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Application Performance Monitoring Blog Foglight APM 105
Blueprint for HPC - Blog Blueprint for High Performance Computing 0
Custom Solutions Engineering Blog Custom Solutions Engineering 8
Data Security Data Security 8
Dell Big Data - Blog Dell Big Data 68
Dell Cloud Blog Cloud 42
Dell Cloud OpenStack Solutions - Blog Dell Cloud OpenStack Solutions 0
Dell Lifecycle Controller Integration for SCVMM - Blog Dell Lifecycle Controller Integration for SCVMM 0
Dell Premier - Blog Dell Premier 3
Dell TechCenter TechCenter 1,858
Desktop Authority Desktop Authority 25
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Foglight for Databases Foglight for Databases 35
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General HPC High Performance Computing 227
High Performance Computing - Blog High Performance Computing 35
Hotfixes vWorkspace 66
HPC Community Blogs High Performance Computing 27
HPC GPU Computing High Performance Computing 18
HPC Power and Cooling High Performance Computing 4
HPC Storage and File Systems High Performance Computing 21
Information Management Welcome to the Dell Software Information Management blog! Our top experts discuss big data, predictive analytics, database management, data replication, and more. Information Management 229
KACE Blog KACE 143
Life Sciences High Performance Computing 9
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On Demand Services Dell On-Demand 3
Open Networking: The Whale that swallowed SDN TechCenter 0
Product Releases vWorkspace 13
Security - Blog Security 3
SharePoint for All SharePoint for All 388
Statistica Statistica 24
Systems Developed by and for Developers Dell Big Data 1
TechCenter News TechCenter Extras 47
The NFV Cloud Community Blog The NFV Cloud Community 0
Thought Leadership Service Provider Solutions 0
vWorkspace - Blog vWorkspace 511
Windows 10 IoT Enterprise (WIE10) - Blog Wyse Thin Clients running Windows 10 IoT Enterprise Windows 10 IoT Enterprise (WIE10) 4
Latest Blog Posts
  • Hotfixes

    Optional Hotfix 593309 for 8.6 MR1 vWorkspace RDSH and PNTools

    This is an optional hotfix and can be installed on the following vWorkspace roles -

    • vWorkspace Remote Desktop Session Host
    • PNTools

     

    The following is a list of issues resolved in this release.

    Feature

    Description

    Defect ID

    Seamless Windows

    Application   window overlaps the Windows taskbar on reconnected sessions.

    479303

    Shell Configurator

    vWorkspace   shell stops working after shell configuration completes.

    591799

     

    This hotfix is available for download at: https://support.software.dell.com/kb/196415

  • KACE Blog

    Make Your Service Desk More Effective with Better Communication

    Service Desk

    Effective Communication has Multiple Dimensions

    Easy and effective communication between users and IT engineers is critical for swift resolution of problems. This communication often starts when users report an issue to the service desk. Support technicians need to be able to efficiently create tickets, prioritize issues, route tickets to the proper engineers, escalate them when necessary, and track them to completion — while keeping users informed about status throughout the process. IT staff members need to be able to pose troubleshooting questions and suggest workarounds, and users need to be able to easily respond to their questions and report back on their success with suggested fixes. Moreover, with today’s increasing mobile workforce, both users and IT staff need to be able to communicate no matter where they are.

    Good communication, however, extends well beyond the ticket lifecycle. Good communication is proactive, enabling IT to keep users informed about common problems and current outages or other widespread issues, and provide a knowledge base of how-to’s, known fixes and workarounds. By offering a self-service portal with this information, organizations can reduce the number of service tickets created while improving user satisfaction and productivity.

    Even more broadly, good communication includes easy access to relevant information. When service desk technicians can quickly access up-to-date information about all computer devices and assets on the network, inventory reports, configuration status, and device history — ideally from an integrated console — they can troubleshoot tickets faster, with fewer requests for details from users.

    What to Look for in a Service Desk Solution

    Together, these components of effective communication can reduce mean time to resolution while improving productivity for both users and IT staff. Therefore, you should look for a service desk solution that facilitates great communication by providing:

    • Customizable service desk tickets and queues — Look for a ticketing system that enables you to set up multiple ticket queues and tailor them to meet different needs. For example, separating facilities management concerns from IT user issues will streamline communications. Also ensure that you can customize tickets to ensure they include all the information required for troubleshooting, and that the solution can route them automatically to the engineers with the right skills and availability to resolve them quickly.
    • An intuitive self-service user portal — It’s essential that users be able to access an extensive knowledge base, locate hardware and software inventory information for their systems, install IT-sanctioned software packages, and submit and view the status of their support tickets. IT should be able to easily post announcements such as information on service outages or planned maintenance windows; provide links to useful web applications and information, such as pages on the corporate intranet; and enable access to tools for tasks such as self-service password management.
    • Easy problem reporting — Users must be able to easily report issues and provide supporting information to speed troubleshooting. For example, they should be able to quickly attach screenshots to tickets.
    • Mobile app — Look for a solution that can serve your increasingly mobile workforce. Technicians should be able review and respond to service desk notifications, examine inventory details, and deploy software and patches from their mobile devices. Likewise, users should be able to access the knowledge base, submit service desk tickets and check on ticket status wherever they are and regardless of problems with their primary workstations.
    • Bi-directional email integration — The service desk should be able to send and receive information through email in order to automatically create incident tickets, send notifications and export data to other tools.
    • Other integration — Look for an integrated solution that enables technicians to seamlessly access the full spectrum of user and system information from the service desk, including a comprehensive database of systems management information and best practices.

    Everything You Need in One Solution

    The Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance includes an integrated service desk that delivers all of these capabilities and more. With the K1000, you can enable effective communication in every direction to speed issue reporting and resolution, reduce service desk workload, and improve productivity for users and IT staff alike.

    To learn more about why effective communication is vital in a service desk solution and what other functionality it must provide to make your users happy and your IT staff more productive, check out our new white paper, The Ten Key Features You Need in a Service Desk Solution.

    About Stephen Hatch

    Stephen is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Dell KACE. He has over eight years of experience with KACE and over 20 years of marketing communications experience.

    View all posts by Stephen Hatch

  • General HPC

    New vs. Old: Comparing Broadwell Performance for CAE Applications Across Generations

    Authors: Mayura Deshmukh, Ashish K Singh, Neha Kashyap

    With the refresh of Dell’s 13th generation servers with the recently released Broadwell (BDW) processors, some obvious questions come to mind such as how the new processors compare with the older generation processors. This blog, fourth in the series of “Broadwell Performance for HPC,” focuses on answering this question. It compares the performance of various CAE applications for five Broadwell Intel Xeon E5-2600 v4 series processor models with previous generation Intel processors.

    Last week’s blog talked about the impact of BIOS options for each of the CAE applications. Here we focus on how much better the performance of the Broadwell processors is as compared to the previous generation Haswell (HSW) and Ivy-bridge (IVB) processors for these CAE applications. Table 1 shows the applications that we are comparing and Table 2 describes the server configuration used for the study. For LS-DYNA, the benchmarks run on the IVB and HSW (sse binary) and for ANSYS Fluent, benchmarks run on Westmere (WSM), Ivy-bridge (IVB), Sandy-bridge(SB) and HSW used different software versions (whatever latest version was available at the time) than what is mentioned in Table 1. STAR-CCM+ and OpenFOAM version for benchmarks run on both HSW and BDW were same.

    Table 1 - Applications and benchmarks

    Application

    Version

    Metric

    MPI

    Benchmark

    LS-DYNA®

    8.0.0

    Elapsed time

    Platform MPI 9.1.0

    • car2car with endtime=0.02

    STAR-CCM+®

    10.04.011

    Average Elapsed time

    Platform MPI 9.1.3

    • Civil_20m
    • EglinStoreSeparation
    • HlMach10
    • Kcs
    • LeMans_100M
    • Lemans_17m
    • Reactor9M
    • TurboCharger
    • Vtm

    ANSYS® Fluent®

    v16

    Solver rating

    Platform MPI 9.1.2.1

    • truck_poly_14m

    OpenFOAM

    2.4.0

    Clock time

    Open MPI 1.10.0

    • Motorbike 11M

     

    Table 2 - Server configuration

    Components

    Details

    Server

    PowerEdge R630

    Processor

    • 2 x E5-2650 v4 12c, 2.2/1.8 GHz, 105W, 30MB cache
    • 2 x E5-2690 v4 14c, 2.6/2.1 GHz, 135W, 35MB cache
    • 2 x E5-2697Av4 16c, 2.6/2.2 GHz, 145W, 40MB cache
    • 2 x E5-2698 v4 20c, 2.2/1.8 GHz, 135W, 50MB cache
    • 2 x E5-2699 v4 22c, 2.2/1.8 GHz, 145W, 55MB cache

    Memory

    256GB - 16 x 16GB 2400 MHz DDR4 RDIMMs

    Hard drive

    6 x 300GB SAS 6Gbps 10K rpm

    RAID controller

    PERC H330 mini

    Operating System

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 (3.10.0-327.el7.x86_64)

    BIOS options

    System profile - Performance

    Logical Processor - Disabled

    Power Supply Redundant Policy - Not Redundant

    Power Supply Hot Spare Policy - Disabled

    I/O Non-Posted Prefetch - Disabled

    Snoop Mode - Opportunistic Snoop Broadcast (OSB) for OpenFOAM and Cluster on Die (COD) for all the other applications

    Node interleaving - Disabled

    BIOS

    2.0.0

    iDRAC Firmware

    2.30.30.02

    Figure 1 compares the performance of the five BDW Intel Xeon E5-2600 v4 series processors models with HSW Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 series processors and IVB E5-2680 v2 for LS-DYNA car2car benchmark (with end time set to 0.02).


    Figure 1: IVB vs. HSW vs BDW for LS-DYNA

    The performance for all the processors is compared to E5-2680 v2, which is shown as the red baseline set at 1. The green bars show the performance for the HSW processors with LS-DYNA single precision sse binary, the grey bar represents data for HSW E5-2697 v3 with LS-DYNA single precision avx2 binary, the blue bars show the data for BDW processors with LS-DYNA single precision sse binary and the orange bars represent the BDW data with LS-DYNA single precision avx2 binary. For BDW, avx2 binaries perform 12-19% better than the sse binaries across all the processor models. The purple diamonds describe the performance per core compared to the E5-2680 v2. The percentages at the top of the BDW avx2 orange bar describe the percentage improvement of the BDW processors over HSW E5-2697 v3 avx2 (grey bar in the graph). The 12 core BDW E5-2650 v4 which has fewer cores and lower frequency understandably performs 11% lower than the Haswell E5-2697 v3 processor. The 14 core E5-2690 v4 which has same number of cores and similar avx2 frequencies performs 7% better than the E5-2697 v3 this can be accounted for due to the increase in bandwidth for Broadwell and BDW processors also measure better power efficiencies than Haswell processors. The performance for the 16core, 20core and 22core processors is 16 to 30% higher than the HSW E5-2697 v3 (avx2). Comparing the performance, performance per core and the higher memory bandwidth per core, the E5-2690 v4 14c and E5-2697Av4 16c look like attractive options for CAE/CFD codes, particularly when considering per core licensing costs.

    CD-adapco’s STAR-CCM+ is another CFD application widely-used by industry for solving problems involving fluid flows, heat transfer, and other phenomena. STAR-CCM+ shows similar performance patterns to LS-DYNA.

    Figure 2: HSW vs BDW for STAR-CCM+

    Figure 2 compares the performance of the five BDW Intel Xeon E5-2600 v4 series processors models (shown as the five bars in the graph) with HSW E5-2697 v3 shown as the red line set at one. The numbers at the top of the bar show the per core performance relative to the E5-2697 v3. As seen from the bars the 14core, 16core, 20core and the 22core relative performance is higher by 8% to 40% across all the benchmarks. The lower core, lower frequency 12core E5-2650 performs 11-20% lower than the E5-2697 v3. Similar to LS-DYNA, the per core performance of the 14core and the 16core is 2% to 11% better than the HSW E5-2697 v3 making them good options for STAR-CCM+ as well.

    ANSYS Fluent is a computational fluid dynamics application. The graph in Figure 3 shows the performance of truck_poly_14m for Sandy-bridge (SB), Ivy-bridge (IVB), HSW and BDW processors compared to the Westmere (WSM) processor shown as the redline set at one.

    Figure 3: WSM vs. SB vs. IVY vs. HSW vs. BDW for ANSYS Fluent

    The Fluent benchmark exhibit a similar pattern as LS-DYNA and STAR-CCM+ benchmarks. The purple diamonds in Figure 3 describe the performance per core compared to the WSM 2.93GHz processor. The percentages at the top of the BDW blue bar describe the percentage improvement of the BDW processors over HSW E5-2697 v3 (green bar in the graph). The 12 core BDW E5-2650 v4 which has fewer cores and lower frequency performs 14% lower than the Haswell E5-2697 v3 processor. With higher performance per core and the higher memory bandwidth per core, the E5-2690 v4 14c, E5-2697Av4 16c are good options, particularly when considering per core software licensing costs, and perform 11% and 21% better than the E5-2697 v3 processor. The 20 and 22core BDW processors perform 32%-39% better than the HSW E5-2697 v3.

    OpenFOAM (Open source Field Operation And Manipulation) is a free, open source software for computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

    Figure 4: HSW vs. BDW for OpenFOAM Motorbike 11M benchmark

    As shown in Figure 4 for the OpenFOAM Motorbike 11M benchmark, all the Broadwell processors perform 12% to 21% better than the Haswell E5-2697 v3 processor, shown as the red line set at one. Per core performance for the 16 core, 14 core and 12 core is 4% to 30% better than the E5-2697 v3.The performance for the 20 core and the 22 core BDW processors are the same for the Motorbike 11M benchmark. Increase in number of cores does not provide a significant performance boost for 20 and 22 core parts likely due to lower memory bandwidth per core as explained in the first blog’s STREAM results.

    Conclusion

    Along with more cores than HSW, BDW measures better power efficiency than HSW. Looking at the absolute performance, performance per core and the higher memory bandwidth per core, the E5-2690 v4 14c, E5-2697Av4 16c are attractive options for CAE/CFD codes particularly if per-core licensing costs are involved. For applications like OpenFOAM (motorbike case) all the BDW processors performed better than Haswell E5-2697 v3, but the increase in number of cores does not provide a significant performance boost for 20 and 22 core parts due to lower memory bandwidth per core.

     

  • Dell TechCenter

    Announcing New Validated Extensions for Dell Red Hat Cloud Solution

    With OpenStack evolving so quickly, a key challenge is how to take advantage of the robust and vibrant options for customization from the OpenStack community without creating unnecessary complexity, and forcing customers into a locked-down platform. Our co-engineering work with Red Hat and others solves this dilemma with the release of Dell Red Hat OpenStack cloud solution V 5.0.  

    Dell Red Hat Cloud Solution V 5.0 brings together a core architecture with selected extensions creating an adaptive infrastructure that integrates the best innovations from the OpenStack community with proven Dell and Red Hat platforms. The extensions are thoroughly validated, just like the core architecture, to ensure a consistent seamless cloud environment that just works.

    Today we offer the following validated extensions:

    • Software defined networking via Midokura Enterprise Midonet (MEM) - MEM is an award-winning network virtualization solution designed for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) clouds. The technology offers an intelligent, software-based network abstraction layer between the hosts and the physical network, by decoupling the IaaS cloud from the network hardware.  Given its open source roots, MEM is an ideal extension for OpenStack and is fully supported by Midokura. We are pleased to welcome Midokura as value added enhancement to the Dell Red Hat OpenStack Cloud Solution. Learn more in this Dell Midokura Technical Guide
    • Expanded multi-rack networking with Dell Network S6000 switches - this option enables large scale networking with Dell Networking S600 switches. S6000 leverages a non-blocking switching architecture, delivers line-rate L2 and L3 forwarding capacity, and provides up to 96 ports of 10Gbe, and eight additional ports of 40Gbe. Learn more in this Dell Technical Guide.
    • Core Architecture compute expansion - One of the common needs in a cloud platform is to add compute capacity for performance improvements or to simply grow resources. Our architecture supports adding individual Dell PowerEdge R430/R630/R730 nodes to an existing Dell Red Hat OpenStack cloud cluster. Learn more in the Dell Technical Guide.
    • Core Architecture storage expansion – expanding storage capacity is also a common need in cloud environments. In the Dell Red Hat OpenStack solution, CEPH storage is easily expanded by the addition of Dell PowerEdge R730xd storage node to an existing cluster. Note: expansion of storage and compute is designed for flexibility - compute and storage can be added independently in any combination based on the physical rack space available. Learn more in the Dell Technical Guide.
    • Tempest test node – verifying your OpenStack deployment can be accomplished with the Tempest test battery. Dell provides specific guidance for successfully executing Tempest testing against the Dell Red Hat cloud solution including ensuring the cleanup process executes successfully.  Learn more in the Dell Technical Guide.

    With our core architecture plus validated extension approach, we are embracing and enhancing the openness and flexibility of OpenStack. Each validated extension is supported with documented guidance for implementation and this documentation is freely available here on the Dell Tech Center community web site. We are looking forward to expanding this portfolio of innovative extensions to our core architecture as new capabilities in OpenStack become ready for deployment in the enterprise.

  • KACE Blog

    Service Desk and ITIL: Getting Started, One Step at a Time

    Service Desk

    IT departments today are striving to support new business initiatives, meet regulatory compliance requirements and operate under tough budget constraints.

    Strategically implementing best practices, such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), can help with all of these challenges. ITIL is a mature set of generally accepted information technology control objectives that IT managers, business managers and auditors can use to ensure the delivery of the best possible information services to users and improve IT efficiency and effectiveness.

    But while the potential rewards of ITIL adoption are great, actually implementing these best practices often proves to be a daunting task. All too often, organizations end up with broad, unfocused programs that struggle to deliver incremental value or that are stopped dead in their tracks.

    Fortunately, there are pragmatic ways to incrementally implement ITIL best practices that can reduce complexity and deliver measurable results quickly. It’s critical to choose a solution that enables you to adopt portions of a best practices framework, such as service desk functionality, without having to deploy all of the components immediately. That way, you can implement ITIL in a pragmatic fashion, step by step.

    Choosing a Service Desk that Helps You Align with ITIL Best Practices

    Because IT organizations are often swamped with more trouble tickets than they have resources to address, a service desk solution can be the perfect component to begin your ITIL implementation journey. But it’s important to choose the right one. Look for a service desk solution that will help your organization align with ITIL best practices by delivering the following features and functionality:

    • Flexible incident and problem submission
    • Easy-to-use issue tracking and management capabilities
    • Automated event management that can categorize and prioritize issues and assign tickets to technicians with both the necessary skill set and current availability
    • Facilities management, including the ability to set up separate service desk queues for managing facilities requests
    • A self-service user portal that enables users to easily submit and monitor tickets; access a knowledge base; view information about current known issues; download IT-approved applications and software updates; and complete common tasks such as onboarding and password resets
    • A mobile app that enables admins to perform service desk functions and users to submit and review tickets, regardless of their location
    • Easy integration with other systems, including email, asset management software, and change management solutions

    Pragmatic ITIL implementation with Dell

    If you’re ready to begin a practical, targeted implementations of ITIL best practices, be sure to take a look at the Dell KACE systems management appliances, which will help your organization begin to implement ITIL simply, effectively and inexpensively

    A great place to start is the Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance, which offers an integrated service desk that delivers all the functionality listed above, so you can improve user productivity while reducing IT workload and costs. Then explore how Dell KACE appliances can enable additional ITIL processes, including configuration management, change management and release management, all from a common, centralized interface. You can adopt these components in an orderly fashion, improving IT efficiency and user satisfaction with every step.

    Happy Users and Productive IT Staff

    To learn more about how to choose a service desk that will make your users happy and your IT staff more productive, check out our new white paper, The Ten Key Features You Need in a Service Desk Solution.

    About Stephen Hatch

    Stephen is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Dell KACE. He has over eight years of experience with KACE and over 20 years of marketing communications experience.

    View all posts by Stephen Hatch

  • KACE Blog

    Green IT— Not Just for Earth Day Anymore?

    The annual Earth Day celebration is upon us, and with it the goal to spotlight the planet’s environment, and increase public awareness of what can be done to reduce pollution and improve sustainability. Started in 1970, the original intent was to organize a nationwide movement that focused on educating people regarding the fragility of our environment, and develop ways to better defend our planet. Initially a grass roots movement, it has gained public support and has been the driver for such mandates as the creation of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of the Clean Air Act and the Water Quality Improvement Act, among others.

    Reading a recent article about Earth Day and its goals got me thinking about our own world of Information Technology, and how we in IT try to be more ecologically responsible. In fact, it kicked off an informal discussion in our office, which centered on the question... 

    What ever happened to Green IT?

    What had been the topic du jour for technology publications and industry pundits a few short years ago, now seems to have faded away like the iPhone 4. But what might be the reason for the disappearance of Green IT, or at least its shift in focus? My colleagues had some interesting views:

    • It’s a normal day to day activity — IT organizations now simply incorporate sustainability and resource efficiencies in everything they do- it doesn’t need a name or justification to make it a priority.
    • Regulations — The early focus on Green IT has produced both official and unofficial regulations that govern our devices and processes, reducing energy impact and making over consumption an unacceptable option.
    • The cloud — Moving much of the infrastructure for an organization’s IT processing requirements to an on demand service model has de facto reduced the concentration on individual use and footprint, and shifted the ecological onus to the providers.
    • Common sense — While less than ten years ago awareness and an ecological focus for IT needed a boost for acceptance and action, today’s understanding of the limitations of our collective global resources is just the correct way to approach the challenge.

    Just for validation, we did an informal poll of our customers to try to understand their take on Green IT and how it played (or didn’t play) in a variety of organizations. Not surprisingly, we were greeted with a breadth of responses:

    • Issues such as power consumption/savings were at the top of their lists for ecological initiatives, such as automated sleep mode for inactive devices.
    • Decommissioned devices were being recycled, or were being donated to non-profits to extend their useful lives.
    • New purchases all had an eye for optimal energy effectiveness.
    • Virtually all were recycling IT packaging materials.
    • While some said Green IT was not a priority, the bulk said striving for ecological efficiencies were now part of their daily operations.

    Dell has always been a leader in sustainability, from recycling initiatives to innovative ways to create packaging that doesn’t end up as land fill fodder.

    At Dell Software, we’ve also kept an eye toward environmental and ecological best practices via our Dell KACE systems management appliances. The ability to perform centralized configuration management, power down idle endpoint devices via power management capabilities, the elimination of travel necessary for systems deployment and remote management, the availability of a virtual appliance or hosted appliance that reduces energy consumption and resource drain, all combine to make Green IT a reality — even if it’s not today’s top news story.

    Welcome Earth Day, we’re all still working hard on minimizing our IT carbon footprint.

    To that end, we invite you to view an on-demand demonstration of the Dell KACE Systems Management and Systems Deployment Appliances.

    About Stephen Hatch

    Stephen is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Dell KACE. He has over eight years of experience with KACE and over 20 years of marketing communications experience.

    View all posts by Stephen Hatch

  • Information Management

    House of Agile: 4 Ways the Database Wages War on Agile Development

    House of Old v. House of Agile

    Who rules your database environment?

    House of Old v. House of Agile             House of Old v. House of Agile

    Now that season 6 of Game of Thrones has started, winter will come again to Westeros. The Lannisters and the Starks are at it again. The question marks left from the season 5 finale will be filled in (I hope).

    And your company’s agile application development teams will continue to outpace the more traditional, manual release process of database development.

    Letting agile take the throne

    Sure, current database development processes help reduce the risk of data loss in a live production database. But they’re also causing a huge bottleneck, keeping the organization as a whole from realizing the full promise of agile: the ability to release software in prompt response to market changes.

    Application developers have long pledged their allegiance to House Agile, taking advantage of streamlined practices to shorten development cycles and reduce the risks associated with change. So what’s really stopping database developers from overthrowing their traditional processes and letting agile take the throne?

    Stark contrasts

    As much of the cast of Game of Thrones seems to know, a few important differences between these houses of application and database development can wage war on your progress toward agile:

    • “One of our giants went into your tunnel and never came out again.” When app developers discover a new version has defects, it’s easy to restore the old version and overwrite the new version temporarily. Try that with a database and your data or interim changes (additions, edits, deletions) probably won’t come out again.
    • “Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again.” Version control is indispensable to app development teams as a single source of truth. In database development, however, the production database itself is often considered the single source of truth, but if you can’t keep the different instances (dev, test, prod, etc.) in sync, you’ll end up with chaos across the deployment pipeline.
    • "Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle." App developers release entire code bases with high frequency because their deployment pipeline is fully automated. Database developers get to the same castle but take the slower, manual route to updating the database from one state to the next.
    • “In the game of thrones, even the humblest pieces can have wills of their own. Sometimes they refuse to make the moves you’ve planned for them.” Application teams can implement urgent changes quickly because their pipeline is automated. When pressured to keep up, database professionals will likely scramble and fast-track the changes into production with limited testing, then find out what those humble pieces think of the moves planned for them.

    Just as the Lannisters have been wreaking havoc for generations, these vastly different environments don’t seem to be going away any time soon.  But you can begin your journey toward House Agile by automating as many of your traditional processes as possible.

    Check out this e-book: Getting Agile with Database Development

    Like Brienne and Podrick, we can't knight you, but we can teach you how to fight. We’ve put together an e-book, It’s Time to Get Agile, loaded with guiding principles for creating agile database development environments and suggested resources to help you get there.

    Realizing the promise of agile doesn’t have to be just a fantasy. Take a look at our e-book to get armed with the right tools to help you proudly swing your agile sword.

    Nicole Tamms

    About Nicole Tamms

    Nicole is an experienced product marketer with over seven years of experience. She has also held various other technology marketing and corporate communications roles at Quest, now part of Dell, over the past 15 years. She has specialized in industry analyst relations and media relations as the PR and analyst relations manager for Quest, prior to her roles in product marketing.

    View all posts by Nicole Tamms | Twitter

  • General HPC

    Impact of Broadwell BIOS Options On CAE Applications

    Authors: Mayura Deshmukh, Ashish K Singh, Neha Kashyap

    Last week’s blog on the “Broadwell Performance for HPC” series described the BIOS options and compared performance across generations of processors for molecular dynamic applications (NAMD) and Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF). This blog, third in the series, focuses on BIOS options for some HPC CAE applications for five different Broadwell Intel Xeon E5-2600 v4 series processor models. It aims to answer questions like, which snoop mode works best for my application and processor? Which BIOS System Profile would give the best performance?

    There have been a few changes in the BIOS options for Broadwell as compared with the previous generation (Haswell). One of the major additions in the Broadwell BIOS is the “Opportunistic Snoop Broadcast” snoop mode in the Memory settings. This blog discusses performance of the applications for all four snoop modes: Opportunistic snoop broadcast (OSB), Early snoop (ES), Home snoop (HS) and Cluster on die (COD). For more information on the new BIOS options and snoop modes check blog one of this series.

    The Dell BIOS “System Profile” setting can be set to either of the four pre-configured profiles: Performance Per Watt (DAPC), Performance Per Watt (OS), Performance (Perf.) and Dense Configuration or set to Custom. In the pre-configured profiles the Turbo Boost, C States, C1E, CPU Power Management, Memory Frequency, Memory Patrol Scrub, Memory Refresh Rate, Uncore Frequency are preset whereas for Custom the User can choose values for these options. For more information on System Profiles check the link. DAPC and OS have shown to perform similarly in past studies, and Dense Configuration performs lower for HPC workloads, so we will be focusing on DAPC and Performance Profiles in this study. The DAPC (Dell Active Power Control) Profile relies on a BIOS-centric power control mechanism. Energy efficient turbo, C States, C1E are enabled with the DAPC Profile. Performance Profile disables power saving features such as C-states, Energy efficient turbo and C1E. Turbo boost is enabled in both the System Profiles.

    This blog discusses the performance of CAE applications with DAPC and Performance profile for each of the four snoop modes for five different Intel Xeon E5-2600 v4 series Broadwell processors. Table 1 shows the application and benchmark details and Table 2 describes the server configuration used for the study.

    Table 1 - Applications and benchmarks

    Application

    Version

    Metric

    MPI

    Benchmark

    LS-DYNA®

    8.0.0

    Elapsed time

    Platform MPI 9.1.0

    • car2car with endtime=0.02

    STAR-CCM+®

    10.04.011

    Average Elapsed time

    Platform MPI 9.1.3

    • Civil_20m
    • EglinStoreSeparation
    • HlMach10
    • Kcs
    • Lemans_100m
    • Lemans_17m
    • Reactor9m
    • TurboCharger
    • Vtm

    ANSYS® Fluent®

    v16

    Solver rating

    Platform MPI 9.1.2.1

    • truck_poly_14m
    • combustor_12m
    • combustor_71m
    • exhaust_system_33m
    • ice_2m

    OpenFOAM

    2.4.0

    Clock time

    Open MPI 1.10.0

    • Cavity 1M
    • Motorbike 11M

     

    Table 2 - Server configuration

    Components

    Details

    Server

    PowerEdge R630

    Processor

    • 2 x E5-2650 v4 12c, 2.2/1.8 GHz, 105W, 30MB cache
    • 2 x E5-2690 v4 14c, 2.6/2.1 GHz, 135W, 35MB cache
    • 2 x E5-2697Av4 16c, 2.6/2.2 GHz, 145W, 40MB cache
    • 2 x E5-2698 v4 20c, 2.2/1.8 GHz, 135W, 50MB cache
    • 2 x E5-2699 v4 22c, 2.2/1.8 GHz, 145W, 55MB cache

    Memory

    256GB - 16 x 16GB 2400 MHz DDR4 RDIMMs

    Hard drive

    6 x 300GB SAS 6Gbps 10K rpm

    RAID controller

    PERC H330 mini

    Operating System

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2 (3.10.0-327.el7.x86_64)

    BIOS options

    System Profile - Performance and Performance Per Watt (DAPC)

    Logical Processor - Disabled

    Power Supply Redundant Policy - Not Redundant

    Power Supply Hot Spare Policy - Disabled

    I/O Non-Posted Prefetch - Disabled

    Snoop Mode - Opportunistic Snoop Broadcast (OSB), Early Snoop (ES), Home Snoop (HS), Cluster on Die (COD)

    Node interleaving - Disabled

    BIOS

    2.0.0

    iDRAC Firmware

    2.30.30.02

     

    LS-DYNA is a general-purpose finite element program from LSTC capable of simulating complex real-world structural mechanics problems. We ran the car2car benchmark with endtime set to 0.02 with both the single precision avx2 and the single precision sse LS-DYNA binaries.

                                                                                                                    

    Figure 1: Comparing snoop modes and BIOS Profiles for LS-DYNA

    The left graph in Figure 1 shows how better or worse the different snoop modes perform compared to the default setting of snoop mode = OSB and BIOS profile=DAPC (which is set at 1, the red line on the graph). Just changing the snoop mode to COD increases performance by 1-3% with either BIOS profiles across all the processor models. The performance with COD is closely followed by OSB followed by ES for lower core counts and HS for 16, 20 and 22 core processors. With ES mode, the system starts paying the penalty of having lower request tokens per core for higher core counts compared to the other snoop modes (for e.g. for 14 core 128/14 = 9 per core Vs. 128/22 = 5 per core for 22 core). All the snoop modes with the System Profile set to Performance follow similar pattern as DAPC. As shown in the graph on the right in Figure 1, changing the System Profile from DAPC to Performance can provide up to 2% performance benefit. The COD.Perf is the best option, about 2-4% better compared to OSB.DAPC across all processor models. The total 2-4% improvement with COD.Perf is accounted partially due to the change in snoop mode and partially due to change in the BIOS System Profile to Performance. We ran the car2car benchmark for all the combinations above with the sse LS-DYNA binary as well and noted similar behavior with the Performance System Profile and COD snoop mode being 2-6% better than the default OSB.DAPC. The avx2 binaries performed 12-19% better than the sse binaries across all the processor models.

    CD-adapco® STAR-CCM+ is another CFD application widely-used by industry for solving problems involving fluid flows, heat transfer, and other phenomena. The STAR-CCM+ benchmarks results show a pattern similar to LS-DYNA in terms of snoop mode and System Profile.

                                                                                                                

    Figure 2: Comparing snoop modes for STAR-CCM+

    Figure 2 compares the snoop modes for the Civil_20m and Lemans_17m benchmarks. For simplicity, data for these two benchmarks are shown. The other benchmarks datasets show results similar to the patterns in Figure 2. The BIOS profile in the graphs is set to DAPC and the snoop modes are compared against the default OSB snoop mode (which is set at 1, the red line on the graph). The COD is the best option for the Civil_20m benchmark, it is about 2-3% better for DAPC. For the Performance System Profile COD is 4-6% better for the Civil_20m benchmark (not shown in the graph). COD is followed by OSB and then ES for smaller core counts. Performance with ES though starts reducing as the cores increase similar to what was observed with LS-DYNA car2car benchmark case. The HlMach10 benchmark shows similar pattern to the Civil_20m benchmark. For the HlMach10 benchmark case the COD.Perf option is 2-7% better than the default OSB.DAPC.

    All the other benchmarks (EglinStoreSeparation, Kcs, Lemans_100m, Reactor9m, TurboCharger, Vtm) show similar pattern to Lemans_17m. The COD and OSB perform similarly, there is only ~1% difference between OSB and COD across the benchmark cases across all processor models. After COD and OSB, ES option is better for lower core counts and HS for 16, 20 and 22 core processors. As mentioned previously, the system in ES mode starts paying the penalty of having lower request tokens per core for higher core counts compared to the other snoop modes.

                                                                                                             

    Figure 3: DAPC vs. Performance with COD snoop mode for STARCCM+

    The graph in figure 3 compares the System Profile BIOS options DAPC and Performance. We are comparing the performance of COD.Perf with respect to COD.DAPC, which is the red baseline set at 1 in the graph. The Performance profile provides 2-4% benefit over the DAPC for the Civil_20m benchmark for all the processor models. Also for the high core count, E5-2699 v4 the Performance profile performs 2-5% better across all the benchmarks. For all the other processor models there is not a significant gain (only about 1%) with the Performance profile for all the benchmarks (except Civil_20m).

    ANSYS Fluent is a computational fluid dynamics application. Fluent provides multiple benchmark cases. We picked four representative cases from the v16 benchmark suite: combustor_12m, combustor_71m, exhaust_system_33m and ice_2m and one from the older v15 benchmark suite: truck_poly_14m, to allow us to compare our data with previous generation processor models. The Fluent benchmarks exhibit a similar pattern as LS-DYNA and STAR-CCM+ benchmarks.

                                                                                                           

    Figure 4: Comparing snoop modes for ANSYS Fluent

    The graph in Figure 4 shows the performance of truck_poly_14m for all the snoop modes compared to the default OSB.DAPC which is shown as the red baseline in the graphs. All the other benchmarks show a similar pattern. COD performs up to 2% better than OSB for truck_poly_14m, combustor_12m and ice_2m. COD is about 5% better for combustor_71m and 6% better for exhaust_33m. COD is followed by OSB, followed by ES for lower core counts and HS for higher core count processors for all the benchmarks.

                                                                                                            

    Figure 5: DAPC vs. Performance with COD snoop mode for ANSYS Fluent

    Figure 5 shows the performance for Performance profile with respect to DAPC with COD set as the snoop mode for both options. DAPC is shown as the red baseline in the graph. The Performance BIOS profile option is about 4% better for all the processor models for the larger combustor_71m and exhaust_33m benchmark cases. The Performance profile is 1-3% better for the other benchmark cases.

    OpenFOAM (Open source Field Operation And Manipulation) is a free, open source software for computational fluid dynamics (CFD). OpenFOAM was compiled with -march=native / Broadwell option. We used the cavity-1M and motorBike-11M datasets which are modifications of the OpenFOAM tutorials/incompressible/icoFoam/cavity and tutorials/incompressible/simpleFoam/motorBike models respectively.

                                                                                                           

    Figure 6: Comparing snoop modes and BIOS Profiles for OpenFOAM Cavity 1M benchmark

    As shown in left graph of figure 6 for DAPC System Profile, the benchmark performance increases by 3-6% when in COD snoop mode when compared to OSB. ES and HS options perform up to 3% lower than OSB across all the processor models. The pattern is similar for the Performance System Profile, where COD is better by 3-7% followed by OSB. HS is lower than OSB but better than ES for all the processors models except for the 20core E5-2698 v4 where ES is 1% better than HS for DAPC profile and 7% better than HS for Performance System Profile. There is not a lot of difference in performance for DAPC Vs Performance profile especially for the higher frequency processors 14core E5-2690v4 and the 16core E5-2697A v4. For the other models the Performance profile shows up to 4% benefit as shown in the right graph of figure 6.

                                                                                                            

    Figure 7: Comparing snoop modes and BIOS Profiles for OpenFOAM Motorbike 11M benchmark

    For the openFOAM motorbike 11M benchmark the OSB, COD and the HS snoop modes perform similarly with about 1% variation. The performance for ES is low across all the processor models and it keeps on dropping as the number of cores increase as shown in the left graph of figure 7. The snoop modes with BIOS System Profile set to Performance follow exactly similar trend. As shown in the right graph on figure 3, the DAPC and Performance profiles show similar performance with Performance about 1% better in most cases except for the E5-2697A where the DAPC.COD was 2% better.

    Conclusion

    Most of the data sets used in this study show advantage of COD mode, but COD benefits codes which are highly NUMA optimized and where the dataset fit into the NUMA memory (that is half of each sockets memory capacity). OSB is a close second and a good option for codes with varying level of NUMA optimization; OSB is also the default memory snoop BIOS option. HS and ES perform slightly lower than COD and OSB. ES is better than HS for lower core counts but as the core counts increase ES starts paying the penalty of having lower request tokens per core for higher core counts compared to the other snoop modes. In terms of System Profile, Performance Profile performs slightly better than DAPC in most of the cases.

    Be sure to check back next week for the last blog in the series which will compare the performance of HPC CAE applications across generations (Ivy-bridge vs. Haswell vs. Broadwell)

     

  • Information Management

    #ThinkChat - Best Practices in Big Data / IoT Analytics

    Join us April 22nd at 11:00 AM PST for this month's #ThinkChat event live on Twitter!  Talk with and learn from folks in the industry on how to successfully implement Big Data and IoT projects. This month's #ThinkChat gives us an opportunity to share and discover what technologies others have been experimenting with to deliver on both Big Data / IoT initiatives. We will invite Big Data gurus along with IoT implementers to join in the conversation.  Hope you will join us as well! 

    Follow #ThinkChat on Twitter and join the conversation!

     

     

    Where: Live on Twitter – Follow Hashtag #ThinkChat to get your questions answered and participate in the conversation!

    When: April 22, at 11:00 AM PST

     Questions discussed on this program will include:

    1. How do you or your organization use Big Data and IoT on a regular basis?
    2. Have you experienced hurdles when trying to implement Big Data and IoT initiatives?  How did you overcome these?
    3. What ideas and experiments did you attempt and what where the lessons learned from these innovations?
    4. How do you define success?
    5. What resources can you share for others looking to implement Big Data and IoT initiatives in their organization?
    6. Iterations seem to be the natural path to success, when did iterations go from experimental to production?
    7. Analytics measure success, at what point did the analytics help you?  Perhaps the analytics allowed you to redirect or review the project?
    8. Are there any professional organizations that offered advice that you found helpful?
    9. Open forum - anything else you want to discuss.

     

    Joanna Schloss

    About Joanna Schloss

    Joanna Schloss is a subject matter expert in the Dell Center of Excellence specializing in data and information management. Her areas of expertise include big data analytics, business intelligence, business analytics, and data warehousing.

    View all posts by Joanna Schloss | 

  • Information Management

    How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Spend My Database Money More Effectively

    Think about all the money your organisation spends on Oracle databases each year, and how nice it would be if you could spend less. How can you get a better return on your investment?

        

    Jim Katsos and I have put together a series of live events around Australia in early April called How to Maximise the Value of Your Oracle Investment with Dell Software. We’re going to discuss how you use Oracle, how much variety there is in the database landscape nowadays, and how many choices you have in the tools you depend on to keep your organisation running smoothly on Oracle.

    Here’s a taste of what we’ll cover.

    Maximise the value of your Oracle investment

    As pre-sales engineers, Jim and I are on the business end of a lot of database heartburn. We’ve designed our roadshow to air the questions and issues we hear most often and show you that you’re not the only Oracle professional out there who has them.

    • Why does the license agreement oblige me to use Oracle Enterprise Edition when I don’t need all those features? I’d rather use Standard Edition and save the money.
    • What else is happening in the world of databases? What’s growing in market share? What’s shrinking?
    • Since I won’t get permission to replace our entire Oracle back end, where and how else can we save money?
    • The cost of leaving Oracle has always been high. Why is the cost of staying on it even higher?
    • We’d start adopting other databases in addition to Oracle but we don’t want to invest in separate database tools for each vendor. Will we have to?

    We at Dell don’t have a horse in the database race (we’ve never been a database vendor), but we’ve managed to make companies of all sizes in all industries happy with our broad line of database tools for the most common tasks DBAs execute:

    • Operational monitoring with Foglight for Oracle
    • Diagnostics and performance monitoring with Foglight’s Database Performance Analysis
    • SQL tuning with SQL Optimizer
    • PL/SQL (and others) development and database administration with Toad for Oracle
    • Simulating, validating and minimizing the risk from database changes with Benchmark Factory for Databases
    • Replicating databases with SharePlex (to Oracle or even NON-Oracle targets!)

    Many of our customers have used these tools on multiple database platforms, including Oracle, to reduce their budgets, increase their ROI on databases and improve performance and uptime.

    Have any questions about tools for Oracle (and other database platforms) and replication tools like SharePlex? Leave them in the comments below! Catchya, maaaaaate...