Evolving Datacenter Architectures

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1 Technology Insight Paper Evolving Datacenter Architectures HP technologies for Cloud ready IT By Russ Fellows January, 2013 Enabling you to make the best technology decisions

2 Evolving Datacenter Architectures - HP Technologies 1

3 Evolving Datacenter Architectures - HP Technologies 2 Overview Companies of all sizes are either implementing server virtualization, expanding earlier pilot efforts, or exploring how to begin these projects. The widespread success results from the ability to improve efficiency while lowering capital expenditures. However, limitations with current generation infrastructure can reduce the effectiveness. As a result of these successes, the discussion has moved beyond the question of whether or not to deploy virtualization. Companies increasingly rely upon IT systems to deliver top line results, while updating legacy infrastructure to also improve bottom line profits. As a result, companies want to increase the scope of IT projects to deliver business results with shrinking budgets. Organizations attempting to optimize their virtualization deployments or those building next generation cloud infrastructure require IT components that help this transition. Next generation IT architectures require virtualized, flexible architectures and IT components that help IT organizations deliver real business value. Cloud computing, also known as IT as a Service, is predicated on delivering IT services on demand, an idea that has support from business leaders as a way to better align IT with business operations. Cloud computing has two key requirements: virtualized applications and seamless support and integration between the server, networking, storage and hypervisor components. In this paper, we explore these concepts and highlight the critical features necessary to move beyond server virtualization by leveraging key integration capabilities between IT components with a particular focus on the important role that storage plays in the evolution of the datacenter architecture. Business Expectations Across businesses of all sizes, IT investments can provide positive business results, lowering operational costs, while improving business efficiency. For some firms, improved efficiency is the primary goal for measuring IT success, while others require IT to increase their operational capabilities, without significant capital or operational changes. Businesses expect to receive a return on their IT investment in a number of tangible areas, including: Reduce costs, both Capex and Opex Improve availability and reduce business risk Accelerate IT service delivery in support of business

4 Evolving Datacenter Architectures - HP Technologies 3 Server virtualization has proven successful for all of these objectives. As a result, companies that deployed virtualization in targeted areas are now moving entire business processes to architectures that can further enhance their operations. Others firms that are beginning to implement server virtualization are able to leverage the knowledge gained from early adopters. Both groups want IT architectures that will support their companies objectives. Many smaller firms are making their first significant investments into server virtualization, while also moving some applications into the cloud. These companies see the ability to operate highly efficient IT infrastructures using standard components and IT practices. These companies want to leverage early adopters knowledge and move directly to IT architectures optimized for virtual applications, while still meeting their budget and operational constraints. Mid- sized companies that have made previous investments in virtualization are now looking to increase the number of virtualized applications significantly. Next generation architectures are needed to provide consolidation of infrastructure and management. Another objective for mid- sized business is implementing disaster recovery, a capability that requires high technical sophistication and large budgets prior to server virtualization. Larger enterprise firms may be consolidating past virtualization and networked storage investments, or expanding their scope to include deploying tier- 1 applications in a virtual infrastructure. As they go beyond initial deployments these organizations are moving toward cloud delivery of IT services where they expect to deliver enhanced business value by better aligning IT with business needs. Building A Cloud Foundation One of the tenets of Cloud computing is that infrastructure is abstracted to a common layer. The abstraction to a standard set of functions is accomplished with virtualization, making it a first step for operating IT efficiently. Industry standard servers provide an architectural foundation for building cloud delivery infrastructures. The integration between components, along with their reliability and manageability will determine how effectively this infrastructure is managed. Cloud computing will require still more integration and the ability to run virtual applications in multi- tenant environments. Another trend occurring is the shift in responsibilities of IT staff, moving from technical tasks to duties that better align IT with business operations. In many cases, administrators have less time to devote to managing individual products, while being asked to manage applications and all supporting infrastructure. As a result, many administrators now utilize application management interfaces along with a hypervisor console as the primary means for managing application infrastructure.

5 Evolving Datacenter Architectures - HP Technologies 4 Storage Technology for Virtualization The basis for operating and delivering IT via either a private or public cloud is running virtualized applications using a consistent and flexible infrastructure optimized for these workloads. Based on recent deployment information from server, storage and hypervisor vendors, Evaluator Group has found that over 50% of current storage systems are allocated to running virtual workloads. As a result, storage systems must support a much greater and more diverse set of applications per physical system. Supporting multiple workloads is a task traditional dual controller storage systems were not designed to handle. Virtual applications place a much greater demand on storage systems, generating random I/O requests, which traditional storage systems are unable to support. In addition to the high performance demands, virtual applications can exhaust capacity if efficient thin- provisioning capabilities are not available. Finally, many current storage systems have limited hypervisor integration, creating operational inefficiencies for IT staff. As a result of these restrictions, IT departments have found that the benefits of server virtualization are hindered by their existing storage systems. Next Generation Storage Storage designed for next era of IT environments have features that differentiate them from earlier, general- purpose storage. The first major requirement is the ability to deliver high- performance for the highly random workloads generated by applications running in a virtual server infrastructure. Additional storage features such as thin provisioning, scale out capabilities and integration with virtual servers all help improve IT efficiency. Because virtual server infrastructures often lead to a proliferation of server instances, capacity and management efficiency become even more critical to IT efficiency. Thin provisioning alleviates wasted capacity overprovisioning, while scale- out and hypervisor integration allow IT administrators to operate their infrastructure more efficiently. Disaster recovery and business continuance is a capability that once seemed out of reach for many mid- sized firms and most small businesses. However, next generation IT architectures are now enabling these companies to implement disaster recovery by leveraging their scale- out systems, with the ability to failover to collocated facilities or DR as a service sites. Effect of VAAI Hypervisor integration is an important criterion for storage systems. Next generation storage systems are now emerging with deep management and hypervisor offload capabilities that go beyond the early certification claims. The ability to offload storage operations from servers, hypervisors and operating systems to a storage device is feature that can provide dramatic efficiency and performance gains.

6 Evolving Datacenter Architectures - HP Technologies 5 One effort to provide intelligent links between hypervisors and storage is the VMware VAAI (vstorage APIs for Array Integration) specification. This API enables a hypervisor to offload critical and resource intensive operations from the server to a storage system, which is able to perform the offloaded functions faster and more efficiently. VAAI offload capabilities include: Storage array assisted locking - eliminates the impact of hypervisor administrative operations on running workloads Storage array clone - significantly reduces the server, network and storage overhead associated with creating clones of virtual machines Storage array block zero - reduces server, network and storage overhead when initializing virtual disks for vm s Storage UNMAP - helps preserve the space efficiency of thinly provisioned virtual disks by enabling storage systems to reuse deleted disk blocks As shown below in Table 1, the importance of VAAI for some operations is significant. VAAI Primitive Time Reduction SAN Reduction Hypervisor offload Block Zero 85% 94% 100% Full Copy 95% 92% 100% Hardware- Assisted Locking 83% N/A N/A Benefits Allows array to zero-out large numbers of blocks, improving performance of VM provisioning. Less resource overhead on vsphere hosts. Deployment time of VMs is reduced. Storage vmotion time reduced. Less resource overhead on vsphere hosts. Locking conflicts/contention between vsphere hosts reduced. Scalability is substantially improved. Creation of larger VMFS volumes / datastore for clusters now possible. Table 1: Effects of VAAI on Server Resources (Source: HP & VMware) VMware was first to offer a programmatic interface to offload specific storage intensive operations known to storage systems using VAAI. This offload concept is being adopted by other hypervisors including Microsoft Hyper- V and Citrix XenServer, which are now developing similar offload capabilities.

7 Evolving Datacenter Architectures - HP Technologies 6 HP Converged Storage Advantages HP s storage portfolio includes products that have emerged from the heritage of innovation at high- growth enterprise storage companies, including 3PAR (HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage), LeftHand (HP StoreVirtual Storage), IBRIX (HP StoreAll Storage) and HP Labs (HP StoreOnce Backup). The unique technology and innovation of these products has been further refined to provide specific features that help deliver business benefits. By leveraging common components, coupled with management and hypervisor integration, HP Converged Storage delivers business benefits outlined below in Table 2. HP Converged Storage Feature Enterprise Availability High Performance Thin Provisioning & Persistence Hypervisor Integration Peer Replication Business Benefit Decreases risk, by providing higher availability than traditional two controller architectures. * *(3PAR StoreServ & StoreVirtual) Lowers Capex by providing consistent high performance, which enables more virtual applications per storage system. Lowers both Capex and Opex by increasing capacity utilization throughout the lifespan of the asset. Reduces both Capex and Opex. Capital reductions by reducing server and network workloads. Operational efficiency by reducing IT administration time and training. Reduces Opex and Capex, by enabling disaster recovery with lower initial deployment costs and operational costs. Table 2: Storage Designed for Virtualization HP s storage products establish a foundation for delivering and growing IT services via clouds with the following specific capabilities:

8 Evolving Datacenter Architectures - HP Technologies 7 1. Tight integration with virtualization software HP Converged Storage is integrated with VMware, Microsoft and Citrix software 2. Better align IT costs with Business - With HP s Pay as you grow product and financing options, enabling IT consumers to scale- out and match cost with needs 3. Features that solve virtualization storage problems HP Converged Storage addresses the performance, availability, scalability, storage efficiency and management requirements needed for virtualization environments 4. Complete systems Reference Architectures and HP VirtualSystem reduce integration issues and the risk of architectural incompatibilities, resulting in decreased time to business value 5. HP Converged Storage with HP servers HP Insight Control unifies storage, server, networking management in virtualized environments, improving IT operational efficiency. 6. End- to- End virtual infrastructure HP is able to provide every aspect of a complete solution; starting with server, network and storage hardware, together with IT management and data protection tools, integrating these components into disaster protected business operations. Operational Efficiency Operational efficiency is an objective for firms regardless of size. Reducing the number of management portals is one practical method of enhancing efficiency. For many firms, the hypervisor console has become the primary management interface. All HP Converged Storage systems, including the StoreVirtual and StoreServ products utilize a common set of hypervisor management plug- ins, delivering a consistent management experience across the HP portfolio. Further integration with leading hypervisors, including VMware and Microsoft Hyper- V, help increase operational efficiency and reduce workloads on server and network components. By offloading tasks that consume significant processor and network capacity to storage systems, hypervisor integration can reduce overhead as shown previously in Figure 1. Another benefit of increased integration between HP Converged Storage systems with virtual system management is the ability to operate IT assets more effectively, using a common hypervisor console to perform the majority of their daily tasks. As IT personnel manage more applications and operate infrastructure at the hypervisor level, their efficiency and alignment with business operations improves.

9 Evolving Datacenter Architectures - HP Technologies 8 HP Converged Storage Portfolio The current HP Converged Storage portfolio has been enhanced with the introduction of next generation architectures designed to support virtual workloads. In contrast to legacy architectures, HP server, network and storage systems provide integration with VMware vsphere, Microsoft Hyper- V and Citrix XenServer. Peer node replication, multi- tenancy, stretched clusters and hypervisor based storage controllers (VSA) are some of the features provided by HP Converged Storage systems that are helping to enable businesses to move beyond past limitations. Individual HP Converged Storage products offer a number of integration points with several hypervisors. Some features include: VMware vsphere, MS Hyper- V and Citrix XenServer certification VMware VAAI, VASA, SRM and vmsc support MS SCOM / SCVMM support VMware vcenter management integration with plug- ins MS System Center integration with plug- ins Microsoft Application integration, MS VDS and VSS support HP 3PAR StoreServ HP 3PAR StoreServ arrays deliver scalable SAN attached storage spanning from the low midrange up to larger enterprise class storage systems. Other 3PAR StoreServ innovations such as wide- striping, zero detect, and thin persistence all help deliver business value by enabling better IT resource utilization. The common architecture provides complete transparency for IT staff for data protection operations. Compatibility between midrange and enterprise 3PAR StoreServ systems enables a variety of BC/DR deployment options. This unique differentiation helps reduce costs by allowing companies to size systems based on needs rather than requiring expensive tier- 1 systems in locations in order to achieve business continuity. IT staff are able to learn how to operate one product, rather than multiple products. This also improves efficiency of operations, while reducing business risk of configuration through a consistent deployment model, reducing risk of problems or outages. Finally, the 3PAR StoreServ products provide cost savings with HP s Get Virtual guarantee and Get Thin guarantee, enabling 2X better virtual machine density and 50% less physical capacity than competing legacy storage respectively.

10 Evolving Datacenter Architectures - HP Technologies 9 HP StoreVirtual Storage HP s StoreVirtual storage systems have unique innovations that are well suited for virtual environments. Innovative features such as Network RAID, scale- out architecture and support on a variety of physical form factors (blade, rack and VSA), make StoreVirtual systems a natural fit for many virtual server workloads. StoreVirtual arrays were among the industries first storage controllers designed to operate as specialized storage applications running on industry standard platforms. This approach, known as software- defined storage is gaining popularity for its ability to utilize common hardware components for server and storage controllers. HP s StoreVirtual arrays support software only - Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) versions - that enables IT departments to operate a converged IT environment. Converging the IT infrastructure is enabled through use of HP standard servers and blades, supporting HP StoreVirtual running as a VSA on common server, network and hypervisor environment. As a result, IT resources may be quickly and efficiently repurposed, scaling out compute nodes or storage controller nodes as required using a shared hardware infrastructure. HP StoreOnce Backup Data protection remains one of the most IT resource intensive operations that occur daily. IT administrators spend a significant portion of their time managing, monitoring and performing data protection and recovery tasks. Recovery time and data loss translate directly to businesses bottom lines with any failure often highly visible. As a result, the task of protecting data is one of the most critical tasks performed. HP StoreOnce Backup systems are the industry s largest scaling single system for performance, enabling companies to protect and recover their vital information quickly and cost effectively. Developed within HP Labs, the HP StoreOnce Backup line provides a highly cost effective method of protecting critical business information, while still providing the high Recovery Time and Response Time Objectives businesses now demand. HP VirtualSystems HP integrated solutions scale from small business configurations up to large enterprises. These reference architectures and pre- configured systems help accelerate deployment of new equipment, in particular for companies that desire standard components to use as the basis for their next generation IT infrastructure. With integration between server, network and storage components performed by HP architects, many common design and deployment issues are alleviated.

11 Evolving Datacenter Architectures - HP Technologies 10 Final Thoughts Supporting competitive business operations for the next decade will require innovation in how IT is managed and delivered. Next generation IT environments demand new architectural and operational designs. IT foundations require flexibility, reliability and cost effective performance. Overprovisioning server, network or storage capacity is no longer economically feasible. IT efficiency is a critical component to a company s overall efficiency. HP StoreVirtual and HP 3PAR StoreServ provide industry leading storage platforms that help IT translate business objectives into practical reality. HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage is HP s most scalable line of midrange and enterprise storage, with best in class availability, connectivity and hypervisor integration capabilities provide increased efficiency utilization and performance, yielding bottom line business results. HP StoreVirtual Storage are optimized for virtual servers, combining deep hypervisor integration with flexible deployment capabilities to support virtual and cloud IT services cost effectively. HP StoreAll provides file and object storage optimized for high performance scale- out environments HP StoreOnce Backup scale from small remote office systems to the industries highest capacity and highest performing backup appliance, while helping to optimize data protection through 20:1 data reduction capabilities HP VirtualSystems provide pre- integrated configurations that may reduce configuration complexity for companies expanding their IT infrastructure Businesses leading the adoption of virtual applications and the evolution to cloud will leverage converged IT components, running virtualized applications all integrated and managed in a consistent manner. HP Converged Storage systems help enterprises deliver on their business objectives by improving operational efficiency, enabling these businesses to compete more effectively. About Evaluator Group Evaluator Group Inc. is dedicated to helping IT professionals and vendors create and implement strategies that make the most of the value of their storage and digital information. Evaluator Group services deliver in- depth, unbiased analysis on storage architectures, infrastructures and management for IT professionals. Since 1997 Evaluator Group has provided services for thousands of end users and vendor professionals through product and market evaluations, competitive analysis and education. Follow us on

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