Nutanix paints go faster stripes on AOS 6.01 software, announces General Availability

A new version of Nutanix AOS software runs applications faster because of developments with vDisk multi-threading, Optane SSD tiering and retrieving stranded DRAM, the company says.

AOS v6.1 is the vendor’s Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) appliance software, it includes series of updates to boost performance, simplify management and enhance orchestration. General Availability for the latest version was announced this week.

A blog by the AOS team says this is about: “bringing powerful yet simple hybrid cloud infrastructure to organisations everywhere.”

The stranded DRAM (our term) feature refers to AOS virtual machines (VMs) not using all of their allocated memory. That means DRAM is sitting there, part of an AOS VM’s resources, and is not being used. AOS can detect this and allocate DRAM to other VMs that need it. Nutanix calls this memory overcommit and it means more VMs can be run by an AOS system.

Outside the AOS HCI environment some Microsoft SQL databases feature a single vdisk (virtual disk). Nutanix’s best practise is to use multiple vdisks to increase I/O performance and this can limit the migration of such SQL databases to AOS. V6.1 takes I/O requests to single vdisks and assigns them to multiple threads which can run in parallel.

This vdisk ‘sharding’ effect is dramatic with Nutanix tests showing a 77 per cent increase in transactions per minute in the case of a single datafile talking to a single vdisk, and a 109 per cent increase with eight datafiles connecting to a single vdisk. 

Nutanix vdisk sharding performance boost.

Up until now AOS has had a single SSD-class tier in its extent store. But Optane SSDs, with their 10μs latency and >550,000 IOPS are much faster than NVMe NAND SSDs with a <100μs latency and >400,000 IOPS. The two types of device occupy separate tiers in AOS v6.1 with Nutanix’ Intelligent Lifecycle Management software moving the most frequently-accessed data into the Optane SSD tier. 

The affects are, again, dramatic. Such Optane tiering improved performance by about 30 per cent for read-heavy workloads across different outstanding IO values.

Read IO boost from Optane SSD tiering.

Nutanix says this Optane tiering feature will be enabled for all new clusters with NVMe drives that include at least 1 Optane SSD per node.

There’s more in AOS v6.1, including enhanced virtual networking and storage consumption reporting improvements.