The 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter of Choice in Microsoft Exchange Environments

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1 White Paper The 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter of Choice in Microsoft Exchange Environments QLogic Offers Best Performance and Scalability for Microsoft Exchange Workloads Key Findings The QLogic FabricCache Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter enhances transaction and latency performance for Microsoft Exchange Servers by optimizing random read-intensive workloads that are inherent in Exchange and applications. The QLogic Series FabricCache technology is implemented as a PCIe -based intelligent I/O device that provides integrated Fibre Channel storage network connectivity, flash memory caching, and embedded processing. The Series technology makes caching I/O data from Exchange transparent to the host. QLogic s caching technology* in the QLogic Series Fibre Channel Adapter enhances Microsoft Exchange with the following: Increased transactional IOPS by up to 400 percent Decreased Exchange I/O read latency by up to 80 percent Overall improved performance in the Exchange environment The QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter offers better throughput and IOPS compared to the Emulex 8Gb LightPulse Adapter, and in turn supports the additional demand of Microsoft Exchange volume and increasing workloads. Driving Microsoft Exchange-like I/O loads in an attempt to saturate the adapters showed 133 percent better IOPS while pushing more than 279 MBps throughput for the QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapters versus the Emulex 8Gb LightPulse Adapter. The Emulex LPe12000 fails to keep up with increasing Exchange workloads as workloads increased past 16 outstanding I/Os. In addition, the QLogic adapter continued to scale, achieving more than 35 percent better MBps than Emulex with 64 outstanding I/Os. *QLogic patent pending, caching technology.

2 White Paper Executive Summary has grown to be one of the most important communication and collaboration applications for worldwide businesses. According to a report from The Radicati Group 1, Microsoft Exchange Server will have a total installed base that is expected to reach 470 million by 2014, with an average annual growth rate of 12 percent. With this expanding penetration of Exchange, it is imperative that the user experience remains unaffected by increasing Exchange server workloads. Exchange IOPS and latency relate directly to the usability of Exchange and its associated end-user systems, as well as the number of mailboxes that can be effectively supported on a server. Today, Exchange is mission critical, demanding the highest levels of performance from servers and their associated SAN storage infrastructure. The introduction of multiprocessor CPUs coupled with virtualization technologies provide the resources to meet these demanding requirements for Exchange servers, but compound the demand for high-performance, low-latency, scalable I/O connectivity between servers and SAN storage. It is imperative to deploy a high-performance, scalable server adapter technology to meet this ever-growing requirement for I/O. The QLogic FabricCache Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter, featuring server-based caching operation, and the QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter, featuring standard Host Bus Adapter operation, provide high-performance, scalable solutions for Exchange server environments. To help IT decision makers determine the best, most informed adapter choice, QLogic has developed a series of benchmarks showing the performance and scalability of QLogic FabricCache Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapters. Benchmarks also show the performance and scalability advantages of the QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter over the Emulex 8Gb LightPulse Adapter in a variety of realworld scenarios using SAN-attached Exchange environments. QLogic compared the overall performance of the 8Gb adapters when configured to emulate a real-world SAN with maximum throughput workloads. These tests highlight the advantage delivered by the QLogic Series Adapters and QLogic 2500 Series Adapters in Exchange environments. 1 The Radicati Group, Inc. s latest study, Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook Analysis Introduction This paper provides performance testing information for two specific QLogic solutions for Exchange environments: FabricCache Fibre Channel Adapters featuring integrated, flash-based caching for application performance acceleration Standard Fibre Channel Adapters featuring high-performance and lowpower requirements for SAN attachment For FabricCache Adapters, QLogic used Microsoft s Jetstress workload tool to test end-to-end server, network, and storage performance operating in an infrastructure that includes a Fibre Channel attached storage array with standard hard disk drives as the target, and the QLogic FabricCache Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter as the device under test (DUT). QLogic chose this configuration to characterize the operational performance of the FabricCache Adapter in a real-world environment, where an existing legacy SAN would typically be present. The results provide baseline performance data for the configured environment without caching enabled, and with various levels of caching enabled to provide a performance comparison. Microsoft provides the Jetstress 2010 tool for simulating Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 database I/O load and for validating hardware deployments against design targets. The test s objectives are selected to enable the best understanding of application performance and environmental usage under various user loads with key indicators such as transaction latency and IOPS. For the testing performed on the standard Fibre Channel Adapters, QLogic used the industry-standard IOmeter workload tool and a solid-state storage system as the target to facilitate a maximum performance environment for the QLogic and Emulex Fibre Channel Adapters as the DUT. Server-Side Storage Acceleration Storage I/O is the primary performance bottleneck for data-intensive applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server. Processor and memory performance have grown in-step with Moore s Law that is, getting faster and smaller while storage performance has lagged far behind. Over the past two decades, delivering performance from data storage has become the bane of application administrators, and recent challenges are poised HSG-WP08008 SN Rev. F 06/13 2

3 White Paper to severely constrain the capabilities of the infrastructure in the face of increasing virtualization, consolidation, and user loads. A new class of server-side storage acceleration is the latest innovation in the market addressing this performance disparity. The idea is simple: fast, reliable, solid-state flash memory connected to the server brings faster data access to the Exchange server s CPU. Flash memory is highly available in the market and promises to perform much faster than any rotational disk under typical, small, highly random, enterprise I/O workloads. The Series Adapter from QLogic provides I/O acceleration to storage traffic for Exchange servers. The Series Adapter is a PCIebased I/O device that provides the integrated storage network (Fibre Channel) connectivity, I/O caching technology, integrated flash memory, and embedded processing that are required to make management and caching tasks transparent to the host server. The QLogic solution delivers the application performance acceleration benefits of transparent, serverbased cache without the limitations of solutions that require separate, server-based storage management software and operating system (OS) filter drivers. As a shared caching resource, QLogic Series Adapters extend server-based caching to virtualized and clustered environments, which up to now have been precluded by the single server captive nature of existing server-based caching solutions. For optimal Microsoft Exchange performance, maximized transactional I/O rate and minimized I/O latency indicate a peak-performing Exchange system. By optimizing these performance values, the platform can absorb additional users, thereby reducing server, management, and overall infrastructure costs. The key benefits of the QLogic Series Adapter identified in this paper are improved performance and reduced overall costs. Test Setup The test setup was configured with an Intel Xeon server connected to HP Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) storage through the QLogic Series Adapter and the QLogic 5800V/5802V Fibre Channel Switch. Jetstress runs were executed with cache levels varying in size from zero to 100 percent of the actual Exchange database size. See Appendix B for actual configuration information. Figure 1 shows the basic setup for the Exchange test. Figure 1. Exchange Test Setup Exchange Performance Results Using Jetstress The tests demonstrate that, at various levels of LUN caching in the Series Adapter, caching delivers as much as a 400 percent increase in the quantity of IOPS and an 80 percent reduction in I/O latency. These performance improvements are directly related to caching data closer to the Exchange server processor, which eliminates Fibre Channel transit time over the SAN. Table 1 shows these results. Criteria Exchange I/O Read Latency (ms) Exchange Transactions (IOPS) Latency Reduction IOPS Increase Table 1. Exchange Performance Test Results No Cache 25% 30% 50% 75% 100% % (44%) (47%) (57%) (67%) (80%) 0% 72% 91% 116% 199% 399% Figure 2 shows the total Exchange transactional IOPS as measured by the Jetstress test. With no cache enabled in the Series Adapter, Jetstress measured 1,056 transactional IOPS. In this case, all I/O traffic makes the round trip from the server to the SAN storage array. At 100 percent cache, the cache size is equal to the database size in this test. The measured IOPS of 5,270 has increased by nearly 400 percent. HSG-WP08008 SN Rev. F 06/13 3

4 White Paper IOPS Exchange Transactional IOPS One initiator and four target RamSan ports were configured in a zone to the QLogic 5000 Series Stackable Fibre Channel Switch. Eight NTFS-formatted LUNs were created on the RamSan: four for the database and four for log files. 0 No Cache 25% 30% 50% 75% 100% Cache Size (as Percentage of LUN Cached) Figure 2. Exchange Transactional IOPS Measured by Jetstress at Varying Cache Levels Figure 3 shows the Exchange I/O read latency as measured by Jetstress. With no cache enabled in the 10000, Jetstress measured the latency at 4.724ms. As with transactional IOPS, all I/O traffic makes the round trip from the server to the SAN storage array. At 100 percent cache, the latency fell to 0.922ms, an 80 percent reduction in this test. Latency (msec) Exchange I/O Read Latency Figure 3. Exchange I/O Read Latency Measured by Jetstress at Varying Cache Levels QLogic and Emulex 8Gb Standard Fibre Channel Adapter Comparison: Exchange Server Benchmark Using IOmeter Test The IOmeter tool was used to benchmark the QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter versus the Emulex 8Gb LightPulse Adapter in an Exchange environment with minimum subsystem latency. The IOmeter test setup (Figure 4) consisted of the latest 8Gb adapters from QLogic and Emulex, running on current, commercially available drivers, installed in a 2.93GHz Intel Nehalem Quad Core (dual socket) server running the Windows Server 2008 R2 OS. The Intel Nehalem server was connected to a Texas Memory System RamSan -325 (with 32GB total capacity) through a QLogic 5000 Series Stackable Fibre Channel Switch. Using a solid-state disk removes the latency introduced by slower spinning disk drives and provides a performance benchmark expected from nextgeneration storage arrays No Cache 25% 30% 50% 75% 100% Cache Size (as Percentage of LUN Cached) Figure 4. IOmeter Test Setup When the disk latency is reduced (the disk I/O is striped across an increased number of spindles), a greater I/O load (the number of users is increased) can be driven by Microsoft Exchange. Using the RamSan-325 and the IOmeter load generation tool allowed the emulation of both of these conditions, as illustrated in Figure 4. The tests were performed using the latest commercially available hardware, software, and drivers. All measurements were made with default settings of the adapters from both companies. Test Procedure Engineers in the QLogic Solutions lab performed tests on the configuration described in Figure 4 as follows: 1. Installed a QLogic 8Gb single-channel PCI Express to Fibre Channel Adapter (QLE2560) on the test server using the appropriate miniport driver. 2. Created workers separately for 8K random read/write to simulate database access and 4K random reads for log file operations (four workers for 8K files at 35 percent read and 65 percent write reads, and one worker for 4K log file reads to maintain IOPS at a 4:1 database to log ratio similar to Exchange 2007). Created eight LUNs and mapped them to four target ports. 3. Ran tests for one minute, repeated them several times for integrity, and then averaged the results. 4. Repeated these steps for the Emulex 8Gb single-channel PCI Express to Fibre Channel Adapter (LPe12000). HSG-WP08008 SN Rev. F 06/13 4

5 White Paper Test Results The tests demonstrate that, as the quantity of users increased and more LUNs were provisioned, the performance gains multiplied with the QLogic 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter, showing a multifold improvement over the Emulex 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter in scalability. Fibre Channel Adapter Scalability in Modeling the Microsoft Exchange I/O Load The RamSan-325 contributes to very low latencies for I/O completions, while the IOmeter tool contributes by driving large I/O loads through the Fibre Channel Adapter, thus satisfying both conditions for this test. IOmeter replicated the Microsoft Exchange I/O workload against the RamSan-325 and found that the IOPS performance of a QLogic Fibre Channel Adapter with a minimum workload of two outstanding I/Os was 57 percent better than Emulex s Fibre Channel Adapter (Figure 5). Similarly, the QLogic adapter scaled better, achieving 35 percent more throughput than the Emulex Fibre Channel Adapter (Figure 6). Fibre Channel Adapter Scalability with Outstanding I/O Workloads Six tests were performed to assess Microsoft Exchange workload scalability. Each test included an increase to the I/O workload; test one had a workload of two outstanding I/Os, with increases through test six, which had 64 outstanding I/Os. The performance benefit of the QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter is illustrated in Figure 7. When the outstanding I/O workloads were increased, the QLogic 8Gb adapter scaled to meet the increased workloads. In contrast, the Emulex 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter could not sustain the performance for the larger workloads. Light Workload MBps (Throughput) IOPS (Transactions/sec) Two Outstanding I/Os Figure 5. IOPS Comparison Heavy Workload QLE2560 Emulex LPe QLE2560 Emulex LPe Figure 7. Microsoft Exchange Workload Scalability As identified, these tests show that the QLogic 8Gb adapter increased IOPS and performance scaled as the workloads increased. In test four, the Emulex adapter also reached its maximum performance. However, in tests five and six, which provided 32 and 64 outstanding I/O workloads respectively, the Emulex adapter s performance dropped significantly. In test six, at 64 outstanding I/Os, QLogic displayed a 35 percent performance advantage over the Emulex 8Gb adapter. The QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter continues to provide scalability and performance as demonstrated in the aforementioned benchmarks. IOmeter was configured to place the maximum possible load on the QLogic 8Gb and Emulex 8Gb adapters. As customers purchase and integrate 8Gb adapter technology into 8Gb SANs and infrastructure, they expect optimum throughput and IOPS, as demonstrated by the QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Adapter Outstanding I/Os Figure 6. Throughput Comparison Summary and Conclusion QLogic continues to be the industry leader in delivering high-performance I/O solutions to data center customers. QLogic FabricCache Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter The IOPS and latency of the QLogic FabricCache Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter are best-in-class and provide an unprecedented high level of performance, superior scalability, and enhanced reliability that HSG-WP08008 SN Rev. F 06/13 5

6 White Paper exceeds the requirements for next-generation Exchange environments. The unique caching solution of the Series Adapter has the increased performance needed to meet the escalating requirements of Microsoft Exchange Server. The results of the benchmark tests demonstrate the I/O performance and scalability advantages of the QLogic Series Adapter for Exchange server performance, which results in overall reduced total cost of ownership (TCO). Because Microsoft Exchange is one of the most prevalent, business-critical applications in enterprises, administrators go to great lengths to ensure optimal performance. Administrators consider scalability and performance as major factors when they work to improve Exchange server operation. The QLogic Series Adapter provides superior scalability and performance for Exchange servers, which makes it the right choice for enterprise data centers. Exchange environments are carefully designed to cater to varying and unpredictable loads. As heavier demands occur in the data center, the SAN must contain the resources to meet the minimum business requirements for higher performance. QLogic Series Adapters support the required performance scalability 400 percent increased IOPS and 80 percent reduced latency which makes a positive impact on an organization s bottom line. The QLogic Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter with built-in I/O caching is designed to meet the ever-increasing demands being placed on Microsoft Exchange environments. QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter The IOPS and throughput of the QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter is best in class and provides an unprecedented level of high performance, superior scalability, and enhanced reliability that exceeds the requirements for next-generation data centers. As existing infrastructures transition to 8Gb and beyond, increasing performance is necessary to meet the escalating requirements of Microsoft Exchange Server. The results of the benchmark tests demonstrate the I/O performance and scalability advantages of the QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter over the Emulex 8Gb Fibre Channel LightPulse Adapter. Two of the key reasons why the QLogic 2500 Series is a great fit for environments with Microsoft Exchange are the following: Microsoft Exchange is the number-one, business-critical application in small, medium, and large enterprises. Administrators go to great lengths to ensure delivery on the guaranteed uptimes. Scalability and performance are major consideration factors when choosing a Fibre Channel Adapter. The QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter has proven its scalability and performance superiority, making it the right choice for Exchange administrators. Exchange environments are carefully designed to cater to varying and unpredictable loads. As heavier demands occur in the data centers, the SAN must meet minimum business requirements for higher performance. QLogic 2500 Series Adapters support the scalability in performance required with increasing users and user mailbox sizes, which will make a positive impact on an organization s bottom line. The QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter scales to wire speed as the quantity and size of I/Os increase. This efficiency is accentuated by QLogic s use of proprietary RISC processors in its ASIC, which is custom built for high throughput, low power, and low latency operation. IT managers know that choosing the right adapter for their SAN infrastructures can have a strong impact on the performance, agility, and scalability of their enterprise storage environments. The results of this study demonstrate that QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapters consistently outperform Emulex LightPulse Adapters in today s realworld environments and provide significant headroom for future scalability. QLogic continues to meet the following growing SAN infrastructure demands that discerning IT managers must support: Increasing use of server consolidation techniques through the deployment of server virtualization technologies such as those from AMD, HP, Dell, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, VMware, and Xensource technologies An expected 470 million mailboxes by 2014, an annual growth rate of 12 percent Business continuity and compliance requirements that drive the deployment of the following: Backup, remote, replication, and disaster recovery technologies Archiving technologies, indexing, and search technologies A high-performance and scalable Fibre Channel Adapter, such as the QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter, will handle the load efficiently without degrading the overall performance of the Microsoft Exchange Server. Storage trends demand higher utilization of bandwidth and throughput from Fibre Channel Adapters, and the QLogic 2500 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapters already deliver on this promise. Related Video: QLogic Adapters in Microsoft Exchange Server Environment Click on the Image to Watch a YouTube Video HSG-WP08008 SN Rev. F 06/13 6

7 White Paper Appendix A Server Configuration Intel Server Processor Type and Speed Memory OS Type Intel Nahalem Quad Processor (dual socket) total 8 cores 24GB RAM Windows Server 2008 R2 Fibre Channel Adapter Hardware Fibre Channel Adapters QLogic Emulex QLE2560 LPe12000 Fibre Channel Adapter Configuration QLogic and Emulex Fibre Channel Adapters QLogic Driver STOR miniport QLogic Driver Version Emulex Driver STOR miniport Emulex Driver Version External Storage Configuration Storage Solid State Disk LUNs RamSan-325 solid state storage 8 LUNs, 4 target ports Fibre Channel Switch Hardware Switch 8Gb Switch QLogic 5000 Series Stackable Fibre Channel Switch HSG-WP08008 SN Rev. F 06/13 7

8 White Paper Appendix B FabricCache Adapter Test Configuration Server Host System Processor RAM Host OS Fibre Channel Adapter Dell PowerEdge R720 Intel Xeon CPU E GHz, 24 processors 32GB Windows 2008 R2 QLogic FabricCache Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter Storage Array Targets Drive Speed HP EVA target port, 2 target controllers 10K Quantity of Drives on Array 24 Size of LUN 100GB 7 Raid Type RAID5 Switch Fabric Switch QLogic 5800V 8Gbps Fibre Channel Switch Test Configuration (Dependent on Test Tools) IO Load Generator Performance Tuning Database LUN Size Microsoft Jetstress Read_write_through Cache Enabled on SAN LUN (0 100%) 200GB Cache Sizes % 0, 25, 30, 50, 75, 100 Cache Type Read Write Through Other Settings Quantity of Mailboxes = 1,000 Mailbox Size = 200MB IOPS per Mailbox = 1 HSG-WP08008 SN Rev. F 06/13 8

9 White Paper Disclaimer Reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the validity and accuracy of these performance tests. QLogic Corporation is not liable for any error in this published white paper or the results thereof. Variation in results may be a result of change in configuration or in the environment. QLogic specifically disclaims any warranty, expressed or implied, relating to the test results and their accuracy, analysis, completeness or quality. Follow us: Share: Corporate Headquarters QLogic Corporation Aliso Viejo Parkway Aliso Viejo, CA International Offices UK Ireland Germany France India Japan China Hong Kong Singapore Taiwan 2013 QLogic Corporation. Specifications are subject to change without notice. All rights reserved worldwide. QLogic, the QLogic logo, and FabricCache are trademarks or registered trademarks of QLogic Corporation. AMD is a registered trademark of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Dell and PowerEdge are registered trademarks of Dell Inc. Emulex and LightPulse are trademarks or registered trademarks of Emulex Corporation. Microsoft, Microsoft Exchange Server, and Windows Server are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. HP is a registered trademark of Hewlett-Packard Company. IBM is a registered trademark of International Business Machines Corporation. Intel and Xeon are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation. PCIe and PCI Express are registered trademarks of PCI-SIG Corporation. RamSan is a registered trademark of Texas Memory Systems, Inc. VMware is a registered trademark of VMware, Inc. XenSource is a trademark of XenSource, Inc. All other brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information supplied by QLogic Corporation is believed to be accurate and reliable. QLogic Corporation assumes no responsibility for any errors in this document. QLogic Corporation reserves the right, without notice, to make changes in product design or specifications. HSG-WP08008 SN Rev. F 06/13 9

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