EMC XTREMIO AND MICROSOFT EXCHANGE DATABASES

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1 EMC XTREMIO AND MICROSOFT EXCHANGE DATABASES Preliminary findings: Efficiency of various production samples Market overview and adoption of all-flash arrays Techniques for estimating efficiency EMC Solutions June 2015

2 Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All Rights Reserved. EMC believes the information in this publication is accurate as of its publication date. The information is subject to change without notice. The information in this publication is provided as is. EMC Corporation makes no representations or warranties of any kind with respect to the information in this publication, and specifically disclaims implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. Use, copying, and distribution of any EMC software described in this publication requires an applicable software license. For the most up-to-date listing of EMC product names, see EMC Corporation Trademarks on EMC.com. All trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners. Part Number H

3 Table of contents Reference architecture overview... 4 Document purpose... 4 Business challenge... 4 Technology solution... 5 Solution value... 6 Solution architecture... 7 Architecture diagram... 7 Hardware resources... 8 Software resources... 8 Technology overview Introduction EMC XtremIO EMC Data Domain EMC PowerPath/VE VMware vsphere Microsoft Exchange Server Validation testing and results Introduction Methodology Results Analyzing your environment Conclusion References

4 Reference architecture overview Document purpose This reference architecture guide describes the solution that EMC has developed to demonstrate the efficiency and benefits of storing Microsoft Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013 mailbox databases on an EMC XtremIO storage array. The guide explains key elements of storage efficiency, the status of the all-flash storage array marketplace, and the position of XtremIO in the storage marketplace for Exchange and SharePoint Server. This reference architecture guide documents the methods that EMC used to analyze a currently installed Exchange 2010 Mailbox server implementation and provides a summary of the benefits of deploying the XtremIO solution. The guide also describes how to use a Mitrend analyzer tool to estimate the efficiency improvements that you can realize by deploying this XtremIO solution on your Microsoft Exchange databases. Business challenge Customers require reliable storage solutions for Microsoft Exchange that are easy to acquire, manage, configure, and scale. Microsoft Exchange is often at the center of an organization s collaboration tool suite. Customers require Exchange to be operational and cost-effective. Migration from on-premises systems to off-premises/public cloud solutions introduces additional complexities and concerns regarding data sovereignty, service levels, and authentication management. Many customers require messaging data to remain onsite or under their own control. This desire to lower costs, complexities, and configuration issues has resulted in a re-evaluation of how messaging systems are deployed and operated. Several new technologies are available to assist customers in building a messaging solution. Customers need to know how to best use these technologies to maximize their investment, support service-level agreements, and reduce their total cost of ownership (TCO). This solution demonstrates potential efficiencies delivered by XtremIO for any Exchange customer s messaging environment, and it validates the storage infrastructure for performance, scalability, and efficiency. By implementing EMC XtremIO for Microsoft Exchange, as compared to EMC VNX and to Microsoft s preferred architecture of direct-attached storage (DAS) (single spindles), customers will experience: Reduced overall storage capacity Better end-user productivity with more consistent performance Simplified management with the environment contained in their data center or at a qualified co-location Better support of service level agreements and compliance initiatives Lower comparative installation, operational, and maintenance costs A February 2015 paper from IDC, The Copy Data Problem: Analysis Update, outlined the issue of retaining primary and backup copies of data within corporate environments. IDC's advice is simple "use the most advanced storage array 4

5 technologies that support real-time thin provisioning, de-duplication, compression, and snapshot capabilities to reduce your overall storage footprint." IDC also completed an analysis of the all-flash array marketplace in May 2015, graphically depicted in Figure 1. Its findings were compelling. Although most organizations deploying all-flash arrays for use in messaging and collaboration workloads have more than 1,000 users, all-flash arrays have been and will continue to be deployed across organizations of all sizes. Figure 1. All-flash array marketplace analysis Technology solution This solution demonstrates how to use an XtremIO array, in the context of Exchange mailbox databases, for both primary storage and database copies used in conjunction with Exchange continuous replication and/or database availability groups (DAGs). Planning and designing the storage infrastructure for Exchange on XtremIO becomes a non-critical step because the shared storage can absorb large bursts of input/output (I/O) that occur during the course of a day. In typical direct-attached single-spindle architectures, user demand and index rebuilds, coupled with database maintenance task and backup operations, can lead to periods of erratic and unpredictable client/user performance. Users can adapt to slow performance, but unpredictable performance will quickly frustrate them. To provide predictable performance in a messaging infrastructure, the storage must be able to handle the peak I/O load from the clients without resulting in a high response time. Designing storage for this workload typically involves deploying advanced storage arrays that use caching algorithms, disks deployed in storage pools, and/or multitiered storage subsystems to handle brief periods of extreme I/O pressure, all of which are complex to design and expensive to implement and maintain. 5

6 The XtremIO array circumvents the storage inefficiencies of advanced multitier storage arrays and the inflexible, underperforming nature of direct-attached singlespindle architectures. Solution value XtremIO reduces database and data center footprints and complexity with unparalleled in-line data reduction capabilities, addressing storage sprawl for Exchange databases. The XtremIO array eliminates storage usage in several ways: Globally deduplicating every redundant 8 KB block that enters the array for storage Reducing repeating sequences of data (compression) Eliminating fully-formatted volumes Eliminating volume boundaries Initial findings from our tests show impressive efficiency rates ranging from 2.5:1 to more than 8:1 depending on the number of mailboxes and the number of DAG copies. Our tests indicate that the likelihood of duplicated blocks within an Exchange system increases as the number of mailboxes increases. This is logical since messages and attachments are likely to be sent to multiple mailboxes. And, because XtremIO globally deduplicates redundant blocks of data, the more copies of messages that exist in the entire system, the higher the deduplication rate will be. Furthermore, because XtremIO never writes a previously written block to its flash drives, redundant copies of Exchange databases created by Exchange continuous replication/dag consume no space on the XtremIO array. In the vast majority of installations, customers typically observe an average reduction of 60 percent in actual storage usage for the active copy. Comparing EMC XtremIO to the SATA DAS drives proposed by Microsoft s costreduction strategy, we find that XtremIO offers efficiencies that SATA DAS does not, as shown in Table 1. Table 1. Comparison of XtremIO and SATA DAS capabilities Feature XtremIO SATA DAS Global deduplication - Global compression - Thin provisioning - Elimination of 8 KB blocks containing all zeros - Note: XtremIO uses deduplication to eliminate storage of 8 KB blocks containing all zeros. 6

7 Solution architecture Architecture diagram Figure 2 depicts the overall physical architecture of the solution. Figure 2. Solution architecture 7

8 Hardware resources Table 2 lists the hardware resources used in this solution. Table 2. Solution hardware Equipment Storage system SAN switches Physical server Virtual machines Backup equipment Configuration XtremIO array, single X-Brick 8 Gb/s Fibre Channel switches Rack server: CPU: E7-2870, 2.4 GHz, two sockets with 10 cores per socket Memory: 160 GB Six virtual machines, each configured with: Four vcpus 16 GB memory EMC Data Domain (used to restore Exchange databases) Software resources Table 3 lists the software resources used in this solution. Table 3. Solution software Resource Version Purpose EMC XtremIO operating environment EMC XtremIO Management Server (XMS) XtremIO operating environment XtremIO management software and graphical user interface EMC PowerPath /VE 6.0 Advanced multipathing for ESXi host Microsoft Exchange Server servers Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Operating system for Exchange 2010 VMware ESXi 5.5 Hypervisor software Use XMS to Configure the XtremIO array Display information about the array Run the CLI Make any configuration changes Create and size volumes Map volumes to hosts 8

9 Figure 3 displays the XMS console view of the XtremIO X-Brick in the rack. Figure 3. XMS console view of X-Brick in rack Figure 4 displays the configuration of the XtremIO array, as shown in the XMS console. Figure 4. XtremIO array configuration as viewed in XMS console 9

10 Technology overview Introduction EMC XtremIO This solution includes the following key technology components: EMC XtremIO EMC Data Domain EMC PowerPath Virtual Edition (VE) VMware vsphere 5.5 Microsoft Exchange Server The EMC XtremIO storage array is an all-flash system with a scale-out architecture. The system uses X-Brick building blocks that you can cluster together to scale performance and capacity as required. This solution uses two X-Brick blocks clustered together as a single logical storage system. XtremIO flash storage delivers value across the following main functional areas: Performance Regardless of how busy the system is, and regardless of storage capacity utilization, latency and throughput remain consistent, predictable, and constant. Latency within the array for an I/O request is typically far less than one millisecond. Scalability Based on a scale-out architecture, a single X-Brick is the XtremIO building block. You can cluster multiple X-Brick blocks together to provide increased performance or capacity. Performance scales linearly to ensure that two X-Brick blocks supply twice the IOPS and four X-Brick blocks supply four times the IOPS of the single X-Brick configuration. At the same time, the latency remains consistently low as the system scales out. XtremIO arrays can scale up for any required performance or capacity level. In-line data reduction The core XtremIO engine implements content-based inline data reduction. XtremIO automatically deduplicates and compresses data as the system processes it. This reduces the amount of data written to flash, improving longevity of the media and reducing cost. Volumes are always thinprovisioned without any loss of performance, over-provisioning of capacity, or fragmentation. Data protection XtremIO uses a proprietary flash-optimized data protection algorithm, XtremIO Data Protection (XDP), which provides superior data protection while enabling performance surpassing that of any existing RAID algorithms. Optimizations in XDP also result in fewer writes to flash media for data protection purposes. Functionality XtremIO supports high-performance and space-efficient snapshots, in-line data reduction, thin provisioning, and full VMware vsphere Storage APIs Array Integration (VAAI) with support for Fibre Channel (FC) and iscsi protocols. 10

11 Simplicity Provisioning storage with XtremIO is as simple as deciding how large a LUN you want to create. You no longer need to select the RAID type, create a RAID group, or decide whether or not to enable thin provisioning or deduplication. These functions are already built into XtremIO. EMC Data Domain EMC PowerPath/VE EMC Data Domain deduplication storage systems continue to revolutionize disk backup, archiving, and disaster recovery with high-speed, in-line deduplication. Data Domain systems reduce the amount of disk storage required to retain and protect data by an average of 10 30x. This makes Data Domain systems a cost-effective alternative to comparable capacity tape solutions. Data Domain systems provide high scalability, performance, and efficiency in a single system, which allows customers to keep data online and onsite for longer retention periods than previously feasible. EMC PowerPath Multipathing is a host-resident software application that intelligently manages host-to-storage I/O data paths to maximize the performance and availability of mission-critical applications. It combines automatic load balancing, path failover, and multiple path I/O capabilities in one integrated package. EMC PowerPath/VE delivers PowerPath Multipathing features to optimize VMware vsphere and Microsoft Hyper-V virtual environments. PowerPath/VE for VMware supports multiple paths between a vsphere host and an external storage device. Having multiple paths enables the host to access a storage device, even if a specific path is unavailable. Multiple paths can also share the I/O traffic to a storage device. VMware vsphere 5.5 VMware vsphere 5.5 transforms a computer s physical resources by virtualizing the CPU, RAM, hard disk, and network controller. This transformation creates fully functional virtual machines that run isolated and encapsulated operating systems and applications just like physical computers. VMware vsphere High Availability (HA) provides easy-to-use, cost-effective high availability for applications running in virtual machines. The vsphere vmotion and vsphere Storage vmotion features of vsphere 5.5 enable seamless migration of virtual machines and stored files from one vsphere server to another, with minimal or no performance impact. Coupled with vsphere Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) and vsphere Storage DRS, virtual machines have access to the appropriate resources at any time through load balancing of the compute and storage resources. Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 is an enterprise and communication system that enables businesses and customers to collaborate and share information. EMC enhances Exchange Server 2010 with a selection of storage platforms, software, and services. With Exchange 2010, Microsoft presents a new, unified approach to high availability and disaster recovery by introducing features such as DAG and online mailbox moves. Mailbox servers can now be implemented in mailbox resiliency configurations with database-level replication and failover. Major improvements with the application database structure and I/O reduction include support for a larger variety of disk and RAID configurations, including high- 11

12 performance flash drives, FC, and serial-attached SCSI (SAS) drives, and slowerperforming SATA and near-line SAS (NL-SAS) drives. 12

13 Validation testing and results Introduction This section briefly describes the steps we took to analyze the potential storage capacity reduction of Exchange 2010 databases loaded on an XtremIO storage array, and the results achieved from the testing. Note: We tested this solution on a Microsoft 2010 Exchange server configuration, but the solution will work equally well on a Microsoft 2013 Exchange server. Methodology Results EMC XtremIO testing results We borrowed unique active (production) databases from EMC IT s operational installation for use during these efficiency tests. We created six logical volumes (LUNs) on the XtremIO array. We masked one LUN to each of the six virtual machines. We initialized each LUN, formatted it using a block allocation unit size of 64 KB, and assigned it a drive letter. We sequentially restored EMC IT s Exchange mailbox databases from the Data Domain system. We recorded the status of XtremIO capacity, volume use, compression, deduplication, and thin provisioning totals for analysis after copying each database. This section identifies the capacity savings elicited by XtremIO and reports each element of XtremIO s data reduction capabilities through: Thin provisioning Removal of zeroes Removal of duplicate blocks Removal of repeating characters within blocks Table 4 displays how the EMC XtremIO array responded to the migration of six unique Microsoft Exchange mailbox databases. XtremIO storage efficiency is calculated by dividing the storage provisioned to all hosts by the actual storage consumed by those hosts. Table 4. Results of Exchange 2010 databases storage efficiency testing on XtremIO Database sample Removal of zeros Cumulative removal of duplicate blocks Removal of repeating characters within blocks Cumulative database capacity of host volumes (TB) Cumulative capacity used (TB) Database % 23.08% 16.67% Database % 52.38% 16.67% Cumulative capacity savings per database file (TB)* 13

14 Size (TB) Database % 52.38% 16.67% Database % 47.37% 16.67% Database % 47.37% 16.67% Database % 47.37% 16.67% * Cumulative capacity savings derived from deduplication and compression (ignores savings from thin provisioning and elimination of zeros) In our tests, 18 TB of storage was provisioned and TB of storage was consumed on the XtremIO array. Based on the cumulative storage consumed versus the cumulative storage provisioned, the EMC IT mailbox infrastructure observed a 6:1 storage efficiency improvement on the primary (active) copy of mailbox databases. All databases were 1.3 TB in size and contained an average of 230 mailboxes. Each database was copied onto a separate 3 TB volume (per Microsoft best practice for provisioning storage volumes), resulting in thin provisioning savings of 56 percent for each of the volumes. As shown in Figure 5, excluding the benefits of thin provisioning, six 1.3 TB databases (totaling 7.8 TB) were copied onto the XtremIO array. The data consumed TB of capacity on the XtremIO flash drives. Not including the benefits of thin provisioning of the volume, the XtremIO array reduced the capacity necessary to store 7.8 TB of Exchange databases by 4.8 TB or 61.7 percent. XtremIO Storage Efficiency Analysis Database 1 Database 2 Database 3 Database 4 Database 5 Database 6 Cumulative capacity provisioned (TB) Cumulative Database Size on Volume Cumulative capacity used (TB) Figure 5. XtremIO storage efficiency analysis 14

15 Capacity (GB) Analyzing Your Environment Introduction Use the Mitrend XtremIO Efficiency Analyzer tool to determine what results you might expect from deploying the XtremIO solution with your own Microsoft Exchange databases. The results contained in this reference architecture report on a representative sampling of EMC IT s Exchange 2010 mailbox databases. Every Exchange database has different amounts of duplicated , attachments, and calendar data. Every database has varying amounts of empty database pages. And every database has varying content that responds to compression algorithms differently. Customers can evaluate database volumes before migrating them to XtremIO by using the EMC-developed Mitrend XtremIO Efficiency Analyzer tool. With this evaluation tool, customers can scan individual volumes to predict the effectiveness of XtremIO data efficiency. Refer to the following website, where you can download the tool and obtain detailed information on how the XtremIO Efficiency Analyzer works and how to get dependable results: Note: If you click the Mitrend link and are asked for credentials that you cannot provide, contact your EMC Partner, EMC Sales Representative, or EMC Systems Engineer for assistance. To avoid running the scan on the production database, simply restore a representative sampling of the database to an alternate server (non-production virtual machine) and run the Mitrend tool against those volumes. After you collect the Mitrend data, ask your EMC Representative to submit your data collection to the Mitrend site. Mitrend produces a report, like the one shown in Figure 6, that you can use to make decisions. 120,000 Total Scanned Zero Data Deduplication Compression Required 100,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 Figure 6. Total Scanned Savings Required Mitrend sample report Category Data reduction analysis measures the data reduction benefits of thin provisioning, deduplication, and compression of file system data. For best results, scan all of the data that will be located on the same system to calculate the benefits of global deduplication. Scanning just one or two file systems will show thin and compression savings, but will not show the entire benefit of global deduplication. 15

16 The Mitrend Data Analyzer works by analyzing the individual blocks of data on each file system. It computes a small fingerprint of each file system and loads it into a file named output.mitrend. The individual output.mitrend fingerprints can then be loaded to a single Mitrend assessment, where they are merged and used to compute the global deduplication savings. The Mitrend Data Analyzer can run in raw or file system mode. In raw mode, the entire raw block device is scanned (including unallocated blocks) and any data found is analyzed. With the exception of modern systems that use the UNMAP and TRIM SCSI commands, file systems do not erase data upon file deletion. As a result, a raw scan can find more data than is actually consumed by the file system. 16

17 Conclusion EMC has responded to wide-ranging Exchange environment storage concerns with one comprehensive offering: EMC XtremIO is a thoroughly tested, production-proven, enterprise-class array. XtremIO has been tested and evaluated by dozens of customers including EMC IT. Initial findings report impressive and compelling efficiency rates ranging from 2.5:1 to more than 8:1, depending on the number of mailboxes and the number of DAG copies. In the vast majority of installations, customers typically observe an average reduction of 60 percent in actual storage usage for the active copy. EMC provides a viable and reliable method for analyzing currently installed Exchange environments in an effort to predict storage reduction ratios. EMC has verified that its Mitrend tool can furnish customers with insights into the storage efficiency benefits provided by XtremIO without the need to conduct an on-premises evaluation of the product. The XtremIO array provides cost-effective, highly-efficient storage for Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013 mailbox databases. XtremIO enables customers to reduce the overall capacity required to store mailbox databases and operate their Exchange messaging systems more efficiently, compared to DAS and conventional block storage arrays. 17

18 References The following documents provide additional and relevant information: Best Practice Considerations for Testing All-Flash Arrays (available on EMC Community Network) Introduction to the EMC XtremIO Storage Array (Ver. 3.0) White Paper (available on EMC.com) 18

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