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Huawei Servers Power CyberAgent Ameba Platform

17-06-2015 00:00:00

Background

The internationally known CyberAgent Internet enterprise offers gaming, social networking, advertising, and venture capital. The company’s Ameba social platform is one of Japan’s biggest social blog platforms, with more than 30 million registered users, including celebrities and their fans.

Challenges

CyberAgent’s popular online games and the Ameba social blog platform attract a huge number of users, require frequent user status updates, and have fragmented content. These service features demand powerful computing resources and frequent access to the database, which requires high I/O performance.

As a result, CyberAgent has been challenged to serve its rapidly growing customer base using a traditional IT architecture. The company considered leasing resources from a public cloud or building a private cloud. Whatever the solution, it needed to meet the current service requirements in a way that was compatible with the existing IT resources to enable seamless integration.

For on-site compute resources, CyberAgent’s power capacity was limited. The power supply to each DC cabinet in the data center equipment room has a maximum capacity of 10 kVA. The power consumption of each traditional rack server exceeded 300W. Deploying more servers in one cabinet without exceeding the power consumption limit was a major concern.

Another concern was support for IPv6. CyberAgent had deployed IT devices on an IPv6 network to overcome limitations on IP address resources and improve packet forwarding performance. Unfortunately for CyberAgent, many servers (including mainstream servers from major vendors) support IPv6 only on the service data side. The out-of-band Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) modules do not support IPv6.

One more challenge lay in maintaining the I/O rate of the database. Internet services such as Ameba feature quick user status updates and generate lots of small data blocks, which require frequent access to the database. Database storage devices such as HDDs and SAS SSDs did not meet the I/O requirements.

Solution

Huawei offered CyberAgent, a solution that uses 1U, 2-socket servers equipped with PCIe SSDs. These servers meet the existing IT architecture challenges as well as requirements for implementing a next-generation Internet platform.

With the 1U, 2-socket design, Huawei’s RH1288 V2 servers provide a computing density twice that of traditional rack servers. To meet the CyberAgent cabinet power limits, the RH1288 V2 servers were equipped with Intel E5-2630L low-power-consumption CPUs.

The RH1288 V2 server supports native IPv6, and the server’s BMC management module supports IPv6 Network Controller Sideband Interface (NCSI). This server provides server management functions through the service network port, supports IPv6-based industry standard management protocols such as SNMP and IPMI, and is compatible with CyberAgent’s O&M tools on the live network.

To address the read and write performance of the database, Huawei recommended the high-performance ES3000 PCIe SSD. This solid-state drive provides 770,000 read IOPS for Internet applications — performance equivalent to concurrent read and write operations on nearly 1,000 hard disks.

Benefits

After proof-of-concept tests, CyberAgent decided to use Huawei servers to implement a next-generation Internet platform that consists of a virtualization private cloud platform and new database query system. User experience has been improved by significantly increasing the Ameba ranking and database query performance using the high-IOPS ES3000 PCIe SSDs.

The CyberAgent database has operated stably using the ES3000 SSDs, and the overall system reliability is high. Huawei achieves excellent hardware reliability through the use of strategies such as strict component selection and a flash-memory wear-leveling mechanism. Huawei servers have a high-redundancy design and support hot-swapping of key components such as PSUs and fan modules. The servers can operate stably at 40°C (in contrast to most competing products that have a maximum operating temperature of only 35°C), reducing requirements on the equipment room operating environment.

The RH1288 V2 servers reduce equipment footprint by 50% and reduce power consumption slightly compared with traditional rack servers. The IPv6 NCSI function also requires 30% fewer cables than the previous network arrangement and occupies fewer switch ports, thus reducing O&M workload.

CyberAgent engineer Satoshi Udagawa commented, “Huawei PCIe SSDs show excellent performance in random read and write and are suitable for the harsh daemon operating environment of gaming services. In addition, Huawei servers have been operating properly on the CyberAgent virtualization platform. We are expecting Huawei servers to sustain optimal performance in the future. Huawei’s unique competitiveness in speed perfectly meets CyberAgent demands.”

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