Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What I Did Last Summer or SAP HANA on VMware vSphere Performance Testing

The stuff that I have been working on for most of this year was made public in a press release just before the Thanksgiving break a couple of weeks ago.  SAP's HANA database, an in-memory high performance wonder, has been officially blessed to run on VMware vSphere 5.1 for test and development by SAP.

I wrote the official VMware blog that was posted on the same day as the press release and it does a pretty good job of covering the basics of the announcement.

An additional really cool thing that happened was HP announced on the same day their plans to ship a HANA appliance based on vSphere and loaded with HANA VMs soon.

My specific role in this has been pretty interesting.  I've been working with SAP to test the performance of HANA on vSphere.  The goal was to show that HANA in a vSphere VM could perform almost as good as HANA on native hardware.  By running lots of tests with several different workloads over many months we were able to show that performance was pretty good.  I'll be able to share more details on the performance soon.

I'm continuing the work on performance testing HANA on vSphere to cover more scenarios and some new workloads.  Should be lots of fun.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Star Wars and Donunts

You might think that the combination of Star Wars and donuts would be something new, but a simple search shows that's not the case.

Kong and I discussed both Star Wars and Donuts at the iconic Round Rock Donuts in episode 45 of So Say SMEs.

I think that Chewbacca would have particularly liked Round Rock donuts and appreciate their new larger sign and straight forward branding.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Future of Storage Is Speed

Storage has finally reached an inflection point over the past year where the speed of the average storage device is beginning to go up dramatically.  For many moons we saw the capacity and associated cost per GB improved dramatically every year, but the actual raw performance only improved incrementally.

Speed is the future.

You can see this in both the consumer and enterprise spheres.

Many laptops and tablets now ship with only SSD as an option.  It is only in the lower end of the market where you still spinning disks as an option.  The performance improvement of your new notebook over the old one is mostly due to the 5400 rpm spinning disk being replaced by an SSD.  Sure that nice new Intel i Series processor helps - but it's not the key to great performance for your shiny new laptop.

Enterprise class storage on servers and in storage arrays are making use of SSDs extensively.  They are used for huge caches, high performance data partitions, and specialized high speed storage companies and arrays use avoid spinning disks entirely.  The increased performance of SSDs at the reasonable prices of today make them very compelling.  Many storage arrays are constrained in terms of IOPS performance before capacity becomes an issue.  This means that adding some SSDs of lower capacity but much higher performance can re-balance the equation.  The larger capacity can be put to use with good performance.

In addition to SSD we also have the PCI flash based storage that is even faster.

These trends show clearly that spinning disks are going to be like tape drives soon.  They will still be around, but mostly as a large capacity, slow storage option.

What we see today with the high water benchmarks of 1 million IOPS on high end storage arrays will be common performance in all data centers.  The hundreds of thousands of IOPS possible on workstation class flash storage today will be routine on laptops, desktops, and tablets.  It will happen faster than we expect.