Load DynamiX adds workload models to storage performance tool

The Load DynamiX update adds built-in workload models to support OpenStack, Ceph, Amazon S3, NFSv 4.1 and steady-state VDI.

Load DynamiX's latest product update ties into this week's OpenStack Summit, but the most important new feature in the company's storage performance validation appliances applies broadly to complex enterprise application workloads.

The vendor, based in San Jose, Calif., aims to streamline performance validation testing with support for OpenStack Swift object and Cinder block storage protocols. Load DynamiX also plans to add built-in workload models through its software to support Swift, open source Ceph, Amazon S3, NFSv4.1 and steady-state virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) in the new product release due on June 15.

Len Rosenthal, Load DyanmiX's vice president of marketing, said the biggest new feature will be the Composite Workload Editor that gives customers an automated way to represent multiple, complex workloads running in parallel against the storage array. He estimated that two-thirds of the engineering work for the new release went into that feature.

The Composite Workload Editor can simulate applications with multiple access patterns, such as ERP, CRM and databases, virtualized applications, and multi-protocol storage deployments, and enable customers to model and assess the workloads at a more granular level.

Rosenthal cited the example of an Oracle database. He said, in the past, Load DynamiX would offer a 50,000-foot view of the overall Oracle environment. With the Composite Workload Editor, the customer will get a more realistic view with independent streams for the write, log, index and redo functions, each of which have different I/O profiles, he said.

Load DynamiX's existing system also allowed customers to do a fine-grained assessment, but they had to use the company's proprietary programming language and test-development environment, according to Rosenthal.

"It required a PhD in protocol engineering," he said.

Rosenthal said only Load DynamiX's vendor customers would attempt the work, whereas the Composite Workload Editor will open the door for enterprise IT organizations to do more granular workload analysis.

One of the drivers for the Composite Workload Editor was meeting the needs of service providers and IT organizations that deliver services, according to Rosenthal. Those customers may host tens or hundreds of clients on shared infrastructure, and they need to determine if the infrastructure can support additional application workloads, he said.

'More work to be done' to appeal to enterprises

"There is more work to be done here to help customers evaluate potential what-if scenarios, but this is a great evolutionary step," Mike Matchett, senior analyst and consultant at Taneja Group, wrote in an email. He said that Load DynamiX needs to build up a reference library and emulation capability for even more protocols and client workloads moving forward.

Load DynamiX has been trying to broaden its customer base from technology vendors to enterprise IT organizations. Rosenthal estimated that vendors represented 90% of the company's business in 2013 and approximately 67% in 2014. He said the company expects to take in more revenue from IT organizations than vendors by the end of this year.

"The vendor business is still growing but certainly not nearly as well as our IT business," Rosenthal said.

Load DynamiX's product line includes workload analytics and modeling software and physical and virtual load-generating appliances to generate storage traffic and provide insight into infrastructure needs. The tools can help customers size their storage environments, determine the performance impact of product updates or configuration changes, and compare products from different storage vendors.

Load DynamiX products are not intended for every company. Rosenthal noted that the average sale price exceeds $100,000, and the company targets Global 2000 companies that spend in excess of $1 million per year on storage.

Additional new features

Product enhancements on the way next month in addition to Load DynamiX's application operating environment version 4.0, Load DynamiX Enterprise version 2.6 and performance validation appliances, include support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and the domain name service, and an improved load-generation algorithm that the company claims will boost performance by 25%.

Roadmap items include support for the OpenStack Manila file storage service by year's end, according to Rosenthal.

"There's a lot of interest in OpenStack," he said. "We're trying to give [customers] the tools to analyze if they can move their applications to OpenStack."

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