Recently I’ve been using the Atlantis USX Community Edition, which is a free edition of the Atlantis USX Software – specifically for the purposes of testing and learning how the USX can improve the performance of a virtual desktop. Atlantis provide a number of testing guides and videos on the USX Community Edition landing page – and also a testing guide, which outlines how to benchmark the software.
For this post I wanted to demonstrate the results I’m getting in my lab – as they give an idea of the benefits a solution like this can bring. As part of this process I’ve been reading up on various testing methods and options, and I eventually settled on using the same configuration detailed in Jim Moyle‘s excellent article – available here. I should also note – the USX Community Edition also provides a pre-made IOMeter configuration file (in the Citrix Testing Guide), but I have opted to follow the baseline in Jim’s article.
My test configuration is as follows:
- 1x HPE ML110 Gen9
- 40GB RAM
- 2x 700GB SSD in RAID 0
- 1x 480GB SSD
- 1x 1TB HDD
All storage is via an HPE Dynamic Smart Array B140i RAID Controller.
Base VM for testing using IOMeter is a Windows 2012R2 Standard VM with no tuning or modification applied:
My configuration for the USX Appliance is as follows:
Due to the RAM available on my host I went for the small appliance:
All other configuration was standard, and all infrastructure VMs were stored on storage not participating in this testing (so as not to affect the result). The USX CE also includes an excellent management interface, which allows you to monitor the health of the environment, and displays useful statistics:
After setting up the configuration, I decided to test 3 storage configurations, against the IOMeter baseline, and then post the results to give an idea of performance:
Test 1 – VM on 1x HPE 1TB HDD
Test2 – VM on 2x 700GB SSD RAID 0
Test 3 – VM on Atlantis USX CE Storage
As you can see, the USX CE wins in every storage metric displayed – there is no contest here:
- In terms of storage throughput, the SSD array provides around 13x the speed of the HDD, but the USX provides around 60x the performance of the HDD, and 5x the performance of the SSDs in RAID 0.
- The average read and write response times are also significantly different across the board – with the USX read being around 30x faster than the HDD, and the write being around 60x faster than the HDD. The USX also demonstrates performance around 4-5x faster than the SSDs in RAID 0 for average read and write response time.
- Total IOPS is also a useful metric – again one that the USX appliance claims the prize for; IOPS are around 65x higher than the HDD, and around 5x higher than the SSDs in RAID 0.
Overall – the USX demonstrates around 60x the performance of the HDD, and around 5x the performance of the RAID 0 SSD array in my lab. If you haven’t already tried out the USX Community Edition I would definitely recommend it, not only as a demonstrator of how this technology can improve VDI (and other) workloads, it’s also great if (like me) your lab time is precious, and anything to speed up deployment and testing is a real bonus.