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9Nov/10Off

Busy busy

TechOps Guy: Scott

I know many in IT are so busy that even taking a moment to reach down into your sock just to scratch an itchy ankle will likely disappoint some individual, group, project, initiative, deadline, milestone, sprint, release, vision, journey, senior mgmt, customer expectation, etc but the last two weeks have been ridiculous for me. It's been all work and no play even with decent off shore winds today and some steady +4 footers (yeah if you don't understand the reference then you don't know what you're missing). That's saying something.. I normally don't miss a good session and when the waves are really working I am normally not :)

Anyhow, I want to keep this short but I have been very busy working with some cool tools I'd like to pass along (nothing new here but if you aren't familiar then check it out):

  • puppet (2.6.1 release I have SRPM's if interested)
  • mcollective
  • icinga
  • stashboard (I'd like to get this to run sans googleappengine)
  • this (SRPM's as well... interesting benchmarks :) )
  • git (of course)

I won't comment on all of the listed items but I must say that stashboard is really freaking cool and I would love to have a fork that can be run behind the firewall.  The restful API's for doing just about everything is appealing and it means I won't have to come up with my own simplified NOC dashboard for end-users.  Also, I am really liking icinga (nagios fork) but now that zenoss is giving away a free esxtop zenpack I'm not sure which direction to go for my monitoring / alerting / trending NOC software.

Hope you enjoy the run down and thanks for reading.

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9Nov/10Off

New NetApp boxes

TechOps Guy: Nate

So it looks like NetApp launched some beefy new systems yesterday, though I got to say if I was a customer of theirs I would feel kind of cheated on the 3200 series systems since they have stuck to dual core processors, when quad core has been available forever. In the "world of Intel" in my eyes there's no excuse to release anything that's not at least quad core unless your trying to squeeze your customers for every last bit (which I'm sure they are...).

Companies like NetApp could take a hint from someone like Citrix, who has a few Netscaler load balancers that they software rate limit the throughput but give you the same hardware as the higher end boxes. So take the 17500 model rated for 20Gbps, you can software upgrade that to more than double the throughput to 50Gbps. But the point isn't the increased throughput via the software upgrade. The point is having the extra CPU horsepower on the smaller end box so that you can enable more CPU intensive features without incurring a noticeable performance hit because you have so much headroom on the system CPU wise.

NetApp introduced compression as one of their new features(I think it's new, maybe wrong). That is of course likely to be a fairly CPU intensive operation. If they had quad or hex core CPUs in there, you could do a lot more, even if they limited your IOPS or throughput to X amount. Maybe they don't have a good way of artificially rate limiting.

But even without rate limiting, it costs them a trivial amount of money to put quad core processors, they just want to squeeze their customers.

Even 3PAR put quad core processors in their F400 system more than a year ago. This is despite the Intel CPUs not doing much work on the 3PAR side, most of the work is done by their Gen3 ASIC. But they realize it's a trivial cost to put in the beefier processor so they do it.

Their new 6200 series controllers do have quad core processors, among other improvements I'm sure. The previous 6000 series was quad socket. (in case your wondering where I'm getting these processors stats from it's from the SPEC disclosure)

NetApp was fast to post both SPEC SFS results for their 3200 and 6200 series, as well as SPC-1E results for their 3200.

All in all very impressive results for SPEC SFS, very efficient results for SPC-1, both heavily assisted by 1TB of their flash cache. Interestingly enough at least on the SPC-1 side since full cost disclosures are there, the cost per usable TB and cost per IOP still doesn't match that of the F400 (which has many more drives, and running RAID 1+0, and more than a year old so would consider the F400 at a great disadvantage but still wins out). SPC-1E isn't a full SPC-1 test though, it's more about power efficiency than raw performance. So time will tell if they do a "regular" SPC-1 test, their SPC-1E IOPS is about the same as their 3170, and the 3270 has much faster CPUs so I'd think it's pretty safe to say that the controllers have capacity to go beyond 68,000 IOPS.

Nice upgrade for their customers in any case.

 

Filed under: Storage No Comments
9Nov/10Off

Next Gen Opterons — to 20 cores and beyond?

TechOps Guy: Nate

So I came across this a short time ago, but The Register has a lot more useful information here.

From AMD

The server products (“Interlagos” and “Valencia”) will first begin production in Q2 2011, and we expect to launch them in Q3 2011. [This includes the Opteron 6100 socket compatible 16-core Opteron 6200]

[..]

Since Bulldozer is designed to fit into the same power/thermal envelope as our current AMD Opteron™ 6100/4100 series processors we obviously have some new power tricks up our sleeve.  One of these is the new CC6 power state, which powers down an entire module when it is idle. That is just one of the new power innovations that you’ll see with Bulldozer-based processors.

[..]

We have disclosed that we would include AMD Turbo CORE technology in the past, so this should not be a surprise to anyone. But what is news is the uplift – up to 500MHz with all cores fully utilized. Today’s implementations of boost technology can push up the clock speed of a couple of cores when the others are idle, but with our new version of Turbo CORE you’ll see full core boost, meaning an extra 500MHz across all 16 threads for most workloads.

[..]

We are anticipating about a 50% increase in memory throughput with our new “Bulldozer” integrated memory controller.

From The register

Newell showed off the top-end "Terramar" Opteron, which will have up to 20 of a next-generation Bulldozer cores in a single processor socket, representing a 25 percent boost in cores from the top-end Interlagos parts, and maybe a 35 to 40 per cent boost in performance if the performance curve stays the same as the jump from twelve-core "Magny-Cours" Opteron 6100s to the Interlagos chips.

[..]

That said, AMD is spoiling for a fight about chip design in a way that it hasn't been since the mid-2000s.

[..]

with Intel working on its future "Sandy Bridge" and "Ivy Bridge" Xeon processors for servers, and facing an architecture shift in the two-socket space in 2011 that AMD just suffered through in 2010.

Didn't Intel just go through an architecture shift in the two socket space last year with the Xeon 5500s and their integrated memory controller? And they are shifting architectures again so soon? Granted I haven't really looked into what these new Intel things have to offer.

I suppose my only question is, will VMware come up with yet another licensing level to go beyond 12 cores per socket? It's kind of suspicious that both vSphere Advanced and Enterprise plus are called out at a limit of 12 cores per socket.

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