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SMB Direct in a Windows Server 2016 Virtual Machine Experiment
Posted by Didier Van Hoye on October 12, 2017
5/5 (1)

Introduction

Ever since Windows Server 2012 we have SMB Direct capabilities in the OS and Windows Server 2012 R2 added more use cases such as live migration for example. In Windows Server 2016, even more, workloads leverage SMB Direct, such as S2D and Storage Replication. SMB Direct leverages the RDMA capabilities of a NIC which delivers high throughput at low latency combined with CPU offloading to the NIC. The latter save CPU cycles for the other workloads on the hosts such as virtual machines.

Traditionally, in order for SMB Direct to work, the SMB stack needs direct access to the RDMA NICs. This means that right up to Windows Server 2012 R2 we had SMB Direct on running on physical NICs on the host or the parent partition/management OS. You could not have RDMA exposed on a vNIC or even on a host native NIC team (LBFO). SMB Direct was also not compatible with SR-IOV. That was and still is, for that OS version common knowledge and a design consideration. With Windows Server 2016, things changed. You can now have RDMA exposed on a vSwitch and on management OS vNICs. Even better, the new Switch Embedded Teaming (SET) allows for RDMA to be exposed in the same way on top of a vSwitch. SET is an important technology in this as RDMA is still not exposed on a native Windows team (LBFO).

Mellanox InfiniBand Router

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Supermicro SuperServer E200-8D/E300-8D review
Posted by Alex Khorolets on April 21, 2017
5/5 (1)

These days, more and more companies need high-quality, reliable and efficient server hardware.  Home labs used by enthusiasts and professionals in the IT sphere for software developing and testing, studying for an IT certification, and configuring virtual environments became popular as well. Small companies are also interested in cheap and compact servers, the production of which is based on a couple of virtual machines or networking applications.

Supermicro company ranks one of the leading positions in server development for a long time. Supermicro products range from the Hi-End clusters to microservers. Recently the company released two compact servers: SuperServer E200-8D and its younger model – SuperServer E300-8D.

Supermicro SuperServers

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vRealize Operations Manager Gems
Posted by Michael Ryom on March 29, 2017
5/5 (2)

Working with vRops over the last years has taught me one thing. The development of vRops goes so fast. Sometimes so fast that you do not realize when or what has changed. However, there are many “hidden” gems in vRops, which will make you and the product shine even more.

So come along, as I will show you my top ten hidden gems of vRops…

Datastore KPI view

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Setting yourself up for a success with virtualization
Posted by Michael Ryom on February 16, 2017
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I am going to try to address a few issues I have seen quite a lot in my virtualization career. It is not that you have to take extra care when virtualizing, but your virtual environment will never be better than the foundation you build it on. The reason you do not see that many people fuss about it in non-virtualized environments (anymore). I believe, that resources are in abundance today. Well, they were so ten years ago as well, but since then we have only seen higher and higher specification on server hardware. It was the reason for starting to virtualize. Do not get me wrong – Lots of people care about the performance of their virtual and physical environments. Yet some have not set them self up for a successful virtualization project. Let me elaborate…

Mind the gap of virtualization

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The latest updates in vSphere 6.5 and VSAN 6.5
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on October 18, 2016
4.88/5 (8)

 

This day has come – vSphere 6.5 has been just announced. As many of you I have been waiting for the presentation of new vSphere during VMworld event in the USA, but I guess VMware preferred to use vSphere 6.5 as a treat for those who were in doubt whether to attend VMworld Europe or not after all VMworld US were made available online to everyone; or perhaps VMware hasn’t decided what features should be included into the GA release.

In this post, I will try to cover all new features of vSphere 6.5 and VSAN 6.5, but if I missed something feel free to let me know by leaving a comment.

To be honest, there is so much to talk about and some of the new features require separate posts to be explained properly. Therefore, please don’t expect detailed review of the every single feature.. This is more ‘What’s new in vSphere 6.5 and VSAN 6.5′ overview, but in the future posts I will be talking about some of the most interesting improvements and enhancements in detail.

DB/File replication
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Is NVMe Really Revolutionary?
Posted by Jon Toigo on August 19, 2016
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To hear advocates talk about NVMe – a de facto standard created by a group of vendors led by Intel to connect flash memory storage directly to a PCIe bus (that is, without using a SAS/SATA disk controller) – it is the most revolutionary thing that has ever happened in business computing.  While the technology provides a more efficient means to access flash memory, without passing I/O through the buffers, queues and locks associated with a SAS/SATA controller, it can be seen as the latest of a long line of bus extension technologies – and perhaps one that is currently in search of a problem to solve.

I am not against faster I/O processing, of course.  It would be great if the world finally acknowledged that storage has always been the red-headed stepchild of the Von Neumann machine.  Bus speeds and CPU processing speeds have always been capable of driving I/O faster than mechanical storage devices could handle.  That is why engineers used lots of memory – as caches ahead of disk storage or as buffers on disk electronics directly – to help mask or spoof the mismatch of speed.

latency comparison

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Choosing ideal mini server for a home lab
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on August 11, 2016
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Yesterday I saw a blog post in Homelab subreddit discussing what Intel NUC to choose. I have spent quite some time recently to choose the right server for my homelab expansion and I have considered a lot of options.

I was also looking at Intel  NUC as many other fellow IT professionals, but luckily last month I read on Tinkertry.com that Supermicro had just released new Mini-1U SuperServers – SYS-E300-8D and SYS-E200-8D.  I had some discussions with my colleagues and other people on Reddit and TinkerTry and I came to the conclusion that if you are aimed to run home lab for virtualization Intel NUC shouldn’t be considered. I believe SuperMicro is a new king on the market of mini servers for home lab.

SYS-E200-8D
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The world’s first 1,000 core CPU has been built
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on July 8, 2016
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4/5 (1)

The Kilocore chip represents a step change in CPU power and efficiency.

The significant increase in computing power over the past decades gave way to the most of todays advances in science and technology, such as artificial intelligence, secure global communications, or large-scale pharmaceutical analyses.

kilocore processor

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NUMA and Cluster-on-die
Posted by Askar Kopbayev on May 27, 2016
4.67/5 (3)

What is NUMA?

NUMA stands for Non Unified Memory Access and Nehalem was the first generation of Intel CPUs where NUMA was presented. However, the first commercial implementation of NUMA goes back to 1985, developed in Honeywell Information Systems Italy XPS-100 by Dan Gielan.

Unified Memory Access topology

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Google, Rackspace to together unfurl DIY Power9 server designs
Posted by Oksana Zybinskaya on April 12, 2016
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4/5 (3)

Google and Rackspace cooperate over creating a new server configuration based on IBM Power9 processors. The design is expected to be shared as part of the Open Compute Project. The hardware set will include 48V Open Compute racks by Google and Facebook collaborative development.IBM Power9

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