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26,000 Users On 1 Windows NAS??

We are now a few days away from HP Discover in Las Vegas on June 6. We are all really looking forward to taking the covers off our story and get it out there. We have been working very, very hard…


So I can't tell you what is coming at Discover. But as you may have figured out by now, I am a bit of a NAS geek. Today I spent some time looking at performance testing that was done on our HP Windows Storage Server NAS solutions.  These products have started to really take off, and after looking at the new performance numbers, I now understand why:  they are low cost, and they deliver a lot more performance than they did before.  It is remarkable how much improvement Microsoft has made in the last few years on their NAS software stack, and how well it performs when integrated with our newest Converged Infrastructure gear.


I am not going into all the details here; if you want the whitepaper that describes the performance test details, please contact me. Here are a couple of tidbits.  All of the testing was done on “as shipped” products and configurations that everybody can buy, not special benchmarking configurations that only exist in a lab…


The smaller of the two systems is the HP X1800:


HP X1800 G2 Network Storage Gateway.jpg


The HP X1800 G2 Network Storage Systems is built on a HP ProLiant DL380 G7 server and comes with two quad-core processors, five open PCIe slots for additional options and built-in external SAS connections for additional disk enclosures, which makes it a very nice shared storage platform for small and medium businesses.  The test results showed that “out-of-the-box” the system was capable of handling up to 4000-4200 users.  With some performance optimizations the system delivered 5200-5400 max users.


The larger system, the HP X3800 Gateway, is a textbook example of Converged Infrastructure for small/medium businesses:


  • Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2008 R2
  • HP X3800 G2 Network Storage Gateway (built on a HP ProLiant DL380 G7 server)
  • HP P2000 G3 MSA storage array
  • HP D2700 disk enclosure
  • HP 2500 series switch, and HP NC550SFP 10GbE adapter



P2000 G3 Fibre Channel.jpg


The testing showed that this configuration can support over 26,000 users.


Test Results

  • Max users supported         26,500 – 27,000
  • CPU Utilization                   24.8 – 31.2%
  • Memory Utilization             34.33 – 76.33%
  • Disk Utilization                   681 MBytes/sec
  • Network Utilization             5.45 Gbits/sec

The reality is that 26,000 users is not a small business. This is a very cost-effective system that can deliver NAS and iSCSI for a fairly substantial environment, but it is priced like a small business solution. Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 is a significant step up in performance and capability over previous generations of the technology.  It is a perfect fit for our converged infrastructure model for storage because it is pure software and designed to fully leverage our HP infrastructure.  Here software and Microsoft technology means that it is fully compatible with Microsoft environments, including Active Directory and management technology, with the user-interface that is instantly familiar to administrators.


Okay, so I’ll fess up.  We will have more to say about Windows NAS very soon. Viva Las Vegas…


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