The following was authored by Quocdat Nguyen and Ravikanth Chaganti from Dell’s SharePoint Solutions team.
In August 2011, we published a performance characterization on a large SharePoint 2010 farm with EqualLogic Storage using Dell PowerEdge blade servers and an iSCSI based EqualLogic PS6100XV and PS6000XV storage arrays. As a continuing effort to provide guidance and an extension to our SharePoint solutions to different Dell hardware, another performance study was completed in January 2012 on a SharePoint 2010 large farm using Dell PowerEdge blade servers and Fibre Channel (FC) based Dell Compellent Series-40 storage.
The purpose of the study is to offer a reference architecture and performance characterization of a large SharePoint farm with a Compellent Storage. Therefore, this SharePoint 2010 large farm study used the same 2TB of SharePoint contents which were hosted by 11 web applications (approximately 200GB of content per web application). The large SharePoint farm was designed to support up to 10,000 concurrent users using a collaboration test mix.
We started with a goal of supporting 10,000 concurrent users and reached the final desired configuration after several load test iterations using Dell SharePoint Load Generation Framework. Figure 1 shows diagram of the final configuration of large SharePoint farm. We used F5 Big IP 3900 Local Traffic Manager (LTM) hardware load balancers for load balancing front-end traffic.
Figure 1: Farm Physical Architecture and Cabling Details
Table 1. Fibre Channel SAN Configuration for the SharePoint Farm
Brocade 5300 switches
Compellent Front-end HBAs
SQL Server’s HBAs – QME2472
In this performance study, we used two 2U – 24 drive bay SAS enclosures containing 28 spindles to host the content database for the large SharePoint farm. These are 6Gbps SAS EBOB enclosures which can house up to 48 - 2.5” 6Gbps SAS drives and have an aggregated SAS connection speed of 24 Gb. For the scope of this performance study we included only tier-1 storage (RAID10 and RAID5-9 storage profile). As part of a FC Storage Area Networking (SAN) configuration shown in Figure 1, we used Brocade 5300 switches in a full redundant configuration. Table-1 is a list of components used in the farm’s SAN.
The following table-2 describes the high level performance result of the studied large SharePoint farm.
Table 2. High Level Overview of the Farm Performance
SharePoint Large Farm
Maximum concurrent user load supported
Requests per second at Max concurrent user load
Average Response Time (second)
Table 3. Storage Performance Metrics
IO Performance metric
Avg. Disk Transfers/Second
Avg. Disk Writes/second
Avg. Disk Reads/Second
Avg. Disk seconds/Transfer
0.0022 or 2ms
Avg. Disk Queue Length (_Total)
Avg. Disk Bytes/Transfer
The final farm configuration has capability to support 10,000 concurrent users with an average response time of 87ms. As an experiment we are able to achieve more than 10K concurrent users using 8-core processors (instead of 6 core CPUs) for the SQL database servers. In addition, the back-end Compellent storage’s 28 spindles are sufficient to handle the target user load. Those available drive bays provide room for the farm’s future growth as of the storage need. Table-3 show how the FC based Compellent Series-40 storage performed at 10,000 concurrent user loads.
Please refer to SharePoint 2010 Large Farm with Compellent Storage – A Performance Study on http://dell.com/sharepoint for the complete farm configuration details, information on how the farm were configured, what best practices were used, and complete farm performance details.
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