VMware Offers Cloud and Enterprise Data Center Solutions Better Performance, Security and TCO on Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

Published Date
29 - Aug - 2017
| Last Updated
29 - Aug - 2017
 
VMware Offers Cloud and Enterprise Data Center Solutions Better P...

Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors represent our company’s biggest server platform update in the past decade. Now, cloud and enterprise solution developers can take advantage of the platform’s innovative features through VMware’s vSphere* suite of virtualization products and vSAN* software for hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solutions.

Most cloud and enterprise solutions run on virtual machines (VMs). That’s why the performance, security, and lower total cost of ownership1 (TCO) features of the Intel Xeon Scalable Platform are so important in the VMware environment.

According to a July 2017 IDC report, VMware’s “… all-encompassing cross-cloud vision brings the notion of SDDC [software defined data center] to the public cloud and repositions VMware at the center of an increasingly hybrid IT environment that enterprises are moving toward.”

Helping VMware Optimize and Enable vSphere and vSAN for the Intel Xeon Scalable Platform

Intel software experts worked closely with VMware engineers to help vSphere and vSAN software take advantage of the new capabilities offered by the Intel Xeon Scalable platform.

We are working with VMware engineers to enable vSphere to support the following Intel Xeon Scalable platform capabilities, for software running in guest VMs:

Intel® Quick Assist Technology (Intel® QAT) single-root I/O virtualization (SR-IOV) for hardware-enabled high-speed encryption/decryption and compression/decompression.2  

Intel® AVX-512 (512-bit Advanced Vector Extensions) for supercomputer-level high-performance computing on industry-standard servers

Hardware-enabled security -- Developers can now create application software that offers more secure authentication, authorization and audit using remote attestation, building on Intel’s hardware root of trust, which includes:

  • Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Secure Boot ensures that the system firmware checks whether the system boot loader is signed with a cryptographic key authorized by a database of public keys contained in the firmware. With signature verification in the next-stage boot loader and kernel, it is possible to prevent the execution of kernel space code which has not been signed by a trusted key.
  • Mode-based Execute Control (MBE) provides finer grain control on execute permissions to help protect the integrity of the system code from malicious changes, so the hypervisor can more reliably verify and enforce the integrity of kernel-level code.2
  • TPM support via Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT) 3
  • TPM protects system start-up by ensuring it is tamper-free before releasing system control to the operating system. TPM also provides secured storage for sensitive data, such as security keys and passwords, and performs encryption and hash functions.
  • Intel TXT provides the foundation for highly scalable platform security. It helps harden servers against threats of hypervisor, BIOS, or other firmware attacks, malicious rootkit installations, and other types of attacks or misconfiguration to firmware and operating systems.

For vSAN software, we helpe VMware engineers support these Intel Xeon Scalable platform capabilities, which are now exposed features to applications leveraging vSAN:

Storage Acceleration -- Intel® processors and Intel® Solid State Drives can improve storage performance, security, and manageability. Use the Intel® Intelligent Storage Acceleration Library (Intel® ISA-L) and the Storage Performance Development Kit (SPDK) to deliver a fast, space efficient, and secure storage solution.

  • Intel® ISA-L storage domain algorithms are optimized from the silicon up; Intel ISA-L speeds-up erasure coding, hash computation, and encryption.
  • SPDK drivers and libraries optimize NVM Express* (NVMe) and NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF).

The latest Intel® SSDs are supported:

  • Intel® Optane® SSDs for ultra-high-performance storage I/O
  • Intel® 3D NAND SSDs for highly-affordable, high-performance storage I/O

Intel® AVX-512 (512-bit Advanced Vector Extensions) for supercomputer-level high-performance computing on industry-standard servers

A Closer Look at vSAN Software and Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solutions offer a great example of the capabilities of VMware software on the Intel Xeon Scalable Platform. TechTarget defines hyper-convergence as “…a type of infrastructure system with a software-centric architecture that tightly integrates compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources and other technologies from scratch in a commodity hardware box supported by a single vendor.” 

On July 11th, VMware participated in the Intel Xeon Scalable platform launch and announced “…Day 0 support for VMware vSAN 6.6—ushering in the next-generation of hyper-converged solutions that can deliver 2.5x greater performance4 and 2.5x greater VM density4 versus previous server platforms and vSAN 6.5…”

The three results on the left are based on previous generation servers using Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v4. The three results on the right show the performance benefits of moving to the Intel Xeon Scalable Processors, new generation Intel® Optane® SSDs, and VMware vSAN 6.6.3  Source:  The Evaluator Group, July 2017.

VMware vSAN 6.6 customers can now take advantage of the Intel Xeon Scalable platform’s uncompromising security and exceptional processing performance for trusted data service delivery, with monumental leaps in I/O, memory, storage and network technologies. This new foundation for secure, agile, multi-cloud data centers provides vSAN environments with:  

Up to 2.5x greater performance with Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Intel® Optane® SSDs compared to previous server architectures and vSAN editions4.

Choice among a wide selection of leading server vendors on Day 0 to step into hyper-convergence to extend existing virtualization efforts.
Up to 2.5x more VM’s per cluster to drive down costs per VM as well as enjoy lower electricity bills and reduced floor space4.

Intel® Select Solutions for VMware vSAN Help Software Developers & IT Deployers

Intel Select Solutions offer verified hardware and software stacks that are optimized for specific workloads across compute, storage, and network. They are developed from deep Intel experience and extensive collaboration with the world’s leading data center and service providers. 

Intel Select Solutions for VMware vSAN narrow down the pool of vSAN ReadyNodes, the hardware options to build hyper-converged infrastructure based on VMware. Now software developers and IT teams can rest assured that the infrastructure is already verified for balanced and optimized performance—from the hardware up through the firmware stack to the vSAN software. 

Learn More:

The following links will take you to information about VMware vSAN software, Intel Select Solutions, and the Intel Xeon Scalable platform: 

  • Intel Select Solutions are supported by Intel Builders
  • Intel Xeon Scalable processors web page
  • Intel Select Solutions web page 
  • VMware vSAN web page

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1 Lower TCO estimate example based on equivalent rack performance using VMware ESXi* virtualized consolidation workload comparing 20 installed 2-socket servers with Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2690 (formerly “Sandy Bridge-EP”) running VMware ESXi* 6.0 GA using Guest OS RHEL* 6.4 compared at a total cost of $919,362 to 5 new Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8180 (Skylake) running VMware ESXi* 6.0 U3 GA using Guest OS RHEL* 6 64 bit at a total cost of $320,879 including basic acquisition. Server pricing assumptions based on current OEM retail published pricing for Broadwell based servers – subject to change based on actual pricing of systems offered.

2 A potentially supported future hardware technology. Intel technologies’ features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. No computer system can be absolutely secure. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/intel-quick-assist-technology-overview.html

3 An OEM option:  contact your hardware supplier for availability. Intel technologies’ features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. No computer system can be absolutely secure. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/trusted-execution-technology/trusted-execution-technology-security-paper.html

4 The comparison is based on a cluster of previous generation servers using Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v4 processors with conventional NAND SSDs and VMware vSAN 6.5 software, versus a cluster of new generation servers using Intel Xeon Scalable processors, new generation Intel® Optane® SSDs, and VMware vSAN 6.6. These results came from extensive testing by a 3rd party, Evaluator Group, to demonstrate the lower costs possible and faster return on investment (ROI). Read the full report here.
For more information go to https://www.intel.com/performance.

5 VMware Blog, July 11, 2017, “vSAN Hits another Gear with New Intel Xeon Processor Scalable Family”, by Michael Haag. The results came from extensive testing by a 3rd party, Evaluator Group, to demonstrate the lower costs possible and faster return on investment (ROI). Read the full report here.

Intel does not control or audit the design or implementation of third party benchmark data or Web sites referenced in this blog. Intel encourages all of its customers to visit the referenced Web sites or others where similar performance benchmark data are reported and confirm whether the referenced benchmark data are accurate and reflect performance of systems available for purchase.   

Intel technologies’ features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. No computer system can be absolutely secure. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at [intel.com].

Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark and MobileMark, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products.

For more such intel IoT resources and tools from Intel, please visit the Intel® Developer Zone

Source: https://software.intel.com/en-us/blogs/2017/08/28/vmware-offers-cloud-and-enterprise-data-center-solutions-better-performance