Accelerating Microsoft Exchange Servers with I/O Caching

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1 Accelerating Microsoft Exchange Servers with I/O Caching QLogic FabricCache Caching Technology Designed for High-Performance Microsoft Exchange Servers 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 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 entirely transparent to the host. QLogic s caching technology in the QLogic Series Fibre Channel Adapter enhances Microsoft Exchange with: 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

2 Executive Summary Increased demands on the Microsoft Exchange Server make it critical to optimize its I/O performance in the SAN. The QLogic Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter meets that need for high performance. By implementing a unique I/O caching architecture with Fibre Channel connectivity, the Series Adapter significantly increases the performance of transactional I/O (IOPS) and I/O read latency for large Exchange data volumes. This combined approach of enterprise server I/O with server-based I/O caching using flash memory delivers dramatic and smoothly scalable application performance. 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 1 The Radicati Group, Inc. study, Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook Market Analysis a total installed base that is expected to reach 470 million by 2014, with an average annual growth rate of 12 percent. This expanding penetration of Exchange makes it imperative that the user remains unaffected by increased server loads. Exchange IOPS and latency relate directly to the usability of Exchange and user systems, as well as the number of mailboxes that can be hosted on a server. To help IT decision-makers make the best, most-informed adapter choice, QLogic has assessed performance benchmarks that show the I/O performance and scalability advantages of the QLogic Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter. This white paper examines the advantages provided by QLogic s technology in the Series Adapter, and gives guidance for making informed decisions when considering the value of flash memory to enhance server performance. 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 the applications administrators, and recent challenges are poised 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 Exchange data access to the 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, I/O enterprise workloads. The QLogic Series Adapter from QLogic provides I/O acceleration across the storage area network for Exchange servers. The Series Adapter is a PCIe-based 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 patent-pending FabricCache solution delivers the application performance acceleration benefits of transparent, server-based cache, without the limitations of solutions that require separate, server-based storage management software and OS filter drivers. For optimal Microsoft Exchange performance, maximized transactional I/O speed and minimized I/O latency indicate a peak-performing Exchange and system. By optimizing these performance values, the platform can absorb additional users, thereby reducing server, management, and overall infrastructure costs. The key benefits identified in this paper are the QLogic Series Adapter improvements of Exchange Server performance that reduce overall costs. Exchange Server Benchmark Using Microsoft Jetstress Microsoft provides the Jetstress 2010 tool for simulating Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 database I/O load and for validating hardware deployments against design targets. In this paper, Jetstress was used to simulate Exchange 2010 against both non-cached and cached I/O data implementations with the QLogic Gb Fibre Channel Adapter. Test Setup The test setup was configured with an Intel Xeon server connected to an HP Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) storage through the QLogic Adapter and 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. SSG-WP13001D SN Rev. D 05/13 2

3 Figure 1 shows the basic setup for the Exchange test. Table 2. Software Used for Exchange Jetstress Testing Software Operating System Exchange Performance Validation Tool Exchange 2010 System Simulation ESE.dll File Quantity of Mailboxes 1,000 Mailbox Size Database Size Description Windows Server 2008 R2 Exchange Jetstress bit version (Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP1) 200MB 200GB Exchange Performance Results Using Jetstress Test Hardware and Software Figure 1. Exchange Test Setup Table 1 lists the hardware and Table 2 lists the software used for Exchange Server testing. Host Server Host Bus Adapter Table 1. Hardware Used for Exchange Jetstress Testing Hardware Quantity of Host Bus Adapters per Host Fabric Switch Storage Array HP EVA 6300 Drive Speed Description Dual 6-core Intel Xeon CPU E at 2.50GHz, 24 logical processors, 32GB RAM QLogic FabricCache Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter 1 QLogic 5800V/5802V 8Gbps Fibre Channel Switch 10K Quantity of Drives on Array 24 LUN Size 100GB 7 RAID Type RAID 5 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 number 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 3 shows these results. Table 3. Jetstress Data for Increasing Cache Sizes in the Series Adapter Criteria Exchange I/O Read Latency (ms) Exchange Transactions (IOPS) Latency Reduction No Cache Cache Size 25% 30% 50% 75% 100% % (44%) (47%) (57%) (67%) (80%) IOPS Increase 0% 72% 91% 116% 199% 399% SSG-WP13001D SN Rev. D 05/13 3

4 Figure 2 shows the total Exchange transactional IOPS as measured by the Jetstress test. With no cache enabled in the QLogic Series Adapter, Jetstress measured 1056 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 LUN size in this test. The measured IOPS of 5,270 has increased by nearly 400 percent. 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 QLogic 10000, Jetstress measured the latency at 4.724ms. As with transactional IOPS, all I/O traffic makes the round trip from server to the SAN storage array. At 100 percent cache, the latency fell to 0.922ms, an 80 percent reduction in this test. Summary and Conclusion QLogic continues to be the industry leader in delivering high-performance I/O solutions to data center customers. The IOPS and latency of the QLogic Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter is best-in-class and provides an unprecedented high level of performance, superior scalability, and enhanced reliability that 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 to 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 performance. The QLogic Series Adapter provides the technology to improve the scalability and performance superiority of Exchange, which makes 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 Series Adapter supports 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 FabricCache Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter with built-in I/O caching is designed to meet the ever-increasing needs of Microsoft Exchange platforms. Figure 3: Exchange I/O Read Latency Measured by Jetstress at Varying Cache Levels SSG-WP13001D SN Rev. D 05/13 4

5 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. HP is a registered trademark of Hewlett-Packard Company. Intel is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation. Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Xeon is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation. 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 brochure. QLogic Corporation reserves the right, without notice, to make changes in product design or specifications. SSG-WP13001D SN Rev. D 05/13 5

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