AppFormix Blog

AppFormix and Intel RDT Integration: Orchestrating Virtual Machines on OpenStack

By Parantap Roy on April 01, 2016


AppFormix, with the integration of its software set on the Intel Resource Director Technology (RDT), redefines cloud optimization through its cutting edge technology.

In an engagement with Intel lasting several months prior to the release of the processor family, we got our hands on the hardware enabled with the brand new features. The Intel Resource Director Technology, released as part of the Intel Xeon E5 v4 Processor hardware feature set, enables deep visibility into the shared resources inside a processor socket.

AppFormix provides a complete integration of these counters - which monitor cache usage and memory bandwidth usage - with virtual machines. Cloud operators can now get a clear picture of contention and utilization of these resources by applications that are running on their infrastructure.

Intel Resource Director Technology (RDT)

Intel Resource Director Technology (RDT) on Intel Xeon E5 v4 processors provide monitoring of shared processor L3 Cache and Memory Bandwidth. Additionally, CAT and CDP provide control over the cache usage:

  • Cache Monitoring Technology (CMT) - CMT provides new insights by providing last level cache utilization by individual threads in the system which can be used to derive usage of application, vm or containers that are running on the system.
  • Memory Bandwidth Monitoring (MBM) - MBM is an extension of CMT which provides monitoring per thread for its remote and local memory bandwidth usage.
  • Cache Allocation Technology (CAT) - CAT provides control to prioritize different classes of applications in a data center workload. With CAT one can carve out the L3 Cache on the system to different applications running on a particular server.
  • Code and Data Prioritization (CDP) - CDP provides a further additional level of control for allocating code and data segments in the L3 cache. Last level cache and memory bandwidth are shared entities on a processor socket which greatly impact the performance of applications.


Figure 1: AppFormix Dashboard with Intel RDT Counters

As seen in Figure 1, these counters allow operators to identify and set alarms for Virtual Machines with high L3 cache or memory bandwidth usage. AppFormix uses Intel RDT to enable real-time visibility on the shared processor resource usage like L3 Occupancy and Memory Bandwidth on OpenStack Compute nodes enabled with Intel RDT. For the first time, operators can control the L3 Occupancy of their VMs to get predictable performance for their application workloads.

Slow VMs, Unhappy Users

You navigate to Almost immediately, you notice a lag in the response time or the connection drops altogether. You check to ensure you’re on the right page.

What is happening? The culprits, as seen in Figure 1, can be any of the following:

  • Images to load based on a query or a form that disappears
  • Noisy neighbors causing a ruckus during peak load
  • Configuration or shopping cart updates are underway
  • Payment chains and authorization gateways transactions causing latency

AppFormix targets VMs running on OpenStack and can identify noisy cache-intensive workloads. To better schedule workloads our L3 Cache allocation policy using CAT feature part of Intel RDT we can :

  • clamp down on noisy VMs
  • can also allocate equal fair share of L3 Cache proportional to VCPUs to all VMs and dynamically change the share as VMs startup and shutdown.

And allow for:

  • Uniform performance
  • Less unpredictability when scheduling workloads

Read the details of the AppFormix Solution with Intel Resource Director Technology available on the Intel Xeon E5 v4 Processor.


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About AppFormix

AppFormix is the leading provider of infrastructure performance optimization for cloud-based datacenters and the best OpenStack Cloud Analytics Solution on the market. AppFormix increases the ROI of existing enterprise infrastructure through software that enables consistent performance of applications running in Virtual Machines or containers, either on-premise or in the public cloud.

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