SCI’s latest Microsoft ESRP performance report as of April 2018

In ESRP, ESRP v4/Exchange 2013, Lenovo, PowerEdge R740xd, PowerVault MD1400, ThinkAgile HX7520 by AdministratorLeave a Comment

This Storage Intelligence (StorInt™) briefing covers Microsoft Exchange 2010 and Exchange 2013/2016 Solution Review Program (ESRP) results . There have been no new 1000 and under or 1001 to 5000 mailbox ESRP submissions. However, there have been two new over 5000 mailbox submissions a new Dell PowerEdge R740xd-MD1400 10K mailbox and a new Lenovo ThinkAgile HX7520 with [Nutanix] AVH 60K mailbox submission. Below we present some of our new top ten charts for the over 5000 mailbox category.

Latest ESRP V3.0 & 4.0 (E2010&E2013) performance

In Figure 1 we show an SCI computed ESRP metric, the top ten normalized (per 1K mailbox) database transfers per second for over 5000 mailbox submissions.

Figure 1 ESRP top ten normalized database transfers per second for over 5000 mailboxes
In Figure 1, the new Dell PowerEdge R740xd with MD1400 system come in at #7 with a total of 946 normalized database transfers per second. As you may recall the MD1400 is SAS direct attached storage and this submission used an all 8TB, 7.2KRPM disk configuration with 98 drives. There were 7 active servers running Exchange in the configuration.

Unclear why the older #3, Dell PowerEdge R730xd with MD1400 did ~180 database transfers/second better than the R740xd. In checking the configurations besides the upgrade server-HBA hardware-firmware, they both had exactly the same cluster and storage configurations. One major difference was the Windows version running on the two systems, the newer R740xd was running Windows Server 2016 Data Center X64 edition while the older R730xd was running Windows Server 2012 R2 Data Center X64 edition. Something tells me the later version of Windows is hurting IO performance by ~16%??

We use the normalized database transfers metric as a way to equalize some of the larger mailbox submissions with the fewer mailbox submissions. To compute this, we divide the actual database transfers per second by number of mailboxes in the submission and then multiply by 1000. This gets us something that we can use to better compare submissions that vary in mailbox quantity. You can see from the above that the mailbox configurations ran from 5.8K to 40K mailboxes in the above top ten. The (un-normalized) database transfers per second top ten chart has submissions ranging from 20K to 140K mailboxes.

Next, we report on another SCI computed metric, the top ten total database backup for the over 5000 mailbox category shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 ESRP top ten total database backup for over 5000 mailboxes

In Figure 2, we can see both the new Dell PowerEdge R740xd with MD1400 and the Lenovo HX7520 with AHV coming in at #3 and #9 respectively. The Lenovo AHV submission ran Nutanix AHV VMs as mailbox servers and the client access server VMs running in the same physical server. It also used Nutanix software defined storage as the backing store for the Exchange mailboxes. There were 4 nodes in the cluster using 1.92TB SATA SSD(s) for both the caching and capacity tiers, 24 per node or 96 for the cluster.

SSDs don’t offer much of an advantage for database backups activity, which we believe is sequential read intensive workloads. Only three of the above top ten, the Lenovo-AHV, and the two (#5 & #6) of the three IBM XIVs, have any SSDs in their configurations.

We use total database backup as a backup metric rather than the ESRP reported MB read/sec per database and MB read/sec total/server because it shows the total backup throughput across all servers/all databases. We believe this is a better storage system performance metric than either of the reported ESRP metrics.
Sad to say there’s been no submissions in the 1000 and under category in quite some time. Not sure, but our guess is that Microsoft’s enhancements to Exchange has made this less of a battleground for external storage and more of a sweet spot for internal storage.

It would be interesting to dig down into the ESRP performance results of the Dell R740xd and R730xd submissions to find out what happened to degrade performance. Although, we suspect Windows Server versions there may be other confounding factors.

Finally, it’s reassuring to see more ESRP submissions using server virtualization. We believe that many customers run Exchange this way and seeing how they can perform is a useful comparison. The fact that they can perform with the best of the dedicated storage systems probably speaks volumes about how far server virtualization and software defined storage have come.

If you are interested in even more information on block storage performance please examine our SAN Storage Buying Guide available for purchase on our website, which includes ChampionCharts™ for OLTP, Throughput and Email workloads across enterprise, mid-range and SMB storage systems and now includes an all flash array (AFA) ChampionsChart for OLTP. Use the QR code below left for more information on the SAN Storage Buying Guide. We also provide some additional ESRP results analysis in our recently updated, SAN-NAS Buying Guide, also available on our website.

Constructive comments on how to improve our analyses for Microsoft ESRP (Exchange) or any of our performance reports are always welcome. Moreover, if you detect errors in this or any of our other performance reports, please do let us know and we will correct them as soon as possible.

[This performance dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in April of 2018.  If you would like to receive this information via email please consider signing up for our free monthly newsletter (see subscription request, above right) and we will send our current issue along with download instructions for this and other reports. Dispatches are posted to our website at least a quarter or more after they are sent to our subscribers, so if you are interested in current results please consider signing up for our newsletter.]  

[Also we offer more block storage performance information plus our OLTP, Email and Throughput ChampionsCharts™ in our recently updated (May 2019) SAN Storage Buying Guide, or for more information on protocol performance results please see our recently updated (May 2019) SAN-NAS Storage Buying Guide, both of which are available for purchase on our website.]

Silverton Consulting, Inc., is a U.S.-based Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting firm offering products and services to the data storage community

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