How to test hyperconverged infrastructure

The hyperconverged infrastracture are  now a reality increasingly present in datacenters all over the world and so they are usually considered in case of technological upgrade or infrastructure extend or in the adoption of a new typology of workload(like VDI)

But how test this new infrastructures?

Can we utilize the principle tool for testing storage, IOmeter, for test this new type of infrastructures too?

And how eventually verify the performance in totally new environments without long and complex installations?

Few months ago,for job, I did must compare two different hyperconverged infrastructure, facing the precedent problems and after a deep research, basing my esigences I decide to use three different tools

  • SLOB
  • HCI benchmark
  • XRAY

Let’s examine them in more detail:

SLOB – the ideal tool to exam Oracle workload

I start with SLOB, acronym of Silly Little Oracle Benchmark

Here you can find the page of project on github and here insted, the page of the really complete blog of Kenvin Closson.

SLOB is a toolkit for generating I / O workloads for Oracle and includes a method to test hardware platforms to determine the sustainability of deploying high-performance Oracle applications on them, implementing large-scale SQL statements with minimal usage of the host CPU.

This tool is specific for Oracle and you need an Oracle DBA for use it and configure it. But I promise to you that he will like it much and give to him the possibility of testing a lot of aspects of an Oracle database. Despite its focused only on one type of workload, it result really useful considering the great possibility of configuration that permit a deep analysis.

Don’t provide a report tool, so you need to do it with other applications

HCI – Benchmark 

HCI Benchmark is the acronym of Hyper-converged Infrastructure Benchmark. Essentially is an automation casing around the famous and collaudated open source testing tool VDBench, that make more simple automate the tests on an HCI cluster.

HCI it’s a tool created by VMware and you can find it here

The first natural limitation of this tool is that you can only use it with VSAN, even on any hardware. The second is that the final report, although very extensive, does not provide for the generation of reports, but only the possibility to consult the results through the creation of a html document.

The tool is much personalizable, but you can use it in the modality easy-run, with minimal configurations.

Recommended if you already had decided the software solution and want test the hardware configuration

XRAY – the test machine

The most complete tool for testing an hyper converged infrastructure it’s XRAY.

Free and usable with a simple registration at the specific website of Nutanix, this tool, defined by the creators, the “chaos monkey” of the hyperconverged infrastructure, give the possibility to test different software platform(Nutanix,VSAN,HPE simplivity,etc) running different type of hardware on a lot and different scenarios covering the entire life of the infrastructure.

The use of the tool is very simple: once registered to the site, just download and install the VM, depending on the used hypervisor (currently supported AHV, ESXi, HyperV) and then connect via browser to the same.

At this point you need to register the infrastructure you want to test by giving the coordinates of the vCenter or Prism central and then choose the test to be performed. I highly recommend having a network with a DHCP server reachable from the XRAY machine, so you can comfortably perform all the tests. You can now choose from numerous tests covering the entire life span of an infrastructure. Furthermore, it is possible to test various types of workloads, such as OLPT or VDI. Often the tests do not push the VM to the maximum performances but to reach a predefined performance.

In the following figure we can see a list of the tests that can be performed, extracted from the datasheet of XRAY

Very interesting especially the tests concerning the impact of the snapshot and cloning operations and those that simulate the fall of a node or the upgrade of the same. The HCI Workflow test is probably the most complete way to test a hyperconvergent infrastructure. I only point out that some tests provide the shutdown and physical re-ignition of the nodes, and are guaranteed only on Nutanix platform.

Finally, the tool provides the possibility to generate reports in the form of pdf files, which report not only the result of the same, but also a brief description of the test done.

In short, XRAY is definitely the most complete and varied tool, but if your goal is to virtualize or test an Oracle environment, then you must surely also use SLOB!

Leave a Reply