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Taneja Blog / Data Center Systems

Dell’s New Hybrid Arrays in Action, on a Cruise Ship near You

I had an opportunity recently to interview some folks at Carnival Cruise Lines about their experiences as early adopters of the Dell EqualLogic (EQL) PS6010XVS hybrid array. This global leisure giant has just completed migration of a critical data warehouse and OLTP app from a legacy FC array in order to find out what the PS Series could deliver under the complex demands of a mission-critical application. The results were dramatic enough to share here.

Carnival’s application workloads are demanding and multi-tiered, requiring constant modifications to both recent, “hot” data as well as to a very large (10 TB) database of historic data. These concurrent workloads require up to 400-600 MB/s and 11,000 IOPS. In addition, data growth is 16% year/year, so Carnival was in need of storage that could not only handle today’s demands, but could scale quickly…and inexpensively.

The big question: could Carnival achieve the cost benefits of commodity, pay-as-you-grow 10GbE EQL iSCSI arrays, while still delivering “enterprise” performance at every workload tier? Answer: Yep.

On the PS6010XV (virtualized iSCSI with 15K SAS HDDs), the customer saw an immediate 19% improvement in performance. However, when the same multi-tiered workloads were migrated to the SAS/SSD hybrid PS Series XVS, performance improved an additional 14%, for a cumulative performance gain of 36%.

The results were not only impressive and consistent, but they got even better over time as the dynamic automated tiering feature of the XVS further optimized the placement of hot and cold data based on actual workload patterns. In Carnival’s words:

"We need to meet our SLAs daily [and] we can see 500-650MB/s workloads (sustained, not just peak); so far we’ve seen the XVS handle up to 900MB/s with less than 20ms response time. Before we started the PoC we were concerned about whether EQL could scale high enough, but we were pleasantly surprised."

Carnival told me that the hybrid XVS delivers both high IOPS and high capacity in a platform that scales cost-efficiently—the essential requirements for dynamic workloads such as multi-tiered applications and large VDI deployments.

Watch this space for more of my thoughts about how automated storage tiering on these hot new arrays can turbo-charge desktop virtualization by breaking through the storage performance bottlenecks that have stymied more than one large-scale VDI deployment.

  • Premiered: 11/09/10
  • Author: Taneja Group
Topic(s): Dell EqualLogic Hybrid Array SSD Storage Tiering


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