High-Performance Software-Defined Storage

Today's data center workloads require high-performance software-defined storage. And to remain competitive in today’s fast-moving and digitally demanding marketplace, businesses need to explore ways to increase data center efficiency. One excellent way to do so is to deploy hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), which can simplify data center complexity, improve scalability, increase reliability and manageability, and optimize resource utilization—all of which helps reduce data center total cost of ownership and increase business agility. Microsoft Azure Stack HCI makes it possible to run virtualized applications on premises as well as connect to Microsoft Azure for cloud services.

Microsoft Azure Stack HCI combines highly virtualized compute, storage and memory, and networking on industry-standard servers and components and is optimized for 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors. This workload-optimized platform is designed to provide enhanced performance and advanced capabilities. Adding Intel® Optane™ technology to Microsoft Azure Stack HCI can help organizations increase data throughput, reduce latency, increase memory capacity, and quickly extract value from large datasets for timely, actionable insights, all while potentially consolidating workloads on a smaller data center footprint.

Intel has created multiple reference architectures to accelerate infrastructure decisions and solve storage efficiency and memory capacity issues. Organizations can look to these modern solutions to help meet today's storage and memory requirements across a wide variety of use cases. Which reference architecture you choose depends on workload needs. Note that for the storage network it is highly recommended to use a network interface card (NIC) that supports remote direct memory access (RDMA) over iWARP.

Option 1: Increase caching speed. Use Intel® Optane™  Solid State Drives (SSDs) as cache, plus SATA-based Intel SSDs for the capacity tier, to speed caching and increase virtual machine (VM) density-leading to server consolidation.

Option 2: Increase available memory. Workloads that need more memory can benefit from Intel® Optane™ persistent memory in Memory Mode, in addition to the Intel® Optane™  SSDs in the cache tier.

Option 3: Increase memory and cache bandwidth. Workloads that not only need additional memory, but also need extremely low latency can combine Intel® Optane™  persistent memory in Memory Mode plus App Direct-Dual Mode, where the cache layer uses a two-tier architecture that allows for much faster cache allocation and frees up drive bays for more capacity. The App Direct Mode persistent memory replaces Intel® Optane™  SSDs in the cache tier. This configuration is ideal for high-bandwidth scenarios.

The guide also provides installation and configuration instructions as well as best practices for building your Azure Stack HCI deployment.