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Items Tagged: PowerPath


EMC PowerPath/VE: Enhancing resiliency, performance, and management

Unfortunately, too many data centers rely solely on native multipathing tools, and tolerate consequent and oftentimes unrecognized compromises in efficiency, management, and resiliency. Seemingly though, only one storage juggernaut has ever delivered a truly differentiated and distinguished approach to multipathing – EMC. EMC’s PowerPath offers multipathing for VMware, Windows, Linux, AIX, Solaris, and HP-UX. Based on a secret sauce of patented, path-optimizing algorithms, the PowerPath/VE version of the PowerPath software family optimizes and enhances management for I/O beneath VMware vSphere and the virtual data center.

However, even with VMware there is no such thing as virtualizing the complexity out of the virtualized data center, especially when it comes to storage. I/O characteristics become much more challenging to manage from multiple VMs running on a single host. Woven together into a data center of many hosts, I/O becomes even more complex. I/O suddenly becomes dependent upon both a physical fabric, plus a virtual fabric – either of which may introduce errors or less than optimal performance. This is what makes the idea of “pathing” – how I/O travels from VM to storage – critically important in the virtualized data center. Moving I/O across the lowest latency paths, and avoiding outages introduced by misconfiguration or error will ultimately determine whether the virtual data center holds up under pressure or not. Moreover, the secondary capabilities introduced by innovative pathing technologies can add even more value in complex infrastructures by enhancing management and increasing the efficiency of storage interaction.

Virtualization technology has had a transformational impact on computing domains: providing deep consolidation for servers, network fabrics, and the storage pools behind individual servers. Today, the range of capabilities has made it a natural development to weave virtualized computing into virtualized data centers. VMware is the market leader in this area and vSphere a leading product for virtualizing modern data centers.

This Product in Depth will detail the challenges around virtualizing the data center and how EMC‘s PowerPath/VE creates unique value for VMware virtual data centers.

Publish date: 03/29/13

5 Ways to Clear Out IOP Bottlenecks

A look at three explicit indicators and two manual tests you can perform to know if your multipath driver is causing problems to your array's capabilities.

  • Premiered: 11/18/14
  • Author: Taneja Group
  • Published: Virtualization Review
Topic(s): TBA Tom Fenton TBA Virtualization TBA Virtualization Review TBA EMC TBA PowerPath TBA ESXi TBA XtremeIO TBA Brocade TBA IOPS TBA ESX TBA Hypervisor TBA AFA TBA All Flash TBA all flash array TBA Datacenter

EMC PowerPath: Optimized IO Multipathing for All Flash Arrays

All-flash arrays are changing the datacenter for the better. No longer do we worry about IOPS bottlenecks from the array: all-flash arrays (AFA) can deliver a staggering amount of IOPs. AFAs with the ability to deliver hundreds of thousands of IOPs are not uncommon. The problem now, however, is how to get the IOPS from the array to the servers. We recently had a chance to see how well an AFA using EMC PowerPath driver works to eliminate this bottleneck—and we were blown away. Most comparisons with datacenter infrastructure show a 10-30% improvement in performance; but, the performance improvement that we saw with PowerPath was extraordinary.

Getting bits from an array to server is easy —very easy, in fact. The trick is getting the bits from a server to an array in an efficient manner when you have many virtual machines (VM) on multiple physical hosts that are transmitting the bits over a physical network with a virtual fabric overlay; this is much more difficult. Errors can get introduced and must be dealt with, the most efficient path must be obtained and established, re-evaluated and reestablished continually, and any misconfiguration can produce less than optimal performance. In some cases, this can cause outages or even data loss. In order to deal with the “pathing,” or how the I/O travels from the VM to storage, the OS running on the host needs a driver, or in the case where multiple paths can be taken from the server to the array, a multipathing driver needs to be used to direct the traffic.

Windows, Linux, VMware and most other modern operating systems include a basic multipath driver; however, these drivers tend to be generic and not code optimized to extract the maximum performance from an array and come with only rudimentary traffic optimization and management functions. In some cases these generic drivers are fine, but in the majority of datacenters the infrastructure is overtaxed and its equipment needs to be used in the most efficient manner possible. Fortunately, storage companies such as EMC are committed to making their arrays work as performant as possible and spend a considerable amount of time and research to develop multipathing drivers optimized for their arrays. EMC invited us to take a look at how PowerPath, their optimized “intelligent” multipath driver, performed on an XtremIO flash array connected to a Dell PowerEdge R710 server running ESXi 6.0 while simulating an Oracle workload. We looked at the results of the various tests EMC ran comparing PowerPath/VE multipath driver against VMware’s ESXi Native Multipath driver and we were impressed—very impressed—by the difference that an optimized, multipath driver like PowerPath can make in a high IO traffic scenario.

Publish date: 04/30/15