NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) technology is developing at rapid-fire pace. It completely revolutionizes the work with data storage allowing to get higher levels of performance, reduced latency, and parallelism of I/O operations in data transferring. But all these strengths are available only for Unix/Linux users. Only in Linux environments, it is possible to unlock true NVMe drive performance and achieve smart hardware utilization efficiency. Windows Server users cannot reap the benefits of NVMe-oF technology to the full extent. To redress this imbalance, StarWind adds NVMe-oF support to StarWind Virtual SAN (VSAN) to unleash the NVMe drive performance in a Windows Server environment so that SMBs, ROBOs & Edge could get the required number of IOPS for applications with minimum hardware footprint.
Even though the world is going crazy about NVMe, it is still challenging to present PCIe SSDs to the entire Hyper-V cluster effectively. Their latency shoots up, and applications are likely to access only half of flash performance when such disks are presented over the network. The problem is that Hyper-V VMs cannot talk effectively to PCIe SSDs. It is impossible to enjoy the NVMe drives’ performance if they are presented over iSCSI and FC. These protocols were designed to connect cold storage media disks, not flash! They have single short command queue and entail significant I/O overhead once being used to connect to NVMe drives.
Using traditional protocols in a Windows Server environment, you should buy more NVMe drives to get the desired number of I/O. Getting more hardware and wasting more money, the result is going to be the same – a lack of hardware utilization efficiency. This solution is completely budget-busting for SMBs, ROBOs, & Edge. On top of all of that, the single-queue iSCSI model creates additional load on the server CPU. The speed of your applications cannot peak since server processor cycles are burdened with iSCSI and TCP/IP Stack processing.
All that being said, it seems obvious why your IOPS-hungry applications do not get the expected performance while talking to storage over the traditional protocols. Because of the protocols, adding flash to your setup usually grants you like 20% more IOPS than spindle drives can provide. But, obviously, it is nothing compared to the true PCIe SSD performance! NVMe drives need a whole other tech to be presented over network.
StarWind NVMe-oF is the protocol that enables to achieve the peak NVMe performance in Windows Server environments. The single short command queue is replaced with 64 thousand queues, 64 thousand commands each. Such design enables NVMe devices connected over NVMe-oF to achieve consistent microsecond-scale latency and extract all the performance that flash can potentially provide without any I/O bottleneck.
With StarWind NVMe-oF, there is no need to buy additional NVMe drives to get such a desired number of I/O. Do more with less hardware and for less money. A high level of parallelism in multicore processors reduces latency significantly, which allows unleashing the full potential of your existing NVMe drives.
StarWind fixes the problem of server CPU overload. RDMA technology used in NVMe-oF provides data exchange in the main memory without CPU, cache, and OS involvement. Thanks to that, the efficiency of the data transmission speed between computers on the network only increases. It is a silver bullet for SMBs, ROBOs, and Edge because you save money at each location and take all the benefits for your applications.
When it comes to storage performance, NVMe drives are the true king of the hill. However, it is still challenging to get all PCIe SSD IOPS as traditional SCSI-derived protocols do not work that well for flash. With StarWind’s implementation of NVMe-oF, you can get all the performance that PCIe SSDs can provide. StarWind added NVMe-oF support to StarWind Virtual SAN so that, from now on, applications running on Hyper-V VMs can operate at full throttle on flash storage.
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