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VirtuCache doubles VM densities at Myers Briggs Testing Institute

MBTI is a not-for-profit organization that improves the performance of people and organizations. They are best known for Myers-Briggs tests, the world’s foremost personality assessment tests used by institutions to help employees better understand themselves and how they interact with others.

Seagate Chooses VirtuCache for its 1200 Accelerator Product Line to Increase VM Densities for VDI Deployments

Seagate’s Enterprise SSD business unit manufacturers and sells high performance enterprise grade Solid State Drives (SSDs). Seagate realized that enterprise SSDs were well suited for the fast growing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) space. Since most VDI deployments use VMware vSphere, Seagate was interested in partnering with a software vendor that could compliment their SSDs to address storage IO issues in VMware based VDI deployments.

VirtuCache Host Side Caching versus Storage Controller Cache

Global Foundries is one of the world’s largest semiconductor foundries making chips for AMD, IBM, and Qualcomm.

Global Foundries’ IT had recently moved their Business Intelligence applications from physical servers to VMs. Such a migration had resulted in high storage latencies and lower throughput for this application, which meant that the user queries during the daytime and batch jobs during off-hours were taking a lot longer than when the workload was running on bare metal Centos 6.x servers. At peak throughput of a few hundred MBps, latencies were in hundreds of milliseconds, which in turn caused the application to malfunction.  As a result, they wanted to ensure that VM level latencies at sustained 100MBps throughput was less than 15 ms and, and even at peak throughput of 400MBps, latencies would not exceed 30 ms.

Global Foundries IT Infrastructure
  • Physical Servers - Global Foundries had six HP BL460c G7 blades with 144GB RAM running non-virtualized Centos 6.x that ran their Business Intelligence applications on Oracle 11G.
  • For improved manageability, and specifically to leverage VMware features like DRS, High Availability and Load Balancing, they wanted to deploy this application within VMs in VMware 5.1.
  • Storage - A total of 36 TB of storage on LUNs was provisioned across a 8 gbps Fiber Channel Clariion CX4 appliance and another 10gbps FCoE HP 3PAR 7200 appliance
Workload Characteristics
  • On an average, less than 8 TB of data changed every day. Global Foundries’ home grown application was using Oracle 11G for the underlying database and had 60-40 read-write ratio.
  • At peak throughput of 400 MBps, they wanted latencies under 30 ms, and for sustained 100MBps throughput, they wanted 10-15 ms latencies.
Competing Solutions In addition to Virtunet Systems, Global Foundries was evaluating storage controller based caching / tiering from their existing storage appliance vendors. Comparing VirtuCache with EMC Fast Cache and HP 3PAR Tiering Global Foundries’ selection process involved comparing price per IOPS, price per GB, and latencies for the below three competing approaches :
  1. EMC proposed deploying their FastCache functionality with EMC branded SAS SSDs within the CX4 appliance. 2 TB of Fast Cache SSDs were deployed.
  2. HP proposed deploying SSDs within the StoreServ appliance and tiering data to SSDs from disks. Again 2 TB of SSDs were deployed.
  3. VirtuCache using 400 GB of Micron SAS SSDs in each of the six ESXi blade servers.
EMC FastCache with EMC MLC SAS SSD HP 3PAR Tiering to HP MLC SAS SSD VirtuCache and Micron SAS SSD on each blade
Avg Read MBps 86 102 286
Avg Write MBps 8 9 11
Avg Read Latency ms 18 15 5
Avg Write Latency ms 14 10 6
Cost *  $160,000Includes FastCache license $ 40,000Includes data tiering functionality $ 19,000Includes VirtuCache Licensing for 6 hosts
*Cost Calculated Based On Publicly Available Info Listed Below Price for HP 3PAR SSD = $20/GB Price for Micron SAS SSD = $4/GB Price for EMC Fast Cache SSD = $80/GB Benefit to Global Foundries By deploying VirtuCache, Global Foundries was assured low latencies even at high throughput. As a result they were able to successfully migrate their database driven Business Intelligence workloads from non-virtualized Centos servers to VMware VMs, and at much lower costs than storage array based caching or tiering solutions from HP or EMC.

VirtuCache Improves Latencies of VDI VMs at the University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA has deployed Virtual Desktops for students and staff using VMware Horizon View. End users of these virtual desktops complained about slow boot times, Windows cursor and start button freezing and generally slow response times from the virtual desktops at various times during the day.

Caching from SAN to in-Host SSD to Improve Performance of Call Center Workflow Management

Call Center Workflow Management software is storage IO intensive since it deals with ingesting and analyzing large volumes of audio. By caching from slower storage to in-host SSDs/DRAM, VirtuCache improves storage performance considerably thus improving performance of Call Center Workflow software running within VMs.

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