X-IO Technologies Axellio At SFD13

This is part of a series of post from my time at Storage Field Day 13.  You can find all the related content about it here.

Background

X-IO has been around for a while.  It has recently been going through some troubling times along with the storage industry as a whole.  They had gone dark and I have not seen much about them since then.  Like the Phoenix rising they are now they are ready to show off their new product at Storage Field Day 13.

They were founded in 2002 as the Seagate Advanced Storage Group with the goal to build a scalable storage array with zero trade-offs.  The team included engineers from Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett-Packard and Storage Works.  This eventually led to in 2006 the X-IO Intelligent Storage Element (ISE). Then in 2007 they were purchased by Xiotech based out of Minneapolis.  In 2008 the ISE-1 product was introduced.  Then in 2012 they moved to Colorado Springs which is where they had the SFD presentation.  Some of the current products include iglu and ISE series.

X-IO-Axellio-Logo-BBD-Large-X-Green-IO-300x105

Axellio is not for your general Data Center workloads.  It is being built to solve specific problems.  Problems that I did not know even existed.   One of the use case examples was for the oil industry.  Currently a survey ship will travel across the ocean surveying the ocean floor.  This creates petabytes of data that gets stored on the ship.  Not all of the data is able to be processed locally.  This data will then be migrated to a data center somewhere else to be processed.  This is just one use case that Axellio can help solve.

The platform itself I would call a form a converged system.  Normally a converged system includes the storage, compute, and software.  Axellio includes the compute and storage, but not the software.  It would be up to the customer or partner to implement their own software stack to run on the hardware.  Maybe sometime in the future they will also include the software.

Hardware

The Axellio hardware is a 2U appliance which incorporates 2 servers or nodes.  Each node has 2 Intel Xeon e5-26xx CPU’s and 1 TB RAM or NVRAM.  This gives us in one appliance 4 CPU’s and 2TB RAM or NVRAM.  With the current CPU’s that gives us up to 88 cores and 176 threads.  Each appliance can hold up to 72 drives of Dual Port NVMe 2.5″ SSD drives which gives us up to 460TB of storage.  This is achieved using 6 trays with 12 drives each.  Offload modules can also be added.  Such as Intel Phi for CPU extension for parallel compute or Nvidia K2 GPU for VDI.  The appliances can all be attached to Ethernet switches ranging from 4x 10GB, 4x 40GB and up to 4x 100GB.

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Architecture (What Really Matters)

FabricExpress is a PCIe interconnect that allows the two nodes to connect directly two the 72 NVMe drives.  By using NVMe drives they are able to connect to the CPU directly over the PCIe lanes.  This creates super fast local storage for the nodes to connect to.  Normally in a converged system there would be an external switch that storage traffic would have to go across which always adds latency.

Axellio Performance

When it comes to performance Axellio does not disappoint.  12 millions IOPS  with 35 microsecond latency at 60 GB’s sustained bandwidth at 4KB writes.  That’s a lot of power in a little box.  Below is an image of some more test that was only utilizing 48 drives.

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Brandon’s Take

One of the most exciting parts of the even was that I was able to go in the back and see where they were building this product.  I could see all kinds of machinery that I had no idea how to use or what it was used for.  You can open up a product once its shipped to you, but its an entirely different thing to see its different stages of being built.  Really makes you appreciate what all goes into creating these products.

Axellio is being built to solve a problem that I did not know much about before the event.  The problems it can solve can be very lucrative for X-IO and for the business that use it.  They are one of the few companies that are doing something different when all the storage products are starting to look the same.

Fellow Delegate Posts

SFD13 PRIMER – X-IO AXELLIO EDGE COMPUTING PLATFORM  by Max Mortillaro

Axellio, next gen, IO intensive server for RT analytics by X-IO Technologies by Ray Lucchesi

Full Disclosure

X-IO provided us the ability to attend the session.  This included a shirt, USB drive and some Thai food.

 

 

 

Weathervane, a benchmarking tool for…

Weathervane, a benchmarking tool for virtualized infrastructure and clouds – now open source!

Weathervane, a benchmarking tool for…

Weathervane is a performance benchmarking tool developed at VMware. It lets you assess the performance of your virtualized or cloud environment by driving a load against a realistic application and capturing relevant performance metrics. You might use it to compare the performance characteristics of two different environments, or to understand the performance impact of some change in an existing environment.


VMware Social Media Advocacy

ECC Errors On Nutanix

When logging into a Nutanix cluster I see that I have 2 critical alerts.

1

With a quick search I found KB KB 3357 I SSH into one of the CVM’s running on my cluster, and ran the following command as one line.

ncc health_checks hardware_checks ipmi_checks ipmi_sel_correctable_ecc_errors_check

Looking over the output I quickly found this line.

3

I forwared all the information to support, and will replace the faulty memory module when it arrives.  Luckly so far I have not seen and issues from this memory issue, and I really liked how quick and easy it was to resolve this issue using Nutanix.

vCenter Fails after Time Zone Change

We recently changed our NTP server, and I needed to update all or hosts and vCenters.  I have a handy powershell script to update the ESXi hosts, but that script does not work on the vCenter servers.  I log into the server using port 5480 to gain access to the vCenter Management. I login as root and notice that the time zone is UTC.  I am in the Central time zone so I wanted to change it from UTC.  Turns out if you do that it break everything.  I had to learn this the hard way, and once I changed the time zone I was not able to log into vCenter.  I had to then go back and change the time zone back to UTC to regain access. Capture.

VMworld 2017 Call for Papers is now open!

Inspire the VMware community, VMworld 2017 Call for Papers is now open!

VMworld 2017 Call for Papers is now open!

We’re looking for speakers who will inspire the VMware community. Have you integrated VMware solutions and technologies in an innovative way? Do you have a best practice or individual technical tips and tricks to recommend? Can you tell us about an amazing app that leverages VMware solutions to improve your business? If so, please join us at VMworld 2017.


VMware Social Media Advocacy

After SQL Installation Drives Inaccessible

Recently I setup a VM using standard best practices.  Such as using PVSCSI for the Database drives, and formatting them GPT.  Everything checked out so I passed it on to the DBA to finish up with the SQL installation.  Soon later I received an email from him saying the drives were inaccessible.  I had no idea why because I had setup a lot of VM’s the same way without any issues.  I did a quick Google search for “drive inaccessible after SQL installation”.  It turns out a lot of people have the same issue as me.  It is the result of Microsoft locking down the security for the data on the drives.  They set it up so only SQL could have access to the files to prevent certain security issues.  You can read more about it here.

Nutanix .NEXT

I was honored this year to be chosen to be a part of the Nutanix Technology Champions.  I have only recently started using Nutanix, but I could clearly see what made it different.  In an age with the Public Clould all the rage.  I could see something like Nutanix really keeping the private data center alive.  The Public Cloud is so popular because it is such an easy way to consume resources as you need them.  I see what Nutanix is doing how it is really converging everything.  Not only are storage and compute converged, but so are the underlying software.  One software package to rule them all instead of a seperate piece of software for every feature you need.

That is why I am so excited about being a part of the NTC, and the free pass I received to go to the Nutanix .NEXT conference.  Conferences can be really expensive, and I would like to thank Nutanix for investing in its community and showing its appreciation.  I know at it I will meet a lot of new people and learn a lot of new things.  Conferences are really about networking with your peers, and sharing knowledge.  For that reason I see them as valuable as any training.  Hopefully I will meet everyone who reads this post, and if you have not registered yet you can at .NEXT

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