Jun 27 2017

Solving the VDI Performance and Cost puzzle with Datrium RackScale for Citrix MCS and PVS

I am happy to announce that Datrium is now certified as Citrix Ready® and the solution is readily available in Citrix Ready Marketplace (here).

The Citrix Ready program helps customers identify third-party solutions that are recommended to enhance virtualization, networking and cloud computing solutions from Citrix. As part of the program, Datrium has completed a rigorous process to ensure its Open Convergence platform, Datrium DVX Rackscale is compatible with Citrix XenDesktop®.

Citrix XenDesktop and Datrium DVX combine to provide a platform for simple administration, high performance, server choice flexibility and cost-effective scaling of virtual desktop deployments.

Datrium DVX integrates CPU and flash performance on hosts with desktop-centric, efficient, and scalable data management tools to enable Citrix administrators to effortlessly provision virtual desktops, accelerate applications, and protect and recover virtual desktops.

Datrium DVX separates on-host IO performance from off-host durable data, so speed and persistent capacity can each be provisioned independently, efficiently scaling resources with the addition of new compute or data nodes. The separation of data between the host active data and durable copy allows each host to remain stateless and to operate independently from the others, allowing for better resource isolation and overall availability. More detail on the architecture is in this white paper.

More specifically, when looking at Citrix provisioning mechanisms, PVS and MCS, Datrium help in reducing the total cost per desktop, enhance security with end-to-end encryption, provide effortless management, increase performance and implement business continuity for Citrix servers and dedicated virtual desktops.

 

  • Bring Your Own Server

    – An organization may obtain new servers from Datrium or from their preferred vendor, or they may use existing servers that are not quite ready to be retired. No hardware vendor lock-ins.

  • No HDD Requirement / Minimal SSD

    – In VDI deployments Data Avoidance and Reduction ratios are very high granted that virtual desktops are exact copies of each other, and large storage capacity is not a great need for the actual desktops. Datrium requires just enough Flash capacity on each desktop host for the de-duplicated active working set, eliminating unnecessary storage components from servers, reducing costs, and making them stateless. This strategy benefits MCS deployments, but also brings the data services, simplicity, and virtual desktop acceleration to PVS deployments, while keeping costs under control.

  • Data Optimization

    – Datrium DVX natively implement data avoidance techniques like zero cloning and VAAI support, coupled with data reduction methods like deduplication, compression and erasure coding. For MCS provisioning, the end result is extra capacity for durable data and additional performance for active data on servers. PVS deployments also benefit from performance for active data on servers.

  • End-to-End Encryption

    – Rest easy that the whole enterprise data is protected from network sniffers with AES-XTS-256 end-to-end software encryption (at-host, in-flight and at-rest) without any performance hit to your end-users’ experience; for both MCS and PVS.

  • Data Locality

    – Data locality provides increased performance for Read IOs maintaining all active data blocks belonging to virtual desktops on Flash in the servers where the desktops are currently running, vastly helping MCS deployments.

  • Write Cache Placement

    – For Citrix PVS deployments Datrium DVX address management and placement of the Write Cache, making it straightforward and easy, providing a single convenient datastore across all servers in a cluster.

  • Citrix Business Continuity

    – Datrium DVX has critical data protected with snapshot, cloning, and elastic replication to ensure virtual desktops are protected locally and off-site for blazing fast recovery. For MCS deployments Datrium DVX protect both servers and dedicated virtual desktops; for PVS, servers are fully protected.

 

Learn about Datrium for Virtual Desktops at http://www.datrium.com/datrium_solutions/virtual-desktop-infrastructure/

Jun 24 2017

Future of EUC to Open-Convergence – DABCC Podcast

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to join my friend Douglas Brown’s DABCC podcast and talk about the Future of EUC, DAAS, Open-Convergence, and Datrium. I think you will enjoy it!

 

 

Jun 12 2017

More Network Performance and Resiliency without LACP, at least w/ Datrium Adaptive Pathing

Isn’t awesome when a function that could only be done using specialized hardware get’s to be implemented via software? Software Is Eating the World – that’s the case with the new Adaptive Pathing.

A new Adaptive Pathing feature introduced with DVX 2.0 improves the overall aggregate storage bandwidth and reliability, without adding the usual LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol ) management overhead and complexity.

 

What is link aggregation, LACP?

In a nutshell, it allows one to aggregate multiple network connections in parallel to increase throughput beyond what a single connection could sustain, and to provide redundancy in case one link goes down. LACP is a vendor independent standard term which stands for Link Aggregation Control Protocol, defined in IEEE 802.1ax or 802.3ad. LACP links need to be manually configured on the physical network switch, to allow both links to appear as one logical aggregated link. MAC address(es) from the host side could appear on both links simultaneously, and the switch will not freak out and thinking there’s a loop on the network. – Wen Yu

 

Datrium DVX is split between hosts and data nodes, and disaggregate performance from capacity (for an understanding of the DVX architecture read this). This approach means that, unlike traditional storage arrays, DVX has complete control over both ends of the communication stack, hosts and data nodes.

 

Performance

DVX manages and route storage traffic at a higher layer in the networking stack rather than rely on network link level protocol. DVX data nodes actively heartbeat hosts using each of the network interfaces and can detect which interfaces have good connectivity to hosts. (Each data node has two controllers in an active/passive mode, and each controller presents two network interfaces).

 

When a host have functioning network paths to both interfaces on the data node active controller, DVX will automatically spread the host traffic across the data node controller interfaces, increasing the available bandwidth across all hosts in the cluster – a total of 20Gb throughput for each data node.

 

Benefit: Improved network bandwidth

The performance increase itself is dependent on IO patterns. However, internal FIO tests with three hosts and 64KB block IO demonstrated up to 65% performance improvement for sequential write workloads and a 53% improvement for random write workloads. For small 4KB random IO, the performance improvement expected is lower due to the nature of the workload.

The picture below perhaps makes easier to understand how Adaptive Pathing improves network bandwidth, ensuring that both network interfaces on active controllers are utilized simultaneously.

 

Note that Adaptive Pathing is not Multi-Pathing, and an individual host is limited to the bandwidth of a active interface in the network team/bond. Adaptive Pathing eliminates network bonding of the data interfaces on the controller. Adaptive Pathing spreads the data traffic from the hosts across the data nodes controller interfaces and results in greater aggregate bandwidth to the controllers, but Adaptive Pathing does not increase the bandwidth available to an individual host.

 

Reliability

DVX data nodes do not route storage traffic through the passive controller interface, but it does use the passive interface to monitor connectivity to all compute hosts and network interfaces.

If a host is only able to talk to one of the network interfaces on the active data node controller, the DVX software automatically routes all host traffic to the functional interface. Likewise, if a data node network interface can communicate to some of the hosts, but not others, each host will communicate to the most appropriate controller based on its unique connectivity status.

The intelligence is built into the DVX software stack and at any point in time compute hosts may be using different paths to transport data, even in the event of network connectivity failures, always automatically choosing the best network path.

If we a DVX data node detects that the passive controller can talk to all hosts that have connectivity to the active controller and additional hosts that cannot, then an automatic failover is triggered to increase host-controller connectivity.

 

Monitoring

The DVX platform fully understands the network connectivity and topology, and the GUI provides administrators with insights into networking issues and connectivity statuses such as redundant or degraded components, hosts and data nodes.

Not only DVX will route around network issues when they occur, but it also makes it easier to resolve issues and return the network to full redundancy.

 

Benefit: Continuous network monitoring

 

 

Conclusion

Simple and Easy! Just make sure that all network interfaces are properly cabled and add two new IP addresses, and Adaptive Pathing is enabled. Datrium DVX 2.0 Adaptive Pathing enables customers to get more bandwidth, improved network resiliency and increased availability with zero management overhead.

 

 

References:
To LACP or NOT to LACP?

To LACP or NOT to LACP?

This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at myvirtualcloud.net.

 

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