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Composable Infrastructure for Virtualized HCI Environments

Written by Aaron Melin, Sr. Director, Engineering, Liqid

Hypervisor-agnostic, Composable Solutions Deliver Adaptive, Software-defined Hardware Optimization and Increased Disk Group Capacity for VMware's VSAN and More 

As artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI+ML) become status quo for both data center automation and higher order applications, the hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) architectures are headed for a breaking point. Unable to scale to meet the uneven demands of these highly virtualized compute environments, additional, tightly bundled hardware must be deployed and virtualized. But with limited ability to disaggregate data center resources, these increasingly sprawling HCI systems can quickly become uneven, with some hardware sitting idle while other devices are taxed to their limits.

Further compounding the matter, as AI+ML solutions are utilized to study and optimize virtualized data centers, the ability to share GPU, FPGA and other accelerator technologies necessary for these data-intensive applications is physically limited by hardware configuration. Without the ability to pool these high-value resources through software and adapt for changes in unpredictable, data-centric workloads, the benefits of virtualization can be significantly diminished.

CDI for HCI

CDI-Improving-Value 

To address the challenges associated with the evolving virtualized data center, software-defined, composable, disaggregated infrastructure (CDI) solutions and services automate, orchestrate, and compose resources at the bare-metal level. IT users can significantly increase data agility, capacity, and bandwidth in virtualized, HCI environments for which lightning fast, adaptive data manipulation is a necessity. Pools of disaggregated GPU, FPGAs, CPUs, NVMe SSD, and storage class memory extension technologies are leveraged to create balanced systems that can adapt on demand or through automation to surges in data activity.

Hypervisor-agnostic composable infrastructure is optimized for VMware's VSAN and other leading providers. The ability to create multiple servers on demand with composable software reduces the number of licenses required for virtualization deployments. Once a task is completed, those resources can be repurposed either on demand, or through policy or AI+ML-driven automation.

IT users can also deploy composable Intel Optane technology, users can create multiple virtual caching drives on a single, high capacity add-in-card (AIC) for ultra-high data performance, enabling the ability to scale to more disk groups per server. Liqid composable software also ensures complete fault tolerance, instantly transferring data from failed compute nodes to other available disaggregated hardware. 

Multi-fabric and Multifaceted

The marketplace's leading composable infrastructure solutions are multi-fabric, and can be deployed up and down the hardware stack via PCIe to achieve maximum performance, or across Ethernet and Infiniband fabrics to pool and share resources across distance. 

The ability to share across multiple fabrics also means that NVMe-over-Fabric and even GPU-over-Fabric operations can be performed with maximum speed and efficiency for virtualized clusters. Disaggregated resources can be pooled and shared regardless of where they physically reside, delivering another way to share once-static resources through software, and reducing the need to make additional hardware purchases to achieve the same results. 

Split-Time-scenario 

For virtual desktop infrastructure deployments, the move to composable infrastructure provides agility for hardware that, again, can see extremely different demands depending on the time of day. IT users can push GPU resources toward VDI applications in the morning to deal with the dreaded 9:00 AM ‘boot storm,' then redeploy those resources in tandem with different devices for analytics, AI+ML, and other high-value data tasks. Resources no longer need to be reserved in a silo to manage remote workers for 30 minutes in the morning.

Composable infrastructure expands the promise of composability, allowing IT users to create and maintain a more efficient data center infrastructure to meet the crushing and inconsistent data performance requirements of today's highly virtualized compute environments, as well as prepare for emerging, high value applications.

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About the Author

Aaron Melin, Sr. Director, Engineering, Liqid

Aaron Melin

Aaron Melin is an experienced director of software development with a demonstrated history of success in engineering for composable infrastructure solutions, data accelerators, networking & intelligent fabrics, high performance computing, and overall data center architectures. Before joining Liqid, he held engineering leadership positions at companies such as Pivot3, Dot Hill Systems, Brocade Communications Systems, and other top IT providers. Aaron earned his bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Northeastern University, and he lives in the greater Denver area with his family, where they enjoy spending time outdoors and fostering German Shepherds.

Published Tuesday, June 16, 2020 7:40 AM by David Marshall
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