Intel Xeon Processor Technology and Intel Solid

Intel® Xeon® Processor Technology
and Intel® Solid-State Drives
Just in time for Time-Shifted TV video streaming. An Espial*
case study with Intel® Solid-State Drives and Intel® Xeon®
Processor 5500 series.
White Paper
Intel® Xeon® Processor
Technology and Intel®
Solid-State Drives
Storage
Executive Summary
TV viewers have come to expect a web-like experience for TV programs—they want to watch
their favourite programs on their own schedule. To meet this shift in customer expectations,
Cable MSO and Telecommunications operators are rolling out Time-Shifted TV services for their
subscribers using powerful video-on-demand platforms such as Espial MediaBase*. Time-shifted
TV is an especially demanding application as it requires high-performance servers with powerful
processors, disk drives, and network cards to support real-time video capture and streaming.
Intel partnered with Espial* to evaluate the throughput improvement possible with Intel® Xeon®
processor 5500 series-based platforms coupled with Intel® Solid-State Drives (SSDs) for
both standard and high-definition video streaming. Espial tested the Intel® X25M-80 GB
high-performance SSDs product as an alternative to the traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) or
DRAM used to store the video files. The evaluation compared Intel® Xeon® processor 5400
series-based servers with HDDs to next generation Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 seriesbased servers with Intel SSDs.
The evaluation was conducted during Q4 2008 at Espial labs using Espial MediaBase;
an intelligent, on-demand video platform. The evaluation demonstrated:
• An Intel Xeon processor 5500 series-based system with eight Intel X25M-80 GB SSDs
can achieve 2400 SD streams or about 9 Gb/s of network throughput at less than 20%
CPU utilization.
• An Intel Xeon processor 5500 series-based system with SSD configuration can achieve the
same throughput in a quarter of the space and about a quarter of the power of the rotating disk solution.1
In summary, next generation Intel components provide advantageous cost performance that
is essential for service providers to roll out Time-Shifted TV services while containing operational
and capital expenditures.
More detailed findings from the evaluation are published in this paper.
1. Assuming equivalent disk storage capacity is not required.
White Paper: Intel® Solid-State Drives and Intel® Xeon® Processor Technology
Table of Contents
Executive Summary��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������1
Business Overview ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������3
Top Business Issues������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������3
Intel Technology��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������4
Intel® Xeon® Processor Platform������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������4
Intel® Solid-State Drives����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������4
Evaluation Use Case and Configurations��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������5
Evaluation Architecture����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������5
Configurations����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������6
Evaluation Results����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������7
Performance Results����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������7
Configurations����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������7
Conclusion��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������8
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White Paper: Intel® Solid-State Drives and Intel® Xeon® Processor Technology
Business Overview
TV subscribers are increasingly behaving like Internet users—they want access to their favourite programs when they
are ready to watch them. To meet this shift in customer expectations, Cable MSO and Telecommunications operators
are rolling out on-demand services for their subscribers. This includes simple video-on-demand (VOD) services as well as
Time-Shifted TV services. This shift to Time-Shifted TV and high-definition demands significantly more performance from
the video delivery system. For Time-Shifted TV services, the VOD system needs to both record and transmit high-definition
video in real-time. Espial MediaBase is a proven video-on-demand platform that helps operators retain customers and
increase revenues. Deployed by operators around the world, it provides the on-demand platform for a responsive user
experience that maintains subscriber loyalty and attracts new customers every day. Espial’s applications set the standard
for IPTV with:
1. A next-generation, high-performance, scalable architecture that results in industry leading user responsiveness
2. An open application platform that allows operators or system integrators to develop new and differentiated applications
3. Supporting an extensive set of ecosystem partners with ease of third-party integration via open APIs
4. An open architecture that allows applications to be run:
a. On the customer’s choice of blade or rack server hardware
b. Using the latest PCIe 2.0* peripheral cards
c. Using the newest storage technologies including Intel® SSDs and 6.0 Gb/s HDD
Top Business Issues
Espial’s current video streaming solution is based on the Intel Xeon
Espial’s competitive position depends on cost-effective hardware
processor 5400 series. Each server is typically deployed with two
solutions. Espial differentiates by optimizing their video streaming
application on leading industry server and storage technology. Espial
assesses the effectiveness of technology on three primary vectors:
• Number of video streams per server: This measure is critical for
Espial to keep an edge on delivering the most competitive solution.
•Video quality delivered to the end user over an IP network:
L5420 processors and 12-48 hard disk drives. This configuration
faces the following challenges:
• Hard disk drive video streaming throughput limits: Espial configures
the data on the hard disks to optimize the throughput for streaming
both off and on to the hard disk drive. The ability of a hard disk drive
to deliver randomly accessed data is referred to as Input/Output
Operations per Second (IOpS). The two Intel Xeon 5420 processors can
IPTV end users demand video quality to be equal to or better than
process more video streams than can be supported by the IOpS rate
the quality they have with cable or digital TV. Video quality is measured
of the 12 or 48 hard disks.
using Media Delivery Index (MDI) and related statistics.
• Total watts used per server or watts per video stream on a
server: Operators need to keep cost of operations as low as possible.
Watts used per server becomes especially critical as the video streaming
demand requires servers to be moved to the edge of the network.
• Under utilization of hard disk capacity: Because of the need to
achieve high IOpS per hard disk drive, the solution requires the more
expensive 15K RPM SAS drives with less disk capacity, versus the
more cost effective 7.2K RPM SAS drives with higher capacity.
• Under utilization of rack space: Commercial hard drive configurations
utilize two Rack Units (RU) of space to support 12 hard disk drives.
This configuration is necessary for the standard serviceability
required by hard disk drives.
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White Paper: Intel® Solid-State Drives and Intel® Xeon® Processor Technology
Intel® Technology
Intel® Xeon® Processor Platform
Intel’s next-generation microarchitecture represents the next step
in processor energy efficiency, performance, and dynamic scalability.
Designed from the ground up to take advantage of Intel® hafniumbased 45nm hi-k metal gate silicon technology, the Intel Xeon
processor 5500 series also introduces Intel® QuickPath technology.
Intel has expanded and redefined what’s possible for technologies
to come with respect to:
• D ynamic scalability, managed cores, threads, cache, interfaces,
and power for energy-efficient performance on demand;
Intel® Solid-State Drives
The Intel® SATA SSD delivers leading performance in industry standard
1.8 " and 2.5" form factors while simultaneously improving system
responsiveness for client and enterprise applications over hard disk
drives. By combining Intel’s leading NAND flash memory technology
with an innovative high performance controller, Intel delivers an SSD
for native Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) hard disk
drive drop-in replacement with enhanced performance, reliability,
ruggedness, and power savings.
Since there are no rotating platters, moving heads, fragile actuators,
unnecessary spin up time, or positional seek time that can significantly
slow down the storage subsystem, the Intel® X25 SATA SSDs enable
fast read/write access times and significant I/O, as well as performance
improvement when compared to rotating media.
• Design and performance scalability for server demands with support
for eight cores and up to 16 threads with simultaneous multi-threading
Intel 2.5" SSD
(SMT), scalable cache sizes, system interconnects, and integrated
memory controllers;
• Scalable shared memory of Intel QuickPath technology features
memory distributed to each processor with integrated memory
controllers and high-speed point-to-point interconnects to unleash
the performance of next-generation Intel multi-core processors; and
• Multi-level shared cache improves performance and efficiency
by reducing latency to frequently used data.
Additionally, the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series has three new
features that apply to Espial’s needs for media streaming:
• Scalable performance from one-to-16 (or more) threads and
from one-to-eight (or more) cores;
• Dynamic scalability, managed cores, threads, cache, interfaces,
and power for energy-efficient performance on demand; and
• Scalable and configurable system based on Intel QuickPath Architecture.
Intel delivers two types of SSDs based on Intel® NAND flash memory
Single-Level Cell (SLC) and Multi-Level Cell (MLC) components:
• The Intel® X25-E SSD primarily targets high-end workstations, desktops, gaming, and various server/storage applications which have
high data write workloads. Key attributes include extremely high performance, low power, enhanced reliability, and improved ruggedness
as compared to standard 10K and 15K RPM hard drives. The Intel®
X25-E SATA SSD is available in an industry standard 2.5" form factor
that is electronically, mechanically, and software compatible with
existing SATA and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) slots and cables.
• The Intel® X18-M/X25-M SATA SSDs primarily target SATA-based
Intel QuickPath Architecture is a platform architecture that provides
laptop PCs, highly rugged mobile client devices, as well as thin and
high-speed connections between microprocessors and external memory,
light, mini/sub-notebooks and server/storage applications which have
and between microprocessors and the I/O hub. Intel QuickPath
a read-mostly workload. Key attributes include high performance, low
Interconnect runs at speeds up to 6.4 Gigatransfers/second, delivering
power, increased system responsiveness, high reliability, and enhanced
up to 25.6 Gigabytes/second (GB/s) of bandwidth per link. Four
ruggedness as compared to standard mobile SATA hard drives. Intel®
X18-M/X25-M SATA SSDs are available in 1.8" and 2.5" form factors
times greater than Intel’s prior generation front-side bus
interconnect technology.
that are electronically, mechanically, and software compatible with
existing 1.8" and 2.5" SATA slots and cables. Our flexible design allows
interchangeability with existing mobile hard drives based on the SATA
interface standard.
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White Paper: Intel® Solid-State Drives and Intel® Xeon® Processor Technology
Evaluation Use Case and Configurations
Evaluation Architecture
The evaluation was designed to compare a traditional HDD-based VOD
The hardware configurations are shown below. The upper diagram shows
server to a next-generation VOD server using SSD devices. Both server
Espial MediaBase 9.0* on Red Hat 5.0* while the lower illustration shows
configurations shown below can stream 10 Gbps from memory. The
Espial MediaBase 9.0 running on Red Hat 5.2*. The systems were config-
evaluation was designed to identify differences in streaming performance
ured to have equal streaming capacity. The difference in storage capacity
when using SSDs or HDDs to provide all of the read I/O bandwidth.
was ignored as it was not relevant for this evaluation scenario.
Intel® Xeon® Processor 5400 Series
Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Configuration
Switch
HP* 36 GB 15K HDDs
1 GbE x 10
HP MSA60*
8U
HP Proliant* DL380 G5
Black Hole Switch
Intel® Xeon® Processor
E5420 2.5 GHz
HP* NC364T PCI Express*
Quad-Port Gigabit
Extech*
Power Monitor
.086
Espial MediaBase 9.0*
RedHat* 5.2 Linux*
.573
.219
.123
Intel® Xeon® Processor 5500 Series
Solid-State Drive (SSD) Configuration
10 GbE x 2 Loopback
Supermicro
Intel® Xeon® Processor 5500
Series System 2.67 GHz
2U
8 Intel® X25M-80 GB
Solid-State Drives (SSDs)
Intel® 82598EB 10 Gigabit
Ethernet Controller
Figure 1. Evaluation configuration.
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White Paper: Intel® Solid-State Drives and Intel® Xeon® Processor Technology
Standard definition MPEG 2 videos were loaded onto the Espial
an IP address which immediately dropped them. In each case, one
MediaBase file system. Each video required an average bandwidth
video stream was sent to a PC running a VLC player. The video was
of approximately 3.8 megabits per second.
displayed on the screen to ensure the quality of the stream was
maintained during the test run. Videos were added in multiples of
An Extech Power Meter* was connected to each system under
twenty-five until being ramped up to the maximum streams. The
test to determine the power use of the systems.
maximum was determined when adding more streams started giving
late bit rate errors identifying the bottleneck at disk subsystem which
A Linux* shell script was used to stress test the server with an incre-
was not able to handle additional streams.
mental number of video streams. The data packets from streamed
video were discarded in a network black hole; packets were sent to
Configurations
Two primary configurations were tested with the use case.
Configuration
Server Platform
Server Processor
Server Memory
Disk Configuration
Intel® Xeon® Processor
5400 Series w/ HDDs
HP Proliant* DL380 G5
Intel® Xeon® Processor
5420 2.5 MHz
12 GB
36 - HP* 15K RPM 72-GB
Hard Drives
Intel® Xeon® Processor
5500 Series w/ SSDs
Supermicro
Intel® Xeon® Processor
QC 2.67 GHz 95W QPI 1066
12 GB
8 - Intel® X25-M 80-GB SSDs
Table 1. Configurations tested.
Table 1 shows the details of the components in the tested HP Proliant* DL380 G5 server configuration. The HDDs and SSDs were only equipped
for the specific test. In both cases, the HDDs were configured as three groups (12 disks in each) of hardware RAID 6.
Component
Vendor
Units
Product
Intel
Intel
2
Intel® Xeon® Processor 5420 2.5 GHz
12 MB Cache
Chipset
Intel
1
Intel® 5000P Chipset
Baseboard
HP
1
HP Proliant* DL380 G5, 8 DIMM slots
Memory
HP
6
HP* FBD PC2-5300 2 GB
Boot Controller
HP
1
HP Smart Array* Storage P400
Boot Drives
HP
2
HP* 72 GB SAS 10 K RPM
Network Interface Card
HP
3
HP NC364T PCI Express Quad-Port Gigabit*
Server Enclosure
HP
1
HP Proliant* DL380 G5 2U Rack
Host Bus Adapter
HP
1
HP Smart Array* P800/512 BBWC
Hard Disk Drives
HP
36
HP* 72 GB 15K RPM 3.5¨
Storage JBOD
HP
3
HP StorageWorks* MSA 60 12 3.5¨ x 4 SAS
Table 2. HP Proliant* DL380 G5 Server Configuration.
Table 2 shows the details of the components in the tested Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series customer reference board. In both cases, the SSDs
were configured as one group of software RAID 0.
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White Paper: Intel® Solid-State Drives and Intel® Xeon® Processor Technology
Intel® Xeon® Processor 5500 Series-Based Configuration
Component
Vendor
Units
Product
Processor
Intel
2
Intel® Xeon® processor 5500-EP QC 2.67 GHz
Chipset
Intel
1
Intel® X58 Chipset-EP Dual Socket
Baseboard
Supermicro
1
Supermicro* 18 DIMM SLOTS
Memory
Hynix
6
Hynix* DDR3 1066 2 GB
Boot Controller
Intel
1
Intel® ICH9R
Boot Drive
Hitachi
1
Hitachi* SATA 500 GB 7200 RPM
Network Interface Card
Intel
3
Intel® 82598EB 10 GbE NIC
Host Bus Adapter
LSI
1
LSI* SAS 3081E-R
Solid-State Drives
Intel
8
Intel® X25-M 80G SATA
Enclosure
Supermicro
1
Supermicro* 825X 2U Rack
Table 3.
Table 3 shows the details of the components in the tested Intel® Xeon® 5500 processor early access platform. In both cases, the SSDs were
configured as one group of software RAID 0.
Evaluation Results
Performance Results
As described in the evaluation architecture section, the goal of the performance runs is to determine the maximum number of video streams
that each of the configurations in Table 1 can support. The peak performance for both configurations along with associated energy and space
requirements is summarized in Table 4.
Configurations
Two primary configurations were tested with the use case.
Standard Def
MPEG 2 Streams
Network Throughput
Power Consumption
Space
Intel® Xeon® Processor
5400 Series w/ HDD
2350 SD Streams
8.8 Gb/s
991 Watts
8U
Intel® Xeon® Processor
5500 Series w/ SSD
2400 SD Streams
9.0 Gb/s
273 Watts
2U
Configuration
Table 4. SD Video Streams per System.
From this data, three conclusions can be drawn:
1. An Intel Xeon processor 5500 series-based server with eight Intel SSDs can support the equivalent video streaming throughput as
Espial’s existing HP Proliant DL380 G5* with 36 15K RPM HDDs. The single 10 GbE interface was the limiting factor in scaling. Both the
Intel Xeon processor 5500 series and the SSDs had additional performance bandwidth.
2. The Intel® Xeon® processor 5500 series-based system is approximately 25 % more efficient at streaming video than the equivalent Intel
Xeon 5400 series-based system, using MDI as a means to set the upper limit on streams per 10 GbE interface (7.5 Gb/s versus 9.375 Gb/s
as shown in Table 4).
3. Assuming equivalent capacity of SSDs is not necessary, the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series-based system can operate with
one quarter of the power in quarter of the space.
7
Conclusion
New Processor and SSD technologies from Intel dramatically improved streaming performance while reducing power consumption for the Espial
MediaBase Video-On-Demand platform. This provides a great opportunity for cable and telco operators to confidently deploy Time-Shifted TV services. They can be confident that Espial MediaBase will meet the demanding capture and streaming requirements of Time-Shifted TV services
while reducing their capital and operational expenditures. Espial MediaBase is uniquely positioned to realize the benefits of hardware innovation
by component and hardware suppliers such as Intel, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM. Every 18-24 months, Espial MediaBase can harness the performance
gains of processors following Moore’s Law and also take advantage of innovations that are rapidly reducing energy consumption across a wide
array of server components and technologies.
Specifically, the evaluation results illustrated that:
• An Intel Xeon processor 5500 series-based system with 8 Intel X25 M-80 GB drives can achieve 2400 SD streams or about 9 Gb/s
of network throughput at less than 20% CPU utilizaton.
• Assuming equivalent disk capacity is not required, the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series-based system with SSD configuration can achieve
the same throughput in 75% less space and about 75% less power.
Based on the evaluation data and analysis result, the Intel Xeon processor 5500 series-based server and Intel X25M-80 GB SSDs
provide a cost effective solution for Espial MediaBase streaming workloads which are predominantly read workloads from storage.
For more information on Intel® Xeon® Processor Technology, visit www.intel.com/xeon
For more information on Intel® Solid-State Drives, visit www.intel.com/go/ssd
For more information on IP Services and Wireless Telecom Infrastructure,
visit www.intel.com/netcomms/solutions/ipservices-wireless/index.htm
For more information on Espial MediaBase visit www.espial.com/products/media_base/
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