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EMC PowerPath/VE – Lab Validation Report

Hi,

This ESG Lab report documents the hands-on testing of EMC PowerPath/VE for VMware virtual environments and validates the business and performance benefits of PowerPath/VE load balancing and path management when compared with VMware native path management. The report focuses on the performance, ease of management, and failover and recovery capabilities of PowerPath/VE.
These tests were designed to simulate the real-world SAN conditions that organizations encounter every day, and they were conducted using common tools to highlight the potential impact on application, SAN, and storage performance. While these test results represent what a user might experience, actual results will vary depending on the data center configuration

Server virtualization is on the rise, driven by the positive results that organizations are achieving, the increasing benefits as virtual deployments expand, and the growing popularity of cloud computing. As ESG research discovered, early on in their virtual machine (VM) experience, organizations benefit primarily from data center cost reduction. But as virtual deployments expand, they gain higher-level benefits such as improved provisioning, data protection, application availability, and IT automation. It makes sense that organizations plan to increase their virtual deployments given these experiences. When IT managers were asked recently what their organizations’ most important IT priorities would be over the next 12 to 18 months, 30% indicated that they planned to increase their use of server virtualization1 Often, this includes extending virtualization to production and business-critical workloads—not just IT-focused applications

However, virtualizing more applications and increasing consolidation ratios can create contention for data paths, which can then affect application performance and availability. Manually mapping data paths across the environment becomes extremely difficult in these expansive, hyper-consolidated environments. The dynamic nature of virtual implementations, the move to virtualize more production applications, and the increasing service-level expectations of users conspire to make I/O bottlenecks even more problematic

EMC PowerPath/VE
In the same way that server virtualization creates a sharable pool of computing resources, and networked storage creates a sharable storage pool, EMC PowerPath/VE delivers dynamic multipathing capabilities that form a pool of data paths. Built on the gold-standard PowerPath application for physical hosts, PowerPath/VE provides automated data path management and failover and recovery for VMware vSphere (and Microsoft Hyper-V) environments to produce predictable, scalable, consistent information access across Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and FCoE environments. (Note: Though PowerPath/VE supports Hyper-V, the focus of this report is on PowerPath/VE for VMware vSphere.)
Because PowerPath/VE resides in the hypervisor (below applications/guest operating systems and above the HBAs and storage), it can support heterogeneous servers, guest operating systems, networks, and storage environments. PowerPath/VE for vSphere is integrated with VMware vCenter Server and Update Manager as well as vSphere auto-deploy and stateless licensing capabilities, and operates effectively with any raw storage devices, volume managers, file systems, and applications.
EMC PowerPath/VE is available standalone and as a key component in VCE Vblock Infrastructure Platforms: preconfigured virtualization solutions combining best-of-breed technologies from VMware, Cisco, and EMC. Vblock Infrastructure Platforms make it easier for organizations of all sizes to implement cloud strategies.
Automated failover and recovery. PowerPath/VE automates data path failover and recovery to eliminate business interruption from failures or errors, without manual mapping. If a path error occurs, data is redirected to the next best path and the load is rebalanced across all paths (see Figure 2). When the failure is resolved, that path is returned to the available pool. Intelligent, dynamic testing of inactive paths enables faults to be preemptively discovered and paths automatically removed from service; upon resolution of the fault condition, the failed path is automatically returned to the pool without disrupting operations or requiring manual intervention.

 

you can read the full report here:

ESG Lab Validation Report: EMC PowerPath/VE Automated Path Optimization for VMware Virtual Environments

 

but basically, As shown in the figure below, PowerPath/VE handled 25% more IOPS versus NMP for 8K OLTP workloads, 17% more for File Server, and 22% more for Exchange DB data

image

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