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Pushing your enterprise cluster solution to deliver the highest performance at the lowest cost is key in architecting scale-out datacenters. Administrators must expand their storage to keep pace with their compute power as capacity and processing demands grow.

safijidsjfijdsifjiodsjfiosjdifdsoijfdsoijfsfkdsjifodsjiof dfisojfidosj iojfsdiojofodisjfoisdjfiodsj ofijds fds foids gfd gfd gfd gfd gfd gfd gfd gfd gfd gfdg dfg gfdgfdg fd gfd gdf gfd gdfgdf g gfd gdfg dfgfdg fdgfdgBeyond price and capacity, storage resources must also deliver enough bandwidth to support these growing demands. Without enough I/O bandwidth, connected servers and users can bottleneck, requiring sophisticated storage tuning to maintain reasonable performance. By using direct attached storage (DAS) server architectures, IT administrators can

Diagram of DataBolt technology buffering 6Gb/s SAS media while maintaining a 12Gb/s SAS link.

Beyond price and capacity, storage resources must also deliver enough bandwidth to support these growing demands. Without enough I/O bandwidth, connected servers and users can bottleneck, requiring sophisticated storage tuning to maintain reasonable performance. By using direct attached storage (DAS) server architectures, IT administrators can reduce the complexities and performance latencies associated with storage area networks (SANs). Now, with LSI 12Gb/s SAS or MegaRAID® technology, or both, connected to 12Gb/s SAS expander-based storage enclosures, administrators can leverage the DataBolt™ technology to clear I/O bandwidth bottlenecks. The result: better overall resource utilization, while preserving legacy drive investments. Typically a slower end device would step down the entire 12Gb/s SAS storage subsystem to 6Gb/s SAS speeds. How does Databolt technology overcome this? Well, without diving too deep into the nuts and bolts, intelligence in the expander buffers data and then transfers it out to the drives at 6Gb/s speeds in order to match the bandwidth between faster hosts and slower SAS or SATA devices.

The DataBolt enabled Hadoop server bandwidth is optimized with 12Gb/s SAS.

So for this demonstration at AIS, we are showcasing two Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) servers. Each server houses the newly shipping MegaRAID 9361-8i 12Gb/s SAS RAID controller connected to a drive enclosure featuring a 12Gb/s SAS expander and 32 6Gb/s SAS hard drives. One has a DataBolt-enabled configuration, while the other is disabled.

For the benchmarks, we ran DFSIO, which simulates MapReduce workloads and is typically used to detect performance network bottlenecks and tune hardware configurations as well as overall I/O performance.

The primary goal of the DFSIO benchmarks is to saturate storage arrays with random read workloads in order to ensure maximum performance of a cluster configuration. Our tests resulted in MapReduce Jobs completing faster in 12Gb/s mode, and overall throughput increased by 25%.

DataBolt optimization of DFSIO MapReduce tests (MB/s) per cluster slot maps.

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With the much anticipated launch of 12gb/s SAS MegaRAID and 12Gb/s SAS expanders featuring DataBolt™ SAS bandwidth-aggregation technologies, LSI is taking the bold step of moving beyond traditional IO performance benchmarks like IOMeter to benchmarks that simulate real-world workloads.

In order to fully illustrate the actual benefit many IT administrators can realize using 12Gb/s SAS MegaRAID products on their new server platforms, LSI is demonstrating application benchmarks on top of actual enterprise applications at AIS.

For our end-to-end 12Gb/s SAS MegaRAID demonstration, we chose Benchmark Factory® for Databases running on a MySQL Database. Benchmark Factor, a database performance testing tool that allows you to conduct database workload replay, industry-standard benchmark testing and scalability testing, uses real database application workloads such as TPC-C, TPC-E and TPC-H. We chose the TPC-H benchmark, a decision-support benchmark, because of its large streaming query profile. TPC-H shows the performance of decision support systems – which examine large volumes of data to simplify the analysis of information for business decisions – making it an excellent benchmark to showcase 12Gb/s SAS MegaRAID technology and its ability to maximize the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0 platforms, compared to 6Gb/s SAS.

LSI MegaRAID SAS 9361-8i storage performance on display using Spotlight® on MySQL, which is monitoring the data traffic across Intel’s new R2216GZ4GC server based on the new Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v2.

The demo uses the latest Intel R2216GZ4GC servers based on the new Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v2 product family to illustrate how 12Gb/s SAS MegaRAID solutions are needed to take advantage of the bandwidth capabilities of PCIe® 3.0 bus technology.

When the benchmarks are run side-by-side on the two platforms, you can quickly see how much faster data transfer rates are executed, and how much more efficiently the Intel servers handles data traffic. We used Quest Software’s Spotlight® on MySQL tool to monitor and measure data traffic from end storage devices to the clients running the database queries. More importantly, the test also illustrates how many more user queries the 12Gb/s SAS-based system can handle before complete resource saturation – 60 percent more than 6Gb/s SAS in this demonstration.

What does this mean to IT administrators? Clearly, resourse utilization is much higher,  improving total cost of ownership (TCO) with their database server. Or, conversley, 12Gb/s SAS can reduce cost per IO since fewer drives can be used with the server to deliver the same performance as the previous 6Gb/s SAS generation of storage infrastructure.

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In preparation for the development of Windows Server® 2012, Microsoft polled customers and found that features that make high availability easier to configure and more affordable are critical. Little wonder. The features are pennies from heaven to the vast universe of smaller IT shops that often have found traditional high-availability solutions too expensive and difficult to install and maintain.

In a recent video, John Loveall, principal program manager for the Windows Server Division of Microsoft, discusses how Microsoft® Windows Server 2012 and the LSI® Syncro™ CS solution can make it easier for organizations of all sizes to deploy high availability.

While large organizations remain a vital proving ground for new breeds of computer gear, Loveall sees small businesses, branch offices and private cloud environments using high-availability systems as a window into the future of server technology.

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Lenovo is whopping big. The planet’s second largest PC maker, the sixth largest server vendor and China’s top server supplier.

So when a big gun like Lenovo recognizes us with its Technology Innovation award for our 12G SAS technology, we love to talk about it. The lofty honor came at the recent Lenovo Supplier Conference in Hefei, China.

Hefei is big too. As recently at the mid-1930’s, Hefei was a quiet market town of only about 30,000. Today, it’s home to more than 7 million people spread across 4,300 square miles. No matter how you cut it, that’s explosive growth – and no less dizzying than the global seam-splitting growth that Lenovo is helping companies worldwide manage with its leading servers.

For more than a decade, LSI has been the SAS/RAID strategic partner for Lenovo and in 2009 it chose LSI as its exclusive SAS/RAID vendor. The reason: Our ability to provide enterprise class and industry-leading SAS/RAID solutions.  Lenovo says it better.

“In 2012, Lenovo began to sharpen its focus on the enterprise server business with the goal of becoming a tier-1 server in the global market,” said Jack Xing, senior sales manager in China. ”To support this strategy, the company realized the importance of selecting a trusted and innovative SAS/RAID partner, which is why it has turned to LSI exclusively for its 12G SAS technology.”

Trust. Innovation. High compliments from Lenovo, a major engine of technology innovation in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. It’s dizzying, even heady. You can see why we love to talk about it.

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I’m reminded that when I do what I do best and don’t try to be all things to all people, I get much more accomplished.  Interestingly, I’ve found that the same approach applies to server storage system controllers – and to the home PC I use for photo editing.

The question many of us face is whether it’s best to use an integrated or discrete solution. Think digital television. Do you want a TV with an integrated DVD player, or do you prefer a feature-rich, dedicated player that you can upgrade and replace independent of the TV? I’ve pondered a similar question many times when considering my PC: Do I use a motherboard with an integrated graphics controller or go with a discrete graphics adapter card.

If I look only at initial costs and am satisfied with the performance of my display for day-to-day computing activities, I could go with the integrated controller, something that many consumers do. But my needs aren’t that simple. I need multiple displays, higher screen resolution, higher display system performance, and the ability to upgrade and tune the graphics to my applications. To do these things, I go with a separate discrete graphics controller card.

Hardware RAID delivers enterprise-class data protection and features
In the datacenter, IT architects often face the choice between hardware RAID, a discrete solution, and software RAID, hardware RAID’s integrated counterpart. Hardware RAID offers enterprise-class robustness and features, such as higher performance without operating systems (OS) and application interference, particularly in compute-intensive RAID 5 and RAID 6 application environments.  Also, hardware-based RAID can help optimize the performance and scalability of the SAS protocol. Sure, the build of materials (BOM) costs with hardware RAID are higher when a RAID on Chip or IOC component enters the mix, but these purpose-built solutions are designed to deliver performance and flexibility unmatched by most software RAID solutions.

Enterprise-hardened RAID solutions that protect data, manage and deliver high availability can scale up and down because they are based on RAID-on-chip (ROC) solutions, and they are designed to provide a consistent experience and boot across OS’s and BIOS.

One of the biggest differences between hardware and software RAID is in data protection. For example, if the OS shuts down in the middle of a write, once it is back up the OS can’t recognize whether the write was compromised or failed because the RAID cache was from host memory.  A hardware RAID solution holds the write data in separate, non-volatile cache and completes the write when the system comes back online.  Even more subtly, the CPU and storage cache are offloaded from the host memory, freeing up resources for application performance.

Software RAID cost rises as features added
For software RAID to deliver write cache and advanced features, a non-volatile write cache via battery or flash backup schemes needs to be added, and suddenly the BOM costs are similar or higher than the more flexible hardware RAID solution.

In the end, LSI enterprise hardware RAID solutions bring many features and capabilities that simply cannot exist in a software RAID on-load environment.  To be sure, an enterprise server is no PC or TV, but the choice between a discrete and integrated solution, whether in consumer electronics or storage server technology, is of a kindred sort. I always feel gratified when we can help one of our customers make the best choice.

For more information about our enterprise RAID solutions please visit us at http://www.lsi.com/solutions/Pages/enterpriseRAID.aspx

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There’s no need to wait for higher speed. Server builders can take advantage of 12Gb/s SAS now. And this is even as HDD and SSD makers continue to tweak, tune and otherwise prepare their 12Gb/s SAS products for market. The next generation of 12Gb/s SAS without supporting drives? What gives?

It’s simple. LSI is already producing 12Gb/s ROC and IOC solutions, meaning that customers can take advantage of 12Gb/s SAS performance today with currently shipping systems and storage.  As for the numbers, LSI 12Gb/s SAS enables performance increases of up to 45% in throughput and up to 58% in IOPS when compared to 6Gb/s SAS.

True, 12Gb/s SAS isn’t a Big Bang Disruption in storage systems; rather it’s an evolutionary change, but a big step forward.  It may not be clear why it matters so much, so I want to briefly explain.  In latest generation PCIe 3 systems, 6Gb/s SAS is the bottleneck that prevents systems from achieving full PCIe 3 throughput of 6,400 MB/s.

With 12Gb/s SAS, customers will be able to take full advantage of the performance of PCIe 3 systems.  Earlier this month at CeBIT computer expo in Hanover, Germany, we announced that we are the first to ship production-level 12Gb/s SAS ROC (RAID on Chip) and IOC (I/O Controllers) to OEM customers.  This convergence of new technologies and the expansion of existing capabilities create significant improvements for datacenters of all kinds.

12Gb/s SAS is required to take full advantage of PCIe 3.0 performance.

At CeBIT, we demonstrated our 12Gb/s SAS solutions with the unique DataBoltTM feature and how, with DataBolt,  systems with 6Gb/s SAS HDDs can achieve 12Gb/s SAS performance.

CeBIT Demo – PCIe 3, 12Gb/s SAS system, using 6Gb/s HDDs

DataBolt uses bandwidth aggregation to create throughput performance acceleration.  Most importantly, customers don’t have to wait for the next inflection in drive design to get the highest possible performance and connectivity.

With 6Gb/s SAS, the maximum throughput of PCIe 3 cannot be attained. SAS is a bottleneck (Left). LSI 12Gb/s SAS clears the SAS bottleneck, enabling full PCIe 3 performance (Right).

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