Since Cisco announced its intent to acquire WHIPTAIL, many have taken to the Internet to speculate about how WHIPTAIL’s flash memory systems will fit into Cisco’s product line. The speculation ended with the launch of Cisco’s UCS Invicta™ Series Solid-State Systems.
By introducing the capability and performance of flash memory into the UCS platform, which is dedicated to easy management, customers can finally be application-centric. They can organize and manipulate the environment in whatever way will best serve the business at any given point in time, which allows for usability and reusability of the resources.
Let’s say that I have an application requiring a certain amount of memory and processing capability. And let’s say that I want the application to operate with a specific level of performance. Now I can organize the environment very rapidly to account for those characteristics. I can assemble it and then make it available to the application owner to just simply place the application down.
UCS Invicta in conjunction with UCS Director allows users to organize environments around needs instead of reacting to and being limited by what is available. With the latest release of UCS Director, users can manage UCS Invicta (as well as their entire converged infrastructure) from a single self-service web portal, significantly reducing management time. Together with UCS Director, your infrastructure will automatically have resources available so you can accelerate applications. This is being application-centric, and this is how UCS Invicta complements the UCS architecture.
To learn more about the integration of solid-state into UCS and application acceleration, watch the UCS Invicta webcast.
Tags: application acceleration, Cisco UCS Director, UCS Invicta
Read/write symmetry refers to a solid-state system’s ability to execute either a read or a write call or a function with equal levels of priority, importance and delivery—it takes the same amount of time to read as it does to write. Achieving read/write symmetry should be a priority for your business for two reasons: symmetry affects performance and symmetry implies quality.
Writes are important, more important than many realize. A common practice is to look at an application and its IO profile. This is a critical step, but its results are often misinterpreted. The goal is to understand how that application works, how much time does it write, how much time does it read and so on for the entire lifecycle of the data. Some applications spend more time doing one activity versus the other and we often make assumptions regarding the importance of write IOPS if our write activity is less than 50%.
Let’s say I’ve done my IO evaluation and I’ve discovered my application writes 30% of the time and reads 70%. I may think write symmetry with respect to performance does not matter, but that is not actually the case. I have to consider the criticality of that particular write operation.
As a hypothetical IO analysis let’s consider a banking application that produces account activity statements at the end of each month for all customers, which is required by bank regulations. The application is going to go through everybody’s accounts, total them up, summarize them and store that summarized data in the form of the month-end statement. For most of the month the database of record is writing far less of the time than it is reading.
Let’s dig in to the data collection used by the application. If I have 50 million accounts with an average of 25-50 transactions per month, I get 1,250 to 2,500 million transactions created each month. Now consider that if you keep 12 months worth of transactions per year in your current customer data collection, the average of at least the last fiscal years’ transactions could total between 30 to 60 trillion records. The program to calculate month-end statements will be doing a lot of reading. It will focus on the current month’s data, which is 1/12th of 30-60 trillion records. But, more importantly, it will be doing extremely critical writes in an extremely short period of time.
Read/write symmetry is important to look at beyond just making sure applications can perform write operations quickly. Flash vendors use a block translation layer (BTL) to manipulate and improve the write performance of flash. This BTL does much more than increase the speed at which flash writes. But if a system has read numbers that far exceed the write numbers and one sees a dramatic degradation in write performance with that system, then you can safely infer that the software layer is carrying the write asymmetry back out to the operating system of the host application and the application itself. This ratio of write to read performance should be looked at closely when evaluating systems regardless of the IO Profile of an individual application.
Write performance isn’t only important to applications, it’s essential to the entire business. Applications cannot read anything that hasn’t first been written and they can only go as fast as their slowest write, which means the entire business may be at the mercy of its solid-state system as it waits on writes.
Tags: application acceleration, solid-state systems
Later this month I’ll be taking part in a webcast dedicated to helping viewers Uncover the Business Impact of Application Acceleration with Solid-State Systems. I think the most important thing for business executives to understand is that application acceleration goes beyond enabling workloads to run faster. It’s also about reducing the time that it takes to make resources available so that you can accelerate applications. This concept is equally important.
Now we have an end-to-end performance story. Something that used to take weeks can now potentially be done in a day. The notion around spending time troubleshooting becomes dramatically reduced. The ability to just simply assign resources or quickly deploy assets and bring them into the environment and immediately use them becomes very, very easy. Where in the past there was a lot of thought and planning that had to go into it, “What am I buying, and how will it be configured, and how will it potentially be used?”
Now I have this wonderful environment called UCS. I have high-performance computing. I have flash memory. I have the ability to organize the resources through the UCS management technology, and I can focus on speeding up my business, my entire business. I can focus on bringing my new ideas online while taking full advantage of the applications that I have in place today, and watching each and every one of them run faster with minimal, if any, changes.
We’re really going to help propel customers into the future. A future that is about the Internet of Everything. A future that is about consistently high performance, and a future that is about getting things done much, much faster tomorrow than we do today. That’s part of what this webcast will articulate.
Learn more and register for the webcast.
Tags: application acceleration, flash memory, UCS Invicta
In the human body, the network of blood vessels is 60,000-mile long or 97,000-kilometer, centralized and regulated by a sine qua non organ – the heart. That network reaches 100+ trillion cells and is responsible for delivering blood that carries oxygen and nutrients to nourish the body (Source: National Geographic). When that effortless flow is congested (either genetically or through our own doing as a result of diet and exercise) our ability to perform essential functions becomes less than ideal. In an extreme case, such as the stoppage of blood flow to the brain, it can cripple one’s bodily function permanently.
If the data center is the heart of an organization, then the wide area network (WAN) is its network of blood vessels that carries vital data to multiple systems. For American Water (NYSE: AWK), a publicly traded water utility in the United States, this network services 300+ locations: primary and backup data centers, 275 branch offices, various production facilities, treatment plants, two call centers with between 500 and 600 workers each, and other facilities. A number of remote sites have a few hundred users, while most average 50 users. The network also provides access to applications such as Lotus Notes, MS Office, ERP and CRM, and numerous other applications for data replication, critical operations risk management, access control, and surveillance. Read More »
Tags: american water, application acceleration, awk, Cisco ACE, cisco waas on SRE, cisco wae, ISR G2, waas, wan opt