Storage I/O Control with VMware and Intel® Cloud Builders

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Audience and Purpose
This paper is written to give IT professionals architectural insights with methodical instructions to demonstrate storage I/O control, run end-to-end on VMware* vSphere 5.0 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE)1 on Intel server platforms. This addresses one of the key aspects of I/O control usage model requirements defined by Open Data Center Alliance*. Storage I/O Control solutions and 10GbE networks are critical elements of the cloud architecture. 10GbE provides a cost-effective solution for cloud storage architectures based on commonly used Ethernet technology. Our conclusions can inform the IT professional in how I/O Control can bring agility and reduced costs to their environments.

Executive Summary
This reference architecture discusses storage I/O control technologies as they relate to virtualization on Intel server platforms running VMware* ESXi 5.0. An increasing trend towards virtualizing larger and more powerful servers creates congestion of I/O throughput and challenges with preserving I/O latency in the virtualized environment. More specifically, large number of Virtual Machines (VMs) creates network bottleneck because of the aggregated storage I/O over the shared physical network interface and shared storage. In today’s highly consolidated and dynamic virtualized storage environment, it is desired that administrators can comfortably run all virtual machines and protect from undue negative performance impact due to misbehaving I/O-heavy virtual machines, often known as the “noisy neighbor” problem. More specifically, the service level of critical virtual machines can be protected giving them preferential I/O resource allocation.