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#Nutanix – the ultimate Virtual Computing Platform for VDI – CBRC-like Functionality For Any #VDI Solution with #Nutanix – #IaaS – via @andreleibovici

February 3, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s really great to see the capabilities of the Nutanix platform! Just read this great blog post by @andreleibovici around Content Based Read Cache (CBRC) and how this isn’t necessary at all on a platform like Nutanix!

Conclusion

Overtime I will discuss more about the technology behind Content and Extent Caches. For now what is important to know is that Nutanix provides a better in-memory microsecond latency benefits provided by CBRC for any VDI solution on any of the aforementioned hypervizors, for both Linked and Full-Clones. In fact, Nutanix engineers even recommend Horizon View administrators to disable CBRC because the Nutanix approach is less costly to the overall infrastructure.

It is amazing when your world turns upside down and a technology that used to be awesome becomes mostly irrelevant. It amazes me how fast technology evolves and help organizations to achieve better performance and lower OPEX.
 
For a long time I have discussed the benefits of CBRC (Content Based Read Cache) available with Horizon View 5.1 onwards, allowing Administrators to drastically cut-down on read IO operations, offloading the storage infrastructure and providing greater end-user experience.
 
Here are few of the blog posts I wrote on CBRC technology: Understanding CBRC (Content Based Read Cache)Understanding CBRC – RecomputeDigest MethodSizing for VMware View Storage Accelerator (CBRC)View Storage Accelerator Performance BenchmarkCBRC and Local Mode in VMware View 5.1View Storage Accelerator (CBRC) Hashing Function.
 
CBRC helps to address some of the performance bottlenecks and the increase of storage cost for VDI. CBRC is a 100% host-based RAM-Based caching solution that helps to reduce read IOs issued to the storage subsystem and thus improves scalability of the storage subsystem while being completely transparent to the guest OS. However, CBRC comes at a cost.
 
When the View Storage Accelerator feature (CBRC) is enabled, a per-VMDK digest file is created to store hash information about the VMDK blocks. The estimated size of each digest file is roughly:

  • 5 MB per GB of the VMDK size [hash-collision detection turned-off (Default)]
  • 12 MB per GB of the VMDK size [hash-collision detection turned-on]

The digest file creation for a large replica disk can take a large amount of time and a bulky quantity of IOPS, therefore it’s is recommendable not to run the operation, create new desktop pools, or recompose existing pools during production hours.

CBRC also uses a RAM to manage the cached disk blocks. The per-VMDK digest file is also loaded into memory. That is the reason why CBRC should not be enabled under memory-overcommit environments. If a host is memory over-committed and CBRC is enabled – the memory pressure is increased as CBRC also uses memory for the cache. In such cases, the host could experience increased swapping and the overall host performance could be impacted.

Whilst I wrote about CBRC benefits, I also received numerous negative comments about the technology, including lack of support for full-clone desktops, being unsupported for layering tools like Unidesk, and taking too long to generate new hashes for every replica.

CBRC is a platform feature (vSphere), however it is only enabled and available via Horizon View. Other VDI products such as XenDesktop or vWorkspace cannot utilize the feature.

Nutanix suppress the need for CBCR, providing similar functionality to any VDI solution running on top of vSphere, Hyper-V or KVM. Nutanix has a de-duplication engine built into the solution that works real-time for data stored in DRAM and Flash.

 

CC_Pools

Content Cache (Dynamic Read cache) Read more…

#Citrix #PVS vs. #MCS Revisited – #Nutanix, #Sanbolic

Another good blog post from Citrix and Nick Rintalan around the famous topic whether to go for PVS or MCS! If your thinking about this topic then don’t miss this article. Also ensure that you talk to someone who have implemented an image mgmt/provisioning service like this to get some details on lessons learnt etc., also with the change in the hypervisor layer and the cache features this is getting really interesting…

AND don’t forget the really nice storage solutions that exists out there like Nutanix and Melio that really solves some challenges out there!!

Nutanix, how it works..

http://go.nutanix.com/rs/nutanix/images/TG_XenDesktop_vSphere_on_Nutanix_RA.pdf

Melio Solutions – Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Back to the Citrix blog post:

It’s been a few months since my last article, but rest assured, I’ve been keeping busy and I have a ton of stuff in my head that I’m committed to getting down on paper in the near future.  Why so busy?  Well, our Mobility products are keeping me busy for sure.  But I also spent the last month or so preparing for 2 different sessions at BriForum Chicago.  My colleague, Dan Allen, and I co-presented on the topics of IOPS and Folder Redirection.  Once Brian makes the videos and decks available online, I’ll be sure to point people to them.

So what stuff do I want to get down on paper and turn into a future article?  To name a few…MCS vs. PVS (revisited), NUMA and XA VM Sizing, XenMobile Lessons Learned “2.0″, and Virtualizing PVS Part 3.  But let’s talk about that first topic of PVS vs MCS now.

Although BriForum (and Synergy) are always busy times, I always try to catch a few sessions by some of my favorite presenters.  One of them is Jim Moyle and he actually inspired this article.  If you don’t know Jim, he is one of our CTPs and works for Atlantis Computing – he also wrote one of the most informative papers on IOPS I’ve ever read.  I swear there is not a month that goes by that I don’t get asked about PVS vs. MCS (pros and cons, what should I use, etc.).  I’m not going to get into the pros and cons or tell you what to use since many folks like Dan Feller have done a good job of that already, even with beautiful decision trees.  I might note that Barry Schiffer has an updated decision tree you might want to check out, too.  But I do want to talk about one of the main reasons people often cite for not using MCS – it generates about “1.6x or 60% more IOPS compared to PVS“.  And ever since Ken Bell sort of “documented” this in passing about 2-3 years ago, that’s sort of been Gospel and no one had challenged it.  But our CCS team was seeing slightly different results in the field and Jim Moyle also decided to challenge that statement. And Jim shared the results of his MCS vs. PVS testing at BriForum this year – I think many folks were shocked by the results.

What were those results?  Here is a summary of the things I thought were most interesting:

  • MCS generates 21.5% more average IOPS compared to PVS in the steady-state (not anywhere near 60%)
  • This breaks down to about 8% more write IO and 13% more read IO
  • MCS generates 45.2% more peak IOPS compared to PVS (this is closer to the 50-60% range that we originally documented)
  • The read-to-write (R/W) IO ratio for PVS was 90%+ writes in both the steady-state and peak(nothing new here)
  • The R/W ratio for MCS at peak was 47/53 (we’ve long said it’s about 50/50 for MCS, so nothing new here)
  • The R/W ratio for MCS in the steady-state was 17/83 (this was a bit of a surprise, much like the first bullet)

So how can this be?!?

I think it’s critical to understand where our initial “1.5-1.6x” or “50-60%” statement comes from – that takes into account not just the steady-state, but also the boot and logon phases, which are mostly read IOPS and absolutely drive up the numbers for MCS.  If you’re unfamiliar with the typical R/W ratios for a Windows VM during the various stages of its “life” (boot, logon, steady-state, idle, logoff, etc.), then this picture, courtesy of Project VRC, always does a good job explaining it succinctly:

The R/W ratio of the boot phase is a lot different than the steady-state!

 

We were also looking at peak IOPS and average IOPS in a single number – we didn’t provide two different numbers or break it down like Jim and I did above in the results, and a single IOPS number can be very misleading in itself.  You don’t believe me?  Just check out my BriForum presentation on IOPS and I’ll show you several examples of how…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

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