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Author Archives: Cameron Sturdevant

Cameron Sturdevant

About Cameron Sturdevant

For 15 years (1997-2012) I worked as a technical analyst at eWEEK Labs where I wrote hundreds of enterprise IT product reviews using hands-on product testing. Now I work at VMware in the cloud infrastructure product marketing team. When I'm not working in the virtual world you can usually find me hiking the SF Bay Area's parks or at a museum.

VMware vSphere delivers greater out-of-the-box VM density than Red Hat Virtualization

vSphere supported 160% as many VMs with out-of-the-box settings.

A third-party study shows that VMware® vSphere® 6.5 supports more virtual machines with out-of-the-box settings than Red Hat Virtualization 4.1.

Higher density, lower CapEx

The higher the VM density, the lower the per VM capital costs. This is a key advantage VMware vSphere provides to customers. Using advanced memory management VMware vSphere easily assigned more virtual memory to VMs than the total physical memory available. Red Hat Virtualization had trouble with this routine operation.   

The study also showed that operators can rely on vSphere memory management to keep critical applications running even when hardware fails unexpectedly. Red Hat KVM struggled to keep VMs powered on and running. VMware vSphere worked without hesitation and without any admin tuning.  

How we tested

Principled Technologies (PT), an independent testing facility, used hands-on testing to investigate virtual machine density. PT compared VMware vSphere 6.5 and Red Hat Virtualization (RHV) 4.1 running Microsoft® SQL Server® 2016 VMs on a Lenovo™ System x3650 M5 rack server. PT first determined how many VMs each hypervisor could power on and run an online transaction processing workload. Then they increased the number of VMs to test the range each virtualization platform could support. PT used default hypervisor memory management settings.  Using these out-of-the-box settings, vSphere was able to power on and run 160% more VMs than it—or RHV—could run without memory over commitment.  

Additional testing showed that during a simulated hardware failure vSphere also kept VMs available without administrator intervention. RHV required an admin to enable Memory Optimization and perform manual tuning to overcommit memory. Even then, RHV could power on and run only 107 times its baseline number of VMs and could not deliver high availability.  

This study offers further confirmation that VMware vSphere continues to be the most reliable, trusted and cost-effective virtualization technology on the market. You can read the entire report here.

VMware Bests Red Hat In OpenStack Performance, Cost Study

While the operating assumption is that the OpenStack framework works best on open source components such as KVM, a just completed study by Principled Technologies and commissioned by VMware showed otherwise. Tests showed remarkably higher performance and substantially reduced costs when using OpenStack with VMware technology including vSphere when compared to OpenStack with Red Hat components.

vmware openstack summary chart

In the study, OpenStack services were used to provision and manage the test configurations. The study equipment was identical except when published recommendations mandated a change. The test results showed:

  • VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) provided 159% more IOPS than Red Hat Storage Server (GlusterFS)
  • A Cassandra NoSQL database installation performed 53% better on vSphere than on Red Hat KVM
  • Over 3 years, the total cost of infrastructure hardware and software was 26% lower on VMware than on Red Hat 

 The study recognized two trends in enterprise computing:

  • The emergence of hyper-converged architectures that can increase performance and lower costs associated with a virtualized infrastructure by having compute, network, and storage coexist closely on physical resources.
  • An interest in the OpenStack API framework as a way to provide efficient self-service provisioning and consumption of these underlying compute/network/storage resources to deploy applications on a large scale.

Cloud Performance

VMware innovations are helping customers get enterprise-class performance when exploring the OpenStack framework as a platform for large-scale application deployment. Among these innovations, the study showed that VMware Virtual SAN played an important role in providing performance advantages. Among the most significant findings related to VMware Virtual SAN, the study noted:

  • The use of direct-attached disks on the compute hosts brought proven benefits of shared storage in the VMware environment, such as High Availability (HA) and vMotion.
  • Tight integration with the vSphere [hypervisor]; scaled easily by adding more hosts to a cluster or more storage to existing hosts. In addition, VMware Virtual SAN can be managed directly through the familiar vCenter Server™ Web client console, alongside everything else in a VMware vSphere environment.
  • Every disk chosen for Virtual SAN storage belongs to a disk group with at least one solid-state drive that serves as a read and write cache. Additional storage or hosts added to the capacity and performance of a VMware Virtual SAN data store without disruption.

For the following tables, please refer to the full study for the complete test methodology and equipment setup.

Figure 1: The amount of YCSB (Yahoo Cloud Serving Benchmark) OPS achieved by the two solutions. Higher numbers are better.

Figure 1: The amount of YCSB (Yahoo Cloud Serving Benchmark) OPS achieved by the two solutions. Higher numbers are better.

Figure 2: The amount of IOPS achieved by the two solutions. Higher numbers are better. The workload was 70/30 R/W mix, random, and 4K block size.

Figure 2: The amount of IOPS achieved by the two solutions. Higher numbers are better. The workload was 70/30 R/W mix, random, and 4K block size.

Cost Comparison

The study showed that running OpenStack on VMware components required less hardware. Using VMware vSphere with Virtual SAN also lowered software costs. In total the study showed the 3 year costs were 26 percent lower. Because each OpenStack deployment and environment is different and support engagements vary widely from installation to installation, the costs of implementing the OpenStack framework were not included for either the VMware or the Red Hat platform.

Figure 3: Projected three-year costs for the two solutions. Lower numbers are better.

Figure 3: Projected three-year costs for the two solutions. Lower numbers are better.


The study concludes:

“In our testing, the VMware vSphere with Virtual SAN solution performed better than the Red Hat Storage solution in both real world and raw performance testing by providing 53 percent more database OPS and 159 percent more IOPS. In addition, the vSphere with Virtual SAN solution can occupy less datacenter space, which can result in lower costs associated with density. A three-year cost projection for the two solutions showed that VMware vSphere with Virtual SAN could save your business up to 26 percent in hardware and software costs when compared to the Red Hat Storage solution we tested.”

As an enterprise customer, you have choices when it comes to implementing an OpenStack framework. Your selections will impact the performance and overall cost of your scale out infrastructure. With this study, VMware has demonstrated significant performance gains and cost savings in an OpenStack environment.

Read the full study here.

Partnership, Choice and the Hybrid Cloud

“There is much rhetoric these days about “cloud wars”.  Beyond the rhetoric, the hype is there for a reason: the value of hybrid cloud environments is becoming real, and the market opportunity even more real.  We are proud to serve our customers as a leading provider of virtualization software and cloud infrastructure.  And we’re equally proud of what our customers are achieving with VMware as a partner.”

You can take a break from the hype cycle by checking out the rest of the blog post by Bogomil Balkansky, Sr. Vice President, Cloud Infrastructure Platform here.