SimpliVity continues to fine-tune our OmniStack Data Virtualization Platform with every software release or upgrade. A couple weeks ago we announced OmniStack 3.0, where we made a significant optimization by replacing the standard Network File System (NFS) server with our own implementation. The SimpliVity NFS server is delivering measurable performance improvements for our customers. We are extremely proud to see this engineering project come to market, and continue to deliver on the SimpliVity software defined data center.
Why did we write our own NFS server?
We believe that it is an absolute requirement to control the entire software data path. We could not find a scale out file system that delivered both global inline data efficiency and provided built-in data protection, but that is a discussion for another blog. We could have come to market faster if we layered our file system on top of an ext4 file system as other “distributed file systems” do, but we would not have had the level of control we needed to deliver the full scope of intended functionality. When you are evaluating any platform that leverages a file system, always ask what file system it is using. And then ask if there is a file system under that “file system.”
Regardless, we built our own NFS server for two reasons:
- Improve the performance of the platform
- Make that layer SimpliVity aware so we can continue to innovate in the area in the future
In this blog, I will focus on the performance aspects. The key question is…was it really worth the effort? In short… Yes!
The performance improvements vary by platform, but we are seeing improvements as high as 99% for random read operations on the high-end OmniCube CN-5400, Cisco C240, and Lenovo x3650 platforms. Yes, you read that correctly. Perhaps nearly doubled for random reads.
It would be fair to note that virtualized environments are rarely 100% random read. I agree completely. “Hero” numbers, as our performance engineering team calls them, can always be gamed in the lab for this type of test. This is not about gaming a benchmark to show read performance. Our 60% read / 40% write testing improved by 76% on the same platform! We have not allocated any additional CPU or memory to deliver these results. These improvements are coming 100% from software.
If you are not running an OmniCube CN-5400 in your environment, have no fear, these updates are improving performance across the entire portfolio. In the OmniCube CN-2200 and entry level Cisco C240 and Lenovo x3650 systems, the mixed workload performance jumps by 45%! This is the power of software. This is why SimpliVity chose to write everything above the device driver all the way through the NFS stack.
In the spirit of transparency, these numbers were generated with synthetic benchmarking tools. So the real question is: how will these optimizations impact real world workloads? Stay tuned. There is more to come. If you are thinking about investing in VDI infrastructure that does not come from SimpliVity, you are going to want to hold off on that purchase until you see what we have just around the corner.
Learn more about the other advancements made to OmniStack 3.0.