IDC has released a new report naming Cisco the No. 1 vendor in the Americas x86 blade server market. Five years ago, Cisco revolutionized the data center with the introduction of the Unified Computing System (UCS). Through continued innovation and a strong partner ecosystem, Cisco UCS is recognized as the industry leader, providing a key foundational component of VCE Vblock Systems. Check out this video from Chris Sullivan, VCE VP of global channels & investor alliances, for perspective on why UCS has been a knockout success only a few years after its introduction.
Today we are delivering a quantum leap in flash storage with the announcement of EMC DSSD D5, a Rack-Scale Flash solution. DSSD D5 provides a new architecture and game-changing flash performance to meet the needs of traditional and next-generation applications, opening up the new category of Rack-Scale Flash for customers.DSSD D5 was built from the ground up to support the increasingly intense latency demands of enterprises at the cutting edge of big data and high-performance analytics and applications.So why DSSD D5, and why now?Applications today have evolved significantly from the previous client-server era; they’re built to leverage diverse data types and support an order of magnitude increase in users, devices and data to support business objectives. This has led to a fundamental change in infrastructure requirements supporting these applications. DSSD D5 is purpose-built to meet these requirements.DSSD D5 is designed specifically for the most data-intensive analytical applications –, if you will. DSSD D5 moves a step – perhaps two, or more – beyond existing architectures to cater to high-performance needs with a performance-centric, dense and shared flash solution that offers diverse and native data access along with enterprise reliability. DSSD D5 delivers performance faster than direct-attached flash while delivering operational efficiency, a larger and denser shared pool of flash and centralized management.DSSD D5 delivers multiple industry-first software and hardware innovations. And the result is enterprise-ready, next-generation performance in a dense 5U appliance.Key workloads and technologies that will immediately benefit from DSSD D5 are:High Performance Databases and Data WarehousesHigh Performance Applications Running on Hadoop andCustom Applications, such as SAS, or applications running on a variety of high performance file systemsEach of these categories on their own may not be able to support an entire analytical workflow, and organizations typically use a combination. To add to the complexity, each of these workloads has different performance profiles and constraints, so customers leveraging a legacy infrastructure are forced to create workarounds that are complex, underperforming and inefficient. With its next-generation performance, DSSD D5 enables the world of real-time analytics and applications.To learn more about the DSSD D5 click here:Want to learn more? Check out the DSSD homepage and follow @EMCDSSD on Twitter for our latest announcements and content.Check out the DSSD infographic.
Working on the new Dell EMC Ready Solution for SQL Server was like going from 0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds. The exhilaration of being pushed into the seat as the road roars past in a blur is absolute fun. That’s what the combination of Dell EMC PowerEdge R840 servers and the new Dell EMC XtremIO X2 storage array did for us in our recent tests.The classic challenge with most database infrastructures is diminishing performance over time. To use an analogy, it’s like gradually increasing the load a supercar must pull until its 0-to-60 time just isn’t impressive anymore. In the case of databases, the load is input/output operations per second (IOPS). As IOPS increase, response times can slow and database performance suffers. What is interesting is how this performance problem happens over time. As more databases are gradually added to an infrastructure, response times slow by a fraction at a time. These incremental hits on performance can condition application users to accept slower performance—until one day someone says, “Performance was good two years ago but today it’s slow.”When reading about supercars, we usually learn about their 0-to-60 mph time and their top speed. While the top speed is interesting, how many supercars have you seen race by at 200+ mph? Top speeds apply to databases too. Perhaps you have read a third-party study that devoted a massive hardware infrastructure to one database, thereby showing big performance numbers. If only we had the budget to do that for all our databases, right? Top speeds are fun, but scalability is more realistic as most infrastructures will be required to support multiple databases.Dell EMC Labs took the performance scalability approach in testing the new SQL Server architecture. Our goals were aggressive: Run 8 virtualized databases per server for a total of 16 databases running in parallel, with a focus on generating significant load while maintaining fast response times. To make the scalability tests more interesting, 8 virtualized databases used Windows Server Datacenter on one server and the other 8 databases used Red Hat Enterprise Linux on another server. Figure 1 shows the two PowerEdge R840 servers and the 8-to-1 consolidation ratio (on each server) achieved in the tests.Figure 1: PowerEdge R840 serversQuest Benchmark Factory was used to create the same TPC-E OLTP workload across all 16 virtualized databases. On the storage side, XtremIO X2 was used to accelerate all database I/O. The XtremIO X2 configuration included two X-Brick modules, each with 36 flash drives for a total of 72. According to the XtremIO X2 specification sheet, a 72-drive configuration can achieve 220,000 IOPS at .5 milliseconds (ms) of latency with a mixture of 70 percent reads and 30 percent writes using 8K blocks. Figure 2 shows the two X-Brick configuration of the X2 array with some of key features that make the all-flash system ideal for SQL Server databases.Figure 2: XtremIO X2Before we review the performance findings, let’s talk about IOPS and latency. IOPS is a measure that defines the load on a storage system. This measurement has greater context if we understand the maximum recommended IOPS for a storage system for a specific configuration. For example, 16 databases running in parallel don’t represent a significant load if they are only generating 20,000 IOPS. However, if the same databases generated 200,000 IOPS, as they did on the XtremIO X2 array that we used in our tests, then that’s a significant workload. Thus, IOPS are important in understanding the load on a storage system.Response time and latency are used interchangeably in this blog and refer to the amount of time used to respond to a request to read or write data. Latency is our 0-to-60 metric that tells us how fast the storage system responds to a request. Just like with supercars, the lower the time, the faster the car and the storage system. Our goal was to determine if average read and write latencies remained under .5 ms.Looking at IOPS and latency together brings us to our overall test objective. Can this SQL Server solution remain fast (low latency) under a heavy IOPS load? To answer this question is to understand if the database solution can scale. Scalability is the capability of the database infrastructure to handle increased workload with minimal impact to performance. The greater the scalability of the database solution, the more workload it can support and the greater return on investment it provides to customers. So, for our tests to be meaningful we must show a significant load; otherwise, the database system has not been challenged in terms of scalability.We broke the achievable IOPS barrier of 220,000 IOPS by more than 55,000 IOPS! In large part, the PowerEdge R840 servers enabled the SQL Server databases to really push the OLTP workload to the XtremIO X2 array. We were able to simulate overloading the system by placing a load that is greater than recommended. In one respect we were impressed that XtremIO X2 supported more than 275,000 IOPS, but then we were concerned that there might have been a trade-off with performance.The average latency for all physical reads and writes was under .5 ms. So not only did the SQL Server solution generate a large database workload, the XtremIO X2 storage system maintained consistently fast latencies throughout the tests. The test results show that this database solution was designed for performance scalability: The system maintained performance under a large workload across 16 databases. Figure 3 summarizes the test findings.Figure 3: Summary of test findingsThe capability to scale without having to invest in more infrastructure provides greater value to customers. Would I recommend pushing the new SQL Server solution past its limits like Dell EMC Labs did in testing for scalability? No. Running database tests involves achieving a steady state of performance that is uncharacteristic of real-world production databases. Production databases have peak processing times that must be planned for so that the business does not experience any performance issues. Dell EMC has SQL Server experts that can design the Ready Solution for different workloads. In my opinion, one of the key strengths of this solution is that each physical component can be sized to address database requirements. For example, the number of servers might need to be increased, but no additional investment is necessary on XtremIO X2, thus, saving the business money.If I were to address just one other topic, I would pick the space savings achieved with a 1 TB SQL Server database. In figure 4, test results show a 3.52-to-1 data reduction ratio, which translates to a 71.5 percent space savings for a 1 TB database on the XtremIO X2 array. Always-on inline data reduction saves space by writing only unique blocks and then compressing those blocks to storage. The value of inline data reduction is the resulting ability to consolidate more databases to the XtremIO X2 array.Figure 4: XtremIO X2 inline data reductionAre you interested in learning how SQL Server performed on Windows Server Datacenter edition and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server? I recommend reading the design guide for Dell EMC XtremIO X2 with PowerEdge R840 servers. The validation and use case section of that guide takes the reader through all the performance findings. Or schedule a meeting with your local Microsoft expert at Dell EMC to explore the solution.Why Ready Solutions for Microsoft SQL?The Ready Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server team at Dell EMC is a group of SQL Server experts who are passionate about building database solutions. All of our solutions are fully integrated, validated, and tested. Figure 5 shows how we approach developing database solutions. Many of us have been on the customer or consulting side of the business, and these priorities reflect our passion to develop specialized database solutions that are faster and more reliable.Figure 5: Our database solutions development approachI hope you enjoyed this blog. If you have any questions, please contact me.Additional Resources:Microsoft SQL Server Info Hub—A list of recent Dell EMC solutions for SQL ServerDell EMC Ready Solutions for Microsoft SQL—A good resource for all Dell EMC solutions for SQL Server
In October 2018, Dell EMC Glasgow launched their second 12-month mentoring program called STEMAspire. The program is aimed at undergraduate females from the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and is focused on providing them with support that enables them to finish their education and progress on to the world of work.Molly Nock, one of Glasgow’s STEMAspire mentees is studying Digital Design and Web Development at the City of Glasgow College. Molly tells us that she is thrilled to be part of the program and has become more confident as a result.Meet Molly “Since joining the program, my long-term aspirations and goals have never been clearer. I have received so much support and encouragement from my mentor and other mentees.”“The quarterly events held at the Dell offices have covered workshops on technical skill development and personal growth. I particularly enjoyed, the CV building workshop from the last quarterly event. It really opened my eyes to how I can best come across during an interview.“My mentor Cheryl Craig has taught me to have the confidence to put myself forward for opportunities that will benefit me in my career. I have also learned that it is ok to say no, staying true to who I am and what I want even though it may scare me.”“I recently joined a student association at my college called STEMGirls. It was created by one of the other STEMAspire mentees, who was inspired by Dell’s program. Through STEM GIRLS, female students can speak to other people who share similar experiences in a safe space. A space where there is no judgement or intimidation. A place where we can help and support each other.”“So far, being part of the program has been a really positive experience. Knowing that I’ll have a place in the tech industry without the feeling of intimidation or dismissal is only just the start – above that, there is so much more opportunity for every woman to grow within STEM.”
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The head of the World Food Program says that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to strengthen vulnerable supply chains to impoverished nations struggling to feed their populations. David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations’ Nobel Peace Prize-winning food program, warned Wednesday that the pandemic put further stress on supply chains getting food to the hungry. He has told a World Economic Forum panel discussion that “We’ve got to continue to work the system, we’ve got to make certain that we are … less vulnerable to COVID type impacts.” Beasley stressed that the food supply system is “not broken” but that 10% of the global population is in extreme poverty and needs to be reached by suppliers.
WASHINGTON (AP) — An experimental COVID-19 vaccine from Novavax appears to offer strong protection in late-stage UK, South Africa studies.
TRIPOLI, Lebanon (AP) — A cautious calm prevails in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli after a violent night that saw rioters set fire to several buildings. The fires capped days of confrontations, as anger over growing poverty made worse by the coronavirus lockdown boiled over. Lebanese troops have been deployed in the country’s second-largest city in an effort to quell the rioting. The riots have led to repeated confrontations with security forces. One person has been killed and more than 250 have been others injured. The protests target the strict lockdown measures but also reflect growing anger over the authorities’ indifference in the face of Lebanon’s economic meltdown.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti has unveiled multiple proposed changes to overhaul the country’s Constitution that officials plan to present to voters starting this week for an upcoming referendum that looms amid growing unrest. The public meetings are scheduled to be held across Haiti for the next three weeks, ahead of the April 25 constitutional referendum, which would be the first one held in more than 30 years. One of the biggest changes is an omission in the draft issued by an independent commission tasked with creating the constitutional changes that have angered many. Haiti’s current Constitution bars presidents from serving two consecutive terms, but the draft only states that a president cannot serve for more than two terms; it says nothing about whether they can be served consecutively.
The bodies of three backcountry skiers buried in a large avalanche in southwestern Colorado were found Wednesday, and a slide near Vail Mountain Resort on Thursday killed another skier. Officials say the skiers in the first slide between the towns of Silverton and Ophir were located under more than 20 feet of debris. The bodies were left where they were found for now because bad weather prevented the helicopter from transporting them. The slide happened Monday. The skier killed in Thursday’s avalanche exited the resort through a backcountry access gate. Eight backcountry skiers have died in avalanches in Colorado this winter.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The coup that removed an elected government and reimposed military control in Myanmar has raised even more uncertainty about a fragile peace process aimed at ending decades of conflict between the military, armed ethnic groups and militias. Over 20 ethnic groups have been fighting the military over control of predominantly ethnic-minority borderland areas. They want more regional autonomy, while the military and militias aligned with it have fought for centralized power. Negotiations spearheaded by Aung San Suu Kyi have brought some progress, though fighting still has continued. Now, the military coup and the detainment of Suu Kyi and other elected officials have sparked criticism and concern the peace process could break down.