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                                                                Optimizing netwOrk
10 GiGabit EthErnEt hElps                                            to each core. The dynamic nature of vir-             ...

   while their support for multiple queues                        tasks for virtualized servers: Intel ...
and helps ensure sufficient quality of ser-
vice for each VM.                                                             ...
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Optimizing netwOrk infrastructures fOr virtualizatiOn


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Optimizing netwOrk infrastructures fOr virtualizatiOn

  1. 1. Virtualization Optimizing netwOrk infrastructures fOr virtualizatiOn By Shefali Chinni To help meet the growing bandwidth demands of multi- Carl Hansen core architectures and server virtualization, Dell, Intel, Bill Henderson and VMware have collaborated to develop virtualization Nelson Stewart solutions built on Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers, Intel® Xeon® processors and 10 Gigabit Ethernet adapters, and VMware® ESX software. Utilizing Intel Virtual Machine Device Queues (VMDq) and VMware NetQueue technology, these solu- tions can enhance performance, increase flexibility, and simplify management in virtualized environments. D ata centers and other enterprise IT environ- systems onto a reduced number of physical plat- ments are facing exponential growth in forms, increasing processor utilization to make effi- their business requirements and service- cient use of available resources while still maintaining level agreements. In the past, IT departments may the management and reliability advantages of iso- have deployed dedicated physical servers to help lated applications. This approach not only helps reliably support critical applications. As an organiza- reduce the costs of physical hardware and infra- tion’s data needs grow, however, this approach can structure, but also helps simplify management and Related Categories: become increasingly costly and complex. Running provide flexible, dynamic load balancing of work- Dell PowerEdge servers dedicated physical servers at utilization levels sig- loads across multiple physical servers. Ethernet nificantly below their capacity, for example, drives Combining consolidation with the need to Intel up power consumption as well as the costs of main- access large amounts of data, however, has also taining the servers and the infrastructure to support made high-bandwidth, high-performance networks Intel I/O Acceleration Technology (I/OAT) them—including cooling systems to handle heat a critical requirement in enterprise data centers. Intel networking output and the physical space to house servers, stor- Dell, Intel, and VMware have worked together to Multi-core technology age, and networking equipment—and requires create collaborative virtualization solutions Network interface card (NIC) administrators to manage an increasingly compli- based on 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) technology Virtualization cated environment as the number of systems grows. and optimized for powerful multi-core processors. VMware Running multiple applications on individual servers, By deploying key technologies such as Intel Visit DELL.COM/PowerSolutions meanwhile, can rapidly become difficult to manage Virtual Machine Device Queues (VMDq) and for the complete category index. and potentially unreliable, and can leave applications VMware NetQueue on Dell PowerEdge servers battling each other for network bandwidth. with multi-core Intel Xeon processors and 10GbE Virtualization provides a key way to overcome adapters, enterprises can implement optimized, these challenges. By enabling organizations to run high-performance virtualized environments multiple virtual machines (VMs) on a single physical designed for simplified management and flexible server, IT administrators can consolidate their resource utilization. 100 DELL POWER SOLUTIONS | August 2008 Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, August 2008. Copyright © 2008 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. 10 GiGabit EthErnEt hElps to each core. The dynamic nature of vir- collaboratiVE solutions mEEt incrEasinG bandwidth tualized environments—in which VMs hElp optimizE VirtualizEd dEmands may migrate across different host serv- EnVironmEnts Both data-intensive applications and the ers to help provide load balancing and Through strong, long-standing collabora- ever-increasing amount of data stored on high availability—only adds to this tion, Dell, Intel, and VMware have devel- enterprise networks are driving up the complexity. oped virtualization solutions designed for need for high levels of I/O performance Adding a VMware ESX hypervisor on high levels of performance, efficiency, and and network bandwidth. In addition, as top of multi-core Intel Xeon processors flexibility as well as simplified manage- powerful multi-core processors enable enables enterprises to maximize the ment. Based on Dell PowerEdge server each server to support an increasing advantages offered by multiple cores models 6850, 1950, 2950, 2970, 6950, number of VMs, the need for bandwidth while helping efficiently handle the spe- R900, and R905 with multi-core Intel to support those VMs and avoid network cific needs of virtualized environments. Xeon processors; Intel 10GbE adapters I/O bottlenecks also increases. The VMware ESX layer, for example, with Intel Virtualization Technology for 10GbE has become the medium of enables each VM to run on its own core, Connectivity (Intel VT-c); and VMware choice to help meet the ever-increasing with the ESX software managing the net- ESX software, these solutions integrate need for high performance in virtualized work traffic to each VM (see Figure 1). advanced technologies such as Intel VMDq environments. It can provide reliable Managing traffic at the hypervisor and VMware NetQueue to help optimize links in ranges from 30 m to 300 m level, however, comes at the cost of addi- performance and simplify management in depending on the specific cabling tional processor overhead, which can virtualized environments. medium. When deployed as part of the reduce overall performance. The collab- Intel 10GbE adapters are designed to network infrastructure in a virtualized orative virtualization solutions from Dell, provide several key advantages as part of server environment, 10GbE helps pro- Intel, and VMware are designed in part to virtualized environments based on Dell vide the bandwidth and performance to address this problem, enabling enterprises PowerEdge servers with multi-core Intel support more VMs per server than would to take advantage of the benefits of vir- Xeon processors and VMware software. be possible with a standard Gigabit tualization on multi-core processors while Their advanced networking features help Ethernet infrastructure. By doing so, it minimizing the overhead associated with efficiently distribute networking work- also enables high consolidation ratios to network traffic management. loads across multiple processor cores, help organizations maximize the advan- tages of virtualization on servers with multi-core processors, helping reduce overall power consumption, heat output, VM 1 VM 2 VM n and hardware footprint. Virtual NIC (vNIC) vNIC … vNIC Virtualization takEs adVantaGE of multi-corE procEssors VMware hypervisor Software switch Non-virtualized servers are relatively simple from a networking perspective: the processor communicates with the OS, which communicates with the adapter. The one-to-one relationship between the Dell PowerEdge server hardware Intel network interface card (NIC) server and processor helps minimize the complexity of directing network traffic to and from the system. Virtualized servers, in contrast, intro- duce additional complexities, because an individual host server now supports LAN multiple independent VMs: servers with multi-core processors, for example, may assign multiple cores to a single VM, a single core to each VM, or multiple VMs Figure 1. In typical virtualization environments, the hypervisor manages network traffic to each virtual machine Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, August 2008. Copyright © 2008 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. DELL.COM/PowerSolutions 101
  3. 3. Virtualization while their support for multiple queues tasks for virtualized servers: Intel I/O intel i/o acceleration technology helps alleviate I/O bottlenecks on servers Acceleration Technology (Intel I/OAT) enhances performance across platforms hosting multiple VMs. and Intel VMDq. Using Intel 10GbE adapt- Intel I/OAT is a suite of features that Intel VT-c, supported in Intel 10GbE ers that support these features in combi- helps enhance data acceleration across controllers, is a set of virtualization- nation with the VMware NetQueue a platform—including the network adapt- specific enhancements designed to accel- technology in VMware ESX 3.5 Update 1 ers, memory, and chipset—independent erate network I/O performance and enables organizations to enhance perfor- of the specific OS on the server. It reduce processor utilization. Intel VT-c mance across platforms, optimize net- includes features such as checksum and incorporates two key technologies that work traffic management in virtualized segmentation offloads, Message Signaled help reduce latency, accelerate I/O servers, and efficiently balance adapter Interrupts Extended (MSI-X), receive-side throughput, and offload network overhead workloads. scaling, receive-side coalescing, Intel QuickData Technology, low-latency inter- rupts, and more. Available on Dell PowerEdge servers with dual-core and quad-core Intel Xeon VM 1 VM 2 VM n vNIC vNIC … vNIC processors, Intel I/OAT is designed to both enhance I/O traffic across an entire platform and increase network scalability seamlessly across ports in Intel 10GbE adapters. These features also help Layer 2 software switch improve I/O performance in VMware vir- tualized environments, although currently only a subset of features—such as MSI-X and checksum and segmentation Rx 1 Rx 2 Rx n offload—are supported for use with Rx 1 Rx n Tx 3 VMware software. Rx 1 Tx 2 Tx 3 Tx 1 Tx 2 Tx 3 intel Virtual machine device Queues optimize network traffic Intel VMDq technology is a key element in Layer 2 classifier/sorter virtualized environments based on Dell PowerEdge servers with multi-core Intel Xeon processors, Intel 10GbE server adapt- MAC/PHY ers, and VMware ESX software. It is designed Intel NIC with VMDq to offload data packet sorting from the hypervisor to the network silicon, helping optimize performance in virtualized envi- Rx 1 Idle ronments by releasing processor cycles for application processing rather than network Rx 2 Tx n I/O processing to make efficient use of Rx 1 Tx n LAN available resources (see Figure 2). Rx n Tx 2 VMDq technology offloads the data Rx 1 Tx n sorting functionality to the network silicon Rx n Tx 2 and sorts the data packets to the respec- tive queues based on Media Access Idle Tx 1 Control (MAC) addresses and/or virtual LAN tags. Each queue is typically associ- ated with an individual VM. The network controller transmits the queued packets Figure 2. Intel VMDq technology offloads network I/O data sorting from the hypervisor to the network silicon to to the wire using a round-robin service, enhance I/O performance which minimizes head-of-the-line blocking 102 DELL POWER SOLUTIONS | August 2008 Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, August 2008. Copyright © 2008 Dell Inc. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. and helps ensure sufficient quality of ser- vice for each VM. 10 Using Intel VMDq in conjunction with VMware NetQueue can help dramatically 8 Throughput (Gbps) increase network I/O performance in vir- 6 tualized environments. In tests using the NTttcp benchmark and a standard frame 4 size of 1,500 bytes, the addition of VMDq more than doubled the throughput on a 2 virtualized platform using VMware ESX 3.5 0 Update 1, from 4.0 Gbps to 8.8 Gbps (see Without VMDq With VMDq Figure 3).1 Vmware netQueue efficiently balances Figure 3. Intel VMDq technology helps dramatically increase network I/O performance in virtualized environments adapter workloads Intel and VMware have collaborated to utilization, and simplified management to Management, Computing, and Systems enable their respective queuing technolo- help meet the demanding requirements from Houston Baptist University. gies to work together in a virtualized eco- of critical enterprise applications. system, and using Intel VMDq technology Nelson Stewart is a storage and networking with the VMware NetQueue technology in Shefali Chinni is the marketing manager for product manager for enterprise NICs and VMware ESX 3.5 Update 1 helps signifi- I/O virtualization technologies and future blade server I/O, and has over 29 years of cantly improve I/O performance in 10GbE- Gigabit Ethernet silicon at Intel. Before join- experience in the computer industry. Before based virtualized environment. VMware ing Intel, she held various product market- joining Dell, he was a product manager for NetQueue uses MSI-X to help affinitize the ing management and strategic planning embedded SAN switches at Brocade, served data interrupts to a specific processor positions at Hewlett-Packard, where she as a key member of Hewlett-Packard’s that is associated with individual VMs. was responsible for managing a diverse BladeSystem Business team focused on Combining this feature with Intel VMDq portfolio of software, hardware products, increasing worldwide customer adoption provides efficient packet routing and and virtualization technologies. Shefali and promoting industry-wide blade prod- helps maximize the advantages of multi- has an M.B.A. in Marketing from Osmania ucts and technologies, and was involved in core architectures. University. various other roles over the course of more than 17 years at Compaq/Hewlett-Packard. dEll, intEl, and VmwarE Carl Hansen is the senior product manager proVidE optimizEd for the original equipment manufacturer Virtualization line of Intel Ethernet adapters with the Intel Virtualized infrastructures built on power- LAN Access Division. Carl has been with ful Dell PowerEdge servers with multi- Intel for 12 years and has been responsible core Intel Xeon processors, high-throughput for a number of carrier-grade and enter- Intel 10GbE adapters with VMDq technol- prise products. Before joining Intel, he was Quick links ogy, and VMware ESX software with a product manager at WordPerfect and VMware NetQueue technology can maxi- Novell. He has a B.A. from the University mize the advantages of virtualization and of Colorado. Dell and VMware: multi-core architectures in enterprise IT DELL.COM/VMware environments. The collaborative virtual- Bill Henderson is a staff systems engineer Intel server adapters for ization solutions developed by Dell, Intel, on the Dell Alliance team at VMware work- virtualization: and VMware can help organizations ing as a technical alliance manager. Before deploy virtualized environments designed joining VMware, he worked at Dell for VMware server virtualization: for high levels of server and network 7 years in the Enterprise Product Group performance, flexible and dynamic work- in various engineering and engineering load management, efficient resource management roles. He has an M.S. in 1 Based on tests performed in July 2008 by Intel using a Dell PowerEdge 2950 server with quad-core Intel Xeon X5460 processors at 3.16 GHz, 8 GB of RAM, and an Intel 10GbE XF SR dual-port server adapter running VMware ESX 3.5 Update 1 with VMware NetQueue technology, supporting eight VMs running the Microsoft® Windows Server® 2003 OS. Reprinted from Dell Power Solutions, August 2008. Copyright © 2008 Dell Inc. All rights reserved. DELL.COM/PowerSolutions 103