Tolly Report Overview

Sponsor:   IBM Corporation     View all reports from this sponsor

Title: IBM® Flex System® Network Architecture: VM Migration and Aggregate Network Performance versus Cisco UCS

Publication date:   21 April 2014
Document number:    214104


The combination of blade servers and virtualization has enabled unprecedented performance and efficiency in the data center. Concurrently, having a rack of dozens of critical, high-use servers has placed unprecedented demands on the networking fabric linking those servers to each other and the data center network infrastructure.

Due to client requests for a better understanding of “east/west” traffic, IBM commissioned Tolly to benchmark the network capacity and VM migration performance of its IBM Flex System. Testing was conducted in a fully-loaded IBM Flex Server chassis running a VMware virtualized environment and compare that with a similar deployment built using the Cisco Systems Unified Computing System (UCS).

Testing demonstrated that the IBM Flex System networking implementation can deliver 2.7X the theoretical maximum network throughput of the Cisco UCS. Tests showed actual backplane throughput for IBM of 438Gbps. This compares with a maximum claimed throughput of 160Gbps for a Cisco UCS system outfitted with its highest capacity 2208XP Fabric Extenders and top-of-rack (TOR) switch.

Similarly, in a test of VMware vMotion - where running virtual servers are migrated between physical hosts - the IBM Flex System completed the migration task up to 2.5X faster than the Cisco UCS when the network backplane for each system was driven with the maximum amount of background traffic that each system could process. This maximum background traffic was 438Gbps for the IBM Flex System and approximately 90Gbps for the Cisco UCS. Throughout all of the tests, the IBM Flex System solution provided consistent, predictable performance.

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Number of pages: 14      Publication price: $0.00

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