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HPE servers + vSAN + Intel Optane SSDs = the new math for databases

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 05/20/2020
Blog Category: cloud-and-data-centers

Everyone likes a solution that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

That’s the case for using Intel Optane SSDs as an NVMe-based caching layer of storage to speed data-center performance and value.

This new math has been endorsed by server powerhouse Hewlett Packard Enterprise. HPE now promotes the use of Intel Optane SSDs to improve VMware vSAN performance on its ProLiant servers.

This formula is especially potent for write-intensive workloads such as online transaction processing.

The HPE package

HPE likes this combo so much, it’s acting as an Intel OEM. HPE has added its own management software to a hardware solution made up of Intel Optane SSDs and its ProLiant DL380 Gen10 server. (Not incidentally, this server is powered by 2nd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

HPE ProLiant server

HPE ProLiant DL380 server: Xeon-powered

HPE’s ProLiant servers are certified for Intel Optane SSDs, and their vSAN-ready nodes have been certified by VMware. They offer modular drive-bay configuration options. The servers can handle up to 20 NVMe SSDs in a single chassis. And they offer security firmware directly in silicon.

As HPE likes to point out, Intel Optane SSDs can increase throughput by 34% over a NAND flash NVMe SSD. They also can boost input/output operations (IOPS) over the same technology by 35%.

Gains like that can help your customers lower their total cost of ownership (TCO) while boosting their return on investment (ROI).

Telefónica dials it in

This new math has another proponent: Telefónica, one of the world’s largest telecom companies. Based in Madrid, Telefónica serves some 336 million customers in 16 countries.


Telefónica faced 2 big tech challenges. One, the company needed to lower its data-center costs. Two, it needed to improve data-center manageability. But the company also needed to achieve both these goals without compromising the performance of its virtual data center (VDC) service.

To achieve all this, Telefónica opted to move to a hyperconverged infrastructure. It began by implementing VMware’s vSAN. However, in its test platform, the NAND-based SSDs used as cache devices failed to deliver the low latency Telefónica needed.

Telefónica determined that if it went ahead with the test setup, it would need to maintain not 1 but 2 separate architectures: The vSAN setup for less-stringent storage service level agreements (SLAs), plus a traditional storage area network (SAN) for top-tier SLAs. This was not what the company was looking for.

Instead, Telefónica collaborated with Intel, VMware, and HPE to define a new vSAN configuration and test plan. Together, these partners designed a caching layer using Intel Optane SSDs. Now the vSAN implementation could meet the demanding storage SLAs.

Telefónica expects the Intel Optane SSDs in this vSAN configuration will help meet its demanding SLAs, boost operational efficiency, and speed infrastructure provisioning — and all on a single platform.

A solid (state) solution

Do your datacenter customers depend on write-intensive workloads? If so, they probably need a storage solution that can keep pace.

Tell them about using Intel Optane SSD drives a caching layer for VMware vSAN. It’s one situation where the new math definitely adds up.


> Explore the Intel Optane SSD family

> Read Intel’s Telefónica case study: Meeting top-tier SLA requirements with a common infrastructure

> Check out the Principled Technologies report: Get more VMware vSAN Database Performance with Intel Optane SSDs and HPE ProLiant DL380 Servers


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