A Brief Introduction to Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)
Today, HCI is mainstream and offers customers a cloud experience in their own datacenter, bringing efficiencies and agility for demanding IT requirements. AMD has been working closely with ecosystem partners, including Nutanix, in delivering fully tested and validated x86 solutions that offer outstanding performance, scalability, security and business value.
Nutanix Acropolis™ software converges compute and storage to provide cloud-like infrastructure designed to run applications at any scale. Nutanix HCI software tightly integrates storage, networking, and compute resources into a powerful software-defined virtualized single-managed pool. The integration of storage, networking, and compute resources into a single infrastructure building block helps avoid manually stitching together separate discrete computing devices. It can also breakdown operational silos associated with a traditional 3-tiered architecture, eliminating the need for compute and storage experts, and providing unified “single pane of glass” management.
Over the years, Nutanix and AMD have developed a close engineering partnership focused on providing customers the best value for their IT investments. AMD and Nutanix engineers across both companies work as one team globally to enable cost effective AMD EPYC™ processor based Nutanix appliances with enhanced performance, security features, and scalability.
AMD and Nutanix formed strong three-way technology partnerships with Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE ProLiant DX appliances integrated with Nutanix software), Dell Technologies (XC Family of XC Series appliances), and Lenovo (ThinkAgile HX Series of integrated Nutanix appliances) to deliver highly powerful, scalable, and flexible solutions for a broad range of workloads. To address the ever-growing customer need for virtualized workloads, additional Nutanix appliances based on the latest AMD EPYC 3rd generation processors are being added to the portfolio.
Together, we continue to collaborate on key solutions areas, such as:
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): Deploy successful VDI that delivers excellent user performance and scalability with leading VDI per server density, which can reduce operational and capital costs.
- Database and Enterprise Applications: Deploy and scale critical workloads, such as Microsoft SQL Server® and Oracle® Database 19c. With performance leading, higher frequency parts, customers can maximize performance per licensing dollar for core based licensed software.
- Cloud: Deliver both efficient, scalable private and hybrid clouds using Nutanix HCI software solutions
- File & Object Storage and Analytics: Data sets and analytics easily scale as the customer’s needs grow, enabling better understanding of their customers and operational trends to run their organization
- Data Protection: Across application and backup VMs and data to the customer’s local systems to a remote site or to the cloud.
- Messaging, Collaboration and Unified Communications (UC): Proven deployments for Microsoft® Exchange, and collaboration tools such as SharePoint® and major UC vendors.
- Development & Test: Engineering and QA can receive their own efficient high-performance VMs with access to private copies of production databases and data.
The combination of AMD EPYC high performance server processors, with over 200 world records across a broad range of workloads, plus Nutanix software solutions deliver self-healing, data protection features and disaster recovery capabilities AMD EPYC processor-based Nutanix solutions offer unprecedented flexibility and scalability, allowing customers to cost-effectively optimize their IT infrastructure as they grow.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
Let’s further explore the growing use case for HCI - VDI. VDI brings a rich user experience to a mobile and distributed workforce. VDI enhances centralized control and protection over business-critical data while supporting collaboration. A better user experience is tied directly to server capability. An industry-leading maximum core count along with the high memory capacity and bandwidth in AMD EPYC processors, coupled with Nutanix HCI, enables optimal virtual desktop density and performance.
HCI can deliver more than enough performance to support databases and other Tier-1 applications. Recent advances in Nutanix HCI technology along with performance and feature enhancements that AMD introduced with the AMD EPYC Series of processors can accelerate in-memory computing for transactional and real-time analytics workloads. That is not to say that all business-critical applications are a good fit for HCI yet, but even traditional database vendors, for example, are starting to see the appeal of the latest performance results.
Source:Testing performed August 20, 2021 by AMD performance labs using 4-node clusters of 2P EPYC 73F3 nodes running MS SQL 2019 cu8 and Hammer DB OLTP 3.2. Results may vary based on hardware configuration, driver version and other variables. MLN-133
Another challenge that has been keeping IT administrators up at night is security. AMD EPYC™️ processors are designed with a sophisticated suite of security technologies called AMD Infinity Guard. AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) is a key feature of Infinity Guard that applies Virtual Machine (VM) encryption. SEV is now available on Nutanix software running on VMware ESXi®️. AMD and Nutanix joint engineering teams are currently working on enabling AMD SEV on the Nutanix AHV hypervisor.
Big Data & AI/ML
An emerging area for joint engineering collaboration is Big Data. AMD and Nutanix engineering teams are working together to enable Big Data workloads. Big Data workloads stress both the hardware and software stack, and this is one area where AMD’s hardware features plus Nutanix software features seamlessly complement each other. AMD EPYC processor architecture provides a rich set of features including high core counts, abundant memory per socket, 128 PCIe®️ Gen4 lanes in a 1P and up to 160 lanes in a 2P configuration for high throughput IO and network operations, as well as high frequency CPU options to help deliver improved business value. These key characteristics of AMD EPYC processors make it an exceptionally good choice for Big Data solutions. Nutanix software features of Self-healing, Data locality, Auto-tiering, Auto-tuning, Auto-leveling, Auto-archiving and Replication factor supporting Distributed Storage Fabric (DSF) are extremely valuable in Big Data environments.
AI/ML is another emerging area that requires joint engineering collaboration. AI/ML workloads often leverage big data sets that are very demanding on both hardware and software. AMD EPYC processor architecture with abundant PCIe®️ Gen4 lanes can enable GPUs, heterogeneous accelerators, high throughput IO and network operations that enable accelerated computation as needed. Nutanix storage capabilities (Blocks, Files and Objects) and its one-click deployment and life-cycle management can accelerate ML workloads and MLOps on large data sets. AMD and Nutanix engineering teams are working together to enable AI/ML workloads.
The combination of AMD EPYC hardware and Nutanix software provide an excellent solution for customers looking to deploy Big Data and AI/ML applications.
This post was authored by Raghu Nambiar. Raghu Nambiar is a CVP of Datacenter Ecosystems & Application Engineering for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies, or opinions. Links to third party sites or use of third-party names/trademarks are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.©️ 2021 AMD, Inc. All rights reserved. AMD, the AMD logo and the other products and features mentioned on this post are registered trademarks or trademarks of AMD, Inc. in the United States, and other countries. PCIe is a registered trademark of PCI-SIG Corporation. Nutanix is a trademark of Nutanix, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other brand names mentioned on this post are for identification purposes only and may be the trademarks of their respective holder(s).