How Much Do You Want? Nutanix Ushers in a New Era of HCI Performance

  • 28 June 2017
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How Much Do You Want? Nutanix Ushers in a New Era of HCI Performance
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This blog was authored by John Williamson, Technical Writer at Nutanix.

Performance is easy to generalize about, but no less easy to misunderstand. Too often vendors will present IOPS as a simple and reliable measure of performance when, in fact, even huge IOPS are irrelevant if your applications don’t get what they need when they need it. The key for admins and CIOs is understanding this distinction.

Gary Little and Andy Daniel will be leading a session at .NEXT 2017 on precisely this topic, where they will not only provide general I/O performance tips, but also describe how to size and architect common use cases for Nutanix. They will pose questions such as, what’s the number one cause of performance issues in VDI? How do you accurately assess infrastructure readiness for workloads such as transactional databases or file services? Raw IOPS testing does not predict performance in any of these scenarios.

There are several sessions touching on the topic of performance, including “All Workloads on Nutanix: Stupid or Smart” and “Oracle: How to Architect an Efficient Environment,” but be sure to come to AW206: “The Need for Speed: Sizing and Scaling for Nutanix for Performance.” Little and Daniel will answer these questions and many others! The session will start by catching you up on the remarkable performance gains that Nutanix has made in the last few years.

The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform has evolved to the point where it can easily handle performance-hungry, business-critical Tier 1 apps alongside other enterprise workloads in the same cluster. Nutanix satisfies stringent application vendor requirements, as well as vital Day 2 concerns, including resilience and protection from noisy neighbors. Over the last two years Nutanix has achieved 4x performance improvements: 2x from riding the recent wave of hardware innovation and another 2x from significant advances in Nutanix Acropolis, including AHV. During this time we’ve also improved write response time by 300 percent and doubled VM density, which is applicable to VDI workloads.

On top of these gains, however, Nutanix is announcing major new performance-enhancing features and platforms at .NEXT, and Little and Daniel will discuss these in greater depth at the session.If you have performance-intensive applications, now is the time for all flash. In terms of cost per gigabyte, it’s not much more expensive than spinning disks, and it continues to improve by leaps and bounds—current all flash provides more than 2x performance over HDD and next-generation NVMe and beyond, including 3D XPoint flash, deliver orders of magnitude greater performance.

Given that there’s no end in sight to hardware performance improvements, it is essential to have a system capable of taking full advantage of these imminent gains. Andy Daniel points out that driving significant I/O with flash can quickly consume the storage controller CPU of traditional storage arrays. “The beauty of hyperconverged architecture is that as we add additional flash capacity, we also add additional CPU to drive it. With Nutanix, not only do we scale CPU for performance, we do it without sacrificing latency. Data locality ensures application data stays within the server.”

As Gary Little explains, at this point, it’s hardware that imposes performance limits. “As the hardware improves, our software is poised to fully exploit those gains. Our design means that we can drive all the performance the hardware can give, now and in the future.” With Nutanix web-scale architecture, forklift upgrades and extensive reconfiguration to accommodate ongoing hardware performance gains is a thing of the past. Little and Daniel will cover this and more at their “Need for Speed” session at .NEXT, so stop by to learn about both HCI performance in general and the new era of Nutanix performance in particular.

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