At the Heart of Dedicated Cloud 2014

OVH has just launched a new Dedicated Cloud range. Hardware, software, and network: a multitude of new features. Let’s take a closer look at the key developments.

François Loiseau, Systems Administrator and cloud computing specialist, has been working on Dedicated Cloud since 2010.

Choose between Intel or AMD

OVH only used to offer AMD processors on the hosts, but customers now have the option of Intel chips with the 2014 range. “At the moment of launching Dedicated Cloud, back in 2010, the price-performance ratio was too high, but the progress made by the manufacturer in the last few months is impressive! So we have have two options: the Enterprise option with AMD, which was developed directly from Dedicated Cloud 2013, and the new Infrastructure option with Intel”, explains François Loiseau, SysAdmin specialising in cloud computing.

In both cases, the focus is on raw performance. The difference lies in the way these architectures operate. On the one hand, customers choosing Intel would benefit from the Hyper-Threading technology, which instantly enables up to 30% of additional performance. On the other hand, AMD processors have more cores and thus more capacity in terms of VMs. François adds, "We can draw an analogy between these architectures and choosing between petrol or diesel engines. Customers have to make a choice according to their needs."

""We can draw an analogy between these architectures and choosing between petrol or diesel engines. Customers have to make a choice according to their needs.""

Innovative network services

With the Enterprise option (AMD), customers get 2 x 10 Gbps*, whereas with the Infrastructure option (Intel), they get 4 x 10 Gbps on the hosts. This difference is explained by the introduction of the OVH vRack 2.0 service, which enables dedicated VLANs to be created. “On the AMD hosts, network segmentation is achieved using Software Defined Networking (SDN). The VMs are isolated using either a subnet or a VXLAN. With the Intel hosts, customers can separate their networks directly using VLANs (up to 4,000) on different network adaptors. Customers would then have an additional 2 x 10 Gbps,” explains François.

In addition to enhanced performance, the vRack 2.0 service offers two interesting advantages. Firstly, it authorises link aggregation (LACP) on the network cards: instead of having 2 x 10 Gbps, customers would have 1 x 20 Gbps. With the right configuration, you can create a flow of up to 20 Gbps between two VMs! Secondly, it enables trunking. For example, to create a VM firewall, you can simply tag the networks on one adaptor within the virtual machine, instead of using one network card per VXLAN.

OVH is eventually planning to implement Single-Root I/O Virtualisation” (SR-IOV) for both options. This technology enables the VM network adaptor to be remounted, thus bypassing the virtualisation layer and improving network performance.

The hosts of the Infrastructure (Intel) range offer 4 x 10 Gbps.

NFS and iSCSI storage protocols

Initially, only the NFS system will be supported, but OVH will also soon be offering iSCSI. With this block-based technology, performance is slightly higher, but the number of VMs is restricted. In fact, when a machine writes (through SCSI reservations and VMFS locking), fewer slots will be available to the others. In this case, customers would choose according to their intended use.

It's important to point out that the iSCSI protocol requires vSphere 5.1 or later. “From this version onwards, you get the All Paths Down and Permanent Device Loss technologies, which allow exchanges with an iSCSI volume to be blocked if a problem arises. This prevents the hosts from going down, as they would keep trying to reach the storage because the of VMs attempting to write on it”, François explains.

vSphere 5.5 version available

This evolution offers a new version of web client, entirely compatible with Mac OS X (on Chrome and Firefox), as well as a whole range of new features, such as drag and drop onto the inventory, view filters, recent-item navigation, anti-affinity rules among VMs in vSphere HA and DRS, support for VMDK files up to 62 TB (against a previous limit of 2 TB). In addition, by the second semester of 2014, OVH will offer “vSphere Replication”, a feature that allows copying virtual machines in real time on another server enabling a more aggressive Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

For those who dare, OVH is offering a beta version of EMC storage

New storage and network options

Allocation of public IPs will be optional as more and more companies require an isolated dedicated cloud that can only be accessed through their VPN.
• In terms of the network, customers will have two options for routing their addresses: using routers or the OVH vRack. The latter allows IPs to be spread across various different services, such as Dedicated Cloud, dedicated servers, VPS, etc.
• Finally, for the most adventurous customers, OVH is offering a beta version of EMC storage, which can be configured in mega performance mode to enhance exchange.

* 2 x 1 Gbps on the Host Ms