Rose Hulman Institute of Technology – A Journey to Microsoft Storage Spaces Part 3

Jun 09

Rose Hulman Institute of Technology – A Journey to Microsoft Storage Spaces Part 3

In building their next generation storage solution Rose-Hulman leverageed the following core technologies:

  • DataON Storage Cluster-in-Box and JBODs
  • Microsoft Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Microsoft Scale Out file System (SoFS)
  • Microsoft SMB (Server Message Block) Direct 3 with Low Latency Networking
  • Mellanox 10GbE RDMA NICs for clustering and data transport
  • HGST Flash and HDDs for application acceleration

The following diagram shows the Rose-Hulman deployment configuration. DataON storage has years of real world deployment experience and expertise building dedicated solutions for Microsoft’s Storage Spaces. In fact the DataOn Storage solutions is so optimized for these environments that Microsoft uses our CIBs for their own training programs and in some demo centers.
However, we do not build these solutions alone, they are the result of extensive testing, tuning and partnership with our customers like Rose-Hulman and technology partners including Microsoft, Mellanox, HGST, Intel and Broadcom/Avago.

Deployed Solution Topology

HGST Ultrastar® SSDs and HDDs

To drive application performance nothing adds performance like adding flash storage to your environment.  DataON teaches its partners and customers to use a combination of HGST Ultrastar® SSDs and HDDs in their Storage Spaces deployments to improve the performance and responsiveness of their applications.  About 1.5% of Rose-Hulman’s storage utilizes HGST’s enterprise-class SAS SSDs, and they use a simple but effective approach of echoing the same SSD ratio when configuring hot tiers for a new file share. Over time, they expect to fine tune and increase the HGST SSD hot tier allocation based on utilization and performance trends.

Mellanox RDMA NICs

To drive network performance, and lower latency between the server across multiple racks and the storage on Microsoft’s SoFS they have created SMB Direct3 a high performance scale out networking protocol that can run on high speed networking such as 10-25-40-100Gb Ethernet or InfiniBand.  As with every performance advance the bottleneck moves. Rose Hulman has taken a holistic approach that means the applications, network, storage and compute elements can scale in concert.

Performance and the Road Map to Microsoft’s 2016

As Rose-Hulman continues to move their Hyper-V based VM libraries off their outdated iSCSI SAN storage and onto DataON Storage Spaces tuned SOFS clustered appliances utilizing SAS connected JBODs, similar to what they’ve already architected. They are also looking forward to upgrading to Microsoft Windows Server 2016 and working with DataON to take advantage of Storage Replica as well as Stretch Clusters, which is an upgrade to their currently deployed DFS architecture. This will allow for extremely efficient, high performing synchronous replication over long distances. As part of their overall Microsoft strategy, they intend to move into a hybrid cloud scenario with the help of DataON Storage to extend their use of Azure beyond backups. While some systems like Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint will always remain on-premises, they see a lot of value in geographically distributed computing resources for things like Active Directory to make the infrastructure that much more resilient for their community.