Category Archives: Virtualization

QCT’s Cloud Solution Center – Innovative Hyper Converged Solution at Work

On Tuesday, October 6, QCT opened its Cloud Solution Center located within QCT’s new U.S. corporate headquarters in San Jose. The new facility is designed to test and demonstrate modern cloud datacenter solutions that have been jointly developed by QCT and it’s technology partners. Among the demonstrated solutions, there was an innovative VDI deployment that has been jointly developed by QCT and Mellanox and based on a virtualized hyper-converged infrastructure with scale-out Software-Defined-Storage and connected over 40GbE.

 

VDI enables companies to centralize all of their desktop services over a virtualized data center. With VDI, users are not tied to a specific PC and can access their desktop and run applications from anywhere. VDI also helps IT administrators by creating more efficient and secure environments, which enables them to better serve their customers’ business needs.

 

VDI efficiency is measured by the number of virtual desktops that a specific infrastructure can support, or, in other words, by measuring the cost per user. The major limiting factor is the access time to storage. Replacing the traditional Storage Area Network (SAN) architecture with a modern scale-out software-defined storage architecture with fast interconnect supporting 40GbE significantly eliminates potential bottlenecks, enabling the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) and highest efficiency.

Continue reading

Ethernet That Delivers: VMworld 2015

Just one more week to go before VMworld 2015 begins at Moscone Center in San Francisco. VMworld is the go-to event where business and technical decision makers converge.  In recent years, this week-long conference has become the major virtualization technologies event, and this year is expected to be the biggest ever.

 

We are thrilled to co-present a breakout session in the Technology Deep Dives and Futures track: Delivering Maximum Performance for Scale-Out Applications with ESX 6 [Tuesday, September 1, 2015: 11AM-Noon]

 

Session CTO6454:
Presented by Josh Simons, Office of the CTO, HPC – VMware and Liran Liss, Senior Principal Architect, Mellanox.

An increasing number of important scale-out workloads – Telco Network Function Virtualization (NFV), in-memory distributed databases, parallel file systems, Microsoft Server Message Block (SMB) Direct, and High Performance Computing – benefit significantly from network interfaces that provide ultra-low latency, high bandwidth, and high packet rates. Prior to ESX 6.0,Single-Root-IO-Virtualization (SR-IOV) and Fixed Pass through (FPT), which allow placing hardware network interfaces directly under VM control, introduced significant latency and CPU overheads relative to bare-metal configurations. ESXi 6.0 introduces support for Write Combining, which eliminates these overheads, resulting in near-native performance on this important class of workloads. The benefits of these improvements will be demonstrated using several prominent workloads, including a High Performance Computing (HPC) application, a Data-Plane-Development-Kit (DPDK) based NFV appliance, and the Windows SMB-direct storage protocol Detailed information will be provided to show attendees how to configure systems to achieve these results.

Continue reading

From Network Function Virtualization to Network Function Cloudification: Secrets to VNF Elasticity

According to a recent survey done by Light Reading, SDN/NFV was ahead of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) and gained the honor of being the hottest topic at the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Why are people so enthused about SDN and NFV? Two key things: Agility and Elasticity. Communication Service Providers (CSPs) and enterprises alike can spin up and down networks and services on demand, and scale them to the right size that fits their business needs.


Chloe Ma 031115 Fig 1

 

But these are really the benefits of cloud, not just virtualization. Virtualization and cloud are often used interchangeably but they are not the same concept. Fundamentally, virtualization refers to the act of creating a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, including but not limited to a virtual computer hardware platform, operating system (OS), storage device, or computer network resources. Virtualization enhances utilization of resources and let you pack more applications onto your infrastructure.

 

On the other hand, cloud computing is the delivery of shared computing resources on demand through the Internet or enterprise private networks. Cloud can provide self-service capability, elasticity, automated management, scalability and pay-as-you-go service that are not inherent in virtualization, but virtualization makes it easier to achieve those.

 

So the Nirvana of Network Function Virtualization is really Network Function Cloudification. But exactly what do we need to do to get there?

 

Continue reading

Uncompromised COTS Performance for Network Function Virtualization

When I explain Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and why it is a great technology that can revolutionize Communication Service Provider (CSP) operational and business models, I often use the smartphone analogy. In the not-so-distant past, we used to carry a lot of gadgets and accessories such as GPS, cameras, cell phones, Walkman, Gameboy, and this list goes on.

030415 chloe ma 800_then_now_apps-01

But now, people carry only smartphones, and all the above have become apps running on a generic piece of hardware and an operating system sitting on top of that hardware to provide necessary platform services to the software applications.  The number of apps in both Apple and Android app stores is well over a million, and Apple said it paid $13 billion to developers at the 2014 World Wide Developer Conference.

 

 

NFV is aiming at doing the same for CSPs, moving their services from running on purpose-built hardware platforms to Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) compute, storage and networking infrastructure. The benefits are obvious:  agility in service creation, automation in operation, and dynamic scalability. But anybody who has designed and operated a Telco system wonders, how about performance? Continue reading

Mellanox Collaborates with Dell to Maximize Application Performance in Virtualized Data Centers

Dell Fluid Cache for SAN is enabled by ConnectX®-3 10/40GbE Network Interface Cards (NICs) with Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA). The Dell Fluid Cache for SAN solution reduces latency and improves I/O performance for applications such as Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

Dell lab tests have revealed that Dell Fluid Cache for SAN can reduce the average response time by 99 percent and achieve four times more transactions per second with a six-fold increase in concurrent users**.

LJ-Miller-071714
Continue reading

Enabling Application Performance in Data Center Environments

Ethernet switches are simple: they need to move packets around from port to port based on the attributes of each packet. There are plenty of switch vendors from which to choose. Differentiating in this saturated market is the aspiration of each vendor.

 

Mellanox Technologies switches are unique in this market. Not just “yet another switch” but a design based on a self-built switching ASIC and a variety of 1RU switches. These switches excel in performance compared to any other switch offered in the market. Being first and (still) the only vendor with a complete end-to-end 40GbE solution, Mellanox provides a complete interconnect solution and the ability to achieve the highest price-performance ratio.

Continue reading

How RDMA Increases Virtualization Performance Without Compromising Efficiency

Virtualization has already proven itself to be the best way to improve data center efficiency and to simplify management tasks. However, getting those benefits requires using the various services that the Hypervisor provides.  This introduces delay and results in longer execution time, compared to running over a non-virtualized data center (native infrastructure). This drawback hasn’t been hidden from the eyes of the high-tech R&D community seeking ways to enjoy the advantages of virtualization with a minimal effect on performance.

One of the most popular solutions today to enable native performance is to use the SR-IOV (Single Root IO Virtualization) mechanism which bypasses the Hypervisor and enables a direct link between the VM to the IO adapter. However, although the VM gets the native performance, it loses all of the Hypervisor services.  Important features like high availability (HA) or VM migration can’t be done easily.  Using SR-IOV requires that the VM must have the specific NIC driver (that he communicates with) which results in more complicated management since IT managers can’t use the common driver that runs between the VM to the Hypervisor.

As virtualization becomes a standard technology, the industry continues to find ways to improve performance without losing benefits, and organizations have started to invest more in the deployment of RDMA enabled interconnects in virtualized data centers. In one my previous blogs, I discussed the proven deployment of RoCE (RDMA over Converged Ethernet) in Azure using SMB Direct (SMB 3.0 over RDMA) enabling faster access to storage.

Continue reading

Are Desktops Becoming the World’s Digital Dinosaur?

100329387

It is no secret that recent market trends have forced the traditional desktop to go through a dramatic transformation. It’s also easy to predict that sooner, rather than later, the traditional way of seating and working in front of a desktop will disappear. Why is this happening? Desktops that led the digital revolution and ruled the digital world for more than 30 years are going to experience a sudden death. This reminds me of the way the dinosaurs disappeared. What is the “asteroid” that will destroy such a large and well established infrastructure? Can it be stopped?

Continue reading

The Storage Fabric of the Future Virtualized Data Center

Guest post by Nelson Nahum, Zadara Storage

It is evident that the future data center will be based on cutting-edge software and virtualization technologies to make the most effective use of hardware, compute power, and storage needs to perform essential analytics and to increase the performance of media-related and advanced web applications. And it turns out that the wires that will connect all this technology together are no less crucial to next-generation data centers and clouds than the software and virtualization layers that run within them.


There are multiple storage fabrics and interconnects available today, including Fibre Channel, Ethernet and SAS. Each has various pros and cons, and fabrics were chosen according to need of performance, compatibility and cost efficiencies.

 

As an enterprise storage as-a-service provider, delivering a software-based cloud storage solution for public, private and hybrid cloud models based on commodity hardware, Zadara Storage provides storage as-a-service in multiple public cloud and colocation facilities around the globe. Consistency, high availability and predictability are key in supplying the scalable, elastic service our customers expect, regardless of their location, facility or the public cloud they employ. The hardware we use needs to be dependable, pervasive and cost-efficient in order to sustain the performance and cost-level of our service, anywhere and at any scale.

 

When choosing our fabric, Ethernet came as a clear choice. Ethernet is likely to become the new standard, and boasts several advantages vital to our product:

  • Ethernet’s speed roadmap is aggressive: from 10GbE to 40GbE, and upcoming 100GbE
  • Ethernet is ubiquitous: we can employ it with no complication at any data center or colocation facility around the globe
  • The latency we have found to be more than manageable, specifically as we use advanced techniques such as IO virtualization and data passthrough
  • Ethernet is the most cost effective: an as-a-service company needs to have a competitive pricing edge.

The future of enterprise storage
The future of Enterprise Storage lies in software and a choice of hardware (premium or commodity). Software-defined storage can scale performance more easily and cost effectively than monolithic hardware, and by combining the best of hardware of software, the customer wins. Ethernet is a critical element of our infrastructure, and Mellanox switches offer significant higher performance and consistent dependability that enables our storage fabric and meets our customer’s needs.

 

Zadara Storage at the Mellanox Booth at VM World 2013
Wednesday, August 28, at 2:15pm
At the Mellanox Booth at VM World 2013, Zadara Storage CEO, Nelson Nahum, will present the Zadara™ Storage Cloud, based on the patent-pending CloudFabric™ architecture, and providing a breakthrough cost structure for data centers. Zadara’s software-defined solution employs standard, off-the-shelf x86 servers, and utilizes Ethernet as its only interconnect to provide performant, reliable, SSD- and spindle-based SAN and NAS as a service.

 

About Zadara Storage
An Amazon Web Services and Dimension Data Technology Partner and winner of the VentureBeat, Tie50, Under the Radar, and Plug and Play cloud competitions, Zadara Storage offers enterprise-class storage for the cloud in the form of Storage as a Service (STaaS). With Zadara Storage, cloud storage leapfrogs ahead to provide cloud servers with high-performance, fully configurable, highly available, fully private, tiered SAN and NAS as a service. By combining the best of enterprise storage with the best of cloud and cloud block storage, Zadara Storage accelerates the cloud by enabling enterprises to migrate existing mission-critical applications to the Cloud.

Product Flash – Bridgeworks Potomac 40Gb iSCSI-to-SAS Bridge

Written By: Erin Filliater, Enterprise Market Development Manager

 

The amount of worldwide digital information is growing on a daily basis, and all of that data has to be stored somewhere, usually in external storage infrastructures, systems and devices.  Of course, in order for that information to be useful, you need to have fast access to it when your application calls for it.  Enter Bridgeworks’ newest bridging product, the Potomac ESAS402800 40Gb iSCSI-to-SAS protocol bridge.  The first to take advantage of 40Gb/s data center infrastructures, the ESAS402800 integrates Mellanox 40Gb iSCSI technology to provide the fastest iSCSI SAN connectivity to external SAS devices such as disk arrays, LTO6 tape drives and tape libraries, allowing data center administrators to integrate the newest storage technologies into their environments without disrupting their legacy systems.

In addition to flat-out speed, plug n’ play connectivity and web-based GUI management make the ESAS402800 easy to install and operate.   Adaptive read- and write-forward caching techniques allow the ESAS402800 bridge to share storage effectively in today’s highly virtualized environments.

 

All of this adds up to easier infrastructure upgrades, more effective storage system migration and realization of the full performance potential of new SAS-connected storage systems. Pretty impressive for a single device.

 

Find out more about the recent Potomac ESAS402800 40Gb iSCSI-to-SAS bridge launch at Bridgeworks’ website:

http://www.4bridgeworks.com/news_and_press_releases/press_releases.phtml?id=252&item=26