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20/05/2014
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Report written by Christophe Brunet


In the Heart of Dedicated Cloud 2014


OVH launches a new Dedicated Cloud range. Hardware, software, and network have many new features in 2014. Let’s take a close look to the main improvements.





Intel or AMD


OVH only offered AMD-based hosts, but now Intel chips are available to customers of the 2014 range. “At the moment of launching Dedicated Cloud, back in 2010, the price-performance ratio was too high, but the progress made by the manufacturer in the past months has been impressive! So, now we are in two fronts: the 'Enterprise' option, with AMD, which is a direct evolution of Dedicated Cloud 2013, and the new 'Infrastructure', with Intel”, explains François Loiseau, cloud computing System Administrator.
In both cases, the focus is on raw performance. The difference lies in the way these architectures work. On the one hand, customers choosing Intel would benefit from the Hyper-Threading technology, which allows until 30% of additional performance at once. On the other hand, AMD processors have more cores and thus more capacity in terms of VMs. “We can draw an analogy between these architectures and the choice between gasoline or diesel engines, adds François. Customers would choose according to their needs.”



"We can draw an analogy between these architectures and the choice between gasoline or diesel engines. Customers would choose according to their needs."





Innovative network services


At the core of the Enterprise option (AMD), customers will have 2x10 Gbps*. With Infrastructure (Intel), hosts offer 4x10 Gbps. This difference is due to the introduction of the OVH's “vRack 2.0” service, which authorizes the creation of dedicated VLANs. “AMD allows network segmentation through the “Software Defined Networking” (SDN), which means that the VMs are isolated by either a “subnetwork” or a VXLAN. Intel hosts allow customers to directly separate their networks through VLANs (up to 4,000) on different physical network adapters. Customers would then have additional 2x10 Gbps,” explains François.
Besides a gain in performance, the vRack 2.0 service offers two interesting advantages. First, it authorizes link aggregation on physical network adapters: instead of having 2x10 Gbps, customers would have 1x20 Gbps. With the right configuration, it would be possible to create a new flow of up to 20 Gbps between two VMs! Second, it allows “trunking”: for example, in order to create a VM firewall, we only need to “tag” the networks on the card inside the virtual machine, instead of using one network adapter per VXLAN.



OVH envisions implementing “Single Root I/O Virtualization” (SR-IOV) for both options. This technology allows “exposing” the VM’s network adapter and bypassing the virtualization layer, which improves the network's performance.








NFS and iSCSI storage protocols


At the beginning, only the NFS system will be supported, but very soon, OVH will offer iSCSI. This is a block-based technology: performance is slightly higher, but the number of VMs is restricted. Actually, when a machine writes (thought SCSI reservations and VMFS lockings), the rest will have fewer slots available. In this case, customers would also have to decide according to the intended use.
It is important to point out that the iSCSI protocol requires, at least, vSphere 5.1. “Based on this version, we'll be counting on the “All Paths Down” and “Permanent Device Loss” technologies, which allow, in case of problems, to block the exchanges with an iSCSI volume. This avoids fails in the host, which would keep trying to join the storage as the VM would want to write on it”, remarks François.



5.5 vSphere version available


This evolution offers a new version of web client, entirely compatible with Mac OS X (on Chrome and Firefox), as well as a whole range of new features, such as drag and drop onto the inventory, view filters, recent-item navigation, anti-affinity rules among VMs in vSphere HA and DRS, support for VMDK files up to 62 TB (against a previous limit of 2 TB)...
In addition, by the second semester of 2014, OVH will offer “vSphere Replication”, a feature that allows copying virtual machines in real time on another server enabling a more aggressive Recovery Point Objective (RPO).








New storage and network options


• Allocation of public IP will be optional as more and more companies require isolated, dedicated clouds, accessible only through their VPN.
• Regarding networks, customers will have two options to route their addresses: either through routers or through OVH's vRack. The latter enables IP distribution between a Dedicated Cloud, dedicated servers, a VPS, etc.
• Finally, for those who feel bold enough, OVH offers a beta version of EMC storage, which set up in “mega-performance” mode, enables an improved exchange.

* 2x1 Gbps on the M hosts