CEPH Storage for VMware vSphere

CEPH is a great choice for deploying large amounts of storage. It's biggest drawbacks are high storage latencies and the difficulty of making it work for VMware hosts.

The Advantages of CEPH.

CEPH can be installed on any ordinary servers. It clusters these servers together and presents this cluster of servers as an iSCSI target. Clustering (of servers) is a key feature so CEPH can sustain component failures without causing a storage outage and also to scale capacity linearly by simply hot adding servers to the cluster. You can build CEPH storage with off the shelf components - servers, SSDs, HDDs, NICs, essentially any commodity server or server components. There is no vendor lock-in for hardware. As a result, hardware costs are low. All in all, it offers better reliability and deployment flexibility at a lower cost than big brand storage appliances.

CEPH has Two Drawbacks - High Storage Latencies and Difficulty Connecting to VMware.

Improving Storage Performance of Dell VRTX

Dell's PowerEdge VRTX hyper-converged appliance can either have all hard drive datastores or all SSD datastores, but you can't have SSDs act as tiering or caching media for VRTX volumes / virtual disks. That's where VirtuCache comes in.

Infinio’s Read Caching versus Virtunet’s Read+Write Caching Software

The biggest differences are:

  1. We accelerate both reads and writes, Infinio accelerates only reads.

  2. Infinio doesn't support Linked Clones or Non Persistent VDI. We support all VDI features.

  3. With us you can apply caching policy at the datastore and/or VM level versus only at the VM level with Infinio.

  4. We accelerate IO originating in VMware kernel and VMs, versus only VM generated IO is accelerated by Infinio.

Citrix MCS IO vs. VirtuCache – Server Side Storage IO Caching

Both cache 'hot' data to in-host RAM, but the differences between Citrix MCS Storage Optimization and VirtuCache are many. The top three are:

- MCSIO works only for non-persistent Xenapp / Xendesktop VMs.1 VirtuCache works for all VMs on the ESXi host;

- Citrix MCSIO can cache only VM writes and to VM RAM only.1 VirtuCache can cache VM reads and writes to in-host SSD or RAM;

- With MCSIO there will be VM data loss / instability if the host fails or the RAM cache is full,1 not so with VirtuCache.

For detailed differences, please review the table below.

Improving Performance of Log Management Application at a Service Provider

Business Intelligence, Log Management, Security Information & Event Management (SIEM), Search and Analytic software like Splunk, Elastic Search, Cognos, HP Vertica, HP Autonomy, need to provide real-time visibility into large volumes of fast changing data. When these applications are deployed in traditional VMware VMs connected to centralized storage, such large volume of write and read operations puts pressure on existing storage infrastructure resulting in much slower than real-time ingest and analysis speeds that are expected of such applications.

GUI comparison, PernixData FVP vs Us – VMware Write Back Caching Software.

For the most part both our GUI and workflows are similar. This article compares, with screenshots, steps to install and configure VirtuCache and PernixData FVP.

The only differences between us and Pernix stem from the fact that we leverage VMware's own capability in the areas of clustering, license management, and logging, whereas Pernix programmed these features separately within their software. Overall these additional screens add a few clicks and pages in Pernix versus us, but again I want to emphasize that we are more similar than different, in terms of the GUI and workflow.

Virtunet Read + Write Caching Versus Datrium Read Only Caching, Part II.

In our first article, we explained the differences between our host side caching software (VirtuCache) and Datrium's (DVX DiESL). To summarize the first article, VirtuCache differs from DVX DiESL in 3 ways - (1) VirtuCache caches reads and writes to in-host cache media, Datrium caches only reads; (2) DVX DiESL only works for Datrium's own appliance, VirtuCache works for any appliance; and (3) VirtuCache can cache to in-host RAM and SSD, DVX DiESL can cache to in-host SSD only.

Now Datrium, on this link, puts forth arguments to not cache writes to in-host cache media. In this post we counter Datrium's arguments and argue for caching both reads and writes to in-host cache media.

Replaced PernixData for vGPU based VDI

First of all - PernixData was a good host side caching software. Unfortunately for their customers, after they were acquired by Nutanix, Nutanix end-of-lifed their software. Our software, called VirtuCache, directly competes with PernixData FVP.

PernixData’s FVP vs. Virtunet – Both VMware Kernel Write Caching Software

More similar than different

Both us and PernixData differentiate from rest of the host side caching vendors in similar ways - that we are kernel mode software; both of us cache writes in addition to reads; have data protection strategies in place to prevent against data loss in case of multiple simultaneous hardware failure; do not require networking or storage to be reconfigured; and do not require agents per VM or VM per host.

This article is the first in a series of two articles that compares our software versus PernixData FVP. The second article compares (with screenshots) GUI and configuration steps for PernixData FVP and us.

Below is how we compare on important criteria.

In-VMware Host Caching – Datrium’s Appliance Specific Host Cache Versus Virtunet’s Host Cache for Any Storage.

Both Datrium and us differentiate from the rest of the storage appliance vendors in that both of us cache data to cache media in the VMware host instead of the storage appliance, which is the traditional approach.

But the similarities between Datrium's and our ESXi host cache end there. The top three differences between Datrium DVX DiESL and our VirtuCache are:

  1. Our host side caching accelerates any storage appliance, Datrium’s works only for their own appliance;

  2. We cache writes and reads to in-VMware host cache media, Datrium caches only reads;

  3. We can cache to host RAM and SSD, Datrium can cache to SSD only.

So if you are a Datrium customer and if you are looking to apply the concept of host side caching that you have come to like from Datrium, to your other storage appliances, then you could do so with VirtuCache. We will accelerate the performance of any SAN based storage appliance no matter how old or slow, by caching all storage IO (reads and writes) to any in-host SSD (or host RAM).

We believe that caching data to in-VMware host high-speed media (Flash / RAM) is a better option than caching in the storage appliance because the cache media in our case is closer to the CPU that consumes ‘hot’ data, and hence the same high-speed media performs better in the VMware host than in the appliance. This principle applies equally to both reads and writes and hence we cache both reads and writes to in-host SSD (or RAM). Whereas Datrium decided to cache only reads to ESXi host SSD. The writes in the case of Datrium are cached to their appliance NVRAM, much like a traditional appliance. Datrium founder has these arguments to make in favor of caching writes to the appliance and NOT to in-VMware host cache media, which we patently disagree with. Our counterpoints to Datrium are on this link.

Also, if you use host RAM to cache with VirtuCache, VirtuCache powered infrastructure will be higher performing than any storage array or hyper-converged appliance (including Datrium) because no storage appliance or HCI hardware is capable of using large amounts of RAM in the storage IO path. And RAM is the highest performing storage media there is.

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