By caching VM reads and writes to high-speed RAM and NVME SSD inside the VMware hosts, VirtuCache was able to improve the performance of Objectivity’s build/test process considerably.
Objectivity is a developer of an object database software for storing and analyzing satellite mapping data. As is the case with dev/ops processes, their Jenkins based build-test process was very write-intensive, generated random IO, and churned through hundreds of TBs of data daily. As a result, these dev/ops VMs exhibited high storage latencies, and their continuous compile-test cycles took too long. Now, they couldn’t afford an all-flash array for all their dev/ops data. Essentially, they needed high-speed storage at reasonable costs.
CEPH storage is ideally suited for storing Petabyte scale genomic data since it has a distributed architecture, it is deployed on commodity servers, it has all the reliability features that you expect from enterprise storage, and there is no vendor lock-in (open source). Hence it is cheap, highly available, and can be scaled up by simply adding servers.
Server-side caching that caches ‘hot’ data to SSDs in the compute node is a better alternative to backend array side caching for genomics data because it can deliver data to applications at very high speeds. Secondly, performance scales linearly as an SSD is added to each server. Thirdly, the compute node SSD is not constrained by the storage network or controllers as is the case with array side caching. Lastly, with a single PCIe SSD now carrying 8TB capacity, large datasets required in genomics can easily be cached.
Why a County Hospital Selected VirtuCache Versus Using HPE MSA’s Internal Caching / Tiering Functionality?
Contra Costa County Hospital is a 800-bed government hospital in the San Francisco-Bay Area.
Their IT department is using HPE MSA storage and ESXi compute to run their EMR, imaging and other critical care applications. They were seeing high storage latencies from their HPE MSA appliances, because of inadequate MSA cache capacity, large amounts of small block IO, and because some of their applications were write intensive. They used VirtuCache caching to in-host PCIe SSDs to improve the storage performance of their VMware and storage infrastructure.
This article explores their use case in detail and how VirtuCache improved the performance of their hybrid MSA.
How Central Valley Health Saved Money by Using VirtuCache Instead of Replacing HDDs with SSDs in their Dell VRTX?
Central Valley Health Networks is a healthcare collaborative providing shared IT services to various community hospitals and clinics in the Central Valley region of California.
They are using Dell VRTX hyper-converged appliances to host their IT applications. Dell VRTX is a 4-blade hyper-converged appliance with an integrated switch and internal shared SAS storage. Dell VRTX is cost-effective and popular in the midmarket enterprise segment.
With increased VM density, the onboard shared Hard Drive based storage started to slow down. CVHN had two options to fix this problem, either replace all their HDDs with SSDs or use VirtuCache to cache from their existing HDD based Datastores to a PCIe SSD installed in each VRTX blade. Since this latter option was higher performing, considerably less expensive and less disruptive, they chose to go with VirtuCache caching to one in-host 2TB Intel P4600 PCIe SSD, in each of their four VRTX blades.
This post explores their Dell VRTX VMware infrastructure, cost & deployment details of VirtuCache, and before/after tests with VirtuCache.
Gardner Packard Health have radiology related applications running in VMs. Radiology applications process large amounts of images and related metadata, typically in small block sizes. At this customer this workload was also write intensive. It is such write intensive small block workload that stresses storage appliances considerably. This is because such workload requires large amounts of CPU, and since mid market storage appliances have smaller CPUs in their storage controllers, the storage infrastructure becomes controller CPU constrained. This is true of most mid market all-flash and hybrid arrays. Some hybrid arrays don't even cache small block writes. VirtuCache adds value to such appliances by caching all writes to in-VMware host cache media.