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Load DynamiX Inc. broadens its validation testing capabilities

Load DynamiX test suite supports VDI and data reduction; adds a multiprotocol device and virtual appliance.

Load DynamiX expanded its storage validation testing portfolio today with a multiprotocol device, virtual appliance and upgraded software that supports virtual desktop infrastructure workloads.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company, formerly known as SwiftTest, began by selling its validation software to storage vendors such as EMC, NetApp and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS). After changing its name to Load DynamiX late last year, the startup added hardware appliances and started selling to enterprise customers.

Now Load DynamiX is adding an LDX Enterprise Series appliance that supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel (FC) storage, so it can handle SAN and NAS on one box. The Enterprise appliance -- which supports four FC and four Ethernet ports -- joins the startup's GigE, 10 GigE and 16 Gbps FC-only boxes.

The Load DynamiX Virtual Series is a virtual appliance that runs on a server with VMware or Citrix XenServer hypervisors; it supports eight GigE ports.

Along with its new virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) workload model, the latest version of the Load DynamiX Enterprise software can measure the impact of data deduplication and compression on performance. The systems create workload characterization, modeling and emulation, and run performance analytics. These tests show how different storage arrays perform on latency, throughput and input/output (I/O) configured with various workloads.

The VDI test suite allows infrastructure architects to simulate boot storms and understand the storage requirements in VDI deployments.

"This models the boot storm process," said Len Rosenthal, Load DynamiX's vice president of marketing. "You establish clones and the size of the clones. You determine how many reads and writes for each clone, and how many [virtual machines] VMs you want to simulate. You understand the storage system performance in a boot storm scenario."

With dedupe and compression support, Load DynamiX also shows the impact of data reduction on performance.

"Once you have I/O, you can do the workload modeling and model existing production workloads," Rosenthal said. "Once you have the workloads, you can apply those workloads against a potential vendor's system. You know what the performance is [with dedupe and compression turned on] before you make the buying decision."

Jeff Boles, a senior analyst at Taneja Group, said Load DynamiX can handle more physical ports, workload profiles and greater scalability than single-host benchmark tools such as IOmeter. Load DynamiX connects directly to the switch and array, and can work with multiple arrays.

"IOmeter can give you some scalability from a single host," Boles. "You never get mixed I/Os to create complexity. It doesn't give you a sense of how your storage works."

Todd Gleason, director of technology at Richardson, Texas-based hosting company FireHost Inc., said Load DynamiX saves him time when testing his storage arrays. Gleason said he was able to test five different storage arrays simultaneously, configure a base workload and test it, and then change the attributes on a workload and test it again.

FireHost hosts 3 PB of data on 5,000 VMs in five data centers in North America, Europe and Asia.

"From a storage perspective, it helps me use my time more effectively," said Gleason, who compared Load DynamiX software favorably to IOmeter.

"I have a mixed workload that's already complicated by virtualization. I need a tool that simulates blended I/Os and a variety of I/O patterns," he noted. "With IOmeter, I can simulate I/Os on one virtual machine. How do I do this for 1,000 to 5,000 virtual machines? If I need to simulate a workload of 1,000 to 2,000 VMs with different work patterns, Load DynamiX can help me understand the performance of storage as well as validation of a particular storage array."

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