speed to react faster to customer needs and special business scenarios such as M&A integrations Increased productivity as automation frees staff from system refreshes and builds System Refresh Document # APP2013015 v1 August, 2013 The HD Supply blueprint for the future included virtualizing the servers hosting multiterabyte SAP databases. Watch the IT Director at HD Supply in San Diego talk about upgrading their SAP and eCommerce infrastructure. Making information available in a timely manner from an SAP production process to non-production processes, for testing, QA, training or other purposes Page 4 of 7
  5. 5. Storage Optimization Optimizing Database Performance Databases are essentially the “heart and soul” of the HD Supply IT operations. Various steps were taken to ensure optimum and stable performance:  Key Table spaces are located on the fastest disks in their own LUN environment  Production on 15K RPM disk drive spindles  RAID Level 10 for high performance ERP and Supply Chain with Reporting on striped blocks Frame based Storage Replication Underperformance of replication for Disaster Recovery (DR) was another issue that was addressed by upgrading to identical frame (storage controller) based replication at all sites to simplify the process and achieve consistent results. 32-core servers Evaluating and experimenting with nascent Flash based Solid State Storage is consistent with the “look ahead” approach to ensure IT remains a competitive advantage To ensure fast performance on multi-terabyte databases, HP DL380 G7 Generation servers are used by HD Supply as SAP application servers in the VMware environment. The eCommerce applications run on HP DL380 mid range servers. New servers deployed are DL580 G7 servers with 32 processor cores and 512GB RAM to HP DL580 G7 server maximize the performance and scalability of the virtualized workloads. Flash SSD Applications Acceleration Looking further ahead HD Supply has installed a Solid State Disk (SSD) array in a pilot effort to evaluate further improvements in database and transaction performance—however, with the market fast evolving, current efforts are geared towards evaluation and vendor monitoring. Flash Flash Solid State Storage delivers higher I/O throughput performance and lower I/O latency typically at a higher I/O per Gigabyte acquisition cost Document # APP2013015 v1 August, 2013 Page 5 of 7
  6. 6. Server I/O Drives Performance 8Gb Fibre Channel storage QLogic’s QLE2562 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter is optimized for I/O intensive virtualization host servers Virtualization results in an aggregation of storage I/O from multiple VM workloads running simultaneously on a host server. HDSupply realized that this could strain I/O performance and neutralize the impact of other upgrades. In response, they upgraded the speed of their Fibre Channel SAN from 4Gb to 8Gb per second. To support their faster storage, the IT team at HD Supply retrofitted installed servers, and equipped new servers, with QLogic 8Gb FC Host Bus Adapters. 10GbE networking to the server edge Communications between the SAP database and application servers strained the capacity of 1Gb Ethernet (1GbE) links requiring an upgrade to 10Gb Ethernet QLogic QLE8342 10Gb (10GbE) to address the performance limitation. Additionally, the VMware Converged Network Adapters, support simultaneous LAN and FCoE backup links utilize 10GbE on an independent network to ensure a narrow or iSCSI SAN traffic at line rate backup window. QLogic FabricCache 10000 Series Adapters Cache Hot VM Data QLogic’s FabricCache 10000 Series Adapters are the industry’s first caching SAN adapter. This new class of server based PCIe Flash/Fibre Channel Host Based Adapters use the Fibre Channel SAN to cache and share SAN metadata. Adding large caches to servers QLogic’s innovative FabricCache adapter places the cache closest to the application and in a position where it is insensitive to enables sharing of Flash based cache memory congestion on the SAN. With the FabricCache architecture, the new generation of PCIe among clustered and Flash caching SAN adapters provide virtualized applications redundancy and failover for a new level of enterprise-class availability. In addition to looking at a flash-based storage array, HD Supply IT is considering evaluating the FabricCache solution for flash-based application acceleration. The IT group’s hardware strategy focuses on proactively optimizing and improving database performance with Storage and Server I/O upgrades QLogic Nine consecutive years of Fibre Channel market share leadership with over 14 million ports shipped. Document # APP2013015 v1 August, 2013 Page 6 of 7
  7. 7. Results & Lessons Learned Results: Proactive IT and automation deliver a lean operating cost structure With a proactive approach to maintaining their SAP environment, HD Supply was able to increase the power and scalability of their infrastructure. And by putting a priority on automation using the vSphere hypervisor, the IT team was able to simultaneously lower operating costs for over 1,000 VMs. Lessons Learned The following are some lessons IT Director Frank Olszweski wants to share with his peers:  Large Workloads CAN be virtualized—The right infrastructure with multi-core servers and a large DRAM footprint complemented with high performance 8Gb FC storage I/O Host Bus Adapters s and 10GbE inter-server networking provides the required horsepower to virtualize a Tier-1 workload.  Follow Guidelines—For HD Supply’s larger databases, strict VMware guidelines on system setup had to be followed for a successful implementation.  Never oversubscribe CPU or Memory in an SAP virtualization—There is never certainty which jobs are running simultaneously and competing for resources. For example a large order entry job might be in process into the ERP system while simultaneously managing a forecast process in the Supply Chain System, and both these jobs might be competing for CPU resources leading to unpredictable performance.  Keep ahead of the curve— Proactive planning and deployment of infrastructure for anticipated workload demands AND keeping pace with hardware technology advancements ensures seamless IT operations transitions Results Strategically, eCommerce is the new delivery system creating additional value for HDSupply’s MRO business Document # APP2013015 v1 August, 2013 Page 7 of 7
  8. 8. Resources Related Links IT Brand Pulse VMware ESXi 5.5 SAP on VMware Best Practices QLogic 10GbE Converged Network Adapters QLogic Fibre Channel Adapters About the Authors Rahul Shah, Director, IT Brand Pulse Labs Rahul Shah has over 20 years of experience in senior product management and marketing positions with semiconductor, storage networking and IP networking manufacturers including QLogic and Lantronix. At IT Brand Pulse, Rahul is responsible for managing the delivery of technical services ranging from hands-on testing to product launch collateral. You can contact Rahul at Tim Lustig, Director of Corporate Marketing, QLogic Corporation With over 18 years of experience in the storage networking industry, Lustig has authored numerous papers and articles on all aspects of IT storage, and has been a featured speaker at many industry conferences on a global basis. As the Director of Corporate Marketing at QLogic, Lustig is responsible for corporate communications, third party testing/validation, outbound marketing activities and strategic product marketing directives of QLogic. His responsibilities include customer research, evaluation of market conditions, press and Media relations, social media and technical writing. Document # APP2013015 v1 August, 2013 Page 8 of 7