Increasing performance, reducing I/O bottlenecks, and lowering IT energy costs in VMware environment
What most IT professionals don’t realize is that changes to applications that result in increased performance and increased throughput also impact energy utilization, which goes down dramatically. Local utilities can then offer handsome energy rebates to customers who demonstrate these IT efficiencies.
I met with High Moon Studios, part of Activision Blizzard, a developer of action-packed games for Xbox 360®, PlayStation®3 and the PC. High Moon has won several awards in categories such as creative excellence, technology innovation, digital art, and best video games.
Developers wanted to add features but not impact build time or delay market introduction. High Moon IT Director, Dan Mulkiewicz was looking to improve performance. The environ¬ment was characterized by highly random and bursty storage accesses. He made the decision to virtualize the build server environment under VMware with shared SATA-based bulk storage. After completion, Dan was able to reduce the physical servers from over 70 to less than 10.
As the number of virtual servers grew, so did the IOPS, stressing the capability of the shared stor¬age arrays creating an I/O bottleneck. So High Moon Studios installed a GridIron Turbocharger SAN application appliance transparently in their Fibre Channel fabric between the servers and storage. The performance boost from the GridIron TurboCharger reduced the software build times, in extreme cases, down by a factor of nine! This reduced the build from 70 minutes to 8 minutes enabling the studio’s IT department to exceed their service level agreements.
The GridIron TurboCharger easily handled the bursty build traffic given its ability to serve over 100,000 IOPS, effec¬tively eliminating I/O contention at the storage array.
Finally, as an added bonus, the IT energy efficiency increased significantly, which resulted in lower utility bills and qualifies for energy rebates from the utility company.
And thus the triple play was created providing the best of all worlds:
1) Increased performance;
2) Elimination of I/O bottlenecks; and
3) Reduction of IT energy costs.