IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads

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1 89 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor New York, NY IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads A Competitive Test and Evaluation Report

2 Printed in the United States of America Copyright 2015 Edison Group, Inc. New York. Edison Group offers no warranty either expressed or implied on the information contained herein and shall be held harmless for errors resulting from its use. The information contained in this document is based on IBM provided materials and independent research and was aggregated and validated for Edison Group, Inc. by the Edison Group Analyst team. All products are trademarks of their respective owners. First Publication: February, 2015 Produced by: Matthew Elkourie, Analyst; Manny Frishberg, Editor; Barry Cohen, Editor-in-Chief

3 Table of Contents Executive Summary... 1 Introduction to Spectrum Scale... 2 Test Summary Overview and Results... 4 Technology Review and Configuration... 8 EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect... 8 Spectrum Scale for IBM Spectrum Protect Conclusions Appendix A IBM Spectrum Scale Architecture Overview Appendix B IBM Test Reference Architecture... 15

4 Executive Summary When considering enterprise storage software options, IT managers constantly strive to find the most efficient, scalable, and high performance solutions that solve today s storage performance and scalability challenges, while future-proofing their investment to handle new workloads and data types. Enterprise backup solutions can be particularly vulnerable to issues stemming from poor network performance to the storage array(s), and are often not designed with the scalability demanded by rapidly changing enterprise environments. Data backup is critical to enterprise users, and often faces challenges in network throughput (often viewed as the key factor in how long it takes to perform a backup of data) as well as scalability (viewed as how much the system can grow before new solutions would be required). Using published data, Edison compared a solution comprised of EMC Isilon against an IBM Spectrum Scale solution. (IBM Spectrum Scale was formerly IBM General Parallel File System or IBM GPFS, also known as code name Elastic Storage). For both solutions, IBM Spectrum Protect (formerly IBM Tivoli Storage Manager or IBM TSM ) is used as a common workload performing the backups to target storage systems evaluated. IBM Spectrum Protect is a data protection platform that provides a single-pane-of-glassstyle approach to data backup and recovery, helping to protect a wide range of systems, including virtual machines, file servers, , databases, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, mainframes and desktops through a single administration interface. Available in a range of configurations for single and multiple site installations, as well as providing a cloud -based Disaster Recovery (DR) service, the Spectrum Protect platform is flexible, powerful, and yet intuitively accessed and managed, making Spectrum Protect the ideal platform to evaluate consistent performance data, such as the performance data produced and evaluated in this paper. As the reader will see in the benchmark results section of this paper, the Spectrum Scale solution provided for up to 11x better throughput results, while demonstrating superior linear scalability as additional resources are provided to the Spectrum Protect backup infrastructure. Compared to the EMC Isilon solution, the Spectrum Scale solution scales 11x better due to network design and capabilities using InfiniBand, allowing enterprise users to invest significantly less funding and additional infrastructure resources as enterprise scaling demands increase when using the Spectrum Scale solution. Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 1

5 Introduction to Spectrum Scale To better understand the IBM Spectrum Scale technology, and why this solution performs better than competing offerings, an introduction and brief overview of Spectrum Scale and its features is provided here. Spectrum Scale is a proven, highly scalable and high performance solution, formerly known as GPFS or Elastic Storage. IBM Spectrum Scale has been in the market since 1998, starting as a solution for IBM AIX systems and evolving over time as a highly available storage solution, available for both Linux (supported version available in 2001) and Microsoft Windows Server (supported version available in 2008). Spectrum Scale, a member of the IBM Software Defined Storage family, is a global file and object -based storage solution providing high performance and storage scalability that readily meets the demands found in enterprise storage environments. Spectrum Scale s architecture allows organizations to manage ever increasing data pool sizes, as well as scaling data throughput. By utilizing a single Spectrum Scale cluster serving multiple IBM Spectrum Protect servers, operational simplicity keeps management overhead low. In addition to deployment as a high performance, scalable, and reliable backup solution, Spectrum Scale is typically integrated as the storage infrastructure for a wide range of products and applications. Some typical use cases with which readers of this white paper will be familiar include integration of Spectrum Scale with Hadoop (and other scale-out frameworks), integration with High Performance Computing (HPC) applications, and integration with High Performance Throughput Computing (HPTC) clustering solutions. Spectrum Scale is also available as a service on the IBM SoftLayer Cloud, offering cloud storage for analytics, mobile and social data. Cloud storage for these workloads must be highly scalable and elastic in order to accommodate the dynamic requirements from users and applications. In 2012, IBM introduced the Active File Management feature in Spectrum Scale, which enables asynchronous access and control of both local and remote files, enabling global file access and use. Resiliency and performance is greatly enhanced by Spectrum Scale Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 2

6 native RAID, a feature that significantly reduces RAID rebuild times (in some cases up to twenty times faster 1 ), while at the same time reducing overhead on infrastructure in the datacenter by significantly decreased network and disk sub-system usage and requirements. Spectrum Scale Native RAID implements sophisticated data placement and error correction algorithms to deliver high levels of storage reliability, availability, and performance. The Elastic Storage Server is a bundled Spectrum Scale software and hardware-based solution that incorporates Spectrum Scale Native RAID, providing a scalable storage building block that can be used by many applications (such as IBM Spectrum Protect). Elastic Storage Server addresses a variety of client needs and use cases, ranging from managing traditional large data sets to Hadoop cluster storage infrastructure nodes to providing the foundation for mission critical backups. The initial version of the Elastic Storage Server was called the GPFS Storage Server, or GSS, based on x86 technology. This initial version was used in these evaluations. 1 ment=xsc03148usen.pdf Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 3

7 Test Summary Overview and Results The focus of testing and Edison reviews centers on key principles consisting of storage throughput capabilities and storage scalability as additional workloads are increased. Utilizing the IBM Spectrum Protect product as a baseline for consistent workload generation, Edison reviewed how each storage architecture performs in a variety of published benchmarks. The first set of results illustrates the smallest IBM Spectrum Scale workload compared to the EMC Isilon configuration utilizing multiple servers and multiple client threads. Figure 1: Throughput Measurement (in MB/s) Platform Comparison Clearly, with just a single server and single thread, the Spectrum Scale demonstrates 3x the throughput capability in the smallest workload possible compared to its competitor. While the Figure 1 results are quite impressive on their own, let s examine what happens when we scale the Spectrum Protect workload up and gauge the results on the Spectrum Scale solution. Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 4

8 Figure 2: Throughput Measurement (in MB/s) Platform Comparison In Figure 2, Edison kept the same maximum performance figures from the Isilon platform, while increasing the Spectrum Protect load on the Spectrum Scale solution by running multiple clients on the same single server. Spectrum Scale was faster by more than 6x when performing backups, and more than 8x faster when restoring data than its competition. At this point, while the results produced were impressive, Edison still has not examined the results of having the same Spectrum Protect environment as the competition tested against Spectrum Scale. Let s examine that now in Figure 3. Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 5

9 Figure 3: Throughput Measurement (in MB/s) Platform Comparison Figure 3 clearly illustrates that when scaled out in similar fashion to its competition, the IBM Spectrum Scale solution absolutely dominates in performance numbers, showing a better than 11x faster throughput rate than its competition. While digesting the results of the testing, it should be mentioned and illustrated that aside from increased IBM Spectrum Protect loads presented to the systems under test, the underlying infrastructure of the storage solutions being evaluated was kept the same. With this understanding, Figure 4 shows the superior scalability of IBM Spectrum Scale. Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 6

10 Figure 4: Throughput Measurement (in MB/s) Platform Comparison In looking at Figure 4, a clear trend becomes obvious. As IBM Spectrum Scale faces increased loads, the performance factor scales linearly and predictably. The performance and scalability presented thus far are impressive for both storage platforms presented. While it is easy to make assumptions based on graphs, Edison encourages the reader to take a deeper look into the technology presented that yielded such impressive results, as well as to understand how these results were achieved. Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 7

11 Technology Review and Configuration EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect First to be examined are the objectives of the EMC Isilon testing. In a published blog 2 by author Stefan Radtke (Field CTO, EMEA at EMC), Isilon testing is performed to illustrate why Isilon is the right choice for Spectrum Protect as a backup target. The stated goal of the testing was to illustrate the amount of throughput for backup and restoration jobs an end-user could expect to achieve while running Spectrum Protect on EMC Isilon. The Spectrum Protect server Database cannot be stored on EMC Isilon for performance reasons, so it should be noted that the performance testing was focused on the actual backup and restoration capabilities of the EMC Isilon platform. Testing prior to the Isilon deployment Edison reviewed was conducted with 4 Spectrum Protect server instances running on Microsoft Windows 2012 Server, configured to a pair of NetApp arrays. Data throughput rates reached a maximum of approximately 150MB/s, with peak data transfer rates occurring at around 400MB/s, running IBM Spectrum Protect. After the EMC Isilon array was implemented with the same Spectrum Protect configuration but with a 3 node EMC Isilon NL400 cluster, data throughput rates rose by nearly double the previous data rate sustained and peak values. The IBM Spectrum Protect configuration was modified to use more threads, enabling the higher test scores displayed below in the performance chart. The published EMC Isilon test harness consisted of a three node EMC Isilon NL400 cluster. While testing was performed with a tape library as well as to hard disk, this report will focus on the non-tape testing as Edison s evaluation centers on throughput on storage systems utilizing disks, not tape. Available details include the following configuration data: 3 node Isilon NL400 storage nodes 432 TB raw capacity with 260TB usable across the 3 shelves of Isilon storage 10G network infrastructure Microsoft Windows Server 2012, running 4 Spectrum Protect instances 2 Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 8

12 Connected to the EMC Isilon system were four Spectrum Protect servers running on Windows 2012 and serving an undisclosed number of Spectrum Protect backup clients. The Spectrum Protect server where connected via a 10 Gbit Ethernet infrastructure. According to the author of this report, runtimes with Isilon were reduced by nearly a 5x factor compared against NetApp, reducing from 12 hours necessary for runtime down to 2 ½ hours. In conjunction with the platform shift to EMC Isilon, the author was able to reduce complexity in the data backup infrastructure, in addition to the benefits of increased data throughput rates and run time reductions. Results of the author s testing is displayed in Figure 5, and shows the performance increases the author was able to achieve on the EMC Isilon infrastructure once it was configured for maximum IBM Spectrum Protect operation. Figure 5: EMC Isilon on IBM Spectrum Protect Throughput IBM Spectrum Protect Instances with Multiple Sessions Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 9

13 Spectrum Scale for IBM Spectrum Protect The IBM team s testing regimen 3 consists of several test runs being performed on a pair of IBM x3650-m4 servers and a single IBM GSS26 storage system connected via InfiniBand. The IBM team tested: Peak backup and restore performance with multiple parallel client backup sessions directed to a single IBM Spectrum Protect Server Peak backup performance with multiple parallel client backup sessions directed to two IBM Spectrum Protect Servers simultaneously Peak backup performance using a single client backup session directed to a single IBM Spectrum Protect Server Similar to the testing performed with the EMC Isilon configuration, two IBM servers running the Spectrum Protect software are directly connected to the IBM GSS Servers (with Spectrum Scale software running as the storage infrastructure engine on them), eliminating complexity and keeping the configuration easy to maintain and scale. The connection was based on InfiniBand. The published IBM test harness consisted of IBM GSS, running Spectrum Scale software. A breakdown of the tested solution is as follows: IBM GSS26 Comprising two server nodes, configured with 348 drives in 6 declustered arrays. Each de-clustered array features 1 metadata and 1 vdisk Single File System presented to Spectrum Protect for the Spectrum Protect database and storage pool data RAID arrays were established in an 8+2 array configuration for file system data, and a 3-way replicated configuration for file system metadata The underlying software version for the Operating System is Red Hat RHEL 6.5 installed with GSS release version 2.0 for the storage software 56 Gbps InfiniBand cross connections between the GSS26 installation and the two Spectrum Protect servers utilized for testing 3 and_gss_performance_test_results?lang=en Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 10

14 Connected to the IBM GSS system were two IBM x3650-m4 servers, each hosting one Spectrum Protect server and multiple Spectrum Protect client instances. The Spectrum Protect servers with version 7.1 were running on Red Hat Linux 6.5 and configured as Spectrum Scale nodes along with the GSS storage server. Performance increases gained during testing, similar to the EMC Isilon testing regiment, is shown as increased performance throughput as additional workloads were introduced with first additional client threads, and then finally with a similar environment to the EMC Isilon workload where multiple servers and clients were utilized. This is show in Figure 6. Figure 6: IBM Spectrum Scale on IBM Spectrum Protect Varied Servers and Sessions Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 11

15 Conclusions Enterprise backup solutions, and the storage systems that provide the necessary infrastructure to achieve tight deadlines for backup and recovery of data, can be a challenging subject for users trying to decide what makes the most sense when evaluating budgets against performance and scalability. The evaluations in this white paper illustrate the comparison of two commercially available storage solutions in a backup and retrieval scenario, and focus on the throughput and scalability they both bring to the table. As retained data needs grow in size, the ability to access that data and recover from loss becomes equally critical. As shown throughout the whitepaper, the IBM Spectrum Scale platform outperforms the competition, in some cases by up to 11x in throughput. It is especially notable that the smallest, non-scaled implementation of IBM Spectrum Protect yields better than 3x the performance of the competition when run on IBM Spectrum Scale. Scaling from 3x the throughput to 11x the throughput of the competing system demonstrates the clear workload scalability advantage IBM Spectrum Scale provides. In conclusion, the benchmarks clearly show that IBM Spectrum Scale is the right solution for companies requiring out-of-box system performance and future proofed platform scalability. Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 12

16 Appendix A IBM Spectrum Scale Architecture Overview Figure 7: Basic Spectrum Scale Architecture A Spectrum Scale cluster can be a single node, two nodes or thousands of nodes used for applications, such as the modeling of weather patterns. The largest existing configurations exceed 40,000 nodes, for example as found in the Argonne National Labs Supercomputer Cluster 4. Nodes in a cluster are connected via a cluster network providing communication among the cluster nodes. The file systems configured in Spectrum Scale represent a global name space where files are accessible on all cluster nodes. Files in the Spectrum Scale file systems are stored on one or more storage systems 4 Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 13

17 connected to the cluster nodes via a storage network. Spectrum Scale nodes have access to the entire storage. The storage system can provide RAID technology whereas in a GSS system, Spectrum Scale software performs the RAID operations (Spectrum Scale native RAID) with simple JBODs (just a bunch of disk). A single Spectrum Scale cluster can be scaled up in many ways. Each component of the cluster server (node), network, server, storage can be individually scaled to match individual and changing requirements. Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 14

18 Appendix B IBM Test Reference Architecture For visual purposes, a diagram is provided, showing a typical IBM Spectrum Protect and Spectrum Scale deployment stack. This is the same stack referenced in the testing referred to in this review. Figure 8: Typical IBM Spectrum Protect and IBM Spectrum Scale Deployment Stack The components found in the stack are as follows: 2 x Spectrum Protect Server IBM x3650-m4 with Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 6.5 IBM Tivoli Storage Manager x IBM System x GPFS Storage Server - GSS26 6 x 4U-60 with 58 x 2 TB NL-SAS disks drawer In total 348 disks 1 x Mellanox 32 Port InfiniBand FDR switch Each Spectrum Protect server is connected with a 56 GBit/s link to the GSS system Edison: IBM Spectrum Scale vs EMC Isilon for IBM Spectrum Protect Workloads Page 15 DCL12398USEN-00

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