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Performance of RAID Arrays on Windows Azure: an Alternative to Horizontal Scaling

Sergey Balashevich

While working with several different NoSQL databases heavily loaded with write requests, we faced a situation when the hard drive became a bottleneck. Scaling the cluster horizontally could easily solve this kind of problem, but it would also increase the monthly payments. This is why we decided to take a look at other options.

The first thing that comes to mind when a DB starts experiencing HDD performance issues is to combine several virtual drives into a RAID array, but how will it work with Windows Azure virtual infrastructure? To check this, we compared the performance of a single virtual drive and different RAID arrays (types: 0, 1, 4, 5, and 6) using the Bonnie++ tool for hard drive subsystem verification.

Below you will find the test results and step-by-step instructions on how to configure a RAID array on your own.


Test 1: RAID performance under Write/Read/Re-write workloads

In the first test, we measured the performance of different RAID arrays for simple read/write operations:

sudo bonnie++ -d /raid1/ -m 'raid1' -u root -n 100:8192:16384:20 -x10 -s 16g -f > raid1.csv

Bonnie++ was run 10 times (-x10). Each test worked with 100 files of 8-16 KB in size and 20 subdirectories. In total, there were 16 GB of “files” in each iteration. Since a large Windows Azure instance has 7 GB of RAM, we had a chance to avoid caching.

You can see the first test results below. The x-axis stands for megabytes per second, the y-axis indicates repetitions (we ran each test 10 times).

Write test results:




DigitalOcean—a New Amazing Cloud VPS Hosting

Olga Belokurskaya

DigitalOcean—a new cloud VPS hosting—being pretty cheap and easy to use can become one of the solutions that may interest startups, small and fast-growing projects.

The service provides a comparatively affordable pricing, starting from 5$/month, and bills hourly. This combines with ease of use: all you need is to get a dedicated IP and root access to your server, and you can start working; the control panel is plain and simple. DigitalOcean uses SSD hard drives and fast network that provide speed to servers’ work. Moreover, the service boldly promises a 99.99% uptime around network, power and virtual server availability.

Combine this all, and you’ll get an interesting solution to think about. But are there any pitfalls? For more detail, please, read the wide DigitalOcean overview by our Ruby Developer Eugene Melnikov: http://altoros.github.io/2013/digitalocean-new-amazing-cloud-vps-hosting


Cloud Platform Comparison: CloudStack, Eucalyptus, vCloud Director, and OpenStack

Vadim Truksha

Cloud computing remains one of the hottest topics in IT today given the promise of greatly improved efficiencies, significant cost savings, scalable infrastructure and high performance and secured data storage.

Choosing the appropriate cloud platform, however, can be difficult. They all have pros and cons. So, when a customer asked me and my colleagues what would be the best cloud platform for his project and why, we decided to take a deep look at the most notable systems available, compare their capabilities, and summarize the findings in a product-by-product table. We tested CloudStack, Eucalyptus, vCloud Director, and OpenStack.

cloup platforms compared

The goal of this independent comparison is to help you align your business requirements with the capabilities of a particular cloud system and—finally—select the best-fit product. Read the full text of the article in NetworkWorld. Feel free to send me your feedback.


Benchmarks and Research

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