Enterprise Executive 2017: Issue 2 : Page 38

An organization could also strategically plan to introduce Gen 6 FICON Directors into their existing fabrics when new devices are added to their fabrics, whether due to new requirements or just ongoing growth. Two such cases are discussed below. The first example is flash-based storage requirements. Flash technology is driving incredible advances in storage, dramatically reducing the historical Input/Output (I/O) performance gap between the server side (with multicore processors and faster memory) and the storage side (with drastically reduced access times). Flash-based storage addresses both I/O and throughput bottlenecks, enabling faster block-and file-based storage performance for high-density virtualized workloads and traditional mission-critical applications. When required to introduce or add more flash to existing fabric, new flash-based storage arrays (all-flash arrays or flash-optimized storage arrays) can be paired with a Gen 6 FICON Director and added to existing Gen 5 Fabrics. Although flash works with the Gen 5 FICON Directors available today, several benchmarks have demonstrated that a faster storage network can improve overall performance of flash-based storage. A few such studies have highlighted that Gen 6 provides the powerful combination that can be used today to accelerate applications, even with existing 8 Gbps and 16 Gbps storage arrays improving both database query times and latency by 50 percent. If large capital investments have already been made in flash-based storage, the storage network must be able to support the needed bandwidth and latency. Gen 6 is engineered to extract the best performance out of flash and thus offers the best Return on Investment (ROI) for an organization. Improved VM Support As a second example, highly virtualized infrastructures such as large Linux on z Systems and/or LinuxONE implementations need high-performance storage networks. Evolving critical workloads and Tier 1 applications are 38 | E nt e rp r i s e E xe c u t i ve | 2017: Issue 2 being hosted on Virtual Machines (VMs). In addition to the increased use of server virtualization, VM densities (the number of VMs hosted on each physical server) are steadily increasing to 20, 40 or more VMs per physical server. The IBM z13 has up to 141 cores using the world’s fastest commercial processor, running at 5.0 GHz, to enable high performance coupled with massive scaling. The z13 and the IBM LinuxONE Emperor systems take scalability for VMs to a completely new level and can support up to 8,000 virtual servers. When connected to flash storage via FCP channels and Gen 6 SAN hardware, such as Brocade X6 Directors, the z13 and the LinuxONE Emperor support Node Port ID Virtualization (NPIV). This support of NPIV has increased significantly with z13 and LinuxONE Emperor, doubling to support 64 virtual images per FCP channel from the prior support of 32 virtual images per FCP channel. The Brocade Gen 6 X6 FICON Directors support up to 9000 NPIV devices per platform. The I/O subsystem of these IBM servers is built on Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) Gen 3 technology, which can have up to 40 PCIe Gen 3 fanouts and integrated coupling adapters per system at 16 GBps each (yes, 16 GB, not 16 Gbps). The z13 also supports 10 TB of available RAM (3x its predecessor). This massive amount of memory, as well as server and IO virtualization, allows VMs and applications to run at their full, unconstrained potential. Gen 6 Fibre Channel is ideal for these environments and can support the greater virtualization levels at sustained high levels of performance, enabling full utilization of the z13 and LinuxONE Emperor virtualization capabilities. The increased usage, criticality and density of VMs drive the demand for higher performance (bandwidth and I/O), as well as increased reliability and availability from the storage infrastructure. In highly virtualized environments, any congestion, poor I/O performance or failures in the storage network

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