AMD Benefits for Dell vSAN Ready Nodes
Tue, 15 Feb 2022 16:12:31 -0000|
Read Time: 0 minutes
In a previous blog I explained how the availability of a rich offering of platforms to support vSAN Ready Nodes provides additional value to customers.
Apart from the various form factors including tower, rack, modular, and ruggedized models, or the existence of 1 and 2U offers and compute options ranging from one to four sockets, Dell vSAN Ready Nodes also provides a choice of processor: Intel and AMD.
In this blog, I explore some of the key advantages of the AMD based processor, focusing on:
- Technical specifications
Dell has four AMD based servers certified as vSAN Ready Nodes: the Dell EMC PowerEdge R6515, R6525, R7515, and R7525.
These four models incorporate the latest generations of AMD EPYC Rome (Series 7002, AMD EPYC 2nd Gen) and Milan (Series 7003, AMD EPYC 3rd Gen) processors in VMware vSAN Ready Nodes All-Flash and Hybrid configurations, as described in the following figure:
The AMD portfolio consists of two one-socket servers (Dell PowerEdge R6515 and R7515) and two two-socket servers (Dell PowerEdge R6525 and R7525).
The Dell PowerEdge Rxxx5 servers include the new AMD EPYC 7003 (Milan) Series Processors, that have up to 64 cores per processor, based on “Zen 3” architecture. They also introduce new per-core cache memory levels (32 MB L3 cache) while continuing to offer the class-leading PCIe® 4 connectivity that defined the EPYC 7002 (Rome) Series CPUs memory bandwidth.
These servers present a vast I/O bandwidth profile with 128 PCIe™ 4.0 Lanes in a Single Socket, up to 160 PCIe 4.0 Lanes in a Dual Socket and 64 GB/s bi-dir bandwidth per link, 512 GB/s per socket.
Single socket configurations are beneficial in terms of cost and energy footprint because they can compete in performance with dual socket configurations, with significant cost and power savings (280W per AMD EPYC 7763 vs 350W in 2x Intel Xeon Platinum 9242, and 64 cores in the AMD EPYC 7763 vs 48 cores in the Intel Xeon Platinum 9242).
Both AMD Rome and Milan processors feature configurable Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA), settings that can go from one NUMA node per socket (NPS1) to four NUMA nodes per socket (NPS4). NPS1 configurations create a larger memory domain, with potentially higher latency and throughput, while NPS4 configurations produce smaller memory domains that help to reduce the ESXi scheduler memory latency.
Optimal NPS configurations depend on the user’s vSphere workload. In general, workloads with large block sequential reads benefit from NPS1 configurations, which achieve almost double the throughput of NPS2 and NPS4 at half the latency. Small block random read type workloads show exceptional performance from NPS2 and NPS4 configurations.
NPS settings have much less impact in heavy write workloads. This probably occurs because all writes are consumed by the cache drive before destaging to the capacity drive.
AMD EPYC processors have demonstrated an excellent performance profile over the years. They have yielded impressive results not only in the VMware space, but in almost any workload test.
For example, the AMD site shares some general numbers with VMware, VDI, database, high performance computing, or pure integer calculation workloads. For more details, see AMD EPYC™ Tech Docs and White Papers.
VMark is a leading performance benchmark in the VMware space. Dell vSAN Ready Nodes (particularly those based in AMD) demonstrated impressive results for the most recent VMark 3.x tests.
Dell vSAN Ready Nodes make up three out of four of the best global scores, measured by the number of VMmark tiles that ready nodes can run.
The remaining ready node of these four used three times more hosts and sockets than the Dell AMD based nodes. The price implications are demonstrated in the following figure.
With 64 tiles and a score of 63.01, the Dell R6525 vSAN Ready Node shines as a solid performance leader in terms of VMware workloads.
AMD based ready nodes also lead the charts for single-socket systems, as shown in the following image:
The top scoring systems were the Dell R7515 and Dell C6525 vSAN Ready Nodes, with 16 tiles and scores of 15.18 and 13.74, respectively.
AMD EPYC processors create a new standard for secure memory encryption (SME) by making it possible to encrypt the contents of the main memory just by changing a setting in the system BIOS. In encrypted memory systems, cold-boot attacks have a low chance of divulging memory contents because all the data is encrypted. High performance encryption engines integrated into the memory channels help improve performance
Second generation EPYC processors have even more increased security, with performance-optimized countermeasures against known attacks.
Specific to virtualized environments, the second generation of AMD EPYC processors have introduced Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV). This technology encrypts each virtual machine with a unique key that in known only to the processor, with up to 509 contexts. This improves protection and data confidentiality in virtualized environments. This includes protection for instances of a malicious virtual machine that finds a way into your virtual machines’ memory or a compromised hypervisor that looks inside a guest virtual machine.
This means AMD EPYC processors are less vulnerable to attacks such as Meltdown, Spectre v3a, LazyFPU, and MDS.
With Secure Boot, AMD creates a hardware root of trust, enabling only trusted code to be loaded and run through BIOS load, helping prevent the injection of malicious code prior to the loading of the operating system. This feature is managed by a dedicated security processor (AMD Secure Processor) that lives alongside the CPU cores.
AMD based Dell vSAN Ready Nodes provide tangible benefits for vSAN deployments, have significant performance and security advantages, and are cost-friendly.
You can read more about Dell vSAN Ready Nodes at the Dell Technologies Info Hub Solutions for vSAN Ready Nodes.
Author: Inigo Olcoz
Related Blog Posts
Simplifying Security Operations for Dell HCI Platforms with NSX
Thu, 08 Sep 2022 16:58:04 -0000|
Read Time: 0 minutes
Today, most technology companies in the IT space work to offer customers not only the best technology innovations but also those that help simplify their day-to-day lives.
One example of this is the new vCenter plug-in for NSX-T, introduced with vSphere 7.0 Update 3c and NSX-T 3.2. Through this new deployment method for NSX-T, management and operations users can now use NSX-T as a plug-in for vCenter, similar to how earlier versions of NSX were configured. Through wizard-assisted operations, security policies can easily be configured, deployed, and operated within vCenter.
Figure 1. The new vCenter plug-in for NSX-T simplifies security deployment and operations
For Dell HCI platforms such as VxRail, vSAN Ready Nodes, and PowerEdge servers hosting vSAN-based workloads, NSX becomes an optimal network and security engine.
Figure 2. Dell HCI platforms such as VxRail or vSAN Ready Nodes become the perfect targets for the new vCenter plug-in
The whole process is simple. It can be completed by following these steps:
- Install NSX-T Manager and provide a license key.
- Install the new method to configure and operate NSX security, the vCenter plugin for NSX.
- Configure the distributed firewall policies for the HCI cluster:
a. Define infrastructure services as needed (DNS, DHCP, custom…).
b. Create the environment to consume the defined infrastructure services.
- Define how the elements in the environment can communicate with each other.
- Define communication strategies for applications in the environment.
- Review and verify the defined security policies before they are published and effective.
Figure 3. Defined NSX security rules can be reviewed before going live
If you want to learn more about how simple security operations can become with the new vCenter plug-in for NSX, take a look at this video.
Author: Inigo Olcoz
- VxRail Info Hub
- vSAN Ready Nodes Info Hub
- HCI Security Simplified: Protecting Dell VxRail with VMware NSX Security
- Simplifying Security Deployment and Operations for Dell HCI Platforms
- Video: Simplifying HCI Security with the New vCenter Plug-in for NSX
The Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes Differentiator
Thu, 04 Nov 2021 20:12:24 -0000|
Read Time: 0 minutes
It’s been over a decade since hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) disrupted technology. An ideal architecture for HCI would be a simple, modular architecture, in which all datacenter components (compute, storage, and networking) are consumed in a virtualized way to simplify allocating and managing resources. With this architecture, all physical components reside in the same box. When we combine these boxes, we can scale our datacenter power in all resource domains to accommodate almost any type of workload. This is due to extremely fast processors, large and efficient storage devices, and advanced network connections.
If we abstract the hardware layer in this architecture and imagine a solution that fills all the roles previously described, (virtualization of the three infrastructure domains, compute, network and storage) VMware can easily come to mind. VMware has a strong portfolio of software defined compute (vSphere), storage (vSAN), and networking (NSX family) to create a best of breed hyper-converged infrastructure product.
It will come as no surprise that VMware leads the HCI market due to its vSAN based systems, as reported by IDC1:
In this VMware led market, Dell PowerEdge servers stand out as a logical choice in terms of providing the modular box (server), for this hyperconvergence paradigm. Dell Technologies, as a global server market leader (Worldwide Server Market, IDC), has a long tradition of Ready Systems that allow a simpler customer deployment experience.
Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes (vSAN Ready Nodes) are a great example of an HCI implementation, providing a robust and mature datacenter platform — pre-configured, tested, and certified to run VMware vSAN.
This HCI market is especially relevant as its current growth rate far surpasses that of the server market. According to Gartner2 while the server market is growing at 5.6%, the HCI market is increasing by 23 percent (IDC3). That represents a growth rate more than four times that of the server market:
Server market growth:
HCI market growth:
In this prosperous landscape, Dell Technologies holds an outstanding leading place, with a wide portfolio of HCI offerings, led by Dell EMC VxRail in tandem with vSAN Ready Nodes. More than 20 years of collaboration endorses the relationship between Dell Technologies and VMware, specifically in the server space, where we have worked to simplify our joint customers’ technology experience.4
Dell EMC Ready Nodes simplify and accelerate infrastructure modernization providing IT a strategic advantage with their flexibility, simplified operations, and breadth of choice.
This leadership is founded on four pillars:
- Form factors: Dell Technologies offers an unmatched portfolio of vSAN Ready Nodes options, ranging from 1 to 2U rackmount servers, tower models, and MX series blade options. There are more than 250 different configurations available for Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes. As part of this rich offering, Dell provides unique solutions that scale up to four processors per node.
- Identity Module: This module declares the system a vSAN Ready Node, distinguishing it from a standard off-the-shelf server. All vSAN Ready Node capabilities derive from this Identity Module, facilitating the Day 0 operations provided by vLCM in unison with OMIVV.
- OMIVV (OME): The Dell EMC Open Manage Integration for VMware vCenter (OMIVV) is designed to streamline the management processes in your data center environment by allowing you to use VMware vCenter Server to manage your full server infrastructure, both physical and virtual.
- vSphere Lifecycle Management (vLCM): Consistency across ESXi hosts is essential for creating reliable and high performing platforms, but it is difficult to obtain, especially at scale. vLCM solves the complexity by enforcing consistency across ESXi hosts in a cluster using a declarative model. vLCM not only accomplishes this by using an ESXi base image but extends it with the desired state for firmware and driver versions as well.
Watch for my next blog where I’ll provide more info about the rich variety of vSAN Ready Nodes form factors available from Dell Technologies and how that represents a significant business advantage. For the latest technical content on vSAN Ready Nodes, check out our Info Hub site!
Inigo Olcoz, Technical Marketing Engineer at Dell Technologies
- IDC’s Q32020 Worldwide Quarterly Converged Systems Tracker, December 15th, 2020
- Worldwide End-User Spending on IT by Technology Segment and Subsegment, 2019-2025 (Millions of U.S Dollars).
- IDC Converged Systems Tracker Forecast, Q4020, March 2021
- IDC Quarterly Converged Systems tracker, 2021-Q1.