Performance Advantages of vCloud Hybrid Service

Today, Principled Technologies published performance benchmarks that show how vCloud Hybrid Service outperforms competing public clouds. These strong results highlight key architectural decisions that our team made when we designed vCloud Hybrid Service.

Many customers struggle with the topic of performance when transitioning to the cloud, particularly in a hybrid cloud scenario, where IT teams are personally involved in making the hardware decisions and building their private clouds. They are used to having complete control of performance characteristics and making architecture decisions based on an application’s performance needs. With public clouds, customers have to decide if the cloud provider can deliver the same level of performance they are accustomed to seeing internally.

With that in mind, our team set out to design a high-performance experience on a shared cloud platform that rivals the best private clouds in the market. This is only possible with a combination of high performance hardware, sophisticated resource management, and careful management of capacity.

High Performance Hardware

Performance starts with the hardware, so vCloud Hybrid Service is built on the most modern compute, storage, and network technologies. Our cloud leverages multi-core, multi-threaded Intel processors specifically designed for virtualized environments. That means there are fewer wasted CPU cycles and more CPU power is passed on to customers. This hardware selection directly impacts the high SPEC CPU scores seen in this Principled Technologies report.

For storage, we decided to deploy multiple storage arrays within each environment rather than a more centralized approach. This keeps storage physically close to the compute to reduce latency, and it also provides better fault isolation. The storage we chose makes use of SSD caching and automated disk tiering to optimize for frequently accessed blocks, and everything is connected over 10GB and 40GB Ethernet technology with Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP) to handle heavy traffic.

Sophisticated Resource Management

In cloud computing, the physical hardware resources are virtualized and allocated out to multiple tenants. Thus, the underlying hypervisor technology plays an important role in delivering consistently high performance. VMware vCloud Hybrid Service is built on the world’s leading virtualization platform, vSphere, and we leverage its sophisticated resource management capabilities to handle the toughest, most demanding applications.

When implemented correctly on modern hardware, ESXi can achieve near bare metal performance levels. We use CPU and memory reservations and limits in ESXi to provide logically isolated compute and memory resources for customers within a shared environment. This helps avoid a “noisy neighbor” scenario common in other public clouds that lack the hypervisor level controls to prevent tenants from stealing each other’s CPU and memory cycles.

To prioritize and ensure adequate bandwidth is available for virtual machine traffic, vMotion traffic, and storage, we leverage vSphere Network I/O Control (NIOC). NIOC manages the priority amongst these traffic types, with highest priority being given to customer virtual machine traffic. The combination of high-performance storage and NIOC contributes to the high IOPS seen in this Principled Technologies report.

Careful Management of Capacity

Clouds are extremely dynamic environments – activity in a shared cloud environment can change rapidly and unexpectedly. The vCloud Hybrid Service operations team closely monitors cloud consumption trends to ensure that our customers always have the resources they need. By using vSphere as the underlying platform, the operations teams can leverage vMotion and DRS to adjust the distribution of workloads, add servers or memory or disks – all without disruption to the applications themselves – so that customers always get the high performance infrastructure they require.

Summary

Delivering performance on par with a private cloud can be challenging, and I’ve shared a few ways that we are able to accomplish this. These benchmark results speak for themselves, but I encourage you to take a closer look and decide if vCloud Hybrid Service will give you the performance you need. After reviewing the results, you may also be interested in understanding how performance impacts your cloud costs.

Our VP of Cloud Services Mathew Lodge provides more details on the vCloud blog about the business impact of these results.

If you’re interested in learning more about vCloud Hybrid Service, check out the new VMware Cloud Academy.

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