QLogic 10000 Series Accelerating Microsoft Exchange Servers with I_O Caching User Manual


White Paper

Accelerating Microsoft Exchange Servers with I/O Caching

QLogic FabricCache Caching Technology Designed for High-Performance Microsoft Exchange Servers

Key Findings

The QLogic® FabricCache™ 10000 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter enhances transaction and latency performance for Microsoft® Exchange Servers by optimizing random read-intensive workloads that are inherent in Exchange and e-mail applications. The QLogic 10000 Series technology is implemented as a PCIe®-based intelligent I/O device that provides integrated Fibre Channel storage network connectivity, flash memory caching, and embedded processing. The 10000 Series technology makes caching I/O data from Exchange entirely transparent to the host.

QLogic’s caching technology in the QLogic 10000 Series Fibre Channel Adapter enhances Microsoft Exchange with:

•• Increased transactional IOPS by up to 400 percent

•• Decreased Exchange I/O read latency by up to 80 percent

•• Overall improved performance in the Exchange environment

White Paper

Executive Summary

Increased demands on the Microsoft Exchange Server make it critical to optimize its I/O performance in the SAN. The QLogic 10000 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter meets that need for high performance. By implementing a unique I/O caching architecture with Fibre Channel connectivity, the 10000 Series Adapter significantly increases the performance of transactional I/O (IOPS) and I/O read latency for large Exchange data volumes. This combined approach of enterprise server I/O with server-based I/O caching using flash memory delivers dramatic and smoothly scalable application performance.

E-mail has grown to be one of the most important communication and collaboration applications for worldwide businesses. According to a report from The Radicati Group1, Microsoft Exchange Server will have

1 The Radicati Group, Inc. study, Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook Market Analysis 2010–2014

a total installed base that is expected to reach 470 million by 2014, with an average annual growth rate of 12 percent. This expanding penetration of Exchange makes it imperative that the user remains unaffected by increased server loads. Exchange IOPS and latency relate directly to the usability of Exchange and user e-mail systems, as well as the number of mailboxes that can be hosted on a server.

To help IT decision-makers make the best, most-informed adapter choice, QLogic has assessed performance benchmarks that show the I/O performance and scalability advantages of the QLogic 10000 Series 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter. This white paper examines the advantages provided by QLogic’s technology in the 10000 Series Adapter, and gives guidance for making informed decisions when considering the value of flash memory to enhance server performance.

Server-Side Storage Acceleration

Storage I/O is the primary performance bottleneck for data-intensive applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server. Processor and memory performance have grown in-step with Moore’s Law—that is, getting faster and smaller—while storage performance has lagged far behind. Over the past two decades, delivering performance from data storage has become the bane of the applications administrators, and recent challenges are poised to severely constrain the capabilities of the infrastructure in the face of increasing virtualization, consolidation, and user loads.

A new class of server-side storage acceleration is the latest innovation in the market addressing this performance disparity. The idea is simple: fast, reliable, solid-state flash memory connected to the server brings faster Exchange data access to the server’s CPU. Flash memory is highly available in the market and promises to perform much faster than any rotational disk under typical small, highly random, I/O enterprise workloads.

The QLogic 10000 Series Adapter from QLogic provides I/O acceleration across the storage area network for Exchange servers. The 10000 Series Adapter is a PCIe-based I/O device that provides the integrated storage network (Fibre Channel) connectivity, I/O caching technology, integrated flash memory, and embedded processing that are required to make management and caching tasks transparent to the host server. The QLogic patent-pending FabricCache solution delivers the application performance acceleration benefits of transparent, server-based cache, without the

limitations of solutions that require separate, server-based storage management software and OS filter drivers.

For optimal Microsoft Exchange performance, maximized transactional I/O speed and minimized I/O latency indicate a peak-performing Exchange and e-mail system. By optimizing these performance values, the platform can absorb additional users, thereby reducing server, management, and overall infrastructure costs. The key benefits identified in this paper are the QLogic 10000 Series Adapter improvements of Exchange Server performance that reduce overall costs.

Exchange Server Benchmark Using Microsoft Jetstress

Microsoft provides the Jetstress 2010 tool for simulating Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 database I/O load and for validating hardware deployments against design targets. In this paper, Jetstress was used to simulate Exchange 2010 against both non-cached and cached I/O data implementations with the QLogic 10000 8Gb Fibre Channel Adapter.

Test Setup

The test setup was configured with an Intel® Xeon® server connected to an HP® Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) storage through the QLogic 10000 Adapter and QLogic 5800V/5802V Fibre Channel Switch. Jetstress runs were executed with cache levels varying in size from zero to 100 percent of the actual Exchange database size.


SN0430934-00 Rev. D 05/13


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