Windows Server 2019 with Intel Optane DC persistent memory | Microsoft Ignite 2018
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Windows Server 2019 with Intel Optane DC persistent memory | Microsoft Ignite 2018


I’d like to invite Cosmos Darwin on stage to give you a demo of what we’re doing with Server 2019 and storage class memory. Cosmos! Thanks Jeff, good morning everyone! Organizations around the world are looking to hyper-converged infrastructure for their next wave of datacenter modernization. And there’s no better way to go from Hyper-V to hyper-converged infrastructure than with Windows Server 2019, which includes Hyper-V, Storage Spaces Direct, and Software-Defined Networking – everything you need, in one familiar product and license. But more than the affordable price, or the familiar management tools, what customers tell us they really love most is the performance. Two years ago, on this stage, we demoed a single Storage Spaces Direct cluster providing Hyper-V virtual machines with nearly 6.7 million IOPS, or storage operations per second. But that was with Windows Server 2016, and hardware that’s now two years old. So this year, at Ignite, it’s time to see if we can beat that record. The demo you’re about to see is the result of a deep engineering collaboration between Microsoft and our friends at Intel, and it features the very latest in storage innovation: Intel Optane DC persistent memory. Now you can be forgiven you’re not familiar with Optane, it’s pretty new stuff. An Optane module like this one goes into a DDR4 memory slot but the storage it provides, as Jeff said, is persistent, meaning you can power down, power back up again, and everything that you wrote is still there. And unlike regular RAM, Optane comes in sizes up to 512 GB! And it’s fully, natively supported in Windows Server 2019, including with Storage Spaces Direct. The performance you can get out of one of these modules is pretty impressive, but what’s more fun is an entire rack of them. It’s actually a reference configuration that Microsoft and Intel have been working on together: 12 server nodes, each running Windows Server 2019, and packed with future Intel Xeon Scalable processors, persistent memory, and NVMe. Let’s take a look. We’ll start in Windows Admin Center, which includes a purpose-built dashboard especially for hyper-converged infrastructure. Here we see an overview of our cluster. We can see we have our 12 server nodes, our 72 drives, and over 300 Hyper-V virtual machines – now, they’re turned off right now, but we’ll get back to that in just a minute. To round out the tour, we can see we have 14 volumes, which are providing us with nearly 100 TB of usable storage. And as you may have seen from the front photo, this environment’s not even fully packed: we have additional PCI slots and drive bays available for expansion. Here are those 12 servers, from Intel. And we can also take a look at the drives, and Windows Admin Center lets us group them by type so we can see that we have 24 persistent memory devices, that are going to be used for cache. If you look closely, you’ll notice that these show as 768 GB, how is that possible? Well, if we click in, what we see is that Windows is actually striping these at the memory controller level — this is some, like I said, pretty new stuff. We can also see, back on the drives list, our 48 NVMe drives that are being used for capacity. And if you think of flash as small, think again, because these NVMe SSDs are 8 TB each! Back on the dashboard, I’d like to introduce you to two charts: the first shows us IOPS, or storage requests, across the entire cluster, and the second shows us IO latency (how long those requests are taking, on average) as measured at the file system level in Windows. This is not device latency. OK, are you guys ready to see what this system can do? Before we get there, uh one more thing, I’m going to need an extra digit… I don’t want to give anything away, but… alright. Now we saw that we have these 300 Hyper-V virtual machines that are turned off. When we turn them on, each one is going to start running an open source Microsoft tool called DISKSPD to generate storage load. So, shall we start turning them on? Let’s start with just the virtual machines on node 1. We’ll bring those online, and what you’ll see happen, back in Windows Admin Center – and we can timelapse forward here – is that you’ll see the IOPS shoot through the tens and hundreds of thousands to one million! One million 4kB random IOPS serving just the virtual machines on node 1. The system isn’t even breaking a sweat. Let’s turn on some more virtual machines. Let’s turn on the VMs on node 2. Now you’ll see a pattern start to form here: these virtual machines are going to request another million IOPS, and they’re going to get it: two million IOPS from this cluster! All right, I don’t want to drag this out: shall we turn on all the rest of the virtual machines? Let’s turn them on, from nodes 3 through 12, in kind of a sweep. Now, what we’ll see here, is as these virtual machines request more and more and more storage IO, this hyper-converged cluster is able to satisfy it. Through 3, 4, 5 million IOPS, to our previous record of 6 million IOPS. And continuing onward and upward through 7 million, 8 million, 9 million, here’s a big milestone, 10 million IOPS. 11, 12, 13 million IOPS from a single hyper-converged cluster! Folks, this is our new record, and we believe, the industry record for any hyper converged platform. The pace of innovation here– The pace of innovation here is really exciting. In just two years, we can do twice as many IOPS, and last time it took us 16 servers, this time we only needed 12. Thank you Cosmos!

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