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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Diamanti Talks Overcoming Common Container Deployment Challenges in Storage and Networking

Interview Diamanti 

Diamanti is a startup company helping enterprises more easily deploy containers in production at scale with guaranteed high performance and a smaller physical footprint through higher utilization, thanks to what it calls the industry's first container appliance.

The company, which just closed an $18 million series B funding round, also is announcing the GA of its breakthrough new appliance, the Diamanti D10.  Last year, I wrote about MemSQL dropping VMs for containers using Diamanti and when Diamanti shipped its first beta units in April.  Recently, I caught up with Mark Balch, VP of Products at Diamanti, to dig a little deeper into how their newly-launched appliance can help companies overcome common container deployment challenges in storage and networking.

VMblog:  Where have the traditional storage and networking players failed to support the container revolution?

Mark Balch: Traditional storage and networking vendors have become dependent on hypervisor-centric use cases and have been slow to participate in the open source ecosystem such as Kubernetes and Docker.  Saying you support Kubernetes and Docker is easy simply by running Linux. However, legacy products have a hard time making it easy to operate containers because they did not anticipate the multi-tenant container model of running many apps on a single OS instance.

VMblog:  Diamanti talks a lot about the performance advantages of bare metal containers over hypervisors.  Can you explain these performance advantages?

Balch: The hypervisor uses software overlays to virtualize network and storage resources to each VM. Examples of that are the hypervisor vSwitch for networking and the virtual machine file system VMFS for storage. Not to mention the fact that every VM brings its own operating system and all of the redundant overhead on compute and storage. Containers running bare metal require only one operating system per physical host. They can directly access the bare metal network and storage volumes. And therefore there is no overhead and they can run as fast as the physical resources allow. People who go the container route and attempt to solve the container limitations of container network and storage using software overlays are simply recreating a hypervisor with a different term, and incurring the same or worse overhead. We've seen third-party performance degradation stories higher than 40% overhead for these software overlays.

VMblog:  The "noisy neighbor" problem was one of the challenges of virtual machines.  In storage, it meant a rogue virtual machine (VM) that periodically monopolizes storage I/O resources deprecating performance of other VM "tenants" in the environment.  It worsens as VM density per host increases.  Is there a "noisy neighbor" challenge for containers as well that your appliance addresses?

Balch: It's really about density. Any multi-tenant environment is subject to noisy neighbor problems. Containers however have less overhead and therefore higher density than virtual machines. Containers also have a shorter lifecycle -- they come and go more frequently. So these characteristics exacerbate the noisy neighbor problem for containers. And anything that is high I/O, transaction oriented, lots of data analytics -- all of that contributes to the magnitude of the problem. The new Diamanti D10 removes that problem by how we handle storage I/O.


Again, thanks to Mark Balch, VP of Products at Diamanti, for taking time out to speak with and answer a few questions.

Published Wednesday, February 22, 2017 8:32 AM by David Marshall
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