Caching Software Performance: FlashSoft Software 3.8 for Microsoft Windows Server with Hyper-V and SQL Server 2012

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1 Technical Brief Caching Software Performance: FlashSoft Software 3.8 for Microsoft Windows Server with Hyper-V and SQL Server 2012 Western Digital Technologies, Inc. 951 SanDisk Drive, Milpitas, CA

2 Table of Contents Introduction... 2 System Under Test... 2 Hardware... 2 Virtual Machines... 2 Software... 3 Storage Configuration... 4 Benchmark Tests... 4 TPC-C Workload... 4 Benchmark Factory for Databases... 5 Comparing Benchmark Factory Results... 5 Test Procedure... 6 Testing Considerations... 7 Measured Results... 7 Performance Summary... 7 Baseline Workload Test Results Accelerated Workload Test Results Analysis / Conclusion

3 Introduction The objective of this paper is to observe performance gains that can be achieved in a virtualized computing environment with the application of a server-based SSD cache controlled using FlashSoft software version 3.8 from SanDisk. A Dell PowerEdge server running Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 was configured with multiple virtual machines (VMs) using Hyper-V virtualization technology. FlashSoft software was used as a host-based read-write cache to accelerate identical Microsoft SQL Server workloads running on the VMs. Benchmark Factory for Databases performance testing software was used to generate an OLTP workload and measure performance of the Microsoft SQL database. Database performance was compared in the configuration using the host-based SSD cache versus that of a non-accelerated all-hdd baseline configuration. System Under Test The test server was configured as described below: Hardware Server: Dell PowerEdge R730xd o CPU: 2x Intel Xeon E GHz, 36 cores/72 logical processors total o System Memory (RAM): 160GB o Storage Controllers: Internal HDDs: Dell PERC H730 Mini RAID (embedded) SSDs: Dell Express Flash NVMe XS GB PCIe SSD Controller Fibre Channel: QLogic Fibre Channel Adapter, driver version o Internal HDDs: 2x 1TB 7200RPM SATA 6 Gbps, Seagate ST NS o SSD: 1x 800GB Dell PowerEdge Express Flash NVMe PCIe SSD External Storage: Dell Storage SCv2020 FC o 24x SAS 300GB disks o 2x controllers, 1024MB cache per controller, read-write cache enabled Virtual Machines 4x Benchmark Factory VMs. Each configured with: o 8GB virtual memory o 8 vcpus 4x Microsoft SQL Server VMs. Each configured with: 2

4 o o o o 24GB virtual memory 20 vcpus 800GB virtual disk for database/log (VHDX virtual hard disk format, NTFS file system) SQL DB configuration: 6GB SQL memory, 550GB database file size, 200GB log file size Figure 1 shows the server configuration used for testing. Figure 1. Server configuration used for testing. Software Operating System Software (host server and virtual machines) o Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter (includes built-in Hyper-V virtualization) Database Software o Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise (service pack 1) Benchmark Software o Benchmark Factory for Databases (version 7.2) Caching Software o FlashSoft 3.8 for Windows Server ( fiodrv driver version: ) operated using read-write (write-back) caching mode. 3

5 Storage Configuration Table 1 lists the storage configuration used for testing. Table 1. Storage configuration used during testing. Drive Type Usage Configuration Internal Hard Disk Drives: 2x 1TB 7200RPM SATA 6 Gbps External Storage: Dell Storage SCv x 300GB disks PCIe SSD: 800GB Dell PowerEdge Express Flash NVMe PCIe SSD OS (host server, VMs) Database/Logs (VMs) Cache 931GB 2-drive RAID-0, 64k stripe (C:) 194GB NTFS file system (server OS) (F:) 735GB NTFS file system (VM OS) 4x 800GB 22-drive RAID-10; VHDX vdisk format, NTFS file system Cache size scaled up by 150GB for each VM tested Benchmark Tests This study used Benchmark Factory for Databases to generate and measure an OLTP workload based on the TPC-C benchmark. The following sections describe the simulated TPC-C workload and the benchmark software used in this study. TPC-C Workload TPC-C is an industry-standard OLTP benchmark that simulates an order-entry computer system in which multiple users execute transactions against a database. The simulated company sells 100,000 items that it stocks in multiple warehouses. Each warehouse supplies 10 sales districts, and each district serves 3,000 customers. Operators in each district take orders for customers, each order containing a number of items. The TPC-C operation mix models real-world production environments. The simulated system places orders, enables payment and delivery of orders, and queries order status and stock levels of warehouses. The five transactions are selected at random using the following balance: New-order: receive a new order from a customer: 45% Payment: update the customers balance to record a payment: 43% Delivery: deliver orders asynchronously: 4% Order-status: retrieve the status of customer s most recent order: 4% Stock-level: return the status of the warehouse s inventory: 4% 4

6 The database comprises nine types of tables and a wide range of record and population sizes. The number of warehouses, number of users, and size of the database all scale to simulate an increasing workload. Note that while TPC-C simulates a wholesale supplier, it is not limited to this particular business segment: It represents any general business that manages or distributes a product or service. For more detailed information on the TPC-C benchmark, refer to the TPC website at Benchmark Factory for Databases This study used Benchmark Factory for Databases, a database performance and scalability-testing tool, to measure performance. Benchmark Factory is server neutral and network protocol independent, and it supports a range of industry-standard benchmarks and databases. This study used a TPC-C workload and Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise. Benchmark Factory uses software agents running on client machines to simulate virtual users and send transactions to the database under test. Each agent can simulate thousands of concurrent users. The performance test includes a scale factor that increases the size of the database during testing. Benchmark Factory performs automated testing, scaling the user load and measuring the system throughput under the simulated workload. Results from this performance testing were used to compare the performance provided by FlashSoft software to a non-accelerated baseline measurement. The unit of measure used for performance testing was transactions per second (TPS). Note that a transaction in Benchmark Factory can be more than a simple SQL statement. For example, the TPC-C New Order transaction creates a new order by inserting one record into the new order table and 5 7 items in the orderline table. Response time, the interval between the sending of the SQL statement to the receipt of the server s response, was also measured for each set of tests. Comparing Benchmark Factory Results Benchmark Factory can be used to implement a workload based on the TPC-C specification. However, the transaction performance results from this Benchmark Factory test on this test configuration should not be compared with published TPC-C benchmarks that have been officially audited by the TPC organization. Rather, this testing is intended to objectively compare performance of the same workload on two configurations on the same server: the baseline in which data is stored on HDDs only, and the configuration in which storage is accelerated with the flash-based cache. These Benchmark Factory results should not be described with the term tpmc, which is used for officially audited TPC tests. 5

7 Test Procedure Benchmark tests were conducted multiple times to measure and compare performance of the non-accelerated HDD storage backend and the same HDD backend accelerated using FlashSoft software to drive the flash memory as a host-based write-back cache. The following testing procedure was used: 1. Install and configure Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system on the host server. 2. Install and configure flash memory (SSD) and FlashSoft software on the host server. 3. On the host server, configure the RAID storage volumes, as described in Table 1 on page Create the VMs and install Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 as the guest operating system. 5. On the VMs used as database servers, install and configure Microsoft SQL Server On the VMs used to run the benchmark software, install and configure the Benchmark Factory for Databases software. Database size: 550 GB Benchmark Factory Agents: 10 Scale factor: 5,000 Transaction mix: TPC-C workload Test execution: 4 iterations, each with 1 minute of ramp-up time and 3 minutes of sampling. 7. Conduct benchmark tests and record results for one VM (i.e., one database VM running Microsoft SQL Server, one benchmark VM generating the workload): With caching disabled, run Benchmark Factory to measure performance of the non-accelerated (baseline) backend storage. Configure and enable FlashSoft software with a 150GB cache to accelerate the backend storage. With caching enabled, run Benchmark Factory to measure performance of the accelerated backend storage. Compare results. 8. Repeat benchmark tests described in step 7, adding an additional database VM and an additional benchmark VM, and increasing the size of the cache by an additional 150GB. Continue scaling and repeating tests for configurations through four VMs. Ensure the benchmark tests are run concurrently on all VMs being tested. 6

8 Testing Considerations In order to consistently measure the performance of cached configurations, the cache was completely flushed after each individual test. When testing multiple VMs, performance was measured on all VMs concurrently. As a general rule, the average response time should not exceed 1 second, to reflect real-world usability standards. For all tests, the average response time for a user load generating the maximum TPS was checked. If it did not exceed 1 second, then that measured TPS and the corresponding user load were used as the test results. If, however, the average response time exceeded 1 second, then the result for the next lower user load not exceeding 1 second was considered instead. Thus, all reported results for maximum TPS have an average response time of less than 1 second. In this test, a single PCIe card was used for the cache, with write-back mode enabled. In real-world use, administrators should deploy solid-state cards or drives for write-back caching in a mirrored configuration, typically RAID1. Using a non-redundant SSD as a cache device with write-back caching enabled will cause data loss and/or corruption if the solid-state device fails. Measured Results The following sections include a performance summary followed by detailed test results for the baseline and accelerated backend storage configurations. Performance Summary Table 2 contains a summary of the workload acceleration test results as measured by Benchmark Factory for Databases. The baseline configuration used an all-hdd storage backend. The accelerated configuration ran with FlashSoft software enabled and sized at 150GB for each database tested (27.3% of the size of the database workload). Tests were run with one through four VMs, each configured with a 550GB database. Transactions per second (TPS) and user load were measured for both the baseline and the accelerated configurations. 7

9 Table 2. Workload acceleration test results. Host Configuration Baseline (all-hdd) Accelerated (150GB cache/vm) # VMs Cache Size TPS TPS TPS Improvement over Baseline 1 VM 150GB 205 4, , x 2 VMs 300GB 285 5,500 1,427 36, x 3 VMs 450GB 413 8,000 1,832 39, x 4 VMs 600GB ,000 2,586 68, x Benchmark testing configuration per VM for all tests: Database size: 550GB SQL buffer pool size: 6GB Log file size: 200GB In all tests, performance was improved in the accelerated configuration compared to the baseline configuration. For example, in tests with four active VMs, the baseline configuration achieved a maximum of 516 TPS. When accelerated with FlashSoft and a total SSD cache size of 600GB (150GB per VM), the same configuration achieved 2,586 TPS. In addition, the accelerated configuration supported a larger total user load of 68,000 as compared to 10,000 for the baseline configuration. Figure 2 graphically depicts the workload performance increase achieved when accelerating the storage backend using FlashSoft software in write-back mode. In tests with one through four VMs, accelerated configurations using FlashSoft software increased system performance by a range of 3.36 to 5.01 times as compared to the baseline configuration using only HDD-based storage. 8

10 Total Transactions per Second Caching Software Performance: FlashSoft Software 3.8 for Microsoft Windows Server with Hyper-V and SQL Server 2012 Performance Increase with FlashSoft Software Baseline Accelerated Number of Concurrent VMs Figure 2. FlashSoft software provided workload performance improvement over comparable baseline configuration. Figure 3 graphically depicts the user load increase achieved when accelerating the storage backend using FlashSoft software in write-back mode. In all tests, accelerating configurations using FlashSoft supported significantly greater user loads as compared to the baseline configuration using only HDD-based storage Increase with FlashSoft Software , ,000 39,000 Baseline Accelerated , Number of Concurent VMs Figure 3. FlashSoft software supported greater user loads as compared to the baseline configuration. 9

11 Transactions per Second Caching Software Performance: FlashSoft Software 3.8 for Microsoft Windows Server with Hyper-V and SQL Server 2012 Baseline Workload Test Results Table 3 shows the measured workload test results for the baseline (that is, non-accelerated, HDD-based storage) configuration. Performance was measured with one VM through four VMs, each configured with a 550GB database. The table shows the total maximum TPS, total average response time (in msec), and total user load for each test, as well as the measurements for the individual VMs. Table 3. Performance results for baseline (non-accelerated configuration). # VMs Max TPS Total VM 1 VM 2 VM 3 VM 4 Avg. Resp k k k k k k k k k k k k k k Figure 4 shows a graphical representation of the data shown in Table 3. Test Results without FlashSoft Software , ,000 60,000 50, ,000 30,000 20,000 10, Number of VMs Generating Workload 0 Figure 4. Performance test results for baseline (non-accelerated) configuration. 10

12 Transactions per Second Caching Software Performance: FlashSoft Software 3.8 for Microsoft Windows Server with Hyper-V and SQL Server 2012 Accelerated Workload Test Results Table 4 shows the measured workload test results for the configuration accelerated with FlashSoft. Performance was measured with one VM through four VMs, each configured with a 550GB database. The table shows the total maximum TPS, total average response time (in msec), and total user load for each test, as well as the measurements for the individual VMs. Table 4. Performance results for accelerated FlashSoft configuration. # VMs Max TPS Total VM 1 VM 2 VM 3 VM 4 Avg. Resp k k k k k k k k k k k k k k Figure 5 shows a graphical representation of the data shown in Table 4. Test Results with FlashSoft Software ,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10, Number of VMs Generating Workload 0 Figure 5. Performance test results for accelerated FlashSoft configuration. 11

13 Analysis / Conclusion Data measured in these tests illustrate how FlashSoft software from SanDisk can noticeably improve application performance in a Hyper-V environment compared to traditional all-hdd backend storage. Performance, in terms of TPS and total user load, scaled as the number of VMs increased from one to four. In all tests, throughput (i.e., TPS) was greater in the accelerated configuration that used FlashSoft as compared to the baseline configuration using only HDD-based storage. Performance gains ranged from 3.36 times the TPS for tests with one VM to 5.01 times the TPS for tests with four VMs. In addition, the accelerated configuration supported significantly greater user loads compared to the baseline HDD-only storage configuration. Caching frequently accessed data on a high-speed SSD reduces access times for applications as they spend less time waiting for read and write operations to complete. By accelerating the storage backend with a server-based SSD cache and FlashSoft software, Microsoft SQL servers running in a virtualized Hyper-V environment can support a larger number of users and a heavier database workload. These performance gains achieved when using FlashSoft in a Hyper-V environment can enable the consolidation of multiple databases onto a single physical server as illustrated by increasing the number of tested VMs. Consolidation can provide many benefits, including more efficient usage of server resources, a smaller data center footprint, lower power and cooling expenses, and reduced hardware, software and administration expenses. The tests described in this report were conducted with small data sets using Benchmark Factory for Databases performance testing tool. Although the tests were constructed to simulate conditions typically encountered in the field and to generate data that reveal application performance and VM density, the tests can only be considered a demonstration of the capability of FlashSoft software the data should not be regarded as guaranteed performance impact of FlashSoft software for any workload type or storage environment. The actual performance of any caching solution is highly dependent upon the workload and the computing environment in which it is used. Specifications are subject to change Western Digital Corporation or its affiliates. All rights reserved. SanDisk and the SanDisk logo are trademarks of Western Digital Corporation or its affiliates, registered in the U.S. and other countries. FlashSoft is a trademark of Western Digital Corporation or its affiliates. Other brand names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder(s). Western Digital Technologies, Inc. is the seller of record and licensee in the Americas of SanDisk products Rev. 1 12

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