Notes taken from TechEd NA 2012 session WSV310:
Volume Platform for Availability
Huge amount of requests/feedback from customers.¬† MSFT spent a year focusing on customer research (US, Germany, and Japan) with many customers of different sizes.¬† Came up with Continuous Availability with zero data loss transparent failover to succeed High Availability.
- Business in a box Hyper-V appliance
- Branch in a box Hyper-V appliance
- Cloud/Datacenter high performance storage server
What‚Äôs Inside A Cluster In A Box?
It will be somewhat flexible.¬† MSFT giving guidance on the essential components so expect variations.¬† MSFT noticed people getting cluster networking wrong so this is hardwired in the box.¬† Expansion for additional JBOD trays will be included.¬† Office level power and acoustics will expand this solution into the SME/retail/etc.
Lots of partners can be announced and some cannot yet:
- And more
More announcements to come in this ‚Äúwave‚ÄĚ.
They show some sample equipment from two Original Device Manufacturers (they design and sell into OEMs for rebranding).¬† One with SSD and Infiniband is shown.¬† A more modest one is shown too:
That bottom unit is a 3U cluster in a box with 2 servers and 24 SFF SAS drives.¬† It appears to have additional PCI expansion slots in a compute blade.¬† We see it in a demo later and it appears to have JBOD (mirrored Storage Spaces) and 3 cluster networks.
RDMA aka SMB Direct
Been around for quite a while but mostly restricted to the HPC space.¬† WS2012 will bring it into wider usage in data centres.¬† I wouldn‚Äôt expect to see RDMA outside of the data centre too much in the coming year or two.
RDMA enabled NICs also known as R-NICs.¬† RDMA offloads SMB CPU processing in large bandwidth transfers to dedicated functions in the NIC.¬† That minimises CPU utilisation for huge transfers.¬† Reduces the ‚Äúcost per byte‚ÄĚ of data transfer through the networking stack in a server by bypassing most layers of software and communicating directly with the hardware.¬† Requires R-NICs:
- iWARP: TCP/IP based.¬† Works with any 10 GbE switch.¬† RDMA traffic routable.¬† Currently (WS2012 RC) limited to 10 Gbps per NIC port.
- RoCE (RDMA over Converged Ethernet): Works with high-end 10/40 GbE switches.¬† Offers up to 40 Gbps per NIC port (WS2012 RC).¬† RDMA not routable via existing IP infrastructure.¬† Requires DCB switch with Priority Flow Control (PFC).
- InfiniBand:¬†Offers up to 54 Gbps per NIC port (WS2012 RC). Switches typically less expensive per port than 10 GbE.¬† Switches offer 10/40 GbE uplinks. Not Ethernet based.¬† Not routable currently.¬† Requires InfiniBand switches.¬† Requires a subnet manager on the switch or on the host.
RDMA can also be combined with SMB Multichannel for LBFO.
Applications (Hyper-V or SQL Server) do not need to change to use RDMA and make the decision to use SMB Direct at run time.
Partners & RDMA NICs
- Mellanox ConectX-3 Dual Port Adapter with VPI InfiniBand
- Intel 10 GbE iWARP Adapter For Server Clusters NE020
- Chelsio T3 line of 10 GbE Adapters (iWARP), have 2 and 4 port solutions
We then see a live demo of 10 Gigabytes (not Gigabits) per second over Mellanox InfiniBand.¬† They pull 1 of the 2 cables and throughput drops to 6,000 Gigabytes per second.¬† Pop the cable back in and flow returns to normal.¬† CPU utilisation stays below 5%.
Configurations and Building Blocks
- Start with single Cluster in a Box, and scale up with more JBODs and maybe add RDMA to add throughput and reduce CPU utilisation.
- Scale horizontally by adding more storage clusters.¬† Live Migrate workloads, spread workloads between clusters (e.g. fault tolerant VMs are physically isolated for top-bottom fault tolerance).
- DR is possible via Hyper-V Replica because it is storage independent.
- Cluster-in-a-box could also be the Hyper-V cluster.
This is a flexible solution.¬† Manufacturers will offer new refined and varied options.¬† You might find a simple low cost SME solution and a more expensive high end solution for data centres.
This is a cluster in a box that is both Scale-Out-File Server and Hyper-V cluster.¬† The previous 2 node Quanta solution is set up this way.¬† It‚Äôs a value solution using Storage Spaces on the 24 SFF SAS drives.¬† The space are mirrored for fault tolerance.¬† This is DAS for the 2 servers in the chassis.
What Does All This Mean?
SAN is no longer your only choice, whether you are SME or in the data centre space.¬† SMB Direct (RDMA) enables massive throughput.¬† Cluster-in-a-Box enables Hyper-V appliances and Scale-Out File Servers in ready made kits, that are continuously available and scalable (up and out).
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