Build Secure and High-Density Storage for NAS Solution with Intel® QuickAssist Technology

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Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a purpose-built storage device containing multiple drives that can be used for a variety of file storage and sharing solutions. It connects to a home network or office network and allows users to access files from any device without plugging into the drive and as a scalable solution for a variety of businesses and budgets. And the massive storage is also becoming a formidable challenge facing the NAS infrastructure of where data compression and encryption is a crucial technology to solve problems. However, as a typical computing-intensive workload, data compression requires massive computing resources from the processors. Wanyou Inc., as one of the PRC’s famous cutting-edge NAS solution providers, has worked closely with Intel and integrated hardware-based data compression and encryption solutions like Intel® QuickAssist Technology (QAT), to increase storage density, optimize IO performance system, and accelerate the encryption from lots of persistence data into Wanyou’s U-NAS Operating System (OS) v6.1.2.

Requirements:

  • Support clever approach to persist and manage NAS’ data efficiently with protected mechanism: It brings functionalities of filesystem-level compression with low overhead and qualified performance to support secure shared files and folders requested from NAS SMB market. With compress data with acceleration technology, reduce data compression time and occupied resources of server’s computing. NAS Sharing application also needs encryption for appliances of encrypting or decrypting shared folders for data sharing.
  • Reduce NAS storage cost with sustained IO performance: With requirement of growth data stored into NAS server, Wanyou’s U-NAS OS needs data compression, to improve storage density for costs of data storage and keep IO performance to support NAS backup service on situation like securely real-time disaster recovery and storing/backing up massive amounts of critical data without delay.

Resolutions:

  • Intel® C62x Chipset QuickAssist Technology: Wanyou and Intel jointly tested the hardware-based data compression and encryption solution. Equipped with 1 Intel® Xeon® D-2123IT Processor, 8 units of Samsung SSD 860 EVO 250GB for ZFS’s SW RaidZ1 (approximately the same as RAID5), 4 channels of 64GB DDR4 2,400MHz for a total 256GB memory, and one PCIe*-based Intel® C62x Chipset QuickAssist Technology plug-in card for their Linux kernel v5.10, the benchmark program writes 10G raw data to the SSDs. The companies monitored the data compression ratio, compression, and encryption times, IOPs, processor utilization when running the benchmark program.
  • ZFS Mainstream: Z File System (ZFS) on Linux* (ZOL*) has supported Intel® QuickAssist since v0.7.0. Once the latest ZFS file system is deployed underneath, data written to the disk can be compressed or encrypted by Intel® QuickAssist hardware transparently and decompressed/decrypted by Intel® QuickAssist when the data is read from disk.

Benefits:

  • 1Data compression capacity is significantly improved: With favoring higher compression over speed, IO performance of ZFS system-level compression improves by 16.4 times, from 1346 to 22100 IOPS, from the example of 64K sequential write test and CPU utilization also decreased from 75% to 22%.
  • 1Data storage cost is reduced and securely: By using Intel® QuickAssist C62x for hardware-based data compression and encryption, Wanyou can benefit from ZFS to store more data with the same disk space to reduce storage costs and to provide secure folders with acceptable performance for NAS SW.

Wanyou, a Chinese Company established in 2007, focuses on technology, design, and fabrication to bring the most cost-effective NAS products with passion and provides the most versatile and cost-effective Network Attached Storage (NAS) solutions to NAS markets. Up until now, it has reached top-2 of SMB NAS market share in PRC for enterprises. The demand for storage and security grows for enterprises due to mounting cyberattacks coming in many forms to threaten the security of critical SMB data those years. Wanyou keeps driving more solutions into its U-NAS OS to help their customers for more secure in SMB data from customer’s computing systems and facing formidable challenges from data appliance.

IO Performance of ZFS with Data Compression and Encryption in RAID

To improve storage efficiency in NAS, Wanyou decided to test data compression technology. Data were compressed via ZFS before they were written into the disk so that more data could be stored in the same disk space. Wanyou used a server equipped with one Intel® Xeon® D-2123IT and tested IO access with units of 4K/64K/256K including random or sequential methods on 10 GB data with different numbers of concurrent processes in ZFS file system. The test showed that, on average, for ZFS with compression supported by QAT it took higher throughput of IO performance among data access rate (MB/s) and IOPS throughput, about 8~16 times comparing to CPU-only processing. With ZFS with encryption support via Intel QAT, the performance of IO throughput and IOPS, also keeps work well and stable comparing to processor-only solution.

There is not only IO performance improved in tests. But also reduced data access time, and improved file system performance, that makes the best use of data in the NAS server.

Reduce Processor Occupancy in Data Compression or Encryption

Moreover, since data compression with Level 6 Gzip is a typically computing-intensive workload, the server CPU’s utilization reaches 78% in Wanyou’s ZFS testing environment when compressing by processors only. It will impact system stability due to various NAS services and apps running dynamically. The processor-based data compression solution is not suitable to NAS production environment as it has introduced too much CPU overhead for storage space reduction. With encryption enabled for GCM AES-128 in ZFS, it also causes attention of cost about data to be encrypted by CPU. Therefore, to offload CPU resource for ZFS’ encryption is necessary. Based on investigation and research, Wanyou shifted its attention to hardware-based data compression and encryption technology, and finally, with the help of Intel, completed the data compression test based on the Intel® QuickAssist Adapter C62x series and achieved satisfactory results. Furthermore, Wanyou's future NAS products can also benefit from on-chip Intel QAT within Intel's next-generation Xeon Scalable processor (codenamed Sapphire Rapids), to adopt 400 Gbit/sec symmetric cryptography, or up to 160 Gbit/sec compression plus 160 Gbit/sec decompression simultaneously, double the previous QAT version! Last from perspective of system integration, Intel provided Intel® QuickAssist Adapter C62x series and drivers for the test, which can be used on Intel® architecture-based servers with PCIe* slots. Intel has completed upstream necessary patches for ZFS file system based on Intel QAT hardware compression scheme, where Wanyou can achieve seamless integration by taking full advantage of hardware acceleration without modifying the applications.

1IO Performance of ZFS with QAT Is Improved Significantly

Results are shown the maximum performance improvement with16.4 times in compression (22100 vs. 1346 in IOPS, and 88.2 vs. 1451 MB/sec of disk data transfer rate) during IO testing of multiple processes running at the same time, meeting test expectations. Besides, according to resource monitoring in Wanyou’s U-NAS OS, CPU utilization decreases from 75 to 22%. Through the tests, it could see the ZFS improvements in performance and other benefits brought by hardware-based adapter’s automatic compression of data rather than modification of existing application codes. Obviously, QAT+ZFS technology could be applied to NAS to address following data storage challenges,

  • Increased adoption of all-flash storage that makes SSD consumption key to IT costs by storage compression (via Intel QAT).
  • Digital transformation requiring petabyte storage capacity (compression by ZFS+Intel QAT).
  • Real-time disaster recovery for business up-time and competitiveness via ZFS’ stable io performance (provided by Intel QAT).
  • Storing and backing up massive amounts of critical data without delay (by Intel QAT).
  • Uncompromised data integrity which guarantees the accuracy and reliability of business data (ZFS).

Secure Data with Stable IO Throughput Capacity Promotes NAS Critical Appliances

Furthermore, stable IO performance of ZFS with encryption mechanism (via QAT) helps NAS appliances to bring more secure usages like secure folders of data persistence. It helps data protection and integrity in content management with provide quailed IO throughput capacity of data reading and writing via encryption.

Product and Performance Information

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For more complete information about performance and benchmark results, visit www.intel.com/benchmarks.