We test SharxBase, a hardware-software virtualization platform from the Russian vendor SharxDC

    Today I will talk about the SharxBase hyper-convergent platform. On Habré there was still no review of this complex, and it was decided to end this injustice. Our team was able to test the solution "in battle", the results - below.

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    PS Under the cut a lot of tables, real numbers and other "meat". For those who like to immerse themselves in the essence - welcome!

    About the product


    The SharxBase platform is built on the basis of Intel-made servers and OpenNebula and StorPool open source software. It is delivered in the form of a boxed solution that includes server hardware with pre-installed virtualization and distributed storage software.

    One of four basic typical configurations is available for ordering - Small, Medium, Large, Storage, which differ in the amount of available computing resources (processors, RAM) and disk space. The servers are designed as modules: a typical 2RU chassis, in which up to four servers can be installed, for installation in a standard 19 "server rack. The platform supports both horizontal scaling by increasing the number of nodes and vertical by increasing the amount of RAM in the nodes , installation of additional drives and expansion cards. Currently, installation of network adapters, load control modules, NVMe drives is supported.

    Storage architecture


    For the organization of a distributed fault-tolerant storage flash drives (SSD and / or NVMe) are used. Ethernet is used as data transmission medium. To transfer traffic to the storage system, you need to use dedicated network interfaces - at least two 25 GbE interfaces. Services that provide distributed storage are performed on each server in the cluster and use part of its computational resources. The amount of resources depends on the number and size of installed drives, on average overhead costs amount to 34 GB of RAM per host. Connection to the distributed storage occurs via the iSCSI block access protocol. To ensure fault tolerance, dual or triple data backup is supported. For productive installations, the manufacturer recommends using triple redundancy. At present, only thin provisioning is supported from storage optimization technologies. Deduplication and data compression using distributed storage are not supported. In future versions, erasure coding support is claimed.

    Virtualization


    To start a virtual machine (VM), the KVM hypervisor is used. All basic functionalities for their creation and management are supported:

    • creating a VM from scratch with an indication of the required hardware configuration (processor cores, RAM size, number and size of virtual disks, number of network adapters, etc.);
    • clone VM from existing or template;
    • creating a snapshot (snapshot), deleting a snapshot, rolling back the changes made in the VM since the snapshot was taken;
    • changing the hardware configuration of a previously created VM, including connecting or disconnecting a virtual disk or network adapter for the VM turned on (hotplug / hot unplug);
    • VM migration between virtualization servers;
    • monitoring the state of the VM, including monitoring the load of computational resources and virtual disks (current size, I / O size in MB / s or IOPS);
    • scheduling VM operations on a schedule (on, off, creating a snapshot, etc.);
    • connect and control VMs via VNC or SPICE protocols from the web console.

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    Typical block diagram (4 nodes)

    Platform management is performed from a graphical interface or command line (locally or remotely when connected via SSH), as well as through a public API.

    Among the limitations of the virtualization platform, it is possible to note the absence of mechanisms for automatic balancing of VMs between cluster hosts.

    In addition to supporting server virtualization, SharxBase has the ability to create software-configured data centers and private cloud infrastructures. As an example of such functions include:

    • management of access rights based on user membership in groups and access control lists (ACLs): rights can be assigned to different user groups restricting access to components of the virtual infrastructure;
    • accounting of consumption of resources (accounting): processors, RAM, disk resources;
    • assessment of the cost of consumption of computing resources (showback) in arbitrary units based on the consumed resources and their prices;
    • basic IPAM (IP Address Management): automatic assignment of IP addresses for VM network interfaces from a predetermined range;
    • Basic SDN features: creating a virtual router to transfer traffic between virtual networks.

    Using the developed information security module, SharxBase implemented additional measures to ensure the information security system of the platform management system: customizable password requirements for user accounts (complexity, length, duration of use, repeatability, etc.), blocking users, managing current access sessions to the management console, registering events, etc. The software is entered in the Register of the Russian software (number 4445). A positive conclusion of the testing laboratory on successfully completed certification tests of SharxBase software in the FSTEC RF certification system on level 4 of the NDV absence monitoring, as well as on compliance with specifications (protection requirements of virtualization environments) up to class 1 GIS / level IPPDn inclusive was obtained.

    A detailed description of the functionality is given in the table below.

    Monitoring


    Monitoring SharxBase provides access to extended information about the platform status, setting up alerts and analyzing the platform status.
    The monitoring subsystem is a distributed system installed on each of the cluster nodes and providing data on the state of the platform to the virtualization management system.

    The real-time monitoring subsystem collects information about platform resources, such as:

    Server nodesPower suppliesSwitchesVirtual machinesDistributed Data Warehouse
    - Serial number of the unit
    - Serial number of the node and motherboard
    - Temperature of the unit and node
    - Model and load of the CPU
    - Slot numbers, frequency, size and availability of RAM
    - Node and storage address
    - Speed ​​of rotation of the cooling fans
    - Status of the network adapter
    - Serial number of the network adapter
    - The status of the disk and its system information
    - Power supply serial number
    - Power supply status and load
    - Switch model
    - Switch and port status -
    Cooling fan speed
    - Cooling fan status
    - Display VLAN list
    - CPU load
    - RAM load
    - Network load
    - Virtual machine status
    - Disk write / read
    speed - Incoming / outgoing connection speed
    - Display of free / used space
    - Status of disks
    - Occupied disk space
    - Disk errors

    Subtotals


    The advantages of the solution include:

    • the possibility of delivery in organizations that are in the sanction lists;
    • the solution is based on the OpenNebula project, which has been actively developing for a long time;
    • support of all necessary functions in terms of server virtualization, sufficient for small and medium installations (up to 128 hosts);
    • availability of an information security module that ensures the implementation of regulatory requirements in the field of information security.

    The disadvantages of the solution include:

    • less functionality compared to other HCI solutions on the market (for example, Dell VxRail, Nutanix);
    • limited support from backup systems (Veritas NetBackup support is currently announced);
    • Some administration tasks are performed from the console and are not accessible via the web.

    Functionality


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    When expanding the portfolio of hyperconvergent solutions, we conducted tests on performance and fault tolerance together with the vendor.

    Performance testing


    The test bench consisted of a 4-node cluster of Intel HNS2600TP servers. The configuration of all servers was identical. The servers had the following hardware characteristics:

    • server model - Intel HNS2600TP;
    • two Intel Xeon E5-2650 v4 processors (12 cores with a clock frequency of 2.2 GHz and Hyper Threading support);
    • 256 GB of RAM (224 GB of memory is available to start the VM);
    • network adapter with 2 QSFP + ports with 40 Gb / s data transfer rate;
    • one RAID controller LSI SAS3008;
    • 6 SATA SSD Intel DC S3700 drives of 800 GB each;
    • two power supplies rated at 1600 watts each.
    • SharxBase v1.5 virtualization software is installed on the servers.

    All servers are connected to the Mellanox network switch. Connection diagram is shown in the figure.

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    Connection diagram of servers on the test bench

    All the functionality described earlier was confirmed as a result of the functional tests conducted.

    Testing the disk subsystem was carried out using the Vdbench software version 5.04.06. On each physical server, one VM was created with Linux OS with 8 vCPU, 16 GB of RAM. For testing, 8 virtual disks with a capacity of 100 GB each were created on each VM.

    During the tests, the following types of loads were checked:

    • (Backup) 0% Random, 100% Read, 64 KB block size, 1 Outstanding IO;
    • (Restore) 0% Random, 100% Write, 64 KB block size, 1 Outstanding IO;
    • (Typical) 100% Random, 70% Read, 4 KB block size, 4 Outstanding IO;
    • (VDI) 100% Random, 20% Read, 4 KB block size, 8 Outstanding IO;
    • (OLTP) 100% Random, 70% Read, 8 KB block size, 4 Outstanding IO.

    The results of testing these types are presented in the table: The

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    storage provides particularly high performance indicators on successive read and write operations of 8295.71 MB and 2966.16 MB, respectively. Storage performance under typical load (random I / O in 4K blocks with 70% read) reaches 1,33977.94 IOPS with an average I / O delay of 1.91 ms, and decreases with increasing ratio of write operations to read operations.

    Failover Testing


    These tests allowed to make sure that the failure of one of the components of the system does not stop the entire system.
    TestTest detailsComments
    Disk Failure in Storage Pool14:00 - the system is operating normally;
    14:11 - disable the first SSD in Server 1;
    14:12 - SSD failure is displayed in the platform management console;
    14:21 - disable the first SSD in Server 2;
    14:35 - in the platform control console, the failure of two SSDs is displayed;
    14:38 - Return of disks to servers 1 and 2. LED indicators on the SSD are not displayed;
    14:40 - an engineer through the CLI completed the addition of SSD to the storage;
    14:50 - in the platform control console are displayed as working;
    15:00 - synchronization of VM disk components is completed;
    The system worked out failure regularly. The fault tolerance indicator is as stated.
    Network failure15:02 - the system is operating normally;
    15:17 - Disable one of the two ports of Server 1;
    15:17 - loss of one Echo request to the IP address of the web console (isolated server served as a leader), VM running on the server is available on the network;
    15:18 - disabling the second port on Server 1, the VM and the server management console are now unavailable;
    15:20 - VM restarted on the Server 3 node;
    15:26 - Server 1 network interfaces are connected, the server is back in the cluster;
    15:35 - Synchronization of the components of VM disks is completed;
    The system worked out failure regularly.
    Failure of one physical server15:35 – система работает в штатном режиме;
    15:36 – выключение Server 3 через команду poweroff в IPMI нтерфейсе;
    15:38 – тестовая ВМ перезагрузилась на Server 1;
    15:40 – включение Server 3;
    15:43 – работа сервера восстановлена;
    15:47 – синхронизация завершена.
    Система отработала отказ штатно.

    Итоги тестирования


    The SharxBase platform provides high availability and fault tolerance when one of the main hardware components fails. Due to the triple redundancy for the disk subsystem, the platform ensures the availability and safety of data in case of double failure.

    The disadvantages of the platform include high requirements for disk space, caused by the need to store and synchronize three full copies of data, and the lack of mechanisms for more efficient utilization of disk space, such as deduplication, compression, or erasure coding.

    Based on the results of all tests performed, it can be concluded that the SharxBase hyperconvergent platform is capable of providing high levels of availability and performance for various types of loads, including OLTP systems, VDI, and infrastructure services.

    Ilya Kuikin,
    Lead Engineer-Designer of Computer Systems,
    Jet Infosystems

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