VxRail Tech Field Day – A technical relay race for the athletically challenged
Fri, 03 Sep 2021 16:58:07 -0000|
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Earlier this summer we announced key advancements to VxRail Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) hardware and software, including major updates to help customers simplify their infrastructure, scale when and where they need to, and address more workloads while adopting next generation technologies. We recently discussed the technical know-how behind those new and exciting innovations at a special Dell Technologies Tech Field Day event.
Tech Field Day offers an opportunity for companies like Dell to share, learn, and interact with a small group of independent technical influencers in a series of focused technical sessions. Channel your elementary school-aged self, and imagine a day dedicated to a tug-of-workloads, hybrid cloud water balloon toss, and a flexible storage balancing act. If that sounds like your idea of a good time, you’ll find these sessions beneficial. They were originally livestreamed, uncensored conversations that highlighted how VxRail drives value for our customers across four key areas:
- Optimizing operations and automating as much as possible to allow customers to focus resources on strategic IT initiatives rather than on maintaining the infrastructure
- Embracing hybrid cloud to rapidly deploy on-demand services and scale without limits
- Optimizing workloads and modern apps to drive business innovation
- And finally, by unlocking business value at the edge
These themes were carried throughout the full-day event and we covered a lot of ground on the unique capabilities and differentiators for our products – like how we’ve added even more flexibility to our HCI portfolio with VxRail dynamic nodes, the ways we’re helping customers accelerate adoption of Kubernetes with Tanzu on VxRail, and how we’re partnering with NVIDIA to deliver superior performance for AI workloads. We also heard New Belgium Brewing discuss how they cut their data center costs by about 80% with VxRail, demonstrating significant savings while boosting IT agility and efficiency.
Each session highlighted not only the passion our technologists, customers, and partners have for VxRail, but also excitement from our audience of technical influencers who had many “aha moments” throughout. The influencers were thrilled to have an opportunity to dive into our latest advancements and ask all their burning questions to our technologists directly.
Ready, set, go! Watch Tech Field Day on-demand
I invite you to check out the individual sessions on our Dell Technologies Youtube Channel where we went ahead and curated a dedicated playlist. It features:
- Modern Infrastructure for the data era - Dell EMC Storage and HCI Portfolio Overview
- Intro to The VxRail Advantage
- The VxRail Advantage - VxRail LCM and vLCM better together
- The VxRail Advantage - Configuration & Deployment
- The VxRail Advantage - Management Overview
- Brewing World-class Beer with VxRail
- VxRail dynamic nodes - flexibility for the future
- What does "seamless technology integration" mean for VxRail?
- NVIDIA-Certified Dell EMC VxRail for GPU-Intensive Workloads
- VMware Cloud Foundation with Tanzu on VxRail – simple path to modern apps and the hybrid cloud
- Get the most out of your Kubernetes with Tanzu on Dell EMC VxRail
Our growing list of VxRail technical videos.
Related Blog Posts
Microsoft SQL Server Big Data Clusters on Tanzu Kubernetes Grid on Dell EMC VxRail
Thu, 19 Aug 2021 15:25:12 -0000|
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A recently created reference architecture, running Microsoft SQL Server Big Data Clusters (BDC) on Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) on Dell EMC VxRail, demonstrates a fast and simple way to get started with big data workloads running on Kubernetes. It also shows how the containerized workloads ran using VxRail.
SQL BDC on TKG on VxRail enables simplified servicing for cloud native workloads, and is designed to scale with business needs. Administrators can implement the policies for namespaces and manage access and quota allocation for application-focused management. All of this helps build a developer ready infrastructure with enterprise-grade Kubernetes with advanced governance, reliability, and security.
This reference architecture also validated SQL BDC with Spark SQL TPC-DS benchmark optimized parameters. The test results showed that Tanzu Kubernetes Grid on VxRail provides linear scalability (for complex TPC-DS-like decision support workloads that use different query types) with predictable query response time and high throughput.
In the business value section for using SQL BDC and TKG on VxRail, based on the five measurements below. It's covered in more detail within the reference architecture.
- Simplified installation of Kubernetes
- Automated multi-cluster operations
- Integrated platform services
- Open source alignment
- Production Ready
Cross-functional teams from Dell EMC VxRail, VMware, and Microsoft have reviewed the reference architecture for content and supportability. This can provide comfort for those wanting to run on Tanzu. Some notes from Microsoft Release notes from Cumulative Update 12 (CU12) of BDC):
SQL Server Big Data Clusters is supported as a workload. Microsoft provides support for the software components on the containers installed and configured by SQL Server Big Data Clusters only. Kubernetes itself, and other containers that may influence SQL Server Big Data Clusters behavior, are not supported by the (Microsoft) support team. For Kubernetes support please contact your certified Kubernetes distribution provider.
Note: This reference architecture provides general design and deployment guidelines of running Microsoft SQL Server Big Data Clusters on VMware Tanzu™ Kubernetes Grid™ on Dell EMC VxRail. The reference architecture also applies to any compatible hardware platforms running VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid on vSAN™.
To wrap up, VxRail provides SQL BDC on Tanzu as a scalable and secure platform to deliver key business outcomes. This reference architecture highlights one of the first known support solutions built on Tanzu Kubernetes Grid to manage Kubernetes. The paper covers the spectrum on the build, testing, and expected performance on VxRail.
- Running Microsoft SQL Server Big Data Clusters on VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid
- SQL Server Big Data Clusters platform release notes - SQL Server Big Data Clusters | Microsoft Docs It's reformulated release notes, now simpler and focused on tested configurations and documenting known issues.
- SQL Server Big Data Clusters CU12 release notes - SQL Server Big Data Clusters | Microsoft Docs For every release starting with CU12, we will provide a dedicated article containing many details about what's new, fixes, and most importantly, an extensive list of what's under the hood.
- SQL Server Big Data Clusters cumulative updates history - SQL Server Big Data Clusters | Microsoft Docs In this article, we will keep track of all previous update details.
Author: Vic Dery – Linkedin
More GPUs, CPUs and performance - oh my!
Mon, 14 Jun 2021 11:18:50 -0000|
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Continuous hardware and software changes deployed with VxRail’s Continuously Validated State
A wonderful aspect of software-defined-anything, particularly when built on world class PowerEdge servers, is speed of innovation. With a software-defined platform like VxRail, new technologies and improvements are continuously added to provide benefits and gains today, and not a year or so in the future. With the release of VxRail 7.0.200, we are at it again! This release brings support for VMware vSphere and vSAN 7.0 Update 2, and for new hardware: 3rd Gen AMD EPYC processors (Milan), and more powerful hardware from NVIDIA with their A100 and A40 GPUs.
VMware, as always, does a great job of detailing the many enhanced or new features in a release. From high level What’s New corporate or personal blog posts, to in-depth videos by Duncan Epping. However, there are a few changes that I want to highlight:
Get thee to 25GbE: A trilogy of reasons - Storage, load-balancing, and pricing.
vSAN is a distributed storage system. To that end, anything that improves the network or networking efficiency improves storage performance and application performance -- but there is more to networking than big, low-latency pipes. RDMA has been a part of vSphere since the 6.5 release; it is only with 7.0 Update 2 that it is leveraged by vSAN. John Nicholson explains the nuts and bolts of vSAN RDMA in this blog post, but only touches on the performance gains. From our performance testing on VxRail, I can share with you the gains we have seen with VxRail: up to 5% reduction in CPU utilization, up to 25% lower latency, and up to 18% higher IOPS, along with increases in read and write throughput. It should be noted that even with medium block IO, vSAN is more than capable of saturating a 10GbE port, RDMA is pushing performance beyond that, and we’ve yet to see what Intel 3rd Generation Xeon processors will bring. The only fly in the ointment for vSAN RDMA is the current small list of approved network cards – no doubt more will be added soon.
vSAN is not the only feature that enjoys large low-latency pipes. Niels Hagoort describes the changes in vSphere 7.0 Update 2 that have made vMotion faster, thus making Balancing Workloads Invisible and the lives of virtualization administrators everywhere a lot better. Aside: Can I say how awesome it is to see VMware continuing to enhance a foundational feature that they first introduced in 2003, a feature that for many was that lightbulb Aha! moment that started their virtualization journey.
One last nudge: pricing. The cost delta between 10GbE and 25GbE network hardware is minimal, so for greenfield deployments the choice is easy; you may not need it today, but workloads and demands continue to grow. For brownfield, where the existing network is not due for replacements, the choice is still easy. 25GbE NICs and switch ports can negotiate to 10GbE making a phased migration, VxRail nodes now and switches in the future, possible. The inverse is also possible: upgrade the network to 25GbE switches while still connecting your existing VxRail 10GbE SFP+ NIC ports.
Is 25GbE in your infrastructure upgrade plans yet? If not, maybe it should be.
A duo of AMD goodness
Last year we released two AMD-based VxRail platforms, the E665/F and the P675F/N, so I’m delighted to see CPU scheduler optimizations for AMD EPYC processors, as described in Aditya Sahu blog post. What is even better is the 29 page performance study Aditya links to, the depth of detail provided on how the ESXi CPU scheduling works, and didn’t work, with AMD EYPC processors is truly educational. The extensive performance testing VMware continuously runs and the results they share (spoiler: they achieved very significant gains) are also a worthwhile read. In our testing we’ve seen that with just these scheduler optimizations AMD alone VxRail 7.0.200 can provide up to 27% more IOPS and up to 27% lower latency for both RAID1 and RAID5 with relational database (RDBMS22K 60R/40W 100%Random) workloads.
VxRail begins shipping the 3rd generation AMD EYPC processors – also known as
Milan – in VxRail E665 and P675 nodes later this month. These are not a replacement
for the current 2nd Gen EPYC processors we offer, rather the addition of higher
performing 24-core, 32-core, and 64-core choices to the VxRail line up delivering up to 33% more IOPS and 16% lower latency across a range of workloads and block sizes. Check out this VMware blog post for the performance gains they showcase with the VMmark benchmarking tool.
HCI Mesh – only recently introduced, yet already getting better
When VMware released HCI Mesh just last October, it enabled stranded storage on one VxRail cluster to be consumed by another VxRail cluster. With the release of VxRail 7.0.200 this has been expanded to making it more applicable to more customers by enabling any vSphere clusters to also be consumers of that excess storage capacity – these remote clusters do not require a vSAN license and consume the storage in the same manner they would any other datastore. This opens up some interesting multi-cluster use cases, for example:
In solutions where a software application licensing requires each core/socket in the vSphere cluster to be licensed, this licensing cost can easily dwarf other costs. Now this application can be deployed on a small compute-only cluster, while consuming storage from the larger VxRail cluster. Or where the density of storage per socket didn’t make VxRail viable, it can now be achieved with a smaller VxRail cluster, plus a separate compute-only cluster. If only the all the goodness that is VxRail was available in a compute-only cluster – now that would be something dynamic…
A GPU for every workload
GPUs, once the domain of PC gamers, are now a data center staple with their parallel processing capabilities accelerating a variety of workloads. The versatile VxRail V Series has multiple NVIDIA GPUs to choose from and we’ve added two more with the addition of the NVIDIA A40 and A100. The A40 is for sophisticated visual computing workloads – think large complex CAD models, while the A100 is optimized for deep learning inference workloads for high-end data science.
Evolution of hardware in a software-defined world
PowerEdge took a big step forward with their recent release built on 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors. Software-defined principles enable VxRail to not only quickly leverage this big step forward, but also to quickly leverage all the small steps in hardware changes throughout a generation. Building on the latest PowerEdge servers we are Reimagine HCI with VxRail with the next generation VxRail E660/F, P670F or V670F. Plus, what’s great about VxRail is that you can seamlessly integrate this latest technology into your existing infrastructure environment. This is an exciting release, but equally exciting are all the incremental changes that VxRail software-defined infrastructure will get along the way with PowerEdge and VMware.
VxRail, flexibility is at its core.
- VxRail systems with Intel 3rd Generation Xeon processors will be globally available in July 2021.
- VxRail systems with AMD 3rd Generation EPYC processors will be globally available in June 2021.
- VxRail HCI System Software updates will be globally available in July 2021.
- VxRail dynamic nodes will be globally available in August 2021.
- VxRail self-deployment options will begin availability in North America through an early access program in August 2021.
- Blog: Reimagine HCI with VxRail
- Attend our launch webinar to learn more.
- Press release: Dell Technologies Reimagines Dell EMC VxRail to Offer Greater Performance and Storage Flexibility