Storage Validation at GE

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1 Storage Validation at GE Storage infrastructure performance validation speeds innovation and reduces technology risk December Load DynamiX. All rights reserved.

2 Table of Contents Abstract... 3 Challenges at GE... 3 Solution Investigation... 4 The Load DynamiX Solution... 4 Results realized. Risk reduced Use Cases... 5 Use Case 1: Validation of new SAN vendor performance Use Case 2: Identification of storage array IOPs and throughput limits Use Case 3: Evaluation of tiering policies behavior Use Case 4: Emulation of production environment workloads Use Case 5: Discovery of metadata I/O problems on NAS systems Summary Load DynamiX. All rights reserved. LoadDynamiX.com 2

3 Abstract The GE Global Infrastructure Services (GIS) team originally turned to Load DynamiX to help resolve an important application performance problem. But they soon realized that the benefits of using Load DynamiX went far beyond problem resolution, as the product suite provided GE with the critical insight needed to optimize the performance and cost-effectiveness of their next generation storage infrastructure while substantially reducing the risk of deploying new technology. Challenges at GE The GE GIS team supports 9 business units, with over 3,000 applications running on over 9PB of storage (primarily HDS and EMC for Fibre channel and NetApp for NAS). Over 60% of their infrastructure is virtualized in a hybrid cloud approach. They are constantly evaluating new products and technologies and are leveraging storage virtualization and dynamic tiering to help drive storage consolidation. Benefits Accelerate innovation with less risk by having: Standardized storage testing Performance assurance; limits known preproduction No downtime due to performance problems Storage purchasing optimized for cost / benefit The challenges that faced GE included: A difficult to resolve I/O performance problem with a highly visible business intelligence application. A file-oriented application was experiencing severe metadata operation bottlenecks, but they were uncertain how to resolve the issue or how to repeat the problem in their pre-production test environment. Finding a new storage solution that could truly handle their demanding metadata-intensive application workloads. The IT team did not have a standardized benchmarking test to leverage when architecting and implementing storage solutions. This resulted in inconsistent baseline metrics as well as potential duplication of work during new technology POC s. This lack of capability impacted their ability to make informed decisions when introducing or upgrading to new storage solutions Load DynamiX. All rights reserved. LoadDynamiX.com 3

4 Solution Investigation GE evaluated several performance validation solutions, including IOzone, Vdbench, SWAT, and a Load DynamiX Enterprise-based appliance. After a one month Proof of Concept, they found Load DynamiX had several key advantages over the open source tools: Comprehensive all-in-one solution, Much finer granularity for workload modeling, True enterprise scalability, Simpler to install and maintain, Easier to use; without any need for scripting, Superior reporting tools, and Professionally supported. Using Load DynamiX has limited our downtime and gives us a huge cost benefit. We re maximizing the use of the storage arrays and configuring them in the most efficient way. Brian Walker Principal Architect GE According to Brian Walker, principle architect at GE, open source tools provided inconsistent results that made it harder to validate storage performance. Without consistent results GE didn t have a reliable way to measure performance. After using Load Dynamix, these challenges went away. In addition the Load DynamiX appliance scaled way beyond what any software tool can do and way beyond any storage array. The Load DynamiX Solution Load DynamiX proposed profiling their applications and emulating the GE workloads to help GE gain a deep perspective of the I/O requirements for their infrastructure. They would then generate that workload with the Load DynamiX appliance and apply it to a variety of storage targets from EMC, NetApp and others to determine which storage systems and configurations would best support their demanding application workloads Load DynamiX. All rights reserved. LoadDynamiX.com 4

5 Results realized. Risk reduced. After deciding to use Load DynamiX, GE created the framework below to establish a consistent, repeatable methodology for their storage validation tests. Figure 1: The GE storage validation process. Use Cases During the past 18 months, GE used Load DynamiX in a variety of use cases in order to proactively and confidently introduce change in their data centers. Read the subsequent pages for further details on five of those use cases. Validation of new SAN vendors performance Identification of storage array IOPs and throughput limits Evaluation of tiering policies behavior Emulation of production environment workloads Discovery of metadata I/O problems on NAS systems 2014 Load DynamiX. All rights reserved. LoadDynamiX.com 5

6 Use Case 1: Validation of new SAN vendor performance. One of the main reasons GE purchased Load DynamiX was to validate the performance of new SAN vendors in the market. The GE infrastructure team worked hand-in-hand with the application team to provide the application profiling and establish the performance expectations. A key benefit of using Load DynamiX is the ability to retain tests and results for future comparison, as GE is making many changes to their environment. GE configured their lab environment as shown in Figure 2 below. Figure 2: Diagram of product / configuration testing in GE s test environment. GE uses Load DynamiX to compare and validate different SAN vendor s storage performance. GE used Load DynamiX to test two different storage vendors on one of their ERP workloads. After running tests and comparing the two vendors, it was clearly evident that vendor 2 achieved noticeably superior results, as shown in Figure 3 below. This led GE to discover that Vendor 1 s storage pools and ports needed to be reconfigured. Subsequent tests showed a smaller gap in performance figures. Figure 3: Test results from vendor 1 / 2 testing in GE s testing environment that shows Vendor 2 s superiority Load DynamiX. All rights reserved. LoadDynamiX.com 6

7 Use Case 2: Identification of storage array IOPs and throughput limits. GE wanted to identify array IOPS and throughput limits using Load DynamiX. They iterated from small blocks and small transfers to large blocks and large transfers. Such a technique allowed them to optimize the port layout scheme and set guidelines for traffic per port. To generate these tests, they used existing array vendor tools to pull I/O profiles from the existing applications. The SPF test, a generic workload, and specific ERP workload profiles are shown in Figure 4. Once established as baselines, GE would tweak the profiles to quantify array breaking point and application performance impacts and document those failure points. Additionally, they could test for the impact of a new hardware environment, new application code releases, and storage configuration changes. Because the tests were repeatable, they could validate that they were maintaining or exceeding performance requirements. Figure 4: Baseline System Performance and ERP production workload profiles Load DynamiX. All rights reserved. LoadDynamiX.com 7

8 Use Case 3: Evaluation of tiering policies behavior. GE uses Load Dynamix to validate vendor performance, identify array throughput limits, and evaluate tiering policies. Below, Load DynamiX Enterprise was used for setting time expectations for when a new host or app would reach its normal mix. Then meaningful tests could be run to determine whether the arrays were taking advantage of the SSD, SAS and SATA drives. In the figure below, you can see how random the IOPS were early in the test but as the tiering policies spread out the data to the appropriate tiers, the IOPS become more normalized and converged at around 95K. The same results were found with the latency and throughput tests. This validated GE s tiering policies. Figure 5: IOPS tests validating tiering policies Load DynamiX. All rights reserved. LoadDynamiX.com 8

9 Use Case 4: Emulation of production environment workloads. Load DynamiX is the only storage performance validation product in the market that is able to emulate real-world production workload environments. GE verified such capability as Load DynamiX was able to mimic their specific production workload environment as shown in Figure 6 below. The data on the right (in green) was gleaned from vendor monitoring tools on GE s production array. The production data was then compared to the pre-production data generated from Load DynamiX on the left (in grey). As you can see, Load DynamiX was able to match their production data measured in IOPS and throughput using just one 2U appliance. Such conclusive results gave GE a high degree of confidence in the accuracy of the tests being performed in their test and development labs. A huge benefit of using Load DynamiX is that we can validate performance of a storage system that sits behind storage virtualization platforms. Brian Walker Principal Architect GE Figure 6: Validating the accuracy of the Load DynamiX results compared to production monitoring systems Load DynamiX. All rights reserved. LoadDynamiX.com 9

10 Use Case 5: Discovery of metadata I/O problems on NAS systems. The final Load DynamiX use case GE realized was identifying metadata problems on NAS systems. GE analyzed response times, throughput and latency results from the emulated NAS workloads and quickly saw the causes and the extent of the metadata I/O problems being reported by users. Based on these tests being run against a variety of NAS storage products, they were able to determine which offerings were best for each of their specific applications. Another key benefit was in training their internal operations teams on how to identify metadata overload conditions. Such capability would help them prevent such problems from affecting users in the future. After using Load DynamiX, we can provide the needed assurance to our business customers that we are meeting their performance expectations. Brian Walker Principal Architect GE Summary The GE team is now able to quickly and easily evaluate new storage technologies and products as well as to deploy them without the risks of unexpected performance problems. They learned how to configure and size storage systems based on performance requirements that accurately reflect their actual application workloads. They also fully understand the critical importance of modeling metadata operations as they can represent up to 90% of I/O commands in many real-world applications. With storage and storage networking expenditures representing nearly 50% of the IT infrastructure budget, GE now has the potential to save many millions of dollars due to their new ability to rightsize storage and avoid wasted spending. Load DynamiX storage performance validation solutions continue to be a critical part of the architecture and planning process within GE Load DynamiX. All rights reserved. LoadDynamiX.com 10

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