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What does the Application-Specific 'workloads' and 'other workloads' really do?

Hi,
I am new to this community and have recently began to build and optimize a storage array on an E-2860 for maximum data write throughput on large size sequential data. The documentation has clear guidelines on optimal RAID configuration for my purpose. However, I am kind of stuck when it comes to 'workload' assignment to volumes. Other than the very vague overview of what is workload, there are pretty much zero documentations/explanations out there explaining what is being optimized in each case and difference between the many predefined workloads.  There are so many different predefined workloads that can be used (see attached image) but without any documentations about them. To make things even more confusing, they have a workload option for 'Other->Other application', which didn't really expose any additional settings when used for volume creation.
From my local distributor support team, some say I should use 'Media and entertainment' workload, some say I should use 'Video Surveillance' workload, and some say I am better off using 'Other->Other application'. There is so little actual information about them, I found it impossible to convince myself which 'workload' is really the best, and how it can be selected appropriately (scientifically).
Also workload assignment to volumes cannot be changed after volume initialization, so it looks like different workloads actually results in structural differences in the underlying volume.
I would be really grateful if someone can shed some light on what all those 'workloads' really means, and how I can choose the best workload systematically. Thanks a lot!

 

2 REPLIES 2

Re: What does the Application-Specific 'workloads' and 'other workloads' really do?

Hi,

 

The workload tagging does not optimize any workloads. It it designed to help organize your configuration into logical workload units. Once you've done this, then when you are using the SANtricity performance monitoring functionality you can drill down on a specific workload. This can be particularly useful when someone has multiple applications or multiple workloads of the same application on one array. Another area where this is very useful is when someone needs to contact support. If you have a workload tag that indicates you would be running a sequential workload and then the configuration is setup for a random workload, the support team can more easily diagnose a possible problem.

 

-Mitch

Re: What does the Application-Specific 'workloads' and 'other workloads' really do?

Hi Mitch,


Thanks for the reply! Your description of the purpose of workloads made things much clearer.  I have also done a quick test with different workloads and found that most of the predefined workloads are indeed merely a "Tag", i.e. they do not result in any parametric/configuration differences in the created volume (all settings have default values).

 

There are, however, some exceptions as described in the following link. In fact, the descriptions in this link is what made me so confused in the first place. 
https://mysupport.netapp.com/NOW/public/eseries/sam/index.html#page/GUID-8538272A-B802-49D9-9EA2-96C82DAD26A2%2FGUID-FB1A29EB-A68C-481F-9C1C-BA72E363C... 

The 4 workloads listed in the link do actually cause different volume/system settings to better optimize the performance in each use case:

Microsoft® SQL Server
Microsoft® Exchange Server
Video Surveillance applications
VMware ESXi (for volumes to be used with Virtual Machine File System)

In fact, the two Microsoft workloads and VMware ESXi will bring up their own unique volume creation GUI  for defining specific volume combinations and settings. For Video Surveillance applications, there are no special volume creation GUI, but as far as I know, the resultant volumes have 'write cache mirroring' disable to improve data write performance.

I think Netapp could have elaborated more on that in their help documentation, and state more clearly the settings that were optimized in each case. 
 
Please correct me if my understanding above is missing anything. Thanks!
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