vSan datastore
VMware vSAN-based HCI solution (Source: VMware)

You might want to run vSAN over RDMA to boost the performance of your IT infrastructure. Read this article to get to know about the main advantages of this approach!

Accelerated computing has become one of the hottest topics for enterprises of all industries. Companies strive to enhance the performance of their infrastructures without spending a fortune on it and without making their IT systems too complex. From this article, you’ll find out how businesses can benefit from running vSAN over RDMA. If you have not tried this technology yet, you might consider doing so because it should enable you to boost your performance and get a competitive edge over your rivals.

The Specifics of Hyperconverged Architectures

Large-scale businesses that strive to enhance their computing capabilities typically resort to hybrid clouds today. They use public clouds and at the same time maintain their own clusters that are 100% compatible with solutions by third-party providers. Hybrid clouds are the predominant type of architecture now.

Most businesses would like to accelerate the processes of transferring and processing data. Data centers that employ vSAN can considerably enhance their productivity because their CPUs don’t need to be in charge of data communication anymore.

The IT departments of large companies deploy hyperconverged architectures. This enables them to achieve the following goals:

  • Reach their objectives
  • Offer high-quality services
  • Rationally distribute resources

The same servers are responsible for storing data and computing. They act as data centers that benefit from three software-defined technologies:

To communicate data from server to storage and from one server to another, enterprises can also use high-performance Ethernet.

Software-defined storage solutions within hyperconverged architectures are capable of:

  • Aggregating local, direct-attached storage devices
  • Building a unified storage pool
  • Making the pool accessible to all hosts in the cluster
  • Using accelerated flash storage for cache
  • Extending capacity thanks to affordable HDDs

The demand for such solutions has been growing steadily in the past few years.


vSAN: What Does This Mean and Why Might You Want to Try It?

Now, let’s focus on the term that was mentioned in the title of this article: what is vSAN? The letter “v” in this case stands for “virtual”. It’s an enterprise storage solution for SDS. It was built to function within hyperconverged infrastructures. 

Thanks to vSAN, businesses can achieve the following goals:

  • Be able to operate without external shared storage
  • Simplify storage configuration

Once your IT department has deployed virtual machine storage policies, you’ll be able to fine-tune the capacity and characteristics of your storage solution.

RDMA: What Is It and How Can Businesses Benefit from It? 

The RDMA acronym stands for “remote direct memory access”. Thanks to this cutting-edge advancement, the productivity of your data communication should increase significantly. Chunks of data will be moving between servers and storage very quickly. They won’t burden the server’s CPU or use the operating system.

The CPU will be able to focus on running apps. Latency will be minimized and throughput will improve.

Here are a few examples of solutions that businesses already rely on:

  • Microsoft Azure
  • HPC (in particular, machine learning and deep learning)
  • NVMe-oF and iSER-based storage
  • Oracle’s RAC (Exadata)
  • IBM DB2 pureScale
  • Microsoft SQL solutions
  • Teradata

The last four names from this list can be characterized as mission-critical SQL databases.

RDMA has become the golden standard for transferring data in huge cloud deployments and render farms.

Communications Over TCP vs. RDMA/RoCE

When IT specialists resort to RDMA over Converged Ethernet, this solution is known as RoCE. To provide high-quality RDMA over Ethernet, it relies on powerful Ethernet adapters. Professionals of the industry learned how to use this technology in mainstream data center apps to allow deployments in 2015. Since then, the popularity of this approach has been steadily growing.

vSAN over TCP/IP can be almost 70% less CPU efficient, compared to vSAN over RDMA.

Which vSAN Solution to Choose to Make the Most of This Technology?

Among all the vSAN solutions that are currently available on the market, you might want to opt for the one by StarWind. It’s an enterprise-grade product that costs as little as software for small and medium businesses. It’s ideal for remote offices and branch offices. 

This solution “mirrors” internal hard disks and flash between hypervisor servers, so you won’t need any physical shared storage. Its uptime reaches 99.9999% and it’s fully fault-tolerant even if there are only two nodes.

If you don’t want to have a witness, you won’t need to get one.

You won’t have to invest in costly hardware because StarWind vSAN will pull out close to 100% of the IOPS from your existing raw storage. You’ll be able to combine this product with third-party hypervisors, such as:

  • Microsoft Hyper-V
  • VMware vSphere/ ESXi
  • Linux KVM
  • Xen

vSAN by StarWind can effortlessly scale up, down, or out when and how you need it. You’ll appreciate its flexibility and transparent licensing as well as a carefree user experience.

The solution enables you to rely on a unified StarWind web UI to operate all your HCI clusters. The company’s engineers will help you to migrate your existing workload to their product for free. If you think you might need IT “babysitting”, StarWind staff will be ready to attend to you 24/7/365 if you purchase ProActive Premium Support. Thanks to this type of service, you’ll be able to focus on high-priority tasks without thinking about troubleshooting at all. The StarWind team will timely detect any upcoming issues, take measures to prevent them and send a comprehensive report to you later.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you found this article informative and now you better understand the essence and benefits of running vSAN over RDMA. Thanks to such an approach, the architecture that your business uses won’t need to rely on the CPU to communicate data. That should enhance the overall productivity of the architecture. High speed of work is vital for modern companies that need to handle huge bulks of data. Previously, IT departments would run vSAN over TCP. But in the foreseeable future, many organizations will be likely to switch to RDMA for the sake of better performance.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get The Free Collection of 60+ Big Data & Data Science Cheat Sheets. Stay up-to-date with the latest Big Data news.